Sadly She’s Not As Bright As The Puke

| Victoria, BC, Canada | Family & Kids, Health & Body, Non-Dialogue

I’m pushing my broom around and find a giant splat of brilliant orange vomit in children’s apparel. I don’t begrudge the customer for leaving without asking for a clean-up. If I had a sick child, my first priority would be his or her care, too. I’m simply impressed at how bright the vomit’s orange is. Picture a diet of nothing but cheesy-poofs and orange pop spilled onto a floor as white as a blank webpage.

Well, admiration never fixed anything. I stick a ‘wet floor’ sign on either side on the cosmic impact, blocking as short a section of aisle as I can, and off I go to get the mop.

It turns out it’s way over in Photography. (This is in the dark ages before everyone had a digital camera or camera-phone. Yes, even before fail compilations, back when the chief after-school amusement was throwing rocks at sabretooth cats. We lost a lot of good friends that way… turns out the cats don’t like having rocks thrown at them.) So, a bit delayed, I hurry back with a mop and bucket.

A woman has moved my wet floor signs and pushed her cart straight through the large splatter of cartoonishly bright vomit.

She’s moseyed right through the lumpy middle of it, taking little slow steps to maximize the number of disgusting footprints she is now leaving behind. All four of her cart’s wheels are leaving matching snail trails, too.

Big problems first: I tackle the chief splatter, with step one being to put the ‘wet floor’ signs back where I left them. Barf Lady gives me a stink-eye every now and again while I work. (Perhaps I’m supposed to apologize for failing to nail the signs in place?)

Eventually, I reach the last step: mopping up Barf Lady’s trail. She’s moving slowly enough that I catch up and start swiping up the prints as soon as she and her shopping cart wheels leave them. We make eye contact once, so I smile sheepishly and apologize, as if her inability to avoid tracking puke around is somehow my fault.

She says nothing, does nothing, except to sneer a little harder and turn wordlessly back to the tiny, adorable outfits hanging up — none of which she takes and most of which were still accessible before she moved the signs. Indeed, I plunk the signs as close to the vomit as I can precisely to avoid tempting customers into the splash zone.

Things are pretty awkward, but if I go do the stuff I’m supposed to be doing, Barf Lady’s pumpkin-coloured tracks will get stepped in and tracked all over. Instead, I keep mopping up her mess as she makes it, getting stink-eyes until her shoes and cart wheels mercifully run out. Then I rush off to resume the set list.

Boss was not pleased that I dropped my list to clean up the nuclear mess, but at least she didn’t mention a complaint from a customer. Perhaps Barf Lady was too stupid to lodge one, as well as too stupid to avoid stepping in a giant blast of technicolour puke?

Unable To Face His Small Reality

| MI, USA | Bizarre, Crazy Requests

(I work in the smallest size category location of a national chain. I hear Customer #1 and Customer #2 talking to each other across the aisle from me.)

Customer #1: “…don’t even have an upstairs or nothing?”

Customer #2: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Hello! Is there anything I can help you find?”

Customer #1: “Is this all there is?” *gestures vaguely at the store in general*

Me: “Yup, we’re the smallest possible size [Store].”

Customer #2: “So you don’t have like comforter sets or anything?”

Me: “Not here in the store. We can order them for you, and the bigger stores carry them, but we only have clothing, accessories, shoes, and jewelry in this location.”

Customer #1: “So where’s the nearest REAL [Store]?”

(I gave the customers the names of two towns, both an hour’s drive away, that have locations with the kind of merchandise they were looking for. But I WANTED to say, “This IS a real [Store]! I get a paycheck and everything!”)

Giving The Customer A Good Mall-ing

| Memphis, TN, USA | Bad Behavior

(A sales specialist and a new trainee are working the last hour of their shift. Their store is attached to a shopping mall, but has multiple independent entrances. The mall has been closed for ten minutes, but the department store is still open for another hour. The large, cage door at the mall entrance has been closed. Multiple announcements were made regarding the closing of the mall doors. The specialist is folding clothes while the trainee is ringing up a female customer.)

Trainee: “[Specialist], this customer has a question that I’m not sure how to answer. Can you help me?”

