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    Kitten Smitten

    | UK | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Pets & Animals

    (I’m working on the till at a charity shop when a woman walks in. She has a small handbag, and while it’s open, I can’t see inside. She comes up to me with a book.)

    Woman: “Just this, please.”

    (I ring her up and tell her the price. When she reaches into her handbag for her purse, I see she has a folded blue blanket with something furry and ginger inside. Naturally, I assume it’s a cuddly toy for a child.)

    Woman: *sees me looking* “Oh, do you like him?”

    Me: “Him?”

    (She takes the object and blanket out of her handbag to show me. To my astonishment, it’s not a cuddly toy, but a ginger kitten so small that its eyes aren’t open!)

    Me: “Why do you have a kitten in your bag?”

    Woman: *cradling the blanketed kitten gently* “He was pulled out of a burning building, and I’ve been hand-rearing him. I don’t go anywhere without him because he’s so small. At least he’s getting better after the fire!”

    (I finish ringing her up and take a moment to pet the kitten. She puts him carefully back into her handbag.)

    Woman: “Now to see if I can get him into [Supermarket]!”

    Me: “…good luck with that!”

    (Later, my manager scolded me for not calling her down. She wanted to pet the kitten, too.)

    I Was Only Borrowing It

    , | Kent, England, UK | Books & Reading

    (I volunteer in a charity second-hand bookstore where all our stock comes from donations. A woman comes into the store.)

    Woman: “Excuse me, do you have ‘The Book Thief?’ I can’t remember who wrote it.”

    Me: “Um, I’m not sure. Let me check.”

    (I ask a coworker, who knows the author. Once we have this we go to the fiction shelves, where the books are in alphabetical order by author.)

    Me: “Sorry, we don’t appear to have it.”

    Woman: “Oh, no! I need a used copy. I borrowed one off my friend and she wants it back, but my husband accidentally gave it to a charity shop and he can’t remember which one.”

    Me: “We can have a look out the back, as we’re currently sorting out some stock.”

    Woman: “Would you? Thank you.”

    (I go out the back where shelves of books ready to go out are sitting. They are not in order so it takes a few moments to search, but luckily we have one.)

    Me: “Got it!” *I hand it over*

    Woman: “Thank you so much! This may even be the copy we donated.”

    (We head to the till and she offers to pay as we are a charity.)

    Me: *as she leaves* “Tell hubby it cost £20 to buy it back!”

    Woman: *laughing* “Oh, he’ll be paying for this for a long time!”

    (It was only afterwards that we realised the irony in losing a book called ‘The Book Thief!’)

    Not In Her Charitable Shoes

    | Scotland, UK | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Extra Stupid

    (I’m an assistant manager in a charity shop. As we’re a charity, we don’t do any refunds unless the item is damaged, although we do take exchanges or credit with a receipt. There is a large printed sign clearly stating our refund policy on the counter. A volunteer calls me out to deal with a customer.)

    Volunteer: “This lady wants a refund for these shoes.”

    Me: “Okay, what’s wrong with them?”

    Customer: “They’re the wrong size.”

    Me: “Oh, sorry, I’m afraid we don’t do refunds unless the item is damaged. I can give you an exchange, or a store credit.”

    Customer: *begins to get angry” “You didn’t tell me that I couldn’t get a refund when I bought them. That’s false advertising! All other shops do refunds!”

    Me: *points to sign that is literally ON THE COUNTER* “There is a sign right here that states our refund policy; we can’t ask our volunteers to recite it to every customer. If you had asked when you bought the shoes then we would have explained the policy to you. All our profits go to charity, which is why we don’t offer refunds; most other charity shops have the exact same policy.”

    Customer: “That sign is too low; it’s ridiculous to expect people to read that!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but there is nowhere else that we could put the sign, and I feel that it’s quite clear. It’s on the counter, so everybody who buys something can see it.”

    Customer: “You should put it there!” *points to a display cabinet*

    Me: “Um… If we put it there, nobody would be able to see things inside the cabinet.”

    Customer: *by this point she is practically shouting in my face* “That’s not my problem! Your sign isn’t clear enough! I want a refund for these shoes. They’re for my mother and they’re the wrong size.”

    Me: “I’m sorry; I really can’t give you a refund because you bought shoes the wrong size. You can have an exchange or credit.”

    Customer: “I can’t believe this! This is RIDICULOUS, it’s false advertising, and I’m not leaving without a refund.”

    (My manager and another manager who happened to be in the shop have come out to try to calm the customer down.)

    Manager: “Everything she’s said is absolutely right. Our policy is stated right in front of you and as a charity shop, we don’t do refunds. It’s a very common policy.”

    Customer: “I’m going to call the police! I can’t believe this! I’m calling them now!” *she takes out her phone*

    (At this point, another customer steps in:)

    Customer #2: “If you call the police, who do you think they’re going to have a problem with: the shop following their policy, which is stated RIGHT THERE, or you screaming in their faces?”

    (The customer shouts some more about calling the police and then leaves, throwing the shoes on the counter.)

    Manager: “Out of interest, how much were the shoes?”

    Me: “£5…”

    Ballooning Out Of Control

    | Greenwich, CT, USA | Crazy Requests, Family & Kids

    (I am doing some community service the other day, handing out balloons at an adopt-a-dog fair. I have been working for a few hours when a family of three approaches.)

    Me: “Hello, would you like a balloon?”

    Woman: *snatches her baby away* “How dare you offer a balloon to a child? Do you realize how dangerous those are? Are you trying to kill my baby? Call your manager right this instant!”

    Me: *taken aback* “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I don’t actually work here. I’m doing community service.”

    Woman: *huffs* “Don’t lie to me, missy! Do you think I’m stupid? You’re just lying to get out of trouble! Now, call your manager. Now!”

    Me: *starting to get really fed up* “I don’t work here! I’m just here to I hand out balloons, and clearly you don’t want one, so I would suggest moving on to some of our other attractions.”

    Woman: “Why, of all the disrespectful—”

    (She has started to get pretty loud, so one of the managers running the fair wanders over to see what’s going on.)

    Manager: “Is there a problem?”

    Woman: “Finally! This young lady tried to give my child a balloon! Those can strangle kids! I demand to have her fired immediately!”

    Manager: *bewildered* “Sorry, what?”

    Woman: “She tried to murder my child! I can press charges!”

    Manager: “Right… Well, why don’t you go off and do that now…”

    (The woman’s storms off, taking her child with her. Her husband, who has been silent throughout the entire conversation, stays behind.)

    Husband: “Well, I don’t know about her, but I’d like a balloon…”

    Charity Begins At Home Furnishing

    , | London, England, UK | Crazy Requests, Home Improvement

    (As a charity shop, all items are donated to us. The staff are volunteers and so do not receive wages. The money made from sales goes to our cause; in this case, the care of the elderly in a local home. I approach a customer that has been looking at a sofa for some time.)

    Me: “Can I help?”

    Customer: “This sofa, isn’t it a bit expensive?”

    (Customers sometimes try to haggle or cheat us, so I’m not surprised so far.)

    Me: “Well, even though the sofa has no signs of wear and looks to be new, it has been heavily discounted. It would be triple the price from any other shop.”

    Customer: “Yeah, but this is a charity shop.”

    Me: “Yes…”

    Customer: “So I don’t see why you can’t just give it away.”

    Me: “…”

    Customer: “I rent out property, you see. I get more if the places are furnished, but if I have to buy the furniture…”

    Me: “We can’t just give things away. We raise money for the charity, which cares for elderly people.”

    Customer: “Yeah, but you get this stuff for free.”

    Me: “… “

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