A Well-Rehearsed Denial

, , , , , , , | Working | November 2, 2020

I work night shift stock at a grocery store and often finish my shift at around seven or eight in the morning; it’s usually a ten-hour shift, sometimes twelve. Given the time, I’ve become a regular at a coffee place on the way home, more often than not being served by the same, rather pretty, female barista, and we sometimes have small talk on slow mornings. Obviously, I’m under no illusions that she’s nice to me for any other reason than that I buy coffee. 

One morning, I’ve just gotten off a twelve-hour shift at work and am walking across the parking towards my car. By sheer coincidence, the same barista who often serves me is walking towards the grocery store, though her eyes are on her phone and she has earbuds in, so I decide not to greet her.

However, I see out of the corner of my eye as she clips her smartphone onto the holster on her hip. She apparently missed the proper clasp and her phone falls a few feet onto the pavement. She doesn’t seem to notice, so I double back, pick up her phone, and call out to get her attention.

Me: “Hey, [Barista].”

She turns around, recognizing me.

Me: “You dropped your—”

The barista lets out a frustrated grunt, cutting me off.

Barista: “Oh, godd*** it.” 

Me: *Blinking, confused* “Huh?”

Barista: “Look, I know we talk sometimes, but you know it’s just because I’m literally paid to be nice to you, right? I’m not going to be closer than the coffee girl.”

She goes on for what feels like quite a bit of time, not quite yelling, but firmly telling me that she’s not interested. I do try to interject when she takes a breath with the same four words: “You dropped your phone.” However, she’s not paying attention. Eventually, I just stop talking and hold up her phone — which has a neon-pink case — next to my face, waiting for her to notice.

After another minute or so:

Barista: “…so you really need to not jump to conclusions. Just because someone is polite and gives you a big smile—”

She finally notices her phone in my hand and reaches down to touch her phone holster.

Barista: “Wait. How did you get that?”

Me: “You dropped it about ten feet behind you.” 

Barista: *Pause* “Oh.” 

She took her phone, looked at the screen to make sure it was still locked, and then turned around to resume her trek to the store without so much as a thanks or apology. I was still a regular at the coffee shop, up until a certain global disease made my job even more hectic. The barista still often served me, never alluding to the incident in front of the grocery store, and I never brought it up, either. I just decided it wasn’t worth it.


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Malicious Compliance, One Gram At A Time

, , , , , | Right | October 30, 2020

I’ve worked retail for a long time and thought I had seen almost everything, but every now and then, a customer will surprise me with their outlandish demands and complaints.

I am serving at a dual counter where the deli products are, as well as the tills for checkout. It isn’t a busy period of the day, which is probably why we got away with this little game. My manager for the day is a friend from high school and he is firm but fair with a wicked sense of humour.

A regular who is known for being unbearably rude and condescending approaches the deli and makes her request for approximately 300g of cheerio frankfurts. Anyone who has worked a deli knows that it can be difficult to get exact weights, and most customers are understanding of this. Not this woman. I bag up just under the specified weight and she demands I do it again. And again. And again. On the fourth attempt, she starts screaming at me: “Useless, lazy, uneducated, f*** you, f*** this, f*** that, so on and so forth…”

I am rather shocked at how quickly she went from rude to tyrant. My manager, however, has watched the entire exchange from the nearby office and now approaches.

Manager: “Hey, couldn’t help but notice… What seems to be the issue?”

Rude Regular: “This little b**** can’t bag up f****** cheerios and I want this fixed now!

Manager: “No worries. How much would you like?”

Rude Regular: *Sneering at me* “I want 300g. No more, no less. She can’t seem to understand that simple request and I want her fired!”

My manager ignores the petulant demand to fire me and proceeds to start bagging up cheerios. As soon as he gets to just below the weight, he stops.

Manager: “I think I can see the problem. You are correct in your assumption that she cannot supply you with what you’ve requested. Only management can do this next step.”

The rude customer is now looking as though Christmas has come early, until my manager pulls out a pair of deli scissors… and proceeds to cut up a final frankfurt into small chunks. He then pops it in the bag one piece at a time while dramatically checking and rechecking the scale’s display until it hits 300g.

Then, he inputs the product code, which in most deli’s will automatically drop the weight reading between two to five grams to make up for the weight of the paper or container. Most customers don’t realise this is a thing and it’s designed that way so that customers don’t get charged for the packaging.

This drops the weight back to below 300g. The woman looks ready to explode, but my manager then holds up a single finger in a “wait a second” gesture. He then dramatically picks up the final piece of this mangled frankfurt, dropping it ceremoniously into the bag.

The final readout? 300g exactly.

She was NOT impressed, but I sure was.

Only then did she realise that if she had simply let me finish the code input, she would have had exactly 300g without having the final frank chopped into itty-bitty pieces.

Maybe next time she will be a little more courteous.

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The Master Of “Work Smarter, Not Harder”

, , , , , , , | Working | October 30, 2020

I work as a concierge in a hotel. I’ve got a coworker who’s honestly what most people would consider a parasite. He works way less than everyone else and is perpetually finding ways to skive off. We call him Wizard.

Our boss absolutely loathes Wizard and is determined to find a way to fire him.

