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If You’re Looking For Sympathy, You’ll Get Crickets

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: 03throwaway03 | December 11, 2020

As I teen, I work in a chain retail pet store. It isn’t a bad gig, but this particular Saturday is h***.

It is summer. We are all near a bunch of front windows during the time of day sun is shining right on them, so everyone is hot.

To make it worse, for some reason, our credit card machines all decide to malfunction. The thing is, they are not offline, but for some reason, it is taking three to four minutes for each transaction to go through. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but in an eight-person line, that gets real old, real fast.

We have four registers, all with that issue. I suggest — yay, management, for actually listening! — that we have a cash-only line. We have no signage, as this isn’t normal, so I tape big hand-written signs all around my register, and we even tape one to the front door telling people about our issues.

So, yeah, it’s a mess — lots of complaints, general grumbling, etc.

I don’t have it too bad until this woman comes up to my register.

She places her one item on the counter. It’s a bag of crickets for food. The bag has “18” written on it, indicating what the charge should be.

The first words out of her mouth:

Customer: “I hope I got eighteen crickets, because that fat cow you have working in the reptile department didn’t look like she knew what she was doing.”

Full stop. I’ve known that employee for about a year. We’re not friends, but friendly, and she for sure takes her job seriously.

It has been a long day and I’ve seen so many of my coworkers taking abuse already that I kind of snap.

As this woman is the only one in line, I put on my best customer service smile.

Me: “Well, let’s make sure, then.”

I have a small bag I front of me. I lean down and start counting.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to count how many bugs there are in a small area when they are all jumping around?

This goes on for maybe… three minutes or so. Finally, the woman sighs.

Customer: “Okay, fine, I don’t care.”

Fortunately, I have actually just finished the count.

Me: “Well ma’am it seems you have nineteen crickets in here.”

She rolls her eyes. It’s only seven cents.

Customer: *Grumbling* “Fine.”

At least she isn’t petty enough to try to demand a free cricket.

But then, she pulls out her credit card! I giggle internally.

My lane is the only one without a line. The woman beelined to it without reading the six signs I had plastered all over my lane about cash-only.

Me: “Sorry, ma’am, you’re going to have to go to another lane. This is cash-only due to our credit machine issues.”

Customer: *Sputters* “But…”

She keeps sputtering, looking at the other lines, mostly seven to ten people long. There is no one behind her on my line.

Customer: “I’m not holding anyone up!”

Me: “Not now, but if someone comes up, you would be.”

She grabs the bag angrily and wanders to one of the other lines.

I got busy again, so I didn’t see her check out, but I asked my coworker about it later. He said he remembered her, and she didn’t say anything, but she did pay for her extra cricket.

The thing is, I did make an exception or two throughout the day when my line was empty, and someone had a single item and legitimately apologized for not seeing the signs. People get tunnel vision in stores; I get it. But if she had just not said, “Fat cow,” she would have been out of the store forty minutes sooner and seven cents richer.