You call a store to check whether they have an item in stock; What’s REALLY going on while you’re on hold?

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You call a store to see if they have an item in stock. Obviously, you can’t see what’s going on inside the store — but in this customer service experiment, you can!

YouTube prankster Jack Vale calls various retailers and asks the employees to check if they have a specific item in stock.

What they don’t know, is that Vale has already checked to see if they have the item in stock.

He calls the stores while sitting in his car in the parking lot — and a second camera placed inside the store captures the employee answering the call.



  • Aysha

    I’ve worked in customer service my whole life, it’s not that hard. But some people really lack it. One time I was trying to return something that did not fit my daughter. I had lost my receipt. The beans of the shirt was a store specific brand so hard to mess up where it came from. The lady in customer service told me that it was not their shirt, she had never seen that brand before. I asked her if she had even shopped in her store as every clothing department had it. She told me 5 more times that it was not hers. I then asked for a manager. When she went to get page for one she was not out of ear range and proceeded to about how awful I was because I didn’t try the shirt on my daughter before buying it. After almost 20 minutes a manager arrived and told the employee that yes that shirt was from their store and to do the return. While she proceeded with the return I noticed the tag even had the store name on it! Needless to say I spent another 20 minutes telling the general manager how awful their customer service was.

  • Kristin Bentley

    A few weeks ago I went shopping with my brother in law at Kmart, we ended up accidently leaving a bag behind. My brother in law called back a couple hours later after we put everything away and checked the car again and finally realized we didn’t have everything. They asked what would be in the bag, he told them a few things we knew we missing, they confirmed they had it at customer service. We were too busy to go back that night to get it and my brother in law was busy the next day so I volunteered to retrieve it. When I went to get it the woman at the counter was on a personal call, nothing of any importance. I waited for almost 10 minutes until she got annoyed with me waiting and put her call on hold. Told her I left a bag the night before, I had already called and was told is was waiting there at customer service for me. She asked for my receipt and I told her I didn’t have it, and wasn’t told I would need one. She complained and harped at me for a couple minutes saying they aren’t supposed to give it to me without a recipt. Finally she asks me for items in the bag, of which I tell her exactly every item. She goes well that’s everything, then holds it away from me and continues to gripe about leaving the bag, not having a reciept, and so on, and finally handing my bag over. When I finally had my bag I asked for a manager to thank them for holding it. They came promptly and I proceeded to tell them the whole ordeal, with the woman standing there gaping at me, including that the woman still had a personal call on hold on the store phone. The manager called for another worker, told the woman to go to the back office, hung up on the personal call, and profusely apologized for the ordeal. I don’t believe that woman works there anymore.

  • Gail Springsteen

    Went to buy a television. We had three models we were willing to buy. My husband is a researcher. We asked for the first one; they said they did not have it in stock. But they had a lovely unheard of brand on sale for a certain price. We said no we didn’t want that. Then we asked about the next model we were willing to buy. He said let me check in the back. Came back and of course did not have it. But we could buy this weird model of TV they had on sale. Sooooooo we asked about the third model. And I said to him if you don’t have it don’t even come back by me because I will hit the roof. Guess what? He came by me. Guess what. They didn’t have the TV. But they had that we had one that he pushed for the third time. We left that store and never went back. (I didn’t hit the roof, but was not very friendly, either!) I believe they worked for commission only, and probably also had to push this cheap TV they probably had a gazillion models of.

  • Donna

    Worst customer service I had was a few months ago at Walmart. My husband bought several packages of turkey sausage bites from the store , taking a package each day to work for lunch. The next day after shopping he grabbed a package of sausage and went to work. Lunch time came and he found sausage rotten, long story short, we went back to the store to purchase several more packages and found every package on shelf rotten and moldy. I carried three packages to the service desk and asked to speak to the manager. I was told their was no manager on duty and directed to acting mgr. I told him about us buying rotten packages and he laughed at me saying it was manufactures fault. I explained we called them and they told us to return to the store. Now all packages were well within useage date. He told me he couldn’t do anything about it, and handed me the packages back….I then told him…those are not mine, I just pulled them from your shelf. He again laughed, tossed rotten packages on counter and walked away. I called manager next day to find the idiot never took the time to remove the rest of rotten food off the shelf.

