Has Some Serious Bag Baggage, Part 9

, , , , , | Right | July 24, 2021

I work as a cashier in an organic-focused grocery store. Because of the health crisis, my store has large plexiglass barriers separating cashiers from customers. Masks are required. Many customers bring in their own bags rather than using our paper bags, but we are no longer able to touch them or bag them. Customers have to do it themselves.

I’m autistic. It’s not severe and I’m fairly good at masking when needed, but I’m awful at reading people and situations, and I’m even worse at figuring out what to do if someone doesn’t tell me very specifically what they want.

An old woman with one of those personal carts comes through my line. She has her personal cart folded in one of our store carts. She’s a semi-regular and always has that cart with her, even though she can hardly lift it out of the store cart.

She struggles to get it out, so much so that the customer behind her rushes in to help her while I’m scanning the old woman’s items. She has her own bags and knows she has to bag herself, but she doesn’t. She just lets them pile up.

Me: “Do you have a store card?”

Customer: “No.”

She stands by the card reader and waits until I’m done. When she’s done paying, she finally goes over to bag her items.

She only has a few bags, so she tells me to use paper bags for everything else while she packs her large insulated bag as heavy as she possibly can. The bags I pack are much less heavy. Suddenly, when trying to load them into her now unfolded personal cart, she looks like she’s about to drop over with the insulated bag in her arms. She struggles with that bag and then puts it down. She then reaches for one I packed and acts like it’s even heavier. Suddenly, she starts yelling.

Customer: “I’m ninety-three years old!

Me: “Okay, so… do you want to empty that bag out a bit?”

She doesn’t answer, and she eventually manages to shove it in her cart. By this point, I don’t really know what to do. She acts like all the bags are insanely heavy, so I start pulling stuff out to lighten the paper bags. She’s not answering any of my suggestions.

I lighten some of the bags to try and make it easier on her. All the while, she’s grumbling about how stupid I am.

Customer: *Scoffs* “Stupid girl. I’m ninety-three!”

Then, despite all her whining about how heavy the bags were, she starts emptying the bags I lightened and puts heavy items in the heavy bags she already shoved into her cart. She crumples the paper bags, or rips them, and tosses them onto my register.

Customer: “Hey, you didn’t ask me if I had a store card! I didn’t get my discounts!”

Me: “I did ask you. You said no.”

Customer: “And you made the bags too heavy! I’m an elderly woman!”

Me: “I didn’t pack your cold bag. I even lightened the bags I packed when I saw you struggling. Do you want any help out to your car?”

Customer: “No! I’m waiting on a taxi!”

Finally, she grumbled and walked away. I had just started covering a coworker’s thirty-minute break when the woman came through my line, and by the time my coworker came back, I had only gotten through four people total.

Has Some Serious Bag Baggage, Part 8
Has Some Serious Bag Baggage, Part 7
Has Some Serious Bag Baggage, Part 6
Has Some Serious Bag Baggage, Part 5
Has Some Serious Bag Baggage, Part 4

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It Feels Like Time Has Lost Its Meaning Lately, But This Is Ridiculous

, , , , | Working | July 24, 2021

During the health crisis, I’ve been ordering curbside pickup and delivery from a large, well-known grocery store. They were bought by a large Internet retailer a couple of years back, so ordering is done via the retail website. At first, it goes off without a hitch, but then I start having issues. One is that no matter what time I place my pickup order for, they start working on it immediately and the order is done really quickly.

Normally, this wouldn’t be something I’d consider an issue, but it’s actually been a pretty big one. For example, one time, I placed my order around 2:00 in the morning to be picked up between 2:00 and 3:00 pm the next day. The next day, I woke up at 9:00 am and saw the text messages: they’d started shopping my order, wanted to know what items to substitute as certain things were out of stock, had substituted items I didn’t want and couldn’t return without going into the store.

Most of the time, I manage to get to the store and pick up my order early or at the time slot I was booked for. For curbside pickup at other stores, you’re normally allowed to pick up any time after the order is ready. Not here. One time, I put in an order and realized I was going to be a bit late for my window. Half an hour after my window, I was leaving my house and I started getting text messages from the retailer, saying how important it was to be on time. Then, when I got there, I was chewed out for being late by the person who brought me my order. From then on, I decided to be more careful about what time I ordered and when I’d get there.

