Have A Kindness Sandwich

, , , , , | Hopeless | May 16, 2018

(Due to a long winded tale of bad luck and worse decisions, I am unemployed, pregnant at 18 out of wedlock, and woefully unprepared for my first real winter, all in a province where I don’t know anyone except my fiancé, who, to his eternal credit, dropped everything to focus on being a husband, father, and provider when I told him the test was positive. We’re still together and he is as devoted now as he was then.  Unfortunately, at the time he’s in roughly the same boat as me, right down to having to scramble to find a coat we can afford that even partially keeps out the Edmonton weather, after growing up in balmy Victoria. As for “smalls,” we wear the hats, gloves, and scarves we find in the alleys — after washing them, obviously — since the smalls we can afford are next to useless. We always have some food, but getting a nutritious, balanced diet of the recommended calorie level is a constant balancing act. Luckily, the local grocery store is very liberal with handing out free samples. All you have to do is cruise from station to station and pretend to be interested in buying extra stuff and you can scrape up half a meal for free. So now, imagine you’re the worker at one of these stations and that’s what you see approaching: a scruffily dressed and very young couple, the girl heavily pregnant, with mismatched gloves and scant groceries in their basket, who are REALLY INTERESTED in the sandwich samples you’ve got.)

Worker: *warm smile and standard spiel*

The Mister & Me: “Sure, we’ll try some.” *scarfs down a sample each*

Worker: *casually* “So, when are you due?”

Me: “May 14.”

Worker: *correctly* “Ah, so, any day except May 14.”

The Mister & Me: *laughs*

Worker: “Your first one?”

Me: “Yup.”

Worker: “I remember my first. It’ll be a major change, but you can handle it.”

The Mister & Me: “Thanks.”

Worker: *fidgets* “Tell you what… I’m about to go off-shift. The rules say I have to throw out all my samples—”

The Mister & Me: “What? That’s so wasteful!”

Worker: “It’s to avoid them going bad.”

Mister: “Fair enough, usually, but your tray is nearly full. You must have just made those.”

Worker: *shakes head* “I still have to throw them out.”

Me: “Can’t you eat them yourself? Or share them with your coworkers?”

Worker: *shakes head* “Customers only, I’m afraid… so I was wondering if you’d mind finishing these off for me, so I don’t have to waste them.”

(Well, you don’t have to tell us twice! We stop long enough for manners, then scarf down what amounts to half a meal each at that station alone. After, beaming, we chirp:)

The Mister & Me: “Thanks!”

Worker: *smiling wistfully* “Oh, thank you. Good luck with the baby. You’ll do fine.”

The Mister & Me: “Aww, thanks.”

(We went about the rest of our shopping, such as it was… and as we headed for the registers, what did we see but the same worker, still at that station, with a fresh platter of sandwich samples? It’s been fourteen years, and I’m crying as I type this. Unlike food, kindness is never wasted.)

Too Late For Your Sweets Request

, , , , | Right | March 31, 2018

(This is from when I worked at a chocolate shop. Our busiest holiday is Easter; we stay open extra hours every year to sell hundreds of chocolate eggs and bunnies. The shop is in a mall, and mall hours on Saturdays are from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. There are restaurants, bars, and a few shops that stay open later, but most shops close at 6:00 pm. On the Saturday before Easter, we are too busy to close at 6:00 pm. Finally, we serve our last customer at around 7:00 pm. We close the doors and start our massive clean-up and close-out. At 7:15 — an hour and a quarter after closing time — a woman bangs on the door. Because I’m standing right there and the doors are not sound-proof, I turn to talk to her.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but we’re closed.”

Woman: “I just want to buy one of those candy apples! They’re right there behind you.”

Me: “I can’t sell you anything right now. We actually closed at 6:00 pm.”

Woman: “But they’re right there, behind you! I just want to buy one.”

Me: “I can’t ring in any purchases. We’re closed, and we’ve cashed out the registers.”

