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We’d Rather Face Diva Starlets

, , , , | Right | December 2, 2022

I’m twenty-three, and I’m currently a production assistant (PA) for a TV show. This means that I do everything asked of me, and a lot of times, that means grocery shopping for the office.

I’m an office PA, so I dress a tiny bit nicer than if I was running around on set. Today’s outfit is a collared button-down, jeans, an old Star Wars pullover sweater because it is chilly, and a lanyard with my lot badge around my neck. My boss sends me to a grocery store and hands me a list of hyper-specific salads, wraps, and other goodies for the office staff to eat.

Boss: “The salads with later expiration dates are way in the back; make sure you grab those.”

Like a good PA, I nod and dash out to my car to head to [Grocery Store].

Once in the store, I pop in my earbuds to listen to a podcast while shopping and start hunting for these hyper-specific items. I have a list in my hand, I am crouched down, and I am sticking my arm way back under the shelves to grab the salads with the further-out expiration dates when a nice lady approaches me and asks if I work there.

Me: “No, sorry.”

Lady #1: *Politely* “Oh, I’m sorry. I wasn’t sure, but it kind of looked like you were stocking and moving things around.”

Me: “No worries!”

She heads on her way.

A couple of seconds later, as I’m loading Extremely Specific Salads with Extremely Specific Dates on them into my cart, an older confused gentleman approaches and asks if I know where some greens are.

Me: “No, sorry. I don’t work here.”

Gentleman: “Oh, I thought you just helped her.”

The nice lady is still nearby and jumps to help both of us.

Lady #1: “Nope! I asked him if he worked here; he doesn’t.”

The gentleman looks like he doesn’t believe me and looks at my cart.

Me: “I’m a PA on a nearby studio lot, and I’m just shopping for work.”

He seems to finally understand, but then he turns to the nice lady to ask her if she knows where his greens are.

I laugh and continue on my way, earbuds in my ears, when I hear over the din of my podcast:

Lady #2: “HEY! YOU! EXCUSE ME!”

I look up from my shopping list.

Lady #2: “Where’re the eggrolls?”

No “hello,” no “do you work here?” Nothing. Just pure entitlement.

Me: “I don’t work here.”

Lady #2: “Yes, you do! I just saw you help those people.”

Me: “Nope, they also asked if I work here, and I told them no.”

Lady #2: “You look like you work here. Where’re the eggrolls?”

She is blocking my cart at this point.

Me: “I don’t work here, so I don’t know. Sorry.”

I don’t know if this woman doesn’t believe me, isn’t listening, or just straight-up wants to waste my and her time, but she once again asks me about her gosh dang eggrolls, and the “I don’t know” exchange repeats.

Finally, she starts getting mad. I think she is going to ask for my manager, but instead, she literally STOMPS her foot.

Lady #2: “Why do you look like you work here if you don’t work here?! You’re wearing a badge!”

I want to ask, “What about a ‘Star Wars’ hoodie, ‘Critical Role’ lanyard, and a WORK BADGE FOR THE TV STUDIO DOWN THE STREET scream, ‘I work at [Grocery Store]?’” but I don’t. I am too dumbfounded.

Me: “I’m a PA… I am working… but not here.”

Finally, an employee comes down the aisle and she sets her sights on him.

Lady #2: “DO YOU WORK HERE?”

…she asks the guy wearing a [Grocery Store] tee shirt, pushing a backroom stock cart of boxes, and wearing a name tag. He nods and the lady once again points at me.

Lady #2: “You shouldn’t let people in here who look like they work here if they don’t work here!”

This poor employee and I shared the pained, dead-inside look of two people who have to work with the public. I hope my look came across as apologetic as I felt, but I used this chance to escape and finish up my shopping as quickly as I could.

In my line of work, I’m no stranger to very dumb questions and being yelled at, but entitled jerks like this make me want to tuck tail and run.

