More Than 3.6 Roentgens On The Crazometer

, , , , , | | Right | July 20, 2019

(A customer approaches me as I work the customer service desk.)

Customer: “Do you carry any more [Store Brand] yogurt in the package of twelve little cups?”

Me: “I don’t believe so, but we do have tubs of [Store Brand] yogurt, and plenty of other brands have yogurt in the little cups, as well.”

Customer: “No, I read the labels. That’s all sugar candy. But have you heard about Chernobyl?”

(The question is so out of left field it takes me a moment to realize he actually said it.)

Me: “Yes?”

Customer: “And you know that it was a huge nuclear meltdown in Russia?”

Me: “Yeah…”

Customer: “Well, while the US government was spreading propaganda about them killing their citizens, the Russian government did a top-secret study to find ways to reverse radiation sickness.”

(I’m screaming internally, trying to figure out what this guy’s game is.)

Me: “Okay…”

Customer: “And they found a probiotic bacteria in Bulgaria and they called it bulgaricus. Now, when they gave this to the people who were exposed, it was like the divine hand of God coming down from the heavens and healing them. Do you understand?”

Me: “Sure.”

Customer: “And bulgaricus is only found in certain brands of yogurt, and [Store Brand] was the only one I’ve found!”

(I’m still very much thrown by this customer’s passion about the healing powers of yogurt, but I’m thankful that the conversation has turned back towards relevance.)

Me: “Well, as I mentioned before, we do still carry [Store Brand] yogurt in the large tubs. Really the only difference is the serving size. There’s also [Other Large Brand], which is pretty famous for being probiotic yogurt.”

Customer: “No, I already checked them, and they just have acidolphus! Everything has acidolphus, but it’s not bulgaricus! And they’re all sugar-candy! It was just your brand in the small cups!”

(He’s starting to get agitated, and people in the line that’s formed behind him appear just as concerned as I am, so now I’m just trying to end this.)

Me: “Okay. Well, I can’t promise anything, but when I get a chance today I’ll ask my manager if any of our other locations still carry our yogurt in the smaller size. And if it’s still in our system, we might be able to order some in for you special.”

Customer: “All right, but if it’s not bulgaricus then it’s just sugar-candy and I won’t have it!”

(The customer left after that. I relayed the story to my manager afterward, who responded with an expression of confusion and fear to match my own. Still, we called the other locations and found a store that still carried that size, so hopefully, we’ll be able to make him their problem. But what’s been bugging ever since is whether this guy thought he would need to be able to cure radiation sickness in the near future, or if he needed to cure it right now?)

Not What They Mean By Working At Check Out

, , | | Right | July 19, 2019

(As a cashier, I serve an older man from time to time who constantly flirts with all the girls. It doesn’t make me too uncomfortable until the time I turn around from bending over to grab more bags.)

Old Man: *looks up to my face* “Oh, sorry.”

Me: *not understanding what he means, and smiling* “Sorry?”

Old Man: “I was just checking to see if the back was as good as the front. I thought it was quite nice.”

(I suddenly realize he thought I caught him checking me out and I am shocked into silence. I try to avoid him or rush through his order as fast as possible after that, and I hide when I see him. There are no more incidents until I am shopping with my family one day, and he happens to be in the line behind me.)

Old Man: *standing really close to me* “It’s a nice day out, isn’t it?”

Me: “Haha… yeah.” *starts trying to pay*

(He stands immediately behind/beside me, obviously looking down my shirt with a big grin on his face.)

Old Man: “It’s really hot out, though.”

Me: “Sure is.”

(I grabbed the change, moved far away from him, and waved over my partner who was waiting with our son by the exit. My partner helped me collect our bags while the old man backed off for once, looking surprised and disappointed by his presence. He wasn’t nearly as perverted to me for the rest of my time working there.)

You’re Gone In Forty Minutes

, , , , | | Working | July 18, 2019

(I’m working a double shift at a popular sports pizza joint near Christmas time. There also happens to be a huge sports event going on, so we’re packed. I’m a supervisor and have two waitresses not show up for the night, and one cook calls in sick, so we’re short-staffed. For this night, I’m supervisor, acting manager, and waitress/hostess. A table of regulars has come in — a father, wife, and young teenage daughter. A newly-hired assistant supervisor is also on shift this evening, who I can tell doesn’t like me from the get-go. I appoint her to help the kitchen staff. The customers ask to sit in my section by my name. After a thirty-minute wait, they’re finally seated. The lineup to get a table is still out the door, not to mention the many delivery orders flooding through.)

Me: “Hey, guys! Just a heads up: we’re super busy tonight due to the game, but I’ll try my best to get everything out for you as quick as possible.”

Husband: “No problem, [My Name]! I’ll have the large spaghetti Bolognese with garlic bread.”

Wife: “[Daughter] and I will share a medium deluxe pizza, please!”

(I ring their order into my computer and get their drinks. Twenty minutes later, I stop at the table and assure them their food will be coming soon. They smile and let me know there’s no rush.)

Me: *to kitchen* “How’s my order for [table] coming, guys?”

Assistant Supervisor: “Are you blind? We’re busy. Chill out.”

