This Complaint Is Older Than Most Veterans

, , , , , | Right | July 4, 2020

I am a twenty-one-year-old female and I work at a well-known bedding and housewares store. I am working opening shift on July 4th as the main cashier when an older man comes in.

Customer: “Do you have a windshield cleaner with replacement pads?”

Me: “Hmm, we have two kinds in the store. Let me show you the first that’s just up front here!”

I walk out from behind the counter and lead him to where one of the two kinds is hanging. I point to it.

Me: “We have this one here, the [Brand]. Is this it?”

The customer suddenly raises his voice.

Customer: “No! I want a windshield cleaner with replacement pads! That’s not it!”

His volume and tone are making me nervous.

Me: “Okay! Well, we have another type that is further back in the store. Let me call another employee to the front and they can help you find it!”

I walk away and call over the walkie-talkie for another employee. Since I am the main cashier, I have to stay within a certain area near the main registers. I walk back behind the counter just as my coworker comes up. I introduce him to the customer and explain what he is looking for.

Me: “He’s looking for windshield cleaners, and it’s the other one, not [Brand].”

My coworker nods and looks at the man, but he interrupts before my coworker can say anything.

Customer: “I need a windshield cleaner with replacement pads! And not that one on the wall!”

Coworker: “Hmm…”

My coworker walks over to a newly-placed bin with the second kind of windshield cleaner in it. He takes one out and shows it to the customer.

Coworker: “Is this it?”

Customer: “Yeah, I guess so.”

He takes it, my coworker thanks him and walks off. The man approaches the counter I am at in order to pay.

Me: *Smiles sheepishly* “I’m sorry about that, sir! They must have put the bin up yesterday when I wasn’t in and I didn’t get a chance to notice it. It’s crazy how much a store can change when you’re gone, even in such a short time!”

The customer tosses the cleaner on the counter.

Customer: “Yeah, right, you just don’t want to serve veterans! None of you do!”

Me: *Startled* “No, sir! Actually, my dad and grandfather are both vet—”

The customer ignores me and interrupts, leaning on the counter and getting very close to my face.

Customer: “Don’t lie to me! I know the truth!”

He takes out his wallet and begins pulling out a bill. I’m already overly sensitive to loud noises and shouting, and him getting so close only makes the whole situation worse, so I am shaking by this point, but I manage to put on a smile.

Me: “All right, that will be $10.59.”

He pulls out $11.00 and hands it to me, picks up his item, and starts to head toward the exit around the counter. I quickly finish ringing out his order.

Me: “Oh, sir, do you want your change?”

Customer: “Yes.”

He continues walking toward the exit as he holds his hand out toward me. I plop his change into his open hand.

Me: “Have a good day!”

Customer: *Nods* “Have a happy July 4th.”

Me: *Confused* “You, too!”

Customer: “Oh, you’ve already made it better!”

He said it in a genuine tone. Then, he walked out. I was stunned. I fully respect veterans and I entirely understand that July 4th can be a bad day for some of them, as I assume was the case here, but still, this was a startling and bizarre scenario for sure!

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They Also Poisoned The Water Supply And Burned All The Crops!

, , , , , , | Learning | July 4, 2020

I work for a school district. It’s March 13, 2020, when the US is realizing how wide-spread the health crisis is in our country and many places are shutting down. In the middle of the day, I volunteer to man our phones, as half the regular office staff is out sick and the other half needs to eat lunch. I get quick instructions on what to do and am left “running things.”

Halfway through my time there, the big announcement comes out: our school district and the rest of the schools in our county will be closed for six weeks. Then, the governor announces that all schools, even colleges, will close for six weeks. (The closure ends up lasting the rest of the school year.) Many other businesses will be closed, too, as the state enters a prolonged “stay home, stay safe” order.

When the regular office workers got back from lunch, they were stunned to hear the developments. I told them, “See, you leave me in charge for a couple of hours and look what happens!”

