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That Escalated Awkwardly

, , , , , , , | Romantic | March 7, 2022

This story goes back many years before I met my wife and I was still in the dating game, and it summarises what was probably the worst date of my life. I think the young lady probably didn’t do too well out of it, either, but I’m sure she at least got a story to tell.

I met a girl online. We seemed to share a lot of interests and chatted for a few hours on an almost daily basis for a few weeks, so I asked her out, but on the day of our date, it was almost like she had been possessed. I don’t know if it was nerves, anxiety, or disappointment even, but she hardly said a thing. The only way I could get any words out of her was by asking direct and open questions. 

Evidently, this annoyed her; at one point, she asked me why I was asking her so many questions. Now that I’m older and wiser, I would probably have made my excuses and left, but in my youthful days, I felt that I had to stick it out to the bitter end, which leads us to the part of the evening where a discovery gave her a bit of a fright.

We had gone to a pub that played the type of music she was into and, having given up on meaningful conversation, I asked her if she wanted to shoot some pool on one of their tables. The table was coin-operated and released the balls after a coin was inserted into a drawer which was then pushed into the table. At one point, I tried to insert a coin into the drawer, but it must have been at an angle because it popped out and fell down the side of the mechanism.

I got down on one knee to fish around for the coin, and as I was rooting around, I found a ring that someone must have left there! I looked at it in puzzlement and, without thinking about the optics, I swiveled around on my knee to face her and I lifted the ring up to show her. Yes, that’s right. On an absolute disaster of a first date, I just got down on one knee and presented her with a ring.

As you might expect, there was a look of absolute panic on her face. After a moment she stammered out, “Um, that looks nice.” Her reaction puzzled me for a moment because I was expecting something more in the vein of, “Huh, that’s weird. Where did you find that?”

Then, the reality of what I had just done sank in. I blurted out a very quick explanation to her about having just found it and that I was just showing it to her. I think she believed me, but I’m not sure because my going over to hand it to the barman was pretty much the end of that date.

It might be one of the very few instances of someone ending an absolutely terrible date by accidentally proposing, though!

Customer Service To A Tea

, , , , , , | Right | March 6, 2022

My wife is almost completely tee-total except for the odd sip from time to time but she drinks tea constantly — both the proper stuff and herbal. When she was pregnant, she more or less gave it up because she was concerned about the caffeine content, but I knew that she was missing it.

One day after work, I went to a specialist shop a few streets away from my office and had a chat with one of their staff about my situation. She was absolutely wonderful and spent time helping me with a selection of teas that were naturally caffeine-free, worked with my wife’s preferences, and were otherwise safe to consume whilst pregnant.

After one of her colleagues rang me up, I asked to speak with the manager.

Manager: *Polite but a little apprehensive* “Hello, I understand that you wanted to speak to me. How can I help?”

Me: “I just wanted to give you a bit of feedback. Your member of staff has been absolutely wonderful today and has really gone out of her way to help me find teas that my pregnant wife can enjoy. I really just wanted to thank you also and let you know that I had a great experience today so that you can mark it in her next performance review or whatever.”

Manager: “Oh! That’s wonderful. I’m really happy to hear that and thank you for taking the time to speak to me. Congratulations, too! Here, let me give you something.”

The manager then spent the next few minutes filling up my carrier bag with free samples before thanking me again and telling me to have a good day. What a great experience! The place wasn’t the cheapest but it definitely became my favourite spot for unusual teas after this.

What Would You Do With One Week In Retail?

, , , , , , | Working | February 1, 2022

In my teenage years, I worked as a sales assistant for a chain of well-known garden and DIY stores in the UK. After a year, I was unofficially promoted to a pseudo-supervisor role (i.e. I was meant to supervise the checkout workers but I wasn’t paid more for doing this) which gave me a chance to observe some of the events of the one week [Coworker] lasted between his being hired and being fired.

[Coworker] was the sort of guy who seemed to fit the stereotype of a teenage stoner almost perfectly. His behaviour was bizarre and he had no filter talking to customers. He wasn’t exactly hostile, but put it this way: anything that you might have dreamed about being able to say to customers he would just say. Here are a few examples of some of the events.

Event 1:

[Coworker] was caught on video standing in an aisle staring at a pack of lightbulbs for half an hour.

Event 2:

A customer asked [Coworker] to help them find an item, but as he was still learning the layout and products, he was struggling a little. The customer made some sort of comment. 

Coworker: “Find it yourself, then.”

And he walked off.

Event 3:

I was working the returns desk and put out a general call for an assistant to help answer a telephone query. [Coworker] answered the phone (which, unfortunately, was located at the returns desk), spoke to the customer for a few minutes, and then said:

Coworker: “Who do you think you’re talking to?”

He then slammed the phone down and marched off before I could ask him what was said, which meant that I had to deal with the matter when the extremely angry customer called back a few moments later.

