Category: Military

A War Veteran Ally

| PA, USA | At The Checkout, Military, Spouses & Partners

(We have a regular customer who is a WW II veteran, at least 90-years-old, and lives alone. He prides himself on being cantankerous. I always make an effort to be nice to him so that he’ll have no excuse for throwing his food on the belt, insulting us, etc. I’m a young woman, and I wear a LGBT-rainbow bracelet to work.)

Me: *while ringing up items* “Good morning, sir. How are you today?”

Customer: “You’re nice to me. Most people aren’t, you know.”

Me: “Well, you served our country. That seems a pretty good reason to be nice to you. Alrighty, sir, your total today is $13.95.”

Customer: “Good. I’ve got enough left over to take you out to lunch.”

Me: “You’ll have to check with my girlfriend on that.”

Customer: *as he pulls out money* “Are you lookin’? Don’t look!”

(This is a regular thing with him. I just smile and look away, holding out my hand for the money. My bracelet is in plain sight.)

Customer: “I don’t like a suspicious woman!”

Me: *deliberately, but lightly* “Neither does my girlfriend. Good thing I’ve been faithful to her the whole two years we’ve been together.”

(Customer finishes handing me the money.  I ring him up, then give him the change and the receipt. My bagger is stifling laughter.)

Customer: “You know I’m only gonna get worse if you let me.”

Me: “I’ll let my girlfriend know, but I think you’re pretty harmless.”

Customer: “And I think you’re pretty, especially when you smile.”

Me: “Thank you. I’ll have to tell my girlfriend that! You have a good day, sir.”

Customer: “Don’t tell me what to do!” *grins and scooters off*

Bagger: “I don’t think he gets it.”

Me: “He treated me exactly the same as he would if I’d mentioned a boyfriend. Who knows, maybe he’s an LGBT ally!”

Making A Bad Impression

, | Japan | Crazy Requests, Military, Politics

(I am the operations manager of an overseas military TV and radio station. In place of regular commercials, we run locally-made information spots. We get feedback through an email system, mostly complaints about stuff out of our control, such as TV shows and music selections. A few months ago, we got an email from an irate listener complaining about a radio spot advertising the base library, where one of the producers did an imitation of former President George W. Bush. He was livid about the disrespect to our former Commander-In-Chief. I responded professionally, explaining we often use humor in our spots to make the information memorable, and the impression was fairly innocuous. He kept emailing back more irate, insulting military broadcasters, questioning our patriotism, accusing us of communism, etc. Finally, he came to our station to personally confront me. The following exchange occurred in our lobby.)

Irate Marine: “Your excuses are just that! The ‘humor’ of that imitation is offensive and disrespectful! How dare you demean the former president!”

Me: “Well, he didn’t seem to think so.”

Irate Marine: “… What?”

Me: *points to framed picture on the wall* “See that?”

(It’s George W. Bush in our production room laughing with a young Marine.)

Irate Marine: “He came here?”

Me: “Years ago, I’m told. See that Marine in the photo? He’s the one who voiced and produced that spot. That photo was taken while he was playing the commercial for The President. He apparently has a better sense of humor about himself than you do.”

Irate Marine: *walks out the door, mumbling* “Well, it’s STILL disrespectful!”

Soldiering Through Bad Customers

| Westminster, CA, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Workers, Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Military

(I used to work full time at a large retail clothing store. I am now in the military and when I take leave, I come back and often work a few days during a week.  A man and wife come up to the register.)

Me: “How’s your day going? Did anyone help you find everything?”

(I always ask because I don’t really have a quota I need to meet.)

Husband: “Oh, it’s going. No one helped, but we found everything easily.”

Me: “Sorry about that. Glad you found everything, though.”

Wife: “Do you make commission?”

Me: “Nope! But most of the employees have sales quotas they have to meet.”

Wife: “You don’t?”

Me: “No, I’m part time. I actually have other goals in mind.”

(The husband half laughs at this point and looks right at me.)

Husband: “Oh, do you actually have high dreams for yourself?”

(His wife chuckles, so I straighten up, stop scanning things, pull out my secondary wallet carrying my military ID, with ‘specialist’ listed as the rank and my military police badge and slam it on the table.)

Me: “Actually, I’m in the Army. I am here on leave and I can’t stand to just sit around. My family is working, so a few days each time I’m back I come here to work. I have been on details I’m not allowed to discuss and you will never learn about from the news.”

(The husband literally looks straight down and slinks a little.)

Me: “Not to mention while I’m doing this, I’m about a year and half into my bachelors of science in criminology. But, hey…” *I go back to scanning his items and putting away my wallet* “…it must be extremely nice for someone like you to enjoy being here so casually thanks to people like me.”

(During the rest of the time I scan the items, neither person says a word.)

Me: “That will be [price]. We can do any credit card or cash.”

(The husband says nothing and simply hands me his card politely.)

Me: “All right, here you go! Continue to enjoy the rest of your day!”

Husband: *in a hushed voice* “Thank you…”

Me: “You’re WELCOME. For everything.”

(I continue with the polite tone and smiling, and then call up the next customer.)

Next Customer: “THANK YOU!”

(The customer shakes my hand and we talk about his time in the Marines during Vietnam. I made sure to give him the 10% military discount.)