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This Christmas Will Bomb But In A Good Way

, , , , , , | Right | December 22, 2021

I work at a store whose employees are known for being very social — often probably too much! — and making connections with customers.

It is less than a week until Christmas and our area is in lockdown, so this means we can only do curbside pickup. My coworkers and I are tired, stressed, and dealing with a lot of angry phone calls from people who are upset they can’t come into the store to shop or are having trouble with the online ordering process. Our store phone is dying, making everything difficult, we’re surviving on coffee, and we’re definitely not feeling any kind of holiday spirit.

Near the end of the day, we get another phone call. We worry it will be someone else upset with us.

Customer: “Hi! I know you’re only open for curbside but it won’t let me order online because I don’t have a credit card. Could I come by the store and purchase a few things at the door? I know I can’t come inside and that’s fine!”

Since we have a card reader we can bring to the door and still social-distance, we are able to do this in scenarios where it’s needed, so we tell her yes. A while later she comes by and immediately makes all our days by being the sweetest.

Customer: “I just wanted to say thank you for working during this time! I know it’s really hard on your mental health and I really appreciate you being here.”

Coworker #1: “Oh, my gosh, thank you so much! You have no idea how happy that makes us.”

Coworker #2: “You know, you’re the first person I’ve heard that from.”

Me: “Yeah, we really don’t hear that kind of thing very often; it really means a lot!”

Customer: “I just wanted to pick up a few things for me or some friends, and I was wondering if you could give me some suggestions? I’m really not sure what to get. What are each of your favourite products so I know some things that are good?”

I am starting to suspect what might be going to happen, so to hedge my bets, I recommend a bath bomb that I DO love but also isn’t too much. My coworkers recommend a body scrub and some soap that they use and like.

The customer happily takes our suggestions and buys those as well as a few other items. My coworker goes to put our suggested products in a bag for her but she stops him.

Customer: “I wanted to know something that each of you likes so I could give it to you! I know things are tough right now. You’re doing great. Happy holidays!”

She wouldn’t take no for an answer and left us literally hugging the products she had gifted us in some kind of shocked joy.

We spent the rest of the shift just happily talking about that encounter over and over. My coworkers had had no idea what was coming and I was surprised that it had actually turned out how I suspected because customers that nice are rare. She had already made our days just by being kind and then did something so amazing on top of that! I still haven’t used the bath bomb I got from the girl we have dubbed “an actual angel” because I kind of want to keep it forever, but even more so, I want her to somehow see this or otherwise know how much joy she brought us!

Christmas Cheer Doesn’t Have To Be Conventional

, , , , , , , | Related | December 22, 2021

I have a bit of holiday trauma from an abusive, overly-religious stepmother. My father usually deliberately worked on holidays to avoid her religious fanaticism but allowed her to burn gifts we got that weren’t religious enough. As such, I’m not a big fan of Christmas, and as an adult, I don’t celebrate it for years.

When I marry my wife, who loves Christmas and has a religious mother, I brace myself for the holidays.

Wife: “Honey, I found the perfect tree!”

Me: *Trying to fake enthusiasm* “Oh, cool!”

Mother-In-Law: “[Wife], show her what you found. Trust me, you’ll like this.”

My wife drags in a completely black tree.

Me: *Stunned* “Is that… a black tree? I didn’t even know those were a thing!”

Wife: “Yeah! I’ve always wanted a black tree but Mom prefers real trees, which don’t come in black. But I found this one at work on clearance… and these ornaments!”

Me: “Are those dragons? You got dragon Christmas ornaments?”

Wife: “I know you love dragons. Plus, I figured we could get a skull tree topper or something. And I work with a woman that makes custom wrapping paper, so I figured we can order some of that and wrap our gifts in it. She does coffins, bats, blood splatters…”

Me: “Okay, I might be coming around on Christmas now.”

Mother-In-Law:  “I did find an angel tree topper for you, though.”

She proudly pulls out a Weeping Angel from “Doctor Who,” a show all three of us love. 

Mother-In-Law: “What do you think?”

Me: “I think that, for the first time. I’m actually excited about decorating for Christmas.”

Our holiday wreath has flowers and skulls on it, and none of the religious family members batted an eye when they saw our decorations. My wife’s preacher grandfather even asked us where we got our bat wrapping paper because he loved it so much and ordered some for himself. I look forward to Christmas now!

Undercharged But Over-Appreciated

, , , , | Right | December 22, 2021

The national chain store I work in has just closed when we hear someone knocking on the door:

Me: *Through the closed, locked door* “Can I help you?”

Customer: *Frantic and upset* “I need to come in! You made a mistake when you rang me up!”

Me: “I’m so sorry, ma’am, but we’re closed for the night. You’ll have to come back or call in the morning to get it fixed. I’m really sorry we made a mistake.”

Customer: “No! You need to fix it! You undercharged me! I owe you more money!”

