The Epic Of The Babies Of Beanie

, , , , , , , | Right | January 24, 2020

(This is during the Beanie Baby craze of the mid-90s. The one store in our small town that sells these fuzzy toys is getting a new shipment which is said to contain a few special releases — one of which turns out to be the new Princess Bear released in honor of the late Princess Diana — and the usual group of customers line up before the shop opens that morning to be sure of getting one. The store only allows each customer to get two of a new release, as supplies are limited. I have a dental appointment scheduled for later in the morning, so Mom agrees to just let me skip school and come with her. While we wait, we chat with the other customers and everyone is generally friendly and excited. But there’s one woman who keeps inching her way up the line. She’ll talk to someone for a few minutes and then turn to talk to the person in front of them and step forward. A couple of minutes later, she’ll start talking to the person in front of them and step forward again. Everyone has noticed and is annoyed by it, but no one wants to call her out and risk an altercation.)

Mom: *leans down to whisper to me* “They’re going to open any minute now, and I’m going to deal with her. Go get our Beanies and wait for me by the postcard racks.”

(Mere seconds later, the door is unlocked, and as we’re the first in line, Mom opens the door… and then steps aside to hold it open for the rest of the line, effectively blocking this woman from going inside. She stands there holding the door until the last little old lady has hobbled in, and only then steps aside and gestures the line cutter to enter. By this point, everyone else has gotten their toys and gone to check out. There’s only one of the Princess Bears left, and none of the other new release. The woman is furious, but the staff are polite yet unsympathetic; they saw her cutting the line, too.) 

Mom: *joins me in browsing the antiques while we wait for the line to fade* “And that’s how you handle line cutters. Did you get the bears?”

Me: “Yup. And they let me have yours, too, so we can each buy two of them.” 

Mom: “Good. Pick yourself out a couple of postcards for your collection, and then we’ll check out.”

(While I’m dithering over the postcard selection, the final customer is helped and leaves, and one of the employees comes over with a small box in her hands.) 

Employee: “I saw what you did there, ma’am, and it made my day. I wasn’t sure you’d be able to get your Beanies, though, so I set some aside for you.”

Mom: “Oh! Thank you, but my daughter already picked up my share. I know we’re only allowed two each for new releases, and I don’t want to be greedy.”

Employee: “Ma’am, I’ve seen you come in here time and again, and greedy is the last word I’d ever use. Besides, don’t you have more kids at home?”

Mom: “Yes, actually. I have five in total.”

Employee: “Well, then, I think we can waive that rule just for today. Here you go! That should make six of each design: one for each of the kids, and one for you!”

(We thanked her profusely, purchased our toys and postcards, and went on our way. It was only later that my mom actually looked at her receipt and saw that she was given the employee discount, too. We brought chocolate for that sweet employee the next time we came in and became quite good friends until we moved away the following year.)

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Cooking Up A Sweet Moment

, , , , , , , | Working | January 17, 2020

(At the particular place in the college cafeteria where I like to eat, you tell the person behind the counter what you want, and they circle it on an order pad and hang it up for the cooks to see. The people who write the orders also do the cooking if there aren’t very many coworkers on duty.)

Me: “I’d like a grilled cheese on wheat, please.”

(The cook hesitates and stares at the pad for at least a minute. The longer it goes on, the more panicked he begins to look. After a while, I decide to help him out and point to where “GRILLED CHEESE” is written.)

Cook: *circling my order* “Oh, thank you! One moment, please.”

(He hangs up the order for his coworker and comes back to wait for other kids. Since it’s before the lunch rush, though, I’m the only one there, and I decide to make small talk.)

Me: “Are you new?”

Cook: “Yeah, just started an hour ago.”

Me: “You looked kind of freaked out there.”

Cook: *sheepish* “I’ve heard stories from the others.”

(I can only imagine; just a few weeks ago, a girl threw a tantrum in the middle of the cafeteria because she couldn’t get a vegan grilled cheese sandwich, which this particular cafeteria does not offer.)

Me: “Vegan grilled cheese girl?”

Cook: “Among other things.”

(Now my sandwich is done, and I have to go.)

Me: *waving* “Well, good luck with the job!”

Cook: *waving back* “Thanks! I’m going to need it!”

(About a week later, I run into him during a slow hour; he’s the only one working the kitchen, so that means he both takes my order and makes my food. I order another grilled cheese sandwich before deciding to chat some more.)

Me: “You know what would be really cool? If you guys allowed the option to put vegetables or something on the sandwiches.”

