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When Having Thick Skin Might Make It Worse

, , , , | Right | October 6, 2021

I work at a retailer where the registers are right by the entrance/exit. The cashier closest to the door is supposed to greet customers as they enter the store. One evening, I am just about to total a woman’s order when a man comes through the door.

Me: “Hello, sir, welcome to [Store].”

He walks toward me, staring at my face.

Man: “You. It’s you.”

Me: *Nervous* “Um. If you need help, there are—”

Man: “You have such nice skin.”

Me: “Okay, then. Have a nice day.”

He stands just a foot from my side and continues staring at my cheek for what feels like forever before walking away. The woman at the register stares at me, wide-eyed.

Me: “Um. Sorry about that. We’re supposed to greet people as they come in. I wasn’t expecting… that.”

Woman: “Nobody expects to meet Buffalo Bill, honey. Don’t walk to your car by yourself tonight, okay?”

The woman talked to my manager, who agreed to walk with me that night. It was several hours before I left and I had to fight the urge to look over my shoulder every few minutes, expecting him to be there.

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If You Need Me, I’ll Be Showering For The Next Several Hours

, , , | Right | September 25, 2021

The creepiest customer I’ve ever had was at a tech support company about seven years ago when I did tech support for a company that provided free online apps across the globe. They needed help finding some files on their account.

User: “So, how old do you have to be to work there? You sound twelve!”

Me: *Laughs* “Oh, yes! I get that a lot. Definitely not twelve.”

User: “I don’t believe you! Are you single?”

Me: “Uh… married with a kid.”

User: “No, you’re not. You’re only twelve. You sound hot. You should go out with me.”

To make it worse, they either had that smoker’s voice people get or they were in their sixties. Their tone of voice was that one that creeps get when they think they’re being sexy but it’s all cringe.

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Hmm, Wonder Why His Girlfriend Left Him

, , , , , | Right | September 24, 2021

As a teenager, I score a job at an international retailer’s store straddled between two highways. It attracts all sorts of interesting people.

A few months in, right after I have turned eighteen, I am tending the fifteen-items-or-less lane when a man in his late twenties approaches with a mini-cart packed full of puréed baby food — we’re talking at least thirty to forty jars. Being that it’s a slow day and I hate confrontation, I smile and started scanning him through.

After a very enthusiastic greeting in response, this man starts talking about his day, his ex-girlfriend, the baby he shares with her, and how tough it is being a single dad. Though it’s a lot of personal information, I figure he needs to talk, so I smile and nod and mmm-hmm along with him. He leans in over the register conspiratorially.

Customer: “You know, I once beat up a man so badly he went to the hospital. And I don’t remember a thing. All I remember is being filled with so much rage that I blacked out, and when I woke up, my friends were pulling me off of him. I guess I’m some kind of psychopath when you piss me off, huh?”

I go silent, not sure if he’s kidding or high. We’re in the heart of meth country, and I’ve heard a few wild stories from my coworkers. He just smiles at me and nods as if to reinforce his point. I scan his last few items as quickly as I can, put his bags in his cart, and tell him his total.

As he swipes his card, he looks me over and smiles.

Customer: “You’re really cute. I’ll have to remember to come through your line.”

He came back that night to pick up some groceries, and this time, he made a point to beeline straight to where I was now manning a busy, full-sized register at the tail end of my twelve-hour shift.

In a store with eight quick-checks, he chose the longest line possible — the tobacco register — even though he had well under fifteen items. He didn’t ask for smokes and left just as quickly as he’d arrived.

He came back again on my next shift, and the one after that, and the one after that. More than once, I got to hear the story of how he was “some kind of psychopath” again, with additional anecdotes about how he “might even be an undiagnosed schizophrenic” and “could beat someone up without a second thought.”

He’d tell me about the latest anime he was watching and why it was twisted and creepy, which action figures he liked to fantasize about killing each other in gruesome ways, and how he took pleasure in slaughtering all of his friends online in various video games. In a vacuum, his speech might have been harmless — I myself enjoy violent video games and other media — but combined with his seeming desire to share the joys of beating people up and joking about having serious, untreated mental illnesses, eighteen-year-old me started to feel uneasy as soon as he walked in the door, to the point where I tried to get out of every conversation as quickly as possible.

But it didn’t matter how I engaged. If I was friendly and tried to change the subject, he’d swing back around to violence. If I was silent and smiling, he took that as approval. If I was quiet and focused on my work, he talked even faster to impart more details of his fantasy life into my own.

