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, , , , , , , , , | Working | May 11, 2022

I work in security dispatch for a mall. Mostly, I watch cameras and answer phone calls.

One day, I was watching the food court when I saw something that really churned my stomach.

This place in the food court sells, among other things, hotdogs wrapped in pretzel dough. 

It wasn’t a very busy day, the mall was dying, and this was a slow day in a dying mall. I caught one of the workers — the only one on shift that day — prodding under her skirt with a hotdog.

I don’t know what, exactly, she was doing, but after she was done, she wrapped the hotdog in dough and put it in the cooker.

I pondered dispatching a security person immediately, but instead, I notified the owner, who arrived, fired the woman, and threw out the offending pretzel-wrapped hotdog.

Whatever Butters Your Muffin, I Guess

, , , , | Working | April 28, 2022

My college’s dining hall is set up buffet-style with a few different areas for different kinds of food, so I usually walk a circuit to see what’s available before making a plate. It’s lunchtime and my plate is almost full, but as I pass by the dessert counter, I take a solitary chocolate chip mini-muffin from a tray of donut bites.

Almost immediately, one of the dining hall employees pops up out of nowhere with a giant grin.

Employee: “THANK YOU for taking that muffin! I KNEW someone would appreciate it!”

I think about this encounter regularly.

Don’t Bite The Hand That Feeds You Ice Cream

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: Deathclaw-Peet | April 17, 2022

A man came up to my ice cream stall today. I’m the manager at a mall food court location. I greeted the man and he gave me his order pleasantly enough. I give him his total and he proceeded to try to hand me a $100 bill. We have an in-store policy that we do not take $100 bills.

Me: “I can’t break a hundred.”

On a normal day with a normal person, that pretty much handles that.

He stared at me for a moment.

Customer: “What do you mean? This is a legal American note.”

Me: “I understand, and I’m sorry, but it’s our policy.”

Customer: “Well, that’s all I have, so you have to take it.”

Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t take it.”

Customer: “This is legal tender. It’s in the Constitution that I can use this here.”

This basically crossed the line for me.

Me: “You’ve now made the situation uncomfortable and I simply can’t serve you.”

Customer: “Can I have your name?”

I (stupidly) gave it since I’m directly under the owner and ultimately was upholding HER policy.

Customer: “You’re a f****** b****.”

He walked away. I was shaken at this but thought it was over with. I continued taking the people in line so I didn’t even have to think about it.

The man came back up not ten minutes later, with his wife in tow. She was already charged up and ready to yell.

Wife: “I have a debit card!”

Me: “I still don’t feel comfortable serving you. Your husband called me a f****** b****.”

Wife: “You deserve it; you gave him attitude for no reason!”

One of my staff members started arguing with the wife about how it was a store policy that none of us even had control over, and it turned into a yelling match. I turned to a different staff member.

Me: “Go find a security guard.”

Wife: *Laughing* “A security guard isn’t going to do anything!”

Me: “At least they’ll get you away from us.”

While we were waiting for security, I kept taking other orders. The man stood at the end of the counter talking loudly with his wife.

Customer: “[My Name] is gonna have a discrimination lawsuit on her hands. [My Name] is gonna be dealing with corporate for this.”

The wife found one of the real cops that are hired to patrol the mall and brought him over before security showed up. I was still cheerfully — though, admittedly, literally shaking — taking people getting in line while they talked to the cop.

Eventually, the cop came up.

Cop: “[Customer] has admitted that he was in the wrong for the most part. Don’t you think we can come to a resolution here?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I still won’t be serving them.”

Cop: “Well, come on. What if I’m here?”

I was already frustrated, and my voice shook as I responded.

Me: “That man is using my name to intimidate me. He called me a f****** b****. There’s another place to get what they want two stalls down; they can head there.”

The cop kept silent eye contact as if he didn’t really accept this answer, so I offered to just call the owner for him. He slowly shook his head.

Cop: “Don’t worry about it.”

He went back to the couple, and I heard:

Customer: “How can they do this?”

Wife: “Well, how do I get in contact with corporate?”

As if the cop had a clue.

They eventually did go two stalls down. The cherry they couldn’t resist putting on top was calling me and my four teenage girl staff members b****es as they walked back past with their purchase. The entitlement and the audacity were unreal.

Talk Fast To Fight The Slowdown

, , , , , , , | Right | March 31, 2022

I am the shift manager, and it has not been a good day. We are in a food court and the only other store selling burgers and fries is closed for some sort of construction, so we are unexpectedly busy. It’s a Tuesday, so we only have a couple of employees working. This would usually be no problem, but with the extra customers, we are struggling.

