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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!

    Smoking With A Gun

    | Chesapeake, VA, USA | Criminal/Illegal

    (We usually work in pairs because of the neighborhood, but my coworker is running late. A couple of regulars of mine find out and decide that they’d hang out until he showed up. I’m female. We are chatting when a very obviously inebriated man comes stumbling into the store and up to the counter. He reeks of urine and has a gun in his hand, which he lays on the counter.)

    Drunk Customer: “Gimme [brand name cigarettes].”

    Me: *trying not to look at his gun* “Long or short?”

    Drunk Customer: “Short.”

    Me: “Okay.”

    (I hand him his cigs, and he fumbles with his wallet, still holding the gun. He tosses me some money, grabs the pack of cigarettes and stumbles out without waiting for his change. I take a deep breath, pick up the phone and dial 911.)

    Me: “Um, yeah, there’s a drunk man with a gun wandering around [name of street]. You might want to pick him up.”

    (After I hang up, one of my regulars, who’d backed up slowly into the aisles during this exchange, comes up to me.)

    Regular: “D***, you’ve got balls of steel!”

    He Said Water But With No Proof

    | St. Louis, MO, USA | Food & Drink

    Customer: “Can I have a Cranberry Vodka?”

    Me: “Sure.”

    (I make the drink by pouring the vodka in first and then adding cranberry juice. Pretty simple.)

    Customer: “Why did you put all that water in my drink?”

    Me: “Water?”

    Customer: “Yeah, the clear liquid you poured in the cup.”

    Me: “That’s the vodka.”

    Customer: “Oh, this is gonna be a long night…”

    Enabled By Kindness

    | Estes Park, CO, USA | Awesome Customers, Money

    (I am a seasonal employee in the Arts and Crafts centre in summer camp in Colorado. I am teaching silk painting, and there is one older, slightly disabled lady that neither of my coworkers could put up with. I help her every day and treat her just the same. It is the end of the last day of her working on her project.)

    Lady: *to me* “Can I talk to you?”

    Me: “Sure.” *heads over*

    Lady: *discreetly presses $5 into my hand* “I know I can be difficult to work with, and you’ve been so nice and so understanding, and made me feel like I was a real artist. You deserve something nice. Go buy a good burger for dinner.”

    (I blink and try to hand her money back.)

    Me: “I really can’t, ma’am.”

    Lady: “Oh, who cares, you deserve it!”

    (She came back several days later to give me $5 more! She made my entire summer. I never ended up spending that $10. I have it saved as a memory of one of the nicest customers I’d ever had!)

    Checking In On Checking Out

    | Australia | Bad Behavior, Extra Stupid

    (A customer has been using a self-checking machine. Half way through, she decides she doesn’t want a certain book and takes it back to the shelves. I’ve been watching her, so I know that she has actually checked the book out to herself before putting it back on the shelf.)

    Me: “Excuse me! Can I just get that book from you, and I’ll check it back in? Don’t worry about shelving it; I’ll take care of that.”

    Customer: “No, no. I don’t want this.”

    Me: “I understand, but I just need to check it back in. Otherwise, it still appears as being out on your card.”

    Customer: “But I don’t want it.”

    Me: “I know. I understand. I’m not asking you to take it. I just want to check it in.”

    Customer: “Are you daft? I. Don’t. Want. This. Book.”

    Me: “Right. Look. If you don’t let me check this book in now, in four weeks time you are going to receive a letter informing you that this book is overdue.”

    Customer: “No, I won’t. I haven’t borrowed it.”

    Me: “Yes you have!”

    Customer: “I don’t understand how someone as stupid as you got a job here. See those?” *points to security gates*Those are what check the books out to me. If I don’t carry the book through there, they aren’t on my card. Get it?!”

    Me: *giving up* “You’re too right, ma’am. Sorry to have bothered you.”

    (She leaves with a smug look on her face. Then I pick up the book and carry it out to my desk.)

    Coworker: “You aren’t going to check that in, are you?”

    Me: “H*** no.”

    (Sure enough, five weeks later the customer comes in ranting and raving about ‘never having borrowed that book’. I bring it out from my desk and put it in front of her.)

    Me: *shrugs* “Is this the book?”

    Customer: “F***ing b****.”

    Misconstrued Rude

    | CA, USA | Awesome Customers

    (There are only two of us who work in the office. My coworker is male and I am female, so when customers cannot remember the name of the employee, we can still figure out who helped the customer.)

    Customer: “Hi, I called earlier this morning with a question about my bill. I don’t remember who I was talking to, but I was extremely rude to him, and I just wanted to come by and apologize for my behavior.”

    Me: “Umm… wow. Okay, let me get him for you…”

    (I go and get my coworker.)

    Coworker: “Yes, how may I help you?”

    Customer: “I wanted to come in and apologize in person for how I acted on the phone this morning. I was rude, and there was no excuse for it, so I am sorry.”

    Coworker: “Wow. Thanks, but, uh… I haven’t gotten any rude calls today.”

    Customer: “Then maybe it was another coworker of yours?”

    Me: “No, it’s just the two of us here.”

    Customer: *turning to me* “Then maybe I talked to you, although I seem to remember talking to a man.”

    Me: “I don’t think you were talking to me. I also haven’t received any rude calls today.”

    Customer: “Really? There are people who are ruder than me?”

    Me: “Yes.”

    Coworker: “All the time.”

    Customer: “Then I would like to apologize on behalf of all your customers who made me seem nice and friendly!”

    (One thing I’ve learned from years of customer service: if you are worried about being THAT customer, chances are good that you aren’t!)

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