Allow Me To Explain How Time Works…

, , , | Right | June 21, 2021

I’m a hostess at a local restaurant in my city.

Me: “Hello, y’all! How many are in your party?”

Customer: “We’ll have eight tonight.”

Me: “All right, that’ll be about forty to fifty minutes at the moment.”

Customer: “What?! We called an hour ago and the guy on the phone said it would only be thirty minutes!”

Me: “Yes, that was the wait at that time. It got much busier, though, so our wait time went up.”

Customer: “Fine, I’m putting my name down, but this is ridiculous.”

Ten minutes go by, and I’m calling and seating names that are ahead of this lady.

Customer: “We have been waiting for forever, and you’re calling names that aren’t ours! I want to talk to a manager!”

I get one of my managers, who’s a really chill guy.

Manager: “What’s the problem, ma’am?”

The lady complains to him, telling him that I was skipping over her name and lying to her. The manager looks at the waitlist and the info that I wrote down.

Manager: “Ma’am, you were here for ten minutes. There were other people before you. That’s how time works.”

The lady huffed and went back to her group but kept asking every five minutes how much longer they had to wait. When I sat them, everyone in the group made off-handed comments about the service, trying to rile me up. They ended up leaving a $5 tip on a $70 check.

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Putting The “Hot” In “Hotel”

, , , | Right | CREDIT: SomewhereIdRatherBe | June 20, 2021

A few years ago, I was the front office manager of a popular hotel brand in my town. We had some unfortunate circumstances within our rooms that led to many valid complaints. There was very little we could do to rectify the situation due to budgets and brand standards. I did the best I could with what I had and was known for being not giving in to rude people and their demands.

One day, a gentleman and his wife check in. They aren’t overly rude at first, but they aren’t particularly friendly, either. The wife handles the check-in process. After, they go and get their room set up and I watch them leave. They come back toward the end of my shift, about 10:00 pm, and go up to the room.

Within five minutes, the husband is standing angrily at my desk. I mentally prepare myself and step out of the back office.

Husband: “We turned the heat up to ninety degrees and our room is only seventy-five! This is outrageous. We are going to freeze tonight!”

I’m wondering where the f*** it is acceptable to sleep in a ninety-degree room in the states.

Me: “I do apologize, sir. Unfortunately, our individual thermostats will not go above seventy-five degrees. You can set them higher, but the system will not allow for the temperature to rise that high. I see you have our king suite which allows enough room for a space heater. Would you like me to bring you one?”

Husband: “A space heater?! Are you kidding me?! I want my heat to go up to the temperature I set it to and nothing else! I won’t be sleeping with a space heater, and I will be sleeping in a ninety-degree room!”

Me: “Again, sir, I do apologize, but that isn’t an accommodation I can provide. I have some extra blankets I could deliver to your room, with or without the space heater to help keep you comfortable.”

Husband: “Not acceptable. I can’t believe you won’t give me what I want. Call maintenance.”

Me: “I cannot do that, sir. It is almost 10:30 pm and we are only authorized to call maintenance after hours for emergencies.”

Husband: “This is an emergency. I want your manager and maintenance man here now.”

Me: “I am the manager on duty, and I will not be calling anyone else to come into the hotel tonight. I have offered the solutions available to you. Would you like to take advantage of the blankets or space heater tonight?”

Husband: “No. I demand compensation for my troubles. I will not be able to sleep tonight, and my wife will not be happy. What are you going to do for me?”

Me: “Of course, I understand. I am happy to offer you 250 bonus points for your stay if you are interested in skipping housekeeping tomorrow. What do you think?”

Husband: “Fine. What else?”

Me: “Additionally, I can let the breakfast attendant know to extend your room’s complimentary breakfast for the remainder of your stay.”

Husband: “It’s about time you did something useful. Thanks for wasting my time.”

He went back to his room. But here’s the fun part: his wife had already signed up to skip housekeeping for those extra points during check-in. He hadn’t been paying attention when she did that. And at our chain, breakfast is always complimentary. I compensated his troubles with rewards he was already entitled to, and he was none the wiser. His wife left a four-star review and we had no complaints for the rest of their stay. I did have to make sure housekeeping turned the thermostat back down after they left, though.

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This Is Why We Need Black History Month, Part 2

, , , , , , | Right | June 18, 2021

It’s 1988 and I have been with the library for not quite a year.

Black History Month is upon us and children of all shapes, sizes, colors, and cute smiles are looking for information on various famous people.

But they clearly do not know what or who they are looking for.

Child #1: “I am doing a report on a famous black singer. Her name is Martha.”

Me: “Oh, good choice. Martha Reeves and the Vandellas were a great singing group!” 

