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The Domino Of Nice

, , , , | Right | October 15, 2021

I work the morning shift in a small restaurant. Two of the wait staff call in sick and, of course, we have an unusually large breakfast rush.

The manager steps forward to help serve tables, but we are still slow at getting to everyone. One particular family — a husband, wife, and two teenage children — is very understanding. When I apologize for the delay in simply bringing them the orange juices and coffees and taking their orders, they wave this off.

Customer: “You are obviously busy today. You’re doing great.”

This started a domino effect. The people at the table next to them heard and, when I brought out their order a few minutes later, they made a point of thanking me and sympathizing over how busy we were.

The table next to THEM also spoke up in my support and in support of my manager, who was working just as hard. It literally went like this in a near-perfect circle around the room, with everyone chiming in.

I don’t know if we were blessed with an unusually kind group of people or if it was some sort of bizarre example of peer pressure, but it was wonderful. Everyone left a good tip. That family that started the Dominoes of Niceness falling? They left nearly a 50% tip.

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Oh, Yay, They’ve Purchased A Year Of Entitlement

, , , , , | Right | October 12, 2021

I work in a theme park. Weekends get very busy. It isn’t unusual for the line to enter the parks to stretch all the way back into the shopping/entertainment complex, or even all the way back to security. It’s just how it is these days, and most people just roll with it. Most of them.

I’m positioned at the end of the line for purchasing tickets, wiping each counter and credit card machine down with disinfectant after each group, making sure people keep their masks up, etc. It’s about 1:30 in the afternoon, and we’re finally starting to get caught up after our morning rush. The line is only ten to fifteen minutes long. A couple gets in line and the man waves me over.

Entitled Dude: *Incredulously* “Excuse me, but we purchased annual passes online yesterday. Do we really have to wait in this line?”

Me: “Yes, sir, you’re in the right place. No need to worry.”

Entitled Dude: “No, I don’t think you understand. We purchased annual passes.”

Me: *Confused* “…and this is where you pick them up, sir.”

Entitled Dude: “I really don’t think we should be made to wait in a line with these people when we’re annual pass holders. We spent a lot more money than they did to be here.”

Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way, sir, but this is the only place to pick up those annual passes.”

Entitled Dude: “So, you’re telling me that I paid [price of the most expensive annual pass] for these passes and you’re going to make me wait in line behind them? This is unacceptable.”

The end of the line has moved at least ten feet so far during this conversation.

Me: “Again, I’m sorry you feel that way, sir, but to be completely frank with you, an hour ago this line went all the way to the other side of those arches. You are not going to be waiting long at all by comparison.”

Entitled Dude: *Getting huffier and huffier* “If this line had been that long when we arrived, I would have just gotten the passes refunded and left. This is not how you treat people after they spend [price of the most expensive passes].”

Me: “You certainly don’t have to stay in this line if you don’t want to, sir. If cancelling the passes is what you’d prefer to do, you’re more than welcome to do so.”

Entitled Dude: “Is there someone I could speak to about this? I am not feeling very welcomed here at all.”

Me: “Guest Services would be the only people who could assist you in this situation, sir. You’re welcome to visit them at your convenience, right over there.”

I pointed out another line and returned to my other responsibilities. When they got to the front of the line, I hurried to wipe down the counter of the unlucky coworker who was about to end up with them, apologized profusely for what she was about to deal with, and promised to fill her in when I could. I watched the transaction from a distance, and it took longer than it should have, seeing as it was a simple order pickup. Ultimately, one of our leads came up to them, spoke to them briefly, and walked away with them toward the entrance gates.

Long story short, they threw another fit with my coworker about having to wait. They had purchased our cheapest two-park pass as opposed to our most expensive three-park pass, and they refused to leave the window until they saw a manager. That’s when the lead showed up, gave them a completely insincere but convincing apology, and offered to escort them directly to the entrance to make sure they didn’t have to wait in another line, which placated them enough that no complaint about my coworker or me came in.

