The Gift Card That Keeps On Giving, Part 21

, , | Right | June 17, 2021

This woman was extremely annoyed after I accidentally threw out her gift card after using half the balance and gave her a new one without activating it. I mean fair enough, it was annoying for her, but a human mistake; I was really sick with a kidney infection. She comes back in after the business replaces her original gift card.

Customer: *Incredibly smug* “I’d like to pick up the gift card that you guys screwed up. I’ve been on the phone with your head office all morning and they gave me a new gift card due to your incompetence.”

I go through the rest of the transaction with her, which involves her refusing to tell me what she wanted to buy, and instead insisting that we put aside her purchases from when she tried to use the inactive gift card.

Customer: “I’ll never shop here again, so you know.”

I wonder how she’ll use this new gift card without coming into the store.

The Gift Card That Keeps On Giving, Part 20
The Gift Card That Keeps On Giving, Part 19
The Gift Card That Keeps On Giving, Part 18
The Gift Card That Keeps On Giving, Part 17
The Gift Card That Keeps On Giving, Part 16

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When Someone Is REALLY Rude To Them Their Minds Are Going To Be Blown

, , , , | Right | June 17, 2021

I’m working at a card shop. One morning, two ladies come in. After browsing for a minute, they come up to the register. They put their cards down on the counter. I reach for them to ring them up.

Me: “Did you find everything—”


Me: “Oh. Uh, okay. Sorry.”

They stand up there going through the cards. I’ve never seen anyone do this before. You wouldn’t take a bunch of groceries up to the belt and start going through them there, so I don’t know why she thinks it’s okay here, but there are no other customers in the store, so I let it be. I’m not allowed to leave the register when customers are there, so I just stand there awkwardly, watching. Eventually, she chooses three cards out of the big stack she brought up.

Customer: “These.”

Me: “Okay, that’ll be [amount]. Receipt with you or in the bag?”

She literally throws her money at me. When the receipt prints, she snatches it out of my hand. I hand her her change.

Me: “Have a great day!”

Her friend glares at me as they walk out.

Customer: *Over her shoulder* “Could you be any ruder?!”

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Nursing A Dealing-With-Customers Hangover

, , , , | Working | June 17, 2021

During the health crisis, I receive a request through [Booking Platform] to book my house for one person, for three nights.

Booker: “Hi. We would like to book your lovely accommodation for one of our Filipino nurses coming over on Monday for three nights. She is coming over for some training at [nearby location]. Let me know if it is available!”

This is unusual because, normally, the guest makes the booking themselves.

Me: “Hi. Can you ask the nurse to make the booking directly?”

Booker: “She is already very stressed about the training. Normally, we book on their behalf.”

Me: “I’m going to need more details about how this works, please.”

She explains that she works for a recruitment agency. They hire nurses in the Philippines and hire them to hospitals in the UK. Seems legitimate.

Me: “Thank you. I need to speak to the nurse directly to vet her.”

Booker: “She is called [Guest]; you can reach her on [number]. She flew in yesterday from Manila.”

I phone her. She confirms the details of her stay and is grateful for somewhere within walking distance. A nurse travelling on work seems low risk, so I authorise the booking.

Then, I do more research. I discover that this is called a “third-party booking” and, in short, it is inviting a lot of trouble. It’s against the booking platform’s rules, for good reason. Neither party is protected. If she sets my house on fire, tough. If I kick her out at 3:00 am, tough luck for her.  

However, there seems to be a way to increase my protection: amend the booking to list the additional guests, so it says, “[Booker] and [Guest]”. Since this should be easy to do, I backtrack on the already confirmed booking. Meanwhile, I get a text.

Guest: “I’m bringing my husband, too.”

Me: “The booking is only for one person.”

Guest: “But I’ve read your profile! You have two guest bedrooms. I need him to show me where shops are. Also, I told [Recruitment Agency] I would bring my husband.”

Me: “Right, but I charge extra for additional guests. Anyway, these details need to be included in the original booking. I am also not responsible for communication between you and [Recruitment Agency].”

Guest: “I’ll pay you the extra in cash.”

Me: “Payment has to go through [Booking Platform] to protect both parties. I will amend the booking now to list you and your partner and send it to [Booker] to approve.”

Guest: “But [Booker] is on annual leave!”

Why on earth would someone start a project like this right before they go on leave?

Me: “There will be someone covering for her in the office. I will sort it out quickly and let you know. Just text me when you’re coming, so I can meet you at my house and let you in, okay?”

