This incident occured around 6:30 PM on 10/19/06.
I must first of all admit that this rip-off report is only in relation to roughly $1.50 being stolen by an employee at this station. However, I feel that the principle at hand is more important the monetary aspect of the matter. I would gladly have paid 20 dollars just to have avoided this level of beligerence, unkindness, dishonest, and thievery.
I do not know the employee's name. He was short, had a dark complexion and short hair. He has been working there for awhile, and I recall him specifically as he once also spent 3 minutes trying to tell me that I had no change due in gas when I clearly had put in 40 dollars and spent 26.
What transpired is that I went there to purchase two bottles of water, and 3 packs of camel lights. I was purchasing 3 because they run a deal where 3 packs of camel lights are $3.44 as opposed to the more typical price of roughly 4 dollars.
When he rang me up, I did not notice that he was only ringing up 2 packs of cigarettes. When he went to put them in the bag I said softly and politely "I apologize, sir, but I asked for 3 packs of camel lights." I didn't think anything of it as employees there have made this mistake before. In fact, this particular employee has nearly every time I have gone there. However, what I didn't notice due to the fact that I had worked an 11 hour day and was a wee bit tired was that he did not void the previous sale as they typically do. He merely made another one.
The 3rd pack came to $4.05. I gave him $5.10, so that I would get a full dollar back which is exactly what I got. He shorted me on one nickel at that point. It's a nickel, and I figured that he thought I was doing the logical thing and giving him a nickel, so I didn't really read to much into it nor did I say anything. The employee did not give me a receipt for either of the purchases.
After the second purchase was made, I did notice that I was being shorted. I politely told him that since I purchases three packs of cigarettes, I should have got the deal. His response was to tell me he didn't know what I was talking about. I then pointed at the sign indicating $3.44 per pack when bought in 3's. He told me that I made two seperate purchases, so this didn't apply.
I told him that this was erroneous because this happened due to his mistake. He told me that I said two packs of camel lights. I responded that I quite clearly said 3 packs of camel lights and he said "you said camels so I gave you two packs" This made no logical sense given that merely saying camels would be unspecified or mean 1 to anyone attempting to accurately interpret the information provided. I told him that I said 3, and that he made the mistake and I should not suffer the consequences. He then got angry and told me that I would need to talk to the manager who did not happen to be there, but would be there tomorrow. I told him that making a seperate trip to see a manager over mere change was stupid, and that I have been going there at least twice a week for 4 years. I told him to please give me money due. He said "I do not want to."
I told him that he made a mistake. I said "you did not give me what I asked for, and consequently a second purchase took place. You made a mistake, and I should not have to suffer the consequences." I then told him that I wanted all of my money back, and that I would go purchase cigarettes somewhere else as a good deal wasn't worth dealing with this. He said that he would not give me a refund. I asked why and he said "because I don't want to." I asked him why and he said "because my register is short." Nevermind the fact that he obviously had whatever I gave him, so there would have been no issue with giving me the funds back.
We went back and forth a couple of times to the bemusement of my fellow patrons. I realized that I was getting nowhere. I then did something that was an inappropriate reponse to an inappropriate action. I made a remark punctuated by a four letter word referring to his lack of intelligence, a remark referring to a certain body part as a description of his attitude, and then made a suggestion as to what he could do to himself. I then started to walk out. My walk out of the store was interrupted by security telling me that I had to leave while the employee telling me to come back tomorrow. I told the employee that I would never be coming back there, and the security guard told me not to come back to the store ever. I'm not sure why this security guard felt the need to emphasize my statements of act by reiterating them as commands.
While walking out I told the security guard that the man had ripped me off, but that I understood that he was doing his job. By this point I was already out the door. The security seemed as if he may have agreed with my take given the expression on his face, but I could be entirely wrong. In my younger years when I did customer service related work I tended to side with my co-workers to whatever extent was morally permissible. The security guard did then watch me get into my car as if I was a security threat for quoting d**k Cheney and so forth. While he was doing so I gesticulated towards myself and my open car door and made a shrugging motion to indicate my annoyance that he really thought that I was dumb enough to try to bumrush the store out of anger.
I do not know if it is worth it go back and speak to the manager as a manager who cares about his employees typically should side with them regardless of what transpires unless presented with blindingly obvious evidence. Furthermore, since I've technically been banned and told to go back and speak to the manager, I'm not sure if I'm even able to. If the manager is who I think he is, he would recognize me in person. However, the employee and security guard could be there instead.
It's a shame. The shaven headed gentleman who I believe is the or a manager is always extremely considerate and never fails to tell me if there is a better deal than what I am getting. I know this is technically upselling as I'm buying more at that point, but it's still appreciated. Another woman who was a manager, but I haven't seen for awhile used to specifically stock unpopular brands of cigarettes even though I was the only person buying them. Another extremely kind and considerate woman with curly hair would actually notice when I was buying a different brand of something than usual and remark on it. These are small things, and they don't really matter. However, it was nice to go to a place where people knew who I was. Furthermore, it was an ideal location.
However, while $1.50 is barely noteworthy and I will probably spend $15.00 dollars just driving out of my way to get gas elsewhere in the next few months, I can not go back there in good conscious while the employee is still working there. I was belittled and ripped off. I find myself thinking that the reason that he always tried to ring up two is because he's got some kind of thing going where he jacks the people who don't notice, voids their purchases after the leave, and then rings up their cigarettes properly so that he can pocket the difference. In fact, I have often had to wait when going in there because he's doing something with the register that takes awhile. No other employees seem to have this problem. I know it sounds like paranoia, but at the same time, doing this 3 times an hour would net him an extra $4.50 an hour which would be a fine supplemtary tax free income.
I may try to come in or call a manager. I may call the corporate office. If I'm lucky, the corporate office might give me a gift certificate that I won't feel comfortable spending there. I know it's only $1.50. I've already spent far more time dealing with this than it's worth. However, I'd like to warn people off. If this guy already ripped me off once, seemingly tried to rip me off another time with the gas and so forth, who knows what kind of scams he is pulling? Hopefully he eventually messes with enough people to lose his job, so that I can once again deal with the other employees who all rate five stars.
Los Angeles, California