I’d Rather Be Bald

, , , | Working | May 15, 2018

(I am walking into a department store when a woman thrusts a box into my hands.)

Woman: “Here, you need this!”

(I look at the box and see it contains a bottle of shampoo, priced at £69.99.)

Me: “I’m not paying £70 for a bottle of shampoo!”

Woman: “But you need to, otherwise that lovely hair—” *trying to stroke my hair but I flinch away* “—will be ruined!”

Me: “I’m not paying £70 for a bottle of shampoo.”

Woman: “But your hair will be all nasty and greasy. This shampoo has natural oils and minerals that—”

Me: “I’m not paying £70 for a bottle of shampoo.”

(I handed it back to her and walked to another part of the store. I heard her huff and say, “Fine.” Periodically while I’m shopping I could hear other shoppers exclaim their refusal to pay such a price for shampoo.)


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The Social Justice War Is Coming

, , , , , | Working | May 15, 2018

(I’m taking my friend to see a popular superhero film with an African American lead character on opening night.)

Me: “Hi, I’ll take two adults for the next showing of [Film] please.”

Employee: “No.”

Me: “Oh… Uh, is it sold out? We can hang around and get tickets to the showing after this one.”

Employee: “No, it hasn’t sold out, but in case it does, those seats are saved for the people who this movie is actually for, to make sure they can see it tonight. This movie is for them, not us!”

(My friend and I exchange looks of complete confusion.)

Friend: “Excuse me?”

Employee: *sighs* “Of course you wouldn’t get it. This movie is very meaningful to African Americans! It’s the first time they’ve been the lead in a blockbuster superhero film! We’re white; this movie doesn’t mean anything to us, so the seats in that theater are reserved for the people who deserve it most after waiting so long to see themselves represented on screen. Pick another movie!”

(My friend and I are completely stunned and speechless. The employee then speaks to a customer that has come up behind us, who is African American.)

Employee: “Sir, are you here to see [Film]?”

Customer: “Yes, but I believe these two gentlemen were before me.”

Employee: “No, they’re still deciding what they want to see. How many tickets for you?”

Customer: “Oh, just me.”

(The employee takes the customer’s money and prints out the ticket, all while my friend and I are still rendered speechless by what we are seeing.)

Employee: “I’m so happy to hand you this ticket today. Please accept my apology that it took so long, and know that I sincerely hope it gets better for you all going forward.”

(The customer looks about as confused as my friend and I first were, but he accepts the ticket and walks off to the theater.)

Friend: “Yeah, I think you can get your manager, now.”

(The employee rolls his eyes, goes out back, and returns with a woman who identifies herself as the manager. I explain the situation to the manager, whose expression turns to one of shock and anger.)

Manager: “[Employee], please tell me that isn’t what actually happened.”

Employee: “Yes, it is what happened! This movie isn’t for us; it’s for the African Americans! They need this movie! They shouldn’t have to come in to a sold-out theater and have to wait for another showing for a movie that’s already many years overdue for them because a white person who this movie means nothing to is taking up a seat that should rightfully be theirs!”

Manager: *after a moment of taking in what she’s just heard* “Office.”

Employee: “Wait, what?”

(The manager just stares at the employee until he goes out back again. She then prints out our tickets without charging us and reaches under the desk and hands us each one free movie pass.)

Manager: “I’m so sorry that happened; treating our customers in that way is beyond unacceptable. Please accept my apologies, and my personal promise that you’ll never have any sort of issue with that particular employee in this establishment again.”

Me: “Oh, no, we didn’t get anyone in real serious trouble, did we?”

Manager: “Well, while I can’t get into specific detail, if anyone were to face consequences over this, I assure you that it would have been their own doing, not yours. Please enjoy your movie. I hope to see you again!”

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When Trying To Be Helpful Isn’t Helping

, , , | Working | May 14, 2018

(I am a US citizen on a long-term assignment in Canada. After three years, we need a new car. We have a US-based credit card, which gives us significant credit towards the purchase of a particular manufacturer’s vehicles, so we decide to see if we can get the credit transferred from the States. I call the Canadian bank and get a very helpful woman. We start the process and reach a point where I have to get more information for her. We disconnect, and I get the info from the US and call her back. Since she has a fairly unique name, I’m transferred through promptly, and we continue. We reach a last impasse, and I need to call the US again. This time, when I call the Canadian bank back, it does not go as smoothly.)

