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A Whole Plant Full Of Upstanding Citizens

, , , , , | Working | December 23, 2021

Back in the 1970s, I worked in a plywood plant with a crew of 300 men and women. The lunchroom had a few vending machines for soda pop. One day, the vending machine guy didn’t lock the machine properly and so people could get into it. Sometimes people didn’t have change, so we would see someone throw a $5 bill in and take change and their drink.

This went on for a while until all the drinks were gone.

A little while later, the vending machine guy came in. I happened to be in the lunchroom at the time. He realized the machine was not locked and went pale. He opened the machine and discovered that the coin box was full of money, tens and twenties even. He counted the money that was there. Everything was fully paid for and no money missing.

He looked at me, dumbfounded.

Me: “It made it easier to make change with the machine unlocked.”

He never failed to lock it properly after that.

If You’re Going To Use Your Heart, You Also Have To Use Your Head

, , , , , | Romantic | December 23, 2021

My ex-boyfriend lived in Vancouver, Canada, and I had a long-distance relationship with him. On my first visit, my ex decided that we would go from the suburbs where he lived into the main city to spend the day.

We planned well in advance, we brought cash for spending money, we and took public transport. I did enjoy seeing the sights, visiting the CF Pacific Centre (the largest mall), and wandering. But I kept a sharp eye on my money, tucking away the change so that it could be put toward train tickets back to his house. Since the ticket systems didn’t give change, it was wisest to save all the coins to try to get exact change for a ticket, or else we’d lose out on whatever wasn’t perfect.

At the end of the day, we were done and headed back toward the train station. It was at this point that a man approached to beg for change. 

My ex, in a stroke of too much generosity, delved into his pockets and gave the beggar all of his change. After we moved on:

Me: “What were you thinking?!”

He went on a monologue about needing to be generous and to help those in need.

Me: “I don’t mind helping those in need, but we were supposed to be using that change to get home. The change I have is perfect for a single ticket. The rest of what I have is in tens and twenties; we’ll lose money if we use them.”

My ex blew it off with a lot of dismissive hand-waving, shoved his hand into his pockets, and realized how badly he had just messed up. Muttering a lot of uh-ohs and oopses, he proceeded to delve into each and every one of his pockets, until he realized that he had no money left at all! He had spent the last of his cash on dinner, and he had just given away all of his Toonies ($2 coin), Loonies ($1 coin), and change to the beggar.

Now we were stuck in a big city, tired, and all the banks were closed for the day.

In the end, we had to go to a fast food chain and ask if they were willing to break one of my bigger bills. Thankfully, they were willing, so I bought something small so the register would open and got us the change we needed.

My ex was very subdued on the trip home.

Is Your Brain Mid-Sized?

, , , , , , | Working | December 22, 2021

Our daughters moved out in 2017 to share an apartment together. My husband and I helped as much as we could, including renting a truck for all their stuff. Because they had several large pieces of furniture, we selected a mid-size truck.

On moving day, we headed over to the place from which we’d rented the truck. It turned out to be a tiny convenience store, which seemed a bit odd, but whatever. I found my confirmation email and gave the clerk all of my information. He looked a bit confused and then he led us outside and pointed to a very small truck.

Clerk: “You can have that one.”

Husband: “Um, no, we rented a mid-size.”

Clerk: “We don’t have any mid-sizes left. We only have that small one.”

Me: “What about that mid-size over there?”

The clerk spoke slowly, as if to a not-bright person.

Clerk: “You can’t have that one. It’s already been rented to someone else.”

At that point, I was starting to get very upset. There was no way we’d be able to fit some of the larger pieces of furniture into the small truck.

Husband: “This isn’t right. We rented a mid-size. We’re at the right place on the right date; I checked. Why don’t you have one?”

Clerk: “We only have one mid-size, and it’s already rented to—” *checks his system* “—[Badly Mispronounced Version Of My Name].”

Me: “That’s me!

Clerk: “No, you said your name was— Oh.”

We finally got the truck we’d rented. The rest of the day was extremely stressful, and we were so glad when it was over!

This Christmas Will Bomb But In A Good Way

, , , , , , | Right | December 22, 2021

I work at a store whose employees are known for being very social — often probably too much! — and making connections with customers.

