Getting Through This Is Not As Easy As Pie

, , , , , | | Right | July 23, 2019

(I am in a coffee shop with my housemate and her dog. We are working on cover letters for applications. A man comes in carrying a peacoat. It’s eighty degrees outside here now, and only going to get hotter. He approaches us.)

Man: *with peacoat* “Hey, y’all wanna buy this peacoat? Ten bucks. I don’t need it no more; it’s summer. Ten bucks.”

Us: “No, thanks.” *returns to our work*

Man: “How about for a piece of pie?”

Me: “Well, it would have to fit one of us. I don’t know if it would fit either of us. It’s too big for her—“ *gesturing to roommate* “—and I have pretty big boobs.”

Man: “Naw, naw, it’ll fit, it’ll fit. You’ll see.”

Me: “Well, okay. Let’s see.” *tries on the peacoat, it fits*

Man & Roommate: “It fits perfectly!”

Me: “Let me look at it in the restroom.” *looks in the mirror, then returns to the table* “Let me look it up online and find out about it.” *checks the label, does a Google search*

Man: “It’s real wool. One hundred percent. That’s a nice coat.”

Me: *not wanting to rip off the man, or overpay* “Hmm, well, I am finding anywhere from sixty to seventy dollars to over one hundred dollars, which means it might be… ten or fifteen at [Thrift Store]?”

Man: “At least twenty at [Thrift Store]. At least. And think about it this way. You don’t have to go to [Thrift Store].”

Me: “That is true. Yeah, I’ll take it. What kind of pie?”

Man: “Coconut cream. And, uh, and, uh, a frappe.”

Me: *joking* “You said pie!”

(The man goes to order his coconut cream and frappe.)

Shop Girl: “Okay. Got it.”

Man: *gesturing with his arm sweep over the whole restaurant* “Uh, girl! Girl! Uh, girl! She was gonna pay…”

Me: *have silently slunk up behind the man* “I’m here.”

(I insert the card into the chip reader and decide to leave a tip.)

Me: *still teasing* “Are you sure you didn’t get that from [Thrift Store]? Or maybe a clothing bank? You didn’t steal it, did you?”

Man: “No, it was my father’s. It was my father’s. I just don’t want it no more.”

Me: “Okay. Thanks for the coat.”

(I sit down to begin working again. A woman wearing a bicycle helmet crouches down and gets right in my face.)

Woman: “You should not have taken that coat from that man. I’ll give you your money back for the pie and coffee if you give that man his coat back. That was a rip-off. You are just b****y.”

Man: *overhearing at the counter while claiming his pie* “What about the coat? It fits her perfectly!”

Me: “You might want to mind your own business in the future, and you also want to refrain from calling other women b****es.”

(The woman goes to another part of the coffee shop, and the shop girl comes over.)

Shop Girl: “Was she bothering you? I’m so sorry.”

Me: “No, she wasn’t bothering me. He offered to sell me his peacoat for pie and coffee, and I took him up on it. This woman told me he was ripping me off and called me b****y.”

Shop Girl: “What woman?”

(The woman raises her hand, as if in class. The shop girl crosses the cafe to talk to her.)

Woman: “I would never do that. I would never rip off the homeless or the poor or destitute. You ripped that man off. I’m not a bad person like that.”

Me: “He offered to give me that peacoat for pie and coffee, which was ten dollars. I looked up that coat online and it would probably cost around that at Goodwill. Pie and coffee was the deal he offered; it was what he wanted.”

Woman: *sarcastically* “Ooooh, so generous!”

Me: “Well, why don’t you run after him, then? He just left; you could probably catch him. Go give him a hundred dollars.”

Shop Girl: “He’s not homeless. He comes in here every week, trying to sell people things or give people things for pie and coffee. He gets angry and bothers the customers when they say no. He’s been a nuisance, honestly. The manager has talked about banning him. Anyway, he’s not homeless.”

Woman: “Well, I would just never do that. I don’t go around ripping people off.”

Me: “And I don’t go around getting in people’s faces, but I’ll make an exception this one time. You get out of here with your sanctimonious self. Go on. Just go!” *gestures to door*

(The woman leaves in silence.)

Shop Girl: “Please don’t let that keep you from coming in here again.”

Me: “No, next time I’ll come and tell you right away when a strange customer calls me a b****. I believe that’s a kick-out-able offense.”

Shop Girl: “Oh, definitely. Nobody should be calling anybody that around here.”

