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    The Age Of Petulance

    | Livingston, NJ, USA | Extra Stupid, Family & Kids

    Customer: “Hi, my son needs a book called Ethan for his summer reading.”

    Me: “Sure! Do you mean Ethan Frome?”

    Customer: “No, it’s just Ethan.”

    Me: “Is it by Edith Wharton?”

    Customer: *looks at a piece of paper* “Um… yeah, it is, but my son just wrote down Ethan.”

    Me: “Okay. Well, he probably just didn’t write down the full title, so let’s go grab Ethan Frome.”

    Customer: “No! You aren’t listening to me! It’s not Ethan Frome, it’s just Ethan!”

    Me: “It’s really not a big deal. We’ll—”

    Customer: “It IS a big deal! You’re calling my son a liar!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, I didn’t intend to—”

    Customer: “My son is a very good student. Maybe you should have paid more attention when you were in school, or you’d know that Edith Whoever wrote a book called Ethan!”

    Me: “My apologies. Let me grab that book for you.”

    (I go grab a copy of “Ethan Frome” and hand it to the customer.)

    Customer: “No! What are you, an idiot? You’re trying to trick me by giving me Ethan Frome when I just need Ethan!”

    Me: “Ma’am, Edith Wharton never wrote a book called Ethan. She did write a book called Ethan Frome.”

    Customer: “MY SON IS NOT A LIAR!”

    (I spend the next five minutes showing the customer all of the books Edith Wharton wrote in her lifetime on the computer. “Ethan Frome” appears on every list, but there is no reference to a book called just “Ethan”.)

    Customer: “My son said it’s called Ethan, and that’s what I need! Obviously, you people just haven’t heard of it and you’re trying to make me look like an idiot. I’ll show you! I’ll call the school and get them to read me the summer reading list!”

    (She calls the school on her cell phone. The school receptionist informs her that the title in question is, in fact, “Ethan Frome.” The customer turns bright red, and eventually hangs up on the poor receptionist.)

    Customer: “None of you know what you’re talking about!” *snatches up a copy of “Ethan Frome” stalks off*

    Me: “Have a nice day!”

    Manager: “You need to take a ten minute break?”

    Me: “You have no idea.”

    Brevity Is The Soul Of Hightailing It

    | London, England, UK | At The Checkout

    (We have briefs in packets; they normally cost a pack of 3 for £5. On this day, a customer comes with 6 packs.)

    Me: “That’s £30 please, Sir.”

    Customer: “What? No, they are 3 packs for £5! That sign says so.” *points at the sign, which says ’3 pairs for £5′*

    Me: “Oh! No, Sir, I’m afraid that’s not the case. The sign is referring to the number of briefs in each pack. They are still £5 each.”

    Customer: “No, that’s not right! You’re trying to screw me over, you little c***!”

    Me: *shocked* “No, Sir, I’m not. If you wish, I can get my manager and he can explain it to you.”

    Customer: “You better f***ing do that, b****! I’ll give him a piece of my d*** mind.”

    (I ring the bell to call my manager. He has already heard the shouting, and comes quickly. He is a 6′ 5” man who looks more like he belongs in wrestling gear than in a suit.)

    Manager: “Is there a problem here?”

    Customer: “Yes! There bloody well…” *he goes pale as he takes in my manager, and immediately goes all meek* “er… this girl is trying to… to dupe me.”

    Manager: “No, she isn’t. Now, I suggest you pay for your purchases, apologise to my colleague for what you called her, and then leave.”

    Customer: *gives me his card and mumbles* “Sorry.”

    (I’ve never seen someone leave the store so fast.)

    Ah, Parents, Part 2

    | Everett, MA, USA | Family & Kids

    (I’m working as a seasonal cashier at a big name retail chain. A mother and her whining 4-year-old come up to my register. The child is upset because the mother won’t buy him a specific toy.)

    Mother: “I told you, Santa will bring it to you on Christmas.”

    Kid: “But I want it now!”

    Mother: “Keep whining, and you won’t get it at all.”

    Kid: “Nuh-uh! Santa knows I’ve been a good boy!”

    (The kid’s whining begins to irritate me, so some I do some quick thinking.)

    Me: *to the kid* “Are you sure? You see that up there?”

    (I point to one of our store’s eye-in-the-sky security cameras.)

    Kid: “What about it?”

    Me: “Well, that’s how Santa sees all the little boys and girls in the world. That’s how he knows if you’ve been naughty or nice.”

