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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!

    Put Your Money Where Your Obnoxious Mouth Is

    | ON, Canada | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Money

    (I get in line to purchase some iTunes cards. In front of me is a customer in his late 50s telling his life story to an annoyed looking cashier; he’s bragging about his business and complaining about cellphones.)

    Customer: *to cashier* “…and I run a business, not a charity, right!?”

    Cashier: “Yes, sir. That’ll be—”

    Customer: *spots me and my iTunes cards* “Wow, you sure have a handful of cards! What are they?”

    Me: “iTunes cards, sir.”

    Customer: “What are they for?”

    Me: “To buy music and things for my iPad.”

    Customer: “iPad?”

    Me: “Uh, yes, sir. It’s a kind of—”

    Customer: “I know what an iPad is! I have one! You can’t listen to music on an iPad, now can you! That’s an iPod!”

    Me: “Actually, sir, there is a place where you can download the music, and an icon to click on where they are stored.”

    (The customer goes back to talking about how his business is not a charity while the cashier tries to hurry him up.)

    Cashier: “That’ll be $5.02.”

    Customer: *takes $5 bill out of his wallet* “Oh, looks like I’ll need to bum some pennies off of someone, don’t wanna run back out to the truck.” *he turns to me* “Do you have some pennies?”

    Me: “Yes, sir, but were you not just saying that you weren’t a charity? Nor am I.” *hands pennies to cashier*

    (The customer doesn’t thank me and leaves.)

    Cashier: “I f***ing hate that guy!”

    Me: “Oh?”

    Cashier: “He always acts like a superior a** and always bums money off people. And I know that family; he is absolutely loaded!”

    Me: “I guess that’s how he stays that way.”

    Give The Beneficent The Benefit Of The Doubt

    | Texas, USA | Awesome Customers, Bad Behavior, Theme Of The Month

    (It’s a few days before Valentine’s Day, so there are a lot of rush orders for flowers. One of our usual customers, Ben, is an elderly man who isn’t mentally healthy, but he’s a sweet man who doesn’t bother anyone. He’s decided to buy 100 roses and stand outside to hand them out to women, young and old alike.)

    Female Customer #1: “I want your manager.”

    Me: “Yes, ma’am…”

    (I call for my manager, who arrives shortly.)

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

    Female Customer #1: “There’s a drunk outside accosting women. I want to know what kind of store lets drunkards stand around like that to bother ladies. He’s standing out there slurring and making sexual comments to everyone.”

    (As she explains this, another female customer with her daughter has been standing nearby. After she finishes, the second female customer interjects.)

    Female Customer #2: “I hope you don’t mean Ben.”

    Female Customer #1: “Who the f*** asked you?”

    Female Customer #2: *to my manager* “Ben isn’t doing anything at all. This lady here asked for two flowers and started hitting him with her purse when he only gave her one.”

    Female Customer #1: “You f***ing liar! You’re just some godless w****!”

    Manager: “Lady, if getting a d*** flower for Valentine’s Day pisses you off this much, I feel sorry for the poor b*****d who gets in a relationship with you. Get out of my store and don’t come back.”

    (The manager brought Ben in, who was in tears and confused. However, he cheered up when he received some very nice comments from other customers as well as a free meal from my manager.)

    Suited To The Role

    | San Francisco, CA, USA | Awesome Workers, Bigotry, Top

    (I work the floor at an independently-owned menswear store. The owner, my boss, spends a lot of time at the shop, and tries to keep prices as low as possible to help our city’s large homeless population get good job interview clothes. A clearly homeless man is wandering around the store. The other patrons are giving him looks.)

    Customer: “Excuse me, sir?”

    Me: “Yes, ma’am?”

    Customer: “I think you may want to call security. That… bum over there, he keeps feeling the suits and muttering to himself. I’m just sure he’s planning to steal one.”

    Me: “Well, ma’am, I think that’s quite unlikely.”

    Customer: “Oh, come on, you know how they are! I mean, I’d keep an eye on him even if he wasn’t homeless!”

