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Why Would Anyone Help Anyone Ever?!

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: HyperMushrambo | July 31, 2021

I work at a popular fast food chain. I am visiting a retail chain straight out of work. I am still in uniform and my hair is a mess, so I still have my [Fast Food Chain] hat on.

I swing by electronics to check out the games, and while I am looking at them, there is a pretty young kid and his mother talking to an employee about what game he wants to get. I overhear their whole conversation. He wants a Pokémon game but doesn’t know which one to get. His mom clearly has no idea and the employee, a very pleasant older gentleman who doesn’t know BEANS about something like Pokémon, is trying to help puzzle out the difference between two games.

I love the kid’s enthusiasm and totally understand his anxiety about wanting to get the right one, and since I can see his mother and the employee struggling, I go ahead and politely interject. I explain the general difference between the games and answer the kid’s questions about them. He eventually makes a decision and the (very relieved) adults head off to the register to check out.

I am about to leave when an older woman and her husband get my attention.

Woman: “I need help with the TVs.”

Me: “Sorry, I don’t really know anything about TVs.”

Woman: *Huffily* “Why not? Aren’t you expected to?”

I realized that, in spite of my uniform, she thinks I am an employee. I laugh.

Me: “Sorry, I don’t work here; I work for [Fast Food Chain].”

Woman: *Huffing again* “Well, you were helping those people just a minute ago.”

Me: “Yes, because I knew the answer and was able to help.”

Woman: *Snorting* “Why would you do that if you don’t work here?”

I am genuinely baffled by the question.

Me: “To… be nice?”

Woman: “I don’t know why you would do something like that.”

I just stare at her. How do you even respond to that? After a moment of silence:

Woman: “So, can you help me with the TVs or not?”

Me: “No.”

And I walked away. I don’t quite understand what about basic human kindness is so confusing, but there it sits. But the little boy got his game, and at the end of the day, that’s what really matters.

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Yes! Flex That Beautiful Authority!

, , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: Hysterical_Realist | July 30, 2021

In my day job, I’ve been working from home for the entire health crisis period. We are in the planning stages to finally move back into the office soon. To that end, I was tasked — along with a couple of management-type people — to head over to our local grocery store to price out supplies for a “welcome back” social event at the office — cleaning supplies plus food-type things that we could put together in a grab-and-go-style conference room function.

The dress code for workers at this store incorporated a white dress shirt, black khaki pants, and a black nametag on the chest. Those who were still masked wore black masks with the store logo prominently displayed on the cheek. None of us office workers were dressed in any way remotely resembling this.

But we were all carrying clipboards to take notes for later when we were ready to come back and buy the stuff. Hence the confusion, I suppose. A customer approached us, and, without even a greeting, started up with her demands.

Customer: “You guys are out of [product]. I need you to go get some from the back.”

Me: “Oh, sorry, I know I’m carrying a clipboard, but I don’t actually work here. You can tell any employee from how they’re dressed; I’m sure they’ll be happy to help you.”

Customer: “I do not find this acceptable. You either help me this instant or go get your manager who will fire you and then help me.”

I flagged over one of my bosses.

Me: “You want to talk to my manager? Here she is.”

And I stepped aside. The customer laid into my boss.

Customer: “You really need to train your employees better. This man—” *jabs a finger to my chest* “—is refusing to help me! You need to review his employment status, and then GET ME WHAT I NEED!”

My boss half-ignored the customer.

Boss #1: “Hey, [My Name], did you get a second job at the store without telling me?”

Me: “Nope. I still work for you, not for them!”

Boss #1: “Okay then, carry on. I’m sure this lady can find a store worker to help her.”

One unfortunate aspect of the culture we live in is that a woman in authority is not always taken as seriously as she should be. It’s doubly true for [Boss #1], who, in addition to her gregarious personality, is also on the smaller size physically. Additionally, although she’s in her mid-thirties, she happens to look legitimately twelve years old.

The customer, on the other hand, had reached red hot status and had now found herself a second target.

Customer: “*UN. F******. BELIEVABLE. I CAN’T BELIEVE THE DISRESPECTFUL LITTLE CHILDREN THEY LET INTO THIS STORE! YOU ARE GOING TO HELP ME NOW OR I WILL REPORT YOU DIRECTLY TO THE OWNER, WHO GOES TO MY CHURCH!”