I made a few more orders with not too many issues. Then, I made an order to pick up between 3:00 and 4:00. Somehow, it went through as 2:00 and 3:00 and I didn’t realize. So, I was on my way right after 3:00 and I started getting phone calls that said they were from the retailer. I didn’t pick up, as I was driving, but in my five-minute drive to the store, I had four missed calls. I looked up the number and found out it was from their missed event line. I looked at my order and realized the issue and, luckily, didn’t get chewed out this time.

Finally, I decide to order for delivery. Despite living five minutes away, my local store does not do delivery, so my groceries will come from several cities away. I figure when you order for a specific delivery time, that’s about the time they deliver, right? Wrong. I make my order at 12:00 pm to be delivered at 4:00 pm. At 12:15, they are shopping my order. I get sucked into work and go about my day. Closer to 3:00, I check to see if the order has finished being shopped, and I notice a text message saying that my order was delivered at 1:30. No one knocked or rang the bell. My frozen items are defrosted and ruined.

I’ve decided I’m going to hold off on ordering from these guys again.

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The Empowered Versus The Entitled

, , , , | Right | July 22, 2021

I’m a department manager at a grocery store. I’m stocking a load when I respond to a call for a manager up at the registers. The cashier directs me to a woman standing off to the side.

Cashier: “She asked to speak to a manager. I don’t know what it’s about, but she was really rude. Sorry.”

Me: *Bracing myself* “Yes, how can I help you?”

Customer: *Condescendingly* “I doubt you even can, dear. I wanted to speak to the manager, not some stock girl.”

Me: “We all pitch in on basic store operations, but I am one of the managers on duty and I assure you that I am empowered with override codes and the authority to handle what you need.”

Customer: “What about the other managers? I need to speak to a real one, not a little girl.”

Me: “We’re all stocking shelves. I’m here. What do you need?”

She is craning her head around at all the other floor managers, who all also happen to be women.

Customer: “No, that won’t do. What about your boss, the one who works up in the office? Is he here?”

Me: “He is, but I’m sure I can handle your issue if you’ll just tell me what it is.”

Customer: “No. I need to speak to the man in charge, so you can get back to your little cart. Understand?”

I sigh and trudge upstairs to the buyer’s office to relate the situation to the general manager.

Manager: “Oh, I see. If she won’t accept the help of any of the several managers on the floor, it can’t be that urgent. I’ll be down riiiiiiight after I’m done with this.”

I go back downstairs, let the customer know that the manager has been notified and will be on his way, and return to my cart of product. Time passes, and there’s another cashier call for a manager. I go back again and the customer is still standing off to the side, looking exasperated. 

Customer: “I’ve been waiting here this whole time! I don’t have all day. I have things to do!”

Me: “Well, if you’re in a hurry, maybe you’d be inclined to let me help you since I’m available?”

She refuses, and I shrug and walk away. The customer waits and waits, and there are several more manager calls as she harasses the poor cashier. Other managers respond, but she refuses them. Eventually, our boss comes down to put a stop to it. Afterward, he comes and finds me.

Manager: *Laughing* “Guess what? After all that fuss, all she needed was a simple return.”

Me: *Exasperated* “I could have done that for her if she’d have only let me.”

Manager: “She didn’t even need a manager override. After all that time she made herself wait, all she had to do the whole time was get in line.”

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An Alarming Miscommunication

, , , , | Working | July 21, 2021

I’m a minor. In my state and store, minors are not supposed to work past 9:30 pm. Our store usually closes anywhere from 10:00 pm to midnight during the week, so I’m never around during closing time. It was New Year’s Eve, which meant our store was closing slightly earlier than usual, and I was working until closing time along with the store manager, the shift manager, and several other employees. Once the last customer left the store, the managers told me to clock out, grab my things, and meet them up front to leave.

