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    Making A Mute Point

    | IL, USA | Bigotry, Extra Stupid, Technology

    (I am at visiting a game store that I go to quite often, to the point that most of the employees consider me a “regular”. Due to a throat injury I received when I was younger, I am mute. I’m there to see if they have a copy of a game that had, at the time, just come out. There are only two employees working at the time; both are behind the counter as I walk in. Any ‘dialog’ of mine for this story is actually just me scribbling into a notepad and showing it to whoever I am speaking to, as it’s my main method of communicating.)

    Employee #2: “Hey, [My Name], are you looking for something?”

    Me: “Yeah. I was hoping you had a copy of [Game], since I wasn’t able to reserve a copy.”

    Employee #1: “Yeah, we have a few. I’ll show you where they are.”

    (He shows me to where they are, and leaves me to do some extra browsing. He returns to the register, where his coworker is, when another customer approaches them. He appears to be in his late-teens/early 20s.)

    Customer: “Hey, you really shouldn’t encourage her like that.”

    (The customer gestures to me, and isn’t even being subtle about it.)

    Employee #2: “I’m sorry, sir, but I have no clue what you mean.”

    Customer: “That girl over there! If you treat her like a normal person, she might get the wrong idea!”

    Employee #1: “With all due respect, what are you even talking about?”

    Customer: “Don’t play dumb! She’s clearly retarded! Won’t it look bad for business if you let a [slur] wander around? And besides, she’s a girl! She probably doesn’t even play video games!”

    (Unfortunately, people assuming I am either deaf or mentally handicapped because of my inability to speak is a common occurrence. I’ve gotten used to it, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying. Still, I do my best to ignore it. The assumption that I don’t play video games because I’m a girl isn’t as common, but it does come up once in a while.)

    Employee #2: “Please forgive me, sir, but I’m going to have to ask that you not speak about her that way. Not only is she a regular customer, but she’s definitely NOT mentally handicapped. She just can’t speak because of—”

    Customer: “Right! Because she’s retarded! I don’t think it’s safe to let her wander around the store. What if she ends up making someone else retarded?!”

    (All three of us are completely dumbfounded. As mentioned before, I’m used to these sorts of assumptions, but this was a new one.)

    Customer: “So are you going to kick her out or not? People like her don’t deserve to be in here!”

    Employee #1: *visibly angry, and doing his best to keep his cool* “No, we’re not. However, if you don’t stop insulting out customers, we are going to have to ask YOU to leave!”

    Customer: “What the h***, man?! I’m just looking out for your best interest! If you wanna treat that [slur] like she’s a person, that’s your business, but don’t come running to me if it hurts your business!”

    Employee #1: “Okay, that’s it. We tried being civil. Please leave and don’t come back.”

    (The customer is clearly pissed off, but before he can say or do anything, I walk over and slip a note into his hands. He instinctively reads the note.)

    Me: “By the way, you can call me retarded all you want, but at least I’m not the one with their fly unzipped.”

    (He looks down and confirms that his fly is, indeed, unzipped. His face turns a shade of red, and then storms off in what I can only assume was a combination of rage and embarrassment. We still laugh about it to this day!)

    Not Game For The Games

    | Canberra, ACT, Australia | Bizarre, Technology, Theme Of The Month

    (A lovely, little old lady is wandering around the game store where I work. She picks up a copy of ‘Empires’ and turns to me.)

    Customer: “What is this?”

    Me: “It is a turn based strategy game. You control an army, the opponent controls an army, and you take turns to—”

    Customer: “Yes, but what is it?”

    Me: “Well, it’s kind of like the game ‘Risk.’ There are some games that happen in ‘real time,’ where you and the opponent move at the same time, but this one—”

    Customer: “Yes, but is it a book, a CD, a board game?”

    Me: “It’s a computer game, madam. This is a computer game shop.”

    Customer: “Oh…”

    (She wanders off, picks up another game, and asks another sales associate.)

    Customer: “What is this?”

    Grand Theft Insolence

    | Oxfordshire, England, UK | Bad Behavior, Family & Kids, Technology

    (A mother and son approach my till with a carrier bags full of games to trade in. Some of them are 15- and 18-rated. The boy is approximately 11 years old.)

    Mother:  “We’d like to trade these in for credit, please.”

    Me: “No problem. Do you know what you’d like to buy with the credit?”

    (I start swiping the games through the till. The mum looks at the boy, who shakes his head.)

    Me: “That’s okay. I can put it onto a gift card for you, or I can give you a price for what we’d give you in cash, instead?”

    Boy: “A gift card.”

    Mother: *to the boy* “Please!”

    Boy: “A gift card, please.”

    Mother: “But won’t this leave you without ANY games?”

    Boy: “Yeah, but Dad’s going to come to town with me tomorrow to get GTA Fi—” *trails off and looks up at me… knowing he’s put his foot in it*

    Me: “Oh… uh…” *to mother* “I feel I should mention that GTA is an 18-rated game for a VERY good reasons. In the game there is a torture scene—”

    Mother: “What?!”

    Me: “… Your son’s character can also pick up, have sex with, then murder prostitutes. There’s also—”

    Mother: “ABSOLUTELY NOT!” *turning to son, who is now looking like he’s been caught in a lie* “You KNEW about this, didn’t you?! NO WAY are you having that, and NO WAY your dad would let you have that either. Oh, god…”

    Me: “I, uh… could go on, but I guess I don’t need to.”

    (The mother is obviously shocked at what she was about to buy for her son. I explain the video game ratings system to her so she can make informed decisions in future, and write down a good review website I know of so she can research. All the while the kid is getting more and more frustrated realising he’s not going to get what he wants.)

