Something To Celebrate

, , , | Right | December 25, 2020

The last day of Christmas is a public holiday here in Switzerland.

Caller: “I tried to contact you yesterday, but nobody answered the phone.”

Me: “Yesterday was the last day of Christmas, so the office was closed.”

Caller: “I don’t celebrate Christmas; you should respect that!”

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Being Nice Is Just Ornamental

, , , , , | Right | December 25, 2020

I work for a department store at the customer service desk. It’s a busy Saturday and a woman about my age, in her early thirties, comes to pick up an online order: some Christmas ornaments. I hand her the box and we both realize it is damaged.

Customer: “Oh, the box is damaged. Can I check to see if the ornaments are okay?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, you sure can.”

Customer: “Okay, the ornaments seem fine. I’m going to go check to see if y’all have another one and exchange it for one without a broken box.”

Me: “That’s absolutely fine. Here is your receipt, and you can exchange it at any register.”

Customer: “Thank you so much!”

The following Tuesday, we get a negative review from a customer about the day she came in to get her online order. As I am listening to my boss read it, I realized it is my customer from that Saturday.

Review: “I went in to pick up my online order and the box was damaged. The girl never offered to go get me another one and told me to go find one and exchange it at a different register. I had to wait in another long line to get it exchanged and this is completely unacceptable.”

Luckily, my boss heard what really happened and threw out the negative review. So much for being nice.

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Call From The Grinch On Line Two

, , , , , , , | Working | December 25, 2020

My first real job is at a local boutique which, at the time — the mid-1980s — is still a fairly busy, mostly decent chain. The store is divided up into areas designated by number. When we need an employee from a department somewhere, we do an overhead page using the area numbers: “Area #1 Girlswear to register #3,” for example.

When we page Area #2 seasonal, we normally replace “seasonal” with the actual season. One really busy winter’s day, we need a price check on a Christmas ornament, so the page goes out.

Page: “Area #2 Christmas to register #4, please. Area #2 Christmas to register #4.”

But after a couple of minutes — it is REALLY busy, and no one from the floor is able to make it up to the registers without being grabbed by another customer — the customer at the register says that it is okay and she’ll pay the price that rang up. So, we cancel the first page with a second one.

Page: “Cancel Christmas, please. Cancel Christmas.”

I swear, the entire store packed with holiday shoppers fell silent for at least ten seconds. The laughter lasted a bit longer, with some of the customers at the registers fervently agreeing.

This story made the national internal newsletter for the [Boutique] chain.

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A Christmas Affair To Remember

, , , , , | Related | December 25, 2020

It’s Christmas Day and my family is together at my house for dinner. My grandmother has been vocal about her disdain for homosexuality, especially after I came out six months ago, often using religion and obsolete laws — which she describes as “proper” laws — as justification.

My mum has no patience for it; she sees it as hypocritical given how open and proud my grandmother is about the affairs she has had in her life. She has told me repeatedly not to take any of the abuse. I’ve told her I’m willing to put up with it if it keeps the family together. I also don’t see my grandmother often, so I have never really seen the full extent of her diatribes.

When my grandmother arrives and sees me, she immediately goes into a long rant about how they should bring back chemical castration for homosexuals, and that they should refuse treatments for homosexuals with STIs — namely HIV/AIDS. She continues this throughout dinner, making it awkward for many and slowly filling me with simmering rage. My mum keeps telling her to shut up or she’ll throw her out, but as she’s the only one making the threat, it falls on deaf ears.

While waiting for dessert, my grandmother addresses me directly, with my mum glaring daggers at her the entire time.

Grandmother: “[My Name], you need to try being straight. It would make your family happy. It would make me happy, and you want me to be happy, don’t you? You’re going against my wishes being a [slur]. It’s not Christian. Won’t you try being straight? Have you ever tried?”

Me: *Sarcastically* “I have. Have you ever tried not having an affair?”

The room goes completely silent before my mum snorts and bursts out laughing. Several other family members do so while others stare in shock. My grandmother blushes and excuses herself.

After dessert, my mum and dad are cleaning up in the kitchen. My grandmother is in the corner of the lounge smoking while I’m playing on my phone. A loud crashing of pans comes from the kitchen, followed by my mum looking like she could kill, and her cousin shortly after.

Mum: “If anyone in this family thinks my mum deserves an apology because she’s ‘upset’ after being called out on her infidelity, and not her 16-year-old grandson after being told he should be castrated and thrown in prison for life for something he has no control over, then you do not belong in this house, and you do not belong in my life.”

With that, she stormed back into the kitchen. The rest of the evening had a mute calm, with my mum repeatedly glaring at her mum and cousin every time they moved. The morning after, I asked what had happened in the kitchen, but she only told me her cousin wouldn’t be welcome at our house anymore after she “picked her side.”

Admittedly, my response was childish and petty, and I probably should have just kept my mouth shut instead of letting her get to me. My family feels pretty broken right now, and although my mum keeps telling me it isn’t my fault, I can’t help but feel that it is.

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Say Sayonara To The Screamers

, , , , , , , | Right | December 25, 2020

My family has just enjoyed a fun Christmas trip to Japan, the final leg of which was in the northern part of the country, Sapporo. The original plan was to fly from Sapporo to Haneda and then catch a connecting flight there back home.

However, this goes a little awry; during our stay, Sapporo gets hit with a historic amount of snow, which has impeded travel. Our flight does eventually get off the ground, but with a delay of two hours, we’re not confident we’re going to make our connecting flight.

Despite our best efforts, we do miss the cutoff for boarding. Another couple who were trying to make the same flight are there, as well, and we’re all understandably disappointed and frustrated with the circumstances.

We all trudge back to ticketing to see what can be done, and here’s where things go really sideways. The young woman of the other couple immediately raises her voice at the ticket agents, saying how unacceptable this is and that they need to be on that flight, and what are they going to do about it?

Of course, we’re in Tokyo still, and these poor gate agents don’t speak perfect English, which is only frustrating the young woman further. Soon, she’s yelling for a manager. She looks to us as though we’re going to back her up, but my brother simply says it’s frankly more likely that their manager speaks even less English than the gate agents, and it doesn’t change that we missed the flight, which was honestly no one’s fault. She huffs and then proceeds to ignore us and continue her tirade.

At this point, another gate agent opens, and we go to speak with her. We explain the situation and ask if there are any other possible flights or routes that might get us home within roughly the same time frame, and if there aren’t, it’s not a huge deal; we can spend the night if need be. The agent is incredibly apologetic, which we gently brush off; it really wasn’t their fault! Even though we aren’t communicating perfectly, we are able to figure out a new route with her that will have us make one more stop but get us home only a few hours later than expected.

We thank her profusely and start to head out with our new tickets, but she calls us back. The other couple is still fighting with the other agents and their manager — who, as expected, doesn’t speak as much English as the customer-facing gate agents — and our agent quietly thanks us for being so calm. She sends us along with passes for one of the nicer lounges where we can grab a shower, free drinks, and a bite to eat while we wait.

We joke around now that the couple is probably still there, uncomfortable and yelling. Truly, just being understanding and kind where you can greases a lot of wheels!

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