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    Category: Awesome Workers

    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Powers

    | Queens, NYC, NY, USA | Awesome Customers, Awesome Workers, Family & Kids, Food & Drink, Top, Wild & Unruly

    (I’m half-Chinese, but with my sunglasses on, people usually can’t tell. I’m fluent in Mandarin. One day I get a text from my friend, a grade-school teacher.)

    Friend: “You speak Chinese, right?”

    Me: “Yeah, why?”

    Friend: “Come down to [intersection] around noon and explain what the f*** is going on.”

    (At my lunch break I head down there. On one side of the street is a crowd of school kids, while on the other side an elderly Chinese man with an ice cream cart.)

    Kid #1: “I’m gonna do it.”

    Kid #2: “No way.”

    Kid #1: “Yeah way. I’m fast enough!”

    Kid #2: “You’re not Chinese.”

    Kid #1: “So?”

    Kid #2: “Only [Chinese name] can do it.”

    Kid #1: “I’m gonna do it.”

    (Kid #1 dashes across the street, yanks back the cover of the cart, and grabs a handful of ice cream. He takes off, but the vendor catches him, pinning both arms behind his back.)

    Vendor: “Ah, three bars? Your total is $9.28.”

    Kid #1: “Lemme go!”

    (The vendor removes some money from the kid’s pocket with his free hand.)

    Vendor: “Cash paid is $20.”

    Kid #1: “Yeah, yeah, I know the drill.”

    (While still holding the struggling kid, the vendor deposits the $20 in his till and takes out change.)

    Vendor: “Your change is $10.72.”

    (The vendor puts the change and ice creams in a bag and hands them to the kid, who takes off.)

    Vendor: “Have a nice day!”

    Kid #2: “Told you.”

    Kid #1: “Fine! Okay, [Chinese name], you do it!”

    (A short Chinese boy steps forward. His clothes are patched and despite the weather, he’s not wearing a coat.)

    Chinese Kid: “Let us meditate… on the way of the wind.”

    (He strikes a ridiculous pose and exhales loudly. The other kids jump back.)

    Chinese Kid: “…on the way of the snake…”

    (New pose, hissing loudly. The others back away even more.)

    Chinese Kid: “…on the way of the hawk.”

    (He flaps his arms and jumps in a circle. The kids are a good twenty feet away now.)

    Chinese Kid: “The meditation is done.”

    (He runs up to the ice cream vendor and grabs a handful of bars. The vendor strikes him with an exaggerated karate chop which the kid easily blocks.)

    Chinese kid: *flees, speaking Chinese* “Thank you, Mr. [Name]!”

    Vendor: *shakes his fist angrily, also in Chinese* “Sorry, we are out of lime today!”

    (The Chinese kid kicks towards the vendor from across the street.)

    Chinese kid: “My mother says she hopes your leg feels better!”

    Vendor: *red-faced with rage* “It does! Tell her thank you for the tea!”

    (The kids are enthralled. As they eat the ice cream, I approach the vendor.)

    Me: *in Chinese* “What just happened?”

    Vendor: “Oh… you understood. That little boy is a new immigrant, and all the other children mocked him because he is small and weak. He told them Chinese people have special powers, and they beat him up and told him to prove it. But I overheard and whispered to him to rob me. Now we have a deal.”

    Me: “How wonderful!” *pointing behind him* “Hey, can you tell what that is?”

    (As he turns around, I drop some money on the cart and grab a bar of ice cream, fleeing.)

    Vendor: “You forgot your change!”

    Me: *shakes my fist* “It’s a tip!”

    Kids: “Whoa! How did you do that?”

    (I slip off my sunglasses. The Chinese kid bows to me and I bow back.)

    Kid #2: “Told you they have special powers. Never bully a Chinese kid, man. Never!”

    Despicable Free

    | New Zealand | Awesome Workers, Holidays

    (It’s the holiday season and my 6-year-old daughter and I are in our local library. Money had been a little bit tight lately, since we’ve had to spend on decorations and presents and I’m a single parent. The library loans out DVDs, $5 for a week but there is a special section where kids DVDs are free and they are generally Disney movies or kids cartoons/TV shows.)

    My Daughter: “Mom, can I get this Despicable Me DVD please? It was in the kids section!”

    Me: “Sure thing sweetie. Let me just get my card so we can go.”

    (As I self issue the DVD out, I realise it was misplaced in the kids’ section and actually costs $5. My daughter sees this on the screen.)

    My Daughter: “No mom, it’s too expensive! I don’t want it anymore.”

    Me: “It’s only 5 dollars! It’s fine; we can get it.”

    My Daughter: “No no no! I don’t want it anymore!”

    (Not wanting to cause a tantrum from her, I go up to the library assistant behind the counter.)

    Me: “Hi there, I issued out this DVD a couple of minutes ago, but my daughter doesn’t want it anymore. I was wondering if I could return please?”

    Library Assistant: “Is there something wrong with the DVD?”

    Me: “Oh, not at all. There was just a little misunderstanding with the price.”

    Library Assistant: “Oh. Well, tell you what! Take it for free. Just give me your card and I’ll take the charge off.”

    Me: “Thank you! I know it doesn’t seem like much but, $5 is a lot to us. Thank you so much, happy holidays!”

    (When I returned to my daughter with the DVD in my hand and told her the whole story, she was grinning from ear to ear. She got up and ran by herself to thank the lovely library assistant and he even gave her a high-five! We’re much better off now, but I’ll never forget that small act of kindness.)

    1-800-WE-R-NICE

    | MO, USA | Awesome Workers, Pets & Animals

    (Our medical device company has an 800 number that is one digit off from another company, which sells skin care products. We therefore get a lot of wrong numbers.)