Joke’s on the jerk, though; by that time, there was no line at all at the front gate, so he didn’t actually get anything in the end… unless you count getting laughed at in the break room later!

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This Godmother’s On A Roll!

, , , | Related | October 2, 2021

I was in Florida visiting with my goddaughters and their mother for a sort of early Christmas vacation. The girls’ mother had gotten back from a work appointment very late and so brought home some Chinese food for all of us.  

I’d told her I didn’t think I liked egg rolls, but I also confessed I hadn’t had one since I was a little kid and so didn’t remember what they tasted like. She insisted I try one and eventually I gave in after she egged me on. Just then, my goddaughter showed up at my elbow.

Goddaughter: “I want one, too!”

Me: “Do you mean you want an egg roll?”

Goddaughter: “Uh-huh.”

Mother: “Oh, I’m sorry, dear. [My Name] just got the last one.”

Goddaughter: “But I want one.”

Me: “It’s okay, [Goddaughter]. I just wanted a bite to taste; I’d be happy to share this one with you.”

Goddaughter: “No, I want my own!”

I don’t usually like letting a kid get away with making demands for things like that. However, it was very late and I knew my goddaughter was exhausted. I figured any attempt to teach her about not being demanded would be lost on her exhausted mind, and despite her being in a good mood, I didn’t want to risk antagonizing her right before I tried to get her to go to sleep. Thus, in this one case, I deemed (partial) appeasement to be the better part of valor.

Me: “How do you ask for something?”

Goddaughter: “Please and thank you.”

Me: “Okay, you may have my egg roll since you asked nicely. But I promised your mommy I’d taste one, so may I please have a bite of your egg roll?”

Goddaughter: “Okay!”

I got my bite, which, given how tiny the egg rolls were, consisted of almost half of the egg roll. My goddaughter then happily wandered off with the remainder of “her” egg roll to eat.

Mother: *Laughing* “Oh, I see what you did there! I need to remember that one.”

In case you’re wondering, the egg rolls weren’t as bad as I remembered but still nothing I’d go out of my way to eat. And my poor goddaughter was so tired that, by the time I managed to finish my dinner and clean up, I found that she had already crawled into bed and put herself to sleep — but only after finishing “her” eggroll.

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You Shall Not Boarding Pass!

, , , , , | Right | September 29, 2021

I board a plane and take my seat by the window. There are two empty seats beside me and two more across the aisle. The seats are labeled by row number and then by letter, so each row has ABC on one side and DE on the other. A woman with three girls boards. The mother looks at my row, her ticket, and the girls, and sighs heavily.

Mother: “That’s my seat.”

Me: *Standing* “Oh, I’m sorry, I—”

I look at the seat assignment and see that I am, in fact, in my own seat.

Me: “Oh, no, this is my seat.”

I sit down again.

Mother: *Loudly* “Can I get some help here? This girl won’t move out of my seat!”

Attendant: “Let’s see what we have here. Can I see everyone’s boarding pass?”

I hand over my boarding pass but the woman crosses her arms.

Mother: “I paid for a window seat. That’s my seat.”

Attendant: “Can I see?”

Mother: “She’s in my seat.”

Attendant: “Ma’am, if you would show me your boarding pass—”

Mother: “No! That is my window seat!”

The oldest girl speaks up.

Oldest Girl: “Mom, just show her so we can sit down.”

Mother: *To me* “You’re going to be sorry.”

She hands her boarding pass over with a flourish.

Attendant: “Yes, ma’am, you did pay for a window seat.”

Mother: “Ha!”

Attendant: “Over there.”

She points across the aisle.

Attendant: “You’re in E, not A.”

Mother: “What?”

She grabs the boarding pass and looks at the assignments again.

Mother: “Oh, A, E, big deal!”

Attendant: “Please take your seat, ma’am.”

Mother: “Fine!”

She pushes two of the girls into the opposite aisle and scoots in beside me.

Attendant: “Ma’am?”

Mother: “What?!”

Attendant: “Your window seat is over there. You’ll have to move.”

