Kindle(ing) For The Fire

, , , , | Related | July 17, 2018

(I’m walking through the living room carrying my Kindle when I slip and fall. My brother is nearby playing a video game.)

Me: “Ow! What the h*** was on the floor?!”

Brother: “You okay?”

Me: “Yeah, I just banged my knee… Aw, d*** it, my Kindle’s broken!”

Brother: “Okay, calm down. It’s only $50 to get it fixed. Please don’t flip out.”

(I put my face in my hands and take a few deep breaths, then sit down.)

Brother: “I just want you to be ‘$50 and a hurt knee’ upset, not ‘$300 and a broken leg’ upset. I feel like a lot of the tension around here lately has been because people get mad over every little thing.”

Me: “Yeah, I know.”

(I actually have calmed down — I was only really upset for a minute or two. I start looking online at prices for a new Kindle. Unfortunately, I’m having trouble concentrating, because I’m interrupted by this:)

Brother:G**d*** it! Of course it starts lagging right as someone targets me! I wish this game would just pick a f****** speed! F***!”

(I had no idea “laggy video game” upset was so much worse than “$50 and a hurt knee” upset. I may have to suggest that he stop playing entirely if it’s causing him that much trauma.)

The Father Needs Enrollment In A Humanities Course

, , , , | Learning | July 17, 2018

(I work at a community college switchboard and visitors center and, as such, I often get strange calls or visits. There is a line at my desk and I am helping the next person in line, a man in his 60s or maybe early 70s. I am in my late 20s.)

Man: “I’m here to ask about my son. He’s recently moved back home after dropping out of [Different College].”

Me: “No problem! Do you know when your son wants to start college?”

Man: “I don’t know. He’s a real dumba**, you know? He’d probably flunk out again, but I figure [Our College] is cheaper — is it, than [State University]?”

Me: “Yes, our tuition is typically [fraction] of the tuition price at [State University]. Do you know if he was interested in the next term, or perhaps next year?”

(The man answers the question, but continues to describe his son as lazy, dumb, a loser, etc. He does this gleefully and cruelly as if it’s funny or impressive, which makes me uncomfortable. It becomes clear that the man doesn’t know enough information for me to make a recommendation. That, combined with the fact that the potential student isn’t actually with him, means I can’t do much to help him, so I prepare to give the father a package of information to take home.)

Me: “Our enrollment information, requirements, placement test schedule, and calendar are all here. Your son can call, email, or visit us at any time with questions about getting started! Did you need help with anything else?”

(The man pauses and looks me over intently at this point, pausing to look at my chest for a few seconds, which is large, but is completely covered — there is no cleavage visible.)

Man: “My son is almost 30! Can you believe he’s such a loser? He’s actually here:” *the man turns to the next person in line, a 20-something that has been standing silently behind him the whole time* “Tell this young lady what you want; I can’t do everything for you!”

(I’m shocked that he has been standing here the whole time talking about his son this way, when he was right there. I turn my attention to the son to try and help him.)

Me: “I’m sorry; I didn’t notice you! What can I do for you today?”

(The son is pretty shy, but articulate, and tells me the information I need to diagnose his path to enrolling. The whole time, the father is still standing at my desk and watching the exchange, sometimes laughing at his son when he becomes nervous or stumbles. After everything, the son thanks me for helping him and apologizes for being confused.)

Me: “No need to apologize, really! That’s why I’m here! Do you need help with anything else while you’re here?”

Man: *interrupting his son* “Just one more: first, do you have a boyfriend, and second, are you looking?”

Me: “I, uh…”

Man: “I’m asking for me, not him!” *points to mortified son*

(I have very little experience with this sort of thing, due to a sheltered upbringing. I am unsure how to respond, much less while working, especially after the way he treated his son, and especially considering he is at least forty years older than I am.)

Me: “Sorry, I am not currently looking.”

(The man is still standing there expectantly. Customer service is important to my office, so I try and end the conversation on a positive note.)

Man: “Well, okay, I was just asking.” *doesn’t leave*

Me: “Oh, well, thank you for asking. I hope you both have a good day.”

(The son gave an apologetic look while they both left the office. I felt awful for him, but also incredibly creeped-out by his jerk father.)

A Cents-less Principle

, , , , , | Working | July 17, 2018

(I’m at the till of a supermarket. My items are scanned and I need to pay 2,36€. I hand over 2,50€. The cashier takes the money, puts it in the till, and closes the lid, before handing me my receipt and no change. It’s maybe important to know that in these parts of Germany, a friendly roughness and sass is normal, and “customer is king” obedience is not a thing.)

Me: “Sorry, but you forgot my change.”

Cashier: “No, there was no change. Look at the receipt.”

(I look at it and it indeed shows no change, as she hit the button for me paying the exact amount.)

Me: “I’m sorry. I mean, it’s just 14 cents, but in the future please make sure to put in the right amounts and give out the correct change. If your drawer comes up with the surplus cents, just drop them in the charity tin, okay?”

(I’m about to leave when the cashier decides to quite loudly address me again while ringing out the next customer:)

Cashier: “Well, if you are cheap enough to try to scam 14 cents from me, I am sure you need the money more than the hungry children in Africa.”

(People in line look at me, and some snigger. I am quite embarrassed, and pissed enough to not let this go.)

Me: “No, I’m sure I gave you 2,50€, and I want my change.”

Cashier: “You have some nerve. Do you need 14 cents that bad to risk my manager calling the cops on you?”

Me: “I think your manager is needed, indeed; please call him.”

