Providing A Self-Service Service

, , , , , | Right | April 16, 2015

(We have two self-service checkouts and three normal registers. Younger customers tend to be fine with the SSC but our elderly customers prefer the manned registers; however, there’s often only two staff in, so if there’s a queue then sometimes people who would normally come to a human will switch to the SSC queue. An elderly man switches out of our queue to use a SSC, and immediately starts having issues. The next SSC comes free and a mother starts teaching her daughter how to use it.)

Elderly Man: *puts his basket in the bagging area*

SSC: “Unexpected item in the bagging area. Remove item before continuing.”

Elderly Man: “THESE CHECKOUTS ARE A DISGRACE! They don’t make any sense!”

Mother: “Now, [Daughter], lots of people find these tricky, but if you remember a few things then they’re easy as pie!”

Daughter: “Okay, mummy! What do I do?”

Mother: “Well, put your basket on the left. The left side is just a shelf and the right side has scales which weigh our shopping so it knows we aren’t stealing. The middle bit is the scanner and we have to wave the barcodes at the glass panels there.”

Elderly Man: *picks up his basket and looks to the woman uncertainly*

Mother: “So, [Daughter], remember: leave ’em to the left and roll ’em to the right. You can’t go wrong!”

Daughter: *picks up a tin of beans and rolls it over the scanner glass*

Mother: “Now, hear that beep? That means it scanned it. You can look at the screen if you’re not sure.” *points to where the screen now says ‘beans’*

Elderly Man: *copies*

(It all goes well at both tills for about 30 seconds until…)

Elderly Man: “THESE PEACHES WON’T SCAN. THESE TILLS ARE A JOKE! YOUR PRODUCTS ARE ALL CRAP!”

Mother: *rips the corner off a ready meal barcode whilst her daughter is looking at the elderly man shouting* “Oh, no! Look, [Daughter], we can’t scan this one!”

Daughter: “Should I get another one, mummy?”

Mother: “No, that takes too long, but it’s okay. See that big button that says ‘Finish and Pay’?”

Daughter: “Yes, mummy.”

Mother: “Well, just above that there’s a button that says ‘Item Does Not Scan,’ so if you press that, you can put the numbers from the barcode in by yourself. If I read the numbers out, you can push the buttons.”

Daughter: *does this*

Elderly Man: *copies and then picks up a Danish pastry, and turns it over in his hand looking for a label*

Mother: *notices and picks up her own bakery items* “[Daughter], let’s do these next!”

Daughter: “But these don’t have a label on them!”

Mother: “That’s because we bagged them ourselves, silly! Now there’s two ways we can do this. If we press the ‘bakery’ button we can either select a subcategory like ‘pastries’ or ‘doughnuts,’ or we can press search if we’re not sure what category something goes into.”

Daughter: *puts all their bakery through*

Elderly Man: *copies [Daughter]*

Mother: “Now, then. We’re all done. What button should we press now?”

Daughter: “Finish and pay?”

Mother: “Exactly right. Now, before we pay, mummy needs to scan her [Loyalty Card] so we can have the points for our shopping. Can you press the button for it?”

Daughter: *presses the button*

Elderly Man: *finishes scanning items and stands there looking at the till*

Mother: “Oh, hang on, [Daughter]! I want to check if those crisps came up as ‘buy one, get one free.'”

Daughter: “How can we check?”

Mother: “Well, the tills take the offers off at the end, so if you press ‘go back’ we can look at the bottom of the screen to check the offers. If it’s all good then we can just PRESS THE BIG FINISH AND PAY BUTTON ON THE BOTTOM RIGHT CORNER OF THE SCREEN.”

Daughter: *goes back to look if the offers have come off and then presses back to the payment screen*

Elderly Man: *presses ‘Finish And Pay’*

Mother: “Good, so now we just need to put the money in. Remember to check the notes are unfolded and that the corners aren’t bent. You can drop coins in this hole.”

Daughter: *pays*

Elderly Man: *copies*

Mother: “Right, [Daughter], our receipt comes out here, next to the scanner. Once it’s printed we can leave.”

Elderly Man: *snatches receipt and stalks off*

Manager: “Excuse me, miss? You forgot to take this!” *hands her a MASSIVE box of chocolates*

Mother: “Oh, I couldn’t!”

Manager: “No, please. That was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. I wish all our customers were like you!”