I don’t know the exact details, but she suddenly came in one day and said that the delivery company had accidentally sent our shipment of gift shop merchandise to the branch at the other end of the city and they couldn’t send it to us. Someone had to go in person to pick it up.

Wizard basically got volunteered. It was only later that we found out that he didn’t have a driver’s license, so he couldn’t take a van over there. Worse, our boss specified that we needed the merchandise by 4:00 pm. This meant that Wizard had to somehow cross the city twice in three hours, carrying with him several boxes of merchandise on the way back. It would be impossible, as we estimated the one-way journey by public transport alone would take two hours. Failure, he was told, would be punished by immediate dismissal.

Within fifteen minutes, the janitors were already planning his farewell party.

Imagine our surprise when Wizard turned up at 3:00 pm with all the merchandise, completely unaware that our boss had set him up to fail.

The boss was livid, furiously screaming at Wizard, who was honestly completely lost as to why she was pissed. He got the goods within the allotted time and without damage, so why was this lady screaming at him like he had failed?

This wasn’t the first, nor the last incident. Whenever we had a problem, we’d go up to Wizard, and he’d make them go away. Somehow. We never actually asked how he did it, but after you saw Wizard in action, you really didn’t care how he did it.

A list of his feats:

1) Salvaged a couple’s honeymoon after their original plan suffered several cancellations

2) Got rid of a waitress’ stalker for her. Twice. (Two different men.)

3) Can somehow speak no less than three Asian languages and act as translator for foreign guests from East Asia.

4) Has good enough alcohol tolerance to go drinking with a Russian guest. (Said guest half-demanded that someone take him to a cheap bar and drink with him. That was a weird request, but Wizard had fun.)

5) Knows where to find cosplay events and dress-up parties even in the most inane times of the year. (Another weird request. I immediately handed it off to Wizard.)

6) Figured out which guest was stealing stuff from another guest’s minibar.

7) Administered first aid to an old man that fainted.

8) Solved an issue where a regular kept pawing at a female janitor.

At some point, one of the janitors claimed that he was a wizard and that questioning his methods would lead to the magic being lost. Everyone decided to play along with that, leading to his nickname.

Even our regional manager was amused by Wizard, bringing up the idea of having dedicated problem-solvers in every branch. I don’t know how that panned out, but needless to say, our branch considers Wizard one of our key members… even if we basically have to do most of his paperwork for him.


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Wish They Could “Ignore” Customers Like Them

, , , , , , | Right | October 30, 2020

I work in a party supply store. I’m helping a group consisting of two women, two teenagers, and three children pick out costumes for everyone but the women. The teens are able to decide quickly but the kids, being kids, keep changing their minds.

I get the costumes for the teens, bring them back, and let the group know to get my attention whenever they’ve decided.

So I’m not hovering over them, I busy myself with straightening up the shelves a bit down the aisle. I finish one and I’m about to start on another when I hear a voice speak up.

Customer: “So they pay you to ignore people?”

I look up to see that a new lady has joined them and see the reactions of the group itself standing behind her: one teen is actually facepalming while one woman is shaking her head in what I assume to be exasperation.

I barely process her comment before she makes another one.

Customer: “You must be seasonal or somethin’; you look slow.”

The group stares at her in shock and I’m very glad my mask hides my expression. I turn to the rest of the group, remind them to let me know whenever the kids have decided, and walk further down the aisle away from them.

For the next fifteen minutes, I’m busy helping other customers, but the woman keeps spotting me in the few seconds afterward, and every time, she makes a rude comment about me doing nothing or being slow.

As the kids finally decide their costumes and I hand them off to their moms, she comments:

Customer: “Looks like you’re finally working.”

I bite my tongue and walk away. As I get to the end of the aisle, I hear one of the other ladies yell:

Customer’s Friend: “Why are you like this every time we shop?!”

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Secondhand Cold Cuts

, , , , , , | Friendly | October 30, 2020

I have some groceries delivered, and in one of the bags, there is a wrapped cold cut platter that I did not order. I immediately call the driver and the company, but they do not want to take it back, even though it is expensive, has its original sealing, and has been kept cold. I am a vegetarian, so I call around to find someone who can use a week’s supply of cold cuts.

Friend: “Do you think we are poor?!”

Me: “Of course not. I just thought you might enjoy some free food. The shelters I called all told me they could not accept food like that. As you have a husband and a young child, you were my first call.”

Friend: “Why do you always have to be so condescending? But okay, I’ll take it off your hands if you bring it over within the hour. Happy now?”

Me: “Sure, I’ll be there in forty-five minutes.”

Two and a half weeks later, I’m attending their child’s birthday party. When the topic of the relatively new online grocery shopping in my city comes up, I mention my experience to another guest, leaving out the timing and the part that I wasn’t the one to keep the platter.

Guest: *Jokingly* “Hey, [Friend], so was the super expensive cold cut platter you have for us tonight the bounty that [My Name] got? It tasted off.”

My friend directs assorted curse words at me.

Friend: “Anything that [My Name] says is a lie! We can afford the best of the best for our guests! I bought these cold cuts just for tonight, and only a week ago at most.”

Friend’s Husband: “Sorry, everyone. I begged her to let me eat the food, but she insisted it would last until tonight.”

Next time, I’m calling the animal shelters, followed by the rest of the phone book.


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