Mother: “Oh, my God!”

The woman got up and switched with the girl at the other window. I sent a silent thanks to the flight attendant, who gave me a subtle nod. I put my headphones in, so I don’t know if the woman caused more trouble, but as soon as we landed, she grabbed her daughters and pushed through the other waiting passengers to be one of the first people off the plane.

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Some People Just Can’t Accept Criticism, Apparently

, , , , , | Working | September 23, 2021

Before my current job, I worked in a flooring store, originally as a salesperson. While I was not skilled, I still made enough sales and stuck with the job for about a year. Eventually, I become too overwhelmed and fried in that role. Thankfully, my boss moved me to an admin assistant. While it was perfect, the store still needed a second salesperson.

Finally, they were able to hire an older gentleman, who reportedly had experience in flooring, even owning his own store years ago. Before him, I was the most recent hire. For context, I am a softspoken, petite, twenty-three-year-old female who had just graduated college. Our store, besides our installers, was entirely female-led, just by accident of who had stayed over the years.

I was tasked with training [New Hire] on the specifics of our store and how we operate. For almost four weeks, I worked with him on a daily basis, teaching him the computer programs and organizational systems we used. It turned out that he had very little computer experience — so little that I also had to patiently train him on how to use Microsoft Word or Internet Explorer. For the first week or so, he was apologetic and thanked me often for being patient.

Part of the job as a salesperson is to type up estimates to send to specific clients. At this point, we had already completed several typed quotes and other things using Word. One day, I left [New Hire] to type up an estimate while I completed another task. When I returned, we reviewed the quote he had written. Instead of the format he had been trained to use, he instead wrote it as one run-on sentence with many formatting, grammatical, and punctuation errors. Before I could work on the subject matter, I started correcting him on what needed to be fixed — common writing rules that would still be applied if something was handwritten. After the third item that I pointed out to be fixed, [New Hire] slammed his hands down on the desk, stood up, yelled, “Screw this!”, and left to the break room. I was shocked at the outburst and instantly felt terrible, assuming that it was something I had done. I figured he got overwhelmed and needed space. Eventually, he came back and apologized, as did I. A similar outburst happened a few days later from a similar cause and had a similar result.

From that moment on, I changed my approach to [New Hire], as I was afraid of him having another outburst on me. Even though I felt I was not the most qualified, I was still in charge of his training. I didn’t correct him as often, just to not make him angry. I expressed my concern to the boss and manager and they finally moved him to work more independently with only the manager as oversight. He eventually stopped asking me for help, which I was okay with as that minimized the risk for more outbursts.

There was an evening where I, [New Hire], and one of my female coworkers were on the closing shift together. We don’t have prices on our products but have a labeling system to know what the prices are — something that has frequently been taught to [New Hire]. While we have cheatsheets for remembering this all throughout the showroom and the sales desk, you can always double-check the pricing in the books we have in the manager’s office. 

About an hour before closing, a woman came in wanting to know our price on a few different products. [New Hire] was now working mostly independently but needed some help. He came to the back of the room where [Coworker] and I were working on other tasks and asked [Coworker] to help him with the client. They both walked back to the front together, but before [Coworker] could help, [New Hire] instead asked the client to give him her name and number so he could call her the next day to give her the pricing (something our store commonly does). I could hear everything going on from where I was seated in the back, so I was a little confused when I heard this, as the products were some of the more common, popular ones we quote multiple times a day.

After the client left, [New Hire] approached me in the back and asked me to help find the pricing on those items for the previous client — something that would have taken five minutes when she was just there. I again showed him which books to use, pulled them out of the office, and handed him one while I held the other so we could find the pricing together. I found the price for the first product and told him. With his book, we started looking for the second price together. He then mumbled, “I didn’t want to do this; I just wanted you to do it for me.”

I then turned to him, and in my best encouraging voice, said, “I know it is a lot to learn, but you’re not always gonna have me or [Coworker] to help do things like this for you, so it is important that you know how to do this yourself. It’s like that saying, ‘Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for life.’” Looking back on it, I can definitely see where this last line went wrong.