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A Most Receptive Receptionist

, , , , , , | Healthy | July 4, 2020

I suffer from recurring bouts of erysipelas and have had it twelve times for the past nine years. Each time, I amass a lot of fluids in my body and gain twenty to twenty-five kilograms in a couple of days, which is great fun. I then work hard to shed the unwanted weight and drop back to the original weight, only to get erysipelas again. It’s rather draining mentally.

The first time I got sick, I didn’t understand what was happening. My legs were so filled with fluid that they stopped working, and it took me four hours to drag myself from the living room out to the phone in the hallway to call for an ambulance. I ended up spending four months isolated in the hospital, and I lost all skin on my right leg, from the hip and all the way down to under my feet and around my toes. Instead, green gunk gushed out from the open wound.

It took me six months before I could walk again and I became a “frequent flyer” at my local health clinic during this time, when I also battled cancer.

About eighteen months ago, it was my best friend’s birthday and I was looking forward to visiting her. When I woke up that morning, I felt unwell, but since I had called out sick the two previous times we were supposed to meet, I didn’t want to disappoint her again. She picked me up, we went to her home, and she gushed over her gifts as I started shaking more and more violently. I fell off my chair as I couldn’t stop shuddering. My friend got this huge blanket and wrapped me in it, but I couldn’t speak as I was shaking too much. She dragged me out to her car and drove me home, where I called the health clinic.

I knew from the shaking and the state of my leg that I had erysipelas again.

I was informed by an automated message that they had filled their daily quota for walk-ins, but I was welcome to try again the next day. I knew it was erysipelas but it also felt different as it was progressing much faster than normal.

I called the national health helpline and talked to a rather snotty lady. She told me to call an ambulance right away.

I refused, as I had had erysipelas eleven times before. I knew that I just needed antibiotics and I would get better in a few days — no need for an ambulance or clogging up the emergency room with something unimportant.

So, barely conscious and shaking violently, I went out into the kitchen and made schnitzels. After all, it was what I had planned to cook that day. They were delicious, but… it was not the most logical action. I was rather delirious, though, which might excuse my lack of logical thinking.

I then called the health clinic again and spoke to the receptionist. I knew I would only need a five-minute appointment to come in, show my glaringly red leg, and get a prescription for antibiotics. Could they possibly squeeze me in?

“Yes, if you can get here at 12:45, we can fit you in.”

“Great! I’ll take the bus in ten minutes, at 12:20. See you!”

By now, my legs were swollen, filled with fluid, and horribly infected, and it was difficult to lift my feet. I used my distance walking sticks as crutches to stumble to the bus stop.

It’s only a three-minute bus ride to the health clinic. 

When I entered the health clinic, the reception was deserted. A woman was seated in the waiting area but not waiting for the receptionist; I don’t know if she was the companion of another patient or waiting for her ride home. I sat down by the receptionist with my identification ready and more or less lost consciousness. I was shaking so badly. After a while, the receptionist returned. I was too ill to notice, but the other woman went up for me.

“You have to see her immediately!” the woman told the receptionist. “She’s really sick.”

She handed over my ID and my wallet to the receptionist, who ran me through the computer, and together they managed to shake some life into me and I managed to hop on my own to the waiting room.

My leg hurt so badly that I couldn’t sit properly, and I had to place it on the table. It was pretty disgusting, but the leg hurt so bad.

The nurse came over and said, “Hi, [My Name]! Oh, my! Wait here!”

She rushed over to the doctor’s office; I could hear her urge him to come out right away.

“Hi, [My Name],” the doctor said. “Wow, you have erysipelas. When did it start?”

“Two hours ago,” I said.

“Two hours? No, that can’t be. Can I check your arm?”

Yeah, of course, he could. I wasn’t going to use it myself, so check away.