That’s when [Boss #2] rounded the corner, witnessed the situation, and immediately figured out what was going on. [Boss #2] is pretty much the opposite of [Boss #1]. She’s six feet tall. She’s very solidly built physically; she doesn’t walk so much as she lumbers. She’s ex-military and is fully trained to take charge in a wartime situation. Short version, this woman KNOWS how to effectively take up the ample space she’s been given. Bonus points: she’s British and her accent gives her an extra weight of authority when she wants to flex it.

She wanted to flex her authority. She walked up behind the customer and asked in her best command voice:

Boss #2: “Is there a problem here?”

The customer took on a smug facial expression as if to say, “Finally, I found somebody competent.” Then, she turned around and took a look at [Boss #2] in her mountainous position directly behind her. I saw her face lose its smugness, and the only sound she could manage was a half-surprised, half-terrified squeak.

Boss #2: “THESE PEOPLE HAVE TOLD YOU ALREADY THEY DON’T WORK HERE. I SUGGEST YOU WALK AWAY RIGHT NOW, PERHAPS LEAVE THE STORE, BEFORE THINGS GET A LITTLE MORE UNCOMFORTABLE FOR YOU. ARE WE IN AGREEMENT HERE?”

The customer started moving away rapidly in a manner I can only describe as “scampering.” I suspect she actually did leave the store, because her face suggested she was unable to co-exist in the same space as her abject embarrassment. And the three of us office-types were able to finish our party planning and make it out of the store without further incident.

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It Sounds Like They’ve Had One Too Many Already

, , , , | Right | July 30, 2021

It’s another busy day at the grocery store, with lots of people in and out getting their shopping done for the week. I’m checking people out at a regular pace, but we’re still encouraged to answer the phone when we can, so when the phone rings between customers, I pick it up.

Me: “Hello, thank you for calling [Store]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Um, yeah, hi. So, I bought some champagne, but I don’t think it made it into my bag. It wasn’t there when I got home.”

This happens occasionally; if it’s busy, maybe an item gets set aside and doesn’t get bagged, or a customer leaves a bag of groceries on the bagging counter, etc. If it does, we make a note in a left-behind log in case someone comes back looking for it.

Me: “Oh, no, I’m sorry to hear that! I can definitely get someone to check for a bottle if it was recent, or we can check our log and see if it was turned in. Just to narrow it down, what brand of champagne was it?”

Caller: “Um… I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

I pause for a moment. That’s a little weird, but maybe she was with someone else getting it.

Me: “Oh, do you not have your receipt on hand?”

Caller: “Huh? Oh, uh… I just didn’t really pay attention. I just grabbed it. I know it had a black label.”

All righty, then.

Me: “Just give me a moment to check for just a bottle of champagne, then, and I can let you know if anyone turned one in—”

Caller: “Hey, uh, you know what? I don’t think it’s even on the receipt.”

Me: “It’s… not?”

Caller: “Yeah, I don’t think it was even rung up.”

Me: “Uh… okay, and to make sure, you’re calling because you think you left a bottle behind, right?”

Caller: “I think… I think the person behind me bought it. I think it ended up with their groceries, and they’re the one who paid for it.”

Well, then. That’s a little different. I’m already spending a little longer on this phone call than expected, but I at least have to clarify what exactly they want here before I can find a chance to hang up, so I try one more time.

Me: “Well, if you want, I can check to see if anyone’s… made a complaint or a return, but if you didn’t actually pay for a bottle, and you don’t have one with your groceries…”

Caller: “Can I not get my bottle of champagne?”

Me: “I think now all I can suggest is that you come back and pick out another one for yourself.”

Caller: “I probably didn’t need to call you about this, did I?”

Me: “Well—”

Caller: “I don’t think you can help me.”

They hung up.

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When It’s Just Not App-ening

, , , | Right | July 30, 2021

I work IT for a retail company.

Caller: “When I download the app, it says I need to trust it.”

Me: “Yes, when you first download it, you have to trust it to be able to sign in. This is a [Company]-specific app, so technically, the developer is untrusted.”

Caller: “So, what do I do?”

Me: “On your phone, go to Settings, General, [Company], [Company Certificate], and then when you click on that, it’ll give you an option to trust it.”

