Marching Towards Equality

| Eugene, OR, USA | Awesome Customers, Awesome Workers

(I’m a barista at a coffee stand inside a high end grocery store. Our city is pretty liberal and diverse, so I am pretty comfortable being open with the fact that I’m a transgender guy (born “female,” but really a guy). I don’t pass well yet, being pre-surgery and all, so customers often refer to me as a “she,” but I generally try not to let it bother me. One day, a lady comes in and, as I make coffees for her and her teenage daughter, tells me about a women’s march she’s going to take part in in DC (we’re in Oregon). I’m always interested in this sort of thing, so I ask her a handful of questions, and lament that I won’t be able to go since it’s so far away.)

Lady: “Oh, well, there are actually going to be marches all over the country at the same time! A whole united movement, the biggest in recent history. There’s even going to be one right here in [City].”

Me: “Oh, awesome! If I have off work, I’m definitely going to join!”

Lady: “You should! We’re always looking for more women to join!”

Me: *growing slightly awkward* “Haha, well…”

Lady: *realizing I’ve gotten nervous* “And people who identify as women, of course!”

Me: “Er…”

Lady: “And… and men who support women’s rights!”

Me: *relaxing* “Awesome!”

(She smiles at me, takes her coffees, and thanks me. A few minutes later, I go on lunch, and I pull on a hoodie but keep my barista hat on as I go back down to the grocery part of the store to get a drink. I run into the same woman and she stops me.)

Lady: “Excuse me! I just wanted to apologize for earlier. Of all people, you’d think I’d know better than to assume.”

Me: “Oh! Well, thank you!” *holding out my hand* “I’m [My Name], by the way, and I use he-him pronouns.”

Lady: “It’s lovely to meet you, [My Name]. I’m [Lady], and I use feminine pronouns.”

Me: “I’ll do my best to remember that! Come back and tell me how the march went when it’s over, yeah? And thanks again!”

(Customers like that always make my day!)

About To Blow His Muffin Top

, | MA, USA | Crazy Requests, Food & Drink

(I work at a well-known fast food breakfast chain. An elderly male customer orders a blueberry muffin.)

Me: “And would you like it toasted?”

Elderly Guy: “Yes, I would, but please don’t put it in the oven. It makes it too hot. Just put it in that toaster.”

(We have large oven-like toaster machines and we also have conveyor belt toasters that are only big enough for bagels. The man points at the conveyor belt toaster.)

Me: “Uh, we can’t fit the muffin in there, sir. That one’s just for bagels.”

Elderly Guy: “But that’s how I want it.”

Me: “Okay, but it doesn’t fit, see? The muffin’s too tall.”

Elderly Guy: “Well, just do the best you can.”

(The elderly guy is angry now and I’m done arguing.)

Me: “Sir, I cannot put that muffin in that toaster. The muffin will touch the top of the toaster and it will catch on fire.”

Elderly Guy: “Well, I’ll have it COLD, THEN! Are you HAPPY NOW?!”

Getting Pumped Up

, | MA, USA | Crazy Requests, Food & Drink

(I work for a well-known fast food breakfast chain. A 30-ish man steps up to the counter.)

Customer: “I would like a small coffee with extra, extra cream and extra, extra pumpkin spice and three sugars, please.”

(I’m working the coffee station so I get to work on it. Note that the default for any in a small coffee is two. It’d be two sugars, two creams, two pumps of pumpkin, etc. For every “extra” a customer asks for, we put an additional unit. For his order I use four creams, four pumps of pumpkin goo, and three sugars. And in a small coffee, this takes up more than half the cup. I give the man his coffee after I’ve finished it. Moments later he returns.)

Customer: “Excuse me… It’s not even hot.”

Me: “Oh, well, the cream and pumpkin are refrigerated so it’s not going to be that hot. Would you like me to use less?”

Customer: “NO! I want extra, extra cream, extra extra pumpkin, three sugars!”

(I make the coffee with three creams and three pumps this time with three sugars. I give him the coffee and he tastes it.)

Customer: “Look, this is ridiculous. It’s lukewarm. I need to see a manager.”

(I sent my manager over and watch the customer flail around explaining how terrible I am. Manager made him a coffee with one cream, one pump, one sugar. Guy seemed satisfied and left. Manager looked at me and shrugged.)

Not Exactly Clean Eating

| CA, USA | Bizarre, Family & Kids

(Some cleaning solution has spilled on a table and dried. A four-year-old boy sees the stain, wipes up a bit on his finger, and licks it.)

Boy: *perplexed* “That’s not candy.”

Me: *speechless*

Sexist In More Than Spirit

| Chicago, IL, USA | Bigotry, Food & Drink

(I’m the only girl under 40 who works at my location of a chain liquor store. I happen to be well-educated in many types of liquor including most varieties of whiskey. This is a typical interaction I have every day.)

Me: *to customer in the scotch aisle* “Can I help you find anything today, sir?”

Customer: “I’m fine, little lady.”

Me: “All right. Let me know if you have any questions!”

Customer: “Sure thing.”

(Two minutes later:)

Customer: *to male coworker* “Can you suggest a good single malt scotch?”

(Good to see sexism is still alive and well in the liquor industry.)

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