He Has Altered The Deal…

, , , , , | Right | April 23, 2021

I work for a high-end retailer in the men’s tailored clothing area. I’m selling a customer a suit, which, naturally, has to be tailored to fit.

Me: “Your suit will be ready a week from today.”

Customer: “A week?! I need it in two days!”

Me: “Well, I’m not sure if that’s possible, but let me call the alterations manager and see what we can do.”

Customer: “No, it has to be ready in two days. If I can’t have it in two days, the deal’s off. This is an emergency!”

I call the alterations manager, who isn’t known for her empathy, and beg, wheedle, and cajole, explaining that we really need to help this guy out and using up a favor with her. She finally agrees.

Me: “Okay, sir, we’ll have it ready the day after tomorrow at five pm.”

About three weeks later, the customer comes in.

Customer: “Hi, I have a suit to pick up.”

Me: “Oh, hi. I looked for you on [date the suit was completed]. We had your suit all ready for you.”

Customer: “Yeah, I just didn’t have a chance to stop by and pick it up.”

This happens distressingly often!

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You Took Out The Wrong Trash

, , , , | Right | March 9, 2021

A customer I’ve come to remember as The Most Entitled Lady On Earth walks into our gift shop carrying a clear plastic container with food remnants in it. While we do have a trash can behind the counter, we try not to put food in it as it attracts mice. This trash can is not even visible to customers.

Customer: “Where do I throw this away?”

Manager: “There’s a trash can on the sidewalk, just outside the coffee shop next door.”

Customer: *Full of disdain* “I’m not walking that far.”

Then, she deposits her used food container on our counter for us to deal with. My manager and I exchange “Did she really just do that?” expressions. My manager has a kill-em-with-kindness approach to these situations.

Manager: *In an overly sweet customer service voice* “Would you like me to take that out to the trash can?”

The customer replies in a tone that suggests, “Finally, these peons are getting it.”

Customer: “Yes, thank you.”

My manager drops it off in the trash can, not more than fifteen feet outside our store’s front door. The customer browses for a bit, then, without an ounce of self-awareness, asks:

Customer: “So, how long does it take to walk to [Train Station that is roughly a thirty-five-minute walk from where we are]?”

I wish I had estimated for her how many trash cans she might pass on that thirty-five-minute walk.

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Going Off The Rails

, , , , , , , | Learning | February 2, 2021

A physics professor walks by, pushing a piece of equipment on a cart.

Me: “Hey, [Physics Professor], what’s that?”

Physics Professor: “Railgun.”

Me: “Uh… whoa. What class is that for?”

Physics Professor: “None. Just wanted a railgun.”

About half an hour later…

Biology Professor: “Hey, [My Name], do we still have that old dartboard? [Physics Professor] wants to borrow it for some reason.”

This story is part of our Best Of February 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of February 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of February 2021 roundup!

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Take A Seat And Give Me One, Too

, , , , , , | Working | January 13, 2021

Despite the health crisis, I have driven a close friend in for a wheelchair assessment. He has fibromyalgia along with another nerve condition that makes it nearly impossible for him to walk more than about twenty feet at any one time. The fibro also makes it impossible for him to use a self-propelled wheelchair. This appointment is to get a doctor to sign off on a motorized chair so that his insurance will pay for it.

I dropped him off as close to the front door as possible and go to park the car. The entrance to the parking garage is around the corner. The building itself is facing a pier that is now a park built out into the water.

My friend texts me after I drop him at the front door.

Friend: “They told me I’m too early and they won’t let me borrow a chair. Can you come back and help me walk over to sit somewhere?”

Me: “Be right there.”

I walked out to the end of the pier to enjoy the view, so after power-walking back, I find him barely upright, leaning heavily on his cane, standing in the front door of the building, blocking traffic due to people trying to keep six feet minimum distance from each other. I offer him my arm.

Me: “Grab hold. I saw a bench to the right.”

We are both wearing masks, but we rode down in a car with less than a foot between us. Helping him walk isn’t that much closer contact than we’ve already had today, and I know he’s been extremely isolated, never leaving his house except for doctor visits.