Every employee is assigned a small locker in the back of the store where the official break room is, so once I clocked out, I headed back to the lockers. I grabbed my things and went to the front to leave with everyone else…

…except there was nobody there. There are two regular exits: one by the florist and one by the bakery/pharmacy. We were supposed to meet by the florist, but I checked the bakery/pharmacy as well and they weren’t there either. I went up to the time clock where all the offices are. Nobody was there. I knocked on all the closed office doors and even tried opening the doors, but no such luck. I made my way back to the lockers and restrooms — perhaps they went back to find me? Nope. I went back to the front of the store and picked up the phone to try and use the pager system to call for anyone in the store, but I had no idea how it worked, so I put the phone back down. I walked around to the bakery, dairy, meat, produce, and deli departments, but I couldn’t find a single soul. I decided to try the exit door anyway; maybe it was locked from the outside, but I could still leave through it? It’s a two-door system where you walk through the first door, walk about twenty feet, and walk through the second door outside. I walked through the first door with no problem, but the second door was locked. Luckily, I was able to turn around and grab the first door before it shut completely, trapping me inside the vestibule. Panicking, I ran around the aisles shouting for anyone to hear me, choking back the inevitable tears that were on their way.

I finally used my cell phone to call my parents, who were wondering where I was. Through tears, I explained.

Me: “I’m trapped in the store alone! And I don’t know what to do.”

Mother: “Look around for an emergency exit.”

I find one.

Me: “I’ve found one, but I’m scared to set off the alarm!”

Mother: “Suck it up and push the door open.”

I pushed it open, the alarm rang REALLY loudly, and I ran and screamed all the way around the building to the parking lot and to my car.

At the time, my father had worked for over a decade for the town, and he knew several of the police officers in town. He called the non-emergency number and told them that his daughter set off the alarm at the grocery store so they had a heads-up as to what was going on. The police then passed on the story to the store manager, who had been called back to the store by the alarm company.

The next time I worked, my mother came in, found the store manager scanning a few things at self-checkout, furiously marched up to her, and ripped her a new one.

Mother: “How dare you leave an employee alone in the store?!”

Store Manager: *Sincerely* “I’m so sorry. Even if your daughter had remained in the store, the overnight stocking crew comes in around midnight, so they would have been able to let her out. But I agree that the situation should never have happened in the first place. The shift manager and I each thought the other had let [My Name] out of the store, so it was okay to leave.”

After a few more complaints from my mom, the store manager finished scanning her items — an “I’m sorry” card, a gift card, and a couple of movie tickets — and came to my register to apologize again and give me the gifts. My mom felt a little bad after that.

Looking back at it a decade later, I think the whole thing is somewhat humorous, but I really wish I’d taken the chance to explore more of the store; I’d always wanted to see what the bakery looked like. My mom still remembers hearing the alarm go off and me screaming through the phone and laughs about it to this day. That was probably my most memorable New Year’s Eve.

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, , , , , | Right | July 21, 2021

I work at a grocery store that also has fish in their pet department, which I am in charge of maintaining this evening. An Asian man walks up.

Me: “Hello, sir. Do you need help?”

Male Customer: “No.”

Me: “If you need assistance, feel free to let me know.”

I continue to clean tanks and do paperwork nearby, in view. An Asian woman joins him looking at fish and I ask again if they need help. I’m told no and I repeat my message to let me know if they need assistance.

A few minutes pass. I’m keeping busy with tanks and the two are just staring at me making me very uncomfortable. I keep cleaning. After five more minutes of staring, the woman snaps.

Female Customer: “Aren’t you going to get us fish?”

Me: “I apologize! Absolutely!”

Female Customer: “We have been waiting ten minutes! This is ridiculous!”

Me: “I’m sorry. I did say to let me know if you needed help. I apologize for that wait.”

She tells me the fish she wants — a specific goldfish out of tanks of hundreds of goldfish that look near identical and two male bettas that she tries to get me to bag together — and demands a giant bag that holds a gallon for a single twenty-five-cent goldfish.

The entire time, she and the man are talking smack about me in Mandarin, which I studied for five years in school. I know enough to keep up a conversation and know they are talking in racial slurs and talking about how I must be in an abusive sexual relationship with a woman because of my shaved hair; I’m female with heavy scarring on my scalp from a car crash.

I hand them their fish.

Me: *In Mandarin* “Here you go, have a good day. I had an accident and am happily engaged. Don’t talk about what you don’t know.”

Watching their faces pale was delightful and their complaint to my boss was ignored.

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