I work in a mall, and every so often a customer sets down their purchase and forgets to pick it up again. It happens. Usually we hold it behind the counter for them when they come back looking, and if they don't come back by the end of day we either bring it back to the store they bought it at or the lost & found at the customer service desk. Over the weekend, the mall office isn't open, so we can't drop things off to the lost & found, so that's when we usually bring them back to the stores. Usually they can look at the receipt and find a way to contact the customer by either looking up the transaction for a loyalty card, check or a credit card number to call the company to alert the customer. At my store, we use our loyalty card. If we have the number, which prints on the receipt, we can find them in our system and send out an e-mail or call them.
Tonight, someone left a bag from the local department store (Boscov's). I checked inside for a receipt, which it had. I felt bad, it was a pricey necklace. I put it in our safe and waited for the customer to come running back. I know that's what I'd do if I lost a pricey necklace. No one came to claim the necklace before we closed. The department stores are open an hour later than the actual mall, so while my other coworker closed our registers, I ran over the Boscov's to give them the bag and see if they can contact the customer.
I walk in and the store is totally dead, which makes sense, it's 9pm at night. I look around for someone working and see no one. No one manning the perfume or makeup counters. I wander a little, finally find someone working a lone jewelry counter. She's just leaning against a counter, flipping through their sales circular. So I go over to her and wait. I'm the only person in the store and yet she completely ignores me.
Finally, I give up and say "Hi". She looks up at me for a minute and says "We don't do returns at this counter" and goes back to the circular. "No," says I, "I'm from [Store] and someone left this in our store today. I was hoping you could alert them that they left this behind?"
She looks as me as if I'm insane. "How am I supposed to do THAT?" she asks. I explain that at my store, we usually look at the receipt for loyalty card numbers or find the credit card transaction and call up the credit card company to alert the customer. She puts her hand on her hip, swear to god, and says "You want me to give you their credit card number? Are you crazy?!"
"No," I answer. "Usually we can look in our records and find some information that helps us find the customer, or at least keep it safe so they can get it when they come looking for it."
"This is a department store, not the lost & found. What do you want me to do about it?" she's glaring at me like I've grown three heads. I'm sorta lost at this point. This usually takes about three seconds at other stores, even the big department stores like Macy's or Sears, and here I am arguing? "Uh, can I speak to a manager?" I ask and she spits out "I'M the manager on duty."
At this point, I decide to go. After spending eight hours on my feet, being hassled by customers, the last thing I needed was to be given such hostile treatment for doing a good deed. Fuck's sake, if I was a worse person, I could have KEPT the necklace and denied knowing about it, or just let it rot in the store safe in the back room. I have never been treated like that, and I wasn't even a customer!
The story has a happy ending. While I was leaving, fuming, I saw another associate walk up to a different jewelry counter. I went over to her and she was delighted I had the necklace, since the customer who lost it had been frantically calling to know if they had found it. She had just come back from searching all over the store for it and was glad I had brought it back. She gave me her business card, so I could call and make sure the necklace made it back to the customer. If it hadn't been for her, the necklace would be in my store safe right now and someone would have been a mess because they lost a $200 necklace.
I am still astonished at the way the other woman treated me. I just can't shake how rude she was and the attitude she had.