Frustration Is Ramping Up

, , , , , , | Working | April 27, 2021

It is August in Phoenix, Arizona — a desert. The day starts over 100°F/38°C and it’s going to be 115°F/46°C later in the day. We are moving from one house to another.

My wife has to stay at the house we are moving from for a while and then has to get to the new house to meet the cable installer, and we have three little kids who cannot carry heavy boxes.

We have rented a large truck with a ramp to help with the move. We rented from a location near the new house so it wouldn’t be that long a drive at the end of the day. A friend was supposed to help me, but he broke his toe the night before, so I am on my own. Did I mention the temperature? I have to load items from the old house, drive to a storage locker and load items from there, and then go to the new house.

All day, the ramp doesn’t work correctly. It’s difficult to pull out of the back of the truck and nearly impossible to get it back in when I’m done. I have been fighting with it all day, and it’s hot and I’m frustrated. At each stop — sometimes twice at a stop — I call the rental company to tell them the ramp is broken and that they need to send someone to fix it. Each time, the customer service rep tells me that they will connect me to technical support where they can explain to me what I’m doing wrong. As far as they are concerned, it’s not broken, so it must be user error. Each time, I try to convince them it’s not me but the ramp, but they won’t send anyone.

At the end of the day, I finally unload the last of the items into the house or the garage. The ramp is sticking partway into the garage, so we cannot close the garage door. And at this point, the ramp. Will. Not. Go. In. I try all the tricks I have used throughout the day to get the ramp to move and it won’t go.

I call customer service again, and again they want to transfer me to tech support. I stop the woman right there.

Me: “Do not transfer me to technical support. It’s not that I do not know how to do this. I have been fighting this all day and I have been transferred to technical support three times already today. It is not user error. It is broken. It is 10:00 pm and I am hot and tired. Right now, the ramp is sticking into my garage so I cannot close the garage door. I was told when I picked up this truck today that it was heading out on a long-distance move tomorrow morning. So, you have two choices at this point: you can send a mechanic to fix this and I can return the truck, or I will drive it back to the rental center a mile from here now with the ramp dragging the whole way and I will not be responsible for any damage to the truck.”

She agrees to send a mechanic and, in the meantime, I hop into the pool to cool off. When the mechanic arrives at around 11:00 pm, I explain the problem. He gets under the truck and takes one look at the latching mechanism.

Mechanic: “Yeah, this thing is completely busted. The metal was fatigued and it snapped. I’ll have to take it back to the shop and weld it back together. This isn’t going anywhere tomorrow morning.”

He told me to slowly push the ramp back in while he held the broken latch out of the way, and we got the ramp back in. He followed me back to the rental center to make sure I got there safely, and I presume he got to work on the repair.

Sometimes, when a customer says it’s not user error, they might even be right.

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Being Lead Down A Strange Path

, , , , , | Right | April 23, 2021

I’m working in the fastener aisle when a customer walks up to me. I’m twenty and have only been learning about these things for two months. Both customers are dudes in their fifties.

Customer #1: “I need lead anchors.”

Me: “Lead anchors?”

Customer #1: “Yeah, they are made out of lead.”

Me: “Anchors made out of lead.”

Customer #1: “Yeah, they are made out of lead. You stick them in a hole in concrete and screw a screw in them and they split to anchor… Lead anchor.”

Me: “O-okay, that’s a lag shield; let me grab you one.”

Those are made with galvanized steel, not lead.

Customer #1: “Yeah, that’s it, thanks.”

I walk ten feet away.

Customer #2: “I need a lead anchor.”

Me: *Ponders my sanity for a moment* “A… lag shield?” *Grabs a lag shield* “This?”

Customer #2: “No, it has a tube thing and a pin you hammer down.”

Me: “A hammer set?” *Grabs a hammer set* “This?”

Customer #2: “Yeah, that’s it.”

