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A Couch Cheese-Potato

, , , | Right | December 12, 2017

(I just started working at a game store that has an upper floor where people can go play games in private, and can also order some snacks. My new boss is telling me that before closing time I must go and clean the gaming rooms.)

Boss: “Be sure to check everywhere. You’ll be surprised by the ways customers can dirty up the place.”

(I go ahead and clean up the place. I do find a surprise while doing so, and when finish, I relate to my boss:)

Me: “Seems one of the kids that was here earlier didn’t finish his cheese snack and, for whatever weird reason, decided that the best course of action was to stuff the half-finished bag inside the couch.”

Boss: *chuckles* “I wish I could tell you that’s the weirdest thing I’ve found.”

The Only Wrong Thing Here Is The Therapy

, , , , , , | Friendly | December 12, 2017

(I am in bad shape after a rough breakup that involved several of my friends “choosing sides” in favor of my ex. This happens not long after my parents’ divorce, and I am also a senior in college with a thieving roommate. I am struggling daily with extreme stress and depression, and on a particularly bad day, I swallow a bunch of pills. A friend takes me to the hospital, where I am informed that my action has triggered some legal thing in which they must send me to a psychiatric unit, that I have no say in the matter, and that my friend must leave. I am horrified, ashamed, and alone. Hours later, after being locked in a dark hospital room, an “intake counselor” comes in and starts asking me questions before I’m taken to the psych unit. I answer him honestly and list all of the factors in the thunderstorm that was my life, including my parents’ divorce, a dear friend moving away, and my fiancé dumping me, and at the end of it all, I say:)

Me: “I just feel so abandoned, like people keep leaving me.”

Counselor: *puts down his pad, looks me straight in the eye* “Well, clearly, there’s something wrong with you.”

Me: “What?”

Counselor: “There’s something wrong with you, or people wouldn’t leave you. Something about you makes them leave.”

Me: *shocked and in tears* “There’s nothing wrong with me; I’m just having a hard time—”

Counselor: *cutting me off* “No. There’s something wrong with you. We’re going to take you to a place where they fix you. Then, this won’t happen anymore. We’re done. They’ll come for you soon.”

(He abruptly left, and I burst into tears, suddenly terrified by whatever this place was they were taking me to and what could be in store for me. The scary place turned out to be a rehab facility, not an electro-shock chamber with “A Clockwork Orange” eye clamps like I imagined, and I was actually able to get some help in dealing with my losses and grief. My friend who took me to the hospital continues to be amazing and helps me sort out things in my life so that I can get healthy. I have never gone back to that dark place, metaphorically or literally. Thankfully, when I told my parents about what the intake counselor said, they furiously called up the clinic. The clinic representative admitted it wasn’t the first time they had received complaints about how he talked to patients. A year later, I heard through my therapist with whom the clinic had placed me that the intake counselor had been let go. I was glad to hear, because his words haunted me, and still do to an extent.)

Karma Rewards Patience

, , , , , | Right | December 12, 2017

(I work the overnight shift at a location that has two drive-thru lanes. A young woman pulls up in the drive-thru.)

Me: “Your total is $3.47, miss.”

Female Customer: “Thanks. Could I also pay for the guy behind me? I accidentally cut him off.”

Me: “Of course! That’s so nice!”

(I process her order but have to call a manager since she is using the same card twice. The whole time the guy behind her is revving his engine, clearly irritated. I finally get her the second receipt and the guy behind her suddenly guns it around her and pulls out of the parking lot. Both she and I just sit there, dumbfounded.)

Me: “Well, I guess he really didn’t want to wait. I’ll get the manager to refund that order for you.”

(Kudos to the young girl for being willing to pay for him in the first place and then for being patient so we could refund her. The staff working that night had a good laugh about it.)

Customers Are A Danger To Everyone

, , , , , , | Right | December 11, 2017

(I work as a farmhand, and part of my job description entails operating farm tractors and ATVs. Due to safety regulations, as well as liability and insurance policies, customers are not permitted to ride on the tractors or ATVs. On this particular day, I’m helping customers by taking baskets of tomatoes they’ve left in the field to the storefront, where they can check out. To do this, I need a tractor.)