It is less than a week until Christmas and our area is in lockdown, so this means we can only do curbside pickup. My coworkers and I are tired, stressed, and dealing with a lot of angry phone calls from people who are upset they can’t come into the store to shop or are having trouble with the online ordering process. Our store phone is dying, making everything difficult, we’re surviving on coffee, and we’re definitely not feeling any kind of holiday spirit.

Near the end of the day, we get another phone call. We worry it will be someone else upset with us.

Customer: “Hi! I know you’re only open for curbside but it won’t let me order online because I don’t have a credit card. Could I come by the store and purchase a few things at the door? I know I can’t come inside and that’s fine!”

Since we have a card reader we can bring to the door and still social-distance, we are able to do this in scenarios where it’s needed, so we tell her yes. A while later she comes by and immediately makes all our days by being the sweetest.

Customer: “I just wanted to say thank you for working during this time! I know it’s really hard on your mental health and I really appreciate you being here.”

Coworker #1: “Oh, my gosh, thank you so much! You have no idea how happy that makes us.”

Coworker #2: “You know, you’re the first person I’ve heard that from.”

Me: “Yeah, we really don’t hear that kind of thing very often; it really means a lot!”

Customer: “I just wanted to pick up a few things for me or some friends, and I was wondering if you could give me some suggestions? I’m really not sure what to get. What are each of your favourite products so I know some things that are good?”

I am starting to suspect what might be going to happen, so to hedge my bets, I recommend a bath bomb that I DO love but also isn’t too much. My coworkers recommend a body scrub and some soap that they use and like.

The customer happily takes our suggestions and buys those as well as a few other items. My coworker goes to put our suggested products in a bag for her but she stops him.

Customer: “I wanted to know something that each of you likes so I could give it to you! I know things are tough right now. You’re doing great. Happy holidays!”

She wouldn’t take no for an answer and left us literally hugging the products she had gifted us in some kind of shocked joy.

We spent the rest of the shift just happily talking about that encounter over and over. My coworkers had had no idea what was coming and I was surprised that it had actually turned out how I suspected because customers that nice are rare. She had already made our days just by being kind and then did something so amazing on top of that! I still haven’t used the bath bomb I got from the girl we have dubbed “an actual angel” because I kind of want to keep it forever, but even more so, I want her to somehow see this or otherwise know how much joy she brought us!

Very Testing Waters

, , , | Right | December 14, 2021

I’m an aquatics team lead at a fitness facility. I’m working in the office upstairs when I get radioed by one of the lifeguards to come down to the pool deck. The lifeguards tell me a man won’t get out of the pool, so I head over to speak to him.

Me: “Hello, sir! I’m sorry, but lane swimming doesn’t start until 7:30. Right now all the lanes are being used for swimming lessons.”

He is unusually nice; he introduces himself and asks my name.

Swimmer: “My daughter is in a swimming lesson right now. I just don’t understand why I can’t swim.”

There are a lot of reasons I could give him: because he has to obey the schedule, because there’s not enough space, because if there are two different programs in the pool we would need a second lifeguard, etc. As a lifeguard, you get used to people questioning the rules. If you give them a reason they disagree with, they kick up a fuss, but usually, when you bring children’s safety into it, it’s harder for them to argue.

Me: “It’s part of our child protection policy. We can’t have other members of the public swimming in the pool while swim lessons are going on.”

Swimmer: “That was exactly the right answer! Thank you! You see, I do this stuff all the time: I go where they tell me not to go, and most of the time they can’t tell me why. That lifeguard couldn’t tell me why, but when you said, ‘child protection,’ I immediately agree because my daughter is in swimming lessons. Just make sure your lifeguards also know that.”

Me: *Pauses* “Yes, sir, I’ll make sure they know the reasoning for the rules.”

He got out of the water, and I made eye contact with the guard who called me down. We were both baffled by this exchange.

Later, I got a call from the front desk that someone wanted to speak to a manager. I was the building supervisor for the evening, so I headed to the membership desk and the same guy was there. He just wanted to let the manager know what a good job I had done. He explained the whole thing to the other person at the front desk and I gave him a customer service smile. His wife apologized for her husband and they laughed about it. They left with their daughter after a few minutes.

While I was relieved that the situation resolved easily, I was pretty ticked off. This man had wasted both my and my lifeguard’s time to “test us”? You couldn’t have just asked? You had to jump in the pool and refuse to leave? Not to mention that all the complimenting after just came across as patronizing. I think he was trying to teach us a lesson, but dude, that isn’t your job!