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His Walking Issues Are Just “Visiting”

, , , | Right | March 7, 2021

I work in a company with two offices: a visitor office and an administration office. We are not supposed to help clients in our administration office, but we can decide otherwise if we think it’s the best thing to do.

In the past, I helped a man who was walking with difficulty, but I told him he had to go to the visitor office next time. I made it very clear that this was an exception and I wouldn’t be able to help him next time.

Months later, the man returns. He walks with difficulty once more, very slowly and needing to lean on everything he comes across.

Client: “I need a copy of [document].”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I can’t give you that. You need to go to the visitor office.”

Client: “But I need this document.”

Me: “I know, but you can pick it up at the visitor office or call customer service. I told you this last time.”

Client: “But you can use your computer.”

Me: “No, sir, I can’t. I told you last time that I can get fired over this. Please go to the visitor office.”

The client shuffles on, but strangely enough, he goes to the side of my desk and leers into the space behind our glass door. I have a feeling he wants to bolt for it as soon as it opens. I know he’s slow, but I just have an eerie feeling. 

Me: “Sir, please go to our visitor office. Or call our customer service; here is the number.”

The client finally shuffled to the exit. What he didn’t know is that we have cameras there. He suddenly stood up straight, took big passes to his bike, jumped on top of it, and left the premises. 

A miraculous recovery!

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A Classical Dad Gripe

, , , , | Related | March 7, 2021

When I am growing up, my dad is a big lover of classical music. One year, my dad announces that we are going to visit a friend’s house because they are going to be watching the last night of the Proms. For those who are unfamiliar, the Proms are a series of classic musical concerts held during the summertime in the UK. The last night is usually the biggest one and is always broadcast live on TV.

I assume that the parents will watch this and the children will be allowed to play and watch TV in the other room. No such luck. When they are due to begin, our fathers demand that we come and watch; we tell them that we would rather watch [Popular TV Show] in the other room but they insist. Pretty soon into this concert, we’re massively bored and want to leave.

My dad looks over and sees the kids looking less than enthused and immediately gets frustrated.

Dad: “What’s wrong with you? Why are you not paying attention?”

Me: “Dad, this is boring! Why can’t we go to the other room?”

My dad’s friend immediately shoots his head around and looks very offended. 

Dad’s Friend: “For goodness’ sake! There’s beautiful music playing; just sit and appreciate it!”

Friend’s Daughter: “But it’s just people playing music. We don’t want to watch this. Why can’t we go and watch [Popular TV Show]?”

Dad’s Friend: “I would’ve killed to watch stuff like this as a kid. You should be more grateful!”

Friend’s Daughter: “You must’ve been a boring kid then!”

Friend’s Wife: “[Dad’s Friend], maybe we should let them go and do something else. Clearly, they’re not enjoying this!”

Dad: *Looking at us* “A LITTLE CULTURE ISN’T GOING TO HURT YOU! BE QUIET!”

Mum: “[Dad], calm down. Look, she’s right. This really isn’t something for little children.”

Dad: “NO! YOU WILL SIT THERE, WATCH IT, AND BELT UP!”

So, we were forced to sit there for what felt like forever. Our dads enthusiastically applauded at the end of each number while the kids sat there bored out of our skulls. My dad shooting me nasty looks because I wasn’t applauding. Any time the kids tried speaking to each other, we got loudly shushed. Overall, it was a miserable evening.

On the way home, my dad grumbled about how “ungrateful” I was and how I had embarrassed him. Thankfully, my mum shot him down quickly, asking what the h*** he expected, forcing children to watch classical music, and telling him that he shouldn’t have been such a rude, stubborn idiot! He never tried to make us watch the Proms again after, and to this day, I’ve still no idea why both of them were so insistent about it.

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Calling Your Invisible Bluff

, , , , | Friendly | March 7, 2021

I’m a nanny and I’m taking my charge to her basketball game, played at the local elementary school. Even though we get there early, the parking lot is packed, so we find street parking a block or two away and walk to the school. As we near the gym, I notice one of her teammates arriving with her dad, parking in the last open spot, right by the gym — one reserved for people with disabilities. The car has no disabled parking license plates or tag on the rearview mirror.