    Me: “Good morning, [medical devices company], how may I help you?”

    Elderly Lady: “Hello? I need to order some cream. I have a terrible rash on my bottom.”

    Me: “I’m sorry ma’am, but we are [medical devices company], not [skin care company]. I can give you their number.”

    Elderly Lady: “But this rash is terrible! I live in Florida and the heat makes it worse!”

    Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. If you want to write down the—”

    Elderly Lady: “It’s very red and sore! I live alone, you know. My husband died a few years ago. I really need some cream!”

    Me: “Yes, ma’am. But we don’t sell that. Their number is almost the same—”

    Elderly Lady: “I have a cat. Do you like cats?”

    Me: “Yes, ma’am. I do.”

    Elderly Lady: “His name is Buster. He is old like me.”

    (She seems lonely, so I decide to just talk to her for a while. I finally manage to give her the other number.)

    Lady: “Thank you, sweetheart. You are a very nice young lady!” *hangs up*

    Doing Customer Service A Disservice

    | Australia | Awesome Workers, Bigotry

    (I am called up to do a price check on an item from my department. There is a long line of customers, but several serving staff. One of them is a lovely young girl wearing a Muslim headscarf who is trying to help a cranky looking old woman. My coworker is visibly upset.)

    Me: *to my coworker* “Hi! What do you need a price che—”

    Customer: “That [racial slur] is trying to rip me off! This [very expensive crystal decanter set] was meant to be $30. There’s a sign over there!”

    Me: “Okay, look, you’re going to need to use appropriate language in this store if you want any of us to continue serving you. Now, I know for a fact that this set should be around the $200 mark. See, it has the original price here of $299? There is no way it would be $30.”

    (The customer argues with me a bit until I ask her to show me the sign. She grumbles all the way about me being unable to do my job and making a poor old woman walk to the back of the store. We get to the crystal section, and she points triumphantly to a large sign on top of the stand.)

    Me: “That says 30% off the marked price of all crystal-ware.”

    Customer: “Exactly! You’d better give it to me for free because it scanned wrong. I’ve been dreadfully inconvenienced by you. What terrible customer service!”

    (She continues in this manner all the way back to the register, where she again begins making loud racial comments about my Muslim coworker, who I see walking away from the registers. The other customers in line are clearly uncomfortable. I agree to call my manager down, but for different reasons than what she thinks.)

    Customer: *spots the manager* “A-ha! I’ve been waiting for you! I want you—”

    Manager: “Get out.”

    Customer:Excuse me?”

    Manager: “[Coworker] just came out to me in tears because you were making disgusting comments about her. We don’t tolerate your type in this store. Now get out before I call security.”

    Customer: “Well, I never—”

    (The other customers in line begin clapping or adding their own comments. She eventually storms out, but we had to have her removed from the store twice later that day!)

    A Thick Slice Of Humble Pie

    | Tempe, AZ, USA | Awesome Workers, Food & Drink, Holidays, Theme Of The Month

    (I am a waitress at a well-known restaurant chain. It is during the holidays. We have a run on pecan pie this afternoon, so I don’t have any ready yet. This takes place after a table of three has finished their meal.)

    Me: “Would you guys like any desert? We have a lovely selection of pies.”

    Customer #1: “What do you have?”

    (I list the several kinds of pie we have available.)

    Customer #2: “Oh, I’ll have the chocolate cream.”

    Customer #1: “Pumpkin, please.”

    Customer #3: “Do you have any pecan pie?”

    Me: “Not right now. We had a lot of people wanting pecan today, but I can start one thawing for you. It’ll take about 10 minutes.”

    Customer #3: “Never mind, then.”

    Me: “Sorry, I have other pies. Would you like one of those?”

    Customer #3: “No.”

    (I leave and bring out the two pies and the bill, asking them if that was all. They said yes. In ten minutes, I look in on them again.)

    Me: “How was everything?”

    Customers #1 & #2: “Great.”

    Customer #3: “Where’s my pecan pie?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, I thought you said ‘Never mind.’ I can have it out to you in a few minutes, though.”

    Customer #3: *irritated* “Never mind, then!”

    Me: “Are you sure, sir?”

    Customer #3: *sighs* “Yes.”

    Me: “Sorry about that. You guys have a good day, though.”

    (I leave them and go over to the register because a banquet party of 70+ people are waiting to cash out. Customer #3 comes over to the register to cash out, so I tell him it’ll be a moment because of the line. Instead, he speaks to my manager who happens to be right behind me.)

    Customer #3: *angrily, to my manager* “I never got my pie!”

    Manager: “I’m so sorry, sir.” *turns to me* “Hey, why didn’t he get his pie?”

    (I explain the whole thing.)

    Manager: “I’m sorry, sir. There seemed to have been some confusion. I can take the pie off your bill.”

    Me: “It was never on there because he never ordered it.”

    Customer #3: “I want a discount!”

    Manager: “For a pie you never ordered? It’s not on your bill. If it were on your bill, I could take it off.”

    Customer #3: “She is a stupid waitress! I wanted pie! I never got it! I want my meal free!”

    Manager: “And why would I give you a free meal because of a misunderstanding over a pie you never ordered?”

    Customer #3: “BECAUSE THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT!”

    Manager: *firmly* “No. Sometimes the customer is very wrong! Please pay your bill as it stands, or I call the cops and you can explain to them why you’re always right, and shouldn’t go to jail over a piece of pie you never ordered.”

    (Customer #3 blushes, pays, and all but runs out leaving his friends to stammer their apologies.)

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