A Serial Offender

, , , , , | Right | November 28, 2017

(I’m currently between jobs, so I stop into a coffee shop to browse job postings on my laptop and send out my resume. While doing so, I have headphones in so I can listen to music. After being there for about ten minutes, I see a middle-aged woman about two tables away waving frantically to get my attention.)

Me: *takes out headphones* “Um, can I help you?”

Customer: “What are you doing?”

Me: “Drinking coffee, I guess.”

Customer: *sigh*No! What are you doing on your computer?” *moves over to the table next to mine, bringing two duffel bags with her*

Me: “I’m job-hunting online.”

Customer: “What kind of work do you do?”

Me: “I manage fundraising for nonprofits and political causes.”

Customer: “Politics, huh?” *looks over at the restroom and sees a handicapped sign* “Well, Mr. Politics, what’s your opinion on the handicapped?”

Me: “What about the handicapped?”

Customer: “What is your opinion on them?”

Me: *pauses* “I’m in favor of them.”

Customer: “Well, it doesn’t seem like you know all that much about politics, after all; that’s probably why you are unemployed.”

Me: “Ma’am, was there something you needed?”

Customer: “Jeez, I’m just trying to make friendly conversation.”

Me: “I’m not interested in that, thank you.”

(I put my headphones back in and stare at my screen but don’t put any music back on so I can eavesdrop on this woman.)

Customer: “How rude! I bet you’re probably one of those serial killers. Probably looking at porn on that computer!”

(I continue acting like I can’t hear her, and I avoid making eye contact again while she keeps waving and trying to get my attention. She eventually moves to the table behind me and begins bugging the people there, telling them that I am looking at porn in the coffee shop — even though this table has a full view of my computer screen — and about how I am probably a serial killer. The couple behind me doesn’t last as long as I did and quickly gets up to leave. She turns her attention back to me and screams.)

Customer: “HEY!”

Me: “What?”

Customer: “I need you to watch my bags; I’m going to go buy cigarettes.”

Me: “No.”

Customer: “Well, why not?”

Me: “Because your bags are not my responsibility.”

Customer: “WELL, I NEED TO GO, SO YOU NEED TO WATCH MY BAGS!”

(Before I can say anything else she storms out. I go to the counter to let the barista know what happened.)

Barista: “I’m really sorry about that. She comes in here every couple of weeks, and after the last time we kicked her out she called corporate to file a complaint about us. Now, we can’t kick her out unless someone actually complains. We were kind of wondering how long it would take you to speak to us.”

Me: “Does she still need to be here for me to complain? I’d rather leave before she gets back.”

Barista: “No, man, feel free to get out of here. I’m just glad we can kick her out now when she gets back.”

(I left after that, but felt bad for the barista who had to deal with her when she returned.)

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A “Regular” Pain In The A**

, , , , , , | Right | November 27, 2017

(There is a regular customer who always goes through my line if I’m working, and always finds some reason to scream at me. Our registers are odd in that they are longer than most, so you have to give items a good shove to get them down to the bagging area.)

Me: “Hello. How are you tonight?”

Regular: “I’d be better without your nasty attitude.”

(I force a smile and nod. I don’t have a bagger, so I do what I normally do when I don’t have one: bag groceries and keep them close to me so I can hand them to the customer, rather than shove them down with no one to catch them in case they topple over and something breaks, gets crushed, etc.)

Me: “Your total tonight is [amount].”

Regular: “That f****** attitude again. God!”

(She pays and I hand her her receipt. I turn to pick up her groceries, but when I turn back she’s gone and there’s another customer waiting. I look and she’s standing by the bagging area, hands on her hips.)

Me: “Oh, I’m so sorry about that! Here.”

(I give her bags a little push to get them closer to her; she’s probably 4’10”, so getting the bags in the first place isn’t easy.)

Regular: “You got some f****** nerve rushing me, you stupid c***!”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Regular: “Yeah, you f****** will be!”

(She storms off, leaving her bags behind. I shrug and deal with the next customer, who is considerably nicer than the regular. As I’m serving more customers, I catch a shout of, “that little b**** c*** on register three,” so I turn and see the regular shouting at the manager on duty. I raise my eyebrows because she’s never gone as far as to report me, and she notices.)

Regular: “And now she’s giving me filthy f***** looks, that little s***!”

(My current customer raises his own eyebrows and looks from the regular to me.)

Other Customer: “Wow. What did you do?”

Me: “I don’t know. Gave her her groceries? Looked at her?”

Other Customer: *shakes his head* “What some people will do for kicks. Hang in there, kiddo.”

Me: “Thanks.”

(He’s my last customer, so once he’s gone the Manager On Duty comes over. I see the regular storming out, without her groceries, screaming to anyone who will listen about me.)

Me: “So, [Manager On Duty], am I in trouble?”

Manager On Duty: *laughs* “First, tell me your side.”

Me: “She was waiting in the bagging area and she’s short, so I gave her groceries a little push to get them to her. Then when I heard her screaming about me I looked over at you two.”

