Slidering Right Into A New Friendship

, , , , , , , | Friendly | January 6, 2020

(I’m about 12 years old. I am a victim of bullying, and all my friends have ditched me. After a particularly rough day, I am visually upset, and I decide to stop by a burger joint on my way home from school.)

Me: “How much is a slider?”

Employee #1: “$2.06.”

Me: “I only have t-two dollars.”

Employee #1: “That’s okay. Are you feeling all right? What’s the matter?”

Me: “My friends aren’t v-very nice p-people. And I’m-m being b-bullied at school.”

Employee #2: *handing me a cup*

Me: “Oh, sir, I think you m-misheard-d me.”

Employee #2: “It’s okay. The soda machine is over there.”

Me: “Thank you, thank you!”

Cook: “Do you like cheese on your burger?”

Me: “Yes, please.”

(I fill my cup with soda and return to the cashier to pick up my burger)

Employee #1: *handing me a bag* “Here’s some ketchup.”

(I look inside the bag and there are two burgers in there!)

Me: “Ma’am, there are two burgers in here.”

Employee #2: “Our treat. Things will get better, I promise.”

Cook: “Those people are not your friends. I’ll be your new friend. I’ll be new… What do people call it today? I’ll be ‘bae.’ If you ever want to talk to someone, come in and ask for [Cook].”

Me: *laughing, for the first time in a week* “Thank you guys so, so, so much.”

Employee #1: “Do you live far away? Should I walk with you?”

Me: “No, no, it’s okay. I just live a few blocks away.”

Employee #1: “Come back any time. We’re here.”

Employee #2: *picking up a broom, swinging it around in the air* “That’s what happens if people hurt you again. I’ll break them to pieces.”

(I’m laughing hard by now. The employees look really pleased.)

Me: “Thank you guys so much. I really appreciate it. I’ll be back tomorrow.”

Cook: “keep me updated!”

Employee #2: “Yeah, we want the juice!”

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Saving A Damsel From Distress

, , , , , , | Right | January 5, 2020

(I have been traveling around Europe with only a small piece of luggage with me. I’m not allowed to bring anything else as my ticket is a simple one, but in Toledo, I have to buy a sword because of who am I as a person. Going to Italy, I pay a fine of €50 to bring Damsel, my sword, with me. This happens when I’m in Italy’s airport again, flying to Madrid in a connection flight so I can go back to my country, Argentina. After giving my passport and ticket, the check-in lady, who looks really grumpy, tells me to give her my luggage and the box with Damsel to weigh them.)

Me: “Oh, no, this one comes with me inside the cabin. The box with the sword goes with the cargo.”

Lady: *annoyed* “The plane is full, so everything has to go with the cargo.”

Me: “I understand. No problem, then. I still have to pay the fine for the box.”

(We both make a pause and I realize it.)

Me: “People have been giving you h*** for this, haven’t they?”

Lady: “Yes! They complain and complain!”

Me: *laughs* “Don’t worry; I understand that this is not something you control. Do whatever you have to do; I’m not going to get mad.”

Lady: “Thank you! You know what? Your ticket from Madrid to Buenos Aires does allow the extra cargo; I’m sending both your things directly to Argentina, so you don’t have to pay the fine.”

Me: “Are you serious? Did you just save me €50?”

Lady: “Yes, have a nice flight!”

(Lady, thank you a lot for your work. Damsel and I are very grateful that you saved this poor writer so much money.)

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His Brain Is A Beautiful Library

, , , , | Working | January 2, 2020

(We have an odd coworker. We LOVE this guy; he is in his fifties, his work is perfect, and he is just so eager to help. He’s very intelligent, loves to talk philosophy and the like… but he has an anxiety disorder that, however much we try, can get on our nerves. No one ever snaps at him about this. This is an example of one of those days when we smile, grit out teeth and remind ourselves that he cannot help it. He has noticed that a former librarian and currently a volunteer has been weeding things for us. We usually give certain standards that must be met — i.e. if the book hasn’t been circulated for ten years, take it off the shelf and put it on a cart, or if the book is in really bad condition, torn up, dirty, etc., put it on the cart to be checked. He really wants to try his hand at weeding and finally wears me down. I tell him to pull only books from a certain section that, according to the stamp, have not gone out since 2012. He proceeds to bring each book to my office.)

Coworker: “This one hasn’t gone out since 2015. Should I put it on the cart?”

Me: “No, only if the last date is 2012 do you want to put it on the cart.”

Coworker: “Okay.”

(Two seconds later.)

Coworker: “This book is stamped 2012, but there’s also a 2013, five 2015s, and a 2017.”

Me: “Then 2012 isn’t the last date, right?”

Coworker: “Oh, right.”

(Three seconds later:)

Coworker: “This one isn’t stamped at all.”

Me: “And what does the spine label say?”

Coworker: “Oh! It’s a new book. I just shelved this a few minutes ago.”

Me: “That’s right.”

(A second later, [Coworker] presents me with a book that one needs a hazmat suit to touch and I wonder how on earth it ever went out in that condition.)

Coworker: “This isn’t too bad, is it?”

Me: “[Coworker], give me that. I’m withdrawing it right now. And go use some hand sanitizer and bring me some.”

Coworker: “I guess it was in pretty bad shape, huh?”

