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Category: Holidays

Even during the holidays, customers don’t seem to take a break. With that many extra light-bulbs around you’d think a few extra would appear above their heads?

In The Market For Some Christmas Cheer

| London, England, UK | Holidays, Theme Of The Month

(I’m a cashier in the food hall. We’ve been busy with older customers as it’s the last ‘pension day’ before Christmas. A husband and wife come and stand close to my till. The husband begins cherry picking older customers, those with ‘lonely’ looking trolleys, and directing them to my till.)

Wife: *to first customer* “Merry Christmas!”

Customer: *huge smile* “Merry Christmas!”

Wife: “I hope you won’t be offended, but my husband and I would like to pay for your shopping.”

(The customer is stunned and can only stammer a thank you. The wife helps pack the shopping and pays on her card. They stand in the store for almost two hours and must have paid for about thirty people’s shopping. They chat with everyone and even hug people who ask! Watching customers leave with big smiles on their faces made me tear up more than once. My manager came over before they left to thank them for their generosity.)

Manager: “I have to ask, why do you feel the need to do such a thing?”

Husband: “When you give money to charity, you never know where it’s going. This way we know we’re helping the people who need it most.”

(Before they left they bought a case of wine which they left behind for the employees. From everyone they helped, and from all my colleagues, I’d like to say a massive thank you!)

Santa’s Little Helper

| Nashville, TN, USA | Holidays, Theme Of The Month

(I am working as a cashier at a bookstore two weeks before Christmas. The customer I am helping is an older, portly man with a white beard and hair. He’s wearing jeans with a red sweater and white suspenders. He even has on red sneakers. There’s no getting around it: he looks like Santa on his day off. As I’m checking out his purchases, I notice that behind him in line there is a little girl tugging her mother’s pant leg and whispering furiously to her. I finished helping the older man with his purchases and wish him a happy holiday, then turn to the mother and daughter to help them with theirs. As the mother sets her books down on the counter, she turns to her daughter.)

Mother: “It’s okay, honey. You can go ask him.”

(The little girl approaches the man as he and his wife are preparing to leave, and taps on his leg to get his attention. He turns and looks at her.)

Customer: “Yes, dear?”

Little Girl: “Excuse me, sir…” *she looks back at her mother shyly, who encourages her, then turns back, whispering* “…are you Santa?”

Customer: *smiling and whispering back* “Yes, I am.”

Little Girl: “Really?”

(The customer beckons his wife over, who approaches with a smile and reaches into her purse, handing him something, which he then presents to the little girl: a candy cane. This seems to convince her, and she and “Santa” chat for a little bit while his wife talks to her mother and me.)

Customer’s Wife: “All the kids ask him that, and he loves how happy it makes them when he says yes. That’s when he got the idea to carry around the candy canes and dress in red. This is his favorite time of year.”

(“Santa” and his new friend finish their conversation and join the rest of us at the counter as I am finishing ringing up the little girl’s mother.)

Me: *to “Santa”* “You’re awesome.”

(I got a candy cane, too! Merry Christmas!)

The Power Of The Holiday Season

| NH, USA | Holidays, Theme Of The Month

(I work for a large, popular coffee shop chain and it is four days before Christmas. A wind storm has caused all but our emergency power to go out, and we only have a few lights, one computer, and one espresso machine working. Our district manager refuses to authorize a complete shutdown until the final machines die, so we are still taking customers. Our store is very dark and oddly quiet due to the lack of music and refrigerator exhaust.)

Customer: “I’ll have a venti nonfat latte and a bacon breakfast sandwich.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. We can still make the drink, but our oven is not working at the moment, so we can’t heat up a sandwich for you.”

Customer: “Oh. Okay. Well, the latte then. Can you also grind this coffee for a French press?” *places a pound of our company’s holiday coffee on the counter*

Me: “I’m afraid our grinder is out of commission as well right now. We have pre-ground bags of that coffee available on sale today, but the grind is intended for an electric coffee maker, not a French press.”

Customer: *getting annoyed* “Okay…” *grabs a gift card from our impulse display* “Can you put $15 on this and give me an envelope?”

(I scan the card and give it back to her.)

Me: “Be sure to hold onto the receipt for that. Our system is partially down and while I’m not anticipating it, there’s a small chance that the activation might not go through right away.”

Customer: *fully angry now* “Why are you being so god-d*** unhelpful today? It’s four days before Christmas! You people should have been prepared for a large amount of customers!”

Me: *very calmly* “Ma’am, we were prepared for a lot of customers. What we weren’t prepared for was a wind storm strong enough to knock out our power. That’s why our oven, grinder, and computers aren’t working to their normal capacity.”

(The woman blinks and looks around, as if she’s only now just noticing the building’s darkness and eerie silence.)

Customer: “Oh, wow. I didn’t even notice.”

Me: *trying to smile as I hand her the latte* “We’re working with what we have for now.”

Customer: “You have no business being open if you can’t take care of people!” *flounces off*

Me: “Merry Christmas!”

(Thank goodness we got the call to shut down only a few minutes later, but those few minutes involved several more people who could not comprehend that we couldn’t do much for them.)