I missed a few items off the shopping list and will probably be sent back to [Grocery Store] before this work day is done, but I’ll be sure to Not Look Like I Work There for any future visits.

[Lady #2], wherever you are, I hope you never found your eggrolls.

A Promising Management Strategy

, , , , | Working | December 1, 2022

I briefly worked for an internal call center for a software development company. It was mildly frustrating dealing with both incoming calls and outgoing follow-ups, and the commute was terrible, but the business hours, pay, and eventual benefits were decent for what the work was, if less than enough to cover the cost of living as well as the commute. What actually sold me was the fact that they were opening up a new location all of ten minutes from my house, and I was verbally guaranteed to get assigned to it when it went live three months later.

Unfortunately, just shy of two months after starting, I get called into a meeting with the department head.

Department Head: “So, I’ve got some bad news, but let me start by saying you’ve been doing absolutely wonderful and have exceeded all your marks so far, and everyone loves having you around.”

Me: “I sense a ‘but’ looming on the horizon.”

Department Head: “Heh, indeed. But… the group we were going to be leasing our new office from backed out on the deal. I don’t have all the details, which is why I haven’t made an official email to everyone yet, but I wanted to talk to you first. I know you said the only reason you were able to work through this was anticipating the new office.”

Me: “Yyyyeah. No offense to you or the company, but between gas and tolls, the commute eats up way too much of the paycheck, and it’s way too long a drive for me that early in the morning long-term.”

Department Head: “Totally understandable. I already talked with Human Resources, and we came up with two solutions: first would be a fifty-cent-an-hour raise effective immediately, if you could stay.”

Me: “Unfortunately, that’s not enough to cover everything.”

Department Head: “In that case, rather than making you quit, we can work out a deal where we let you go in a way that you’re still qualified for the unemployment you were on before.”

Me: “Oh, really? That’s… unexpectedly generous. You’re sure there won’t be any repercussions for me?”

Department Head: “Positive. [HR Representative] will have all the details — she’ll talk with you tomorrow — but the verbiage was something along the lines of ‘no-fault economic difficulties’. Can we at least contact you to see if you’ll still be available should we get another office up and running in your area?”

Me: “Absolutely. Thank you for actually taking the time to talk through this with me.”

I worked through the rest of the week, and the department head bought lunch for me and a couple of others in the same boat on the last day. Sure enough, unemployment did kick back in right away.

Nine months later, I got an email back from [HR Representative] there, offering to take me back in at full-time with the offered increase at a new facility. Unfortunately for them, I had already gotten another, much better-paying job in the interim, but it was still nice to see they actually kept their promises when they could.

When You’ve Got Bagging In The Bag

, , , , , | Right | December 2, 2022

My first official job was at a grocery store, bagging groceries. I worked the job for about a year and a half, and after that amount of time, you get really good at bagging groceries and you never forget how, kind of like riding a bike.

Fast forward twenty-five years. I’m at the local grocery store I usually visit. This grocery store chain is one where you bag your own groceries. I’m very particular with how I place my items on the belt for the cashier to ring things up; this way, the items come down the next belt so I can easily bag my groceries.

I finish unloading my groceries on the first belt, and the cashier has been ringing things up at the same time, so there’s a small pile of groceries (cans, boxed goods, and such) building up at the end of the other belt.

I make my way to the end so I can start bagging groceries. Across from me is the previous customer. She’s still slowly working on bagging up her groceries and standing next to her is her daughter who looks to be about five or six years old.

I line up a couple of empty paper bags and open up the plastic bag next to me for frozen items that will be coming down the belt soon. I start grabbing cans and boxes and whipping them into the bag with my right hand and catching them with my left and stacking.

After about ten seconds, I’ve got my first bag filled and moved into my cart, so I start on the second bag.

Small Girl: “Wow! Mom, look at him go! You should race him.”

Her mom laughs.

Mom: “I don’t think I’d do very well against him; he’s pretty fast at it.”

I look up from what I am doing and give the girl a smile.

