A Three-Rubel Bill

, , , , | Right | March 13, 2018

(My coworker and I are working a Saturday morning shift and are the only two people on duty. During a slow time, a customer we both recognize and dread walks in. He has been in here before and is known for bizarre and rude behavior. He also frequently rides the local bus system and harasses other passengers. Needless to say, we are not happy to see him. As he barks out an order for coffee, he makes small talk that gets more wild as it goes on. Note: my coworker is still in high school, and is taking AP Spanish.)

Coworker: “That’ll be two dollars for the coffee.”

Customer: “You take two-dollar bills?”

Coworker: “Yep, we do.”

Customer: *taking two one-dollar bills from his wallet* “You take three-dollar bills?”

Coworker: “I don’t think so, no.”

Me: “I don’t think there is such a thing as a three-dollar bill.”

Customer: “Well, there is. I used to work for the Philadelphia Mint. I know all about all kinds of money.”

Coworker: “Really? That’s interesting.”

Customer: “Yeah. I worked for the CIA, too. And at the Hague. And in Russia. I can speak all kinds of languages.”

Coworker: “You don’t say.”

Customer: “I speak Russian.” *fires off a rapid sequence of words that sounds vaguely Slavic* “You speak Russian?”

Coworker: “I don’t, no.”

Customer: *narrows eyes and speaks fiercely* “That’s because your parents didn’t paddle you when you were a child!”

(He takes his coffee and leaves abruptly, while my coworker and I are left amazed.)

Me: “Uh. Did you get paddled as a child?”

Coworker: “Nope, not really. I got punished in other ways.”

Me: “Well, that must be why you speak Spanish.”

(We still laugh about this weird guy and his startling method of learning Russian!)

Does Not Compute, But Really Wishes It Did

, , , , | Right | March 12, 2018

(I work in a game store.)

Me: “Your total is [total].”

Customer: “Can I pay you with this?”

(The man then hands me a tin of mints.)

Me: *very confused* “Sir, I really can’t take that as payment.”

Customer: “Just take it.” *shoves mints in my hand*

(I am about to retort when I realize there is something off about the pack of mints. I open it up and find a fully functional computer inside of it! The screen is very small, but it runs smoothly.)

Me: *laughing* “That is amazing! I honestly wish I could take it as payment, but we don’t sell computers here.”

Customer: “Aw, that sucks. I made it myself and I got kind of bored with it. Let me know if you find anyone who might want it!”

(He paid and left with his computer, but not before letting all the staff take pictures and get his contact info so we could spread the word for him!)

Scouting For An Argument

, , , , , | Working | March 10, 2018

(A year ago, I had a substantial number of my employees selling some multi-level marketing item. Things were getting ridiculous, with employees hassling their coworkers, catalogues covering the break room, purchased items brought in for pick-up and left in lockers. Finally, I set a hard rule that no one was allowed to sell anything on company property. Period. One employee, who sold diet shakes and vitamins, had major issue with this, protesting to corporate, but my rule was upheld. I know he held a grudge for it. One day, he approaches me.)

Employee #1: “So, the no-selling thing is only for some of us, then?”

Me: “It’s a store-wide rule. No one is allowed to sell anything on company property. Why? Who is breaking it?”

Employee #1: “[Employee #2] is! Back in the break room! Girl Scout cookies!”

Me: “All right; I’ll head there.”

([Employee #2] is sitting there, eating her lunch and scrolling through her phone. I don’t see any order forms or boxes, so I’m a bit confused.)

Me: “[Employee #2], are you selling Girl Scout cookies?”

Employee #2: “No… I mean, my granddaughter is, but…”

Me: “But have you tried to sell any to another coworker?”

Employee #2: “I thought that wasn’t allowed?”

Me: “It’s not. Thank you. I’ll let you get back to your lunch.”

(I pull [Employee #1] to my office.)

Me: “Okay, I need you to tell me exactly what happened.”

Employee #1: “I’m minding my own business at break and [Employee #2] asks if I want to see her granddaughter. She shows me a picture and the kid is wearing a Girl Scout uniform.”

Me: “Did she ask you to buy cookies, or attempt to take money?”

Employee #1: “No! But why would she let me know she had a granddaughter in Girl Scouts unless she was subliminally trying to sell me cookies?”

Me: “Girl Scouts aren’t Psych Ops. No one was doing subliminal sales. Please go reset zone two.”

(Since then, he has been telling people I’m unfair and unequal with my rule!)

On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 15

, , , , , , | Healthy | March 10, 2018

(I am a brand new EMT; I’ve had my license less than six months. I am working for a non-emergency transport service that specializes in psych patients. I go to a hospital to pick up a patient going to a mental health facility for a court-mandated 72-hour hold. The nurse advises me that the patient tried to overdose on some pills after a family crisis, but has been calm and cooperative since being in the ER. My partner and I introduce ourselves to the patient, get her on the stretcher, and load her into the ambulance. I begin to assess her.)

Me: “Do you have any pain anywhere?”

Patient: “Yeah, my stomach is hurting from my cycle. Can you give me anything for that?”

Me: “No, ma’am. I’m sorry, but I cannot give medications.” *pain medication is not within my scope of practice*

(I finish my assessment and start on my patient care report. All the while, the patient continues to complain about her pain. I advise her that I will tell the receiving facility about it as soon as we get there so the doctor can give her something, but in the meantime I get a heat pack out of the cabinet and give it to her with a towel. At about the halfway point of a two-hour trip, the patient announces that she has to use the restroom.)

Patient: “I have real bad diarrhea and I need to go now.”

