Why Won’t You Observe What I’m Saying?

, , , , , | Learning | April 8, 2020

We’re having a parent observation for the last half-hour of class — 12:30-1:00. It’s 12:25 and a mom walks in.

Mom: “Oh, is it time for the observation?”

Teacher: “Sure! It’s a little early, but come on in.”

Mom: “Isn’t the observation at 12:15?”

Teacher: “It’s at 12:30, but because it’s an observation, you can come on in now. No problem.”

Mom: “Were you the one who sent the email?’

Teacher: “Yes.”

Mom: “And didn’t it say 12:15?”

Teacher: “I believe it said 12:30, but either way, you’re welcome to come in now!”

Mom: “No! It said 12:15!”

Teacher: “I can check the email, but it doesn’t matter; you can just come in now.”

Mom: “I’ll just sit in the lobby.”

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A Towering Sense Of Entitlement

, , , , , | Right | April 7, 2020

(When the Towers went down in New York, they took with them a television antenna that broadcast all the way into our little slice of heaven in Connecticut. As a result, if you didn’t have cable, you were only able to watch a few local channels and those not very clearly. All the channels that came in out of New York were gone or so snowy as to be useless.

This happened on September 12, 2001, when I was working in a library, to a coworker who was absolutely flummoxed by the patron’s reaction. She’s generally a very sweet person who always tries to find a good reason why a patron is cranky and so is able to continue being kind to some of the meanest patrons by assuming they are just having a bad day. This caller, however, made history by pressing a few buttons too many.

The caller is an elderly woman and my coworker is trying to maintain patience by imagining that it is very hard to be elderly, a shut-in, and not able to access your television.)

Patron: *already in a bad mood* “Why can’t I see [Program only accessed through NY antenna on the towers]? I have been trying all day and there is nothing but snow! What’s wrong? Why can’t I see my shows?”

Coworker: *ever so gently and patiently* “Ma’am, yesterday the World Trade Towers were destroyed in a terrorist attack. The television broadcasting equipment on the towers was destroyed as well. No one is able to get that channel unless they have cable.”

Patron: “Cable is too expensive! When are they going to get this fixed? I need to see my shows!”

Coworker: “Ma’am, I’m the librarian at Branch]; I have no access to decisions that will have to be made later on. Right now, all I can tell you is that the firemen and police are trying to save people and hope they can find people alive. Then, the Towers would have to be rebuilt—”

Patron: “And when will they rebuild? I need to see my shows!

Coworker: “Ma’am, I understand it is frustrating, but they cannot rebuild the Towers overnight.” *trying to paint a picture and put it in perspective* “There’s nothing there but rubble and dead bodies and—”

Patron: “Well, who can I call to complain?! This is unacceptable! I have a right to watch my shows and I want to see them now.”

Coworker: “Ma’am, do you understand that something like 3,500 people were killed yesterday, vaporized, when those planes hit the building? The buildings are gone, the people who worked in them are gone, the broadcast channels are the least of the authorities’ concerns right now, and—”

Patron: “I don’t care about piddling stuff! My television is not working and no one cares or wants to help me.”

(And that is when my sweet, gentle, and sometimes annoyingly goodhearted coworker gives up and says:)

Coworker: “Well, ma’am, I don’t know their names, but I can think of thousands of people today who would love to have the great big problem you think you have and would gladly trade places with you.”

(And then she hung up.)

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Unfiltered Story #191491

, , | Unfiltered | April 5, 2020

(An organization outsources their IT to my company. The users tend not to be terribly technologically savvy. I have so many stories; here’s one.)
Customer: “I’m trying to change my voicemail passcode but it won’t let me!”
Me: “What happens when you try to change it?”
Customer: “I follow the instructions, then I enter 4-2-8 but it won’t accept the code!”
Me: “When do you enter 4-2-8?”
Customer: “When it tells me to! It says ‘Enter 4-2-8 numbers for your new passcode.'”
Me: *trying not to crack up* “…That means the code has to be between four and eight digits long.”
Customer: *mouth drops as it slowly dawns on him* “Oh my god…”

Complaints For Pages And Pages

, , , | Right | March 25, 2020

(This happens only a month or two after I started working in the copy center of a well-known retail chain. The copy center is a little complicated to learn, so while I know a lot of the basics, there are a few nuances I haven’t quite mastered yet.)

Customer: “I need a copy of each of these papers.” *hands me a sheaf of legal documents*

Me: “Certainly, ma’am.”

(I go to make the copies and return with them, and she goes to the self-serve area to check them over before paying.)

Customer: “Excuse me, miss! I’m missing some of my copies!”

Me: “Oh! I’m sorry, let me see…”

(At the time, I don’t know that the copy feeder is notorious for pulling through more than one sheet at once, and it’s best to count the original pages by hand and compare them to the total the copier prints. Sure enough, there is a page or two missing.)

Me: “I’m very sorry about that, ma’am. I’ll run those off for you right away.”

(I do this, and again she goes to check my work. She comes back again, this time livid.)

Customer: “I’m missing some of my originals!”

Me: “W-what?”

Customer: “I just went through my originals and some are missing!”

