A Rollercoaster Of Emotions

, , , , , | Right | February 18, 2021

I’m a ride operator at an amusement park. Most coasters require a height of 4’0”. It assures that the rider will be safely secured through the ride. A little girl comes up with her mom and I notice that she’s extremely small so I kindly ask her to exit the train before take-off and stand against the measurer to make sure she’s riding safely.

Me: “Hey! Could I have you take a quick stand against the post here to check your height?”

Mother: “Don’t do it.”

She looks away from me.

Me: “Hmm, all right, ma’am. I’ll just need to measure her to make sure it’s safe for her to ride. Otherwise, I can’t let the train take off.”

Mother: “I said no! Get out of my face!”

It’s 104°F out, I’m in full “cowgirl” attire, and I’m just trying to get through the day. I’m sweaty, I’m tired, and I’m annoyed. I have my dispatcher release the hand bars and everyone sighs. The woman pulls hers and her daughter’s back down. Again, I have them released.

Me: “Ma’am, we can do one of two things. I can measure your child and we can move on from this, or I can shut down the coaster, call security, and have you escorted from the park.”

Mother: “Get off the d*** train, go stand on your tippy-toes like I told you, and hurry up!”

The child is very visibly about a head too short to ride.

Me: *Talking to them both* “I’m so sorry, but it doesn’t look like you’re quite tall enough! We can have your adults take turns and I can help by getting you in through the exit to a ride of your choice that you can safely ride!”

My life flashed before my eyes and all I saw was the child’s mom jumping out of the train and straight at me. She grabbed my hair, started yanking on my suspenders, and screamed like a wild woman. I had to literally kick her off of me for trying to keep her kid safe!

Eventually, security got there and pulled her away and escorted her out… through the employee back lot. I’d say I was surprised, but it’s even more surprising how many people put their kids at risk for a short ride.

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Why The Cliche About Kids In Candy Stores Exists

, , , , , | Learning | January 6, 2021

When I’m in college, I work as a supervisor of a candy store that’s inside an amusement park. Every summer, one of the most dreaded days is what we call Camp Kid Day. We get lots of camps over the season, but on this day, the park is overrun with hundreds of kids from one particular camp where rich, entitled parents send their rich, entitled kids to be someone else’s problem for half the summer.

My candy shop has a self-serve bulk gummy display with clearly placed “no samples” signs. I am on the floor watching the hordes of camp kids to prevent shoplifting. I see one, about ten, shake a few gummies into his hand from one of the bins and put one in his mouth. Immediately, I point at him.

Me: “Hey, you can’t do that. That’s stealing. Please give me the rest.”

I hold out my hand for the gummies, but the kid doesn’t move.

Me: “Please give me the candy, so I don’t have to call security on you.”

Camp Kid: “Seriously?! It’s just candy!”

Pouting, he finally hands over the pieces, and I think that’s the end of it. After all, he’s not the first or last to try to sneak candy that day. BUT THEN, I see him talking to a camp counselor, who comes over to me.

Camp Counselor: *Condescendingly* “Did you really have to do that to him? It was just a few pieces of candy.”

Me: “I’m afraid I did. The park takes stealing very seriously, and if I’m missing too much weight of gummies at the end of the day, I get in trouble with my boss.”

This was true. I had strict variance rules to manage. The counselor just shook his head at me in disgust and walked off. I wish I’d come up with a snappier comeback about a COUNSELOR encouraging his young, rich charge to steal, but I was so shocked by it that I didn’t process what had happened until it was too late. Seriously, I could almost forgive the kid, but a counselor who was about my own age? He should have known better, and to this day, I still can’t believe this was a conversation I actually had.

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Gonna Be A Looooong Season

, , , , , | Right | October 2, 2020

I work in a relatively small amusement park just outside of Philadelphia. People come from all over to see the characters that the park is known for. While the prices are quite high, park employees have no responsibility for them and can’t change them at all.

Me: “Hi! Welcome to [Park]! How can I help you?”

Guest: “You can tell me why the prices here are so f****** high!”

Me: “Well, I have no control over the prices—”

Guest: “What do you mean, you have no control? Don’t you work here?”

Me: “Well, yes, I do work here, but I only sell the tickets. I don’t control the corporation that decides the price.”

Guest: “That is ridiculous! I demand you give me the lowest possible price!”

Me: “Do you have a coupon or a season pass? Or do you know someone with a season pass? Or are you the family member of an active military soldier?”

Guest: “No, but what does that have to do with anything?”

Me: “Those are the only ways to get a discount.”

Guest: “I want the season pass, then. At least then I only have to pay once.”

She then proceeds to purchase four of the most expensive of the three types of season passes that the park offers. So, instead of storming off in a huff as I expected, she spent more money after ranting about the high prices.

Guest: “Thank you!”

I wave absently and then turn to my coworker.

Me: “Did that just happen?”

Coworker: “I’m just as surprised as you are.”

Gonna Be A Looooong Season

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With Bad Customers, It Never Rains But It Pours

, , , | Right | September 7, 2020

As a customer, 99% of the time I am patient, polite, try to be friendly, and smile. And that is because of the first five years of my working life spent in public-facing jobs: retail, food service, and (horrors!) an amusement park.

One rainy day, while I am working in the foodservice location (doughnuts, pastries, coffee, etc.), a “lady” comes in looking angry.

Me: “Good afternoon, ma’am, how may I—”

She then throws her purse onto the counter and angrily asks:

Customer: “Why is it raining?!”

I really wanted to say “The flowers are thirsty?” but for the sake of my job, I didn’t say anything!

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Sixty Reasons To Get A Different Job Next Year

, , , , , | Working | August 12, 2020

When I was in high school, I worked a minimum-wage summer job at an amusement park. When I transferred from general floor staff to the birthday party division, my supervisor told me the new position came with a small raise, and I filled out the paperwork to agree to the raise. It wasn’t a lot of money — we’re talking a few cents per hour more — but I was glad to get anything I could.

The trouble was, even though I was told I had the raise, it never appeared in my paycheck. The supervisors were all very nice and apologetic about it, saying it was a backup at corporate, but it just didn’t come through. Wait a couple of weeks, they kept saying, until three months had passed, and I was ready to leave the job to resume school. At that point, I did some back-calculating and discovered that, had the raise been issued when they said it was, I would have earned about $60 more during the summer.

So, I called my former supervisor and agreed to come in and meet him. I showed him my calculations and asked how I could get the money I had already worked to earn.

“Well… I don’t know,” he said. “I guess, since you’re a good guy, I’ll figure out a way to pay you.”

The good news is that he eventually paid me, but really? “Since you’re a good guy”? What if I wasn’t a good guy? Silly me for assuming that working for a contracted amount entitles you to receive that amount.

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