The Best Time To Play The Grandma Card

, , , , , | Working | November 10, 2020

I want to earn my own money, so during summer vacations in high school, I work at a small coffee shop which also sells tokens for all kinds of attractions, like trampoline jumping, mini-golf, etc., in the area.

In my final year there, another young man joins our shop. He is barely fourteen years old, but being the manager’s best friend’s son grants him his permission — or so he thinks — to act like the manager himself at times.

Although he helps us out in one tight spot or another with a lot of customers, most of the time he is annoying, loud, and all in all more of a hindrance than a help.

Around this time, news around the world reports certain groups being involved in terrorist attacks, so the boy thinks it’s HILARIOUS to greet people with certain hand gestures, greetings from different languages, and jokes heard from the news or read on the Internet.

It’s pretty tasteless. Some parents with their (rather young) children complain about him, but they are always laughed off by the manager.

Manager: “Oh, boys his age, you know?”

Having had enough, I tell him to stop multiple times, which only leads him to sulk somewhere for a few minutes and start again when none of us can hear him.

The manager’s response?

Manager: “Figure it out between the two of you! I can’t just keep holding your hand, you know!”

So, I look up the boy’s last name in the local phonebook, call the first person I find… and get his grandmother on the line.

After I describe his behaviour, she goes quiet on the other end of the line, but she ends the call with:

Grandmother: “Thank you. You can be sure that I’ll have a word with him.”

The next week, the boy is in a foul mood, a mix between angry and sad, but rather quiet without any more of his jokes. The manager, though, takes me to the side.

Manager: “Did you seriously call his relatives? How could you?! Don’t you know that he has a hard time with his parents and their current situation?”

Me: “You told me to figure it out between the two of us, so I did just that!”

I got a pretty nice tan from all that work under the summer sun, but that was about the only nice thing I took with me from that job.

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Secondhand Cold Cuts

, , , , , , | Friendly | October 30, 2020

I have some groceries delivered, and in one of the bags, there is a wrapped cold cut platter that I did not order. I immediately call the driver and the company, but they do not want to take it back, even though it is expensive, has its original sealing, and has been kept cold. I am a vegetarian, so I call around to find someone who can use a week’s supply of cold cuts.

Friend: “Do you think we are poor?!”

Me: “Of course not. I just thought you might enjoy some free food. The shelters I called all told me they could not accept food like that. As you have a husband and a young child, you were my first call.”

Friend: “Why do you always have to be so condescending? But okay, I’ll take it off your hands if you bring it over within the hour. Happy now?”

Me: “Sure, I’ll be there in forty-five minutes.”

Two and a half weeks later, I’m attending their child’s birthday party. When the topic of the relatively new online grocery shopping in my city comes up, I mention my experience to another guest, leaving out the timing and the part that I wasn’t the one to keep the platter.

Guest: *Jokingly* “Hey, [Friend], so was the super expensive cold cut platter you have for us tonight the bounty that [My Name] got? It tasted off.”

My friend directs assorted curse words at me.

Friend: “Anything that [My Name] says is a lie! We can afford the best of the best for our guests! I bought these cold cuts just for tonight, and only a week ago at most.”

Friend’s Husband: “Sorry, everyone. I begged her to let me eat the food, but she insisted it would last until tonight.”

Next time, I’m calling the animal shelters, followed by the rest of the phone book.


This story is part of our Best Of October 2020 roundup!

Read the next story in the Best Of October 2020 roundup!

Read the Best Of October 2020 roundup!

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Calm Down, Lady (Bug)

, , , | Working | October 27, 2020

I order a hot chocolate at a popular café. The only other customer in the shop is looking at the displayed sandwiches — there are only a few choices left — when she speaks to the server in a friendly and informative way.

Customer: “Excuse me? I think there is a bug in that sandwich there.”

And would you look at that? There is a single ladybug on top of the last sandwich, probably as confused as us customers as to how it got there. 

The server seems less surprised, taking out the sandwich, looking at it, and then putting it back. 

Server: “Oh!” *Laughs* “That’s there for good luck!”

I’m getting my drink a minute later and still, the ladybug is eating away at its meal. I say, just a little bit louder:

Me: “TOO BAD you have to take care of it. Wouldn’t want to have more luck because of that ladybug, hm?”

He tried to hide it, but he gave me this, “Ugh, customers,” look and finally removed it from the case.

I don’t know the standard way to deal with this, but I wouldn’t want to see him remove bugs and then put it back into the case. 

If the next customer doesn’t know, is there a problem? I was taught not to waste food but… First world problems? What do you guys think?

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Don’t Let This Manager Drown You

, , , , | Working | August 26, 2020

While studying for three years, I try to “earn a few coins” between semesters via small job opportunities. One of these jobs is supposed to be helping at a public swimming pool: getting out food to customers at the shop, helping to keep the area clean, etc.

Arriving at the entrance, I can see that the place looks… run-down. It isn’t filthy or dirty, just old and boring. Despite the appearance of the surroundings, the other three workers I meet up with look quite happy and are all around a friendly bunch.

And then, the manager enters the stage.

Our “workwear” is supposed to be orange and yellow, with only the colors being a necessity; as long as you get the colors correct, you can wear orange shorts, a yellow shirt, vice versa, and so on.

The woman appears in orange high heels, a plain, yellow dress… and an orange bra ON TOP of the dress. The swimming pool and its surroundings have a tang of grey and boring colors to them, so she stands out like a supernova — an icy, mind-melting supernova, which I would probably prefer in itself, just for the situation to be over as soon as possible.

The smiles of my coworkers turn upside down and her stare feels like a cold wind down my neck. She looks at me, smiles — or attempts to — and shows me around. After a brief introduction:

Manager: “So, since you wrote that you worked at a cafe before, why not show me how to mix a piña colada?”

Me: *Dumbstruck* “Yes, I worked at a coffee shop where I served coffee, snacks, and ice cream.”

She gives me a look as if debating whether I am worth the effort to be put into a meat grinder, and even then worth feeding to the homeless. Luckily, I think she decides against ending me right then and there.

Manager: “Aaaaaall right. You’ll be restocking wares and keeping the area clean for today. I’ll let you know if we need further assistance.”

Translation: “Please get out of my sight since you talked back to me.”

After I spend two hours standing around restocked fridges and freezers, she sends me home with a frown and says that she’ll keep in touch for further instructions.

As I am leaving, I see her berating one of the other workers, who already looks like she’s on the verge of tears.

Manager: “…and be sure to offer every guest a glass of wine. Better if they buy the whole bottle. I can’t believe how many we have left.”

In her defense, she did pay me for the two hours I worked there. But without further messages from her, I had the feeling that I barely escaped with my life.

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At Least It’s Easier To Clean Than A Mask

, , , , , , , | Working | August 13, 2020

After a few months of wearing masks, my workplace switched to “face shields” — plastic shields covering the face, strapped onto a band or nose clip — to reduce stress on our part while still fulfilling company (and other) rules.

Since temperatures started to rise again, a coworker of mine brought fresh ice cream on cones from a shop directly next to ours for us to enjoy. 

Remember the face shields? I surely forgot, only reminded after I licked the inside of the screen and squished the ice cream on the other side of it.

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