Remember To Concentrate And Remain Cordial

, , | Right | February 19, 2019

(This takes place in a very small town. There’s only one school, and everyone knows everyone. There is only one supermarket for the whole town, and I’m working there during the school holidays. A customer approaches, and he’s someone I vaguely recognize from school, a few years younger than I am.)

Customer: “I’m looking for a drink.”

Me: *working in the drinks aisle, stocking up the drinks* “Sure, our juice and water are here, and our soft drink is at the other end of the store.”

Customer: “It’s a juice.”

Me: “What kind of juice?”

Customer: “It’s red.”

(I’ve got a sinking feeling; this is not going to be easy.)

Me: “Well, as you can see, our drinks are over here. Why don’t you look at them, and grab the one you’re after?”

(He goes away and stares at the shelves for a few minutes, then comes back to me.)

Customer: “I can’t see it.”

Me: “Well, this is the only juice in the store. Are you sure it wasn’t a soft drink? They’re at the other end of the store.”

(The customer wanders away for a few minutes, then comes back.)

Customer: “I couldn’t find it.”

Me: *beginning to lose the ability to sound friendly, but the customer doesn’t notice* “Well, these are the only drinks we have. Are you sure you got it here?”

Customer: “I don’t know. My mom bought it.”

Me: “Do you remember what it’s called?”

Customer: “No. It’s red.”

Me: *having completely lost the ability to sound professional, but the customer hasn’t noticed* “Look. I don’t know what you want. I don’t know the name, and these are the only drinks we have. If it’s not here, we don’t have it.”

Customer: “Oh.”

(He wanders away for a few minutes, then comes back again. I glare at him.)

Me: “Yes?”

Customer: “I remembered something. It makes this noise.” *taps his fingernail against the metal shelves* “But not this noise.” *taps his fingernail against a plastic bottle* “It’s a bit like this.” *taps his fingernail against a different plastic bottle* “But not like this.” *taps his fingernail against a THIRD plastic bottle*

(I glare at him for a moment, then take a look at the bottles. The “a bit like this” bottle is very rigid, but the other two are soft. I take a wild guess, and find a glass bottle.)

Me: “Do you mean it had a bottle like this?”

Customer: *goes over and taps the glass bottle* “Yeah! Just like that. Except it was red.”

(This narrows it down a lot, as we only stock two kinds of red juice in a glass bottle.)

Me: “Then you probably want this–” *points to one bottle* “—or this. *points to the other*

(The customer goes away and looks at the bottles, while I try and finish stocking the shelves as fast as possible. But he comes back.)

Customer: “It’s not those.”

Me: “Those are the only red juice in a glass bottle we have. If it’s not one of those, we don’t have it.”

Customer: “Mom got it here, I think.”

Me: “If it’s not one of those, then I can’t help you. Can’t you remember anything useful? A name?”

Customer: “She put water in it.”

Me: “Wait. You mean cordial? A concentrate?”

Customer: “She put water in it.”

(I sigh, and go to the cordial aisle. I point him at the bottles.)

Me: “Here. If it’s not here, we don’t have it, and I can’t help you.”

(I’m trying not to shout, and not entirely succeeding. If my supervisor had heard me, I’d have been suspended. I go back to my shelf stocking, and a minute later the customer returns holding a bottle.)

Customer: “I got it.”

Me: “Congratulations.”

(He seems to want to talk, but I ignore him and get back to work. He leaves, and comes back a minute later.)

Me: “What is it now?!”

Customer: “Can you buy this for me?”

Me: “No.”

Customer: “Please?”

Me: “NO! I am not buying you a drink!”

Customer: “I can give you the money.”

Me: *confused* “Then why do you need me to buy it?”

Customer: *looking nervous* “But… there are girls over there!”

(Having spent twenty agonising minutes dealing with this idiot, this was the final straw. I walked away as fast as I could, and hid in the back room for the next quarter of an hour until my shift ended.)

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