Our Heart Is Not With The Children

, , , , , | Right | April 19, 2018

(I work as a bagger at a grocery chain well known for its great customer service, assigned baggers at each till, and complimentary service to take customers’ carts out and load their cars. I wear a small heart monitor that has wires connected to leads on my chest, slightly visible under the shirt if I am standing straight. If my heart rate goes too fast or there is an unusual-looking rhythm spike, the monitor lets out a loud beep and I have five minutes to press a button telling it that I don’t need emergency services. If I don’t or can’t hit the button, EMTs are dispatched to make sure I’m not passed out from a dangerous rhythm and unable to get help. A nanny pulls up with a half-full cart and two young boys. One boy is probably four years old and the other is about six or seven, obviously the worst-behaved of the two.)

Me: “Well, hi there, big guys!”

(I start bagging and carefully setting things in the cart around them. The older boy stands up in the cart and leans over to start hitting me in the shoulder and upper chest, with a huge smile on his face.)

Me: “Uh…”

(I pat his head gently to move him back a bit. It’s only my second month working, and I’m afraid to talk back to any customer, no matter how young. The nanny is having a conversation with the mother on the phone, is obviously very overworked, and doesn’t see what’s happening. A few minutes later, I finish bagging and put two hands on the side of the cart to offer to take them out and load their car. I’ve quietly asked the boy to stop several times, but he keeps hitting me. It’s gentle enough, since he’s young, so I tolerate it. The nanny finally notices as she begins writing out the check.)

Nanny:  “Hey, now, she ain’t afraid of you. Stop it.”

(She goes back to her check. The older boy gets nose to nose with me, as I turn my head back to adjust my hold on the cart, and blows a very spitty raspberry in my face before landing a rather hard punch right on one of my monitor leads.)

Me: “Hey!”

(The monitor goes off. I have to pull my shoulders back so I can reach it on the back of my belt to shut it off.)

Older Boy: “OH! WHAT’S THAT?!”

(Then, he grabbed the now visible wire bumps and ripped my leads off my chest. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone as mortified as that poor nanny. Next time, when the mother actually came in with her children, the manager told her that she could no longer bring the kids into the store because her son had practically assaulted me. She left all huffy after they showed her the security tapes of her “little angel.”)

A Venomous Sibling Relationship

, , , , , , | Related | April 18, 2018

(A friend gets a call from his brother. After talking a little:)

Friend: “Oh, did you know that Mom got bit by a rattlesnake?”

Brother: “No, I didn’t! Is she all right?”

Friend: “Yeah, they kept her in the hospital overnight, but it was a dry bite, and she’s okay.”

(Dry bites are when the snake doesn’t inject any venom. They are surprisingly common, as the snake doesn’t want to waste the venom. [Brother] thinks about it a minute and then calls their sister.)

Brother: “Hey, sis, did you know Mom got bit by a rattlesnake?”

Sister: *screams* “NO, I DIDN’T! Is the snake okay?”

Sick Or Treating

, , , | Related | April 15, 2018

(It’s Halloween. I’m about eight years old. I’m wearing a costume my mother made me: a giant chocolate donut. All day long, I’ve been woozy, my face is red, and I am sluggish. Despite my protests, because I want to finish trick-or-treating, my mom takes me to the hospital, and I find out I caught pneumonia.)

Nurse: *upon seeing my unhappy face* “Aw, sweetie, not feeling well?”

Me: “I’m missing trick-or-treating!”

Nurse: “But don’t you want to get better?”

Me: “I want candy!”

Nurse: “Well, I have some Tootsie Rolls here.”

Me: “I want better candy!”

Nurse: *to my mother* “Well, at least we know what her priorities are!” *to me* “All right, how about some lollipops, instead? I love your costume! You’re a… What are you?”

Me: *frustrated* “I’m a donut! Obviously!”

(The majority of my memories are of me being upset I missed Halloween. I barely remember being sick.)

Plastic Makes Them Hotter Than The Peppers

, , , , , | Right | April 13, 2018

(I am a cashier at a grocery store. Very often customers will not bag their produce, and we have to handle each item of food.)

Me: “Hello. How are you today? I hope you found everything you need.”

Customer: “Paper.”

Me: “Okay, no problem; we have plenty of paper bags.”

(I begin scanning and weighing the produce items.)

Me: “Make sure you wash all of this really well, because I haven’t washed this equipment or my hands since my shift started.”

Customer: “Ugh! Don’t they let you wash your hands?”

Me: “No, not unless it is my break. I have to stay at my work station. I always suggest that people use the plastic bags in the produce area because I handle money, people’s store cards, raw packaged meat, trash on the floor, and whatever else comes my way.”

Customer: “Well, I hate plastic! It is evil!” *rants*

(As I come to the end of the items, I notice several fat, juicy jalapeño peppers. I grab a plastic bag and use it to fish the peppers out of the cart and place them on the scale.)

Customer: “I TOLD YOU I HATE PLASTIC! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”

Me: “I am allergic to jalapeños and will not be able to wash my hands until my break.”

Customer: “You should respect my wishes and not use plastic for my order!”

Me: “I understand, but for me, the plastic bag is a safety device, and for my protection, I have to use the plastic to handle the peppers.”

(Her eyes bulged, and she huffed and puffed her way over to the customer service desk to call me a bad employee to my superiors. Then, the plastic-hating customer stomped her way through the parking lot to her suburban land yacht. Since my manager refused to discipline me, she called our corporate HQ to describe how poorly I had treated her. Up and down, and round and round went the investigation of my lack of customer service. I got a finger shaken at me by corporate HQ and a “coaching” on how I could have ensured my personal safety without insulting the customer. They even used the incident as a talking point at ALL of the customer service training meetings EXCEPT the one I was registered to attend.)

Above And Beyond The Hotelier’s Call

, , , , , | Hopeless | April 10, 2018

When I was 14, my family and I took a vacation to a popular amusement park. The hotel we were staying at was not an official hotel affiliated with the park, but it was in the area.

On our third day of our vacation, I woke up very sick. We thought I either caught a stomach virus or had food poisoning. No one else in my family was sick, and we had day passes to one of the amusement parks that I wasn’t too thrilled about going to, so they used that pass that day.

Anyway, being 14, my parents decided it was okay for me to remain in the hotel room and sleep. My parents are the worrying type, so they told the front desk that I was sick and that they would really appreciate it if someone could just check on me once during the day. The lady at the front desk said no problem, took my mom’s pager number — this was before cellphones were really affordable — and asked if there was anything else I needed. My mom said some clean sheets would be good, and thanked her. She came back upstairs to let me know that someone would be coming by with sheets, and if I needed anything to call the front desk.

About two hours after my family left, there was a knock on the door. The woman had a name badge and a cart, so I opened the door. She had a huge basket on the cart with a balloon on it that said, “Get well soon!” The front desk had sent up a basket with numerous stuffed animals, crackers, ginger ale, and soup. I was so happy I started to cry. What was set to be the worst day of my vacation turned into one of the best days.

When my family came back, they were shocked. My brother — who was 21 — was actually jealous that he didn’t get anything. My mom went down to the front desk to thank them and to pay for the items. The front desk told her no, the basket was on the hotel, free of charge.

I don’t know if the hotel still does that for sick kids, but it certainly made my vacation absolutely awesome. Thank you, hotel!

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