Deferred Gratification 101

| Right | August 12, 2011

(I work in a campus post office for students only. Package slips are put in the boxes and an e-mail is sent to the student’s school e-mail address when they receive a package.)

Me: “Hi, can I help you?”

Student: “Hi, do I have a package?”

Me: “Did you have a package slip in your box? I need that.”

Student: “No, I didn’t get one.”

(I go to the back and check anyway because one of the workers often forgets to put the slips in the boxes during her shift.)

Me: “I’m sorry. I didn’t see any package with your name.”

Student: “Could you check again?”

Me: “There were only 6 packages, and I’m sure none of them were for you. Did you get an email saying your package had arrived?”

Student: “No.”

Me: “Did the tracking number say it had been delivered?”

Student: “Oh, no, the tracking number didn’t have any information on it.”

(I go online to double check her tracking number.)

Me: “It says here that you ordered the package only three hours ago.”

Student: “Yeah, so it’s not here yet?”

Me: “No. It says here that it’s coming from out of the country. It could take up to a month for it to arrive depending on how long it takes to get through customs, but it usually takes two or three weeks.”

Student: “Oh…well, okay. I’ll come back to check tomorrow then!”

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Honesty Is The Sweetest Policy

| Right | October 3, 2012

(An Hispanic woman and her son, who is about six, come into the store. The mother gets the little boy a soda and he grabs a candy bar. Note: they are standing in the middle of our candy aisle, which I don’t have a completely clear view of.)

Little Boy: “Mama, can I have this? I’ve been good!”

Mother: *in English* “No, put it back. I don’t have the money for it and the soda.” *in Spanish* “Just put it in your pocket. She will never know.”

Little Boy: “No!”

Mother: *in Spanish* “That stupid b**** will never know! She can’t see you from there!”

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am?”

Mother: *innocently smiles* “Yes?”

Me: *in Spanish* “The stupid b**** speaks Spanish.” *in English* “So, if you’re smart, you’ll either put the candy bar on the counter with the soda, or put it back. It’s your choice.”

(The mother puts the candy bar back, pays for the drink, and then walked out. The little boy lags behind and approaches the counter by himself.)

Little Boy: *shakes his head* “I don’t know why mama thinks white people don’t know Spanish.” *whispers* “That’s racist!” *normal volume* “Don’t worry, when we get home Daddy and I will put Mama in time-out for being bad and saying a dirty word!”

(The kid made my day, so I bought him the candy bar for being honest and so adorable!)

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All Snowing, Not All Knowing

| Right | January 15, 2014

Man: “Hey, bro. Do you know when the number seven bus is coming?”

Me: “It should’ve been here five minutes ago.”

Man: “Un-f******-believable. I bet you anything the driver’s a woman or old.”

Me: “Um… or this heavy snow delayed the bus, as it has for the last two days.”

(Five minutes later…)

Man: “F*** sakes, I got places to be. B**** needs to hurry up!”

Me: “Calm down, man. You don’t know what happened.”

Man: “Stop trying to stick up for these f****** lazy-a** drivers.”

(I decide not to bother. Ten minutes later the bus arrives. We get on.)

Man: “F****** finally. We’ve been waiting for an hour in the snow!”

Driver: “I’m sorry. I was delayed by an accident. Sounds pretty bad; I had to be rerouted so the ambulances could get there.”

(The man goes silent.)

Me: “I hope you’re f****** happy now.”

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So Tire-d Of These Stereotypes

, , , , | Right | June 6, 2019

(I work in a large store that also has a busy auto section, selling auto parts along with service for tires, oil changes, etc. Due to an unusual set of circumstances, I am the only person in the entire department, which is against policy because I will have to cover the register as well as service cars. Also, because of safety reasons, I cannot go into the pit to drain oil without another worker in the bay. I am explaining this to two different angry and impatient customers while ringing out a third. Another asks me to show him where something is while an older gentleman waits patiently. I finally get to the gentleman and apologize for the wait.)

Customer: “That’s okay. You are busy. How long until a technician can look at my tire?”

Me: “I am a technician.” *keep in mind I am in a technician uniform, covered in grease* “I can look at it right now.”

Me: *a few minutes later* “I found the screw in your tire. Unfortunately, it is too close to your sidewall. A patch will not hold. You need a new tire. We do installations for free.”

Customer: *looks at me suspiciously because I am female* “So, what can you recommend for a [truck]?”

(I show him several tires that would fit and discuss the pros and cons of each. During this, I excuse myself to ring out two more customers and write up a service order for another while explaining the delay. The customer chooses a tire. Unfortunately, we have none in stock but we have a display model on a very tall riser. He agrees to buy it. I get out a tall, heavy ladder and as I am hauling it over, another angry customer who has been waiting in the bay comes charging over yelling. I calm him down and start to climb the ladder.)

Customer: “No, wait. Let me get that.”

Me: “Sir, I appreciate it, but I can’t let you, for safety reasons.”

Customer: “But you are a girl and I am a guy. I really should get that. It’s too heavy for you.”

Me: “Sir, I trained ex-racehorses and lifted sacks of grain over 100 pounds. This probably weighs 40. Can you lift 100 pounds?” *the customer looks sheepish* “And no disrespect intended at all, but you are at least twice my age. If someone has to fall off a ladder, I will heal a lot quicker. But I sincerely appreciate the offer.”

(I got the tire down without incident. I pulled the old tire off, mounted the new tire, and balanced it for free. During this, I was writing up more orders and ringing out more people until my coworker arrived. A few weeks later, the district manager of the entire store visited. I was called into the office. The managers played like I had done something horribly wrong until they presented me with a three-page letter this guy wrote about me. He glowed about my patience and knowledge of tires and yelled at the store for making me work in such conditions. The district manager put a commendation in my file — which almost guarantees the top raise next review, and it did come through — and gave me a share of company stock for a reward.)

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All Things To Some People

| Friendly | July 3, 2014

(I’m at my school’s science fair, looking around at other people’s projects. Since it’s an online school I don’t know most of the people there. I notice a girl dressed differently and approach her.)

Me: “Hey, your clothes look familiar…”

Girl: “Uh, they might. Do you watch [Anime]?”

Me: “Yeah, wait! Are you cosplaying [Character]?!”

Girl: “YEAH! Do you like them?!”

(I show her a phone charm from the anime. She gets excited.)

Girl: “I HAVE TO SHOW YOU TO MY MOM! She said nobody like me would be here! I FOUND MY PEOPLE!”

(We hung out most of the day.)

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