The Public Is Me And No One Else

, , , , , , | Right | February 15, 2019

(I am a customer in this story, doing some work in the public library because it’s usually quiet at home. This library has special Microfilm computers which are free to use for people to look up family history, etc. I am sitting on a desk next to a free one when a middle-aged lady with a walking stick comes to the end of the aisle and starts complaining to a member of staff.)

Lady: “It’s not fair that all the machines are being used! Someone should move!”

(I’m a little confused, because I can see a number of free machines, but I take it that this lady wants a particular one and is hoping if she complains loud enough, someone will move and she’ll get it.)

Library Staff: “There more machines over there.” *points to the other end of the room* “Or, if you’d like, you can go over to the search desk and they’ll be able to look it up for you. Is there anything in particular you’d like to look for?”

Lady: “No, I’d like a machine to use. It’s not fair when other people use them or students come in and use them. These machines aren’t meant for them!”

Library Staff: “The machines are for public use, and if students are using them for their intended purpose, then they can use them. If you’re not willing to use the machines over there, there’s nothing I can do to help you.”

(An elderly man tries to help and point her in the right direction to a free machine, but she just gets angrier.)

Lady: “FINE! I guess I’ll just go and have a walk round, then, if that’s what you want! Honestly! The nerve of some people!”

(She starts to hobble towards me, sees the empty machine, and pounces. I think this is the end of the whole thing, but she turns and says.)

Lady: “See? Someone obviously heard me complaining and left because they were afraid they were in the wrong. It’s not about how or what you say, it’s about how threateningly you can say it! And if that doesn’t work, hit them with your cane!”

(She then proceeded to go about her work and left me alone, but I couldn’t help but think what an entitled a** she was. And they call my generation “snowflakes.”)

Behaving Like A Rugrat

, , , , , , , | Right | January 18, 2019

(I am a cashier, checking out a woman who has random bits and bobs, including a rug. She is on her phone the whole time, speaking French — we are in England. When I pick up the rug I am shocked to see a competitor name on the rug tag. I have to leave the till a moment and show my manager that a competitor rug has shown up in our stock.)

Manager: “We can’t sell it to her; it’s not our stock.”

Me: “Can I just scan another rug and sell it to her at that price, one the same size or something? They’re not going to get this rug back and we can’t keep it.”

Manager: “No, we can’t sell it. Just tell her what has happened and get another rug for her that looks the same.”

(I sigh, knowing he is right but it would just be easier for everyone, and go to explain to the customer what has happened.)

Customer: “Why can’t I have this rug?”

Me: “Because it is from a competitor’s store, and I can’t even begin to explain how it got here.”

(I unroll the rug and show her the tag; it clearly says the other store’s name on it. All the while, she is holding her phone to her chest as I speak to her. I set the rug aside and finish scanning all her items and put them in the trolley for her. She then goes to remove the rug and place it in the trolley.)

Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t sell you that rug.”

(I pick it up and place it behind the till where she can’t get it; she gives me a dirty look.)

Customer: “Why can’t I have that rug?”

Me: “Because it is from a competitor’s store and I have no idea how it got here, but it is not our rug to sell. I’m sorry, but my manager told me not to sell it. I can I get you another one, maybe?”

Customer: “Yeah, whatever.”

(She then goes back to speaking in French on the phone, and I wonder if she is talking about me to the person on the other end. I go and check the rug aisle but find there is nothing matching the rug in colour or size, so I go back and explain to her the situation. She pulls the phone away from her ear.)

Customer: “Now listen to me. I need that rug. Now, just pick it up and sell it to me.”

Me: “I’m sorry, it’s out of my hands. Can I get you anything else?”

Customer: “Yeah, help me with my stuff to my car.”

(I do, and I find her trying to get a huge mirror and everything else in a two-door coupe with the roof down. She doesn’t help me unload the trolley, and doesn’t thank me at all or acknowledge me, so I sling the last bag onto her seat and set off with the trolley back into my store. I’m sorry, guys, but she was just a horribly rude person. After I return to my till and serve a few more customers, she reappears.)

Customer: “Where the h*** is my rug?”

It Takes Two To Tango, But Only One To Make A Scene

, , , , , | Right | January 1, 2019

(I am visiting a local shop known for being a cheap alternative to many other British supermarkets. Obviously, this type of shop is more popular among those who are on a lower budget for whatever reason, so it’s always very busy. The shop is also in a mall, so the security guards switch from shop to shop and are operated by a separate company. As I am waiting at the checkouts, the store alarm goes off and security approaches the middle-aged woman at the door. I think nothing of it until two minutes later when all h*** breaks loose.)

