Smoked Out The Scammers

, , , , , , | Right | October 9, 2017

(There’s a very common scam with EBT cards; a customer will purchase something on EBT, then later return it, while claiming not to have the card, in order to get cash or a gift card to purchase non-EBT items, like cigarettes. It’s technically illegal to refund EBT purchases to anything but the card itself, but in most stores, if it’s a small enough amount, or if the customer makes a big enough scene, people will do it anyway. There’s one scammer in particular at our store who will go off immediately if her return is refused. Everyone becomes a racist or a race traitor, etc. because she knows a big scene means management will probably give her what she wants, to stop her. I won’t refund EBT to gift cards, hissy fit or no, but especially not for her as she made one of my cashiers cry recently, so to avoid putting myself and my nasty temper in that situation, I always say I need manager approval, grab whoever is handy, and clear out while they deal with her. On this particular day, she’s returning an item that rings up just shy of ten dollars. She can’t exchange it for them item she wants because she can’t have any type of that product for health reasons, and her son has her EBT card and he’s out of town. I grab my manager, leave him to it, and go pretend to be busy somewhere else. When I come back, my manager tells me to refund the money onto a gift card, and I think that’s that, but my manager stays behind the desk instead of going back to what he was doing, watching the registers.)

Me: “You know that b**** just scammed you, right?”

Manager: *grinning* “Wait for it.”

(The woman shops for a little while, then gets in [Cashier #1]’s line. [Cashier #1] follows the rules to the letter, and one of our rules is “always ID on cigarette sales,” so when this woman, easily fifty years old, tries to buy a pack, he asks for ID.)

Woman: “Why the h*** do you need my ID? I’m sixty! Do I look like a kid to you?”

Cashier #1: “It’s policy to get ID on all tobacco sales.”

Woman: “I never get carded here! This is ridiculous! I don’t have my ID; I’m obviously old enough, so why would I bring it?”

(I get called away, but according to my manager, this goes on for a while, with the scammer calling him a slur that basically means “race traitor.” My manager tells her to get her ID or there’s no sale, and strongly suggests that she settle down before he throws her out. Eventually she concedes and goes to get her ID from her wallet in her car — the wallet and car her son supposedly went out of town with, surprise, surprise. She comes back in, and I see her get in [Cashier #2]’s line this time, muttering all the while and trying to rile up anyone in earshot. Again, she tries to get cigarettes, and slaps her ID down on the counter. My manager is still at the desk, and still grinning ear to ear. I again get called away, but hear him ask [Cashier #2] a question over the earpiece.)

Manager: “[Cashier #2], is she buying those cigarettes with a gift card?”

Cashier #2: “Yeah.”

(I hear the woman screaming from the other end of the store seconds later. I get back up front and find she is gone, and my manager is putting away the pack of cigarettes.)

Manager: “Just so you know, that woman isn’t allowed back in the store.”

Me: “Awesome! What happened?”

Manager: “When she asked for the refund, I knew I could do one of two things: give it to her, or get in a shouting match. Ten dollars wasn’t worth the effort, so I gave it to her, and explained that this will be the only time I’ll refund EBT to a gift card. I explained that it’s the law, because people take the money and use it for cigarettes and booze, and she promised me that wasn’t what she was going to do, and fed me some bulls*** story about how this was a one time thing.”

Me: “[Other Manager] and I were literally talking about her pulling this the other day when you walked in. You were part of that conversation.”

Manager: “Oh, I know, that’s why I watched her. If she took that card someplace else, then oh well, but she tried to do exactly what I told her not to, right in front of me. I was trying to be nice to her, and she threw it back at me, so now she gets to suffer. I’ll let the other managers know, so if you see her in here again, deny her service and we’ll kick her right back out. She can take that s*** somewhere else.”

Hiding Them Like Animal Crackers

, , , | Learning | October 9, 2017

(During finals week, everyone in my Earth Science class finishes the final early, so on the last day of school, we are getting ready to watch a movie instead. It is still during the five-minute passing period when the class stoner asks the teacher for a favor:)

Student: “Can I go get my crackers?”

Teacher: “Sure, where are they?”

Student: “In the tree outside, because that’s where I hid them.”

Teacher: *pauses* “Your crackers are outside in a tree?”

Student: “Yeah. Can I go get them, please?”

Teacher: “I guess, as long you’re back before the bell rings.”

Potentially Explosive Neglect

, , , , , | Friendly | October 8, 2017

(I am speaking with my roommate who works at an art store, and used to work at [Popular Retail Chain], which shares a wall with the art store.)

Roommate: “So, we just evacuated [Art Store] because we smelled a gas leak.”

Me: “Did anyone tell [Popular Retail Chain]?”

Roommate: *long pause* “No.”

United In Your Reaction

, , , , , | Working | October 7, 2017

(We are on a plane about to embark. Just as the plane is going to push back, the pilot gets on the loudspeaker. We’ve been delayed because a late passenger pushed through the emergency door and touched the plane, so it’s a federal matter. We have to see what the TSA and police want to do. We overhear a conversation between another passenger and a flight attendant.)

Passenger: “So, you stopped that lady from getting on the plane? Did you have to tackle her?”

Flight Attendant: “No, I just put my hand out, like so, and stopped her.” *pause* “At least we didn’t go United on her.”

(Other passengers go silent as we all process what she just said and then we cracked up laughing.)

Flight Attendant: “Oh, dear. I can’t believe I said that. Am I turning red?”

(She was. All the passengers that heard her loved it. Luckily, we left almost on time and not too delayed.)

A Textbook Case Of Crazy

, , , | Learning | October 6, 2017

(I work at an IT help desk at a university. We process requests for usernames and passwords to access the IT systems by hand, for which a current student ID is necessary, as well as a completed form with their details. A woman approaches me with a form.)

Woman: “Here’s my application for a username and password.”

Me: “Right. Can I please see your student ID?”

Woman: “All the information you need is on that form.”

Me: “Actually, you’ve missed out the section that asks for the student ID number. If you show me yours, I’ll fill it in for you.”

Woman: “Gah! All the information you need is there! I just want a username and password!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we need proof that you’re a student here before we can give you access to the IT systems.”

Woman: “I am a student!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but the rules are very clear; I can’t process these applications without a current student ID.”

Woman: “This is ridiculous. Honestly, is this the University of Fascism? I’m a student, and I’m taking a degree in Scientology. Look, here’s my textbook!”

(She holds out an old copy of the Dianetics book. My head is beginning to spin a little; obviously there’s no such thing as a degree in Scientology, unless we were in fact the Hubbard College of Administration International. Even they would still require ID! At this point my manager, who has been hovering, decides to intervene.)

Manager: “I’m [Manager], the help desk supervisor. Please try not to get too upset, but this university doesn’t offer a degree in Scientology, and that is not a textbook. You’re obviously not a student here. Is there something else we can do to help you? Someone we could call to come and help you?”

Woman: “Hah! You’re the one who needs help! You don’t know anything about the place you work! I feel sorry for you. I really do, but I’m still going to report you to the Vice Chancellor, and you’ll lose your job because you’re crap at your job and you’re stupid!”

(She storms off. My manager and I look at each other for a few stunned moments and then she says:)

Manager: “I think I’ll just give the VC’s office a call. They might need a heads-up.”

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