I amend the booking and send it [Booker] to be approved. There is no reply. I message her on a separate app and state that I won’t let the guest check in unless the amendments are approved. She finally gives me the email address of a director at [Recruitment Agency] based in the Philippines. The director is a doctor and has an MBA. I ask her to contact me immediately. At 2:00 am, my phone rings.

Me: “I need the booking amended for two reasons. First, so the actual guests are listed on the booking. Second, to include my extra fee for [Guest’s Husband] for three nights.”

Director: “I don’t understand what the problem is. We’ve booked thousands of nurses like this and had no problem.”

Me: “That is not how [Booking Platform] works; the guest has to make the booking. In any case, you agreed to those terms when you set up an [Booking Platform] account. It will literally take you twenty seconds to approve this.”

Director: “This higher fee is going to screw up my accounting books! Questions are going to be asked about this. Can’t you just take it in cash? And [Guest’s Husband] is only coming for the first night.”

Me: “Fine, I’ll take it cash and send you a new booking amendment for the same price, with the guests listed.”

I send a new booking, which she finally approves.

Director: “I still don’t see what the problem is!”

Me: “There is no way I’m letting an uninsured guest into my house. It’s pretty important that you understand this, because it affects every single host who you deal with. Would you like me to put it in an email?”

Director: “Yes, please.”

I email her and explain how [Booking Platform] works: the guest makes the booking and lists everyone in their party, only those people are insured, and third-party bookings are bad for the guest and the host. I felt disrespected when they asked me to host an uninsured guest. It’s also really confusing for me. I need a consistent point of contact, and bookings shouldn’t be made the day before someone goes on annual leave.

Finally, check-in day comes. [Guest] doesn’t arrive. She doesn’t contact me or reply to my many calls and messages. In my years of hosting, this has never happened. By 21:00, I’m concerned for her safety. A young, female migrant worker who has just arrived in my country seems like a vulnerable person. I know she is probably sitting in a hotel room somewhere, but I would rather overreact than take the chance that she has come to harm. I call the police and report her missing.

The next morning, I receive an email.

Director: “Please call off the police. [Guest] is safe at training. She is commuting from elsewhere, instead. Since she hasn’t availed of the booking, please refund us in full.”

You have got to be kidding. I am furious.

Me: “Do you mean to say that I spent the entire weekend cleaning my home and waited all of yesterday for [Guest]? She could not find ten seconds to tell me she wasn’t coming? Here is my policy on refunds: cancellation up to five days before check-in. You are one day after check-in, so you are not eligible for a refund. In any case, I am not a hotel. You cannot expect to no-show at a [Booking Platform] accommodation and still get a refund, especially where the house is shared with the host. You’ve been disrespectful to me from the get-go and your attitude has been appalling. Never contact me again.”

I have since amended my house rules. I do not reply to requests for third-party bookings. Any unauthorised overnight guests will result in everyone being removed from the property and the booking cancelled. I learned a hard lesson about reading the warning signs early on.

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Here’s Hoping That Train Of Thought Gets Derailed

, , , , , , | Learning | June 17, 2021

I’ve just moved to a new school. Neither of my parents is able to consistently pick me up after school, so I’m given money for a train ride. After school, I walk up to the train station, sit on the bench, and wait for my train to arrive.

This is my second time riding the train, so I’m a little bit nervous. Cue [Classmate]. This guy comes up and sits next to me. There aren’t a lot of benches, so I think nothing of it and continue to draw in my notebook.

Classmate: “So, you go to [School]?”

Me: “Oh, yeah, you?”

Classmate: “Same, it’s my first year.”

I’m feeling pretty good, and we start chatting about school stuff. I’ll admit, I think he is pretty hot at first. After a bit, he starts talking about all his previous girlfriends, the one that got away, the one from another country that still loves him even though she had to move away, etc. He goes on for a bit, and I am thoroughly uninterested in this topic.

Me: “Yeah, I don’t really relate. I’m gay, so…”

Classmate: *Chuckles* “Yeah…”

He then continues with his line of thought. Being the young little innocent queer that I am, don’t know a lot about South Africa’s very homophobic opinions despite how our constitution says it, so I shrug it off and continue to mildly chat with this guy from time to time.

A bit into the year, I’m walking to the train station, and a bit up ahead I see [Friend] and [Classmate]. [Friend] and I were friends before coming to this school and she admitted to me after I came out that she’d had a bit of a crush on me, but this didn’t affect our friendship. I rush over to them and we start a conversation. After a while, [Friend] asks me:

Friend: “So, did you end up asking that guy out?”