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Was Bra-ced For A Different Reaction

, , , , , , | Learning | February 16, 2015

(I’m an A&E nurse. We’re not allowed our phones on us; they’re to be kept in our lockers. A call for me comes into hospital reception on a private line.)

Phone: “This is [Teacher] from [School]. There’s been an incident involving [Daughter]. We need you to come in.”

Me: “Is she ill or injured? Can it wait until my shift is over in two hours?”

Phone: “[Daughter] has struck another pupil. We’ve been trying to call you for 45 minutes. It really is very serious.”

(I go to the school and am ushered into the head’s office. I see my daughter, her head of year, a male teacher, the headmaster, a boy with blood around his nose and a red face, and his parents.)

Head: “Mrs. [My Name], how kind of you to FINALLY join us!”

Me: “Yeah, things get busy in A&E. I’ve spent the last hour administering over 40 stitches to a seven-year-old who was beaten by his mother with a metal ladle and then I had to deal with the police regarding the matter. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

(After watching him try to not act embarrassed, he tells me what has happened. The boy had twanged my daughter’s bra and she had punched him in the face twice. I got the impression they were more angry with my daughter than the boy.)

Me: “Oh. And you want to know if I’m going to press charges against him for sexually assaulting my daughter and against the school for allowing him to do it?”

(They all get jittery when I mention sexual assault and start speaking at once.)

Teacher: “I don’t think it was that serious.”

Head Of Year: “Let’s not over-react.”

Head: “I think you’re missing the point.”

(The boy’s mother then starts crying. I turn to my daughter to find out what happened.)

Daughter: “He kept pinging my bra. I asked him to stop but he didn’t, so I told Mr. [Teacher]. He told me to ‘ignore it.’ [Boy] did it again and undid my bra so I hit him. Then he stopped.”

(I turn to the teacher.)

Me: “You let him do this? Why didn’t you stop him? Come over here and let me touch the front of your trousers.”

Teacher: “What?! No!”

Me: “Does that seem inappropriate to you? Why don’t you go and pull on Mrs. [Head Of Year]’s bra right now. See how fun it is for her. Or on that boy’s mum’s bra. Or mine. You think just because they’re kids it’s fun?”

Head: “Mrs. [My Name]. With all due respect, [Daughter] still beat another child.”

Me: “No. She defended herself against a sexual attack from another pupil. Look at them; he’s nearly 6 feet and 11 or 12 stone. She’s 5 feet and 6 stone. He’s a foot taller than her and twice as heavy. How many times should she have let him touch her? If the person who was supposed to help and protect her in a classroom couldn’t be bothered what should she have done? He pulled her bra so hard it came undone.”

(The boy’s mum is still crying and his dad looks both angry and embarrassed. The teacher won’t make eye contact with me. I look at the headmaster.)

Me: “I’m taking her home. I think the boy has learnt his lesson. And I hope nothing like this ever happens again, not only to [Daughter], but to any other girl at this school. You wouldn’t let him do it to a member of staff so what makes you think he can do it to a girl of 15 is beyond me. I will be reporting this to the governors. And if you—” *turning to the boy* “—EVER touch my daughter again I WILL have you arrested for sexual assault. Do you understand me?”

(I was so angry I gathered my daughter’s things and left. I reported it to the Board of Governors, several of whom I know from Church (it’s a Catholic school), and was assured it would be strongly dealt with. I also reported it to OFSTED (Government-run school monitoring) and they were equally as horrified and assured me they would contact the school. My daughter was put into a different class for that subject, away from the teacher and the boy.)

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Thou Shalt Not Pick And Choose

, , , , , | Right | January 28, 2015

(I and my girlfriend work at the same restaurant; I’m the head chef and she’s the manager. We’re both women and although we don’t hide our relationship, we don’t flaunt it either. My girlfriend has finished for the day and the owner has come in to cover her. She comes into the kitchen to say goodbye to everyone and kisses me (a very brief kiss on the lips) then leaves. Five minutes later the owner comes in to me to say a complaint has been made by a customer regarding a ‘lesbionic’ relationship.)

Owner: “This woman’s being a right b**** about it, saying she won’t pay for her meal, it ruined her night, it’s blasphemous, and everyone’s going to Hell.”

Me: “She’s one of those. I’ll go deal with her.”

