, , , , | Right | October 9, 2018

(‘m working a fairly slow shift with my manager when a young woman with her two children enters the store carrying a bag.)

Me: “Hi, welcome to [Store]. What can I help you with this evening?”

Customer: “I bought these candles a couple weeks ago for my mother, but she said she’d rather have some of the flameless ones like I have at home.”

(She sets the candles on the counter, and immediately I know something’s up: the candles are clearly melted like they’ve been sitting in her car for most of the summer and the scents she claims to have bought a few weeks ago we stopped selling a few months ago.)

Me: “All right, do you have your receipt?”

Customer: “Oh, no, my son threw it away just now.”

Me: “I can try to look it up for you, no problem.”

Customer: *uncomfortable* “Oh, sure, but can’t you just put it on a merchandise card? What if I exchanged them for candles of equal value?””

Me: “Well, I’d still need your original receipt to issue the exchange. Only managers can issue something on merchandise credit without the receipt, and she’s helping another customer at the moment.”

(Earlier I’d shown her children a cat-shaped pen that meows which we have as an impulse buy item at the register. I notice her son take it apart and put it in his mouth. This is the last cat pen we have.)

Me: “Uh, ma’am?”

(She takes the pen and hands it to me. Since it’s been in his mouth we’re going to have to damage it out if she doesn’t buy it. She then starts “looking” for her receipt while I attempt to keep her son from playing with the card reader and some expensive hand-blown glass decorations. Eventually my manager finishes with her customer and comes in to help, explaining that without a receipt, we don’t accept returns. The woman leaves with the candles and her children.)

Manager: “Looks like you’ve met [Customer].”

(Turned out, the customer had a bad habit of buying things at seasonal sales and trying to come back months later to return them. We had to damage out the pen since she didn’t want to buy it.)

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Time To Scratch Off This Relationship

, , , , , , | Related | October 5, 2018

My brother is one of the worst human beings on the face of the earth, and it is no secret to most in my family that we despise each other. When our parents separated, he went with our father — who is just as bad — much to my joy.

Still, our mother has the attitude that he can change. That unfortunately means he is invited to most holidays, including Christmas. The rest of the family aren’t exactly enthusiastic to have him around, but we are making an attempt for our mother’s sake. Eventually, I head into my room where he has his back to me and is looking into the box where I am keeping a few scratch-off cards I managed to win close to $100 on. I am understandably suspicious but I back off, and it is clear he hasn’t noticed me. A few minutes later, I go in and I see him tucking something into his pocket.

I say nothing, letting time pass until he leaves, and then checking my box to see exactly what I expected: my scratch-offs are gone. Naturally, I tell the rest of my family, and another of my brothers heads out, returning some time later with $150 — the extra $50 are an apology from another family member. The worst part is that my mother still insists on forgiving him, and tries to get us to make up, insisting he’s changed now that he’s got a job.

No one’s told her that he’s been posting pictures of his “stash” on Facebook.

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Relatively Disconnected From Reality

, , , | Related | September 26, 2018

(I am on the phone with a relative of mine who is in his late 80s. We are talking about the benefits that my retired military husband receives from the government.)

Me: “Did you hear that [Husband] just got a job with [Major Defense Contractor]? He was only looking for a job for a few weeks! They are trying to add over 3,000 jobs at that single facility within the next five years!”

Relative: “He will only have it as long as Trump is in office! Once we get a democrat in office, that job will go away!”

Me: “Um… [Relative], did you know that the spending bill that is paying for those jobs was authorized under Obama?”

Relative: “But the democrats will cut his retirement pay and his VA disability benefits!”

Me: “No, they won’t! It would take a major act of Congress to remove those benefits. I also get four years of free education from the VA because [Husband] is 100% disabled.”

Relative: “I’m surprised that the democrats allowed [Husband] to give his GI Bill to you!”

Me: “[Relative], they aren’t going to cut any benefits! Most of America, democrat, republican, etc., believe that the military and their families deserve the best that our country can give us. We get military discounts around here all the time. People always thank [Husband] for his service any time he wears his Air Force stuff.”

Relative: “If that’s what you want to believe!”

(I then spotted a deer in the pasture by my front porch — we live on a farm — and changed the subject to talking about the deer.)

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Reunion Confusion

, , , , , , , | Related | July 24, 2018

My family had a reunion back in the days before cars came with GPS and before cell phones were common. My aunt went out as far through the family tree as she could, with instructions to forward the information and invitation to anyone that she may have missed, so we had over a hundred people at the event.

Because not everyone had been to my aunt’s house before, and no one had GPS in their cars, she and her husband put massive signs reading “[Family Name] Family Reunion” with arrows throughout her town, from pretty much as soon as you get off the highway.

My great-uncle is obsessed with the family tree, and tried to sit down with everyone to get as much information as he could from each person, so he could work on completing it. He’d been sitting with one man for nearly twenty minutes, before suddenly bursting out laughing. The man and his son came to the wrong family reunion.

Apparently, they had been on their way to a family reunion for the son’s deceased mother’s side of the family. The last name was phonetically similar to our family’s — although spelled slightly differently — and the man hadn’t been close with his wife’s family, so he didn’t realize that the reason he didn’t recognize anyone was because there was no one there to recognize.

The man was very embarrassed about the mistake, but he and his son were so friendly that we invited them to stay the rest of the day, as well. They couldn’t, since they wanted to keep going to their proper reunion, but we’ve kept in touch with them to this day, and still call them honorary family members.

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In Uncharted Waters

, , , , | Related | July 5, 2018

(In the early to mid-90s, our family is on a barbecue picnic outing with several other families in a park. I’m around nine or ten, and the other families all also have kids about my age, or even younger. The adults are all busy putting together side dishes, arranging picnic supplies, and grilling meat. Meanwhile, us kids are just milling around or playing. There’s a bunch of supplies people brought just lying around on the ground and tables. After running around a bit, I happen to become thirsty, but we don’t have individual water bottles back then. So, not wanting to bother the adults, I just go over to the supplies and pick out what looks like a perfectly normal liter-sized soda bottle with clear water in it, and begin taking a drink, not touching the bottle itself with my mouth. All of a sudden:)

Adult #1: “Noooo!”

Adult #2: “Stop!”

Adult #3: “No! No! No!”

Adult #4: “Oh, my God, [My Name]! Don’t drink that!”

(Totally confused, I pull away from the bottle while several adults come running over in a panic, and take the bottle away with shocked faces.)

Me: “What? I just wanted some water!”

Adult #2: “Oh, Lord!”

Adult #4: “[My Name], that’s vodka!”

Me: “What?!”

Adult #4: “Didn’t you notice the taste?”

Me: “…”

(I somehow managed not to notice. Even as an adult, I can’t tolerate the taste of alcohol, so I can’t figure out how I wouldn’t have noticed it then. Maybe I never actually got any in my mouth. The other kids thought it was very funny and kept asking me afterwards what it tasted like. That bottle was completely unmarked regarding what it really contained, though, and during the brouhaha, no one seemed to own up to having brought it, though clearly everyone knew what was in it. Who does that on a picnic outing with young kids?)

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