Suited To The Role

, , , | San Francisco, CA, USA | Right | February 18, 2013

(I work the floor at an independently-owned menswear store. The owner, my boss, spends a lot of time at the shop, and tries to keep prices as low as possible to help our city’s large homeless population get good job interview clothes. A clearly homeless man is wandering around the store. The other patrons are giving him looks.)

Customer: “Excuse me, sir?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am?”

Customer: “I think you may want to call security. That… bum over there, he keeps feeling the suits and muttering to himself. I’m just sure he’s planning to steal one.”

Me: “Well, ma’am, I think that’s quite unlikely.”

Customer: “Oh, come on, you know how they are! I mean, I’d keep an eye on him even if he wasn’t homeless!”

(The homeless man in question happens to be Hispanic.)

Me: “We don’t discriminate here, ma’am.”

Customer: “Well, I’m sure the owner would want to hear about this!”

(I give in and call him over. The customer explains her concerns. As a black man, my boss isn’t happy with her racism, but agrees to talk to the homeless man.)

Owner: “Excuse me, sir, are you finding what you need?”

Homeless Man: “Well, not really. I’m hoping for something versatile in a dark or navy wool, but most of the options in my size are cut American style instead of European, which fits me a little better. Not to mention they’re all pinstriped, which I really don’t have the build for, you know?”

Owner: “I… yes, I understand. I think we may have some options over here, if you’ll follow me. How did you know all that?”

Homeless Man: “Back before I lost my job, I used to be really into this stuff. I’m not looking for anything fancy, just something I can use to look good for a job interview later today.”

(My boss helps him find something he likes, and comes to the counter with him. The suit is priced at $87.)

Homeless Man: *digging in his pockets* “Hang on, I think I’ve got enough.”

Owner: *to me* “Take my card. I’m buying it for him.” *to the homeless man* “Here. The suit’s yours, on one condition. After your interview today, you come back and apply for a job here, too. Got it?”

Homeless Man: “I… oh, my God, thank you. Thank you so much.”

(Two years later, that formerly-homeless man is my manager, and has a little girl with his new wife — the owner’s sister.)

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Getting Owned By The Owner, Part 2

, , , , | Leicester, England, UK | Right | January 31, 2013

(I’m standing in a fairly short queue when a businessman walks in, pushes straight to the front, and starts dictating his order to the 20-something-year-old cashier.)

Cashier: “I’m afraid you’re going to have to go to the back of the queue, sir.”

Business man: “I have an important meeting shortly. You must serve me now!”

Cashier: “Yeah, the longer you stand there, the later you’re going to be. Back of the queue.”

Business man: “Do you have any idea who I am?”

Cashier: “Nope. Now shut up and go to the back of the queue.”

Business man: “How dare you talk to me like that?! Get me your manager now!”

(The cashier sighs heavily, walks into the back, comes out with an older woman in tow and nods her towards the businessman, then disappears back into the back.)

Manager: “What seems to be the problem, sir?”

Business man: “That boy was incredibly rude to me! I demand you fire him immediately!”

Manager: “I’m afraid I don’t have the authority to do that, but if you want I can get the owner for you.”

Business man: “Bah! Fine, but I expect to be compensated for having to go through all of this trouble!”

Manager: “I’m sure you can discuss that with him, sir.”

(She then walks into the back, then comes out again with the now grinning cashier.)

Cashier: “Yo.”

Business man: “What’s the meaning of this? I said I wanted to talk to the owner!”

Cashier: “Like I said, yo.”

(The businessman silently gapes for a few seconds, then walks out, stammering threats about having his head and closing the shop down.)

Manager: “Why do you always have to involve me?”

Cashier: “I just love the look on their stupid little faces when they find out I own this joint.”

(The manager rolls her eyes and walks into back.)

Cashier: “I love this job. What can I get you?”

 

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In Need Of Hire Education

, , , | USA | Learning | December 1, 2012

(At the fast food restaurant where I work, most of my coworkers are in high school.)

Manager: *to Coworker* “I need you to stay late and close. [Another Coworker] called in sick.”

Coworker: “I can’t. I have to study for a test I’m taking tomorrow.”

Manager: “But I need you to stay. What’s more important, school or this job?”

Coworker: *stunned* “Finishing high school is more important!”

Manager: “Fine, have it your way. But with that attitude, you’ll never amount to much!”

Admitting Defeat Was An Easy Thing Touché

, , , , , , | Right | November 29, 2012

(The owner of the bookstore where I work is very old and walks with a cane. Despite this, he always wanders the shelves and helps out patrons. Behind the counter, in a glass case, he keeps an assortment of trophies and medals he won in his youth. One night, someone decides to try to steal them.)

