The Wrong Person Got Their Jaw Wired Shut

, , , , , , | | Right | May 23, 2018

(I was recently in a pretty bad car accident that left me with a broken jaw which had to be wired shut. While I can talk, I tend to avoid it since it is painful at times, and it is sometimes hard to understand me. My boss understands this, and has even gone so far as to have these big “Cannot Speak” signs made up with some details to explain my problem. For the most part, the customers have been nice and understanding about it. One day, around noon, I’m sweeping the front of the store when a smartly-dressed woman steps through the door. She walks over to me and asks where something is, and I don’t answer. Instead, I wave in the direction of the manager who comes over and asks what it is she wants, while I go back to sweeping. The woman asks and is directed to what she needs, and the manager comes back and tells me to ring her up.)

Woman: “Oh, hell no. I don’t want him ringing me up.”

Manager: “And why not? Did he do something wrong?”

Woman: “No, it’s just that he’s obviously a [disabled slur]. I don’t want this waste of human space screwing up anything.

Me: “Not [disabled slur].” *my words slur due to clenched teeth*

Woman: “See? They can’t even talk right. If I were president, I’d have all of them aborted before birth.”

Me: “Not [disabled slur].” *slurred again*

Woman: “Oh, shut up and let the adults do business.”

(I held up a finger to my manager, who I could see was VERY pissed. Walking over, I picked up a piece of paper from the copier, snagged a marker, and wrote out, “You ignorant, uneducated bigot. I can’t speak because I had a car accident, which you may have read about in the newspaper. My jaw is wired shut.” I turned the paper around so she could read it. I watched her look at it, look at me, and then look at the manager. You could almost hear the gears working in her mind as she started to blush, and refused to look at me the entire time. Shortly after she left, one of the regulars who overheard the conversation noted that it was everything he could do not to smack her in the head, in the hopes it might knock some sense into her.)

Not Taking Account

, , , , | Right | April 24, 2018

(This customer is on his phone.)

Me: “Do you have a rewards card with us?”

Customer: *gives number*

Me: “I’m sorry, that number isn’t coming up; is there another I could try?”

Customer: *gives another number*

Me: “I’m sorry, that number isn’t coming up, either.”

Customer: *gets off phone* “What?!”

Me: “Neither of those numbers are coming up in our system.”

Customer: “Well, that’s not my problem, is it?! I’ve been coming here for 15 years!”

Me: *tries numbers again* “Sir, I’m sorry, but those still aren’t coming up.”

Customer: “Are you checking to see if I have an account?”

Me: “A rewards card, yes.”

Customer: “I don’t have one. I was on the phone, so I didn’t know what you were saying.”

Driving You Around The U-Bend

, , , , , , | Right | April 17, 2018

(I’m the manager of the plumbing department at a hardware store. I’m also female, which has lead to some customers thinking I couldn’t possibly know anything about plumbing. Often, I pull out some knowledge so that they actually ASK their questions instead of grumpily sending “the girl” away. One day I walk up to one of our customers in the PVC pipe-fittings area. He’s holding an object wrapped in a plastic grocery bag.)

Me: “Good morning! Is there something I can help you with?”

Middle-Aged Man: “No. You wouldn’t know the answer. I can find it.”

Me: “Well, sir, you’re looking through our toilet flanges. Do you know if you have 3″ or 4″ PVC? Are you replacing a cast iron flange?”

Middle-Aged Man: “No! It’s not iron! It’s plastic!”

Me: “Okay, so do you know if it’s 3″ or 4″? We have one right here that will fit either, if you’re not sure!”

Middle-Aged Man: “No, that one won’t fit! It doesn’t match this one!”

(He holds up the item in the grocery bag. It’s a used toilet flange. Toilet flanges are what sit underneath the drain from your toilet. All of your waste passes through it.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. I have to ask you to take that item outside. It’s a biohazard.”

Middle-Aged Man: “No! They said I could bring parts inside! They said it was okay!”

Me: “Sir. We sell food here. That is a biohazard. It has been in contact with human waste. You have to take it outside.”

Middle-Aged Man: “They told me it was okay to bring parts in. Where is your manager?”

Me: “Sir. I am the manager. You still have to take it outside. Now.”

(At this point, he storms over to the Guest Services desk. I calmly follow him.)


Me: *staying calm* “Sir, you can bring in a part, but the poop has to stay outside.”

Small Talk Means Big Problems

, , | Working | April 17, 2018

(This is mostly my fault, but it blows up because of the customer’s attitude. I am working as a cashier in a hardware store when a customer comes to my register with a flat cart loaded down with bags of mulch. He tells me how many bags he has, and I nod politely, say, “Thank you,” and start scanning each bag individually, counting them as I go.)

Customer: *repeats* “There are 16.”

(The customer seems tense and his voice is gruff.)

Me: “Thank you for letting me know. I do have to count them, though.”

Customer: “Do you think I’m a thief, or do you just not trust that I can count?”

(Here’s where I make a big mistake. I jokingly say, “Both,” while smiling, and trying to lighten up the mood a bit. I can tell it’s not working, so I say:)

Me: “It’s just a loss-prevention measure. It’s to make sure we are scanning the right number of bags, and that they’re all the same, because sometimes two bags look similar but aren’t the same item.”

Customer: “I spend over ten grand in this store every month, and you’re accusing me of theft. I want to talk to your manager!”

Me: “I was trying to make a joke. I don’t think you’re stealing. I’m just trying to scan items the way I was taught.”

(The customer insists that I accused him of theft, and tells the same story to my manager. I am honest. I tell the manager about my bad attempt at making a joke, and that I didn’t actually accuse the customer of anything. The manager sides with me, especially once the customer starts raving about how much money he spends in our store.)

Manager: “That’s interesting, because I’ve never seen you here before.”

(The customer finally leaves, still in a rage, even though I apologize multiple times. He emails corporate and insists that I be fired. The manager and I have a talk where he tells me he has to write me up, but that he doesn’t want to. He also tells me just to let go of any sense of humor I might be tempted to have while at work.)

Manager: “Smile, be polite, and be helpful, but don’t talk to customers beyond what’s necessary for business.”

They Are What Is Wrong With Signs, Personified

, , , , | Right | April 13, 2018

(Our store has a separate counter for plumbers and electricians. One Saturday I am covering this counter when an older man comes in.)

Me: “Are you registered with us, sir?”

Customer: “No.”

Me: “Are you a qualified plumber or electrician?”

Customer: “No.”

(I check the public counter; it’s empty.)

Me: “Sir, this is a counter for tradesmen in plumbing and electrics. If you go through that door on the left you’ll go to the public counter.”

Customer: *irate* “I came here to buy electrics! Your front door is misleading!”

Me: “Sir, it says, ‘Plumbers & Electricians,’ not, ‘Plumbing & Electrics.'”

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