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Since When Is Your Store My Responsibility?

, , , , , , | Working | September 6, 2022

I’m at my local off-licence (liquor store) buying a few bottles. I’m in shorts, a T-shirt, and flops, so I’m very obviously a customer. A rough-looking dude sidles up to me.

Dude: “Hey, you work here?”

Me: “No, mate, just shopping.”

He looks at me suspiciously and then sloooooooowly reaches out an arm, grabs a bottle of cheap spirits, and shoves it into his shirt. He squints at me for a moment, as if to check whether I am going to do anything about it, and then sloooooooooooooowly reaches out and grabs another bottle, stuffs it into his shirt, and saunters out of the door. I pass a real employee.

Me: “That guy just walked out with two bottles.”

Employee: “What? Motherf***er! Well, what were they? You’re going to have to pay for them!”

I didn’t end up paying for them, but the manager wouldn’t let me leave until the police arrived, which took a while. The manager was then shocked when I had him charged for, among other things, gripping my arm and refusing to let me leave and common assault.

Be Proud Of Your Child For Achieving The Impossible

, , , , , | Working | August 9, 2022

I’ve had to wear glasses since I was six. As any responsible child, I would break my glasses often. This story was relayed to me by my father and siblings, so I can’t vouch that it hasn’t been embellished, but this is how it was told to me.

My dad was sick of having to buy glasses every few months and was complaining to the guy at the counter about it.

Employee: *Smirking* “One moment, sir.”

He went into the back and returned with the thinnest glasses frame my dad had ever seen, thinner than pencil lead.

Dad: *Laughing* “Oh, he’ll break those in less than a day!”

Employee: “If you can break them, you can have them.”

So, cue my dad bending them 90°,180°, twisting, pulling, and stomping — these things were indestructible (I assume the lenses were empty). It turned out these things were made of titanium with memory; basically, these puppies would always return to their original shape and were near impossible to break.

My dad, thinking about the future money he’d save not ever buying me glasses again, ended up buying me a pair, bragging about it and everything. 

These things were not cheap at all; they were R2000 (about 122USD, a lot of money at the time of this story) and had to be shipped with the lenses to Europe so they could be super heated to be malleable enough to put the lenses in and then shipped back.

Less than a week later, I came home from school.

Me: “I’ve broken my glasses again.”

He laughed and I showed them to him. They were fully bent 90° at the nose bit. My dad stared and tried to bend them back. SURPRISE! IT SNAPPED BACK TO THE 90° ANGLE!

Yeah, tiny child me had somehow changed this thing’s memory enough so it returned to its unusable 90° bend. My dad took it back to the shop, and the guy was dumbfounded. It shouldn’t be possible; you can only do this by super heating it with specific machinery. It should be physically impossible for me to have done this. No one even knew how I’d done it; I just said, “They broke.”

They offered to send them back for free, but my dad took this as a challenge. If I could bend it, surely he could unbend it. Apparently, for the next three to five months, this was all he could think about because, no matter what my father did to these titanium glasses, they just snapped back.

This story has a sad ending: the glasses got lost — no one remembers how or why — and the dream was given up on, and I went back to cheap frames.

Whenever the story is brought up, my family describes how my dad was basically unraveled and raving like a mad man about how he couldn’t fix them. (For context, my dad grew up on a farm before moving to the city to become an IT guy, so this man is buff and knows how to use a lot of expensive tools. Those glasses broke.)

Grand Theft Innocence, Part 16

, , , , , | Right | February 7, 2022

This mother and a young kid come in and they purchase a copy of “Grand Theft Auto V”. I give the usual warning about beating hookers to death and stealing, but the mother brushes it off and buys the game

A week later, the kid comes in with his copy.

Kid: “Can I trade this in for something else?”

Me: “Oh, why? Didn’t you like it?”

Kid: “My friends said this was fun, but everyone’s really bad and rude, and I almost said a bad word to one of the black men, so I wanna play something else.”

Since GTA V is a really hot item in the store, and because his response made me skip a beat, he got a large amount of store credit which he used to happily buy some more age-appropriate games. I wish more people could have that level of introspective thinking.

Grand Theft Innocence, Part 15
Grand Theft Innocence, Part 14
Grand Theft Innocence, Part 13
Grand Theft Innocence, Part 12
Grand Theft Innocence, Part 11

Can’t See The Forest For The Trees… That Have Leaves Now!

, , , , , | Related | November 21, 2020

My father picks me up outside school and drives me to his optician to pick up his first ever prescription glasses. He is a consulting doctor to several hospitals and drives thousands of kilometers every week. He comes back with his new glasses, gets into the car, and puts them on, and we pull into traffic.

Dad: “Oh, wow, look at that! That’s Table Mountain.”

Me: “Yes, Dad, it’s a 1000-meter-high, flat-topped chunk of ancient granite that you’ve lived next to for nearly fifty years.”

Dad: “Hmm… I can’t remember the last time it was so… vivid. Oh, look, that’s [Local Bakery where he used to buy bread].”

Me: “Okay, now you’re starting to worry me.”

Dad: “Wow, I’ve just realized how big you’re getting. Is that stubble on your chin? I… Oh, s***!”

And that’s when he drove into the back of the car in front of us because he was too busy looking at things he hadn’t been able to see in years to look where he was going.

An Ocean Of Grievances

, , , , , , | Right | January 22, 2020

I was skippering a large charter boat off the west coast of South Africa in the 1990s. We took a group of passengers up the coast and stopped off at an island overnight, where we fed them freshly-caught crayfish, BBQ, and all sorts of rich food. The party went on well into the night and many bottles of booze were consumed against the advice of me and my crew.

In the morning, the wind had changed direction and was picking up strongly. The sailing got rougher and rougher, and as captain, I decided to ask the passengers to stay below deck.

Suddenly, one of the passengers ran on to the deck to be ill and, understandably, given how ill he was feeling, had a little breakdown and started screaming abuse and demanding to be taken to shore. I explained that, as we were more than 30 miles from the nearest harbour, nothing could be done.

That’s when he crossed over to the dark side and threatened to kill us before trying to jump overboard to swim for shore. I caught him before he was over the railings and managed to pin him to the deck while he was screaming, trying to bite and punch me, and generally behaving like a crazy person. As I was holding him down, his girlfriend leapt onto my back, also screaming like a banshee, and started hitting me in the head with a shoe.

That’s when I decided I’d had enough and released my inner Captain Bligh, muscling both of them into the aft lazarette, a small stowage area on the boat, and locking them in the tiny enclosed space for the eight hours it took me to get them to shore. Their friends tried to protest and were informed that if they didn’t like it they were welcome to join them and so we sailed in solemn, bitter silence until we hit the wharf.

I released the wayward couple there and watched as they staggered to shore, covered in vomit, and stalked down the pier without a backward glance, never to be seen again.

This story is part of the South Africa Roundup!

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