The Leave Reprieve

, , , , , | Working | June 7, 2018

(I typically work the closing shift of a major retailer. When the store closes for business, the graveyard shift comes in. Being that they are graveyard workers, they do not have uniforms, nor do I necessarily know them all too well.)

Me: “Hey, man, I’m going home now, so can you lock the door once I leave?”

Guy: “Uh, yeah, sure.”

(I leave through the side exit, and I watch him turn the latch. The following day, my manager has a word with me.)

Manager: “[My Name], when you leave for the night, you’re supposed to tell a staff member to lock the door behind you. You can’t just leave without telling anyone.”

Me: “That’s not what I did. I asked one of the graveyard shift guys to do that for me.”

Manager: “Yeah, about that…”

(Turns out that wasn’t a graveyard shift worker. I had actually asked a customer who happened to be in the store afterhours to lock the door for me!)

A Fret About The Serviette

, , , , , | Learning | June 6, 2018

(I am a fourth-grade student in the late 90s. Our class is having snacks.)

Me: “Does anybody have a napkin?”

Teacher: “You don’t say, ‘napkin,’ [My Name]! This is Canada!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but what am I supposed to say? I need a napkin.”

Teacher: “Don’t say, ‘napkin’! ‘Napkin’ is an American term! We call them ‘serviettes’ in Canada!”

Me: “Okay, geez, does anybody have a ‘serviette’?”

Classmate: “Here, you can have one of my napkins.”

Teacher: “SAY, ‘SERVIETTE’!”

(We didn’t want to suffer through this any further, so pretty much the entire class tried to avoid saying, ‘napkin,’ around this teacher. I was always perplexed by this experience, because every time I went to the supermarket with my parents, I only ever saw napkins being sold; I have seen ‘serviette’ used as the French word for ‘napkin,’ but I’ve never seen it used as the Canadian English term. From fifth grade onwards, I’ve gone back to calling them ‘napkins,’ and haven’t gotten into any trouble well into my adult life. If I had to take anything positive out of this, it was probably what triggered my fascination with linguistics.)

A Different Kind Of “F” Word

, , , , , , , | Learning | March 12, 2018

(I’m hanging out with my friends during lunch break, and two of them are bantering like typical teenage boys.)

Friend #1: “Dude, why are you being so gay right now?”

Friend #2: “You’re the one being a [gay slur], not me.”

Friend #1: “No! You’re gay!”

Friend #2: “You’re gay!”

Friend #1: “Homo!”

Friend #2: “[Gay slur]!”

(At this point, they’re being so loud that a teacher has overheard them and is walking towards us.)

Teacher: “Hey, guys, I’m not here to change your political views, but do you really have to be using that word?”

Friend #1: “Yeah! He’s a [gay slur]!”

Friend #2: “No! He’s the [gay slur]!”

Teacher: “There you go again with that word! Why are you calling each other ‘[gay slur]’? Why not just call each other ‘[racial slur]’ or something?”

Friend #1: “Whoa, not cool! What if a black person walks by when you say that?”

Teacher: “Exactly. What if a gay person walks by while you two are doing that?”

Friends #1 & #2: “Oh.”

(We learned a very powerful lesson that day.)

Not Even Pepper Spray Keeps The Customers Away

, , , , , , | Right | March 5, 2018

(We have an attempted robbery and assault in the store where, thankfully, only bear mace is used as a weapon. Because it is summer time, the central air conditioning is running, and the spray is starting to circulate throughout the entire store. Due to the nature of the incident, we have numerous police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances show up within minutes and block off the parking lot for a couple hours. Media outlets are even on scene, taking photos and shooting video. Police cars are blocking both parking lot entrances, and police tape is put up around the store entrance. We’re all standing outside in the fresh air, trying to get the remnants of pepper spray out of our eyes, and just killing time until the police and fire department give us an update on whether we should stay or simply go home for the day. Most of our regular customers are understanding that they can’t come shop or pick up copy centre orders. However, it boggles my mind that the following conversation happens more than a few times, almost always verbatim:)

Customer: *usually busy texting or just generally ignoring all the pretty, flashing lights and walking under the police tape, only to be stymied by the sliding doors that won’t slide* “Why won’t the door open?”

Us: *looking around at everything going around us* “Uh… sir/ma’am, due to the store being a current crime scene, we aren’t allowed inside the building.”

Customer: “But I just need an item/to pick up an order. I’ll just be a minute!”

Us: “The police aren’t letting store employees into the building until they finish up. And even when they do, we still have to wait for the fire department to give us the all-clear. There’s pepper spray circulating through the HVAC right now, and anyone going inside is required to wear a face mask and breather.”

Customer: “I don’t understand. I’ll just be a minute! I don’t see why you won’t let me in!”

Don’t Discount The Power Of Charity, Part 2

, , , , , , | Hopeless | November 24, 2017

Me: “Would you like to add a donation to [Charity] on to your purchase today?”

Customer: “Sure, why the heck not?”

Me: “How much would you like to donate today?”

Customer: “Let’s do five dollars.”

Me: “Oh, that’s wonderful! On behalf of [Retailer] and [Charity], I would like to thank you for your generous contribution today, sir!”

Customer: “What the h*** was that?”

Me: “I don’t follow, sir.”

Customer: “Can the sarcasm, buddy. I know five dollars isn’t much, but you didn’t have to make a scene over it!”

Me: *cluing in* “Oh, no, sir, that’s not what I was trying to do. No lie, I am genuinely grateful for your contribution. I may have overdone it a little because your donation is technically the biggest I’ve seen.”

Customer: *visibly calmer* “Oh… How much do other shoppers usually donate?”

Me: “They usually don’t donate at all, or at most one dollar with a lot of reluctance.”

Customer: “Is that so? All right, put me down for five more dollars.”

Me: “Yes, sir!”



Don’t Discount The Power Of Charity