All Bark, No Bite

, , , , | Friendly | August 10, 2018

(I’ve just taken my geriatric golden retriever to a groomer within a larger store and, like most dogs, she is not happy about it. Before we reach the register, a small girl — maybe four or five — and her mother come out of an aisle.)

Girl: “PUPPY!”

Dog: *growls and turns away*

Girl: “Pet the puppy!”

Me: *I put my arm out to stop the girl from approaching* “I’m sorry, but I’d rather you didn’t pet her.”

Girl: “Why?”

Me: “Well, she just got a bath and she didn’t like it.”

Mother: “Why?”

Me: “Because she doesn’t like baths. So she’s grumpy and I don’t want your daughter to get hurt.”

Mother: “Does she bite?”

Me: “No, but she’s not in a good mood, and I’d rather she wasn’t provoked.”

Mother: “Are you threatening my daughter?”

Me: “No, I’m trying to protect her. [Dog] is old and just got a bath, so she’s not in a very good mood.”

Mother: “She’s fine. She’s good with dogs.” *to her daughter* “Go pet the puppy, sweetheart.”

Me: “Do not pet the puppy.”

Mother: “You have no right to tell my daughter what to do!”

Me: “And what happens if [Dog] does decide to lash out?”

Mother: “Why would you bring an a**hole dog to a public place?”

Me: “She’s not an a**hole; she’s old. F*** off.”

(I move to pass the two, keeping myself between my dog and the child. Just as we pass them, I turn to look back and see the girl reaching out to pet my dog.)

Me: “STOP!”

(My dog, as predicted, turns and growls at the girl, who recoils and starts crying.)

Mother: “Do not yell at my daughter!”

Me: “How many times do I have to say, ‘Do not pet my dog,’ before it sinks in?”

Mother: “She’s just trying to say hello!”

Me: “And I’m saying it’s not a good idea.”

Mother: “Well, [Store Manager] is a good friend of mine. I’m going to have you and your g**d*** dog banned!”

Me: “Okay, you do that.”

(I paid for my dog’s grooming and left the store. We’ve been back multiple times since, so I guess the woman wasn’t as high and mighty as she thought she was.)

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Attack Of The Entitled Mummy

, , , , , , | Right | August 10, 2018

(I work for myself as a children’s entertainer, advertising mostly by word of mouth. I receive an email asking for a quote.)

Customer: “Hi! [Parent I have worked with] gave me your info. I’m looking for a quote for my little princess’s fourth birthday. How much are you?”

Me: “Hello, [Name from email address], thanks for reaching out! I need a few more details to give you an accurate quote:

1) What day and time is your daughter’s party?
2) How many little guests do you expect to be there?
3) Where will the party take place?
4) What services are you interested in? I do balloon twisting, glitter tattoos, face painting, and a limited number of character interactions.

Talk to you soon!”

Customer: “Wow! I didn’t know you’d be so invasive! How did you know my name? I’m not telling you where I live! Just give me a quote!”

(After blinking at my screen for a few minutes I shake my head and try again.)

Me: “I’m sorry; I assumed your email was your name. My apologies for startling you. I need to know generally where the party is to see if mileage charges apply, and when it is to see if I’m already booked. I don’t need your exact address if you’re having the party at your residence; nearby major cross streets would work to get you an accurate quote. Thanks again for the opportunity to make your child’s birthday a little more special!”

Customer: “Main and 1st.”

(My eye is now sporadically twitching, but business slows down in summer due to the crushing heat and I could use the money. After a deep breath, I reply:)

Me: “Fantastic news! You’re well within my standard radius, so no mileage fees will apply. I just need to know the day and time you’re looking to book me, how many kids I’ll be working with, and which of my services you’re most interested in. Just a heads up: if you’ve hired a bounce house, I likely will not be able to face paint, as it’s against the bounce house company’s policy.”

Customer: “Don’t worry about who or what else I’ve hired. You are very unprofessional! I just want a f****** quote and you’re taking forever! I’ve wasted an hour of my life with you now! For f***’s sake! This Saturday at three pm, for an hour. And, you had better give me a discount for this horrid service!”

(I glance at my weather app and see that it’s going to be nearly 115° at that time. My balloons require indoor space under 95°, and most private-at-home birthday parties are backyard events. My suited characters don’t perform in that heat, either.)

Me: “I am available to face paint and/or do glitter tattoos on Saturday! Yay! It’s unfortunately projected to be too hot to offer balloon animals or character meet-and-greets. My minimum booking for just face painting is for two hours at $100 an hour. Usually glitter tattoos are an additional charge, but to make the day extra special I’ll throw in a dozen free glitter tattoos for the birthday girl and eleven of her closest friends. I will need a ten by ten flat space to set up my canopy unless you have shade, table, and chairs provided. If you would like to book me, please fill out and return the attached contract. Once I have received the deposit and signed contract, we’re all set!”

Customer: “I only want an hour. I’m only paying for one hour! And $100 is outrageous! It’s only thirty kids; it shouldn’t take you two hours!”

(I’m now full-on headdesking. Industry average for face painting is twelve to fifteen kids an hour. My rates aren’t the cheapest in the city, but I’m far from the top earners, and my work is solid, I’m insured, and I only use top-quality supplies. This is exactly why I always ask how many kids there are, not how long the parents think I’ll need to get to everyone. Two minutes per kid to pick what they want, sit down, get painted, and admire themselves in the mirror just isn’t reasonable. At this point, I pretty much want to just write her off but, again, I could really use the money. Without much hope, I try again.)

Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way, but my rates and timeframe are both very fair. I average ten to fourteen faces an hour, so getting to all thirty kids in only two hours will be very challenging. I do want to help make your little one’s birthday as special as possible and work with your budget, so I’ll make you a deal. For my usual two-hour rate I’ll guarantee all thirty kids get painted, even if it takes another hour. I’ll bring a sign-in sheet to make sure everyone gets painted while still enjoying the party. I hope this works for you; if not I hope it’s a fun filled day, anyway!”

Customer: “So, if my nieces and nephews show up, too, you won’t paint them?! I can’t believe [Parent I have worked with] recommended such a shady, rude person! I’m going to tell everyone I know that you’re a selfish, horrible person!”

(The next day, the parent who originally referred me reached out and apologized for their friend. The customer showed the complete email chain as evidence of how “rude” I was in a Facebook group, and is apparently now the laughing stock of her mommies group.)

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Can’t “Wipe” That From Your Memory

, , , , , , | Friendly | August 9, 2018

I’m working retail in a department store in high school. While putting clothes away I notice a woman lurking in a seldom-frequented corner of the store. The company has a strict policy on apprehending shoplifters and prohibits clerks from approaching or even remarking on it to anyone suspected of it. Because of this, I follow her from a bit of a distance, keeping an eye on her in case I need to alert loss prevention.

She darts into some high-hanging racks used to hang long bathrobes and dresses. Glancing around, she doesn’t notice me and proceeds to grab a handful of bathrobe and whip it behind herself. She stuffs the wad of cloth deep into the back of her jeans and begins—to my horror— scratching and rubbing vigorously, using the cloth as what can only be described as toilet paper. She ends this session with one long, satisfying swipe, shakes the cloth free, and wanders off. Disgusted, I hunt down my manager and alert her. She moseys over, glances at it, and, seeing no “stains”… also wanders off.

I now launder all new clothes before wearing them.

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The Holiday Inn(sane)

, , , , | Right | August 9, 2018

(I have just arrived to relieve my coworker off her shift. She usually is very cheerful looking, but now looks very frazzled. She spots me and looks relieved.)

Coworker: “Okay, so, this crazy lady — the wife of [Long Term Stay] — has been going off all evening about her husband. Don’t listen; she’s crazy. And don’t transfer her to him; he says he doesn’t want to listen to her.”

(The phone rings.)

Coworker: “Don’t answer that. It’s her.” *leaves without another word*

(I’m completely confused, and I don’t know exactly what’s going on. But I figure I’ve dealt with worse. The phone keeps ringing and ringing, until finally I pick it up.)

Me: “Hello, this is [My Name], front desk of [Hotel]. How may I help you?”

Old Lady: “Who is this?! [My Name]?! Well listen to me, [My Name].” *sneers out my name* “I’ve been talking to that little b**** [Coworker] all evening, and she was very unhelpful, and if my husband has a heart attack, I’M GOING TO SUE. DO YOU HEAR ME?! I’M GOING TO—”

(She rambles on and on about her husband being sick and about suing, practically spitting on the phone. Her words are coming out in a jumbled big mess. She sounds likes she’s having a fit. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on, and can’t. Every time I try to break in, she raises her voice louder.)

Old Lady: “Don’t you try to interrupt me, you worthless w****! You b****!”

(I hung up. We have the right to hang up if the caller is being abusive and not listening. The phone rang and rang and I didn’t pick up. It rang for THREE HOURS straight, and then finally stopped. I made a note of it in the log, and sighed. Turns out the guest’s wife was angry because she and her husband had a big fight, and her husband didn’t want to speak with her, so she was taking it out on the staff here! The GM spoke with her husband, who was a long-term stay, and told him to tell her not to abuse us. I never heard from her again, thank goodness. Last I heard they were getting a divorce. I wish I could describe how much hate her voice had in it.)

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Employing Not Always Right Customers

, , , , , | Working | August 9, 2018

(I am sitting in a social committee meeting with some coworkers, discussing company tickets to a baseball game. We recently sent out the company-wide invitation to sign up for free tickets. Note that I am the only person in the meeting who is not a supervisor. While we are discussing this, I have my laptop open, and see that I have an email about the tickets, so I read it to the group.)

Me: *reading the email from an employee I barely see* “Are the tickets general admission?”

Supervisor #1: “Is that [Employee]?”

(Everyone stops to look at her in surprise.)

Me: “Yes, it is.”

Supervisor #2: “How did you know?”

Supervisor #1: “She’s in my department. She sells everything she gets from our company. Tickets, prizes, shirts. One time I got a call from HR because she had posted free tickets from the company on our own classifieds page!”

Supervisor #3: “What? Not even on Craigslist?”

Supervisor #1: “I also sometimes see her wearing clothes from the company store that still have the price tag hanging off them. I tell her about the tag and then she tapes it to her arm so it doesn’t flap around. Then she brags about how she just returns the clothes later! She does it with Kohl’s and Amazon, too. An $8 t-shirt from Kohl’s!”

Supervisor #2: “That’s crazy! It doesn’t seem worth it.”

Supervisor #3: “I see her in t-shirts and jeans a lot around the office, and flip-flops, too. Is she allowed to do that?”

Supervisor #1: “Nope. I have to talk to her about that all the time, but she just doesn’t care. You know, I’ve even heard her coaching her sister on how to keep price tags on purses so they can return them later. They’ll buy Coach bags, fly to Germany for Oktoberfest, then come back and return them! She also brags about taking expired coupons and waving them in cashiers’ faces and screaming at them so they’ll give her the discount just to get rid of her.”

(We were all greatly entertained by this gossip, but we were also horrified by how willing the employee was to share information about this dishonest behavior with her boss!)

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