Manager On Duty: *laughs again* “Yeah, I kind of figured it was something like that. I couldn’t tell her to go s*** in a hat, which is what I wanted to do, so I told her I’d report you to [Owner].”

Me: “Are you going to?”

Manager On Duty: “Of course not! You’re one of the most courteous cashiers here. Hopefully she falls in a ditch on her way home and rots there, because she screamed, ‘stop rushing me,’ at people trying to help her out.”

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Has (Other) Room For Improvement

, , , , , , | Learning | November 27, 2017

(When I was growing up, a lot of teachers in my elementary school thought I had a learning disability. They based this on the fact that I couldn’t get into classroom routines and that I wouldn’t do math work. In actuality, I just didn’t understand the transitioning between subjects while still remaining in the same room, so I chose to continue doing subjects I liked, instead. They fought with my parents a lot over this, but my parents were adamant I had the necessary skills because I would read a book every night and could show them the math skills at home. They suggested that I just needed more time than the other kids. Apparently, the school decided to take matters into their own hands one day. Keep in mind, this was quite a long time ago, so inclusivity in classrooms wasn’t what it was today. There was a big show if you were taken from the class to work with the special needs educators. This happens after morning routine in grade three, when they come to collect the students that will be in the “special education room.” I am waiting for the dinosaur work we are going to do, when…)

Teacher: “[My Name], you’re going with these workers, too.”

Me: *confused* “What? Why?”

Teacher: “Because they will help you, [My Name].”

Me: “B-but I wanted to play with the dinosaurs.”

Teacher: “I am not going to argue with you! Go with them now!”

(Scared because she raised her voice, I get up and follow, embarrassed that everyone is watching me. I head with the group until we get to a small room. They keep other students out of this area, so I don’t understand why I am there. I am even more confused when they sit everyone around the table, and have us just identify numbers on the number line to start. I can do it easily and can’t understand why I’m not learning the multiplication work from my classroom. Then, they read out loud from a simple picture book, and I can’t understand why I can’t go back to my class and listen to the chapter book the teacher has been reading and that I really enjoy. I keep asking if I can read a book by myself, but they won’t let me. I am hoping I will go back to class eventually, but they keep me in there the whole day. I even have to eat lunch there. After school, before I meet my mom, I go back to my teacher.)

Me: “Ms. [Teacher], can I come back to class tomorrow? I don’t want to miss [Chapter Book].”

Teacher: “Oh, I’m sorry, [My Name]; you have to go back tomorrow.”

Me: *tearing up* “But I want to finish the book.”

Teacher: “We finished it today, so I can give it to your new teachers to read for you tomorrow.”

(This is when I start bawling, so my teacher tries to comfort me while she walks me to my mom. She then explains to my mom that I am upset because I missed the last chapter of a book.)

Mom: “I don’t understand. How did she miss it? Did she go to the bathroom?”

Me: *through tears* “I missed it because they took me to the other room, Mommy.”

Mom: “What other room?”

Teacher: “The special education classroom. It was [My Name]’s first time there, so she might need some adjusting, but I’m sure after a week or so, she’ll get use to the routine.”

(At this my mom’s eyes grow wide and she turns a shade of red I have never seen before.)

Mom: “My daughter was where?

(Apparently, somebody decided it would just be easiest if I went to the special education room so I wouldn’t be a bother. To make matters even easier, they were going to give me the exact same work and not adjust the workload to my needs. My mom was very angry that they did this behind her back. She yelled at the principal until it was sorted out and I was put back in my original class. I would like to note that I didn’t mind being with the other students; I actually enjoyed being with them. I was upset that they made a big show of taking me to the room so I didn’t feel included with the rest of the school. I was upset that the work wasn’t at my level, and that it wasn’t explained to me why I was there. Now that I’m older, it upsets me that the kids in that room were referred to as a “bother.” It also upsets me to realize that I could communicate my frustrations and something was done because of that, but there were students in there who couldn’t. As a result, I went on to become a teacher and receive my Masters of Education. With my own classroom, inclusivity is an important aspect, and I am proud of how far education has come today compared to when I was a scared grade three.)

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Mismanaged Your Attitude

, , , , , , | Working | November 27, 2017

(I am cleaning up after having lunch. The staff room hasn’t been tidied since the morning, so I decide to have a quick run around.)

Coworker: *walking in* “What are you doing?”

Me: “Just cleaning. It hasn’t been touched since [Cleaner] left this morning.”

Coworker: *condescending* “Why should you be doing that?”

Me: “Why not?”

Coworker: “Because you’re a man!

(I turn and stare at him, expecting it to be a joke. He stares back until our manager, who is a woman, walks in, too.)

Coworker: *snapping his fingers* “[Manager]! Get this mess cleaned up. [My Name] has been doing it because you’re too lazy!”

Manager: “Excuse me?”

Coworker: *snaps his fingers again* “You heard me!”

Manager: *takes a second to compose herself* “You’ve only been here a month, [Coworker], so I’ll give you a moment to adjust your attitude.”