I know invisible disabilities exist, and it’s possible the dad has a heart condition or something that prevents him from walking a long distance. But I find it odd that he has no tags for parking there in that last open spot of the lot, so I call out to him.

Me: “You forgot to put up your disabled parking pass. My mother-in-law got a big ticket when she forgot.”

She had taken my disabled nephew to a park, and she got the ticket dismissed after showing the parking pass.

The dad didn’t say anything to me but said something to his daughter, and she went into the gym on her own while he got back in the car and drove off to park elsewhere.

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The Soy Saga Of The Mocha Guy

, , , , | Right | March 7, 2021

This story takes place over the course of most of a year at the coffee shop at my university. I work the most shifts there, partially because I am taking fewer courses than some of the other staff — all of us were students — and partially because I am always up for an extra buck.

Being a university coffee shop, we have a ton of regulars with easily predictable schedules; nearly everyone is a student, professor, or other university staff. I get to the point where I know probably a good 60 or 70% of the morning rush customers by face and order, if not by name.

I’m on the afternoon shift when a fellow I don’t recognise comes in.

Customer: “I’ll have my usual.”

Me: “Sorry, I don’t think I’ve served you before; what’s your usual?”

Customer: “You know, my usual. I have it every time I’m here.”

I look to my coworker to see if she knows his order, and she just shrugs. 

Me: “I guess we’ve never managed to be here when you’ve ordered before. Could you just let me know, and we’ll try to remember for next time?”

He seems a bit put out that we don’t know his order.

Customer: “It’s a large mocha, extra sweet, with a shot of vanilla, hazelnut, and coconut.”

Me: “All right, that’ll be [amount].”

My coworker is already working on a couple of drinks for another customer, and we don’t have a queue, so I head over to make it. Just as I’m steaming the milk, he speaks up.

Customer: “Oh, and that’s with soy, by the way.”

I put down the 2% and go get our soy jug. By the time I put the double amount of chocolate syrup for the extra sweet, the three shots of syrups, and the two shots of espresso, the cup is about two-thirds full. It smells absolutely rank, but whatever; it’s what he ordered and paid for!

I hand the drink out to him and turn to serve another customer who’s just turned up. He then stands there for a good five or ten minutes trying to chat with my coworker and me, as we’re trying to serve the late afternoon rush that’s just started. Finally, he leaves and I think that’s that. 

He does turn out to actually be a regular customer, and he does always order his usual. Well. Sort of.

I have a bit of a spotty memory, so while I can remember “large soy mocha, extra sweet, three shots of syrup,” I can’t always pull to mind which shots those were. Every time I ask him, I get a different set of flavours. (I’m pretty sure he can’t remember, either.) And he always comes in just before the afternoon rush, and he always tries to chat with us as though there is no one else we need to serve.

My coffee shop is right next to the part of the university that gets used for graduation ceremonies. Twice a year, we get SLAMMED with all the families there to see their kids graduate, as well as all our regular customers. Management has come up with a pretty brilliant plan: we set up a side section in our normal seating area with a cash-only till and our plain drip coffee urns, tea, and pastries. That way, the regulars who just want a plain coffee and a croissant and know the exact price can pop over to the other line and be out in a few moments, rather than waiting in the line with all the parents and grannies and cousins from out of town who all have to pay on card and have orders for the whole family of like six or seven drinks.

This works pretty well for us. I frequently volunteered to work the cash line because I’ve memorised the cost of large coffee and pastry and can get people out of there quickly.

It is June of 2011 and Vancouver loses the final game of the Stanley Cup playoffs to the Boston Bruins, on home ice. The city goes nuts, and we have the Vancouver Hockey Riot. I stay in that night and watch the game on TV, and I read about the riot the next morning in the news. This just so happens to be the week of our graduation ceremonies.

