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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!

    Couples Therapy

    | MA, USA | Awesome Customers, Awesome Workers, Bigotry, Top

    (There was recently a vote in Minnesota whether or not to change the constitution to make same-sex marriage illegal. Voting ‘Yes’ would be for making it illegal, and vice versa for ‘No’. It should also be noted that there is already a law in place prohibiting same-sex marriage. I’m wiping tables at coffee shop. It’s been pretty slow, and I see two young women obviously in a relationship. They order their drinks, and then sit down. A young man of around 20 is sitting a little ways from them, wearing a heavy jacket. I’ve noticed several looks pass back and forth between them, until finally, one of the young women walks over to him.)

    Young Woman #1: *to the young man* “Would you please mind your own business?”

    Young Man: “I’m sorry?”

    Young Woman #1: “You’ve been glaring at us for the better part of five minutes. Is there something you’d like to say?”

    Young Man: “Oh… look, I’m sorry. It’s just that I saw you two there, and—”

    Young Woman #1: “And what? You thought I wouldn’t notice you being passive aggressive over here?”

    Young Man: “Please, I’m sorry.”

    (The young woman bends down and jostles the table, causing the young man to flinch back, shifting his jacket slightly. She smiles sweetly.)

    Young Woman #1: “See, that wasn’t so…”

    (She trails off because of what she sees: beneath the young man’s now-open jacket is a bright blue ‘VOTE NO’ t-shirt. She stands slack-jawed for a moment.)

    Young Woman #1: “I… uh…”

    Young Man: *looks down* “Oh, um, I guess that would’ve helped.”

    (The young woman stutters a few more times, then rushes back to her seat. Eventually, she comes back to apologize to the poor guy.)

    Young Woman #1: “I’m sorry about that. My girlfriend just came out to her family, and they aren’t taking it well.”

    Young Man: “It’s okay. I’ve just been through a nasty breakup myself, and seeing the two of you so happy together was pretty tough for me.”

    (After hearing this, I talk to my manager, and he lets me purchase two $25 gift cards with my employee discount, which I give to both parties. All three seemed to leave as friends.)

    The Dividing Line

    | Albany, NY, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Holidays, Theme Of The Month

    (I am a customer in line at a major lingerie store in a mall at midnight on Black Friday. As expected, the line is well over 10 times longer than normal due to a free gift bag they offer if you spend $65 or more. Two customers come up to me.)

    Customer #1: “Is this where the line starts?”

    Me: “Yes.”

    (The two customers line up behind me and instantly start to rant.)

    Customer #2: “Oh my God! This line is too long!”

    Customer #1: “They should have every register open!”

    Customer #2: “They do have every register open. They need to have this store on two floors!”

    Customer #1: ” Yeah! They should have two floors!”

    Customer #2: “I mean, look at all of these people in here! How can they have this may people in here and not see that they need two floors!”

    (Normally any other day of the year, this store is plenty big enough for its typical haul of customers.)

    Customer #1: “If they run out of gift bags by the time it’s my turn, I’m going to scream and call their corporate offices! It’s ridiculous how many people are in here!”

    Customer #2: “All of these people are gonna make me late for work!”

    Customer #1: “What time do you have to be in again?”

    Customer #2: “In a half hour!”

    (Based on where we are in line, and how fast the line is moving, also the amount of people cutting in line, it could take at least another hour and a half to reach the registers that we can’t even see.)

    Customer #1: “They shouldn’t have slow cashiers working either! The rest of us have things to do!”

    Customer #2: “I know what you mean! I can’t stand when they hire slow people!”

    Customer #1: “When I get up there, I’m gonna give them a piece of my mind! They need to have 2 floors!”

    (I wanted nothing more to tell these two women that it was Black Friday. It was going to be busy no matter what store you went to. However, I decide that with their tensions high, it would be in my best interest not to provoke these ladies by telling them off.)

    Customer #2: “Ugh! I can’t stand this anymore! I’m going to be late! This line hasn’t moved! I have to leave!”

    Customer #1: “I wish you weren’t out of sick days! I’m not staying here alone with all of these people! I have things to do!”

    (Thankfully they left at that point. Hallelujah!)

    Loony Over A Toonie

    | QC, Canada | Canada, Money, Tourists/Travel

    (The tourist shop where I work accepts US dollars; however, we can give change only in Canadian money. As we are in Quebec, my coworkers speak mostly French, but English is my first language.)

    Co-worker: *in French, to me* “Can you come explain to this guy why we can’t give him American change? He’s pretty upset, and my English isn’t good enough for me to understand him. He bought an ice cream sandwich and an ice cream cone, and his wife already walked off with the cone.”