Lunch rush has just begun when the power everywhere noticeably flickers for a second — I would say because of the construction two shops down. The lights in the food court go off but all come back on quickly. Our equipment all restarts straight away, but the order screens in the kitchen all stay off. I run out the back and restart them, but instead of the orders, they are only showing our company logo. Without these screens, the order-taker has to yell out to the kitchen what burgers to make, so things are slower than normal. I am on the phone with the national IT helpdesk, following their instructions to fix the problem. If I don’t fix it, things will be very slow all day.

Out the front, there is one person taking orders at a register and making drinks and one person making fries and bagging and handing out orders. The workers out the front are apologising to each customer for the delays, as we are already busy with our competitor’s customers coming to us, and the line keeps growing. The customers have all seen the lights go off everywhere so should not be surprised that there are problems.

I am standing on a ladder in the kitchen shining a light on the back of a screen, unplugging and plugging cords in, and using tools to follow the steps to fix the order screens. I am clearly visible to all customers waiting. After two or three minutes, I notice burgers collecting where they wait to be bagged, so I climb down from the ladder and go out the front to clear some orders before I continue trying to get the kitchen systems working. I get out the front and see the girl who should be bagging the orders and handing them out standing there being screamed at by a customer.

There are over fifteen customers waiting, all watching. This angry customer is right in her face yelling that the wait is too long and to hurry up, telling the girl that she’s stupid and an idiot for working at this fast food place, and just being horrible. The poor girl is standing there sobbing. She’s holding an order, clearly trying to hand it out to a customer when this lady approached her. My employee’s shoulders are shaking, tears are running down her face, and she’s taking big noisy breaths. The angry lady just keeps screaming, berating her for crying and for being slow and stupid.

I am enraged.

I jump in, put my arm around the sobbing employee to silently comfort her, and turn to the customer.

Me: “HEY!”

I shout to be heard over her yelling.

Me: “HEY!”

She stops screaming at the girl and looks at me. I am quite loud because I want all the waiting customers to hear this, too.

Me: “I understand that you have waited longer than normal. We all can see that there are lots of you waiting and we are really very sorry. As you can see, [Neighbouring Competitor] is closed, and I know you saw the power just go off everywhere. We are doing our best. Screaming at the only person packing and handing out orders is not going to make your service any faster. In fact, you are slowing down the service for yourself and every other customer here. We could have had your order and these other people’s orders made and handed out, but instead, we are standing here doing this. I understand that you are frustrated. I am frustrated, too. This is clearly not a normal day. Now, if you do not stop yelling at us, I will call security. If I have to go and call security to come and help me, everybody is going to wait even longer. Are you going to let us do our jobs? Or are you going to continue yelling?”

Other customers waiting were glaring at this lady, realising that she was making the situation a whole lot worse and delaying their orders further.

The lady said nothing and stepped back to wait with all the other customers.

I took a bottle of water from the drink fridge and handed it to my sobbing employee. I sent her to go and to sit down and told her to come back when she felt ready. She ran out the back, still sniffling and crying.

Thanks to this lady, I was now missing one of my two service employees and had to rush around packing the orders myself. As you’d expect, things were even slower than they would have been if I’d had the crying girl to help me.

I get that it was slow. I was stressed and annoyed, too. But screaming at the only person who’s trying to pack your food is not going to make the situation any better. How is that not obvious?

This Is Why I Avoid My Old Classmates

, , , , , , | Working | December 1, 2021

I stop at a food stand I haven’t tried before. The guy serving me looks familiar but I can’t place him. I order anyway and wait to the side. When my food is ready, I go back up and the employee starts to hand me my food.

Me: “Wait, [Employee], isn’t it?”

Employee: “Oh, yeah.”

Me: “I knew I recognised you. I wasn’t sure earlier.”

Employee: “Yeah, I thought you were just blanking me.”

Me: “No, not at all. Sorry, it’s been a while; I didn’t recognise you. How are you? How have you been?”

Employee: “Yeah, good, thanks. I, err, let me just remake your food.”

Me: “What? Why?”

Employee: “I think I made it wrong.”

Me: “Wrong? How could it be wrong? Wait. Did you spit in my food?”

Employee: *Laughing unconvincingly* “What? No!” *More nervous laughing*

Me: “What the h***? You’re in your thirties and still acting like a child?”

Employee: “Yeah, well, no one liked you at school.”

Me: “Mate, you’re in your thirties. School was a long time ago. Grow up.”

I thought long and hard about reporting him and about how he may do this same thing to someone else. But what proof was there? Would they believe me or even do anything?!

In the end, I didn’t think it was worth it. I avoided the stall for a few weeks, and then, after all that, I never saw him working there again anyway. Sometimes the best revenge is just being happy despite them.