Forever I get questioned about some item that probably is on sale for the current week and is being hocked by flippy the whale or whatever child endearing promotion vehicle they have on television for this retail chain. As usual I always refer them to the according aisle hoping to get them out of my face as soon as possible so I can go back to "looking busy". This usually amounts to me holding an item at face level pretending to find its spot on the shelf among other items. I can do this for about 20 minutes per item.
Of course though they eventually come back bringing my pong score to one with this person saying there isn't any left. Now I know we "probably" have some in our warehouse somewhere. However this causes its own problems as by doing that I am:
a) Being productive
b) Giving this person a positive experience meaning they'll most likely shop here again
c) Have them prefer to deal with me in the future (see: more work for me)
Now none of this can happen. Therefore I say "I'll go out back and check". Now I do actually go out back. But I'm not going to find it that's for sure. However being out in the open on the sales floor opens me up to more stupid customers. So like the item that can never find its place I stare into shelves in the back warehouse. Why the ruse there? Because the company doesn't trust it's own employee who will rob them blind given they chance they pay so little. So they have cameras installed in the warehouse. Sure, they say it's for "your safety" But its so it deters and detects employee theft. So I carry on a game for the camera, helping no one yet "looking busy".
Eventually I return after 10 minutes and if the customer hasn't left by then, I lie and say we are soldout and won't be getting any for two weeks. They usually leave disappointed or mutter about waiting. Darn.
PROTIP: If any customer stops you on the way off or on the sales floor during this. Don't stop but keep walking saying either you don't work in such-and-such department or that you're in the middle of helping someone else.