    (The homeless man in question happens to be Hispanic.)

    Me: “We don’t discriminate here, ma’am.”

    Customer: “Well, I’m sure the owner would want to hear about this!”

    (I give in and call him over. The customer explains her concerns. As a black man, my boss isn’t happy with her racism, but agrees to talk to the homeless man.)

    Owner: “Excuse me, sir, are you finding what you need?”

    Homeless Man: “Well, not really. I’m hoping for something versatile in a dark or navy wool, but most of the options in my size are cut American style instead of European, which fits me a little better. Not to mention they’re all pinstriped, which I really don’t have the build for, you know?”

    Owner: “I… yes, I understand. I think we may have some options over here, if you’ll follow me. How did you know all that?”

    Homeless Man: “Back before I lost my job, I used to be really into this stuff. I’m not looking for anything fancy, just something I can use to look good for a job interview later today.”

    (My boss helps him find something he likes, and comes to the counter with him. The suit is priced at $87.)

    Homeless Man: *digging in his pockets* “Hang on, I think I’ve got enough.”

    Owner: *to me* “Take my card. I’m buying it for him.” *to the homeless man* “Here. The suit’s yours, on one condition. After your interview today, you come back and apply for a job here too. Got it?”

    Homeless Man: “I… oh my God, thank you. Thank you so much.”

    (Two years later, that formerly-homeless man is my manager, and has a little girl with his new wife—the owner’s sister.)

    Crying Over No Spilt Milk

    | Detroit, MI, USA | Extra Stupid, Food & Drink

    (I work in a convenience store, and am calling to make a dairy order.)

    Me: “Hi, this is [store] calling. I’d like to place my order.”

    Rep: “Sure! Whenever you’re ready.”

    Me: “I’ll take 15 ‘2%’, 5 whole, 2 skim—”

    Rep: “I’m very sorry; can you hold on just one moment?”

    Me: “Sure, take your time.”

    (The rep puts me on hold for a few moments before returning.)

    Rep: “I’m very sorry about that. I had this guy on another line screaming at me about how he didn’t get his Pepsi order. It took me a few minutes to finally get a word in and to let him know that he had called the dairy company.”

    Me: *laughing* “Are you serious?”

    Rep: “Yes! I’ve never had that happen to me! Haha! Okay, I can take the rest of your order now!”

    Harping On

    | CA, USA | Extra Stupid, Musical Mayhem, Wild & Unruly

    (I’m working at a high school orchestra concert when the fire alarms go off. As we evacuate the building, I come across a gentleman in the hall trying to get the harp onto a harp-tow.)

    Me: “I’m sorry sir, but you need to leave the hall. We’re evacuating the building.”

    Gentleman: “I need to get my daughter’s harp out first.”

    Me: “Sir, you need to evacuate.”

    Gentleman: “I don’t expect you to understand, but this harp is important and expensive, so why don’t you worry about your pretty little self, while I worry about more important things?”

    Me: “Sir, you have a choice: you can either leave on your own, or you can leave in handcuffs. I will have you arrested.”

    Gentleman: “I said I’m not leaving with out the harp; get it through your stupid head!”

    (A police officer has entered the hall to let me know that the fire department is on their way and that the building is clear except me and this gentleman.)

    Police officer: “Problem, [my name]?”

    Gentleman: “Yeah, I’m trying to get this harp out of here, and she’s in my way!”

    Police Officer: “Aw, that’s too bad. Guess you have to leave with out it. You can leave with me, if you’d like. I’ve got some nice handcuffs.”

    (His eyes widen and he bolts from the hall.)

    Police Officer: “Well, that’s a shame. Anyways, no fire. Fire department will reset the alarm as soon as they get here.”

    (The gentleman’s wife ends up coming in for the harp about 25 minutes later. Surprisingly, she sides with us.)

    Gentleman’s Wife: “My husband was an idiot. Thanks to you and your coworkers for a job well done… you should have had him arrested anyway!”

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