• A Pain In The Nugget
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  • October Theme Of The Month: Halloween!

    Category: Holidays

    Even during the holidays, customers don’t seem to take a break. With that many extra light-bulbs around you’d think a few extra would appear above their heads?

    Restoring Faith In Humanity All Over The Snow Globe

    | USA | Holidays, Theme Of The Month

    (Around Christmas, I’m at a large convenience store buying groceries when I hear the sound of glass breaking and a child’s shriek. I drop what I am doing and run to the aisle to find a two- or three-year-old boy staring at a shattered snow globe. The poor kid bursts into tears:)

    Boy: “I sorry, Mommy! I sorry!”

    (To her credit, the mom remains completely calm and assures her son that she knew he hadn’t done it on purpose, but that she would have to pay for it. I start clearing away the glass to keep the toddler from getting cut while his mother tries to calm him when an employee shows up.)

    Employee: “Oh, my goodness! Are you okay, sweetie?”

    Boy: *sobbing* “I sorry! I broke it!”

    Employee: *grabbing a broom* “It’s okay, honey. That’s why they’re called accidents. Just stand over there with your mommy so this glass doesn’t cut you.”

    (She kept up a stream of friendly chatter the whole time, reassuring the boy that he wasn’t in trouble. She was so sweet, whoever she was!)

    In A Happy Holi-daze, Part 2

    | NY, USA | Holidays, Theme Of The Month

    Me: “Happy Holidays!”

    Customer: “It’s Merry Christmas you heathen!”

    Me: “Really? I had no idea they cancelled Hanukkah, Ashura, Ramadan, and Yule this year!”

    I’m Driving Thru For Christmas

    , | Vernon, BC, Canada | Holidays, Theme Of The Month

    (We close on Christmas Eve at 3:00 pm, and all employees get the duration of Christmas to spend with their family. It’s 3:20, and we’ve closed the lobby, and are letting all the customers who were in the drive-thru line before 3:00 through. It’s going decently, despite our lack of stock, until the last car.)

    Me: “Hello, welcome to [Fast Food Chain]. What can I get for you?”

    Young Man: “Hi, I’d like a medium Iced Capp, and an everything bagel, toasted, with cream cheese.”

    Me: “Unfortunately, the Iced Capp machine is shut down, as we’re closing for Christmas Eve, and we’re all out of the everything bagel.”

    Young Man: “WHAT!? This is completely unacceptable! You can’t just shut everything down! What time do you close!?”

    Me: “Twenty minutes ago. There should be a sign under the speaker box.”

    Young Man: “Uh… oh.”

    Me: “Yeah… Is there anything else I can get for you?”

    Young Man: “Uh… no, sorry.”

    Me: “Well, have a good one.”

    (The young man drives off and I take off my headset, foolishly believing that I had hit my stupid person quota for the day.)

    Manager: “Hey, [My Name], can you finish taking out the trash?”

    Me: “Sure.”

    (I head out back with the last couple of trash bags, and take the lot of them to the dumpster across the parking lot. As I’m returning, I see a car, trying to drive over the curb and around the pylon barrier blocking the drive-thru that my manager had set up. I approach the vehicle.)

    Me: “Uh, hello? Whatcha up to?”

    Young Woman: “Oh, uh, hi. Yeah, I was wondering if you could like, move these cone-thingys. They’re blocking the drive-thru.”

    Me: “Well, that’s because the drive-thru is closed. The whole store is closed so everyone can spend the holidays with their families.”

    Young Woman: “Wow, that’s like, weird. How are people supposed to know the drive-thru is closed?”

    Me: “Well if the large, orange pylons in front of the entrance are too subtle a hint, there’s also the sign taped to that middle one that says that the drive-thru is closed.”

    Young Woman: “Oh, wow! I didn’t read that!”

    Me: “Literacy is a beautiful thing.”

    Young Woman: “…Huh?”

    Me: “Never mind. Have a nice day, ma’am.”

    (I walked back inside to finish cleaning and wondered about the bleak future of humanity.)

    Nutty Nativity

    | Auckland, New Zealand | Holidays, Theme Of The Month

    (We had just finished putting up Christmas trees and decorations around the library, and I was taking work photos.)

    American Tourist: “Oh, my god. What lovely trees. They look magnificent.”

    Me: “Thanks.”

    American Tourist: “Are you all going to put up a nativity scene as well?”

    Me: “No. Unfortunately not.”

    American Tourist: “Why not?”

    Me: “Council directives.” *glancing around and whispering* “Council has directed us not to put up Christian related symbolism and displays.”

    American Tourist: “And why the h*** not?”

    Me: “Well, unfortunately, Christianity has a bit of a bad image in the eyes of some of our patrons due to perceived injustices, abuse, persecution, and so forth, from people they assume are acting under the name of God. I myself have had bad experiences with some evangelists, but I do not hold it against the religion personally.”

    American Tourist: “That’s sad to hear.”

    Me: “Funny thing is, it only applies to Christian displays.”

