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    Faster The Phones The Slower The Service

    | Ada, OK, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Technology

    (I work in a popular hardware store. The following happens as I’m dealing with a family of five or six. The mother and one of her daughters approach my register, both looking at their cell phones.)

    Me: “Good afternoon! Did you find everything you needed today?”

    (Both women stare at their phones; 15 seconds go by.)

    Woman: “Huh?”

    Me: *repeats myself*

    (Another 15 seconds go by.)

    Woman: “Oh, yeah, just this stuff here.”

    (I proceed to ring up their merchandise.)

    Me: “Okay! You’re total is [total]; would you like to use [Store] card on your purchase?”

    (Neither the woman or her daughter answer me. Another 15 seconds go by.)

    Woman: “What?”

    Me: *repeats myself*

    Woman: “Oh! They aren’t done playing yet. We have some more.”

    (We wait for a few minutes while the rest of the woman’s family “plays” with some of the stuff we have set out on display so that people can test out the merchandise before they buy it. The rest of the family finally comes to the register, but no one says anything to me although I have smiled and asked what else I can get for them. They are now all on their phones and I ask repeatedly for the husband to please tell me what they need from a different department. Several more minutes follow of me asking for information, followed by silence, and then a confused “what?” As the rest of their merchandise is relayed to me between riveting bouts of cell phone induced silence, I finally complete the order. By this time I am extremely frustrated, but manage to smile and try to tell them their new total.)

    Me: “Okay! Your new total is—”

    Woman: “Wait! I have a coupon!”

    (She proceeds to scroll frantically on her phone. When she turns it to face me, it is the store’s cell-phone app, but it is on a black screen with only a search bar showing.)

    Woman: “What do I do with this? It’s for five dollars off.”

    Me: *finally fed up* “Ma’am, I don’t know. Our coupons are actually sent through—”

    Woman: “Oh! Never mind. Let’s just finish this up.”

    Me: *unable to control my exasperation and sarcasm drips through* “Thank you!”

    Woman: “Wow! You sure are in a hurry to get rid of us now, aren’t you?!”

    Me: *internally screaming*

    Her Lips Are Sealed And Waterproof

    | WA, USA | Language & Words, Rude & Risque

    (I am shopping for shelf brackets at a hardware store and I overhear this conversation between a nervous-looking woman and an apron-clad store assistant.)

    Woman: “Yes, hi, I need to replace the edges of my bathtub. Could you tell me which aisle has those?”

    Assistant: “Well, we have bathroom units and tub liners that cover your bath and give it a new surface. I can show you where those are, if you’d like.”

    Customer: “No, no, no. I don’t want a new bathtub. I just need to… there are some cracks and old spots around the edges that I just need to, um, reseal.”

    Assistant: “Oh, well if you want to touch up cracks or worn places in the finish, I’d really suggest having a professional come look at it. We have the primer and finish here, but it’s not the easiest job for one person.”

    Woman: *visibly flustered and fidgeting with her pocketbook* “No, it’s not the paint that needs to be fixed; it’s the edges near the wall. I need to seal them so I don’t get mold in the walls.”

    Assistant: *I see his brow furrow as I sneak a peek at the odd conversation* “So something to waterproof the inside edges? Do you mean caulk?”

    Woman: *turns an alarmingly bright red and stares at him for a few seconds with wide eyes before whispering* “Yes, that.”

    Assistant: *looking amused, but stays professional* “No problem, ma’am, the waterproofing sealant is this way. In fact, we have some products that prevent mildew, so you don’t have to worry about your walls.”

    (They walk off and I giggle to myself. The poor woman, around fifty years old but still too embarrassed to say ‘caulk’!)

    You’ll Pay For That Assumption

    | USA | Money

    (I’m at the end of a transaction with a woman in her late twenties. A prompt comes up on my register saying the customer gets a rebate for something she bought and it gives a choice of how to send the rebate in: through the mail or online.)

    Me: “You have a rebate for the batteries you bought. Would you like to get it through the mail—”

    Customer: *cutting me off* “I don’t want it.”

    Me: “You don’t want the re—”

    Customer:  *cutting me off again* “I don’t want it.”

    (At this point I have to make a selection on the screen so she can get her receipt and leave.)

    Me: “A rebate means you get money back.”

    Customer: “…Oh! I want that.”

    Me: “Figured you would.”

    This Conversation Plunges To Lower Depths

    | Canada | Language & Words

    (A customer comes up to my till with a toilet plunger.)

    Me: “Hello! How’s your day going?”

    Customer: “S***ty. Pun intended.”

    Electric Sense Of Humor

    | IL, USA | Technology

    (I work in the electrical department of a hardware store. I’m a young male with pretty long hair, so sometimes the customers don’t want my help with electrical questions, as they believe me to be too young to know what I’m talking about, even though I also work as an electrician. A middle-aged woman approaches me and impatiently knocks on the desk to get my attention.)

    Woman: “I need help with some wiring my husband is doing at home.”

    Me: “Sure thing. What exactly did you need help with?”

    Woman: “I have some questions.”

    Me: “If you’d like to explain the project to me, I’d be happy to answer any of your questions.”

    Woman: *looks me up and down* “No, I need someone who knows what they’re doing.”

    Me: “I’m certain I can help you if you’d like to explain the problems you’re having.”

    Woman: “No, I’d like you to call somebody else over.”

    Me: *seeing this is going nowhere, I get on the store intercom* “Guest assistance needed at the electrical desk, please. Guest assistance at the electrical desk.” *to woman* “Someone will be right with you.”

    (I go back to reading the Sunday ad while she waits. About 60 seconds later I look up.)

    Me: “Hi there, ma’am. You needed some help in electrical?”

    (The woman just looked at me in astonishment and stormed away.)

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