(I go to the customer and introduce myself as the head chef. She’s about 30, expensively dressed (her dress looks silk but the belt, collar, & cuffs are sequined), lots of jewellery, and a tattoo on her ankle of rosary beads. She’s with a man a little older that her, clean shaven, short back and sides hair cut.)

Customer: “The food was delicious. Are you in charge? Do you know you have lesbians in your kitchen? Maybe you should tell them not everyone wants to see that sort of thing. It’s terribly upsetting and offensive to my religious beliefs.”

(I have done my fair share of reading on the subject of homosexuality and the Bible, so I have an answer well prepared for people like her.)

Me: “Have you read the Bible? Timothy 2:9 says ‘I want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not adorning themselves with gold or pearls or expensive clothes.’ That’s some nice jewellery you’re wearing. It also says, Leviticus 19:19 ‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.’ Your silk dress is beautiful, as are the collar and cuffs. In a different material. It also says Leviticus 19:28 ‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves.’ I like your rosary tattoo. It also says Leviticus 19:27 ‘Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.’ Your husband looks very smart tonight. It also says Leviticus 11:8 ‘You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.’ And Leviticus 11:10 ‘And all that have not fins and scales in the seas and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you.” I believe they refer to pork and shellfish. How was your ‘surf & turf’? We only use the best pork sausages and finest lobster.”

(The man sits there with his head bowed but the woman stares at me with pure hatred.)

Me: “Now, I don’t know about you but it seems silly that you are willing to overlook all those sins about yourself and focus on one thing that isn’t even mentioned in the Bible. If I was as judgemental as you I would say you only kicked up a fuss to get out of paying for you meal. But that’s like stealing. I’ll send a waitress over with your bill.”

(I went back to cooking. I could hear a couple of other customers laughing at the woman. The husband paid, leaving a big tip. I could see them outside having what looked like a pretty good argument!)

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Fixing For A Fixing

, , , , , , , | Right | December 31, 2014

(In my local supermarket, there’s a very nice chap who usually works behind the tobacco counter. I have no idea what his preference is, but he’s obviously flamboyant and camp. He’s also always very friendly and helpful to everyone.)

Angry Customer: “God, that f****** [homophobic slur] is so slow!”

(Everyone else in the queue turns in astonishment, not sure that they just heard that. The angry customer continues ranting:)

Angry Customer: “Those d*** gays; they’re everywhere! I don’t know what’s wrong with—OW! OW!”

(We all look down to see a five year old standing there, kicking the ranting guy hard in the shins, repeatedly.)

Child: “You’re—” *kick* “—not—” *kick* “—a—” *kick* “—nice—” *kick* “—man—” *kick*

(The angry customer grabs the child, to the complete shock of everyone watching, at which point he is tackled by several people.)

Angry Customer: “I have my rights! I have been assaulted!”

(The police arrive very quickly, and calm the situation.)

Policeman: *to angry customer* “Well, we’ve heard from all these people that you grabbed and then tried to hit that little girl. Is that true?”

Angry Customer: “I demand you arrest her! She attacked me! She’s guilty of assault!”

Policeman: “She’s five! She can’t legally commit any crime. You, on the other hand, have assaulted a small child and are now under arrest.”

(The best bit of the entire story? Various people offered to buy the little girl some sweets.)

Little Girl: “No! I don’t want sweets. I want this!”

(She has a cheap 50-piece toolset with screwdrivers, pliers, and so-on. We confirm with her mum that it is okay to buy that for her at that age.)

Mum: “Sure, why not? You’ve already seen that she likes fixing things.”

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Driving Up Prices And Driving Down Business

, , , , , , , | Working | October 12, 2014

(I’m a native Londoner. Several years ago I had friends visiting from overseas, and took them sightseeing at the Tower of London. I went up to one of the many kiosks to get a drink. At this time, a can of soda was typically around 50p, but I was prepared to pay a bit more due to the location at a major tourist attraction.)

Vendor: “Yes?”

Me: “Coke, please.”

Vendor: “One pound fifty.”

Me: “What?!”

Vendor: *speaking loudly and slowly* “One. Pound. And. Fifty. Pence.”

Me: *with a very obvious London accent* “One fifty for a coke? You gotta be bloody joking.”

Vendor: “Oh, sorry, love. Sixty pence, please. Thought you were a tourist.”

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