Woman: “How hard can it be to ring in ONE candy apple?”

Me: “We’d have to open the till again, then cash it out after the purchase. It would take almost 30 minutes. We closed at six, it’s been a really busy day, and we want to get home.”

Woman: “Let me give you a little advice. This is NOT how you run a business. You need to respect the customer. You are being so inconsiderate. I bet you’re out of business within the month!”

(It’s worth noting that selling one candy apple would have cost the store money, since they would have had to pay me for an extra half hour of work for a $3 purchase. Also, this happened 15 years ago. The store is still open, and it’s a very successful business!)

The Number One Anthem

, , , , , , | Related | March 14, 2018

(My mom takes my younger brothers and me to a baseball game with some friends of ours. Before the game starts, my youngest brother announces he has to use the bathroom, so off he and my mom go. I sit in our seats with our friends for a while before the national anthem is sung, and it isn’t until the game starts that my mom and brother finally return. My mom is almost crying, she is laughing so hard. Apparently, my mom waited outside the bathroom for quite a while. When my brother finally came out, she asked him:)

Mom: “What took so long? Is everything okay?”

Brother: “The anthem was being sung, and I couldn’t sit down!”

A Notable Lack Of Notation

, , , , | Working | January 24, 2018

(My mom has never had any luck with financial companies, whether they take out too much money or forget to take out any at all. On this night my mom, my two brothers, and I are cooking supper, when my work calls. We never check the home phone, and my job calling prompts my mom to check the messages. There’s been a message saying that if she doesn’t call back this financial company about her mortgage, they will take legal action. She calls them back.)

Mom: “Hi, I just got the message about my mortgage. What’s going on?”

Caller #1: “Yes, we never got your last payment.”

Mom: “It was supposed to go out on [date]. Did it not?”

Caller #1: “Oh, yes. Now I see; it’s in the notes.”

(They get it all figured out, and we are just finishing cooking when the phone rings.)

Mom: “Hello?”

Caller #2: “Hello, may I speak to [Mom]?”

Mom: “Speaking?”

Caller #2: “Yes, I’m calling because your last payment never went out.”

Mom: “I just spoke to someone not five minutes ago; we got it all figured out.”

Caller #2: “Oh, yeah. It’s right here in the notes.”

(She hangs up and we sit down for dinner. The phone rings again.)

Mom: “This is the third call in the last hour. I have spoken to someone.”

Caller #3: “Oh, yes. It’s right here, in the notes.”

(My mom hangs up.)

Me: “Next time they call, you should just say, ‘Check the notes,’ and hang up.”

This Isn’t The Source You’re Looking For

, , , , , | Right | December 21, 2017

(I work in retail auto parts supply. The following phone call is received about a week before Christmas.)

Me: “Good morning, Parts Source. How may I help you?”

Caller: “Um, hello. Do you have an inflatable cactus?”

Me: “Pardon me?”

Caller: “I’m looking for a giant inflatable cactus. Do you happen to carry them?”

Me: “Um, no, sorry.”

Caller: “OK. Thanks anyway.”

(About two months later, a friend and his wife buy a home and host an open house. I meet one of his new neighbours. The following exchange occurs after some chitchat about the Christmas holiday.)

Neighbour: “It was our turn to host the whole family this year and we decided to make it a Mexican-themed Christmas party with Mexican food, Mexican decorations … the whole nine yards.”

Me: “Great idea! I’ll bet it was fun to plan and set up.”

Neighbour: “Yup … one hilarious thing that happened was my wife decided she wanted to decorate a cactus instead of a tree. The only problem was finding a cactus big enough. I suggested she might find an artificial one … like the big inflatable palm trees we once saw…”.

Me: “Mmmmm.”

Neighbour: “…so she gets the phone book out and calls what she thinks is a store called Party Source and asks if they have an inflatable cactus…”

Me: *uncontrollable laughter*

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