Remodeling Your Expectations

, , , , | Right | March 5, 2019

(The store is doing remodeling from a basic grocery store to a more all-in-one store, and as a result, they have additional workers, aisles or even whole categories moved to a different location, roped-off and plastic-covered areas, and other frustrations. I have just gotten off work and my mom tells me she needs me to pick up a few things she forgot when she went shopping. Due to the store having changed everything, she is on the phone with me, walking me through to where she remembered items being a few days ago.)

Mom: “The next aisle should have [items].”

(I leave the current aisle, about to make a u-turn into the next aisle, when I see that they have blocked off the area with some plastic from the roof to the floor and that what sign was there has been ripped off. I don’t tell her this until I see that the next available aisle has items that in no way match the items she told me.)

Me: “Crap, they moved it.”

Mom: “Well, f***. Try to see if you can find them or somebody wearing the construction orange shirts that might be able to help you. Until then…”

(She keeps guiding me and, for the most part, the items are either in the area, or she’s close enough that I find them within an aisle of where she remembers them being. However, I have yet to find the items from the moved aisle until I finally approach one of the employees.)

Me: “Do you know where [items] are?”

Employee: “Yes, they are—“

(Sadly, I forget I had the phone to my ear and the employee is drowned out by my mom.)

Mom: “Why are you asking me? You just told me they were moved!”

(Realizing I’m dealing with both the phone and an employee at the same time, I release a sheepish chuckle. I’m performing my own pet peeve, so decide to hang up.)

Me: “Hang on. I found one of the guides; I’ll call you back.”

(As I’m hanging up, the guy looks somewhat shocked, and visibly braces for something.)

Me: “Yeah, can you show me where you moved [items], please? My mom, who I was talking to, was leading me around, but you must have moved them in the last few days.”

Employee: “Oh, yes! They are [directions]. Would you like for me to show you?”

Me: “That’s fine, but I’m sure they’d prefer you to stay in your area so that others can find you. But is something wrong?”

Employee: “No, I’m just shocked you got off the phone and actually asked, as opposed to yelling at me.”

(As I hear him say that last part, I cringe before shaking my head.)

Me: “Yeah, I can only picture it, as I passed by another guide that was getting the tenth-degree including every combo curse in the book.”

Employee: “If only it was that, but there’s been more than a few threats to stop the remodel or boycott the store.”

Me: “I worked at [Other Grocery Store] when they were doing their remodeling, so…”

(The employee gives me the “YES! SOMEBODY WHO KNOWS!” look before taking me to the item despite my protests.)

Employee: “Here you go — [items]. But can I see that [most expensive item in my cart] first?”

Me: “Umm, sure?”

(The employee placed a clearance sticker on the top of the item reading “25% off, valued customer” before handing it back and thanking me before leaving me completely shocked.)

Retail Has Its Highs And Lows

, , , , , | Right | February 27, 2019

We just had a library patron come in specifically to thank us for helping her print her resume last week. She got the job!

Immediately afterward, another patron came up to tell us that they’d accidentally puked in the drinking fountain.

Concretely Resolute That I Will Not Help You

, , , , , | Right | February 25, 2019

(Our customer base is an odd mix: angry, irrational, helpless, entitled, crazily demanding, and often any random combination of those elements. My department is on the far side of the store from the break room, which means I must cross the entire store to get there after I take a break and/or after I clock in for my shift. The cement aisle is right outside the break room. I have just taken a break during a miserable, hot day during which customers have yelled at me multiple times for no reason. I am exiting the break room to go back to my department. Two reasonably healthy-looking, strapping male customers are standing in the aisle looking at bags of concrete.)

Customer: “HEY! YOU! We need some of these! Come help us load our cart!”

Me: “Okay, sure.”

Customer: “Those!” *points at a skid of 80-pound concrete bags and starts to walk off with the other customer*

(I load up two bags, but as I said, I am fed up already, and tired, and frankly, it’s not my job to wait on anyone hand and foot like this. Plus, the bags are very heavy. I also have my own department to get back to, since no one else is working it while I’m gone.)

Me: “Um, wait. How many did you need? And could you please help me load these?”

Other, Nicer Customer: “Sure, but we only needed those two bags of that brand. We actually needed a couple of these down here…”

Customer: *whirls back in my direction, interrupting his friend* “WHAT?! How about you do your job?!

Me: *over it* “Tell you what. I will go back to my department right now and do my job, which does not include what is happening right now.”

Customer: “FINE! WHATEVER!”

(I turn to walk away, and there is third customer standing right behind me who just saw the entire exchange. He is grinning ear to ear and laughing.)

Grinning Customer: “Hi! Could you show me where the glue is?!”

(Glue, epoxy, etc., are all in paint, which is right next to my department.)

Me: “Sure! It’s right this way. Let’s go!”

(As we are walking through the store, he talks to me.)

Grinning Customer: “You know, I’m from Brooklyn, and hearing that exchange made me homesick. Nobody back there is fake or pretends to be nice when someone is an a**hole like that. You sounded exactly like someone from my old neighborhood. That was great.”

(I laughed, thanked him, and showed him our glue selection. He pretty much made my day.)

How Do I Put This Deli-cately?

, , , , , , | Right | February 21, 2019

(I am working drive-thru when a woman comes to my window. It’s early in the morning and business is slow, so we get to small talk while her order is being put together.)

Customer: “Yeah, I thought I had to be at work at five, but turns out I was scheduled for six, so I have an hour to kill.”

Me: “Oh, where do you work?”

Customer: “At the [Store] deli.”

Me: “Oh, man…”

Customer: “Oh, have you worked there before?”

Me: “No, but I had a roommate who did, and I’ve heard some stories.” *completely deadpan* “I said fifty grams!”

Customer: *equally deadpan*Not fifty-one!”

(We shared a laugh and I sent her on her way. Be nice to your deli workers, folks.)

Paying It Forward Sometimes Comes Back Around

, , , , | Hopeless | February 20, 2019

(I work in concessions at a movie theater. I’m serving a customer at the beginning of the week on a slow day. She’s interested in some popcorn, but the prices are too high for her to consider buying some. It’s slow, and I’m feeling generous, so I give her some popcorn in a small bag at no cost. Touched by this gesture, she offers to pay me for the popcorn. The money is tempting, but I refuse, since I wanted to do something nice for her. I don’t necessarily want to be paid for trying to be nice. She won’t take no for an answer, though, so I get an idea.)

Me: “Pay it forward; do something nice for someone else.”

(She agrees and leaves the cinema. A few days later, I’m working concessions again when a teenage girl comes to order food, and she has her grandma with her. Turns out it’s the same lady from before! She recognizes me, although I don’t remember her. She turns to her grandchild, and says:)

Customer: “I have to tell you a story. This lady right here gave me some popcorn for free, and refused to take any money for it. Instead, she told me to pay it forward. I went and cried in my car afterward, and I’ve been telling my friends for a couple of days. I just wanted to say thank you for that.”

(I am overcome. I honestly didn’t think it would make all that much of a difference.)

Me: “Thank you, ma’am. I’m actually leaving for an internship in a few days, so I’m glad you told me this, and that I got a chance to hear how much it meant to you.”

Customer: “Oh, you’re leaving for an internship? In that case, take this, and have a good time!”

(She placed something in my hand, and I looked down to see a $20 bill! I opened my mouth to protest, but she was already gone. Wherever you are, thank you, ma’am!)

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