Me: “Well, I don’t have a bedpan, and we cannot stop, so I need you to hold it.”

Patient: “I can’t hold it.”

Me: *to partner* “Hey, we are in [Town], right? I need you to divert to [Hospital] so I can take her into the ER. She needs to use the bathroom.”

Partner: “Can’t she hold it?”

Me: “She said no, and I would rather not have to deal with the smell.”

Partner: “Okay.”

(We get another five minutes down the road and the patient manages to slip out of all restraints and stands up.)

Me: “Ma’am, I need you to sit on the stretcher and put your seatbelts back on. If we were to get in a wreck or if my partner made a sharp turn you could be hurt.”

Patient: “I can’t hold it anymore. I’m going to s*** my pants.” *begins to undo her pants*

Me: *to partner* “Hey, pull over. She is off of the stretcher and she is about to s*** on the floor.”

Partner: “What?! Put a sheet down first.”

(As I put a sheet down I plead with the patient to reconsider, to no avail. The patient proceeds to force herself to defecate, urinate, and menstruate on the sheet. She does not have diarrhea and definitely could have held it. After the patient finishes, she uses her clothes to wipe herself and sits back down, half-naked, on my stretcher. I cover her with a sheet, re-secure her belts, turn on the exhaust fan, and try not to breath any more than absolutely necessary.)

Me: *to partner* “Hey, I need you to get there fast; I can’t take this.”

(For the next thirty minutes, the patient sits silently on the stretcher. When she realizes her previous attempt for pain meds was unsuccessful, she decides to up the ante.)

Patient: “My stomach is still hurting so bad. Can you please give something now?”

Me: “No. Like I said before, I can’t give pain medications.”

(The patient goes on a rant for several minutes before becoming silent again. Just when I think we might get to the destination without further excitement, the patient puts her fingers in her mouth and causes herself to vomit all over the floor.)

Me: “Seriously? What makes you think this is helping your cause?”

Patient: “Why don’t you just give me something for pain?”

Me: “I am an EMT basic. I can assess you, take vitals, and do CPR. Only a paramedic can give pain medications, and they still would not give you any, because menstrual cramps don’t qualify for narcotics use.”

(The patient continues to complain, but we have no further trouble until we get to the mental health facility. The patient tries to beat up the orderly after they tell her she will have to be seen by the doctor before she can get anything for pain. As we are decontaminating the truck, my partner looks at me.)

Partner: “I have been in EMS for 12 years, and I have to say, that was a first.”

On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 14
On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 13
On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 12

Stuck On Stamp Duty

, , , | Right | March 9, 2018

(I work behind the customer service desk, which handles returns, utility bills, lottery, and stamps. I’ve only been in that department a few months, but it’s become painfully obvious that many of our clientele have no idea how stamps work. Some do, and it goes off without a hitch, but I get these three customers in the same shift.)

Customer #1: *a woman in her late teens or early 20s* “I need stamps, like… a book.”

(Books are sheets with 20 stamps total, so I ring it up.)

Me: “All right, books are $9.80.”

Customer #1: *stares* “What do you mean, they’re $9.80?!”

Me: “Well, stamps are $.49 each, and books of 20 come out to $9.80.”

Customer #1: “But I just want one! It should be $.49!”

Me: “Wait, did you want one stamp, or one book?”

Customer #1: “One book!”

(I decide to try something. I pull out both a single stamp and a book of 20.)

Me: “Ma’am, this is a single stamp, and this—” *holds up the sheet of 20* “—is a book. Which did you want?”

Customer #1: “Oh, I thought all stamps were called books. I want that.” *points to the single stamp*

(I ring her up without further argument. A little while later…)

Customer #2: *a visibly flustered older woman* “I need stamps. I just… How much are they?”

Me: “Single stamps are $.49, strips of 10 are $4.90, and books of 20 are $9.80.”

Customer #2: “No, no, no, that is too much! Stamps were never that expensive when I used to buy them! I knew the prices had changed since then, but that is too much!”

Me: *having heard this argument before* “I’m sorry, ma’am, but the government sets the prices. We can’t override them. The best I can say is that these are forever stamps, so they’ll always be good even if stamp prices rise again.”

Customer #2: “They might rise again?! I’ll take two books!”

(I ring her out, and she proceeds to block my only window as she fumbles with several letters. There is no one behind her, so I let it go.)

Customer #2: “How do you get them off!?” *waving one of her books as if to shake the stamps off*

Me: “They’re adhesive, like stickers. Just peel off the backing and stick them to the envelope.”

(She eventually figures it out and leaves. A little later comes customer number three.)

Customer #3: *a loud, older man who is both a regular and known for not being quite with it* “I need a stamp! How much are they?”

Me: “$.49.”

Customer #3: *hands me a $20.00 bill and watches impatiently as I count out $19.51 in change*

Me: “Here’s your stamp.”

(He stares at the stamp for a moment, then at the envelope he wants to mail. He then proceeds to enthusiastically lick all over his thumb, flip the stamp over, smear the spit all over the smooth backing, and pound the stamp over the envelope. Not only is it thoroughly disgusting, the stamp is never going to stick that way.)

Customer #3: “Good enough!” *cheerfully leaves the envelope on the counter for us to mail and walks away*

(There was no way I was going to touch that stamp and, sure enough, it was ready to fall off the moment I moved the envelope. I wanted to just put it in the mail bin and have the post office return it to him, but I didn’t. I just taped the stamp to the envelope, threw it in the mail bin, wiped down the counter, and washed my hands.)

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