(She makes me count through her originals. There are several packets of paper, all numbered with 1 of x, 2 of x, and so on. I notice that all of the missing pages are the last page in a packet)

Me: “Ma’am, are you sure that you had these…”

Customer: “Of course I did! I can’t believe you lost my originals! I do so much business here and you’ve lost important legal papers of mine! Call your manager this instant!”

Me: *about to cry* “Yes, ma’am.”

(My manager and I practically turn over the entire copy center, even pulling out the copiers to check behind and under them, but her papers are nowhere to be found.)

Customer: “I can’t believe this! I’m going to be late for my meeting! I’m never shopping here again!”

Manager: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, we’ll continue to look for your papers but—”

Customer: “Well, you haven’t heard the last of this! If I can’t find my papers I want that girl fired!” *glares at me and storms out*

Me: *still tearing up* “Um… [Manager]?”

Manager: “Yes?”

Me: “I, uh… I couldn’t really get a word in with her but… all the missing pages were the last pages of the documents they belonged to. I think they were just the blank pages that sometimes show up when you have an extra line in a word document. I don’t think she ever had them here.”

Manager: *pause* “Just count the pages first next time.”

(We never did hear back from that customer, so she must have come to the same conclusion I did.)

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Unfiltered Story #190124

, , | Unfiltered | March 18, 2020

I was supervisor on shift, running the cash register at the time of this story.

There is a line of customers we are serving, and a woman comes into the restaurant and makes a beeline for the register, cutting in line between two customers.

Woman: “You there! I have some flyers you need to distribute, it’s very important.”
She waves a stack of flyers inches from my nose. I don’t move to take them.
Me: “Sorry, we are only allowed to display corporate approved papers in the store.”
Woman: “No, this is different.” (she waves the flyers even more aggressively, smacking my visor and setting it crooked. I take a large step back.)
Me: “I can’t accept any advertisements except for what has been approved by the store owner.”
Woman: “This isn’t an advertisement, this is the word of the Lord, see?” (she points out the religious nature of the text and begins to read the front page to me, which contained mostly text soliciting donations to the congregation. Meanwhile the customers in line have finished their orders and are waiting to pay at this point and she is holding up the line.)
Me: “Ma’am, my boss will not make any exceptions. If you are not buying anything I need to take the next customer.”
Woman: “Uh, yes he did, I spoke to him already.”
Me: “Oh! You spoke to Dave?”
Woman: “Yes, yesterday on the phone.”
Me: “No you didn’t, my boss isn’t named Dave. Have a nice day. Sir, what sandwich am I ringing you up for today?”
Woman: (getting angry that I brushed her aside) “It’s very obvious that you haven’t been touched by the Holy Ghost!” (she aggressively shoves the papers at me across the counter, half of which fly onto the floor, and she nearly topples over my register keyboard.)
Me: “Ma’am, I cannot and will not display unapproved paperwork in this restaurant. I can guarantee that if you leave this here my boss will just laugh at it and throw it out. Save yourself the printing money and just take them with you. If you aren’t a paying customer you need to leave.”
Woman: “I think I should be speaking to someone IN CHARGE here.”
Me: “That’s me.”
Woman: “No you’re not, I don’t believe you, you already lied to me. You lied about your boss being Dave!”
Me: “You lied about talking to “Dave”. Thou shalt not bear false witness.”
At this point the woman is bright red and seriously pissed off.
Woman: “Clearly you’ve never heard of our Lord Jesus Christ, and your soul won’t be saved. Take this, come to my church, and be saved.”
Me: “I’m a confirmed and baptized Catholic, and that’s good enough for me. That doesn’t change the fact that you need to get out of my line.”
Woman: “You need to hear the word of the Lord! Take these, it’s clear you need it.” (She slams a pile of the flyers on my counter and starts shoving flyers in the hands of customers in line, most of which immediately drop the crumpled flyer to the floor or walk up to the counter to restack it on the original pile.)
Customer: “Jesus Christ just go away already. Can I get a combo meal?”
Me: “Large, Medium or small?”
Woman: “ARE YOU TAKING THESE OR NOT??”
Me: “Ma’am, the only place those flyers are going is in the trash unless you take them with you out of this building.”
Woman: “THE WORD OF THE LORD DOES NOT BELONG IN THE TRASH.”
Me: “My mistake then. The toilets are down the hall that way. Sir, what kind of soda would you like?”
Woman: “I demand to know the name of the Church you go to! I will be speaking with your pastor about your godless attitude. You are disrespectful. The word of the Lord does not belong in the trash!”
Me: “That’s not even ‘the word of the Lord’ that’s an advertisement for fundraising.”
Woman: “I will be speaking to your pastor!!”
Me: “Father could use a good laugh.”
Woman: “What church is it? What kind of hill billy pastor thinks its acceptable for the name of Jesus to be tossed away like garbage?”
Me: “Then you should make sure it stays out of the trash. Take your flyers with you and please leave so I can do my job!”
Eventually she huffed out of the restaurant and I could finish my shift in peace– but customers later told me the flyers were crammed by the handful under their windshield wipers in the parking lot.