    American Tourist: “What do you mean?”

    Me: “If I want to put up a three-meter tall Buddha for Wesak day, I am allowed to turn this library into a Buddhist temple. If we wanted to splash out on a Divali display, we can drag in a giant blue statue of Krishna that can fill the mezzanine area. But a nativity scene, nope. Not allowed.”

    American Tourist: “That’s discrimination.”

    Me: “I know. Tell me about it. I think it’s unfair and discriminatory, and I’m not Christian. We’ve tried to get Council to back down, but have failed for the last five years. But I suppose if enough customers complain…”

    American Tourist: “Ah… right. So where can I find some comment forms?”

    Me: *points it to her*

    American Tourist: “Right. I’ll get to it in a minute. Can I take photos? The trees are lovely.”

    Me: “Usually, no. But what the hey, it’s the holidays, so one or two I suppose.”

    American Tourist: “Thanks!”

    (Suddenly, a local patron comments loudly between the both of us and points at the Christmas trees.)

    Local: “Holy Jesus and Lord. Such displays of idolatry. Such sinful displays here in a public space. Jesus will be spinning in his grave to see such displays.”

    (Both of us stand there silent for a minute or two.)

    American Tourist: “You know what, dear? I’m not going to put in that complaint. Maybe the Council has a fair point after all.”

    Christmas Complaints Have Hit The Roof

    | Kent, England, UK | Holidays, Theme Of The Month

    (The call centre takes calls from tenants of housing associations who need to report repairs. It is Christmas Eve and the night before there had been some extremely high winds and a lot of rainfall resulting in a massive amount of calls regarding roof leaks. Half of the engineers are on holiday, some of the call centre staff have called in sick, and call waiting times are over 45 minutes.)

    Me: “Good morning, [Company]. Sorry for the wait. How may I help you today?”

    Tenant: “I’ve been on hold for ages! I went outside this morning and found lots of broken roof tiles on the ground. My living room is flooding and my fence has fallen over.”

    Me: “Ma’am, is there any room above your living room, another floor, or a loftspace?”

    Tenant: “No, just the roof.”

    Me: “Ma’am is the water coming through the ceiling or down a wall?”

    Tenant: “It’s coming through the roof! So will you have someone out in the next couple of hours? I need to get my Christmas shopping done.”

    Me: “Unfortunately due to the extremely high winds I have been advised that we cannot allow our roofing engineers to go up on roofs as it is too dangerous and they are at risk of falling. I can, however, get someone to you on 27th to resolve the roofing issue. However, your fence will not be repaired until January.”

    Tenant: “WHAT? How dare you say you can’t get anyone to me today! This is ridiculous. My flat is flooding!”

    Me: “Ma’am, there is no way I can get a roofer to come out and repair your roof today. There are 70 mph winds.”

    Tenant: “That is no excuse! I have water coming into my living room and it is going to spoil CHRISTMAS!”

    Me: “The only thing I can advise is to put a large bowl, bucket, or pot under where the leak is coming from until the 27th. There is not much more rain forecast so the leak should stop. I know it is a few days away but we just cannot allow someone up on a roof today.”

    Tenant: “I can’t hold Christmas with a pot in my living room. This is not good enough! I WANT SOMEONE HERE TODAY!”

    Me: “Ma’am, please stop shouting at me. I am trying to help you.”

    Tenant: “SOMEONE. HERE. TODAY.”

    Me: *getting a little exasperated* “Ma’am, I don’t know what else to say. It is just too dangerous for our roofers to go out today. Would you be happy to climb a ladder today?”

    Tenant: “Of course not. It’s windy. Now go type on that little computer of yours and book someone to COME TODAY.”

    Me: “Just a moment, ma’am, and I’ll speak with one of the engineer’s supervisors.”

    (I put the tenant on hold, and explain the situation to a supervisor.)

    Me: “Is there anything we can do?”

    Supervisor: “What does she want us to do? Become omnipotent and turn off the wind? You know what, I live nearby and I was just heading home. I’ll go out and see if there is anything we can do from inside.”

    Me: “Oh, thank you!”

    (Resumes call.)

    Me: “Sorry about keeping you on hold.”

    (I hear the tenant shouting in the background.)

    Tenant: “No, don’t you wipe up that water. Let them do it. It’s what they are paid for! Those little f***s never come out when we need them!”

    Me: “Ma’am, are you there?”

    Tenant: “That was so disrespectful and rude! I can’t believe you put me on hold!

    Me: *trying to hold my tongue* “Ma’am, one of the engineer’s supervisors will be with you today.”

    Tenant: “Well, see what happens when you kick up a fuss?”

    Me: “Have a wonderful Christmas.”

    Tenant: “Yeah, whatever. You should be fired.” *click*

    (Three hours later, the supervisor called in to say that her roof wasn’t leaking. She’d left a tap on in her en-suite bathroom (which, it turned out, was above the living room). Best thing about this? The tenant had to pay for the repair bills and the callout charge.)

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