  • Hannah

    Well I just want to take this opportunity to acknowledge that there are some absolutely fantastic customer service folks out there – one in particular that helped me out earlier this week. My daughter needs a very large binder for high school. This year, I decided to splurge a bit and get her one that has a zipper, a strap and a handle – since she has to carry it all day to every class. I found the exact one I needed at Walmart about 2 weeks ago, but I decided not to buy it right away, thinking I would come back later to get it. A few days ago, I went back to make the purchase and discovered that they were sold out. I went to all the Walmarts in our area of tge city, but no one had it. I went online, but it was not listed as a product of the store. Finally, I cqlled the Germantown Walmart. I was transferred to a wonderful woman named Carol. Even though she was from the fabric department, sge knew exactly what product I was talking about. Age explained that it wouod take a little while, vut she could go check to see if the binder was in stock. About 10 minutew later, she came back on the line and said they had it. She said that she had picked one up for me, and that it would be at the fabric table with her until the end of her shift. I’m telling this little story because I think its important to recognize and honor people like Carol, who are so thoughtful and patient towards us as customers. Carol didn’t have to ve so pleasant, but sge made a choice to be kind and considerate. Thank you again, Carol, for helping make my daughter’s school year easier! (PS: if any of you go by the fabric section at the Germantown Walmart, please be sure to tell Carol that she’s awesome!) :-)

  • krystal

    I do costumer service my whole life.. some people are flat out lazy. Asking for a movie that my son wanted from Walmart and they told me they didnt have it. It was TMNT. I ended up going in there 20 minutes later and they had shelves of it. Walmart always had bad costumer service. So doesn’t shock me.

  • Nicki

    My daughter had out grown her pants towards the end of the school year so I ordered some online from old navy because we didn’t have one close by we love in fond du lac. Got them in the mail and they were too small. On the weekend we went up to the outlet mall in Oshkosh to exchange them for a size bigger. I get up to the counter and I go to exchange the EXACT same pair of pants just in a size bigger and because they weren’t on sale in the store they wanted to charge me $17 for them instead of evenly exchanging them for $7 from what I paid on THEIR website! Obviously, I left and immediately called their 1-800 number and complained! Undortunely I really didn’t get anywhere with them either they had to reship me the pants and re charge my card. Then I had to either pay for shipping to return them or go back into the store and return the pair I had! They did offer me a 20% off coupon which I will not be using. I went to oshkosh b’gosh where the ladies were more than happy to help me with pants…I order online because I don’t like to try and being my child into these stores especially old navy where they have a table with crayons in the middle of the store because all she wants to do is color and then I can’t leave her because I don’t want her to get stolen?!? So insane! If you are gonna so an online store make it omni channel! Had the same thing happen at target as well…and neither one of their return policies state these “rules”!!

  • Christine Zachar

    Called a 24 hour Walmart to find out how late their customer service counter was open to make a return. The phone rang 30 times. Yes, 30, I was bored. Finally someone in Electronics answered and told me he “thought” it was open until 11 pm. He got offended and snotty when I asked him if he would verify if it actually WAS 11 pm so I didn’t stop in unnecessarily. He put me on hold for a long time before he came back with verification. I half expected the counter to be closed when I got there.

  • Debbie Coe

    My biggest customer complaint is when you check out (especially at the grocery store) and spend upwards of $100 -$200. The clerk hands you your receipt and says something like “Here ya go” or “You saved $32.54 today!” And I say Thankyou. WHAT! Why am I saying thank you! I just gave that store a lot of my hard earned money and I end up thanking them!!!

  • Dawn J.

    A fellow artist posted that a particular store had an item on sale in her area. So I called the same store in my state to see if they had it on sale too. After about 15 minutes and TWO different people Not only was I told that they did not have it but they came back with pricing for a totally different item. Furthermore, I had to name and explain the desired item several times. I happened to be near the store which is about 25 minutes away a couple days later. After going to a couple areas not only did I find the items but it was marked down as described by the colleague. THEN, while checking out three employees (one leaving) preceded to hold a conversation and the person “taking care” of me totally ignored me. If the item had not been something I really wanted at the time or was not on sale I would have left it in the store. Very rude staff that was unaware or unwilling to learn their products or make an effort.

  • Ethan M.

    I can understand when it’s something that I know might take a bit of time to get worked out or find when its at a pretty busy time, but I myself working at walmart always try to help the customer find what they need, and if I’ve just got too much going on I try to pass it on to someone else that isn’t as busy. Another thing I might be wrong about if we carry something or not. I stock all different areas of the store, but I don’t have a memory bank of every item we carry. If I’m not real sure I usually ask someone else if they might know. It’s really not that hard.

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