Speaking Flatly

, , , , | Right | July 29, 2021

One evening, I’m returning items from the front to their shelves when I pass by sewing notions and am stopped by an older woman. As a note, I’ve been blessed with — or cursed with, depending on your perspective — large breasts.

Customer: “Excuse me. Can you help me with something?”

Me: “Oh, yeah, absolutely! What did you need help with?”

Customer: “I’m altering a dress for my granddaughter, but she doesn’t really have a lot going on up top.”

She places her hands over her own breasts to make it clear I know what she means.

Customer: “So, I know I have to use some kind of insert, but I’m not sure which to use. What do you recommend?”

I look down at my own chest and then look back up.

Me: “Ma’am, I’ve never had to worry about that, but—”

She looks down at my chest while I start speaking and then cuts me off before I can finish my offer to ask a coworker for her.

Customer: *Cutting me off* “Oh! I’m sorry! I’ll go ask someone flatter!”

She wandered off without giving me a chance to say anything else.

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This Is Why You Don’t Talk To Customers

, , , , , , , | Right | April 29, 2021



I’m working at the counter at a store having a pleasant conversation with a customer. We exchange pleasantries, and I admit it’s been a bit of a long month and I’m looking forward to it being over.

Customer: “Oh, no! What’s wrong?”

Me: “It’s a long story. Now, how much of this did you need?”

Customer: “What’s going on, honey?” 

After another few attempts to get her to focus on the task at hand only for her to continue digging at why it’s been a long month, I just sigh and give up in an attempt to placate her.

Me: “My mother-in-law’s been in the hospital. She had to have from just above the knee down amputated and she almost died because an infection was misdiagnosed. Her sister had a heart attack and the funeral was Saturday and there were a lot of questions as to whether my mother-in-law could attend. My nephew is finally being assessed so he can get his autism diagnosis, and someone almost started a big fire in my apartment building last night.”

Customer: “Oh, no! How’s your mother-in-law doing now?”

Me: “She’s doing better; things are rough obviously. And they’re keeping a close eye on her leg since diabetes can—”

Customer: “You know she’s going to die, right?”

Me: “Pardon?”

Customer: “She’s not taking care of herself; that’s why she has diabetes and lost her leg. This had better serve as a wake-up call!”

Me: “Ma’am, she was in an accident. There was a cut on her foot and when she went to a doctor about pain in the area, he didn’t even look at the cut and told her it was gout. The infection killed tissue in her foot and leg. The first hospital accidentally gave her an almost lethal overdose of painkillers and neglected the leg to the point where she was transferred to a second hospital and had more of her leg amputated. She’s been taking care of herself as best she can, given the circumstances.” 

Customer: “Yeah, well, just be ready when she dies.”

The rest of the conversation was short and clipped, just trying to get her order done. My mother-in-law is still going almost a year later.

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No ID, No Idea, Part 42

, , , | Right | March 3, 2021

I am working a seasonal position as a cashier at a resort town grocery store. Our store requires a valid ID on all checks and has been that way since the opening. I have finished ringing up the order and ask how the customer will pay.

Customer: “I’ll pay with a check.”

Me: “Okay, may I see an ID with the check?”

Customer: “Why? They don’t make me do that.”

Me: “Sir, it’s our store policy.”

Customer: “No, it’s not. I’ve been coming to this store since it opened, and it’s never been like that! Where is the notice of change?”

Keep in mind, I was trained to handle policy questions.

Me: “Sir, it has been that way since the store opened, and here is the notice.”

I reach around to the front of the register and point to the General Notice board where it clearly states the same thing. He tries to argue, but I keep reiterating my last statement.

Me: “Sir, if you are upset, you can speak to a manager, but it will be a wait as they are all busy.”

Customer: “Fine. But I’ll be calling corporate about this.”

Corporate gave him the same answer he gave me. I never saw the guy in the store again as long as I worked there.

No ID, No Idea, Part 41
No ID, No Idea, Part 40
No ID, No Idea, Part 39
No ID, No Idea, Part 38
No ID, No Idea, Part 37

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“Senior Center” Is Definitely Code For “Cult”

, , , , | Working | March 1, 2021

I am the author of this story about my aunt demanding that my husband’s parents join the senior center. About three months later, my aunt comes up with this little gem.

Aunt: “Did you know that the director of our senior center is trying to get a law passed in Delaware that makes all seniors in the state have to join a senior center? That way, [Husband]’s parents have to join the senior center or they have to pay a fine! Our director always prays that every senior finds a senior center just like ours before we eat lunch.”

My aunt gets a look on her face like she is remembering something very pleasant.

Aunt: “Every senior finds a senior center just like ours: yes, she prays that. If the law goes through, her prayer is going to be answered!”

I am skeptical about this at first, so I decide to call the senior center myself and speak to the director.

Me: “Hello, I am [Aunt]’s niece. She says that you want to pass a law that forces all seniors to join a senior center. Is this true?”

Director: “Yes, it is! We are having funding issues at our senior center due to a lack of new people coming to the senior center. The state pays us based on the number of members that we have. We would receive more funding if all seniors were required to join the senior center. I am also trying to get the law passed so we can help seniors. Most of them can’t care for themselves and they need help that the senior center can provide.”