I have never been asked for a lead anchor before or since. It was so bizarre that two customers needing different things were asking for lead anchors.

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Literally Scream For Ice Cream, Part 7

, , , , | Right | April 9, 2021

It is in the middle of summer when leaving your car for even just ten minutes can leave the inside feeling like an oven. A lady walks in carrying a grocery bag bearing our logo, with an ice cream carton inside. I’m working at the customer service desk when she approaches.

Customer: “Hello, um, I’m really embarrassed, but I bought this ice cream earlier, and I forgot it in my car, and now it’s all melted.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.”

Customer: “Yes. I was wondering, would it be possible for me to exchange it?”

Me: “Um, I’m not sure. I don’t think I can do that, but—”

I was going to say that I would check with my manager and see if he would allow it, but the woman cuts me off, her entire attitude flipping from apologetic to outraged.


She was screaming at the top of her lungs, and spittle was actually flying into my face even as I leaned back in shock. My manager hurried out of the back room at the sound of the commotion, but before he could speak up, the woman hurled the bag across the counter toward us. It missed me and the carton splattered open, spilling melted ice cream everywhere, while the lady kept screaming at us.

My manager ended up escorting her out, telling her not to come back, though I don’t think he officially processed anything to ban her, and I got to work cleaning up the melted ice cream.

Literally Scream For Ice Cream, Part 6
Literally Scream For Ice Cream, Part 5
Literally Scream For Ice Cream, Part 4
Literally Scream For Ice Cream, Part 3
Literally Scream For Ice Cream, Part 2

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And That’s How The Ninth Cookie Crumbles

, , , | Right | April 5, 2021

I work at a sandwich store which is connected to a gas station. There’s no wall separating the two, so both places can hear everything on both sides. My coworker and I have just rung up a couple’s order, and the man asks for eight cookies. As we take out the eight cookies he wants, he begins to yell at us.

Customer: “Where is my ninth cookie?!”

Me: “Sir, you ordered eight cookies.”

Customer: “Why would I have to pay more for a cookie I already bought?!”

Me: “You only bought eight cookies. If you want another, it’ll be $0.78.”

I continue to explain to him that he’ll have to buy another cookie for the ninth one. At this point, he’s not even arguing, just yelling.

Customer: “This is not my problem!”

Me: “I know, sir. I never said it was.”

I even take his receipt and show him that he was charged for eight cookies. As he continues to yell that it isn’t his problem, I am getting overwhelmed, so I have to step back so I won’t go off on him. Midway, he starts hacking and coughing himself blue.

A gas station employee has to ask what was happening. His wife, having said nothing this entire time, finally speaks.

Customer’s Wife: “Just shut up and go!”

She pushed her husband to leave and apologized.

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Failing The Name Game: Spanish Edition

, , , , , | Right | March 24, 2021

I have an unusual name that many people mispronounce but usually can get right with some correction. My workplace also sees a lot of native Spanish speakers.

I have just finished ringing a customer up.

Customer: “Your name is [Incorrect Name]?”

Me: “It’s [Correct Name].”

Customer: “[Incorrect Name].”

One of my regular customers has queued up behind the customer. He speaks both English and Spanish.

Me: “[Correct Name]. I know, it’s a weird name.”

Customer: “Are you sure? Because in Spanish it would be [Incorrect Name].”

Me: “I’m sure. It’s [Correct Name]. Have a nice day.”

The customer starts to leave slowly, letting my regular come up. My regular smirks and speaks very loudly.

Regular: “Hola, [Correct Name]. ¿Cómo estás?”

Me: “Bien. ¿Y tú?”

This is about the limit of my Spanish and most of my regulars know this, but this regular still looked back and grinned at the other customer, who had suddenly picked up his pace!

Failed The Name Game, Part 9
Failed The Name Game, Part 8
Failed The Name Game, Part 7
Failed The Name Game, Part 6
Failed The Name Game, Part 5

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