There’s Madness In The Methodist

, | Durham, NC, USA | Right | November 16, 2016

(I’m working a pumpkin sale at our church. All proceeds go to “mission work,” which is hunger relief in town and in Haiti, providing poor students at local schools with needed supplies, and Habitat for Humanity. We sell about two tractor trailer loads a season at slightly higher than regular retail, and do a lot of good work with the proceeds.)

Customer: “You’ve got such great pumpkins here!”

Me: “Thank you, we’re proud of our patch. What can I help you with?”

Customer: “Well, I like to make brandy out of pumpkins, so I’d like you to give me a discount on a big batch.”

Me: “Let me get this straight: you’re at a charity pumpkin sale at a church, and you’d like a moonshiner’s discount?”

Customer: *leaves in embarrassed silence*

Leaving Only With Emotional Scar(f)s

, | UK | Right | January 28, 2016

(I am a volunteer in a charity shop. There is nowhere to store personal belongings, so I put my handbag under the counter and my coat and scarf on the back of the cashier’s chair – this is also behind the counter. I am sitting on the chair. A customer is about to pay for a book, and spots my scarf. There are several scarves for sale in the shop, including in the window display.)

Customer: “Can I see that scarf, please?”

Me: “Which one?”

Customer: “There.” *points to my scarf*

Me: “Oh, sorry, that’s mine. We have lots of others around the shop.”

Customer: “Yours? What do you mean?”

Me: “It’s mine; it belongs to me. It’s not for sale.”

Customer: “Of course it’s for sale. You can’t just keep anything you like the look of. I want to buy it. How much is it?”

Me: “No, sorry, it’s mine. It’s not from the shop. It’s really not for sale.”

Customer: “Yes, it is. How much?”

Me: “It’s MY scarf, I wore it to come to work this morning, it BELONGS to me, and it is NOT for sale. I can’t be much clearer.”

(At this point the customer glares at me and starts to walk AROUND the counter, looking at my scarf and is obviously just going to grab it. The other customers are staring at her in disbelief. I take my scarf from the chair and stuff it under the counter with my handbag, and physically stand in front of the customer so she can’t get round to the cashier’s area.)

Customer: “Hey, I want that! You can’t just hide it and keep it for yourself.”

Me: “Yes, I can, because it’s mine. You are not buying it. I am not going to sell it to you. Now, do you want the book?”

(She stands and glares at me, then throws the book onto the counter and stomps out of the shop, shaking her head and making comments about how rude I am and how she can’t believe how I treated her.)

Next Customer: *after a few moments of stunned silence* “So… how much for your coat, then?”

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Adding Insulin To Injury, Part 2

| Bethlehem, PA, USA | Working | December 25, 2015

(I have co-authored a children’s Christmas book. My co-author, our illustrator, and I have a donation/signing at a local literacy program, in which we do a reading of the story and give away free autographed copies to underprivileged kids. Two of my friends come along with me. Throughout the event, the director acts more and more bizarre, trying to strong-arm first my friends and then me into doing the face-painting activity even though we are not there as volunteers for her program.)

Director: “This has just been wonderful! Thank you!” *hugs me awkwardly before flitting away*

(The kids are treated to an ice cream social after the reading, despite it being only 10:00 in the morning. One of my friends has to go to work, and our part in the event is over so we decide to head out. I say goodbye to my colleagues and then force myself to say goodbye to the wacky director.)

Me: “We have to get going, but thank you again for having us here.”

Director: “Oh! You can’t leave until you’ve had some ice cream!”

Me: “Thank you, but I have diabetes.”

Director: “Really? I wish I could get that! Then maybe I wouldn’t eat so many sweets! Haha!”

Me: “…Right.”

Related:

Adding Insulin To Injury

You Kanji Be Serious

, | UK | Working | November 10, 2015

(I’m chatting to a coworker before we swap over.)

Coworker: “Are you still at college? I heard you were studying Japanese.”

Me: “Yes. I’m really enjoying it.”

Coworker: “Don’t they have like 12 alphabets?”

Me: “Three.”

Coworker: “Oh… so, have they got more words than us?”

Me: “…”

The Salon Doesn’t Make The Cut

, | Seattle, WA, USA | Working | July 18, 2015

(I’m helping with a fundraiser at the local mall. We have various stalls set up selling special items or offering special services, with all the profits going to charity. A woman that recently opened a hair salon arrives and asks to speak to one of the staff as she sets up.)

Woman: “You know, I was thinking on the way over here. This is usually a day off for me, yet I’ve agreed to come in and work for you.”

Me: “Yes, well, it’s for a good cause.”

Woman: “Yeah, but I’m not going to see a single penny for today.”

Me: “Again, that’s because it’s going to charity.”

Woman: “I know but… well, I’m just going to come out and say it: I don’t think this is at all fair for me, so I want to ask for an amendment to be made.”

Me: “And that is?”

Woman: “Either I get 50% of the profits from today, or I walk.”

(There is a moment of stunned silence. Slowly I look around at the other people, many of whom have likewise agreed to come and work on their days off without protest.)

Me: “Well, I guess you walk, then.”

Woman: “…What?!”

Me: “If you don’t want to work for free, then you’re free to leave.”

Woman: “Wha… but… I’ve got folks coming for me to do their hair today! They’ll be wondering where I am!”

Me: “Then I’ll tell them what you said about demanding the right to take money from charity.”

Woman: “WHAT?! But that’ll kill business for me!”

Me: “Well, that’s on you. Everyone here agreed to the hours and the terms of this fundraiser, and none of them have expressed the selfish attitude I’m hearing from you.”

Woman: “Okay, I’ll stay! I’ll stay!”

(She frantically begins setting up, then goes to work without a peep. Thinking that’s that, I go back to helping with the other businesses who’re participating. A few hours later I’m approached by another lady.)

Lady: “Hey, I don’t want to complain, but the woman from the hair salon over there? She’s been telling every customer she’s worked with how unfair it is that you’re not paying her for this charity event. It’s making several people rather uneasy.”

Me: *sigh* “Hold on. I’ll get my manager.”

(We contacted security and promptly have her removed from the mall. Surprisingly, she still managed to stay in business afterwards.)

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