At this, he slammed his book shut, said to me, “Sorry, I didn’t realize this place was full of f****** smarta**es,” and then walked away. I instantly felt terrible and realized that was never my intention. I tried to approach him to apologize and speak with him calmly about it, but he instead ignored me, kept muttering about what smarta**es we were, and even put his hand in my face to indicate not to speak with him. He packed up his things and left, almost thirty minutes before his shift was supposed to end.

[Coworker] and I were shocked and didn’t know what to do. We ended up not telling anyone that night. Our concern was that [New Hire] had several meetings scheduled in the morning with different clients and we were worried he was now going to flake on them, giving the company a bad name. When we got to the store the next morning, we told the manager what had happened. For her and the owner, this was the final straw with [New Hire], as there were a few other red flags that had appeared over the past several weeks that they had kept an eye on.

But it’s not over yet. The owner was out of the office for most of the day, and they could not fire anyone without her approval — very small company — so we waited until the owner and [New Hire] showed up. Both eventually did arrive — [New Hire] did attend all of his appointments, thankfully — within an hour of each other. [New Hire] was then called to the office with the owner and manager. The other girls and I were thankful his tirade was finally ending. Besides his outbursts on me, he constantly made the others feel uncomfortable with comments on how he would do everything better than us and his sexist stories of how he treated his wife.

But when they left the private meeting, everyone was smiling and laughing — not a good sign. The boss instead called a full store meeting for us all to discuss some things. We all gathered together, including [New Hire], and the owner explained the issues we had had with his adjustment. They worked on a plan to give [New Hire] a second shot with the company. He was not being fired!

At first, I was honestly a little upset at this news, but I didn’t want to leave things on a sour note with [New Hire], either, so I was willing to give it a second try. In the middle of this meeting — the meeting where we were giving him a second chance! — [New Hire] interrupted the owner and said, “Hey, I’m very thankful for you guys giving me a second chance, but I have just decided I am going to put in my two-week notice.”

What?! The owner asked [New Hire] if he was serious this time. He told her he was. Everything in the meeting we had discussed before this was then pointless. But I and the other girls figured, well, if it’s only two more weeks, let’s just deal with it the best we can. We then tried to be warmer and much friendlier with him to let him know that all was forgiven. But [New Hire] mostly kept to himself the rest of the day.

It turned out, in the private meeting with the manager and owner, had [New Hire] begged to not be let go. The owner, who has a huge heart, had agreed to give him the second shot. We didn’t find this out until much later. This all happened on a Friday. On Saturdays, our store had much shorter hours with only two people running it. [New Hire] was scheduled to work it with [Coworker #2], the other salesperson. Despite everything that happened Friday, [New Hire] was still good with working that Saturday, but [Coworker #2] later told us the story of what happened.

When [Coworker #2] walked in that morning, despite the attempts to greet him and make small talk with him, [New Hire] only stonewalled [Coworker #2], giving her a very cold vibe. It was a slow day, so there were not many customers besides a handful to keep things busy. [New Hire] then began to mutter to himself, “Nothing like being stabbed in the f****** back.” [Coworker #2] instantly felt super uncomfortable and unsafe; she was the only person alone in the building with him and he was obviously very angry. She began texting the owner and manager, letting them know what he was saying and how she did not feel safe. He kept swearing at everyone under his breath, and [Coworker #2] made herself busy in the backroom to avoid being near him.

Thankfully, the owner was able to get to the store to see the situation for herself. She asked him, point-blank, “[New Hire], did you say you felt like were stabbed in the back by a bunch of f****** knives?”

[New Hire] responded, “No, I did not say, ‘f******’.”

The owner then told him to pack up his things and leave. All the while, he kept switching from swearing at [Coworker #2] and me (even though I was not there) and begging her to let him stay.  

When I returned Monday, officially there was no more [New Hire]. I am still thankful for those ladies and the owner and manager who listened to our concerns when we felt unsafe.

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