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Give Them Something For Free And They Still Want More

, , , , | Right | August 29, 2022

It is my first day of work. An old man comes in, and all he does is stand at the counter and stare at me, expecting that I magically know his order. I have to ask someone else what his deal is in order to figure out what his order is.

Coworker: “That’s [Pensioner]. He comes in every day to take advantage of the free coffee for pensioners. His order is always the same.”

Customer: *Demanding* “I want eight sugars, a spoon, and a large cup, with a small amount of cold water at the bottom!”

The large cup is usually reserved for soft drinks. He was creating a larger cup of coffee for himself out of it, sneaky geezer.

You Never Forget The Good Ones

, , , , , , , , , | Learning | August 9, 2022

My grandmother retired as a kindergarten teacher back in the early 1980s, just before I was born. Now, she was ninety-four, and I was accompanying her to the neighbourhood doctor for a general check-up/visit. The doctor is also a family friend, thus the visit was more “friendly” than “medical” and without an appointment; hence, the doctor typically lets her sit in the waiting room until he’s free enough to have a long chat with her, while also checking her medical issues out.

This time around, there were quite a few people in the waiting room, so Grandma was just chilling, reading a magazine she’d brought along. A gentleman, probably in his mid-fifties, kept staring at her. He finally mustered the courage to speak to her.

Gentleman: “Are you [Grandma]?”

Grandma: “Yes, I am.”

The gentleman turned to his wife sitting next to him.

Gentleman: “[Grandma] was my schoolteacher!”

Grandma explained that she would have taught him in kindergarten. Everyone was pretty surprised at the recollection; it would have been nearly forty-five years, if not more, for the gent to have been in her class. Upon hearing his name, Grandma shocked everyone by recollecting his childhood nickname — one that he himself had forgotten!

A second gentleman walked into the clinic, and the first immediately pointed Grandma out to him; they were classmates, so he, too, would have been in her class. He was leaving the doctor’s cabin as Grandma was called in, so he happily pointed out to the doctor that she was his teacher. Even the doctor was surprised at the happy reunions.

Later, when we left, a third gentleman, younger than the previous two, entered the clinic. He saw Grandma and immediately bent down to touch her feet. Touching an elder’s feet is considered a mark of respect in Indian culture, a method of asking for and receiving their blessings. On inquiry, he revealed that he had been her student in the early 1980s, probably from the last batch she taught before retiring.

The school where Grandma taught, our old neighbourhood, and the doctor’s clinic are all on the same block, so whenever she’s visiting the doctor or any of our old friends and neighbours, we usually bump into a few of her kindergarten students on the road. All of them — many of them now grandparents themselves — walk up to her and spend a few minutes chatting with her.

I always marvel at such student-teacher relationships: relationships that began at the beginning of the students’ childhood, still as impactful decades later; relationships that transcend generations; relationships that are still in force even after your kids have grown up and their kids are in the same classroom where you were once. It’s heartening, giving me hope for the future.

Despite His Age, He Can Still Keep Things Turned On

, , , , , , , | Romantic | July 15, 2022

I overheard this while visiting my elderly parents.

Mum: “Dear, you’ve left the bathroom heater on again!”

Dad: “No, it turns itself off after a while.”

Mum: *Irritated* “NO, IT DOESN’T! IT’S ALWAYS ME!”

Dad: *Teeny-tiny voice* “Oh.”

Well-Aged Wine

, , , , , | Right | June 30, 2022

A very old man comes through my checkout with a bottle of wine, which I scan through without comment.

Me: “That’ll be [price].”

The customer looks disappointed.

Customer: “You didn’t ask to see my ID for the wine.”

I’m a bit taken aback since this customer looks old enough to have gone to school with Methuselah.

Me: “Sorry about that. May I see your ID?”

He cheers up immediately and pulls out his passport. I check the date and then do a double-take and check the current date. Yep, he was born exactly a hundred years ago today!

Me: *Handing the passport back* “Happy birthday, sir!”

Customer: “Thank you!”

He happily paid and went on his way. I later found out that he also purchased wine from three other checkouts, proudly showing them his passport each time. You go, old guy!

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Operation Independence

, , , | Right | June 25, 2022

I once had an eighty-four-year-old customer come into the men’s department to buy some flannel shirts. He had never shopped for anything in his life; first, his mom had done it for him, and then, his wife.

His demeanor as I waited on him suggested he was probably a World War II or Korean War vet. He tackled it like a military campaign. He had no idea what size he wore. I measured him. I directed him to shirts that were easy to care for and long enough in the arms.

Me: “Have you ever done laundry?”

Customer: “No.”

Of course he hadn’t. I showed him the label with care instructions and explained washing and drying procedures.

He left, armed with knowledge sufficient to do it on his own. He left, having succeeded in his mission, with the help of a local. It was one of my favorite customer encounters of all time.