Making A Bad Impression

, | Japan | Crazy Requests, Military, Politics

(I am the operations manager of an overseas military TV and radio station. In place of regular commercials, we run locally-made information spots. We get feedback through an email system, mostly complaints about stuff out of our control, such as TV shows and music selections. A few months ago, we got an email from an irate listener complaining about a radio spot advertising the base library, where one of the producers did an imitation of former President George W. Bush. He was livid about the disrespect to our former Commander-In-Chief. I responded professionally, explaining we often use humor in our spots to make the information memorable, and the impression was fairly innocuous. He kept emailing back more irate, insulting military broadcasters, questioning our patriotism, accusing us of communism, etc. Finally, he came to our station to personally confront me. The following exchange occurred in our lobby.)

Irate Marine: “Your excuses are just that! The ‘humor’ of that imitation is offensive and disrespectful! How dare you demean the former president!”

Me: “Well, he didn’t seem to think so.”

Irate Marine: “… What?”

Me: *points to framed picture on the wall* “See that?”

(It’s George W. Bush in our production room laughing with a young Marine.)

Irate Marine: “He came here?”

Me: “Years ago, I’m told. See that Marine in the photo? He’s the one who voiced and produced that spot. That photo was taken while he was playing the commercial for The President. He apparently has a better sense of humor about himself than you do.”

Irate Marine: *walks out the door, mumbling* “Well, it’s STILL disrespectful!”

Bird Is The Word

, | Montgomery, AL, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Food & Drink, Religion

(I am working the drive thru on a Sunday, a time when we have a lot of regular customers after church lets out. I recognize a man from last Sunday.)

Me: “Hey, I remember you from the other day!”

Customer: “That’s right! You have a good memory! I like to hear the word and eat the bird!”

Tax Mex

| NJ, USA | Extra Stupid, Geography, Hotels & Lodging, Money

(I am driving two guests to a convenience store and they are talking about Mexico and taxes.)

Guest #1: *to Guest #2* “Do they even have taxes in Mexico? Don’t they just pay cash for everything?”

Needs Some Light Soul Food

, | CA, USA | Bizarre, Food & Drink

(I am working the drive thru of the store very early in the morning.)

Me: “Welcome to [Fast Food Store], what could I get for you today?”

Customer: “Just a small coffee.”

Me: “How will you take your coffee today?”

Customer: “Black, just like my soul.”

Me: “… okay?”

No Holding Back

| St. Louis, MO, USA | Bad Behavior, Crazy Requests, Family & Kids

(I work at a popular lingerie store that also sells a line of young women’s clothing. It’s nearly closing time on a Sunday night when a teenage girl and her mother come in.)

Me: “Hi. Welcome to [Store]. What brings you ladies in tonight?”

Mother: “Yes, I called earlier today about a hoodie y’all sell. I was told you had several.”

Me: “Sure, I can help you with that. Which hoodie was it?”

(The mother produces a picture of the hoodie from our website. I recognize it as a style that we have not had for a few days, due to the style’s popularity.)

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry. We haven’t had those in for almost a week. The few we did have sold out between yesterday and today. I can order one online for you, though, and you’ll get free shipping right to your house.”

Mother: “This is unacceptable! I called at nine this morning, and the girl told me you had a bunch!”

Me: “Are you sure you called today, ma’am? We don’t open until 11, and nobody was here before 10.”

Mother: “Well, maybe it was 11. I don’t know. But you still should have saved one for me!”

Me: “Did you put one on hold? If so it’s still in our closet.”

Mother: “I don’t know.” *speaking to daughter* “Did you put one on hold?”

Daughter: “Yeah, it should be under Kelly.”

(I check the closet. The hoodie is definitely not there.)

Me: “That’s weird. It should be here.” *to mother* “And you called today, you said?”

Mother: “Well, no. It was my daughter who called.”

Me: *to daughter* “And you called today?”

Daughter: “No, I called Thursday. Maybe, Wednesday. No… I think it must have been Monday. Yeah, Monday.”

Me: “So, you called on Monday? And you put a hoodie on hold? Did they tell you that we only hold merchandise for 24 hours?”

Daughter: “Um, idk, maybe?”

(Yes, she really said ‘idk.’)

Mother: “It shouldn’t matter when she called! You should have held it for her!”

Me: “Well, unfortunately, we don’t have the space to hold product for that long, especially over a weekend. Plus, it’s not really fair to other customers. But, like I said, I can always look online and see if we can get one shipped to you.”

Mother: “No! Go into your back room and find one.”

Me: “I’m really sorry, but we don’t have any more in the stock room; I’ve checked several times today for other customers. I can check again, if you’d like, but you’re going to be disappointed.”

Mother: “GET ME YOUR MANAGER! I’M GOING TO GET YOUR A** FIRED!”

Me: *losing all patience* “Sure, but I’m going to have to ask you to please watch your tone and language.”

Mother: “You little b****! How DARE you speak to me like this? First you sell my daughter’s hoodie to some tramp, I’m sure, and then you refuse to do anything about it. MANAGER! NOW!”

(I radio to the back for my manager.)

Me: “She’ll be out in just a minute. Again, I’m sorry for the inconvenience.”

Mother: “I bet you are! I drove an hour to come to this store just for this hoodie because you lied to my daughter and told her you had a product you clearly don’t have! This is incorrigible.”

Me: “What’s incorrigible is your attitude right now. I’m very sorry about all this, but your daughter did call our store nearly a week ago about a product. Of course our inventory is going to change between Monday, when we get all our shipment in, and Sunday just before close. If the hoodie was that important, perhaps you should have come out sooner. I can only apologize so many times for something that is outside of my control. Additionally, we are now closed, and have been for several minutes. However, I would still be willing to call another store or order this hoodie online. Alternatively, you could leave and come back at another time, and perhaps we’ll have some in then.”

Mother: “Well, I never! All right, here’s what I want you to do. I’m going to give you my number, and you are going to call me when you get more of these hoodies in. Then, you are going to send me one to my house free of charge. Do you understand me?”

(My manager comes around the corner with a look on her face that clearly indicates she had been listening.)

Manager: “Of course, ma’am. Let me take down your name and number, and I will be sure to talk with my associate about all this.”

(The woman smugly gives my manager her info, then she and the daughter leave. I wait by the registers while my manager pulls and locks our gates.)

Me: “Am I fired?”

Manager: *crumples up paper with the customers info* “Like h*** I’m catering to that b****.”

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