Me: “Yeah, I did, but he said no because he’s straight.”

[Classmate] does a dramatic turnaround. I can hear the reality show stinger as he opens his mouth.

Classmate: “Wait, you’re gay?!”

Me: “Yeah… I said so when we first met.”

Classmate: “I thought you were joking!”

Alarm bells in my head that young queer baby me has never heard and doesn’t understand are going off, and the gods decide that this divine comedy is not yet over. Next, my dear [Friend] leaves because she takes a bus and her stop is just on the way to the station.

I’m trapped. I’m sitting on the bench, my drawing book firmly in my bag so I can leave quickly. I still don’t know why I’m feeling such dread when [Classmate] speaks.

Classmate: “So, like, when did you decide to be gay?”

My school is very liberal, so I have not yet had to deal with ignorance like this, so it takes me a second.

Me: “I didn’t. I was born this way.”

Classmate: “Ah, I see… Are you a virgin?”

Oh, so that’s what my gay spidey sense is for.

Me: “Dude, you can’t ask someone that. How would you feel if I asked you that?”

Classmate: “Nah, dude, it’s not the same.”

Me: “Yes, it is. It carries the same emotional weight and the STDs. Pregnancy isn’t what makes sex special.”

[Classmate] brushes it off and continues to ask me some more personal questions.

My prayers answered, the train arrives and [Classmate] drops this dazzling gem.

Classmate: “By the way, don’t have gay sex. One of my friends from my old school died of gay sex.”

I’m just all for getting away from this guy now, and I hurriedly go to my usual cart. He tries to get me to sit in a different cart with him, which I refuse. Yeah… not so hot anymore.

A few weeks later, I’m still processing this whole thing, and then I realise how homophobic he was being. I share it with some of my friends and they are shocked, but I never go to the administration because I feel I took too long to realise what happened.

We share a drama class, and we end up getting assigned to be partners for an activity. Done with this man, I refuse to work with him, and I am forced to sit in silence in the drama room while others do trust activities. He confronts me about it after class.

Classmate: “What was that?!”

Me: “You said a lot of homophobic things to me and I refuse to work with you”

Classmate: “I can’t be homophobic; my sister’s gay! Name one thing I’ve said.”

I then went on to recap everything he said and left. He tried to act like he was going to defend himself, but he heroically shrugged it off like he was being the bigger man and letting it go. I didn’t see much of him afterward. Apparently, he got expelled because he was caught stealing a phone before an exam. Self-inflicted karma is sweet.

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Magic: The Boobening

, , , , | Right | June 16, 2021

I am the youngest and only female staff member in the comic shop where I work. I am also described as being a short, really busty Tinkerbell. This has caused some problems in the past with customers, but this is by far one of the weirdest experiences I’ve ever had.

We’re running a “Magic: The Gathering” tournament, and due to there not being enough people, I agree to jump in and play, too. When I get to the second round, I am put against a man a few years older than me who always comes in with his mom.

Me: “Hey, [Customer], so I know you’ve been playing this game for years. I started, like, three months ago. So, try not to crush me, all right?”

He smiles and nods, and the game goes on. I’m doing surprisingly well and manage to beat him in two out of three games, sending me to the next bracket. After we shake hands and he congratulates me, his mother comes to the table while we are getting our decks back together.

Mother: “You know, you really don’t have to resort to… those tactics to win. Is that what [Store Owner] told you to do today?”

Me: “Uh… what?”

Mother: “You know! Obviously, these boys can’t play well if they’re distracted!”

Me: “Distracted by…?”

Mother:Those! How much tissue paper did you stuff that shirt with, anyways?! You look like Dolly Parton!”

She’s waving her hands towards my chest, which has now gotten the attention of other players around us. Both her son and I are now blushing from the attention being focused on us.

Me: “Ma’am, they’re real. There isn’t anything stuffed down my shirt. And I can’t do anything about their size or whether or not people stare at them. I won because I got lucky, that’s it.”

Mother: “Well, he should still be allowed your spot, because you distracted him!”

Me: “Hey, [Customer], did I distract you with my feminine charms?”

Customer: “Your what?”

Me: “My boobs. My huge tracts of land. Were you too distracted to play?”

Customer: “Um… no? No, you’re a minor. I swear I wasn’t checking you out!”

Me: “I know you wouldn’t, but seriously, tell your mom that. Okay, off to the next player!”

The son looked a little embarrassed, but at least his mom shut up and let us all finish the tournament, standing in a corner to pout like a child. He still ended up doing really well, and we joke about me cheating whenever he loses to me in a game.

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