I end up on the cash line again, and whenever I get a slow moment with a regular, we end up chatting about the riot, because, uh, what the heck?! Most of us are just embarrassed by it, and some folks have stories from friends of friends who were out there. Pretty normal customer service conversation. Then comes the regular.

He looks at the long queue for speciality coffees and comes over to me.

Me: “Hey, not having your mocha today? Just so you know, it’s cash-only over here.”

Customer: “Nah, I’ll just have a large coffee.”

Me: “Cool, that’s [amount].”

As he’s pouring his coffee, there are no other customers in my line.

Me: “Crazy thing last night, after the game, huh?”

Customer: “Oh, yeah, real wild. But really, I’m not surprised.”

I am suddenly very tense.

Me: “Oh?”

Customer: “Oh, yeah, all hockey fans are violent.”

Me: “Uh, woah, now. Hey, I like hockey, and I’m not violent!”

Customer: “Oh, well. Most of them are.”

Me: “Well, what about that guy who got put in hospital trying to help out?”

Customer: “He should have tried harder.”

Me: “What, so you think everyone who was there should have been putting themselves in danger to stop the riot just to prove they aren’t violent people?”

Customer: “Yeah.”

Me: “There were folks out there with little kids! Come on, man. Clearly, there were some people who just wanted a fight, but you can’t just label all hockey fans violent.”

Customer: “Well, if they weren’t violent, they would have stopped it.”

I realise I’m not going to win this one, and I am unwilling to have a proper fight about it with a customer.

Me: “Well, I gotta go refill this pot of coffee. You have a good day.”

I tell this story to my coworkers.

Coworker: “Okay, we thought he was just kind of awkward and a bit of a weird guy, but this is just rude.”

We’re now all a bit on edge with him whenever he orders, worried he’s gonna say something super rude that we have to try to roll with.

A few months pass, and we’re now in September. We have a hometown hero in my neck of the woods: Terry Fox, a young guy who lost a leg to cancer, who decided in 1980 to run across Canada to raise money for Cancer Research. He never finished the run, due to the cancer spreading, and now every year schools across Canada do a campus run to raise money.

Terry Fox went to my university before his run, so we make a pretty big deal of it. As you can imagine, on the day of the run, the topic of conversation with the customers is, “Oh, hey, you doing the run today?”

Enter the regular:

Me: *As I’m making his drink* “So, you doing the run this afternoon, man?”

Customer: “Nah, it’s just raising money for a dead guy.”

Silence. You can hear a pin drop in the shop. It’s like everyone heard him and is now holding their breath.

My mum works at the university and is, in fact, fairly well known and well liked. She was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was in high school and worked throughout her cancer treatments. Almost everyone knows I’m her kid, especially all my coworkers.

Me: *In the midst of steaming the milk for his mocha* “Woah, man, the money isn’t for him; it goes to cancer research.”

Customer: “Nah, it’s all a front. If people just ate better and didn’t fill themselves with chemicals, they wouldn’t get cancer.”

I put the steam jug down.

Me: *Getting emotional* “Hey, man, my mum had cancer, and she’s one of the biggest health nuts I know.”

Customer: “Well, she must have deserved it somehow.”

I turn to my coworker, who is staring, wide-eyed.

Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t serve this customer anymore. Can you finish this drink up?”

I then went into our little back room to sit down for a minute. My coworker finished the drink and then came to check on me. I managed to chill and get back to work.

A few weeks later, when I was back on an afternoon shift, I noticed our regular outside our shop. I steeled myself, took a deep breath, and vowed to put my customer service face on and just deal with him. I watched him look into the shop and peer over at the till. Our eyes locked.

He turned and walked away.

For the next two years that I worked at that coffee shop, he never again came in while I was there.

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Two No’s, One For Each One

, , , , , | Right | March 6, 2021

Customer: “Can I get a pack of [cigarettes]?”

Me: “Do you have ID I can look at?”

Customer: “I have a photocopy of it.”

Me: “No, sorry, I need the actual ID.”

Customer: “Or I can show you my tits.”

Me: *Shocked* “No.”

Customer: “What about your manager?”

My manager turns around with a WTF look on his face.

Manager: “No.”

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