Me: “Wait. The mistake was in your favor?”

Customer: “Yes! Please, you need to fix it!”

Me: “Ma’am, I really appreciate your honesty, but if the mistake is in your favor, and it was our fault, you don’t have to do anything else. Don’t worry about it at all. Enjoy your purchase!”

Customer: “Are you sure? I don’t want to get anyone in trouble.”

Me: “Don’t worry about a thing. Our mistake, our problem. Thank you for letting us know and for your honesty, and have a great night!”

Customer: *Much happier* “Okay, good night!”

Being Kind Can Give You Wings

, , , , , | Working | December 21, 2021

I took my little brother out to a chain chicken wing restaurant for his birthday. I ordered a ten-piece wing platter. When I got it and started eating, I noticed I only had eight wings. Now, I don’t typically complain about food, but I wanted what I paid for. I waved the server over.

Me: “I’m not trying to be difficult, but I ordered a ten-piece platter and only got eight wings. I’d like to either change my order to an eight-piece or get two more wings, please.”

Server: “I don’t know how to change the order, but I’ll get you more wings.”

She goes to the kitchen and comes back about fifteen minutes later with another ten wings!

Me: “Why did you bring me ten more?!”

Server: “They’re on the house because you handled our mistake so calmly!”

It just shows that not being a jerk can get you a long way in life.

The Real Party Starts When You Get To Learn About Dinosaurs

, , , , , , | Friendly | December 20, 2021

I was attending a Fourth of July party at a friend’s house years ago. Since I’m a gigantic man-child that loves kids, due to their being closer to my maturity level, I was relegated to watching the kids in the playroom while the proper adults did adulty things. I didn’t know most of the kids there, as they were the family of my friend’s new wife. I’m surprisingly terrible at guessing kids’ ages given how much I hang out with them, but I’d say the kid in this story was probably around six or seven.

Me: “Yeah, I like dinosaurs. They’re awesome. In fact, I was listening to a few of them this morning.”

Kid: “You were? On TV?”

Me: “No, outside, while I was walking to my car to drive here I was watching and listening to some of them.”

Kid: “There are no dinosaurs outside.”

Me: “Sure, there are. They just look a bit different than you’re thinking of.”

Kid: “You’re joking?”

Me: “Nope. The dinosaurs ended up evolving into birds, so whenever you look at a bird, you’re really looking at a flying dinosaur in disguise!”

Kid: “Oh, so you mean they de-evolved?”

Me: “There is no such thing as de-evolving, except in really bad TV shows.”

Kid: “Huh?”

Me: “You think evolving means getting bigger and stronger, right?”

Kid: “Yeah.”

Me: “But that’s not what it means. Evolving means getting better at surviving and having kids. Sometimes the best way to do that is to be bigger and stronger, but sometimes the best way is to get smaller and weaker. But that’s not de-evolving; it’s evolving to be weaker because that’s the best way to survive.”

Kid: “Why would you get weaker?”

Me: “Because then you don’t have to find enough food to feed your big strong body. All the big dinosaurs probably froze or starved to death after a meteor hit the earth, but some of the small ones were able to find ways to survive and find enough food. So being small and not needing as much food was better than being big and strong and starving.”

Kid: “But couldn’t they evolve to not eat as much without getting weaker?”

Me: “Everything costs something. Sometimes animals find ways to evolve to be more efficient, to be better at something without giving anything else up, but usually, animals need to give up something to get better at something else. And usually, being stronger means eating more or taking longer to grow up, but that can be a problem for other reasons.”

Kid: “So they became birds when the meteor hit so they wouldn’t starve?”

Me: “Kind of. There were already dinosaurs that looked a lot like birds today when the others died out. In fact, part of the reason the dinosaur birds survived may have been because they had a beak that was better at getting and eating the kind of food that was left after the meteor. But those dinosaurs continued to change for millions of years before they became the sort of birds you’re used to.”

Kid: “Millions of years?!”

Me: “Yep, I think it was around sixty million years or so, but I’m not really sure.”

Kid: “That’s a long time!”

Me: “Yes, it is, but all that really matters is that those dinosaurs turned into birds. So, now, whenever you hear a bird singing, you should tell your friends you just heard a dinosaur!”

Later that day, once the rest of the guests arrived and the pool party moved out to the pool, I heard the kid talking to his parents.

Kid: “Hey, Dad, did you know birds are dinosaurs?!”

I’ve since attended many parties hosted by this friend; his new wife is very sociable and their mini-mansion with a pool makes a good party location. I’ve run into this same kid many times, and every time since our first conversation he always ends up asking me some sort of question about animals or evolution. I had only meant to mess with the kids a little, but I’m happy to have instead sparked a real interest in learning about evolution and science in a child.

Now I just need to get around figuring out how exactly he’s related to my friend, or perhaps what his name is?