(She finishes the next customer and turns to me again in a totally sarcastic tone.)

Cashier: “All right, all right. Here, let me give you some money out of my own pocket, as you are oh-so-poor. But, I’m sorry, will 15 cents do? I don’t have it any smaller.”

Me: “Get your manager, or I will ask shop security for help finding someone.”

(She huffs and puffs but calls someone over on her headset, giving me dirty looks. The manager comes over and, before I can explain anything, the cashier talks to him.)

Cashier: “She says I did not give her her precious 14 cents of change. I offered to give her the money from my own pocket, but she wants to make a scene of it, I guess.“

(The manager takes me aside and offers me 15 cents, as well, but I demand that her drawer is counted out and any surplus put in the charity tin. He grudgingly agrees, another cashier takes over, and we all go into an office in the back. Security joins us, as well. All the while, the cashier gets more and more agitated, even “generously“ offering me 5€ because, “maybe I made a mistake after all,” and, “I don’t want you all to waste your time,” etc. Turns out, there was a reason for her sudden change of heart. After counting the bills, the amount that should have been in the till was already almost covered. With the short change, it came up over by 58,12€. The manager told her to wait in his office and offered me my change, and asked me to keep things to myself, as he would deal with the cashier himself. I agreed to not get police involved, as 14 cents are really nothing to call them over, but again asked him to let the money go into the charity tin, which he agreed to. He left and let the security guy accompany me to the exit.)

Security: “Between you and me, she had it coming. We all had a hunch about her. Every cashier counts their own drawer, and any surplus, which is usually not much, goes into their pockets. Some people like to tip, and as any minus has to be paid out of their own salary, as well, it usually balances itself out. She was always boasting about her plus, though she never said how much. She must have been at it for a while and never got called out, so she got cocky. I’m sorry for your trouble, but thank you for standing up to her.“

Fees Be Nice, Fees Be Nice

, , | Right | July 16, 2018

(I work at a relatively well-known movie rental store — yes, some are still open. I’m out running returns back when I hear this conversation between a customer and my manager. My manager has been here for years and honestly knows pretty much every movie we have, but she has a tendency to be a bit abrupt with customers.)

Customer: “Can you tell me where [Movie I’ve never heard of] is?”

Manager: “Sorry, we don’t have that one.”

Customer: *pauses* “What do you mean you don’t have it? Aren’t you going to—” *makes typing motion* “—check?”

(Neither my manager or I are at the computers; we’re both doing stock, and both have arms full of movies.)

Manager: “With all due respect, I could, but I know for a fact that we don’t have that movie.”

Customer: *huffs away*

Customer’s Son: “Mum, where is it?”

Customer: *loudly* “Apparently, they don’t have it, because that woman knows everything!”

(I’m starting to get a bit amused by this and have just walked back to the desk.)

Customer: *to me* “Where is [Movie I haven’t heard of]?”

(I decide I had better back up my manager a bit here.)

Me: “That doesn’t sound familiar; I don’t think we have it, but let me check.” *pause while I check the system* “Sorry, ma’am, we don’t. It doesn’t look like we’ve ever had a movie by that name.”

Customer: “That’s ridiculous! All your other stores have it!”

(At this point, I know explaining how franchises work won’t go down well, so I enter “let’s just get this customer out as happy as we can” mode.)

Me: “Sorry about that again. If you’re looking for anything else, don’t hesitate to ask.”

(The customer huffs off again. Finally, she’s back with the movies she decided on. I try to offer her a deal where it’s the same price if she wants one more, but she doesn’t even listen, just demanding I ring her through. I get up her account. She has some late fees, more than our maximum balance to be allowed to rent.)

Me: *knowing how well this will go down* You do have late fees of [amount]; did you want to fix any of that up today?”

Customer: “That’s ridiculous. No, I don’t!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but you do. They were for [movies]. Unfortunately, we will require you to fix up some of that today.”

(Now her son breaks into the conversation.)

Son: “We’ll pay a dollar! We’ll pay a dollar!”

(He seems to find this quite amusing and speaks over the top of us.)

Customer: “FINE! Put $5 on it, then.”

Me: “Thank you, ma’am. The total is [amount].”

Customer: *as she’s swiping her card* “That’s ridiculous! We could’ve gone to the movies for that!”

(I wish I could respond that she could’ve, but would only have only gotten a quarter of the entertainment time she currently has with her movies. I decide not to say anything and just get her out of the store.)

Me: “That’s approved. Thank you. Here are your movies.”

Customer: *to her son, loudly, so the whole store can hear* “Well, [Son], I guess we’re downloading next time!” *huffs out*

(I turn to the next customer, who happens to be one of my favourite regulars.)

Regular: “What a b****!”

Me: “You said it, not me!”

They’re Entitled To Their Baggage

, , , , , | Right | July 16, 2018

(I am in a new grocery store that has just opened up in our town. They keep prices down by not hiring staff to bag groceries. I see a couple in their early 50s in a line where a dark-skinned girl is checking people out. The guy of the couple is in one of those store scooters, yelling:)

Male Customer: “You need to serve me; I am the customer. You need to bag my groceries, like any other store!” *breathing in heavily* “I am a paying customer, and you need to do what I say!”

(The wife joins in:)

Female Customer: “You should just do what he says or you will lose your job. This is America, and we deserve to be treated well in this store!”

(I watch the checker; she is polite and explains:)

Checker: “We don’t bag groceries, as it creates a longer line. The tables up front allow you to bag the way you want, and we can move onto the next person.”


(Most customers in ear-shot pretty much mocked them all the way out the door.)

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