Me: “Just asking, hun! Going on 23 minutes now, and I want to keep everything flowing smoothly.”

(I finish up some other tables and get more people seated. As I’m walking back to the kitchen area, the table calls for me.)

Husband: “It’s been about 45 minutes now, and I know I said no rush, but we’re starving. Could you check how long it’ll be?”

Me: “Of course! So sorry, guys. I’ll promo your bill for 30% off for the wait. Be right back!”

(I go to the kitchen.)

Me: “Guys, I need [table] right now; what’s taking so long? [Other Waitress]’s order went through after mine and she served her table fifteen minutes ago. Let’s go, guys!”

Assistant Supervisor: “Don’t tell me how to do my f****** job! It’s done when it’s done!”

(I go back into the kitchen to look for the order printout and food, both of which are nowhere to be found. I check the computer and my order has been deleted. You have to input a code to delete orders or take payments, and the assistant supervisor’s code was used to void out my order.)

Me: *to her* “What the h***?! My customers have been waiting nearly an hour now and my order is gone!”

Assistant Supervisor: “Whoops, must have done it by accident!”

Me: “It’s a five-step process to void an order without payment once it’s been sent to the kitchen. Do not touch the computers, and get these orders made. Stay in the kitchen.”

Assistant Supervisor: *mumbling* “F*** you.”

(By this time, all the staff at the front desk and kitchen are staring at us. I personally go to the kitchen and make my table’s meals. I turn around and they’re standing at the front desk.)

Husband: “It’s been over an hour and we have to go; it’s already like 9:30. Can I get our food to go, please?”

Me: “Of course. I’m so sorry. There was a mix-up in the kitchen and your food wasn’t made, but I prepped it myself. Please accept my sincerest apologies and—“ *hand them the food* “—it’s on the house.”


(The customers go red and literally run out the door. A number of customers waiting to be seated gasp and some walk out.)


Me: “[Assistant Supervisor], you need to calm down. Come back with me in the office and talk like a normal person. Voided orders come out of my cheque, so nobody’s stealing anything.”

(She continued screaming and swearing, and eventually, only three tables remained — customers who were too occupied with the game on the big screen to notice what was going on. I ended up walking out, in tears, from her words to me. The owner begged me to come back the next day and she was fired.)


Has She Been Sniffing Paint?

, , | | Right | July 17, 2019

(As I pass by the paint desk, I see my coworker talking to a woman who doesn’t seem to be very happy. She’s giving him a hard time and making a face at him like she doesn’t believe a single word out of his mouth, but I’ve been asked to help a customer in the next aisle and I know he knows what he’s doing, so I leave. Several minutes later, I’m headed back to the paint desk. As I pass, I see that there’s a can of paint sitting on the counter, and the same woman is approaching with a cart, still with a very sour look on her face. As I usually do, I greet her and ask her if everything looks right with her paint order.)

Customer: *gives a big, put-upon huff, and says* “I don’t think your guy knew what he was talking about.”

Me: “I’m sorry. Can I help you out?”

Customer: “I’m looking for [Brand #1]’s cabinet and furniture paint. I know I’ve bought it here before.”

(I’ve never heard of that specific paint before, but something clicks; several months ago I came across a mention of a [Brand #1] line that I’d never heard of before, and discovered it wasn’t sold in my country. I put this together and try to sound confident.)

Me: “They don’t sell that in Canada. I think [Brand #1] has a paint labelled for cabinets, but I’ve never seen it; most of the stuff from that line is only sold in the States. This is what we normally recommend for cabinets.”

(I brace myself for an unpleasant confrontation as I say this. Usually, when we have to tell someone that something is States-only, we get anger and disbelief, and I have actually zero knowledge of the product she’s looking for. For this customer, it’s like a switch has been flipped. The sour expression completely disappears from her face, and she actually laughs. I’m looking at her face and there’s no moment of confusion or sudden realization; one second she’s sour, the next she’s laughing and says:)

Customer: “That’s right. I bought it in the States!”

(She was then super pleasant and left with a smile on her face. Apparently, I passed a test of some sort?)

If Only They Could Hear Themselves

, , , , , , | | Healthy | July 17, 2019

I have bone conduction hearing issues that I’ve suffered my whole life. It’s hard to explain, but I hear with my bones, which, coupled with my regular ear-hole hearing, means that I am off the charts of any traditional loudness hearing tests. This means that I have a hearing specialist and I have to go every year or so to keep my earplugs current. Inner-ear shape changes with even the slightest weight change. Every time I visit her I’m seen by one of her assistants for the initial consultation and every time she — usually a woman — yells through her questions.

My chart says what I have, but they are so used to yelling to their patients as most of the people they see have the opposite problem to me.

I ask them politely to speak more quietly many, many times each visit, but the volume increases every question they ask.

A few times I try and surreptitiously slip my ever-present earplugs out of my pocket to put them in, but my specialist has asked me not wear them before the physical tests — my hearing is extremely extreme for about 15 minutes after taking them out — but I just can’t be in the room with yellers without them.

To this day, I’ve been searching for a polite way to ask people to talk quieter, but I haven’t found it yet.

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