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Breakfast Time Is Hammer Time

, , , | Right | May 11, 2021

I work at the office of a small company that produces handmade muesli. They are baked and make a popular breakfast food in a bowl with milk or, since the clusters are a little bigger than average, are commonly snacked on during the day. Those bigger clusters are really popular; people love them and compliment us on them.

I’m typing in orders when I stumble upon one with a customer note. Nothing unusual. It says, “Please include a hammer for the crunchies.” Obviously, someone with good humour, I think. I even show the note to my boss and we have a good laugh. We send the order on its way — minus the hammer, of course.

A few days later, the phone rings.

Me: “Hello, [Company], this is [My Name].”

Customer: “This is [Customer]. I have a complaint.”

I’m panicking inside because he sounds grumpy and irritated, and I’m bracing myself for a good shouting over a damaged package or something. 

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that, sir. Can you tell me what happened?”

Customer: “I have placed an order and wrote specifically that I want a hammer.”

I’m relieved because, clearly, this is that customer with the good humor.

Me: “Oh, yes. We saw it. I even showed it to our boss. Thank you for brightening up our day.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “Sir? Are you still there?”

Customer: *Suddenly explodes* “If I request a hammer, I expect a hammer! You always make those darn clusters so big! How am I expected to eat that stuff? If you sell crap like this, the least you could do is send me a f****** tool to make them smaller! What kind of f****** customer service is this? F*** you!”

He hung up on me. 

I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that he expected us — a company that sells breakfast muesli — to send him an actual hammer so he could break the five-centimetre clusters that fall apart in milk into smaller pieces?

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Well, That Didn’t Take Long

, , , , | Right | April 29, 2021

We can only allow one customer at a time into the shop. We have opened another door and set up a one-way system so customers who are leaving do not have to squeeze past those waiting to enter.

The one-person limit is clearly posted at the door, and the one-way system is marked with numerous arrows, and yet I have to explain and remind customers all day long. I am checking out [Customer #1] while keeping an eye on the door.

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am, could you please wait outside for a moment? We are only allowed to have one customer in here at a time.”

[Customer #2] steps back outside. I finish with [Customer #1], direct them to the exit, and beckon to [Customer #2] to come in.

Customer #2: “I am so sorry, I should have checked! I really should know; I work at the pharmacy and we are constantly reminding people, as well.”

We commiserate a bit as I’m helping her, and I help her carry her items to the exit.

Customer #2: “Thank you so much, and have a nice day, and… I’m trying to think of what exactly to wish you.”

Me: “Pleasant and attentive customers?”

Customer #2: “Yes, may you have many of those!”

Then, I called in [Customer #3], an elderly man, quickly helped him, cashed him out, and finished with, “Have a nice day, and please leave through the other door over there.”

[Customer #3] took a step back and tripped over a display, knocking several vases to the floor and almost falling himself, and then left the shop… through the entrance.

So much for “attentive customers.”

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He’s Not Cheapskating Around The Issue

, , | Right | February 19, 2021

I work in a copy shop. Most of our income comes from large orders of flyers, booklets, posters, and textile prints, but we also serve customers who just need one or two copies. Our prices scale down with the number of copies printed, so anything less than ten pages costs € 0,50 per page in grayscale and more than double that amount in color. We often get people who complain about our prices, claim that they can get it much cheaper elsewhere — though they always return to our store, curiously enough — or worst of all, try to haggle. But every once in a while, I have an encounter that goes something like this.

Me: “Will that be all?”

Customer: “Yes, thank you. How much do I owe you?”

Me: “Your total will be € 8,40.”

Customer: *Shocked* “I’m sorry, how much?”

I am mentally preparing myself for the coming hissy fit.

Me: “It’s € 8,40.”

Customer: “Really? That cheap?”

Me: “You know, it’s funny; most people complain that it’s way too expensive.”

Customer: “Nonsense. Your time is valuable. You shouldn’t be demanding so little for it.”

Cheapskating Around The Issue

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Is That How He Thinks Disabled People Bathe?

, , , , | Right | February 9, 2021

I work at a copy shop in a small shopping center in Austria. We’re located right next to the toilets. The disabled toilet is always locked, as it has a standardized lock and most disabled people have a key that unlocks any such bathroom door.

Occasionally, people come into our shop to ask if we can unlock the door for them; most of them are surprised to hear that there are standardized locks. In these cases, we usually call the management of the shopping center to send someone down to unlock the toilets.

I’m near the entrance, talking to a coworker, when a man enters and asks, in English, whether we could unlock the disabled toilet for him. I talk to him, as my English is better than my coworker’s, and explain the key situation.

Me: “If you need to use the toilet, we can call someone down to unlock it for you.”

I turn to my coworker and speak in German.

Me: “Could you call upstairs, please, and ask if they can open the disabled toilet?”

My coworker calls house management.

Customer: “No, that’s all right. I don’t want to cause you any inconvenience.”

Me: “It’s really no inconvenience at all.”

Coworker: *In German* “They’re sending someone down.”

Me: “They’re already on their way. The door will be open in a bit.”

Customer: “Oh, thank you. I’ll wait outside, then.”

The man goes outside to wait in front of the toilet. My coworker turns to me.

Coworker: “He doesn’t really look like he’s got a disability.”

Me: “Yeah, but I wasn’t going to say anything. Maybe he’s got something that’s not obvious; I don’t know. It’s not really any of my business.”

Coworker: “Yeah, guess you’re right.”

After a bit, the janitor shows up. He speaks to the man for a bit before shaking his head. The man leaves, still as cheerful as he was when he came in, and waves to me as he passes by. After that, the janitor comes into our shop.

Me: “What was that about?”

Janitor: “Apparently, he didn’t need to go to the toilet. He asked if he could take a shower in the disabled bathroom.”

I was left slightly speechless. I mean first of all, what disabled toilet includes a shower, and second of all, why would he think to take a shower in the disabled toilet of a small shopping center?

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Isn’t Nerdy Stuff All The Same?

, , | Right | February 8, 2021

We sell merch related to films, manga, TV, and comics.

Customer: “Sorry, but do you have anything related to physics?”

Me: “Sorry, we’re a comic book store. We sell merch related to films, manga/anime, and comics like Spider-Man.”

Customer: “See, my friend, he’s studying physics and it’s his birthday.”

Me: “Maybe The Big Bang Theory merch?”

Customer: “Okay!”

I show her the merch; she doesn’t want it. 

Customer: “But anything else related to physics?”

Me: “I‘m sorry, we’re a comic book store.”

Customer: “What about maths? He loves maths! ‘Cause he’s studying physics!”

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