    (The customer is an older gentleman, probably in his 60s or 70s, neatly dressed.)

    Me: “Okay.” *to customer, in English* “Sir, we can’t give out American change because we don’t maintain an American cash drawer. We only have whatever US money other people have already paid with, so we can’t guarantee exact change.”

    Customer: “Well, why do you take American money if you don’t give it back?”

    Me: “We accept American money as a service to our customers, so that you can still make purchases even if you haven’t changed your money yet.”

    Customer: “Service?! Yeah, right!”

    Me: “It is a service, sir. As we are in Canada, we are not obligated to accept American money. But if we hadn’t accepted your money, you wouldn’t have been able to purchase the ice cream you wanted. We’re doing something we don’t have to do, in order to help you out. That’s a service.”

    Customer: “Well, just take back the stuff I bought and give me my $10 bill back, then!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir, I cannot give you a refund for a product that has already been consumed.”

    Customer: “The ‘product’ has not been ‘consumed’!”

    (The customer points to the ice cream sandwich still on the counter, but the ice cream cone he bought is nowhere to be seen.)

    Me: “Your receipt shows you also purchased an ice cream cone, which I don’t see here. I’m told your wife left with it; I assume she’s eaten it by now?”

    Customer: “You know, you should have warned me before you took my money that I wouldn’t get American change back!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir. But when you travel in a foreign country, it’s assumed that you will not be able to use the money of the country you came from, but will have to, at some point, use the money of the country that you’re in. I don’t see how your being given Canadian change while you are in Canada is something you should be warned about.”

    Customer: “Just give me my money back!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir. I can’t give you your money back, and I can’t give you American change. There’s nothing more I can do for you.”

    Customer: “There’s nothing you can do?! Well, I tell you what!” *shoves his Canadian change across the counter at me* “You just take that and you stick it wherever it fits best!”

    Me: “Okay, sir!”

    (I drop his change in the tip jar.)

    Daddy Meets Miss Demeanor

    | Virginia Beach, VA, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Family & Kids

    (I am temporarily relieving a coworker in the toddler room of our daycare so she can go to the restroom. A father arrives to pick up his child, who is familiar with me as the toddler room is next to the one I work in.)

    Father: *on cellphone, very loudly* “No, I know, the delivery should have come in by now.”

    Me: “Sir, here’s [child’s name’s] report and his coat.”

    (He waves at me to be quiet. I keep trying to get his attention as I need his signature on some documents, but he waves me off even more with a huge frown. I give up and start putting the child’s coat on as the father taps his foot loudly.)

    Child: “DADDY! Miss is talking!”

    (The father finally gets off the phone long enough to sign the papers I need him to, although he does not hang up the call and speak to me. As they are leaving, the child turns round.)

    Child: “Bye, miss!” *to his father* “Dada mean!”

    He’ll Be Back In The Future

    | Ireland | Movies & TV, Time

    (A regular customer comes up to me. He’s notorious for being rude, ignoring what we say to him and just generally wasting our time.)

    Regular: “Can you look up a music DVD for me?”

    Me: “Sure, what are you looking for?”

    Regular: I’m wondering if [band] released a DVD of their 45th anniversary concert. I saw it on TV a while back.”

    Me: “Okay, sir. I can see here that they don’t have a 45th anniversary concert DVD, but they do have a 35th anniversary concert DVD. Is that the one you’re looking for perhaps?”

    Regular: “Of course it’s not. Do I look like I’m stupid? I know what one I’m looking for and I’m looking for their 45th anniversary not the 35th anniversary!”

    Me: “Sorry, sir, it’s just that it says here that their 35th anniversary only happened 6 years ago. It would be impossible for them to have released a 45th anniversary DVD yet.”

    Regular: “What do you mean?”

    Me: “Well, there’s 10 years between a 35th anniversary and a 45th anniversary.”

    Regular: “Yeah, so?”

    Me: “So if their 35th anniversary happened in 2006 and there’s 10 years between 35 and 45…”

    Regular: *stares blankly*

    Me: “…their 45th anniversary won’t be out until 2016.”

    Regular: “But I saw it on TV!”

    Me: “Are you sure it wasn’t their 35th anniversary?”

    Regular: “Of course I’m bloody well sure!”

    Me: “Well then, I’m sorry sir the DVD you’re looking for is not available and won’t be for some time.”

    Regular: “Fine. Will you just give me a ring when you can get it for me?”

    Me: “Well, no, sir. The DVD doesn’t come out for another four years. I can’t even promise I’ll be here in four years when this DVD comes out.”

    Regular: “You insolent little b****! I’ll be back in next month and you better be able to get it for me by then! You’re useless!” *leaves the store in a huff*

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