Finally, after two months of him coming through my register at least once every shift, if not two or three times, I started volunteering to take abandoned items back to their shelves so I could avoid him. And it worked, for a time… until one of my fellow cashiers pulled me aside on a break and told me that the guy had been asking my coworkers for the schedule of the “cute cashier who always checks me out.”

At that point, I’d had enough. I talked to my manager and told them I thought I was being stalked, and even if I was not, this man made me very uncomfortable and was flirting aggressively with one of their youngest employees.

I’m not sure what happened after that; I wasn’t on shift the next time he came in, but I didn’t see that man again for almost a year. At that point, I had already put in my two weeks’ notice, so I nodded through his, “I remember you! Do you remember me? I’m the guy who…” speech, wished him a good day, and never saw him again. 

Thank God.

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He’s Only A Member Of The Random Jerks Club

, , , , , , | Right | September 23, 2021

My local game store has special sales days for loyalty members. The deals are usually pretty good, like buy-two-get-one preowned, or sometimes buy-three-get-two. Plus, I can usually load up on T-shirts, cute pins, and the occasional decoration for my gaming corner. 

It’s one of those sales, and I’m walking around with several T-shirts and packs of Pokémon pins in my arms. I stop by the PlayStation 4 games, because it’s a great time to load up on games I’ve heard good things about but wasn’t sure about paying full price for. I’m browsing along when some random dude decides to talk to me.

Customer: “Hey, you have a loyalty card, right?”

Me: “Uh, yes.”

Customer: “Can I use it, too?”

I will totally let my close friends use my account, but I don’t feel comfortable letting some random dude use it, especially as it’s tied to my phone number.

Me: “Sorry, no.”

Customer: “Come on. It’s not a big deal.”

Me: “I don’t feel comfortable giving out my phone number, so no.”

I grab my games and go up to the counter. Rando follows a few steps behind. I’m an extreme regular, so the main employees know my phone number by heart. So, thankfully, I don’t have to say it out loud, but rando dude is trying to see over my shoulder.

Employee: “Hey, sir, I’m going to need you to stand over there in line.”

Customer: “I’m with her. She’s my girlfr—”

Employee: “I know her boyfriend, sir.”

I’m single, but thank God for good people!

Customer: “Brother?”

I shake my head.

Employee: “Behind the line, please, sir. It’s store policy, as a lot of our customers pay with credit cards.”

Customer: “Come on!”

Employee: “Sir, step behind the line.”

Rando finally steps away, and the employee rings me up. I pay, take my bags, and head for the door. As I do, rando steps up to the counter and puts the games down with a half slam. I kind of decide to be nosy and see what happens.

Customer: *Points to me* “She said I could use her account.”

Employee: “No, sir.”

Customer: “It’s like, c’mon, it’s like five bucks.”

He’s holding several pre-owned games that have been recently released, where the free one would be around $50.

Employee: “I can sell you a membership and you’ll still save money.”

It’s $15 for the membership, which would mean he would essentially get the third game for $15, which is still a $35 savings.

Customer: “No, that’s too expensive. Just put in yours or something.”

Employee: “I can’t do that. I can only give you a discount if you have your own membership.”

Rando knocked the games off the counter and stormed past me, tossing out a slur that implied that I could be paid in exchange for sexual favors.

Dude, just buy a membership.

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That’s Mite-y Suspicious

, , , , | Right | September 22, 2021

Me: “Welcome to [Pest Control Company]. How can I help?”

Customer: “Hello, I have mites.”

Me: “All right, you have called the line for home insurance policies, and they don’t normally cover mites. I can try to transfer you to—”

Customer: “No, you have to help me. It’s really bad. They are all over my scrotum.”

I am young and innocent at this point and not really believing what I’m hearing.

Me: “Pardon me, what did you say?”

Customer: “They’re all over my scrotum! You won’t believe how much it’s itching! I need help right now!”

Me: “Sorry, are you certain we’re talking about mites? It might be bedbugs; the usual symptoms for that are skin irritation. I just assign work orders, but I can transfer you to a professional who can help you narrow down what kind of pest you might be dealing with.”

Customer: “No, I know it’s mites because they’re just on my scrotum. It itches so bad. Give me your email address and I’ll send you a picture!”

Me: “Please don’t. I’ll just transfer you directly to a [Company] professional.”

Many apologies to the poor person at the pest control company who had to take that call, but we were not allowed to hang up on customers and I was absolutely not paid enough to deal with that kind of thing.

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