Working Hard: $100; Holiday Spirit: Priceless

, , , , | Right | December 3, 2012

(I am working in the jewelry department of a big retailer. It is December 23, and my coworker has called in sick, so I am working an 8-hour shift by myself. About 5 hours in, I am ridiculously busy and have yet to take a break. Customers are lined up and getting irate.)

Customer #1: “Oh, this is lovely. Do you think my son will like it? He’s about your age.”

Me: “I definitely like it. And since it’s the holiday season, I can print out a gift receipt. He has until January 15 to exchange it if he doesn’t like it.”

Customer #1: “Lovely. I’ll take this, please.”

(I ring her up as quickly as I can. I’m starving, thirsty, and really have to use the bathroom. Unfortunately the line is not letting up and customers are starting to yell at me. I call upstairs and request some help from anyone. 10 or 15 minutes go by and no one shows up. By this point I’m desperate.)

Customer #2: “About time! Hurry up and get me that pair of earrings for my wife!”

Me: “No problem, sir. I’m so sorry for the wait, my coworker called in sick and it’s just me today. Now just so you know the earrings are non refundable for hygienic reasons.”

Customer #2: “Fine, fine, just hurry up.”

Customer #3: “Hey! Hurry up!”

Me: “I’ll be right there, sir. Just a moment!”

(I call up again for some help and again no one comes. I’m in serious pain by this point and feel very light headed. I help a few more customers when this little old lady asks for help.)

Little Old Lady: “Hello, dear. It’s quite busy in here today, isn’t it?”

Me: “Yes, it is! But, then again, that’s the holidays for you!”

(I help this customer, who is quite pleasant and doesn’t seem to mind when customers yell across the counter at me. She even lets me go cash out the simple ones while continuing to help her. This alleviates the line quite a bit. I finish helping this customer and just as she’s about to leave a man comes to my counter visibly upset and slams his fist down on the glass counter angrily.)

Customer #4: “YOU! HELP ME NOW!”

(I am shaken by him slamming his hand on the desk.)

Little Old Lady: “Hey! Leave her alone. She’s all by herself and trying her best! Have some holiday spirit!”

Customer #4: “Well, I’ve been waiting a while and she’s not trying hard enough! She’s wasting time talking to people instead of helping them!”

Me: *tearing up* “I’m really sorry, sir. I’m trying my best but I’m all alone today and I’ve yet to have a break. I keep calling for help but no one comes. I’ll be happy to help you now, though.”

Little Old Lady: “I’ll be right back, dear.”

Me: *confused* “Okay, ma’am.”

(I help the angry customer, and he leaves a little less angry than when he got in. I’ve moved on to other customers and have forgotten about the sweet old lady. Suddenly, she comes back with the store manager!)

Little Old Lady: *to the store manager* “There! Look at her! Look how hard she’s working all by herself! She’s called for help but no one shows up! Now, I think you should take over while this young lady gets a break for all her hard work!”

Manager: “Yes, ma’am, of course. I had no idea this was happening.” *to me* “Go take an hour to have your lunch. By the time you come back, I’ll have two other people with you.”

Me: *starts to cry out of relief* “I can’t. I’m the only one who knows where everything is. And you have other things to do.”

Little Old Lady: “Sweetheart, don’t worry. Go take your break!”

Manager: “Go, I’ll be fine. We can manage an hour without you.”

Me: “Okay.”

Little Old Lady: *gives me a big hug as I’m leaving* “You have a good rest of your shift!”

Me: “Thank you!”

(I have my hour and come back feeling much better. The store manager is still there with two other workers, one from electronics and another from the general cash.)

Manager: “Ah, you’re back! How was your break?”

Me: “Great!”

Manager: “Come to my office at the end of your shift.”

Me: “Okay.”

(At the end of my shift, I go up to his office and he tells me what I great job I did today. He says he was sorry that I had to go through what I did but he rewards me with a 100$ store gift card. The little old lady came back a few weeks later to give me a thank you card for the great job I did that day. Goes to show that not all holiday shoppers are mean during the holiday season!)

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Don’t Mess With A Browncoat

, , , , , , | Right | December 3, 2012

(I work in a movie/TV memorabilia store. Most of the stock is sci-fi related. A boy approaches my station.)

Boy: “Excuse me, you sell stuff like Klingon to English dictionaries, right?”

Me: “We surely do. There’s two in stock at the moment.”

Boy: “Okay, so then do you have a dictionary for Firefly to English? I’m like, obsessed with it… I’d like to know what the people are saying when they speak the space language, so I can say I know everything!”

Me: “Oh, it’s not actually a made-up language. They’re speaking Chinese.”

Customer: “Eh? They are not. It’s a space language. It’s set way in the future and everyone lives in space. Have you never seen it?”

Me: “I have indeed. I’m a big fan. I assure you they speak Chinese.”