Me: “Don’t you think that it is unconstitutional to force everyone over the age of sixty-five to join a senior center? [Aunt] literally demanded that my husband’s parents join your senior center at my wedding! Do you realize that some seniors don’t want to go to a senior center?”

Director: “But your husband’s parents need the senior center! Most seniors are unable to do basics for themselves such as cooking, grocery shopping, and attending religious services. We provide a nutritious hot meal every day, we take them on bus trips to [Major Retailer,] and we have a preacher who comes to the center every day for services!”

Me: “My husband’s parents are Jewish and are members of a conservative Jewish temple in Wilmington. Why would they want to attend a Christian service every day? They also exclusively eat organic food so they wouldn’t want to eat at the senior center, and they refuse to shop at [Major Retailer] because they don’t like the quality of the food there.”

Director: “But the senior center is a great way to socialize!”

Me: “My husband’s parents both have social anxiety and they don’t want to be around people that they don’t know. They have a daily routine that is set in stone and they follow that routine to the letter every day. There isn’t room to spend time sitting around a senior center!”

Director: “But our senior center is losing funding because new people don’t want to join! If people keep leaving the senior center, we might have to close it! We need a law that forces all seniors to join a senior center to keep the senior centers open!”

Me: “Don’t you think that it is unethical to force people to join a social group if they don’t want to?”

Director: “But seniors need help! They don’t realize that they can’t care for themselves! We need them to join to keep them safe and healthy and to keep our senior center open!”

I hung up after that and I called the state division on aging to complain about the loony senior center director. The guy at the division on aging had heard about the director’s antics before and he said that they had been dealing with complaints about her for years in regards to her overzealous promotion of the senior center. When I talked to my aunt a few weeks later, she was VERY upset that her beloved director had been fired!

Is “Senior Center” Code For “Cult”?

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This Is A Painful Learning Process

, , , , , | Related | December 22, 2020

I grew up on a small homestead in Delaware that consisted of a house on a two-acre lot on the outskirts of a small town. We had a HUGE organic garden, chickens, dairy goats, and a large berry patch.

This happens in the mid-1990s. When I am ten, an elderly family friend and her husband decide to move to the area to retire after living in the suburbs of Long Island for most of their entire adult lives. We all call them aunt and uncle. They really don’t understand my parents’ lifestyle; my mom homeschools my sister and me and we eat fresh and home-processed foods as much as possible. We have a pretty typical life and are allowed junk food but it is usually homemade.

My aunt thinks that scratch-made foods aren’t as healthy as foods that come from the store due to some weird thing that her mother taught her during World War Two.

This is what happens the first Christmas that they celebrate with us. My mom decides to make homemade honey wheat bread from scratch and my “aunt” doesn’t like it.

Aunt: “I brought bread for the meal!”

She holds up two bags of Wonder Bread that are WELL past their sell-by date.

Aunt: “The church was giving these out for free!”

Mom: “I made four loaves of honey wheat bread from scratch. I ground the wheat myself and the honey came from an Amish lady that [Dad] did some work for.”

Aunt: “Why are you feeding us that garbage?! My mother taught me that the best foods are highly processed because they add vitamins to the food, and processed foods are cheaper than scratch-made foods! You are harming [Sister]’s and [My Name]’s development by not feeding them Wonder Bread!”

Mom: “Don’t you realize that the junk you brought is not only full of preservatives and chemicals, but it is well past the sell-by date? I won’t feed that to my kids!”

Aunt: “I am going to throw away your bread because Wonder Bread is better for them!”

She grabs all four loaves and tries to throw them in the garbage can.

I am watching this and, for some reason, I grab a wooden spoon at this point. I slap her hand with the wooden spoon as she tries to drop the bread into the garbage can.

Me: “No, [Aunt]! You are not going to throw away bread that my mom and I worked really hard on! This is good bread! We all hate Wonder Bread!”

My aunt stops in shock and the whole room goes silent. My mom looks like she is going to either murder me or hug me. I’m not sure if I am going to get punished or if my mom is going to thank me for intervening. 

Aunt: “I’m just trying to protect you kids from bad food! Your mother keeps feeding you foods that don’t have any vitamins in them because the food is too fresh! My mother always taught me that you should only use processed foods because they add vitamins to them. You can’t get vitamins in fresh food!”

I’m shocked that a ten-year-old knows more than a sixty-year-old. 

Me: “[Aunt], do you realize that food loses nutrients when it is processed and that fresh foods are almost always better than processed due to the high nutrient levels that naturally occur in most foods? They have to add vitamins because the manufacturing process depletes the natural nutrients in the raw ingredients! I learned that in science this year!”

I grab my science textbook from the living room and open it to the section on food science.

Me: “See, [Aunt]? Fresh food is better than processed!”

She starts to stammer.

Aunt: “Well, I never learned that! They didn’t teach that in the 1940s when I was in school! I left school when I was fourteen, so how was I supposed to know that science changed?”

She ended up dropping the subject. She actually ate several slices of the homemade bread and it looked like she liked it. She never repeated that stunt again!

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