H2-Oh, Really?

, , , , | Right | May 4, 2021

A coworker is straightening some shelves and has a shopping cart with her, in which she puts empty secondary packaging, expired merchandise, and the like. She also has her half-empty water bottle in there, which is definitely in a design that we don’t carry.

She leaves her cart to help a customer and she returns to her cart to find her bottle and almost all of the merchandise missing. A woman had been browsing next to the cart when she had left just a few moments before, so she starts to look for said woman. She finds the woman as she is stuffing the water bottle and a TV dinner — of which she has ripped off the packaging — into her shopping bag.

When confronted, the woman becomes very defensive.

Woman: “I wanted to buy this stuff! They were marked down, of course. Why else would they be in that cart?”

Coworker: “They were not marked down. In fact, they were never going to be; they were expired. And that water bottle wasn’t even for sale at all; it was my personal one!”

The woman still refused to admit her defeat, and the whole incident escalated to the point that security had to escort her outside.

We still shake our heads about it and wonder if she had a poor grip on reality and actually believed what she told us, or if she thought that we would fall for that tall tale she presented us, and if it had, in fact, worked somewhere else.

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They’ll Put You On The Right Track

, , , , , | Right | May 2, 2021

I’m traveling without my parents for the first time. I’m in the Munich train station trying to get to Berlin. I have a train booked and am waiting at the platform. I hear an announcement in German (I only speak English) but don’t think anything of it.

Five minutes after my train was meant to arrive, I start to get suspicious, so I check out the live platform information TVs and find that my train has been moved to another platform and has since departed. I am tired and near tears as I don’t know what to do!

I find my way to the information desk where several other tourists and I are shunted from person to person. The first window we line up at is closing as the operator is due for a break, so he sends us to another window, but they can’t help at all with any inquiries at the time so they send us back to the original window. After quite a few minutes of confusion, we’re finally sent to a window that can help us.

When it’s my turn, I’m still holding back tears and barely manage to explain to the lady what has happened without breaking down. She must deal with hundreds of tourists in her country who don’t speak her language, but she speaks perfect English.

She takes so much pity on me and gives me a ticket for a new train, free of charge, even with the first-class seat I paid for originally! She then very kindly points out the platform I am meant to wait at and tells me when the train will be coming and what carriage I will be in. I am in Berlin only a few hours later than expected thanks to her kindness!

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Would’ve Been Quicker To Walk It There Yourself

, , , | Working | May 2, 2021

A few years ago, I sent a birthday present for my mother to her by using a private courier service instead of the regular German mail, because their packages were cheaper and insured. This delivery was time-sensitive, not only because of the birthday, but because my parents were going to leave for a vacation a few days after and the package also contained some things they would need for the trip.

Tuesday: I take the package to the shop, fill in the address sticker, and get the receipt, all normal.

Friday: My mother’s birthday. I call to congratulate her and the present hasn’t arrived yet. Okay, this takes longer than usual, but let’s give them a day more.

Sunday: Still no sign of the package. I call customer service, and they tell me that the address was incorrect and the package could not be delivered. I’m confused since I know my parents’ address by heart and am pretty sure that I did not mess it up, but I filled it out by hand and mistakes happen. Since the package is still in their depot, I’m able to tell the representative the correct address, and she assures me that it will be delivered right away. I’m keeping my fingers crossed as my parents are scheduled to leave early on Wednesday.

Monday: My father calls me. The delivery guy showed up with the package in hand, then glanced at his digital notepad, stated that he couldn’t give it to my father because it was scheduled for Tuesday, turned on his heel, and drove away. My father was so stunned by that behaviour that he wasn’t able to keep him from leaving. He is furious and so am I.

Tuesday: After a day of worrying and frantically rearranging delivery to a shop near them for the time they would be away, my parents finally receive the package late in the evening.

The kicker? The address was absolutely correct from the beginning. For some reason, the courier service changed the house number, couldn’t find the recipient — guess why? — decided to also change the name of the recipient by subtracting the first letter, and then concluded that they could not deliver the package. Who would have thought?

Guess which courier service I’ll never use ever again?

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Bugging You About That Refund

, , , , | Right | May 1, 2021

I am having the morning shift alone. A woman comes in with a bag of rice of a brand we sell that has been opened and is missing about a quarter of its contents.

Customer: “Hi! I bought this rice from you and there are tiny little bugs in it! I’d like to exchange it for a new bag, but I do not have a receipt.”

I am a little floored because the brand she has is very high quality and I never would have thought to hear about bugs inside rice. She is also extremely calm and friendly about it, which strikes me as odd since I am grossed out just thinking about it, especially since there’s so much of the rice missing already and it makes it seem like she ate it.

She has no receipt, which is an issue, and in the six months I’ve worked there I’ve never had to do a return or exchange so I don’t know how to do one.

I check the rice first and, truthfully, there are a few black, small bugs in it. Still alive!

Customer: “I come here very often, you know! I know your boss, too!”

Since we are a small store, we have a lot of regulars so this might actually be true. I’ve never seen her before, but I just nod along.

Customer: “I hoped the younger one would be here; she knows me!”

I am not sure what to do at this point, so I text my boss’s daughter; she’ll be taking over my shift in fifteen minutes anyway.

Me: “Should I just give the customer a new bag of rice? The customer insists you know each other.”

I send her a picture of the bugs. All through that, the woman keeps on talking, overly friendly. I am slightly suspicious but usually, scammers don’t agree with me when I offer to contact one of the bosses because they know it will not help them.

Customer: “Oh, if you want to, you can even take a picture of me and send it to her; she knows me! I shop here so often!”

My texts are answered, with lots of exclamation marks, telling me to NOT give that woman a new bag, that she does NOT know her, and that we cannot do anything without a receipt. The way she’s typing is very unusual, so I figure the woman is a scammer.

Me: *Smiling* “I will need a receipt, but if you wait for fifteen minutes, my colleague will be here and will be able to help you. I am just a part-timer and don’t have that much authority.”

She seemed disappointed but claimed she was in a rush and bought a new bag anyway, opening it and checking if there were bugs inside this one; there weren’t. She left the old bag with me and I made sure to give her the receipt, just in case. I taped the bug bag closed with way too much tape just as the boss’s daughter came in. I then left, thinking not much of it. 

The boss’s daughter told me on my next shift that the woman had come into the store the day before, claiming that her mother had bought that rice and they had found bugs in it. Since nothing could be done without a receipt, she left again. The boss even made sure to open every single bag of rice from that batch we got delivered; all were bug-free. The boss had not been working in the store for two months due to health reasons, and I asked the other part-timer about it, but she also did not sell that to the woman.

Either the boss sold the rice months ago and the bugs appeared because the woman didn’t store it right, or she bought it somewhere else in the first place. Since she changed tactics and adapted her story to be more believable on her second try with me, I wonder if she may have planted the bugs in there on purpose. 

Either way, I am baffled by her attempt to scam us, not because she was the first to try, but because she seemed so confident and insistent enough to try it twice — only to end up buying a new bag without fuss anyway.

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The Language Barrier Isn’t Empfindlich

, , , , | Romantic | April 30, 2021

I majored in German in college and spent my junior year living in Germany. I was extremely socially inept back then. I made friends with this guy and he came to the dorm to hang out with me. He was a really big guy who looked a lot like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

We were sitting around and he took my hand.

Friend: “Your skin is very… empfindlich.”

Me: “What does ‘empfindlich’ mean?”

Friend: “It means… easily broken.”

I freaked out and never hung out with him again. Looking back at it, I realize that he had a crush on me and he was actually trying to be romantic. He meant my skin was “delicate.”

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