They Crossed A Line

, | OH, USA | Right | December 27, 2012

(It is Black Friday. I am waiting with my friend in a queue that wraps all the way around the store. After 45 minutes, we are almost to the front. A nearby rack catches my eye, and since I’m not purchasing anything, I step out of line. My friend and the customer in front of her watch me hold a sweater up.)

Me: *to my friend* “Hey, do you think this sweater’s cute? It’s the last one!”

Friend: “Definitely. I’ll hold your purse while you try it on!”

(I step away to remove my purse. Suddenly, the customer who’s been watching me dashes over, rips the sweater from my hands, and tries to duck right back into line!)

Customer: “Haha, sorry! Guess you weren’t fast enough!”

Friend: “Are you kidding me? I’m not going to fight you for that sweater, but there’s no way you’re cutting back in front of me.”

Customer: “Whatever. I didn’t even leave the line.”

(A nearby employee, who has seen the entire exchange, speaks up before I can say another word.)

Employee: *to the customer* “Ma’am, I just saw you step out of line. You need to go to the back of the queue.”

Customer: “No way! I’ve been waiting forever! It’ll take me another hour to check out!”

Employee: “If it were up to me, I wouldn’t let you buy anything from us at all!”

(The customer stomps all the way to the back of the store.)

Friend and Me: *to the customer* “Haha, sorry! Guess you just weren’t quick enough!”

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The Cake Is A Lie, Part 5

, , , , | Right | November 22, 2012

(My aunt and uncle own a small bakery, specializing in artisan breads, muffins, and bagels. They have never sold cakes, cupcakes, or doughnuts. They also bought this shop in 1989, and have owned it ever since. It is a busy week for them, as one of their bakers is out sick. I am filling in and helping them out while their baker is recovering. A customer walks in whom I have never seen before. She is carrying an arm load of wedding planning brochures and folders, and is speaking to me between text messages she is sending on her phone.)

Me: “Hi, welcome to [Bakery]! How can I help you today?”

Customer: “Yes, I need to place an order for a wedding cake. My daughter is getting married next week!” *she beams with pride*

Me: “Well, congratulations to your daughter! That’s wonderful news, but I’m afraid we don’t sell cakes. We do offer various types of bread, muffins, and bagels, however.”

Customer: “Good. I want it to be a three-tiered cake. On the top tier, I want carrot cake. The second tier should be dark chocolate. The bottom tier should be lemon. All of that with cream cheese icing. Doesn’t that sounds wonderful?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, it does. However, as I just said, we don’t sell cakes here. We only sell bread, muffins, and bagels.”

Customer: “Oh, and on the top tier, could you make sure the carrot cake has no raisins? My darling hates raisins!”

Me: “Again, ma’am, we don’t sell nor bake cakes here.”

Customer: “What kind of special designs can you put in the icing? Her colors are black and pink, and I would like the cake to have a very modern, contemporary look.”

Me: “Ma’am, we don’t sell cakes. I’m sure that a wedding cake specialist could make you what you want, but we can’t do that here. I do have the name of a great wedding cake designer that we refer customers to quite often, and you are free to make an appointment with her to discuss your daughter’s cake.”

(The customer is not paying attention; she doesn’t even look up from her latest text message.)

Customer: “Uh huh? Good.”

Me: “Ma’am, we don’t sell cake.”

Customer: *again, not looking up* “Okay, so the wedding is next week, Saturday. The wedding starts at 5:00, the reception at 7:00 at [Local Hotel ballroom]. I’ll need it delivered to the hotel no earlier than 6:00, and no later than 6:30.”

Me: “Ma’am, like I said, we don’t sell wedding cakes! I have the name of someone you can call, but with just over a week until the wedding I’m not sure she, or anyone, would have time to prepare what it is you are asking.”

Customer: “Oh, and just put it on my house account with you and send me a bill.”

Me: “Ma’am, we don’t do billing, and haven’t in the entire time I’ve been in this shop. Plus, we don’t sell wedding cakes!”