    Boy: *to mother* “I’m NOT talking to you.”

    Mother: “Oh, really? I think you’re forgetting who bought you all of these games.” *turning to me* “I’ll take the cash price on these, please.”

    (The mother then proceeds to sell ALL of the son’s games to me for cash, which she puts into her wallet. She then thanks me for my help, turns, and leaves, leaving her son shocked and GTA-5-less at my counter.)

    Related:
    Grand Theft Innocence, Part 9
    Grand Theft Innocence, Part 8
    Grand Theft Innocence, Part 7
    Grand Theft Innocence, Part 6
    Grand Theft Innocence, Part 5
    Grand Theft Innocence, Part 4
    Grand Theft Innocence, Part 3
    Grand Theft Innocence, Part 2
    Grand Theft Innocence

    Grand Theft Innocence, Part 8

    | Helsinki, Finland | At The Checkout, Technology, Theme Of The Month, Wild & Unruly

    (I’m a customer at a popular independent games store in Helsinki. The store is very busy at the moment. I’m third in line when a customer storms in and rushes to the counter.)

    Customer: “Hey! I want my money back!”

    (The cashier completely ignores him, and keeps serving the customer whose actual turn it is.)

    Customer: “Hey! Nerd! I’m talking to you!”

    (The cashier still ignores him and serves the next customer.)

    Customer: “F****** nerd! Listen to me!”

    (When I am next in line the customer tries to grab the cashier’s hand. He manages to avoid this. The cashier looks at me as if asking for permission to deal with the angry customer. I nod and the cashier finally talks to the angry customer.)

    Cashier: “There is no way that you are going to get any help from me before I finish serving all these other customers who are politely waiting in line.”

    Customer: “F*** that! I have a complaint and I want my money back! Serve me now or you’re going to get your a** kicked!”

    (The customer is a big man and the cashier is quite small and skinny. Luckily, at 6’6″ I am even bigger, and having played hockey all my life I’m quite fit as well.)

    Me: “No, he is not going to get his a** kicked.”

    (The customer turns to me to yell something, but as he sees me he goes quiet. He turns to back to the cashier and continues his rant in a much calmer but still angry and derogatory tone.)

    Customer: “Listen, you little s***. I want my money back from this game.”

    (He waves a copy of ‘Grand Theft Auto V’.)

    Cashier: “I absolutely refuse to serve you before all these other customers, who are being patient and polite. You will get service from me after everyone who acts nicer than you has been helped first.”

    Customer: “Get me your manager! Now!”

    Cashier: “I am the owner. Now you go to the back of the line.”

    (The customer starts to say something, but I push past him in a not very gentle way. He goes to the back of the line muttering. I buy my game but decide to stay in the store until the angry customer leaves. When it’s finally his turn he slams the game on the counter.)

    Customer: “Money back!”

    (The cashier opens the case and looks at the game.)

    Cashier: “Looks perfect to me. Why do you want your money back?”

    Customer: “The game is totally inappropriate for my son! No one told me it was so violent when I bought it!”

    Cashier: “I clearly remember you buying it. You had your son with you, who looked to be about 10 years old. I told you it has sex, killing, torture, crime, and drugs in it. I advised you several times not to buy it. You even told me it was for you, not your son. My guess is that the boy’s mother threw a fit after seeing the game and now you are taking it out on me. You will not get your money back. Ever. And you are not welcome in my store anymore.”

    Customer: “Look here, you little—”

    (I have walked to stand behind the customer. I cough and he turns to me and goes pale. He leaves without saying a word.)

    Cashier: “Thanks, man!”

    Me: “No problem, I love the way you handled him. Maybe a little provocative but he deserved every minute of it.”

    Cashier: “He was a complete a**hole when he bought the game, and the minute I saw him today I guessed what his issue was. Customers like that are the reason I started my own store. I hate to see bullies get special treatment for acting threatening and being difficult, while all the nice customers wait. I try to be as slow and difficult as possible to customers like him. Honestly, their business is not worth it.”

    (The store is still thriving. I guess there are still enough nice customers out there!)

    Related:
    Grand Theft Innocence, Part 7
    Grand Theft Innocence, Part 6
    Grand Theft Innocence, Part 5
    Grand Theft Innocence, Part 4
    Grand Theft Innocence, Part 3
    Grand Theft Innocence, Part 2
    Grand Theft Innocence

    A Sign Of Things To Come

    | New Zealand | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Technology

    (I’m on my very first day of in-store training, going over the basics of what is done. My boss mentions that no matter how big or how close to your heads the signs are, customers will always ask us something that’s written on the signs.)

    Me: “They can’t really be that dense. Can they?”

    Boss: “You’d be surprised.”

    (A customer comes up to the counter just then and my boss takes over, as I don’t know my job well enough to serve yet.)

    Customer: “Hi. Can I put down a deposit for [game]?”

    Boss: “Sure thing!”

    Customer: “Great! When does it come out?”

    (There is a poster for this game literally ten centimeters to the right of his head hanging from the ceiling with the release date on it in emboldened letters, just like each of the ten posters for this game hung throughout the store.)

    Boss: “[Date].”

    Customer: “Oh, cool. Also, how much is [upcoming major console]?”

    (There is a very large wall poster for this console directly behind him, amidst a display of boxes for this console that also has the price in very large numbers.)

    Boss: “Console will be [price], though we’ve pre-sold out of the first two shipments.”

    Customer: “Okay, thanks a bunch!” *leaves*

    Me: “… That did not just happen.”

    Boss: “Get used to it. It happens.”

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