Workers Like These Don’t Grow On Trees

, , , | Friendly | June 13, 2017

(I’m at the garden centre when I hear my name called.)

Cashier: “[My Name]! Can you help this lady? She wants to know about fruit trees.”

Me: “Sure thing.”

(The lady comes over to me and we discuss fruit trees, pollination groups, and rootstocks for a while. It’s quite a technical area of gardening that people often need assistance with. We decide between us what would be the best fruit tree for her.)

Me: “…so, it seems that the best tree for your garden would be a self-fertile Cox on an M26 rootstock.”

Customer: “Okay, do you have any in stock?”

(I shake my head theatrically. I was looking forward to this bit.)

Me: “Haven’t a clue.”

Customer: “Uh… what?”

Me: “I don’t work here.”

Customer: “Then… um… why…”

Me: “I’m a professional horticulturist and [Cashier] is a good friend of mine. He had a long queue of customers and knew I’d be willing to chat to you about my favourite subject for a while. Also, I have a working relationship with this garden centre: I answer the more technical enquiries for them, and they advertise my business for me. It’s win-win.”

Customer: *still looking very baffled and embarrassed* “Oh… well, that’s… good. Thanks for your help.”

Me: “No problem! I’m not in a rush, so would you like me to help you choose a good apple tree?”

(She said yes, so we went and found her a nice quality tree, and happily, they had exactly the one I had recommended in stock. I have to admit, though, I love confusing the garden centre’s customers like that, and Cashier finds it funny as well!)

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Climbing Out Of This One

| Right | May 10, 2017

(I work in a garden centre in the plants section. My job is, among other things, to give technical advice.)

Customer: “Excuse me, do you have any climbing Chlamydia?”

(Where I work is a place people go for a nice day out, so we get relaxed customers making jokes, so I get ready to make a humorous reply, but I realise that they’re entirely serious. I force my face straight.)

Me: “Umm, could you describe it to me?”

Customer: “Yes, it’s pink and climbs up, really fast.”

(Ouch! Nasty mental image right there!)

Me: “Ah, I think you might mean Clematis. Follow me and let’s see if this is what you want.”

Customer: “I’m certain I want Chlamydia!”

(I’m very certain you don’t, ma’am.)

Me: “I think you might mean this plant, Clematis montana.”

Customer: “Oh, yes, you’re right. That’s the one! Can you pick me out a good one, please?”

Me: “Sure thing!”

(I choose a nice healthy one, and we walk back towards the till. She looks thoughtful.)

Customer: “So… what’s Chlamydia then?”

Me: “Well… truth is, it’s a sexually transmitted disease.”

Customer: “…I beg your pardon?”

Me: “It’s a sexually transmitted disease, and I’m happy to say we don’t stock it here!”

Customer: “Oh, God, I’m so sorry! My son told me to come in here and ask for climbing Chlamydia. I’m going to KILL him!”

Me: *laughs* “Don’t worry about it. I’ve been asked for worst things. I had a gentlemen the other day who came in wanting a dwarf Pinus. He got that name badly wrong, and I had difficulty keeping my face straight!”

Customer: *grins in relief* “Did you tell him that size didn’t matter?”

Me: “You know, I wish I’d thought of that…”

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Giving The Customer Shade

| Right | April 13, 2017

(I work in a high-end garden centre. In Canada, gardening season is summer only. In the winter (and much of the spring and snow), gardens are frozen. Our flowering plants are sorted by sun exposure: full sun to part shade. Because this is a high-end business, plants are generally more expensive than the ones sold in supermarkets or home improvement stores. As a result, some of our plants are covered by a warranty — but only if they’re cared for properly. One day, a man comes in with a large flat of dying plants. He wants us to refund them, and I’m checking that he followed our planting instructions.)

Me: “So you watered these regularly?”

Man: “Yes. Once or twice a week.”

Me: “And they were planted in full sun?”

Man: “Yes.”

Me: “That’s strange. They should have taken. How much direct sunlight did they get?”

Man: “All day. Obviously.”

Me: “All day? They weren’t in shade at all between sunrise and sunset?”

Man: “In the shade? They’re in the shade all day long. My garden is under a bunch of trees.”

Me: “Ah. These plants are full-sun. They won’t grow in shade. We can’t refund you if you planted them in the shade.”

Man: “But it’s bright shade! It’s summer shade! Why would that matter?”

Me: “These plants just won’t be healthy in the shade. If your garden is under trees and it never gets any direct sunlight, you need to buy shade plants.”

Man: “But it’s SUMMER SHADE! It should be bright enough.”

(I guess he thought our full-shade garden plants grew in winter shade…)

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That Customer Was Dealt With Marvellously

| Right | February 14, 2017

(I am at one of the garden registers, not actually checking people out, but trying to fix a broken scan gun. As I’m working on it, one of my coworker’s calls in through the radio.)

Coworker: “Hey, [My Name]?”

Me: “Yeah?”

Coworker: “Look; I hate to bother you, but I’m up here by myself.”

(At this point a customer walks over. I smile at her and mouth that I’m not checking out, but she’s on her phone and doesn’t seem to be paying attention to me. I assume she’s still shopping, since she isn’t quite to the register and sort of hovering a few feet back.)

Me: “Okay, so what’s up? Are you backed up?”

Coworker: “No, but there’s this creepy, old guy around, and he’s come up here to flirt with me a few times, and I’m pretty sure he followed me through the store, too. It’s making me seriously uncomfortable.”

Me: “Oh! Okay, I’ll be right back in! No problem.”

(I leave the register, and as I make to walk away, the customer on her phone stops me.)

Customer: “Wait! Aren’t you going to check me out before you go?”

Me: “Well, actually, ma’am, I’m not checking anyone out, and I have to get back inside.”

Customer: “What? For that cashier? Well, why don’t you tell her that she needs to put the customer first! The nerve of her, thinking she can just have people—”

(Meanwhile, a man, Customer #2, in line hears the woman.)

Customer #2: “For God’s sake, just go in front of me!”

Customer: “What? That’s not the point! It’s the principle of it!”

Customer #2: “The principle of it? Are you seriously telling me that you are more concerned with spending five extra minutes in line than you are a young woman being harassed by some strange man?”

Customer: “Well, I’m sure she did something to make him do that!”

Customer #2: *to me* “Go help your cashier. I’ll take care of this.”

Customer: “Take care of it? Who do you think you are? You know what? I am never shopping here again! And I’m calling corporate!”

Customer #2: “Good to know. I’m sure you’ve made everyone’s day. And by the way? I’m the owner. Have fun calling corporate.”

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Mama Mulch

| Right | February 9, 2017

(There is a regular at the garden center who is a major hoarder. We always carry customers’ purchases to their cars, and hers is always filled with old, decaying junk and has a disgusting smell.)

Me: “There’s no more room in the back, ma’am. Where would you like these bags of mulch?”

Customer: “Put it in the front seat.”

(I open the car door, and there is an elderly woman in the front seat.)

Customer: “Oh, mom! I forgot you were in here. Well, just put them in her lap.”

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