(Point of the story: I got a peacoat for a piece of pie on pie day — 3/14!)

Customers’ Visual Acuity Is Based On Movement…

, , , , , | | Right | July 22, 2019

(I am working in the drive-thru booth late one night when a seemingly normal customer drives up to the speaker.)

Me: “Welcome to [Store]. How can I help you tonight?”

Customer: “Can I have a minute?”

Me: “Sure, just let me know when you’re ready!”

Customer: *about ten minutes later* “Ma’am, are you still there?”

Me: *cheerily* “Yes, I’m here!”

(Suddenly, the customer transforms into an obnoxious drunk customer of doom.)

Customer: “WHERE?”

Me: *confused* “Um, right here, at [Store], ready to take your order!”

Customer: “No, no, I’m at [Store]. You’re not here. Where are you?!”

Me: “I’m… I’m inside the store, sir.”


Me: “…”

Can Baby Say Handcuffs?

, , , , | | Right | July 22, 2019

(I work at an adult store which only allows people 18 years or older to enter. This does not stop parents from trying to bring their kids in with them. I see a woman trying to push a stroller into my store.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’m afraid we don’t allow anyone under 18 in this store.”

Woman: “Oh! I know; I’m actually 36. I just look young.”

Me: “I was talking about the baby.”

Woman: *suddenly furious* “What?! This is my kid; I give her permission to be in here.”

Me: “It doesn’t work like that. If she’s not 18 she can’t come in.”

Woman: “Why not?! She doesn’t know what any of this is, anyway!”

Me: “Doesn’t matter. I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

Woman: “This is unfair! I am a paying customer; you can’t treat me like this. I’ll have you arrested!”

Me: *now annoyed* “Do it.”

Woman: “Wh-what?”

Me: “I dare you. Call the cops right now. Actually, I’ll do it for you. Then you can explain to the police why you were trying to bring a minor into an adult store. So, then, when you try to explain that it’s your own child, you can then explain to Child Protective Services why you feel it’s okay to expose your child to adult-themed objects at an infant’s age.”

Woman: “That’s not what I’m doing at all! I just want to buy some stuff for myself.”

Me: “No, I’m refusing you service. Please leave my store. You can also tell your sob story to the cop that’s standing just outside the door, who watched this whole exchange.”

Using Some Scottish Tender Language

, , , , | | Right | July 21, 2019

(The customer is over six feet tall, Glaswegian, in his mid-50s, and looks ex-military. I am a fifteen-year-old girl, only 5’2”, working as a volunteer at a charity shop.)

Me: “That’ll be £24, please.”

Customer: *hands over a £50 Scottish note*

(I know exactly what’s coming.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I can’t accept that.”

(At this point, I’d like to reiterate that I’m a volunteer shop assistant. I’m not being paid.)

Customer: “I beg your pardon?”

Me: “I said I’m really sorry, but I’m not allowed to accept that.”

Customer: “What d’you mean you’re—“ *he puts on an insulting Cockney, “little girl” voice, as if he’s imitating me* “—’not allowed to f****** accept that’?”

Me: *calmly* “I mean that I can’t accept that note. I’m really sorry, but my manag—“

Customer: “Oh, your manager says so?! You’re f****** kidding me! This is f****** legal currency! I cannae believe you English f***s will not let me pay for my own f****** clothes! This is a f****** disgrace!”

(He’s essentially shouting, and I’m in that space between being really angry and being close to tears.)

Me: “Sir, I’m really sor—“

Customer: “’SIR’?! Oh, you’re calling me ‘SIR’, now? How f****** dare you?! You think tryna plaster f****** manners over this is going to make it okay?! Take it!”

(He slams the money on the counter.)

Me: “Let me just get my manager…”

(I grab the phone behind me to call my manager down. My manager is a sweet, lady in her late 50s who loves the world but does not take attitude. She can hear that I’m upset, so when she comes downstairs she’s already fuming.)

Manager: “What’s the problem here?”

Customer: “I’ll tell you the f****** problem. This little b**** won’t let me pay for my f****** clothes.”

Manager: *visibly balks at the insult and turns to me* “Why not, love?”

Me: *terrified, points to the note on the counter*

Manager: *passes it back to him* “We accept neither £50 notes nor Scottish tender; this is both. You can pay by card if you don’t have other money.”

Customer: “This is f****** unacceptable!”

Manager: “You can pay by card or you can leave.”

Customer: “I’m going to be ringing your head office; this is a f****** disgrace!”

