These Transactions Don’t Hum Along

, , , , , | Right | February 22, 2019

(I work in a card and stationery store. A woman comes in and I engage her in conversation.)

Me: “Hi. How are you doing today? Is there something special I can help you find?”

Woman: “Yeah, do you have any cards with hummingbirds on them?”

Me: “Yes, we have a bunch! Did you need them for any specific occasion?”

Woman: “No, not really.”

Me: “Okay. We have many birthday cards with hummingbirds on them. This one here is actually our top-selling birthday card.”

Woman: “Actually, do you have any Thank You cards with hummingbirds on them?”

Me: *thinking, “Why couldn’t you have said this was what you wanted in the first place?!”* “Yes, I think so. Let’s go look.” *after scanning the Thank You section* “I don’t see any out here right now, but let me check our database and see if there are any cards I’m forgetting about that we might have in the stock room.”

(I look up “hummingbird cards” and find a few options.)

Me: “Okay, looks like I have one or two ideas. Let me just run in the back and grab them for you.”

Woman: “Okay.”

(I come back a minute later with two options for her.)

Woman: “Actually, do you have any hummingbird cards that are blank inside?”

(I walk over to our blank section and pull out two right off the bat.)

Woman: “Do you have any other options?”

Me: “I think so. Let me go check.”

Woman: “Okay, I’ll keep looking.”

(I again go to the back room and look for a minute or two and find a few cards that fit the bill. I return to the section of the store where I left her, and she is nowhere to be found. In fact, there are NO customers in the store at all!)

Me: *throws hands in the air in exasperation*

(Sadly, this happens on a regular basis. Why would you leave when I was gone for three minutes max and I’m trying to get you exactly what you asked for?!)

The Thirteenth Lobster

, , , , | Romantic | February 5, 2019

(My mother is reading in bed while my father sleeps, when he abruptly sits up.)

Dad: “How many are there?”

Mom: “…how many what?”

Dad: “Lobsters.”

Mom: *realizing he’s asleep and knowing how much he loves lobster* “Thirteen.”

Dad: “Well, get them off!”

Mom: “What?”

Dad: “Get. Them off. The BED!”

(He then lay down and went back to sleep. This was one of my mother’s favorite stories for years.)

The Brightest Things In The Library Are The Librarians

, , , , , | Hopeless | February 3, 2019

The library has a light therapy lamp for winter blues. On this day, I’d been specifically planning to use the lamp, and I’d been having a bit of a bad day, so it was pretty important to me. Usually, no one is using it, but when I got there, there were people sitting in both of the seats. I waited ten or fifteen minutes and then asked them how long they planned to use the lamp; there’s a sign on the lamp asking patrons to limit their use if there are people waiting to use it.

They said they were going to be there a while. I told them I was hoping to use the light therapy lamp for a little bit; they muttered a few things, and while I didn’t catch the exact words, the general gist was that they weren’t moving.

I wasn’t assertive enough to press the issue or show my displeasure, but I was pretty upset, since they’d clearly been there for a while before I even got there, and I suspected they weren’t even using the lamp for light therapy. I was also angry at myself, for not being assertive both in that situation and in general.

I wanted to ask a librarian for help, but I was too nervous to, both because I didn’t want to be “that person” and because I was afraid the two patrons would overhear and get mad at me. But a few minutes later, one of the librarians, who had apparently noticed the situation, came up to me and offered to move the lamp to where I was. Presumably, those two patrons didn’t actually need it; I suppose they were only attached to the seats.

I was really surprised and really grateful to her for doing that. She helped make my bad day a lot better, especially since using the lamp was the last thing I planned to do before I went home. She also would have had to approach those two patrons to ask if they were all right with her taking the lamp, which came with a risk of them getting mad at her. And she did that on her own initiative, without being asked at all.

I’ve always liked the librarians here, but this is really going to stand out for me.

Dealt With That Customer With Real Polish

, , , , | Right | January 23, 2019

Customer: “I’m looking for silver polish.”

Me: “Absolutely, that will be in aisle eighty wit—”


Me: “Okay, well, I can show you where it is.”

(I proceed to aisle eighty and turn to go down the aisle.)


(I just continued down the aisle, picked up the silver polish, held it up, gave it a little shake, put it back on the shelf, and continued out the far end of the aisle.)

I Bet A Thousand Bucks That You’re Wrong

, , , , , , | Working | January 18, 2019

(I work at a store that sells lottery tickets. We can pay cash prizes if we have enough money in the till. For loss-prevention reasons, we don’t keep a float and we aren’t allowed to add cash to the tills from the safe. The only influx of cash into our tills is from people buying things with cash. So, if we don’t have enough cash in the till to pay a prize, the customer has to take their ticket somewhere else. Our tills are also swapped out with every shift change, so the time of day is no guarantee that there will be a lot of cash in the till. I have just started my shift, and one of my very first customers has a ticket that has won $200. Because the amount is so high, the machine asks if I am able to pay. I know for a fact that I can’t, so I press, “No”, and the machine returns the ticket and creates a printout telling the customer what their prize amount is and where else they can go to get it. I give the ticket and the printout to the customer and explain.)

Me: “Unfortunately, I don’t have enough cash in my till to pay this, but there’s a [Convenience Store] upstairs that might be able to-–”

Customer: “Oh, I don’t like this. I don’t want to carry my winning ticket around until I can find someone who can pay it. You shouldn’t be selling lottery here if you can’t pay this. You’re supposed to be able to pay up to $1,000!”

(Our training isn’t very thorough, so at the time I have no idea if what she’s saying is true. I ask my colleague on the other cash register if she has enough in her till, but she doesn’t. I flag down the assistant manager to find out if there’s any way we can pay the customer’s prize. He confirms that we can’t add cash from the safe, and reiterates that she can try the convenience store upstairs.)

Customer: “You’re supposed to be able to pay up to $1,000.”

(To my surprise, my assistant manager doesn’t contradict her, and actually seems a bit sheepish.)

Manager: “Unfortunately, we don’t have enough cash in our till.”

Customer: “You should have a float. You shouldn’t be selling lottery if you can’t pay this. You really shouldn’t.”

(My assistant manager just reiterates that we can’t pay it, and eventually she leaves.)

Me: “Are we really supposed to be able to pay up to $1,000?”

Manager: “Technically, yeah.”

Me: “What?! But then how do we get away with that? We need to be approved by OLG, right? If this is a requirement, can’t we get in trouble for not keeping enough cash on hand?”

Manager: “I don’t know.”

Me: “That can’t be right. The machine asks, ‘Can you pay?’ if it’s over a certain amount, and if you say, ‘No’, it gives you that printout. It explicitly gives us the option not to pay. And they give us that machine, so it wouldn’t ask that if we were required to pay up to $1,000, right? I’m going to look this up.”

(When I got home that night, I looked it up. The OLG website said, “Every retailer can pay up to — and including — $50. Retailers have the option to pay up to $999.90 — as long as they have the cash available.” In other words, we can pay up to $999.90 if we are able and willing, but we aren’t actually required to pay any amount higher than $50. I texted my assistant manager this information. The next morning, he called OLG to confirm that this was correct, and then he printed out that webpage, highlighted that sentence, and left it behind the lottery counter, so that if any customer ever made that claim again, we’d have an actual response for them.)

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