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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!

    Praise Cheeses

    | Orlando, FL, USA | Awesome Customers, Bad Behavior, Food & Drink, Theme Of The Month, Top

    (Most delis have two slicer machines: one for meat and one for cheese. My coworker is cutting meat for an elderly woman who has placed a very large order, because she’s hosting a book club meeting at her house this afternoon. We’re chatting with her when a 40-something customer approaches the counter.)

    Me: “Good morning. Can I help you, ma’am?”

    Customer: “Hi. Could I get a half-pound of [brand] roast beef, please?”

    Me: “Certainly. I’m afraid [coworker] here is using the meat slicer to fill this lady’s order at the moment. Could I get you any cheese in the meantime?”

    Customer: “No, I don’t want any cheese.”

    Me: “Okay, then. If you want to do some more shopping and come back in a few minutes I should have your order ready by then.”

    Customer: “No, I don’t have any more shopping to do. This is the last thing I’m buying.”

    Me: “I see. Then I’m afraid there will be a little wait while my coworker finishes cutting meat for her order.”

    Customer: “What do you mean I have to wait? That slicer’s not being used, just use that one!”

    (She gestures toward the cheese slicer.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. That’s our cheese slicer. I’m afraid I can’t cut meat with that one.”

    Customer: “Why the h*** not?!”

    Me: “It’s a possible health hazard. They call it cross-contamination, and that’s what happens if I use equipment to prepare food for you that was just touching something you’re allergic to. Say, if you came to get cheese but were allergic to some kind of meat, the meat juice could get on the cheese you order and make you sick.”

    Customer: “Well, I’m not allergic to any kind of meat or cheese. Just use the stupid slicer already!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. I can’t do that. Even though you might not have any allergies, some of our other customers might. On top of that, our management has a zero-tolerance policy for that. I could get fired for doing it.”

    Customer: “Well, that’s an idiotic policy! I’m not other customers, I’m me! I don’t care what happens to your other customers! If they’re allergic to meat it’s just proof that God wants to get rid of them so they won’t inconvenience people like me!”

    Me: “Well, I do care about our other customers, ma’am. And I’m going to ask you to please lower your voice and not tell them that God wants them to die, or I’ll have to call my manager over.”

    Customer: “Go ahead and call him, smart guy! You think you know what God wants better than I do? I’ve gone to [church] for 10 years!”

    Me: “No, ma’am. I don’t think I know what God wants. Actually, I don’t believe in God.”

    Customer:You’re an atheist! No wonder you won’t just cut my f***ing meat! You were sent here by Satan himself to stop me! You’re just like Hitler or Saddam Hussein! Call your manager over here right now, so I can tell him there are demons casting spells over his meat!”

    (Fed up, the elderly woman my coworker is serving slaps her own forehead and turns to the raving customer.)

    Elderly Woman: “Miss, you need to hush your fat mouth up and let these folks do their job. They don’t need you hooting and carrying on. And I’ll have you know I’ve been attending [the same church] for 40 years, and I know that over there they teach you to have some respect and decency! No wonder you don’t have any, because you can’t hear anything over the sound of yourself screeching! And whatever that young man believes about God is between God and himself, but God loves him no matter what.”

    (The customer is silent, and then stammers angrily for a few seconds.)

    Customer: “Well, he, uh… he should have just cut my d*** meat!”

    (She storms out of the store.)

    Elderly Woman: “Some people have no tact.”

    Me: “Would you like to try a free sample of our [most expensive cheese], ma’am?”

    Elderly Woman: “I’d love to, young man. God bless you.”

    Me: “He already does, ma’am.”

    Always Put Your Best Foot Forward

    | UK | Awesome Customers, Awesome Workers, Theme Of The Month

    (It is a few days after Christmas. I am a student but work in a shoe shop which is well known for measuring and fitting kids’ shoes. However, although we have measuring gauges in adult sizes, we rarely use them because adults tend to know what size they are.)

    Customer: “Hi, can you measure my feet?”

    Me: “Yep, no problem; one moment.”

    (I go to get the gauge and sit the customer down.)

    Me: “Okay, you’re coming up as a size six but very wide.”

    Customer: “That can’t be right! I haven’t ever been a size six! These trainers are a man’s size ten! I haven’t worn nice shoes since before my son was born; I’m too big for these!”

    Me: “Well, that’s what you’re coming up as. Obviously as you are so wide, it’s likely that you’ve gone up for the width rather than the length, so why don’t we look in the wide fitting range over here and see what we have?”

    Customer: “Okay…”

    (She is clearly skeptical, but I manage to find a size 7 extra wide which fits.)

    Me: “Okay, that’s a start! Normally, I would have to radio up to find a specific style, but I am going to go and ask my manager if I can go up to the stockroom myself and just pull anything I think you might like and could fit. Is that okay?”

    Customer: “That’d be brilliant.”

    (I bring down three styles in extra wide; the customer is astounded when I tell her that there could be more. I show her the second pair.)

    Customer: “Now these I like! They’re pretty, but they’ll work for my job interview too. I just can’t believe they fit!”

    Me: “Okay. Well, I’ll go and box them up and take them to the till for you. I hope you enjoy them and good luck for your interview!”