New Guy: “Hello, my name is [New Guy]. How can I help you?”

Me: “Yes, please connect me with [First Person].”

New Guy: “I can help you. What do you need?”

Me: “I need to be connected to [First Person]. Please put me through.”

New Guy: “I can help you. What do you need?”

(This continues for a few more cycles until I’m ready to tear my hair out. I decide to go ahead.)

Me: “Okay, here’s the information you need to issue my credit card with the purchase credits on it.”

New Guy: *nonplussed* “Wait. What?”

Me: “Sure, it’s in the records. I needed to get [Bank] the following information to get my card issued. This is my third call, and it’s all you need.”

New Guy: “Wait, I have to look at that. Hold on…”

Me: “I’ve already spent the better part of an hour setting this up, and I don’t want to go through it all again. Why didn’t you connect me when I asked you first?”

New Guy: “Because I could help you.”

Me: “Here’s a tip. If a customer asks for a specific person, they almost certainly have a good reason. Put me through now.”

(A couple of clicks later, I was talking to [First Person], and the card was on its way within minutes.)

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When You Upgrade To Platinum Black, It Means Truly Nothing

, , , , | Working | May 12, 2018

(I answer the phone.)

Caller: “Hello! This is [Caller] from [Travel Club]! I’m calling to tell you that you have been upgraded to a platinum level!”

Me: “Thank you. What does that mean?”

Caller: “I have no idea. Let me transfer you to my manager.”


Manager: “How can I help you?”

Me: “It wasn’t meant to be a difficult question. I just wondered what I get for being a platinum member?”

Manager: “Nothing, really. But because you asked, I’ll give you a free year’s travel insurance, too. All right?”

Me: “Um, sure. Yeah. Thanks.”

Manager: “Goodbye!”

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That DS Is BS

, , , , , | Working | May 11, 2018

(My husband and I stop by our local big box store to pick up the new Pokémon game, which is due to be released today. We head to the video game section, and the new game is nowhere to be found. This is a frequent problem at this store: the staff sometimes don’t put out games on release day and we have to ask the staff to retrieve them from the stockroom. We roll our eyes and flag down a sales associate.)

Me: “Hi. We’re looking for the new Pokémon game.”

Sales Associate: *barely glances at the shelf* “We don’t have any.” *starts to walk away*

Me: “They are supposed to be released today. Can you check in the back?”

Sales Associate: “The game isn’t coming out until April.”

Me: “No, the release date is today. That’s why we’re here. Are you going to help us or not?”

(The sales associate rolls his eyes and goes to the back. We wait for a full 15 minutes, grumbling that we could have avoided this irritation if they would just stock the shelves like they are supposed to. The sales associate comes back empty-handed.)

Sales Associate: “We don’t have any in the back, either. Sorry.”

(We start to leave the store, but I tell my husband to hang back for a sec. I walk over to the in-store inventory kiosk and look up the game. According to the kiosk, there are ten copies of each version physically in the store. I go to the front and ask for a manager. We wait for another 15 minutes.)

Manager: “How can I help you?”

Me: “Yes. Your employee said you don’t have any of the new Pokémon game in the store, but your kiosk says you have ten of each version in the store. I’m trying to figure out who’s lying to us.”

Manager: “Wait here. I’ll find out what’s going on.”

(We wait ANOTHER 15 minutes. The manager finally comes back.)

Manager: “Okay, here’s the deal: We do have the games in stock, but we can only sell them as part of a bundle with a new DS system. The games won’t be sold by themselves until April.”

Me: “Really?”

Manager: “Yes, sorry. I’ll show you the DS systems, if you’d like.”

Me: “No. You just lost a sale to [Competitor].”

(My husband and I headed across the parking lot to their competitor, where the clerk had a  mountain of the games behind her. We were in and out of the store in five minutes. When we got home, I filed a complaint with the big box store corporate. One of the execs called me to apologize for the experience and advised that there was no sale that weekend involving a Pokémon/DS bundle. He also offered to send me a $50 gift card to make up for the two employees essentially lying to me. So my husband and I got our Pokémon games for $10? Sweet, I’ll take it.)

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