It’s A Cottage Industry

, , , | Right | August 2, 2018

(I work in a coffee shop in cottage country. It’s the weekend of May 1st when this happens in the drive-thru.)

Customer: “Oh, my God! I was in the line-up for ten minutes! Why is this taking so long?”

Me: *looks at the line-up of cars backed out to the road* “Sir, it’s our busiest weekend of the year.”

Customer: “So?”

Me: “The store is packed, the drive-thru and inside.”

Customer: “Really?” *peers inside*

Me: “This is cottage country, and everyone is heading up for the weekend.”

Customer: “Is it?”

Me: *sighs* “Here’s your total. Have a nice day.”

Customer: “Yeah! You need to speed up; this store sucks!” *drives off*

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A Drink Order To Leave You Shaken

, , , | Right | August 2, 2018

(I work at a popular cafe in the mall. We were across the hall from a theatre showing a newly-released summer blockbuster, on Mother’s Day weekend, during a half-off promotion, so we’re quite busy. We’re making good time despite being understaffed. The wait for the line-up to getting drinks is easily twenty minutes, and the customer has waited the entire time. I am the only person making drinks.)

Me: *passes out her first drink* “Shaken tea lemonade for [Customer #1]!” *rinses out shaker and starts to prepare customer’s second, identical drink*

Customer #1: “That’s me.” *grabs drink*

(I begin to quickly prepare the next drink.)

Customer #2: “I really like your tattoo!”

Me: *smiling, still preparing drinks at top speed* “Thank you!”

Customer #1: “Excuse me! We have a show to get to! Please hurry up and do your job and stop wasting time!”

Me: *handing out finished drink* “Shaken tea lemonade for [Customer #1].”

Customer #1: *grabs drink, storms out*

Customer #2: “Geez, high-pressure job.”

(Here’s a thought: if you’re in such a hurry to get to your show, don’t get in the clearly very long line at the last minute and then take it out on the person busting their butt to keep up.)

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Pay It Forward Never Needs To Go On Sale

, , , , , , , | Hopeless | August 1, 2018

(This happens over 25 years ago, when I am just a little girl, probably about seven or eight. I am a big bookworm, and always get a certificate to our local bookstore for birthdays and other occasions. These are always special occasions for me, because as a single mom, my mother doesn’t have much money to spare, even working double shifts more often than not. I am at the till by myself while my mom browses, with three books I’m going to buy with my gift certificate. In line behind me is a guy probably about ten years older than me. I am leery of him for no particular reason other than that he is a “big kid” and I am shy and reserved.)

Cashier: “That will be [amount a lot more than my certificate has].”

Me: “Oh… I don’t have that much. I thought these were on sale.”

(I point to a big sign, no more than a few feet away in front of a shelf.)

Cashier: *dismissively* “It’s an old sign. I haven’t gotten around to taking it down.”

(I’m too awkward and anxious to do anything other than try to pick which books I’m putting back, feeling flustered and embarrassed.)

Cashier: *impatiently* “Just go find your mom and get her to pay the difference!”

Me: “She can’t! This is all I can have!”

(I’m feeling very embarrassed now, because how little money my mother and I have has always been a sore spot and something I feel ashamed of. Suddenly the teen leans past me, holding out some money.)

Teen: “Hey, I’ll pay for it. Don’t worry about it. Kids should be reading more, anyway. Oh, and let me get that for you.”

(He makes a show out of plucking the little plastic sale sign off the shelf and handing it to the cashier with a smile.)

Teen: “No more misunderstandings. Right?”

(Looking annoyed and embarrassed, the cashier rang me up. I thanked the teen profusely; he just waved me off with a smile and told me to pay it forward one day. Looking back, it might have been a small gesture, but it meant a lot to me to have a complete stranger have my back like that and show me a token of kindness. Ever since then, decades later, I have tried to do the same when I’m able and the opportunity arises — be it for groceries or whatever — because I remember how that felt, and I hope it makes other people feel and do the same. It may seem minor, but minor kindnesses add up, and hopefully lead to others like them.)

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Birthdays Are Not Her Calling

, , , , | Related | August 1, 2018

(Every year my mom calls long-distance to wish me a happy birthday. About six years ago, no call. No call in the evening after work. No call the next morning. So, finally, I call her the evening after my birthday. I generally call my mom every other day.)

Mom: “Oh, hi, I was wondering when you’d call. Hadn’t heard from you in days.”

Me: “Well, I thought you would have called me yesterday.”

Mom: “Why?”

Me: “Well, it was my birthday.”

Mom: “No, it wasn’t.”

Me: “Uh, yeah. Has been for 47 years.”

Mom: “Oh, well… Happy birthday.”

(Every year she now calls at seven am saying, “I don’t want you to think I forgot your birthday. Again.”)

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It’s A Whole Lot Of Charcoal Now

, , , , | Right | August 1, 2018

(I have just started my internship in a newsroom when I overhear this conversation my editor has over the phone.)

Editor: “Newsroom, editor speaking.” *pause* “Yes?” *pause* “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that; what did we get wrong?” *pause* “Really…” *pause* “Well, we apologize; mistakes do get made. We’ll fix that right away.” *hangs up*

Me: “What was that?”

Editor: “Some lady was screaming at me for a correction in an article about a house that burned down.”

Me: “What did she say we got wrong?”

Editor: “We said the house was white. It was actually white with a bit of brown.”

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