Event 4 — the one that actually got him fired:

[Coworker] came in for a morning shift and then disappeared. Multiple calls were put out for him, but nobody knew where he had gone. Then, after about half an hour, I saw him storming back out the front door with his coat on, followed a few paces behind by one of the managers. I asked what was going on and was told that [Coworker] had come in, clocked in, and then gone upstairs for a nap in the staff room instead of starting work.

Why he thought he could get away with that, I don’t know, but it seemed like a fittingly bizarre end to his week with us.

It’s Not A Cheque Guarantee But We Guarantee They Will Try That Again

, , , , , | Right | January 26, 2022

It is the early 2000s when UK retailers still commonly accept cheques in payment. Our tills will print the transaction details for the customer, but we will need to handwrite details from their cheque guarantee cards on the reverse of the cheque to process the payment.

A couple comes to my till with a trolley full of various DIY products like wallpaper, paste, and assorted tools coming to a total of around £100. The transaction starts as normal until they provide the cheque guarantee card. This card is of a type I haven’t seen before and I am initially confused until I spot a particular bit of info.

Me: “Pardon me, I think you may have given me the wrong card.”

Customer: *Instantly aggressive* “No, I didn’t. That is definitely my cheque guarantee card.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but if you look at this box, it says, ‘This is not a cheque guarantee card.’”

Customer: “I don’t care what it says. That’s what the bank gave us and is definitely my check guarantee card. Just take it!”

Me: “Do you have some other form of payment? I really don’t think I can take this card.”

Customer: “No, I don’t! You have to take it.”

Me: “Let me go speak to my boss and see if there is anything we can do.”

I leave the counter and speak to my boss to explain what’s going on. They tell me to take the customer to the return counter and see if we can phone the bank and authorise the check by phone, something we typically do as standard for business customers.

I find someone to swap in for me at my till which now has a queue and take the customers to the return counter, ring them up again there, and phone the bank as instructed. Sweet miracle of miracles, they pass security and the bank authorises the payment — although they do also ask me to inform the customer that they will need to apply for an actual cheque guarantee card.

Do they thank me for sorting this out for them? Nope.

Customer: *With a sneer* “See! The customer is always right.”

So far, it’s the only time in my life someone has actually said it!

If You Can’t Take The Heat, Get Out Of The Line

, , , , , , | Right | January 24, 2022

We are going through a massive heatwave. Air conditioning is extremely rare and everyone is a little irritable from the heat. Eventually, I can’t handle it, so I decide to get some ice cream to cool down, and unsurprisingly, there’s a queue. This specific shop makes fresh churros to order and some people are ordering them so there is a small backlog, but it’s nothing crazy.

A woman walks up behind me and I immediately know she will be trouble when she starts huffing. Some other people begin to glare at her for this, which only makes her more annoyed as she begins whining in annoyance.

We all know she wants to skip the queue so she won’t have to wait, but none of us are letting her do so. By this point, there are maybe fifteen of us waiting and there are three people inside; one is taking orders and the other two are fulfilling orders. Once they have caught up, the one taking the orders walks out and asks us to queue in a U shape so people can access other shops. Most are fine with this, but not this woman. Once the worker goes back inside, she brings her phone out, and this is what I hear.

Customer: “This f****** stupid b**** thinks she can tell me what to do when she won’t go inside and do her own job. Lazy c***s, the whole lot of them. It’s not a difficult thing to do, so who does she think she is not serving me?”

The people in front of me turn to her in surprise at this, but I don’t, having dealt with people like this daily for years. I am able to tune her out for the most part, but she just keeps ranting to whoever is on the phone with constant huffing, whining, and moaning. I am beginning to reach my tether with her when she comes out with the following.

Customer: “Why are they taking so long?! I shouldn’t have to wait like a servant. Can someone move so I can order?”

I don’t hear the next part of this rant as I am let inside, but from what I see, she gets into an argument with people in the queue. I order and wait. The woman comes in and orders a lot of something that is backed up. The moment she is told there is a wait, she goes into a rage.

Customer: “How dare you tell me to wait?! I am a professor at [University five minutes away] and I will not be treated like this! You will serve me right this moment, and if you do not, I will be complaining!”

Remembering years of being the one on the receiving end of this, this does it for me.

Me: “Hey, it is 30° (86° F), most people are off as it’s a weekend and not everywhere is back open yet. We are all tired and desperate for something to cool off. Unlike you, we were taught how to wait our turn. You have been stomping your feet, you have been whining, you have been huffing, and you have been complaining non-stop because you’re not being treated like something special. Now either wait your turn like an adult or stomp off as an overgrown, spoiled three-year-old!”

I got the harshest glare ever for that, but those who were also waiting began to say similar things. She proceeded to stomp out with her nose in the air and not-so-secretly screaming in annoyance, as she hadn’t fully closed the door. Once I finally got called to collect my order, I noticed a hastily written thank-you on a napkin. It wasn’t much, but it felt good to put someone like her in their place for once.