Cook: *grins* “Yeah, that does sound pretty good.”

Me: “Anyway, how’s the job been?”

Cook: *peering at me* “Oh! You’re the girl from last week!”

Me: “Um, I guess so?”

Cook: “Okay, one moment, let me get your food ready.”

(After a few minutes, my sandwich is done.)

Me: “Thanks a lot!”

Cook: “Hey, no problem. It’s always nice to see a friendly face.”

(I took the sandwich and went back to my dorm to eat. When I unwrapped it and bit into it, I discovered that he’d put diced tomatoes and onions in it! Just that little gesture made me tear up a little bit. Thank you, whatever your name is! Your special sandwich was delicious and kept me smiling for the rest of the day!)

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Getting Her To Stop Is Like Trying To Make Fetch Happen

, , , , | Right | January 16, 2020

(Today is October 3rd, it is Wednesday, and I am wearing pink. I’ve decided to get dinner from a well-known fast food taco place before going home and settling in to watch a certain movie. I get in line and am zoning out but soon realize what is happening:)

Customer: “Why did you charge me full price?”

Cashier: “That is the price of that burrito.”

Customer: “But I ordered it without meat. It should be cheaper!”

Cashier: “You can order it without something, but the price stays the same.”

Customer: “But it costs you less to make it. I should be charged less!”

Cashier: “I’m sorry, but we don’t do that here.”

Customer: “So, what you are telling me is that if ten of my vegetarian friends all came in and ordered without meat, you’d still charge them full price even though you’d have all that extra meat to serve to all your other customers?”

(The cashier has a deer in the headlights look. By this point, I’ve gone from slightly amused to rather annoyed because I am hungry, she’s holding up the line for other people to order, and she’s becoming more belligerent to the employee. I decide to say something.)

Me: “Ma’am, no fast food place does what you are asking. If you don’t like this policy, please complain to corporate because she’s just following policy. She can’t make any changes. You are complaining to the wrong person.” *looks at the cashier* “Can you give her the phone number for corporate?”

(I got back in line, hoping this had resolved the issue. No. The customer continued to rebuke the employee for several more minutes before she finally felt like she’d been mean enough and walked away.)

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Monstrous Behavior Calls For Monstrous Treatment

, , , , , , , | Right | January 9, 2020

(I have just gotten off my fourth 12-hour shift working for a game at a convention where I dress in a rubber monster suit and let players dressed as space marines shoot me with pellet guns. I am tired and sore as I slump into a booth next to a table of cosplayers dressed as characters from a webcomic)

Waitress: *with a strong southern accent* “You look tired, hon. What’ll you have?”

Me: “A peanut butter milkshake and the largest burger you have.”

(The milkshake comes, and I lose myself in a book I picked up on my lunch break. About fifteen minutes later, I’ve finished the drink but the burger still hasn’t come. I don’t care, because I’m getting to sit down.)

Waitress: “Sorry it’s taking so long.”

Me: “That’s fine; it’s busy with the convention. If you don’t mind me here, I don’t mind the wait.”

Waitress: “Let me get you some water, baby.”

Cosplayer: “What’s a water baby? She talks funny.”

(I rise up to my full 6’3” height and use my best monster voice)

Me: “I am tired. I am hungry. I just spent four days letting random people shoot at me. This woman is being a polite, excellent waitress, despite me having to wait so long for my food. Keep it up, and I’ll solve the problem by cooking and eating you.”

(The table suddenly find their sodas fascinating, and they leave soon after but don’t make another peep until then. My food comes, and then…)

Me: “I’m ready for the check when you have a minute.”

Waitress: “Oh, no, sweetie, someone as nice as you shouldn’t have had to wait so long for their food. You’re comped.”

Me: “Wait, no check? I was going to tip on my debit card. I only have two dollars cash on me, and you deserve much more. You’ve been amazing.”

(She took it and told me not to worry about it. Waitstaff who put up with large crowds of geeks so kindly deserve all the love in the world!)

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The Promise Of A Better Day

, , , , | Right | January 7, 2020

(I am having a particularly rough day in general. An elderly customer comes in and asks for a bouquet and some fillers, and I check him out.)

Customer: “Oh, ma’am, can I ask you for one more favor?”

Me: “Sure, what would you like?”

Customer: “Please have a good day.”

Me: “Okay…”

Customer: “You promise me?”

Me: “Yeah, I do!”

(I did my best to keep my promise that day!)

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