(The boy looks surprised and then laughs loudly at me.)

Boy: “You’re a lassie. Isn’t Firefly more for guys? There’s loads of fighting and stuff. You can’t know that much about it. Why the h*** would space-folk speak Chinese, then?”

(I pull my keys from my pocket, from which dangles my Serenity spaceship key-ring.)

Me: “I also own the DVD box-set, the graphic novels, cast posters, 2 t-shirts and several other bits and pieces. I’ve even met Jewel Staite. The characters speak Chinese sometimes because after the war, America and China were the only remaining large power countries, who came together to form The Alliance. The culture-fusion resulted in a mixture of both English and Chinese being the commonly spoken tongues.”

Boy: “You just made that up. You don’t even know. I know far more than you. Who’s Jewel Staite supposed to be, then?”

Me: “She’s the actress who plays Kaylee!”

(A second customer in line who has been listening with interest suddenly pipes up.)

Customer #2: “I thought you knew everything about the show? Quit being such a tool and let me pay for my stuff already.”

Boy: “But I just want a Firefly dictionary! This stupid cow won’t help me!”

Customer #2: “You’ll find a Chinese to English dictionary in any big bookshop. Now if you’ll leave the poor lassie alone, you gorram a**, that’d be shiny!”

(I can’t help but laugh and the boy flips us both off, then storms out, kicking a display as he goes. I smile at the second customer.)

Me: “Thanks for that, mate. Always nice to get back-up from a fellow fan.”

Customer #2: “No problem. That boy was a total sha gua.”

(I gave the customer a free Firefly keyring like mine for that. Note: ‘sha gua’ is Chinese for ‘fool’.)

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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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Emma Gets Frosty

, , , , | Working | November 5, 2012

(I’ve stopped by a comic store near where I live. I see an attractive young woman and an employee arguing.)

Employee: “I’m telling you, we don’t have what you’re looking for here.”

Woman: “Yes, you do. I was just looking at what I want.”

Employee: “We don’t have anything for girls here!”

Woman: “Do you know who I am?”

Employee: “A lost girl who won’t listen to me!”

Woman: “No. I work for [Comic Publisher]. I write comics for a living, and I’m here to look for a [Popular Superhero Comic] that was recommended to me.”

Employee: “Bulls*** you work for [Comic Publisher]! They don’t hire girls!”

Woman: “I am the writer of [Comic Series].”

Employee: “I highly doubt that!”

Woman: *crosses her arms* “Then go check!”

Employee: “Oh, I will! Girls can’t write comics!” *storms off*

(Eventually, the employee returned, albeit sheepishly; apparently the woman was telling the truth!)

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Not All Knights Are In Shining Armor

, , , , , , | Minneapolis, MN, USA | Right | October 15, 2012

(Two of my children suffer from a rare, genetic bone disease and they both have recently had major surgery. My 10-year-old had his hip rebuilt and is using a wheelchair, while my 13-year-old had a tumor taken out of his ankle and is using a walker. The 10 year old also uses a walker to move from his chair to the car. I am parked in a handicapped space, and am trying to get them loaded into the car. There are 6 open handicapped spaces, but this elderly man decides he needs the space directly next to my driver’s side.)

Elderly Man: *honking horn* “Get out of the way!”

Me: “I need to get the kids loaded. I’ll be out of the way shortly.”

Elderly Man: *honking even louder, scaring my 10-year-old* “Get out of the way, lady! You don’t even need this spot.”

Me: “Sir, my two disabled children do need this spot, but there are several other open spots if you’re in a hurry.”

(By this time, I have my wheelchair-using child in the car. I set his walker aside to push the chair to the back of my car and retrieve my older child’s walker from the other side of the car. Unfortunately, I am not fast enough. The elderly man honks again, then bullies his way into the spot and DRIVES OVER the walker. I am nearly in tears, and have just put my head down trying to get the wheelchair folded up and put in the trunk of my car. The elderly man gets out of his car while I have the chair half way from the ground to the trunk.)

Elderly Man: “You’re very rude! You should be ashamed of yourself! You shouldn’t even be using this spot. It’s obvious you don’t need it!”

Me: *literally slack-jawed* “I’m sorry you feel that way…”

(As the elderly man leaves, two young men who look like thugs approach me.)

Young Men: “We’ve seen everything and feel really bad for you. Can we help you get the wheelchair and walkers into your car?”

Me: *crying and trembling* “Yes…”

(Not only do the young men get the medical equipment in my car, but they get my 10-year-old laughing again with their non-stop jokes. After they finish helping me…)

Me: “Thank you! Can I do anything to repay your kindness?”

Young Men: *wave me off* “We’re just doing what decent people would do. Have a pleasant day!”

(I found out later that they’d noted the elderly man’s tag number and had gone inside to report the incident to the manager. The police were called and the elderly man was held responsible for the damage to the walker.)

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