That’s… Not How Restaurants Work

, , , , | Right | July 22, 2020

We are a sit-down restaurant and I am the host. A teenage boy, aged seventeen to nineteen, walks in and asks for a table for one. Shortly after sitting down and getting his water, he suddenly gets up and walks out the door without speaking to his server, myself, or anyone else. 

I watch him to see if he is smoking, but instead, he quickly walks down the sidewalk and to the parking lot. He never comes back, so we clean his table, cancel his order, and seat the table with new guests.

Thirty minutes later, the same teenage guest walks quickly into the restaurant and starts to make a beeline for his table when I cut him off.

Me: “Um, sir, you left for a while — about thirty minutes — so we gave your table to other guests.”

He looks at me as if I’m stupid and should have known he was coming back.

Me: “Did you still want to sit down? I can get you a new table, but I apologize; your old table is not available.”

Customer: “Yes.”

I walk him to a new booth.

Me: “Did you want the same food still?”

He is still looking at me like I’m stupid.

Customer: “…Yes.”

Me: “I will let your server know. Again, I apologize. We thought you left since it had been thirty minutes, but by chance, did you let your server know you were leaving?”

Customer: “No, I ordered salmon and it takes twenty to thirty minutes to make!”

He is looking at me now like I’m a complete idiot for not knowing this. I stare at him in disbelief for a good five seconds before stammering out:

Me: “Right. I’ll get your server now.”

Thankfully, it was a slow night and we were able to make his food — a glazed salmon salad — within minutes. The guest later told the server that the food was great.

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The Dog Doesn’t Bite But This Clerk Might

, , , , , , | Working | July 21, 2020

I get one of those “Sorry we missed you” cards from the postal service, so I have to go to the local post office branch to collect a parcel. I am meeting with a friend the same day, so I take my dog and we decide to stop by the post on the way to the coffee house. 

My local post office branch — unsurprisingly — has a no-dogs-allowed policy, which I am well aware of. This is why I hand the lead to my friend and both she and my dog wait for me right outside the entrance. I go in. There are no other people at the time, so I go straight to the clerk with my ID and my reference number.

Me: “Good afternoon. Can I please collect my parcel?”

Clerk: “Is this your dog?” *Looking outside*

Me: “Yes.”

Clerk: “Dogs are not allowed!”

She points at a poster on the wall that confirms the same.

Me: “That’s okay; he will stay outside.”

Clerk: “No, dogs are not allowed!”

Me: “I understand that. He will not enter the building. They are just waiting for me outside. Now, can I have my parcel?”

Clerk: “Dogs are not allowed!”

Me: *Slightly annoyed* “My dog is not inside the premises, so I do not see a problem. Are you telling me that I won’t be served because I have a pet?!”


She is getting quite fanatical, repeating the same thing over and over again. I’m a very patient person, but after five minutes of “Dogs are not allowed,” I get fed up.

Me: “Any chance I could speak to someone else here?”

Clerk: “No! Dogs are not allowed!”

Me: “Hello? Anybody back there?”

I raise my voice, hoping that somebody else will come, and a manager quickly shows up.

Manager: “What seems to be the problem?”

Clerk: “The lady has a dog; dogs are not allowed!”

Manager: “But… but… the dog is outside.”

Clerk: “NO! Dogs are not allowed, THOSE ARE THE RULES! YOU SHOULD KNOW THE RULES!”

The manager looked baffled. He sent away the clerk, apologised profusely, and handed me my parcel.

The clerk still works there, but I see her mostly in the back room sorting the parcels. I guess my situation wasn’t the only issue, so they are trying to keep her away from customers.

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She Sure Wasn’t Banking On That Coincidence

, , , , , | Working | July 20, 2020

I work at a bank. We get mystery shopped several times a year. We have a very long list of things we get graded on. One of them is if we do a full financial profile. If done correctly, these take about twenty minutes.

I get a mystery shopper. I do a full financial profile, recommend a few products, answer her questions, and then she leaves. Even though I hit all the required categories, she does not score me well, and I get a very long lecture because of it.

A year later, I’ve transferred fo a different branch. One of the tellers informs me there’s a lady in the lobby looking for “information on our accounts,” which is our code for “mystery shopper.” She looks vaguely familiar. I invite her to have a seat at my desk and tell her about the financial profile.

Shopper: “Oh, you can absolutely do that! I’ve got time.”

Me: “Great! I’m going to start by asking for some personal information.”

I enter her information and get a pop-up that warns me of a duplicate profile. I click on it and discover it’s my shopper from the year before. All the information matches, right down to the email address. Since I know she’s a picky scorer, and I’m not likely to do well with her, I decide to have a little fun with this.

Me: “Ma’am, I have to say that you look so familiar! Have you banked with us before? Or maybe visited one of our other branches?”

Shopper: “No, not at all! I’m new to the area.”