Lady: *shouting* “How dare you stop me?! And how dare you approach me?!” *points at the security guard, who is a black man*

(The security guard looks confused by this lady’s outburst and tries his best to explain that it’s his job to stop those leaving if the alarm goes off.)

Lady: “This won’t do! I have a 75-year-old mother waiting at home who needs me, and you’re holding me up! How dare you?! I demand to speak to your manager!”

(The manager is called and the security guard resumes his duties.)

Lady: “That man assaulted me, and is keeping me up on my shopping! How am I supposed to explain this to my 75-year-old mother at home?! It’s all his fault!” *gestures in the vague direction where the security guard left* “You shouldn’t let people of his kind work here. They’re all the same!”

Manager: *looks visibly upset at this woman’s vile outburst, but remains his best to keep calm* “I’m sorry, ma’am, but it’s store policy to stop those who trigger the alarms, to check that all items were scanned. Sometimes you may have paid for it, but it fails to scan, and therefore will trigger the alarm. If you’d like to step this way, we can sort this all out!”

Lady: “No! I want an apology from that man. And not just any apology; it has to be a formal, handwritten apology! And I want it now!”

Manager: “Well, that may be, but you are making a scene at the moment, ma’am, and the man has done nothing wrong. He was doing his job.”


Manager: “If you continue like this, I’ll have no choice but to call the police.”


Manager: “He doesn’t work for our store! He works for the mall you’re in! He’s not my employee! I can’t fire him, or discipline him, or anything! All I can do is call the security team to come down!”

(I had to leave the store, as I’d checked out all my items, but I really hope the manager calmed that horrid lady down!)

Conversational Dysfunction

, , , , , , | Right | December 30, 2018

(I work for a small chain of stores for a big supermarket in England. I get to work at 5:30 am to open at 6:00 with my manager, and have been doing this for the past two weeks because of overtime. Every morning, at about 6:30, a ninety-year-old man comes in to collect two of the same papers and always makes the same joke about needing one for each eye. Today is different though because the papers are late so he ends up waiting in front of my till talking to me. I have to ask customers to come up to my till so I can serve them. He is showing me pictures of his wife before she died. I think it is sweet so I just leave him alone as I am working stock. He then looked very thoughtful for a moment and then looks up at me.)

Customer: “Do you know anything about erectile dysfunction?”

Me: “No, I don’t, sorry. That more like a thing to talk to your doctor about.”

Customer: “Well, I just can’t seem to get it up. My girlfriend doesn’t appreciate it.”

Me: “Yeah, but that is something to talk to a doctor about, not a shop worker; isn’t it?”

(After that the papers came in and he left. I didn’t want to do any morning shifts anymore.)

Pay It Forward By Giving It Back

, , , , , | Hopeless | December 7, 2018

I’m on my way home and decide to stop at a supermarket near my train station to get some cash from the ATM, so I can grab takeaway on the walk home. That is when I realise that I can’t find my purse. I know I had it when I got on the train and realise that I must have left it on the seat while either taking my book out or putting it back in. I start to walk home, intending to call my bank when it get there, since I don’t want to call my bank in the middle of the supermarket car park.

I haven’t walked more than a few meters when my phone rings with an unknown number. It’s the support line for a youth organisation I volunteer with. I immediately start to panic, thinking something bad has happened, and wondering what else could go wrong today. But to my surprise, she asks if I’ve lost my purse, and when I tell her I have she says that someone has found it, found my ID card for the youth organisation in it, and called them. She then used my membership number to find my record and get my mobile number.

She gives me the phone number of the person who found my purse and I thank her. I call the number. The man had been sitting opposite me on the train and seen me leave my purse, but couldn’t get it back to me before the train doors closed. He apologises for going through my purse and cards to find a phone number. I arrange to meet him in one of the main city train stations, and he hands it to me over the ticket barrier. I have my purse back within an hour of realising I’d lost it.

The whole thing really restored my faith in people, not only that someone wouldn’t just automatically keep my purse but also would go to the trouble of finding a way to return it to me directly rather than just hand it into the station. Thanks to that man, and to the woman on our organisation’s phone that night, I’ve put a business card in there now, so at least next time someone can call me directly — I’d like to say that leaving something like this was a one off, but it really wasn’t!

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