    Customer: “Thank you so much! What’s your name?”

    Me: “I’m [name]. And it was no problem!”

    (After she has paid, the customer finds me whilst I am tidying a sale rack.)

    Customer: “I was looking for your manager, but I couldn’t find one. Here, you helped me find the first pair of nice shoes I have had in years! I don’t know what your official policy on tips is but, this is for you.”

    (She hands me five pounds.)

    Me: *stunned* “Thank you very much!”

    (Later, I ask a manager and he says that tipping so rarely happens that there is no official policy and I can keep the five. I’d been having a pretty awful day, but knowing that I had helped that woman find something that meant so much to her made it, and the last few hours were so much easier!)

    A Mother’s Duty

    | LA, USA | Health & Body, Language & Words

    Me: “Thank you for calling the pharmacy. How may I help you?

    Customer: “Hi, my fiancè’s mother is incompetent, and I am going to be helping out with her medicines.”

    (When she says ‘incompetent,’ I am thinking she might want to transfer the woman’s meds to our pharmacy, has a question about her drugs, or something of the sort.)

    Me: “Okay, what can I help you with?”

    Customer: “Since she is incompetent, I think she is going to need some kind of diaper or underwear. So, what do y’all sell there?”

    One Good Deed Deserve A Blogger

    | Minneapolis, MN, USA | Awesome Customers, Awesome Workers, Theme Of The Month

    Customer: “Hi, I was just in to get my vacuum tuned up a couple months prior. However, my roller brush stopped working.”

    (I confirm it’s been less than three months, and upon inspection of the vacuum realize it’s likely a production error. Business is slow, so I fix her vacuum on the spot, all the while joking with her and her daughter. Here’s what happens after I finish.)

    Customer: “What do I owe you?”

    Me: “Nothing. It was a bad part, so it’s on me.”

    Customer: “But I have to pay something! I thought you were going to stick it in back and call me next week!”

    Me: “Ma’am, it’s cool. It was a bad part issue, so I’m happy to make it right. Tell you what: tell your friends I was nice to you and we’ll call it even. I can just see it now: ‘Yeah, the guy at the Roseville store was super nice to me! He’s a total muppet, but he’s really good at his job!.'”

    Customer: “I’ll do you better than that. I have a blog that I write and people pay $200 to advertise on it.” *she takes my business card* “Is this you?”

    Me: “Yes, ma’am, it is.”

    Customer: “Okay, go to this blog (Google cached, Ed.) in a couple days. I’m going to write all about how [my name] the muppet took care of me and how everyone in town needs to come see you.”

    Me: “That’d be great. You ladies have a great rest of your weekend.”

    (A couple days later, I check the blog (Google cached, Ed.). There’s a lengthy write up explaining how I personally am one of the main reasons our brand is better than our next major competitor. Our store location is mentioned as is my name. She even included a picture of one of the muppets and darned if he doesn’t look like me! The best part? Home office got wind of it and the CEO emailed my District Manager asking that she please tell me how proud he is of me.)

    Shatter-Resistant, Not Idiot-Resistant

    | ME, USA | Bad Behavior, Wild & Unruly

    Customer #1: “Hey, these bowls say shatter-resistant… that means that don’t break, right?”

    Me: “Well, it doesn’t mean they don’t break. ‘Shatter-resistant’ just means they’re much harder to break.”

    Customer #1: “Huh… that’s really neat.”

    (Customer #1 and #2 seem fascinated by shatter-resistant bowls, and thus begin to experiment. They begin to tap the bowls, nicking the bowls with their finger. One even starts to lightly bang it on the shelf. Then Customer #1 nods to Customer #2, and then SUMO SLAMS the bowl at full force into the ground, shattering the bowl to pieces.)

    Customer #1: “Wha… why did the bowl break?”

    Me: “As I said, the bowls were shatter-resistant not shatter-proof.”

    Customer #2: “But they broke!” *to Customer #1* “That’s false advertisement.”

    Customer #1: “Yeah! That’s false advertisement! I want my money back.”

    Me: “Um, you didn’t buy anything, though.”

    Customer #1: “So! That’s false advertisement! I demand my money back or to talk to your manager.”

    (I decide at this point that I doubt these customers will even listen to me, so I call down my manager.)

    Manager: “Hello there. How may I help you today?”

    Customer #1: “These bowls say they are shatter-resistant, but they still broke when I dropped it on the ground! That means it’s false advertisement.”

    Manager: “I’m sorry, but shatter resistant means it’s harder to break. It does not mean it’s shatter proof.”

    Customer #1: “Well, I want my money back for this worthless product.”

    Manager: “Well, we can do that if you have your receipt.”

    Customer #1: “Oh, I didn’t buy any of them yet.”

    Customer #2: “But it’s false advertisement. She deserves her money back.”

    Manager: “Ma’am, I cannot refund you your money if you didn’t buy anything.”

    Customer #1: “But it’s false advertisement! I want my money back.”

    Manager: “Again, I can’t refund you your money if you didn’t buy anything…”

    (These two customers went back and forth with my manager for at least a half hour. My manager had security escort them out because they began to break more bowls to prove their point!)

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