Me: “I don’t think it would be fair. I worked bagging groceries for my first job, and I got really good at it.”

Small Girl: “I guess. But you’re so much faster than Mom. She’s slow with bagging. Can you bag our stuff when you’re done with yours?”

Mom: *Speaking to her daughter* “Slow and steady works for me, and we’re almost done. He’s got his own groceries to bag and doesn’t need us getting in his way to slow him down.”

Small Girl: “But, he’s almost done bagging and he has more groceries than us!”

I finish up bagging my groceries, pay, and wave to the small girl as I’m leaving. The mom and her kid are putting the last few items in their cart as I walk by. As I’m walking away, I hear the small girl talking to her mom.

Small Girl: “He beat you and you even started first! You need to get a job bagging groceries!”

Don’t Give Them An Opening

, , , , , , | Right | December 1, 2022

I work in a small store in a mall that requires minimal setup. Therefore, when my manager and I open the store, we usually only need to show up a few minutes before opening time.

Customer: “I came in yesterday, and you opened ten minutes late!”

Me: “Sorry, ma’am. The mall had a security alarm yesterday around opening time, so no one could enter the mall until security cleared the area.”

Customer: “Stop making excuses! If I was able to be out front of your store before you opened, you should have been, too!”

Me: “Wait, if you were outside our store before it opened, then you were in the mall before it opened, too.”

Customer: “The front doors were locked, so I used a side entrance. Very inconvenient!”

I think I know why the security alarm went off…

Screaming And Threats, Because That ALWAYS Works

, , , , , , , | Right | December 1, 2022

I work in customer service and handle all the returns. One slow night, a woman comes in to return a 13″ MacBook Pro. Normally, returning laptops isn’t a big deal as long as they’re within the return policy of thirty days. While making the usual small talk, I glance at her receipt and see that she bought it about a month and a half ago. Okay, now we can only return or exchange it if there’s something defective with it.

Me: “I’ll put in the register that it’s defective and see if the system will let me return it; some companies make us send their products to the service center before they’ll authorize the return.”

As soon as I say this to her, she starts freaking out.

Customer: “You mean I won’t be able to exchange this right now?!”

Me: “I don’t think so, ma’am. What’s wrong with it, exactly?”

Customer: “I got a link in an email that went to a website where some really mean-looking guy’s face took over my screen and started saying satanic messages, and now my computer is acting all funny, so he must have given me a bug!”

I assure her that that’s very unlikely while browsing around on her computer, which is working fine. She starts yelling.

Customer: “But that’s what happened! How dare you call me a liar?! I have to have this laptop for work to access my work email! This defect is already costing me money!”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that, ma’am, but as your computer is outside the return policy, we can’t return it.”

Customer: “SO, I MIGHT AS WELL SMASH THIS COMPUTER TO PIECES ON YOUR COUNTER?!”

Me: “It’s well within your right to do so, but then you definitely won’t get your money back.”

She just stares at me. I finish putting it into our system, and lo and behold, it won’t let us return it without sending it to our service center first. Cue epic freakout. I call my supervisor over while this woman starts crying hysterically about how this isn’t her fault, she just wants her money back, that scary mean face gave her a bug, we’re so evil, etc.

The general manager of the store comes and takes over, along with the supervisor of tech support. They both examine the laptop and determine that there’s nothing obviously wrong with it and tell the woman the same thing: we have to send it to service before we can exchange it.

She starts SCREAMING at the top of her lungs.

Customer: “This is bulls***! You’re f****** me over! You’re not giving me any f****** choice here!”

Customers were now wandering up from the very back of the store to see WTF was going on. The woman screamed something about threatening us with a gun, which is when my general manager motioned to the supervisor to call the cops. Being that this is Montana, there was a good chance that she DID have a gun — or at least easy access to one. She kept screaming obscenities at the top of her lungs and added in that she had cancer and we were killing her.

The cops showed up, patted her down, and hauled her away.