Customer: *suddenly looking up* “What do you mean, you don’t do billing?! I’ve been a loyal customer of this bakery for more than 20 years! I have never been told I couldn’t have a bill sent to my house! I am good friends with [Former Owner], I’ll have you know!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sure you and [Former Owner] are good friends. However, they sold this bakery to the current owners in 1989. She has not owned, nor been affiliated with, this bakery in 23 years.”

Customer: *goes back to her phone as a new text message comes in* “Yes, I thought you’d see things my way! Now, I have to run. Bill me; my name should be in your system!”

(As I try to protest and get her attention, she sweeps out the door while answering an incoming phone call. Since I did not know her name, or any way to reach her, I simply write off the experience as an oddity and continue about my day. I leave a note for my uncle, who is opening the next day, but he apparently doesn’t share the note about the customer with my aunt. The next week, on Friday afternoon, I get a frantic phone call from my aunt. She is upset and asking something about me taking an order for a wedding cake, and begging me to come down to the bakery to help her figure out what is going on. As I enter the bakery, the woman from earlier is back, having come in to check on the status of the cake order, and my heart sinks.)

Customer: *pointing to me* “Him! He is the one who took my order, guaranteed that it would be ready, and promised to bill me for it! Why would you hire such a worthless piece of trash?!”

Aunt: “Miss, that is my nephew. Please do not call him names.”

Customer: “Oh, I’ll call him whatever I want to call him! He screwed up and deserves to be held accountable here!”

Aunt: “Miss, as I already told you, we have never sold wedding cakes. I don’t know what you are talking about!” *then, to me* “Did you promise her a wedding cake, to be delivered tomorrow to [Local Hotel ballroom]?”

Me: “No, I didn’t. In fact, that is opposite of what I told her. I told her, several times, that we do not sell wedding cakes, and never have. I tried to give her [Wedding Cake Designer]’s name, but she didn’t listen to me.”

Customer: “Like h*** you did! You promised me a cake for my daughter’s wedding! Her wedding is tomorrow and I demand you make sure her cake is there!”

Me: “There is nothing we can do. I told you, several times, that all we sell are breads, muffins, and bagels. We don’t sell cakes. We don’t deliver. And we don’t bill people. I’m sorry if you didn’t understand that earlier. I’d be happy to offer you a couple loaves of bread if it would help smooth things over here. But, I’m sorry; there is nothing I can do about a wedding cake.”

Customer: “I don’t want your disgusting breads! I want the cake you promised me!”

(She starts swearing up a storm and threatening me bodily harm.)

Aunt: “That’s it! Ma’am, my nephew explained to you when you first came in that we don’t sell cake. He offered to put you in contact with a wedding cake designer. You didn’t listen to him, so this mistake is all yours. Now you are threatening him. Please leave, before I call the police.”

Customer: “You haven’t heard the last of this! You will all be sorry for what you have done here!”

(Sure enough, she stayed true to her promise. Over the next six months we heard from her four different attorneys she hired, her daughter, and her new son-in-law. Each time we explained to a family member what had happened, and they apologized profusely for her behavior once they realized what kind of bakery we were. Each attorney we sat down with who represented her apologized for wasting our time, and then dropped her case. Two of those attorneys are now regular customers of the bakery and love the breads!)

 

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Viva La Revelation

, , , | Right | August 1, 2012

(It’s the 4th of July, and I’m 9.5 hours into my 10-hour shift. For the umpteenth time today, a customer asks why I’m working on the 4th of July.)

Me: “Welcome to [Credit Card] customer service. My name is [My Name]. How may I help you?”

Customer: “Why the h*** are you at work on Independence Day?! Are you even American?”

Me: “Yes, sir, I was born and raised in Florida. How can I help you?”

Customer: “If you’re really an American, you wouldn’t be working today. You’d be celebrating our nation’s freedom!”

