Family Business

, , , , , | Related | September 27, 2017

Friends, relatives, and being a store employee do not mix. Everyone is friendly when things are going well, but the first time you’re out of an item, those closest to you become horrors.

I work in a farm store. One day, a fairly distant relative of mine stopped by with her elderly father, intent on purchasing a tiller to go on the back of his tractor. I greeted them extra-warmly and gave him my discount, which I’m not even supposed to do for extended family, based on the store rules. Everything went fine until I accompanied them to the front parking lot to assist in loading.

These implements come in wood crates. Typically, we unlock the item and then use a forklift to load said item into the back of a pickup or onto the bed of a trailer. Liability prevents us from helping the customer tie the item down or handle it in any other fashion. Most of the time this is no issue and both parties leave happy.

Back to our situation: We were barely out of the building when I noticed they had driven the actual tractor to the store, and fully intended to hook the tiller on and haul it home that way. I shouldn’t have even offered to un-crate the item, but did because after all, they were family. I did, however, tell them that I cannot help hook the tiller up to the tractor. The relative’s father would have to do it on his own. That’s when all hell broke loose. Once the old man got wind of this, he let loose with a string of obscenities that would have made a sailor blush.

Being confronted with such rudeness made me want to bend the rules for them even less, so I stood my ground and told him that our insurance carrier would not be pleased if I (or he) was injured due to an accident hooking the item up. His daughter stood silently as he rained F-bombs on me, referring to me as “stacked s***” and other cute terms of endearment, offering nothing in the form of an explanation or apology for his actions. To make a long story a little shorter, he begrudgingly pinned the tiller to his tractor himself, cursing me out the entire time, and then recklessly drove out of the parking lot as fast as he could go, barely missing other patrons’ vehicles.

A few weeks later, his daughter came in the store by herself. As luck would have it, I was running register and she ended up in my lane. I did my best to make small talk. God only knows why she thought I would care, but she brought up her father. I know I shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t resist. I said, “Oh, by the way, how is he doing? In good health?” She looked at me strangely and said that yes, he was okay. I responded with, “Oh, I’m terribly sorry to hear that; hopefully things will turn around soon. Have a nice day!” She gave me a blank stare and then walked out quietly.

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