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Behind Every Angry Man, Is A Long-Suffering Wife, Part 2

, , , , | Right | August 13, 2020

The charity shop where I volunteer has a strict policy that only two customers are allowed in at any given time for health reasons. While most have been understanding about this, there are always a few exceptions.

A middle-aged man walks past a queue of people waiting outside the shop and starts to enter the shop.

Me: “Sir, please could you wait outside? We’re only allowing two customers in at a time.”

Clearly seeing this as a personal slight, the man snaps.

Customer: “Where does it say that?”

His wife slapped him on the arm, pointed at the three-foot-tall sign in the window, and dragged him away. If she ever comes in without him, she’s getting my volunteer discount.

Behind Every Angry Man, Is A Long-Suffering Wife

Mismanaging Employee Mental Health

, , , , , , | Working | July 28, 2020

I used to work for a mental health charity. My first location was amazing, but after moving home, I had to move to a store closer. Unfortunately, the manager there and her way of managing the store made my life h***, along with the customers and the lack of volunteers. Here’s just a few of the choicest things said to me during my almost-year working with her. 

After telling her I needed a Wellness Action Plan with regards to how to deal with my mental health at work, she said, “What’s that?” All managers are trained to know what a WAP is. Then, every time I brought it up, she would brush it off as she was “too busy” and say that we’d do it the next time we worked together. 

I usually wear dark, comfy clothing. When I told her I wasn’t feeling mentally great, she said, “Maybe if you wore brighter colours you’d feel better?”

She also later said something similar: “If you smile, you won’t be so depressed.”

She and her favourite volunteer — who didn’t like me very much — made constant comments about my weight and appearance, and it got so bad I would actually fake being sick on days that I worked with her so I could go home early because I simply couldn’t face working with her. 

However, I mostly worked alone. I would still have panic attacks on my way to work, though. Working alone, with a skeleton crew of volunteers, some of whom couldn’t operate the till, I had to start making the choice to close the shop for lunch or not take my break at all. After a week of this, I decided for my mental and physical wellbeing I simply could not go without my break anymore and would close for exactly one hour. People made complaints about me closing the shop; one customer, referring to my short hair and rather butch attire, called me a “ladyboy”. 

Working alone also meant that I couldn’t follow health and safety procedures as much as we were supposed to. Policy clearly stated that a person must stay on the shop floor at all times. However, when donations kept coming in, I would have to make the choice between working in the back and getting them sorted — risking shoplifters and customers’ ire — or staying on the till and letting the piles of bags get to dangerous standards.

For one day only, I made the executive decision to stop donations coming through the door at around three in the afternoon, after I faced a pile of them almost as tall as myself. It got so bad that I would almost start crying with stress every time the door opened, just in case it was someone with more donations. Of course, we all know what customers are like, and several people complained about refusing donations. Of course, charity shops rely on donations, but when it came to a fire and/or trip hazard, I felt I made the right call. 

That’s when things got even worse if you can believe it.

I was summoned, very unexpectedly, to a hearing. Put against me were accusations of closing the shop and refusing donations. I was so panicked that I didn’t make a very good defense for myself, and I spent almost three months in a state of high-strung anxiety where I was afraid I would be fired. I even contemplated suicide. I would like to remind you that this was a mental health charity shop. 

My manager, who had brought this concerns against me to the regional manager, kept acting in a sickly sweet manner, and one friend who volunteered there on a day I wasn’t in told me she overheard the manager’s favourite volunteer say, “I’d run [My Name] over if I could get her job.” 


Eventually, the second hearing came around, a friend coming with me for support. This time, I had time to prepare, and I explained my side of things: that I was working in unsafe conditions and my mental and physical health suffered when I was unable to take my break. Legally, we’re allowed twenty minutes of uninterrupted break if we work for more than six hours, and by working through my break, not only was there some sort of legal problem involved, but I also wasn’t getting paid for it. I guess they realised they could get in some trouble if they fired me on such a basis? Either way, I was given a final warning. 

However, despite a Wellness Action Plan being devised for me, my manager and her favourite volunteer — who was then hired as a Sunday manager, and was incredibly incompetent, but that’s another story! — kept making remarks about my brush with being fired.

Eventually, in November, I handed in my resignation.

I still get petty glee over leaving that job just before Christmas; my manager had planned to take holiday from mid-December until mid-January. This left the incompetent manager in charge of the shop over Christmas. “You’ve really left us in a bit of trouble here; it’s not really fair,” he said. All I said was, “Yup,” and I got back to work.

The day I left, I headed straight to the pub with friends and, even with the current health crisis making it hard to find a new job, I really, really, really, don’t regret leaving. I made some great friends from my first location and a great friend with the same mental health problem that I have at the second, and it’s also taught me that, in the future, I will not take any s*** anymore!

Getting A Leg-Up On Cheating Charities

, , , | Right | June 18, 2020

I volunteer at a charity shop that acts as a discount store for the other shops the charity runs. Basically, anything that doesn’t sell eventually comes to our store where we sell them for £1. 

Per UK law, shops do not have to give money back for unwanted items. The law only insists on returns for faulty goods, but many stores have a returns policy for unwanted items. We, however, do not.

Customer: “Hi. I bought these trousers the other day, and they are the wrong size. I’d like to exchange them.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t do exchanges.”