    (The kid stops crying and doesn’t say a word for the rest of the transaction.)

    Mother: *leans in, whispering* “Thank you so much!” *slips me a $20 and leaves*

    Ah, Parents…
    Ah, Children

    Necessity Is The Mother Of Intervention

    , | Missouri, USA | Family & Kids, Food & Drink

    (A mother with several children and their grandmother come up to my register. They bicker for a while before the mother takes her kids to the playroom, and the grandmother begins to order all their food. Halfway through the large order, the mother runs up to us screaming.)

    Mother: “What are you doing! Stop! STOP!”

    Grandmother: “What? I’m just ordering our food.”

    Mother: “No! You don’t know what we are getting!”

    Grandmother: “We get the same food every time. I remember what we get.”

    Mother: “Shut up, Mom! God, you just can not quit!”

    Grandmother: “I can remember—”

    Mother: “SHUT UP MOM! SHUT UP!” *turns to me* “Start over.”

    (I void off all the items and start from scratch. The grandmother stands there quietly through the whole ordeal and pays at the end.)

    Me: “Okay, here are your drink cups. It will be just a few minutes on your food.”

    (The mother walks away, leaving the grandmother at the counter with me.)

    Grandmother: “Sorry about all the yelling. My daughter can be very rude sometimes.”

    (They collect their food and leave. Not five minutes later, the mother runs up to my register and starts screaming at me. The grandmother walks up too, and stands behind her daughter quietly.)

    Mother: “You got my order completely wrong! I demand a refund! You could have killed my poor babies!”

    (My manager immediately steps in.)

    Manager: “What seems to be the problem, ma’am?”

    Mother: “This girl sabotaged my food! Now my children can’t eat!”

    Manager: “From the looks of your receipt, you ordered a lot of food.”

    Me: “I read it back to double check it. What did I mess up?”

    (The mother and the manager continue to bicker about the order for several minutes before she gets pissed and walks off. The grandmother stays behind to talk to us.)

    Grandmother: “She does this every time. She can never remember which of her kids is allergic to what. I’m sorry you had to deal with that.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, too.”

    Grandmother: “Oh, don’t worry about me! The only reason I put up with her attitude is so I can make sure she doesn’t kill my grandchildren. Try to have a good day, dear!”

    Like Selling Candy To A Banshee

    | Nevada, USA | Extra Stupid, Food & Drink, Top

    (This is a call from me to a customer who owns a candy store, regarding an order they placed for a candy-making mix. We had the wrong expiration date for their credit card. Please note that this order is marked as being needed in a rush.)

    Woman: “Hello, [candy store].”

    Me: “Hello, this is [name] from [candy supply company].”

    Woman: “We’re not interested!” *hangs up*

    (I call back.)

    Woman: “Hello, [candy store].”

    Me: “Hi, this is [name] again. I think there was a misunderstanding. We’re calling about an order you already placed.”

    Woman: *scoffs* “Really…”

    Me: “Yes, ma’am. [Candy store owner] called and put in an order this morning for candy mix, but we must not have heard the expiration date correctly.”

    Woman: “So, you call saying we ordered something, and you want me to just give you a credit card number?”

    Me: “No, we have the number. We just need to check the expiration date. Is [candy store owner] there?”

    Woman: “No.”

    Me: “Okay, could I leave a message for him that we won’t be able to send out your candy mix without getting the correct expiration date?”

    Woman: “We’re a homemade candy company. What makes you assume we use a mix for our candy?”

    Me: “Because we sell it to you.”

    Woman: “We make our candy homemade. We’re not interested in buying yours. How dare you suggest we make it from a mix?!”

    Me: “Ma’am, a lot of places label their candy homemade, even when they make it from a mix. I can cancel the order if you’d like, but I’d prefer to speak to [candy store owner] before I do.”

    Woman: “He’s not here, and I’m sure as h*** not giving you any credit card information. It’s a f***ing scam!”

    (The woman hangs up again. About a week later, I get a call from the man who owns the store.)

    Owner: “Hi, this is [owner] from [candy store]. I was calling to see where my order was.”

    Me: “We tried to get in touch with you about having the wrong expiration date on the credit card the same day you placed the order. The woman I spoke to told me you would me making the candy from scratch and were no longer interested in the order, so I canceled it.”

    Owner: “****! I’m gonna kill her!”

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