Manager: “And I will be ringing the police if you don’t leave right now. You’re harassing my staff. Get out.”

(The customer pushed the clothes off the counter, called me a b**** one last time, and stomped out. My manager bought me a strong cup of tea and a plate of biscuits, and gave me a hug.)

Karen And Her Salad

, , , | | Right | July 20, 2019

(I am sixteen, working my first weekday lunch shift while on school break. We have a salad bar and offer either an all-you-can-eat, or a one-trip/to-go salad bar. The one trip costs about 40% less than the all-you-can eat. Restaurant policy is that when you order a one-trip salad bar you are given the salad plate to fill up, and then you bring it back to the register where we put a lid on it and bag it up with croutons, breadsticks, and a fork, a knife, and napkins. The plate has slightly raised sides, and the lid is a dome shape that snaps on. You can fit more food in the lid than in the plate, which is why the store doesn’t allow us to hand out the lids with the plate. A middle-aged woman I have never seen before comes up to my register and orders a one-trip salad bar and a drink. I collect on her order and pass her the plate and her cup. She stands there and stares at me for a few moments.)

Me: “Is there anything else I can get for you?”

Customer: “I need the lid for my plate.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry. I should have explained. You can go ahead and fill up your plate, and when you are done, bring it back up here, and we will get you set up with your lid, breadsticks, and utensils.”

Customer: “No! I want my lid now.”

Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t do that. But I will have it ready for you when you get back.”

(The woman is looking really angry, and I am getting really nervous, trying to see where my manager is, because I haven’t dealt with an upset customer yet. The woman glares at me for a moment and then turns to walk away. I breathe a sigh of relief, thinking the crisis has been averted, but she spins back around, slams her cup and plate on the counter, and gives me the nastiest smile I have yet seen.)

Customer: “In that case, I want a refund.”

(I call my manager over, who gives her the refund, and we both wish her a nice day. She doesn’t say anything and just storms out. I explain to my manager what happened. He tells me not to worry, that I did everything right, and that everything is okay. The next day, I am working lunch again and the same woman comes back. I see her standing in line and I really don’t want to deal with her, so I go a little slower with the customer I am currently serving so that my manager, who is running the other register, will finish with his customer first and be the one to help the woman. Instead, when my manager lets her know he can serve her, she says, “No, thank you,” and waits for me. Once again, she orders the one-trip salad and a drink. Once again, I give her the cup and her plate.)

Customer: “I want my lid now.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but as I explained yesterday, we aren’t allowed to do that. But we will have it ready for you when you are done making your salad.”

Customer: “Then I want a refund.”

(I call my manager over, he does the refund, and again he tells me I didn’t do anything wrong; she just seems angry. She comes in again the next day, and again she waits, refusing to let anyone else serve her, making sure I have to take her order. Again, she orders a one-trip salad and a drink, demands the lid, and demands a refund when I tell her I’m not allowed to give it to her. After the manager gives her the refund, I ask him if I shouldn’t just give her the lid so that she won’t be mad at us — after all, we want to make our customers happy, right? The manager tells me not to worry, to just keep following the rules, and that I am doing a great job. The next day, the woman is back. The same thing happens. She waits for my line and won’t let anyone else help her. She wants the one-trip with the lid before she makes her salad. She demands a refund when I don’t give her the lid. I go get my manager and let him know that the lady is back and wants a refund again. The manager rolls his eyes, sighs dramatically, and goes up front to give her the refund. Then, he looks at me after the woman leaves.)

Manager: “Listen. You can’t keep causing us all these refunds. It makes us look bad. You need to do what you have to do to make the customer happy. I shouldn’t have to come up and do a refund every day for you.”

Me: “Oh. But I thought you didn’t want me to give her the lid. You said it was the rule, and that I needed to keep following the rules.”

Manager: “Just do what it takes to make her happy. I can’t keep doing all these refunds because of you.”

(The next day, the woman comes back again. Yet again, she waits until she can get into my line so that she can continue to harass a sixteen-year-old girl when there are other people who can help her. She orders the one-trip salad bar and drink. I wordlessly hand her the cup, the plate, AND the lid.)

Customer: *smugly* “There. Now that wasn’t so hard, was it? You have a great day, sweetie.”

(She proceeded to fill her lid — not her plate — to overflowing, put the plate on top of the lid, and squeezed so that cottage cheese ran all over the edge of the salad bar and onto the floor, a mess that I would have to clean up. After all that fuss to get her way, she never came back.)

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