Customer: “What? But they are the wrong size, they are not a thirty-two leg!”

I look at the trousers and check.

Me: “It does say here, and here—” *Points* “—that they are a thirty-two leg. However, they’re three-quarter-length trousers; maybe that’s why you’re having problems with them?”

Customer: “They’re not a  thirty-two leg!”

At this point, I take out a tape measure and check.

Me: “Yes, they’re a thirty-two. I’m sorry, but I can’t return these.”

He glares at me and goes to the men’s section. He returns with another pair of trousers.

Customer: “Can I exchange them for these?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but no. If you’d like those, they are £1.”

Customer: “So, you’re cheating me out of £2?!”

Me: “No, sir, but that is the price. Did you try them on before you bought them? We do have a changing room.”

Customer: “I shouldn’t need to try them on!”

He takes £1 from his pocket and slams it on the counter.

Customer: “I know you’re a charity, but I can’t believe you’re cheating me! I won’t come back here again!”

He Broke His Bed Now He Must Lie In It  

, , , | Right | February 21, 2020

(We sell second-hand furniture for charity. I sold a solid oak bed for £100 to a customer who had already kicked up a fuss in regard to the price, until I offered a price match where if he could find the same or similar cheaper I’d match the price. Not surprisingly, he didn’t, but he bought the bed anyway. This is a followup a week later.)

Customer: “I want my money back for this bed.” *shows me the paperwork*

Me: “Okay, what is the issue?”

Customer: “The bed broke when my daughter sat on it.”

(He shows me a picture of a girl around fourteen, who weighs no more than nine stone. Now, remember, it’s a solid oak bed and I, myself, sat on it and I was about sixteen stone at the time. The customer is about twenty-one stone and is obviously the one who broke the bed.) 

Me: “Okay, no problem. Did you want to exchange or get a refund?”

Customer: “I want my money back.”

Me: “Okay, no problem. I’ll send my van guys out to collect the bed and when it’s back in the store, just pop in with the receipt and I’ll give you your refund.”

Customer: “Okay, when will they get the bed?”

Me: “Let me have a look… I can do two days from now.”

Customer: “Okay.”

(It’s all booked in and he goes away. Two days later, the van guy calls me from the customer’s house.)

Van Guy: “Hey, [My Name], I’m at this guy’s house but they’ve thrown the bed away; there’s nothing here.”

Me: “Okay, just get him to sign to say you turned up and carry on with the other collections.”

(I am slightly annoyed, as it costs us £11 to send a collection out, which is completely free for the customer, so we’re essentially losing money when nothing comes back. The next day, the customer walks in.)

Customer: “I want my money.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I cannot offer a refund as there is no item.”

Customer: “I want my money.”

Me: “Sir, as I explained to you the other day, I needed the item to be able to do the refund, and you threw the bed away. Therefore, I cannot return any money.”

Customer: *starting to shout and inch closer to me* “I. Want. My. Money.”

Me: “Sir, I understand, but I cannot give you money on an item that isn’t here.”

Customer: “I want to speak to a manager.”

Me: “I am the manager; however, I’m happy to call my area manager and see what he says.”

(The customer okays this, so I call the area manager. I briefly explain the situation and he bluntly says no, and even speaks to the customer and explains again why he can’t have a refund. All goes well, and they hang up after my boss tells me not to do the refund.)

Customer: “I want my money.”

Me: “Sir, as I have told you several times, and as my boss has just told you, you can’t have any money.”

Customer: “Your boss said I could.”

Me: “Sorry, he told me that he explained you couldn’t and he told me you couldn’t.”

(Very angry and going red, the guy gets about a centimetre away from my face and pokes me in the chest, with my big-a** warehouse guy standing there ready to come over.)

Customer: “I am Czech! My Czech friends and I will come here and do bad things to you! I want my money!”

Me: *trying to keep calm before I explode and punch him* “I’ve said, ‘No.’ Now, please step back and do not touch me again or I will phone the police and have you arrested.”

Customer: *still refusing to back off* “I want my money now or you will be sorry.”

(This is where I signalled to the big-a** warehouse guy and the slightly smaller big-a** warehouse guy who had joined the party. They stepped between us and edged the customer out of the shop, telling him he was banned and if he came into the shop again we would call the police due to his behaviour.)

Cyan, Yellow, And Magenta Just Aren’t Cutting It Anymore

, , , , | Working | January 20, 2020

(I’ve always been the kid who remembers weird facts that make people wonder if I’m sane, so as an adult I’ve learned to hide a fair bit of my personality around “normal” people. I currently work in a charity shop, and as the youngest regular worker and most IT-competent person, I end up doing a lot of basic tech support. Our office printer goes belly-up, but thankfully, we have a standard home-use one on a shelf that will do just as well. I have it hooked up and am looking up ink prices on the office computer as my supervisor and a coworker sort stock nearby.)

Supervisor: “Will it be expensive, do you know?”

Me: *distracted, typing in search bar* “Could be. Printer ink is more expensive than human blood.”

(And then I realised I’d said it out loud. Pretty sure I could feel both [Coworker] and [Supervisor]’s eyes widen even though they were both behind me. Thankfully, the printer was an older, fairly common model, so the ink was reasonably cheap!)