Me: “Oh, well, you must have a twin! A mystery shopper who looked just like you came to [My Old Branch] last year!”

She stares at me for a second. A look of recognition crosses her face. I smile.

Me: “But I’m sure that’s a coincidence. Now, let’s start your financial profile. Tell me how you like to bank…”

I did a full profile and recommended five to seven products, making sure to describe them all in great detail. The whole thing took over an hour.

About a week later, I got a phone call from our regional manager, congratulating me on a near-perfect score and some glowing comments about how “friendly and engaging” I was. If you’re going to mystery shop, at least make up some new information.

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Those Who Are Too Pushy Might Just Get Shoved

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | July 19, 2020

Approximately fifteen or sixteen years ago, I was living and working in London. I’m a Christian and am quite involved in my church. However, I’m very uncomfortable with “forcing” religion — or any opinions or beliefs, for that matter — onto anyone, so I tend to avoid “street corner preachers.” They make me uncomfortable.

My cousin and his girlfriend traveled to London for work so I met them at Heathrow airport. We were on the Tube on our way home in a train carriage. Next to me was a sweet elderly lady reading a book, opposite me were two well-dressed elderly ladies having a quiet conversation, and next to them was a young man with a shaved head, neatly dressed, also minding his own business.

And then there was a strange creature: a man standing at the entrance dressed from head to toe in gold. And when I say head to toe, I mean that even his skin was painted gold. And he was busy preaching, loudly, to anyone who would listen. And nobody wanted to listen; we were all uncomfortable.

The two ladies across from me couldn’t hear themselves talking over the racket and gave him a few glances. The guy with the shaved head asked him politely to please be quiet a few times. Unfortunately, Preacher Man just kept going.

The train was slowing down into the next station. The doors opened and one or two people got off, including the guy with the shaved head. Preacher Man kept screaming after him, leaning halfway out of the door.

The sweet lady next to me reading the book promptly stood up, shoved him out the door, sat down again, and continued reading her book. The doors closed, the train pulled away and everyone on our side of the carriage had a good chuckle.

I get that people are passionate about things, but you’re doing more harm than good trying to shove your beliefs down someone’s throat.

And thanks to the little lady for being such a bada**!

This story is part of our July 2020 Roundup – the best stories of the month!

Read the next July 2020 Roundup story!

Read the July 2020 Roundup!

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The Reading Dead

, , , , | Right | July 17, 2020

I work in a small bookstore that is part of a very large national chain. A big-deal gay-themed movie has just premiered. I happen to be very familiar with it myself; I’ve already taken out and read the book with the story collection from the library. When the movie comes out, the publisher puts out a new fancy and expensive book with just this one short story; the book chain carries it and is selling many copies.

One day, a man comes up to me at the register. He’s middle-aged and wearing poorly-fitted leather pants that look extremely out of place in this high-end, fashionable neighborhood. He speaks a little tentatively and slowly.

Customer: “Hello, I want to buy the book Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx.”

Me: “Sure! You can find it at the fiction shelves under the author’s last name.”

Customer: *Confused look.* “Um…”

Me: *More carefully* “It’s on our fiction shelves under the author’s last name: Proulx — starts with a P.”

Customer: *Blank look* 

I point at the shelves a few feet away again. We are a small store and the P fiction books are only about three rows in. The shelves are quite short and you can even see all the way to the back of the store from the registers where we are standing. It’s extremely easy to find any fiction book. Everything is plainly alphabetized by author’s last name. I’m on register duty and cannot leave the counter.

I try speaking slower and clearer.

Me: “It’s around the third aisle. Right over there. Under the first letter of the author’s last name. Proulx — starts with a P.”

The customer is just silent with a dull blank look. He looks a tiny bit to either side in complete confusion and stares back at me with empty eyes. I am confused and beginning to get weirded out at this point; he’s starting to somewhat resemble a zombie. I point at the shelves again and speak even slower.

Me: “It’s right over there. On the third shelf. You just need to find the letter P on the shelf.” 

He’s still silent, staring at me with a blank, wide-eyed look.

Me: “You just look for the letter P. Everything is alphabetized. The book will be under her last name. The author’s last name. It’s Proulx. It’s on the shelves right over here.”

No change. Not a sound out of him. Blank look. One of our managers happened to be walking by right then and observed a few seconds of this interaction. He just looked at the customer for a few more seconds and then quickly went to the fiction shelf, retrieved a copy of the book, and brought it up front. It took him less than ten seconds.

I rang up the book and the customer silently went on his way, still with a blank look on his face. The manager and I silently stared after him in bewilderment. Zombie searching for gay-themed books instead of brains?

A Brokeback Fountain Of Hate
Not Your Dad’s Cowboy Movie
I Wish I Knew How To Quit This Class
Going For Broke(back)
A Desolate Beauty

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