He takes two steps and his left leg gives out. He ends up on the ground and I end up slamming my right knee into the concrete because my leg buckled under his weight.

A security guard comes running over.

Security Guard: “What happened?”

I tell him and ask for a wheelchair and note that the front desk wouldn’t give my friend one. All the while, I’m helping my buddy move over enough that he isn’t sprawled in the door of the building and ignoring my now aching knee. The security guard is a good sport. He shakes his head and brings us a pushchair — not a regular wheelchair, but better than nothing.

Me: *To the guard* “Thank you so much! I don’t know why they wouldn’t give him one, given why he’s here.”

The guard helps me get my buddy into the pushchair.

Security Guard: “Why is he here?”

Me: “He’s getting doctor approval for a wheelchair.”

I don’t normally speak for my friend, but I can tell he is in too much pain to talk, and I want to make sure this guy knows that it is stupid to not let my friend borrow a chair. The security guard just shakes his head again. I can see that he isn’t happy with the front desk guy. I ignore it, as there isn’t much I can do beyond what I’ve already done, and, since we can’t go upstairs because we’re too early for the appointment, I ask my friend if he wants me to push him out to the end of the pier to watch the water.

My friend nods his approval, so I thank the guard again and push my buddy out to enjoy the fresh air. We’re far enough from people we could take our masks off and enjoy the salt air. Upon returning to the building for the appointment, the guard sees us and checks that everything is all right. We’re both okay, so I thank him again. The guard says to get him when we’re leaving so I can grab the car and he can help my buddy out.

It ended well! My buddy got his doctor’s approval for his motorized chair, and the security guard was true to his word when we left and even gave me a coupon for extra off the parking cost. He was also very nice about helping get my friend in the car.

I only hope the person at the front desk learns from this! Just because someone is upright in that moment, it does not mean it’s easy or even possible for them to stay that way!

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Time To Salsa Dance Your Way To A New Neighborhood

, , , , , , | Working | December 31, 2020

When I am in college, I work at a restaurant for a little extra cash, and I do mean “a little.” I work the off hours, during the day on weekdays and the occasional weeknight, and I’m not even making enough tips to get up to minimum wage. The owner is supposed to pay me the amount it falls short, but I don’t realize that at the time, and he just marks that I get my tips in cash. The restaurant is only two blocks from my apartment and I often write during downtime, so I don’t worry about it too much. 

After months of barely making anything, Valentine’s Day comes up, which just so happens to fall on one of my weeknights. We have a fancy prix fixe menu and the whole restaurant is booked. The day before:

Owner: “I’m going to have another waitress come in to help you out since there will be so many customers tomorrow.”

I’m usually alone on that shift. I am a little disappointed but I understand. There are only around ten tables in the restaurant, so I could have handled it. 

Valentine’s night, we each start serving our half of the restaurant, but we also start getting orders for delivery with no delivery guy in the restaurant. I call the owner to ask him what we should do.

Owner: “Run the deliveries, and [Other Waitress] will handle the tables.”

Me: “I would be making hundreds of dollars in tips serving those tables, and if I run deliveries? Twenty at most. No.”

When I start giving my reasons, he acts like he can’t hear me and hangs up. I call him back and he doesn’t answer. I keep calling until he does.

Owner: “Run the deliveries or leave.”

I’ve finally had enough.

Me: “Okay.”

I hang up, leave the restaurant, and never go back. 

The owner keeps trying to call me, both that night and in the coming weeks, but I don’t answer. He has other waitresses call me for months — literal months — asking for me to cover their shifts because he says they can’t stay home when they are sick unless I cover them.

Me: “I’m sorry, but I don’t work there.”

One time, the owner sees me walking in my neighborhood and swerves off the road onto the grass next to the sidewalk I am on to jump out and talk to me.

Owner: “We’re friends, aren’t we? Please come back!”

It got really creepy after a while. One time, he even sent me an emoji of two people salsa dancing with the message, “This reminds me of us.”

Needless to say, I avoided that restaurant like the plague for the rest of the time I lived there. I’d cross the street to not walk past it or go the back ways to avoid the main road. In the end, living two blocks away wasn’t as convenient as I thought!

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