Owner: “I’m sorry, but you can’t be behind the counter.”

Robber: *smashing the glass* “F*** you, old man! Just stay away and don’t do anything stupid!”

(The robber sweeps the medals into his backpack and then tries to open the till.)

Owner: “Stop that, young man! You’re making a terrible mistake!”

Robber: *waves a large knife* “Yeah, well so are you! Back off! How do you open this f***ing thing?””

Owner: “Take a look at all those medals.”

Robber: “What? Just open the f***ing cash register!”

Owner: *very calmly* “Just take a look.”

Robber: *confused* “Uh, okay. Yeah, they’re gold. That’s why I took them, you a**hole. Gold fencing, gold fencing, silver fencing…”

(The owner gracefully draws the sword from his sword-cane.)

Robber: “Oh, please! Try that stuff in a real fight and you’ll just get kill—”

(With a flick of his weapon, the owner removes the robber’s glasses.)

Robber: *drops the knife* “Don’t hurt me!” *drops to his knees*

(I had called the police as soon as the knife came out. They arrive and identify the robber as a serial burglar who had stabbed a previous victim. Years later, at the owner’s retirement party, he recounts the story.)

Owner: “You know, hearing that story makes me think of two things. One, I wish a fencing judge had been there so I could have gotten the gold for that bout, and two, I missed the only time in my life when I could have asked someone if they called that a knife.”

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The Only Thing He Should Be Running Is Scared

, , | Georgia, USA | Working | June 25, 2012

(This takes place at a 24-hour drugstore on Thanksgiving. We’re having a big toy sale and are very busy. I’m on the top rung of a ladder pulling items for customers below me when this takes place.)

Me: “I’m so sorry for your wait, you guys. If you give me just one more moment, I’ll get everything you’ve asked for!”

Customer #1: “Oh, honey, it’s okay. You guys are so busy!”

Me: “Thank you, ma’am. I don’t think we truly anticipated how busy we’d be. You wanted one ‘Cars’ fishing game and a Tinkerbell flowers fishing game, correct?”

Customer #1: “That’s right.”

Customer #2: “Well, with a sale like this!”

Me: “Can’t argue with that, sir! You wanted the flying fairy princess doll, is that right?”

Customer #2: *laughing* “Well, I don’t, but my niece will love it.”

Me: *to Customer #3* “…and ma’am, you wanted the Disney Princess tea set. Is that right?”

Customer #3: “That’s right! Wow, you’ve got a good memory!”

Me: “Thank you! ”

(At this point, my boss, who has barely exited his office all day, walks up.)

Boss: *to me* “Hey, someone is waiting to use the bathroom. Go let them in.”

Me: “Okay, it’ll be just a moment. Where’s [Coworker]?”

Boss: “On break.”

Me: “But they’ve only been here 45 minutes.”

Boss: “So?”

Me: “I’ve been here six hours, and you haven’t let me take a break yet. Also, more importantly, I’m busy right now.”

Boss: “Well, that person needs to use the restroom. Go do your job.”

Customer #3: “Sir, I mean no disrespect, but clearly she’s doing her job. Do you not see her on top of the ladder? Why don’t you just let them in yourself?”

Boss: “That’s not my job. It’s my employees’ jobs…” *snidely to me* “…even if they’re trying to be lazy.”

Customer #2: *to my boss* “What is your job?”

Boss: “To make sure the store runs smoothly.”

Customer #1: “You’re doing a poor job of it.”

Boss: *turns bright red and grits his teeth* “…and just who are you to judge?”

Customer #1: “A customer.”

Boss: *waves her off*

Customer #2: *very serious* “You are NOT too good to help your employees. Just because you are in a management position does not exempt you from helping. You should go let that customer into the restroom. And after this young lady is done helping us, you should make sure she takes her lunch.”

Boss: “I make the store run! You can’t tell me how to run my store!”

Customer #2: “No, you don’t ‘make the store run.’ Your employees do. And this young lady has been running her tail off since I’ve been here. You have no idea who I am, do you?”

Boss: “Someone who has no idea how the store works?”

Customer #2: *laughs* “No, I’m [Customer #2].”

Me: *startled* “From district?!”

Customer #2: “That’s right, and I think…” *to my boss* “…you and I need to have a LONG talk.”

(At this point, I finally get to the bottom of the ladder and start handing out the items.)

Me: “Here you go everyone. Thank you so much for your patience and have a Happy Thanksgiving!”

Boss: *to me* “Just go get coworker and take your lunch!”

([Customer #1] and [Customer #3] wished me the same, while [Customer #2] — who was in fact from corporate — dragged my boss into the office for that “talk.”)

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