“Wait here! There’s no need for any exam or testing.” Off he went for a couple of minutes before he returned, chatting on a cell phone. “It’s urgent! You have to rush!” he begged on the phone. Then, he turned back to me. “Okay, [My Name]. You have erysipelas, which you already know, because you know this disease better than any of us doctors here. But… you’re going into sepsis. In two hours, the sepsis has spread from your calves to your elbows. It’s really, really bad. I’ve called an ambulance.”

The ambulance arrived in less than ten minutes. I was quickly treated at the hospital and made a full recovery.

If the receptionist hadn’t squeezed me in, I would have gone to bed, instead. Considering how fast the sepsis was spreading, the outcome would not have been good. I am eternally grateful for the wonderful treatment I got that day.

Related:
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 3
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 2
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist

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Your Weirdness Is Killing Me

, , , | Right | July 3, 2020

I’ve been a librarian for almost fifteen years and have had some very strange conversations, but this one is high up on the list.

Me: *Answering the phone* “Reference desk, this is [My Name]; how may I help you?”

Caller: “Yeah, hi, did you hear about the murders in [My Town] last night?”

Me: “Yes, I did.”

Caller: “Was it close by? Near the library?”

Me: “Um, not too far away, but not super close. About three miles away.”

Caller: “Well, see, the reason I ask is that I live in [State on the other side of the country] and I was vacationing in [My Town] about ten years ago.”

Me: “Okay?”

Caller: “And I was out driving around and I saw this guy running, like, in a really weird way, you know? He was like all hunched over, almost double, and just running really crazy.”

Me: “Okay?”

Caller: “I think he’s one of the murder victims! Can you find out?”

Me: *Absolutely incredulous* “You want me to find out if some random person you saw running ten years ago was one of the people who was murdered last night?”

Caller: “Yeah!”

I reply as deadpan as I can muster.

Me: “Did you by chance get the man’s name? The man you saw running?”

Caller: “What? No, of course not! I just saw him; I didn’t talk to him.”

Me: “Well, okay, then. The coroner hasn’t released the murder victims’ names yet, anyway, pending notification of next of kin. Without knowing his name—”

Caller: “Oh, but do you think there’ll be pictures?”

Me: “I beg your pardon?”

Caller: “Pictures! When they release the victims’ names, do you think they’ll send out pictures to the media of what they looked like?”

I am seriously creeped out now.

Me: “Maybe? Why don’t you check back in a couple of days?”

Caller: *Very cheerfully* “I sure will! Thanks!”

He hung up, and so did I. My colleague on the desk heard my half of the call and wanted to know the whole story, so I told him.

Coworker: “Wait, what? Why would he think some guy he saw ten years ago is a murder victim?”

Me: “I don’t know, and honestly, I don’t want to know. I’m taking a break.”

So. Weird.

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I Have To Beat You There, Pedestrians Be Darned!

, , , , , | Friendly | July 3, 2020

I’m driving through a street with a large school that has a kindergarten, a primary school, and middle school. I’ve timed my passage unluckily as school is starting again.

There are several crossings and the smaller children are very good at using them. Not so the middle school children who cross on a whim, not caring if they are going straight or not, except for the beeline they are making to their friends. Due to this, I’m driving cautiously and just below the speed limit of thirty km/h, occasionally slowing down even more to avoid an impact. I would hate to be the cause for a parent hearing that his or her child is not coming home that day.

This is not to the liking of the driver in the next car, and he employs various tactics in order to get me to speed up, including flicking his lights and honking when I slow down for a crossing or for a pedestrian crossing. I only notice him flicking his lights because he is making a sideways maneuver in an attempt to overtake me; he is that close. So now, I need to have eyes in my back, as well, resigning to the fact that if I need to make a full stop, he is in all likelihood going to hit me.  

I make it through safely and at the traffic lights, he finally gets his chance to overtake me, giving me a one-finger salute and some other gestures and facial expressions expressing his rage.

The kicker? He had two primary school-aged children in the back seat.

For their sake, I hope they made it safely to their destination and that they meet drivers more considerate than their dad when using the crossings.

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