(This goes on for every. Single. Book. He. Pulled. At the end of the hour, he saya something like:)

Coworker: “I don’t think I’m ready to do weeding after all. I am too afraid of making a mistake.”

Me: “Well, you gave it a shot and that’s what’s important. You shouldn’t be afraid of making a mistake, though, because [Volunteer] and I both look over the cart and decide if we will really toss the book or not, so we’d catch it if you didn’t.”

Coworker: “Oh, that’s right. But I wouldn’t want you to think I was stupid and couldn’t figure out how to decide if a book is too old or not.”

Me: “We never would think that, [Coworker]. I appreciate you wanting to try something new.”

Coworker: “Is it okay if I go back to shelving books? That’s so much easier.”

(That’s what kills me. Most people find the Dewey decimal system a huge challenge — it was for me at one time, as well — but he has absolutely no trouble getting the books in the right order. But figuring out that 2012 should be the LAST date stamped in an old book is a scary process. He is still with us, still greets each of us about fifteen times each morning, and he is still making our lives easier by shelving everything in perfect Dewey order. To be honest, since he gave up on being a weeder instead of a reader, he seems to have calmed down quite a bit. And according to his counselor, he’s doing really well in the world!)

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Be Nice, Get Beer… Why Can’t Everything Be This Simple?  

, , , , , , | Right | December 31, 2019

(My wife and I have found out about a music and local beer festival happening not far from us. We get in the car and find out we’re the first ones to show up for the day. As we get in line, the ladies working the admissions and beer ticket table — in the blowing, rainy weather that is typical of our area of Virginia during the late fall — are having technical issues. Namely, the device they’re using to try to run the debit/credit cards isn’t connecting to the Wi-Fi. As they trying to fix this, they keep apologizing profusely.)

Lady #1: “Hey, we’re really sorry about this! Normally, it doesn’t take this long! We don’t mean to keep you all out there in this weather.”

Me: “Oh, hey, it’s fine. I don’t mind. We’ve got plenty of time, and in a little while, I’m going to get some good beer, and I’m here with my favorite person ever, so it’s totally fine!”

Lady #2: “Most people wouldn’t be so calm about this, you know? Like, they’d be yelling at us.”

Me: “Yeah, I’ve worked in customer service for 19 years; trust me, I know. I always try not to be ‘that customer,’ you know? The one you tell stories about when you go home? Shoot, there’s no reason for that.”

Lady #1: *laughing* “Well, did you want to yell at us even a little bit? Just pretend or something? Might make you feel better!”

Me: “Oh, gods, no! I’d feel terrible. Besides, it wouldn’t even be believable.”

Wife: “Yeah, he’s a terrible actor. I always know when he’s on about something. He wouldn’t be able to do it.”

Lady #1: “You two are probably about the nicest people we’ll have all day. Tell you what. Go on in the bar and have them ring you up in there, and then go ahead and go right to the front of the beer line. They’ll take care of you in there.”

(I was able to get right to the front of the beer line and got a nice tall cup of the seasonal beer I’d been waiting most of a year for! Being nice to customer service folks can really pay off!)

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Sub-Standard Behavior

, , , , , , | Right | December 30, 2019

(I work in customer service. Today is a particularly hard day for me — difficult customers and the like. All I want to do is grab a sub and get home to watch some TV.)

Employee #1: “Cash or debit?”

Me: “Cash.”

Employee #1: “Okay. Because the debit machine is down.”

(At the cash, [Employee #2] is on the phone with the store owner who is obviously not being any help or offering any direction. Also at the register is a man in his early 40s and his son who is about five. The man storms out with his son in search of cash. I go through the sandwich building process, awkwardly stepping around a family who also need to pay by debit waiting for cash to arrive, very patient, quiet people. It comes time to pay for my sub. [Employee #1] rings it in as [Employee #2] hangs a “Cash Only” sign on the door. The computer freezes at the point that the cash drawer is supposed to open. We stand there for ten minutes making small talk. [Employee #1] is apologising profusely. [Employee #2] is on the phone with the store owner, explaining that people are waiting. Nothing is working. The owner hangs up, offering no direction. The man and his kid come back. The man pushes in front of me, slamming his money on the counter.)

Employee #1: “The cash system is also down now.”

(This is when the man pitches the hissy fit to end all hissy fits. Everything about my crappy day comes flooding back to me. And it occurs to me: they work there but I don’t.)

Me: “What is your problem? They are doing everything they possibly can do.”

Man: “This is f****** ridiculous.”

Me: “Sure. But it’s not their fault. Tell me, what do you think they should do? They can’t give you free food. Their store owner hung up on them. Pull up your big-boy pants and set a good example for your son! Be an adult!”

([Employee #1] and [Employee #2] pool their tips and come up with change. The man storms away, slamming tables out of his way with the child following. To appease this “grown man” child, the employees gave him change out of their OWN TIPS! Teenagers making minimum wage sacrificed to appease an adult driving a fancy truck. Another few minutes pass and finally:)

Employee #1: “Screw this. I am taking the change from below.” *a float of some sort*

(It took roughly twenty minutes to pay for a sub that was now cold and gross, but it was not their fault. I thanked them, reminded them that it was not their fault, and wished them luck.)

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