Me: *driving tractor* “Can I help you guys with anything?”

Customer: “Yeah. Can you pick up our tomatoes, please?”

Me: “Sure, I’ll go and get them.”

(I drive off, and the customer starts yelling. I stop the tractor.)

Customer: “Can I get a ride?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir; it’s against our safety rules.”

Customer: “Come on, just a little one? I’ll tip you extra if you do.”

Me: “I’m sorry; I can’t. You might get hurt.”

Customer: “But it’s so slow.”

(I walk around to the fender of the tractor, and I point to a sticker that says “DANGER: Riders can fall off and be killed or seriously injured.”)

Me: “Sir, can you please read that for me?”

Customer: “’Danger: riders can fall off and be killed or seriously injured.’”

Me: “That’s why I can’t give you a ride.”

Customer: “I’ll hold on!”

Me: “What if you lose your grip?”

Customer: “Where’s your boss?!”

Me: “He’s inside the store.”

(The customer storms off to the store while I help other customers. A short time later, the customer and my boss walk out to where I am.)

Boss: “Hey, [My Name]. Can you come over here, please?”

Me: “Sure.” *I walk over to him and the customer*

Boss: “This customer tells me you won’t help him.”

Me: “I told him that I won’t give him a ride on the tractor, but I’ll be more than happy to pick up his tomatoes.”

Boss: “Okay, I just wanted to clear that up.” *turns to customer* “Sorry, but we can’t give customers rides. It’s not safe.”

Customer: “But it’s so far!”

Boss: “Again, [My Name] will be more than happy to help you.”

Customer: “What kind of a place is this?! You people are stupid!”

Boss: “Where do you work?”

Customer: “I work at [Construction Company].”

Boss: “Would you let your kids play with a backhoe?”

Customer: “No, that’s dangerous!”

Boss: “Yeah, go figure.”

Customer: “But this is different!”

A Familiar Problem In A Foreign Land

, , , , | Friendly | December 11, 2017

I go to China with my dad at a very young age. I am extremely tall, so when I interact with people in public, they treat me like a young adult, which is very confusing to me. I only speak Shanghainese, which is specific dialect that has no written language anymore. I know only basic Chinese.

The airport I am in is a lot less crowded than the one back home, but because I am still so young, I am holding onto my dad’s jacket as we walk around. In my head, it should be clear I am a child because of this.

My dad sits me down with our stuff near the bathroom as he leaves to do his business. Not even a minute later, a woman comes up to me and insists I sign something. I try to say my Chinese is not good, but she’s deaf and ignores this as she forces her clipboard into my hands.

Everything on that clipboard is written in Chinese, and I see names written down with numbers next to them, but no money sign of any sort. I shrug and figure she’s collecting signatures. I think that maybe the numbers are the time of day that people have signed, because they don’t go past 24, and because it is a different country I assume they have used military time.

I do my best to write my Chinese name, as my parents taught me, and I write 13.47 down, which is the time. When I give it back to the lady, she smiles and holds out her hand. I don’t know what she is doing and just shake her hand. This goes on for a bit as she gets increasingly more upset.

Eventually, she throws her hands in the air in frustration and shows me the clipboard again, jabbing at the number I wrote down. I keep trying to act out “I don’t know” to her, but she just scowls and keeps referring to the number. My dad finally comes out of the bathroom and sees what is going on. I think he is going to clear things up when he moves me and our stuff behind him as he goes to the woman.

Instead, he puts on a stone face after he sees the clipboard once, and mouths, “No, we don’t want to. We don’t have any,” in Chinese to the woman, while repeatedly waving his hand in her face until she scowls and leaves, glaring at me.

My dad tells me that she was a “donations collector” for deaf people and most likely came to the airport to try and find foreigners to get money off of. He also tells me that my behavior made it clear I was a foreigner because I was willing to listen and see what that woman was doing. According to him, local Chinese people know to shoo those types of people away, and that being rude is the only way to save your money and belongings in China if you’ve been “targeted.”

I’d like to say this wasn’t true, and I still try to be kind to people when I first meet them, but these types of situations continued to happen more times than I’d like to admit whenever I went back to China. I have indeed learned to ignore the “collectors” that wander in places that have many foreigners.