Caller: “My phone is saying not to trust it, so what do I do?”

Me: “You have to trust it.”

Caller: “But my phone says not to. Do I have to trust it?”

Me: “If you want to be able to use the app.”

Caller: “Well, my phone says not to.”

Me: “Yes, it might, because the app was developed [Company]-side, so technically, it’s not trusted because it’s not a known developer. It’s a safe app; you just have to tell your phone that, which is why you have to trust it.”

Caller: “But my phone says not to.”

Me: *Head-desk* “I understand that, but in order to use the app, you have to trust it.”

Caller: “Well, are you sure?”

Me: “Yes.”

Caller: “Okay, I trusted it. Now it’s not going to delete stuff, is it?”

Me: “Um… well, not unless you tell it to?”

Caller: “No, I have storage on my phone like pictures and stuff, and this isn’t going to take that space, is it?”

Me: “Well, it’s going to take some space because it’s an app that needs to store data, but it’s not going to delete things.”

Caller: “So, it won’t delete my pictures?”

Me: “If the phone runs into storage issues, it should let you know and request that you move or delete things. But the app will not randomly start deleting your pictures.”

Caller: “Are you sure? And since I trusted it, it’s not going to steal my contacts, is it?”

Me: “Um, no.”

Caller: “I’m sorry to keep asking, but it’s just that fifteen years ago, someone hacked payroll and got all our information and I’m nervous about them getting stuff from my phone.” 

I am thinking, “Well, this isn’t fifteen years ago, and this has nothing to do with payroll, and how does that equate to deleting your pictures?”

Me: “No, this won’t steal your information.”

Caller: “Are you sure I have to trust it? And is it going to take up storage space?”

Me: “If you want to use the app, you need to keep it trusted. There will be some storage space used, yes.”

Caller: “Well, I pay for storage each month, so what happens if I go over with this?”

Me: “You might have to pay for extra space at that point, then, which you might be able to get reimbursed, but that’s something you’d have to clear with your manager. Or you can talk to your manager to see if you can get a [Company] iPad or cell phone.”

Caller: “I can get a company-owned device? I didn’t know that was an option!”

Me: “Well, it has to go through your manager and there has to be a valid business use case for it, but you’d have to talk to them.”

Caller: “I didn’t know we had company phones.”

Me: “They’re not handed out to everyone and it is still on a case-by-case basis that has to go through your manager.”

Caller: “So, I have to talk to my manager?”

Me: “If you want to see about getting a company phone. You do have the app installed on your current phone so you’ll be able to use it.”

Caller: “It won’t delete my info, will it?”

Me: “No.”

User: “Well, I guess I’ll go check in with my manager. Have a good night!”

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They Want To Do Everything Except Understand The Problem

, , , , , | Right | July 30, 2021

I’m currently running merchandise to the floor after my stock team has processed it off the truck. We process items in a certain order: clothes and smaller home decor items, then large home items (ottomans, furniture, art, etc.) and pillows, comforters last. I’m stocking the bathroom aisle when a customer comes up to me.

Customer: “Do you have any bed pillows or decorative pillows coming out?”

Me: “They will be out later this morning since we process those items last.”

Customer: “I need y’all to process them faster so I can buy some.”

Me: “They are going as fast as they can. It’s only 9:00 am and our truck arrived at 8:15.”

Customer: “Well, it seems they have some lazy workers. I would be able to get that stuff out faster.”

Me: “All right, I’ll go get you a job application from the office and you can apply; we would appreciate the help.”

Customer: “What? No, I wasn’t offering to work here. I’m just asking for y’all to get the stuff out faster because I am an early shopper.”

Me: “Oh, okay. Well, like I said, we have to process everything before we can put it out, which may take some time. So, usually around 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm, everything should be out.”

Customer: “I AM AN EARLY SHOPPER!”

Me: “Oh, well, in that case, we have most things from yesterday’s shipment out unless they have been bought. But like I said, we have to process everything before it can come out.”

The customer starts looking angry as I bid her “good day” and walk back to my stockroom.

Customer: “MANAGER, NOW!”

Pushing my cart through the stockroom door loudly to act like I didn’t hear her, I turn and say:

Me: “Have a great day!”

I stayed in the stockroom until she was gone.

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