Child #1: “There’s another Martha? My report is on Martha Luther and her Kings.”

Next child:

Child #2: “I need a book on a famous black man who got his leg shot off during the war.”

Me: “Um, I am going to need more information than that. Which war are we talking about?”

Child #2:The war.”

Me: “Honey, there have been lots of wars over the years. Was it the Civil War? The American Revolution? World War II?”

Child #2: “The Revolution! Yes, the revolution! When the people came here from England to fight the Americans to free the slaves.”

We finally figured out we were looking for Crispus Attucks, though I don’t remember him getting his leg “shot off,” only that he was among the first killed at the start of the Revolution.

And then there were the inventors. Not Lattimer or McCoy or Madame C.J. Walker. No, we are talking about the well-known John Doe. Mary Smith. Lotta Peeples. Who “invented” THE comb. The hairbrush. THE washing machine. And of course, the kids needed at least five books on each of these people.

No surprise, there were none. Cue child sobbing because they have to write an eight page paper on this person.  

We had to start writing a form letter to teachers (which soon became known as the Dear Dummy letter) explaining that back in the day, many, many, many people created and patented a new version of the hairbrush or the comb, or created and patented a different version of a wringer for a hand-cranked washing machine. Or new buttons. Or corsets. Shaving creams…

We had to explain that these people were black, white, Hispanic, or Asian background, and that the only reason we know they existed and what their race was is because the forms for the patent office included a little box for this. ALL we know about the inventor is his or her invention, their name, the number assigned their patent… and their race.

Regardless of their race, there are not five paragraphs, let alone five books on each person.

Imagine having to send that out daily with an extra line scrawled at the bottom saying, “Please allow [Student] to choose a new topic so he won’t flunk your class.”

Every year for closing in on ten years, the head of the tech department where patents were kept would contact teachers and explain that we could not supply five books on the life of a citizen who happened to try making something new for an already existing device, so please don’t ask kids to write a ten-page paper on them. Every year, the teachers would say they understood… and then send the kids in to research the same obscure people anyway.

And of course, my favorite kid was the one who came in with his dad. The child darted across the floor to the desk, leaned against it, and crowed, “Hey! Where your dead black people at?” His father — both were African American — did a facepalm and shook his head. He said, “Son, they aren’t keeping the bodies on ice out back. Tell the lady who you want to read about.”

That exchange had the dad and I laughing for most of the exchange. I miss those days, as the demand for writing reports has fallen off. I just hope I never have to explain to another child that the singer she wants to report on is actually a Civil Rights Leader.

This Is Why We Need Black History Month

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This Is One Heck Of A Yarn

, , , | Right | CREDIT: SomeSonance | June 18, 2021

I work at a craft store chain with several stores in the area. I’m a cashier, but since we have so many cashiers, I often work on the floor when we aren’t as busy. Thanks to the health crisis, we’ve been having slow incomes of stock, piled on top of customers buying more supplies than usual since they are stuck at home having to do crafts.

I am returning items to the shelves when I get stopped by an interesting customer.

Customer: “Hello, do you have this style of yarn in stock?”

Me: “Let me check!”

The customer shows me her phone and I find the item that’s on our app. There’s a SKU there, which I look up, and it shows that we are out.

Me: “I’m sorry, it looks like we are out of that yarn.”

Customer: “Do you have any in overstock?”

Me: “No, we do not. Our list of stock details all stock, including overstock.”

Customer: *Sighs* “When will you be getting more?!”

I need to emphasize that processing is not my field of study in this job, as I am normally a cashier. I do know that we get new shipments in on Mondays, but yarn has been coming in increasingly sparingly and we haven’t gotten many new shipments in a while due to low supply.

Me: “Due to delays and low stock thanks to the health crisis, we are not able to tell when any new shipments of that yarn will arrive.”

Customer: *Beginning to look frustrated* “Are you sure there isn’t any in overstock?!”

Me: “I’m positive. We do not even have an overstock location set for this type of yarn, as we haven’t had overstock for it yet.”

The customer’s kids pop up out of nowhere.

Kid #1: “Mommmmm, I need to go to the bathroom.”

Customer: “Have [Kid #2] take you!”

Kid #2: “But I don’t know where the bathroom is.”

These two children are young. [Kid #2] looks to be maybe five years old, while [Kid #1] is about three years old or so.

Me: “The bathroom is right around this corner!” *Points*

Customer: *Shooing her kids off* “Yeah, yeah, go.” *To me* “Are there any other stores that may have the yarn?!”

Me: “I can check. Can you please give me a moment?”

I check my scan gun for other store availability.

Me: “It looks like nearly every single store in the nearby vicinity is out, as well. Though there is [Location] across the city which may have a few—”

Customer: “But that’s so far! I don’t want to drive out that far!”