Coworker: *stares, confused, for a second before snapping his fingers for the last time* “NOW!”

Manager: “That’s it! Get out. We’ll be having a little chat with your supervisor tomorrow.”

(The coworker didn’t leave at first and tried to argue his point across, shouting at the manager. I didn’t see him until a week later; he was tasked with cleaning the staff room in the evenings. Whenever he thinks he’s alone he mutters to himself that it isn’t a man’s job to clean, and that he’ll get back at [Manager] someday.)

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Trying To Get A Cheap Room Is A Team Effort

, , , , , , | Right | November 27, 2017

(A man calls the hotel. He is obviously inebriated.)

Caller: “Yeah, what is the cheapest room you guys have?”

Me: “That would be our standard room with one bed, and that is currently going for $106 per night.”

Caller: “What?! Why the h*** is it so expensive?! I just had a room with you guys and I only paid $62, and that was for a larger room for two nights? What the h***?”

Me: “$62? That doesn’t sound like anything we offer here, and we haven’t changed our prices in nearly three years. When did you stay last?”

(He gives me the date and his full name. I pull up the reservations and verify the price.)

Me: “So, you stayed here on [dates] in a room with two queen-sized beds, for four people; is that correct?”

Caller: “Yes, that’s me.”

Me: “And you paid cash and debit?”

Caller: “Yes. No, I only paid cash, no debit, and it was $62 all together.”

Me: “Well, let’s see, your address is [address]?”

Caller: “Yeah! That’s me! It was $62 for the two nights, right?”

Me: “Actually, sir, it says here you paid $109 plus tax, and you paid a combination of cash and debit for a total of just under $250.”

Caller: “Okay, yeah, but you guys gave me a discount because there were teams there and they were making noise.”

Me: “I’m looking at your bill, sir, and there was no discount applied anywhere. Even if there were, I still couldn’t give you a room at that price. The discount wouldn’t apply.”

Caller: “Well, are there any teams coming in this week? If there’s a team I can get it for $62, right?”

Me: “Sir, we don’t offer discounts just because we have teams staying here; that’s not how we do business.”

Caller: “Well, what the f***?! You guys don’t believe in courtesy and comfort? How the h*** can people sleep when there are teams there, playing in the halls and making noise? I can’t sleep when you have teams in, so I should get a discount. That’s f***ed up!”

Me: “First of all, if we had people playing in the halls and making noise we would kick them out; we would not allow them to disrupt our guests and then just offer a discount for the inconvenience of not being able to sleep. That would be ridiculous. Second, we’ve never, in seven years that I’ve worked here, had a hockey team behave in that way. In fact, we pride ourselves in the fact that we work so closely with these teams, and they are nothing but kind and courteous. Third, if you know, as you claim, that you can’t get any sleep here when we have teams, why would you specifically ask for a room on a night when we have a team in? That makes no sense. In any event, the room is $106 plus tax per night, breakfast included. If you want a room, I will happily rent to you at this price, but I have to ask that you sober up a little before you come to check in; we have many guests in tonight and I wouldn’t want to disturb anybody.”

Caller: “You’re f****** crazy, b****! This is a s*** town for losers to live in. I can get a suite in [Big City four hours away] for $30, tax included!”

Me: “Really? Because I was there a couple months ago, and the cheapest rooms were the dingy road-side motels that were going for $89.”

Caller: “Okay, yeah, I lied. Just give me a f****** room; it’s my girlfriend’s birthday.”

Me: “Sir, based on your behavior during this call, I will not be renting to you this evening. I suggest you try the truck stop motel across the bridge; they are the only other place in the area that charges less than us, and they have a bar and restaurant on site with security. You might be more comfortable there. Have a good night.”

(I hang up, message my boss to tell her about it and she tells me I did the right thing. An hour later, a well-dressed woman in an expensive luxury car pulls up. As I’m getting her information, I realize that the address is really familiar.)

Me: “Um, I’m sorry, but are you in any way related to [Caller]?”

Customer: “Yes! He’s my boyfriend. I think he spoke to you earlier, correct?”

Me: “Um, yes, he did, and honestly, after that, my boss and I are not comfortable renting to him.”

Customer: “You see, this is how it is. My boyfriend is full of s***. Last time we were here, I paid for the room myself on my debit and covered the rest in cash. We were here with another couple, and at the end I split the final bill between the four of us, and he paid me back his share, which was $62. He got it in his drunken little head that the room only cost $62 for the two nights. When he finally got off the phone, I told him he was an idiot; that’s why he’s sitting in the car waiting for me instead of standing here beside me.”

Me: “Oh… well, okay, then. I guess I can rent to you, but I do need a cash deposit, and I need your word that there won’t be any problems tonight. If there are, my boss will have my head tomorrow.”

Customer: “I promise that there will be no issues. We have three kids, and it’s impossible to get any time alone for whoopee, you know? This is like a treat for us. I’ll keep him busy for you; no worries there, hun.” *winks*

(I ended up renting them the room for two nights, and there were no issues, but the man refused to make eye contact with me for the duration of their stay.)

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