Me: “You know, I’d love to be with the rest of my family enjoying the festivities and fireworks, not to mention the food, but I’m here working to support my family. And, I wouldn’t be working if YOU weren’t calling.”

Customer: “Oh… I never thought of it that way.”

Me: “No one ever does. How can I help you?”


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Get Yell Soon

, , , | Right | July 17, 2012

(While standing near a store’s greeting card selection, I overhear this conversation between an older customer and an employee.)

Customer: “Excuse me, I’m looking for a Father’s Day card to give to my son. However, you only have two here and they’re stupid.”

Employee: “I’m sorry, but those are the only ones of that type of card that we have.”

Customer: “But they’re stupid!”

Employee: “I’m sorry, sir.”

Customer: “You know what? You need to call your greeting card people and make them send you better cards! You know, we’re all growing older here and we have sons that have children. I want to give my son a Father’s Day card! What is wrong with you people?”

Employee: “I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t have any control over what the greeting card company sends us. We just display the cards they provide us with.”

Customer: “Well, I’ll just have to go to [Other Store] then! Maybe they’ll have what I need!”

Employee: “Feel free to do that, sir. However, I can tell you that they are supplied by the same company. They will have the same selection.”

Customer: “This is ridiculous! I guess we’re just not supposed to get older, is that it?! We’re not allowed to age! You need to call your supplier and demand you get better stock!”

Employee: “I’m sorry, sir, we have no control over—”

Customer: “CALL THEM! What an outrage! You are the rudest employee I’ve ever had to deal with! We’re just getting older! We should be allowed to get older! Call your company RIGHT NOW!”

Employee: “Sir, if you just leave your name, I can tell my manager you have a complaint—”

Customer: “NO! JUST CALL YOUR D*** COMPANY!” *angrily storms out*

Dementia In Absentia

, , | St. Michaels, MD, USA | Working | April 26, 2012

(The owner of the place isn’t all quite there — too much to drink some days — and hardly knows how to run a business. Every day, she calls in to check on business.)

Me: *answering the phone* “Welcome to [Store]. This is [My Name]. How may I help you?”

Owner: *sounds hungover* “[My Name]? When did you start working?”

Me: “I’ve been here since we opened at seven am.”

Owner: “What time is it now?”

Me: “Almost 11.”

Owner: “Okay, I’ll be in around noon.”

(Noon rolls by and she doesn’t show up until around six pm.)

Owner: “Sorry, I’m late. I had to do errands.”

Me: “Oh, okay. Well, I’m almost finished cleaning up and then I’ll be leaving.”

Owner: “That’s fine.”

(The owner pulls out a bottle of rum hidden in the freezer, grabs a cake from the cooler, and then empties out the register.)

Owner: “I’m going home now. See you tomorrow.”

Me: “All right. I’ll lock up when I’m done.”

(I finish cleaning up by seven pm and just before I lock up, my cellphone rings. It shows my boss on the caller ID.)

Me: “Hi, [Boss], I’m leaving now.”

Owner: “On your way home can you drop me off my bottle of rum, maybe a cake, and tell me how much money is in the drawer?”

Me: “Uh, when you stopped by earlier, you took the rum, the cake, and the money.”

Owner: “No, I didn’t!”

Me: “Yes, you did. You put your money in your pocket, and took the bottle of rum and the cake to your car.”

Owner: “I swear you stole it! I’m going to call the cops and they’ll be arriving the same time that I get there!”

Me: “I swear that you stopped by and picked up the rum, your cake, and the money from the register not even an hour ago.”

(I hear a car door open in the background, followed by a string of swears.)

Me: “I take it you found what you were looking for?”

Owner: *flustered* “You lucked out this time! I found the cake and the money, but the bottle of rum is empty and sitting on the passenger seat of my car!”

Me: “Did you drink it on your way home? I don’t think the cops would have appreciated that.”

Owner: *click*

(I closed up shop, left my key, and never returned to work after that!)

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