I’m trying to stay as silent as I can. I’m not very confrontational at all and try to let the situation calm down as much as I can. The customer is beginning to look really infuriated from such a small thing, and I’m not one to fuel the flames.

Me: “I understand your frustrations, but I’ve checked every single store that could possibly be nearby, and every single one is out of stock except for [Location].”

Customer: “Fiiiiine, but I’m going to call them to make sure they have it.”

I help her set up a call with the other store. She insists that I stay and help her call, even though I have many other things I could do instead. During this time, her children return and are clearly desperate for their mother’s attention, but the customer physically shoos them off because this call is apparently more important. Eventually, she gets on the phone with the other store after calling three times.

Customer: “Hello. Can you check if you have this specific yarn in stock? I have the SKU number here.”

Employee: “Sorry, we aren’t able to do that since we are busy right now and don’t have anyone available on the floor to check.”

Customer: “But I need to see if you have this yarn before I drive all the way out there!”

Employee: “There isn’t anyone available to check for you right now.”

Customer: *Frustrated* “Can I speak to the manager?!”

Employee: “I’m gonna put you on hold.”

While she’s on hold, the customer addresses me.

Customer: “[Craft Store] has terrible customer service!”

I am baffled. This customer has now just addressed me, a customer service member of said craft store, complaining about the customer service of said craft store. I have no clue how to respond and simply awkwardly nod. What kind of response am I supposed to give?! I want nothing more than to get out of this. For five agonizing minutes on hold, I sit with the customer and her energetic children begging for attention. Eventually, though, the other location’s manager picks up the call.

Manager: “Hello?”

Customer: “Hi there. Can you check if you have this item in stock?”

Manager: *Checks* “I’m sorry, we do not have any of that yarn in stock.”

Customer: “But I’m at a different store and it says you do have it in stock!”

Manager: “Sometimes the system incorrectly puts in the number in stock when mixing up returns. Our apologies.”

Customer: “Are you sure?!

Manager: “Yes, I’m sure.”

The customer hangs up and turns back to me. I manage to negotiate and look at other yarn she may also need for her project and see if she can get that yarn first. It takes many more grueling minutes of sifting through every single aisle of yarn we have, but I eventually help her get a cart full of yarn for her project. As soon as we finish, I am called up to the register to assist with the line. It is extremely hard to hide the visible relief on my face.

This is not the end of [Customer]’s story. Even though we have three cashiers at the registers, I am (un)lucky enough to get [Customer] back at my register when she comes up to pay. Her kids are still running around but she doesn’t even look in their direction. I am desperate never to see her face again, so I quickly ring her up.

Near the end of the transaction, she shows me a coupon.

Me: “I’m sorry, we no longer accept competitors’ coupons.”

Customer: “Since when?!”

Me: “Since last March. There are several signs placed around the registers.” *Points*

Customer: “Do you have any other coupons?”

Me: “We have a 20%-off coupon on our website!”

Customer: “Do you have anything better than that?!”

I explain all the possible options we have for discounts at our store.

Customer: “Can I just… Can I… AUGH!” *Grabs her purse and kids* “Can you put it on hold?”

Me: “Uh… sure… Wait—”

Before I could stop her, the customer nearly ran out of the store with her kids in tow. I tried to stop her to let her know that I needed a name and phone number to put her order on hold, but she was gone before I knew it.

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The Biggest Pests Are The Callers

, , , , | Right | June 17, 2021

There is a realtor who has service with our pest control company and occasionally orders inspections through us for her clients. She is rude, entitled, and snooty, and none of us can stand her. Oftentimes she will call in and demand things that we can’t provide, often legally speaking, like information about other people’s accounts. For a while, we would just tell her no and hang up, but now we’ve all made a point to waste her time as much as she wastes ours.

Realtor: “Hi. I’m calling about a mutual client of ours, [Client].”

Me: “Yes, ma’am?”

Realtor: “When was the last time you serviced his lawn?”

Me: “Do you pay for his lawn service?”

Realtor: *Indignant* “No!”

Me: “Then, I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you that.”

Realtor: *Huffing* “Look, he’s got lots of little purple flowers in his yard and I just want to know what you’re going to do about it!”

What she’s describing is a common weed in this part of Florida, colloquially called “Florida snow.” I’ve been almost manically pleasant with her up to this point, but now I really dial up the innocent sweetness in my voice.

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I’m not familiar with your client’s landscaping situation or preferences. I would hate to send someone out and have them ruin his yard.”

Realtor: *Screeching* “Well, you’re no help at all!”

Then, she hung up. She’s right, though; we definitely can’t help her at all. Stop calling.

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