Specialist: “Of course!” *the specialist turns to the customer* “What is your question, ma’am?”

Customer: “Can you tell me how to get out of this store?”

Specialist: “Sure! What department did you come through when you entered?”

Customer: “The shoe department at [Store that is on the opposite side of the mall]. Can you open the door to the mall so I can leave?”

Specialist: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but we can’t open that door once it’s locked. It’s a safety issue and a loss prevention issue.”

Customer: “Then how the h*** am I supposed to get to my car? This is ridiculous!”

Specialist: “Ma’am, our managers made announcements every five minutes for the last thirty minutes announcing that the mall door would be closing promptly at nine pm. Once those doors are closed, we cannot open them until the following business day. We gave more than enough warning that the doors would be closing.”

Customer: “I DON’T F****** CARE! I WAS STILL BROWSING WHEN THEY MADE THOSE ANNOUNCEMENTS! I WANT THAT DOOR OPEN NOW! I HAVE PLACES TO BE TONIGHT!”

Specialist: “[Trainee], please call [Manager] and see if she can open the mall door.”

(As the trainee calls the manager, the specialist can hear the customer muttering to her friend, who just walked up to the conversation. The two women can be heard saying degrading things about the specialist and how the store seems to only hire idiots.)

Trainee: “[Manager] wants me to bring them up to the main office so that they may assist in the situation.” *he turns to the customers* “If you’ll follow me upstairs, please.”

Customer: *to the specialist, obviously pleased to be personally escorted to meet with the managers* “If you weren’t such a b****, you’d know that THIS is how to treat a customer.”

Trainee: “Now, ma’am, that wasn’t necessary. [Specialist] informed you of our store policy. Our manager made multiple announcements about the doors closing. The only reason she wants to speak with you is because you obviously didn’t understand when [Specialist] told you, so she thinks that our security guards may be able to explain it in a way you’ll understand. Now, those mall doors will remain closed until tomorrow morning. How you get back to your vehicle is up to you.”

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Her Brain Is Out Of Batteries

| Pittsburgh, PA, USA | Extra Stupid, Popular, Technology

(A woman approaches the jewelry counter with a watch that was a gift from her husband at Christmas.)

Customer: “Excuse me, I’d like to return this watch. It never worked and this is supposed to be a reliable brand.”

(Without a word, I remove the little tab of plastic on the watch dial that prevents the battery from running while on display.)

Customer: “Oh, my god… I drove 45 minutes to get here. I’m so stupid. If you ever see me again here with my husband, you are not to say a word.”

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I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 21

| Vidalia, GA, USA | Bad Behavior, Crazy Requests, Popular

(I work for a small department store chain as a store manager. One night after closing my store, I head out to the local [Big Chain Store] to pick up some things, and I find myself heading in the direction of the pet department. As I near, a lady comes out and grabs my arm, stopping me.)

Woman: “I need help in pets, and there’s no one here.”

Me: “Probably someone over in toys. Just go ask them.”

Woman: “I need HELP.”

Me: “Then ask someone.”

Woman: “What’s your name?”

Me: “None of your business.”

(With that I walk off, leaving the lady fuming and angry. A bit later I am talking to a manager. As I’m doing this, I see the lady come out. She spots me and her face lights up full of anger.)

Woman: “I’m going to get you fired!”

(Turning to the manager she starts ranting on how she asked me for help, and various things, adding that I was rude, and she was going to call [Big Chain Store]’s help line if the manager didn’t fire me on the spot.)

Manager: “Uh… I can’t fire him.”

Woman: “Why the f*** not?” *starts dialing*

(I reach up to my company’s badge, pull it off and extend it in front of the lady’s face.)

Me: “Because I don’t work here. I, like you, am a customer. I’m not bound to help you, and you shouldn’t just assume that everyone in a shirt and tie is a manager.”

(The woman stares at the badge, and then looks to me, before looking back at the manager.)

Woman: “I’m still going to complain.”

Manager: “Yeah, see how well that works out for you. ‘Oh, yes, I was at [Big Chain Store] and asked a customer to help me, and they told me they wouldn’t help me. So I’m complaining about rude customers like myself.’”

(She caved at that point and sulked away.)

Related:
I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 20
I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 19
I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 18

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