The Back-Track Of Notre Dame

, , , , , | Right | March 24, 2020

(This story takes place in 2008, right in the middle of the recession. I am luckier than most and am working retail to help put myself through grad school, rather than a lot of the under-employment situations going on at the time.)

Customer: *notices my class ring as I’m bagging her purchase* “Did you go to Notre Dame?”

Me: *proudly* “Yes, I graduated last year!”

Customer: *with a snobby smirk* “And you ended up working here?!

Me: *hands her her bag* “I’m just working my way through grad school, ma’am. Not that I owe you an explanation. You’re really going to judge a recent grad for taking a retail job in the middle of a recession?”

(I got a talking-to for sassing a customer, but she deserved it!)

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Sounds Like They Got Their Sodium Lauryl Sulfates In A Twist

, , , , , | Right | March 22, 2020

(It’s early morning on my birthday. My coworkers have decorated my cubicle and brought me gifts. I’m feeling chipper and optimistic. I take my first call.)

Me: “[Business], this is [My Name]; how may I help you?”

Customer: “Hi, is your shampoo color-safe?”

Me: “Yes. In fact, it contains ingredients that are intended to help protect and preserve the life of your color.”

Customer: “But it contains sulfates, which cause fading.”

Me: “Our cleansers do contain sulfates, which have been used in shampoos widely and safely for decades. It will not fade your color. Our Anti-Color-Fade complex also helps with that.”

Customer: “But you just said there were ingredients that helped preserve your color. What are they?”

Me: “There are botanicals and our Anti-Color-Fade Complex in the shampoo, which help protect artificial color in the hair.”

Customer: “You’re not listening to me. I said, ‘What ingredients protect color?’. You’re not making yourself sound very credible, [My Name].”

(Shampoo ingredients are almost exclusively chemical, and have names that I, let alone a customer, wouldn’t understand. Every other customer I’ve ever spoken to has found my previous answer sufficient, so this accusation catches me off guard.)

Me: “Umm… I don’t know the exact ingredients. They have chemical names.”

Customer: “So, you won’t tell me.”

Me: “Ma’am, I can’t tell you because I don’t know.”

Customer: “Well, you know what, [My Name]? I think you need an attitude adjustment. You’ve been very snotty with me. I asked a simple question you are obviously too lazy or stupid to answer. I am a paying customer of your products, and I don’t need this behavior from you!”

(Looking around at my birthday presents and smiling coworkers, I just sort of break down.)

Me: “You know what? I don’t need it from you, either!”

Customer: “I’d like to speak to your manager!”

Me: “Absolutely!”

(I have just enough breath to tell my supervisor what happened before bursting into tears.)

Supervisor: “Hi, how can I help you?”

Customer: “That last girl I spoke to was so rude! I don’t know if she’s on drugs or if she’s just a brat, but she clearly isn’t suited to be answering customer questions! She needs to get off the phone and come back once she learns some manners!”

Supervisor: “Ma’am, I overheard your conversation and [My Name] was more than polite and helpful, right up until you personally attacked her. You should also know she is my friendliest employee, and you were her first call of the day, which happens to be her birthday. Now, would you like me to answer your original question, or would you like to berate me, as well?”

(The customer sheepishly repeated her question, my supervisor answered her in the exact same manner I did, and the customer hung up without saying thank you!)

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Well, That Escalated… And Escalated…

, , , , , , | Right | March 20, 2020

Customer: “Can I use this coupon?”

Cashier: “No, it’s expired.”

Customer: “That was a rhetorical question. I’d like to use this coupon.”

Cashier: “It’s expired.”

Customer: “Well, what does that mean?”

Cashier: “It means I can’t accept this coupon.”

Customer: “And why not?”

Cashier: “Well, for one thing, we don’t have the item it’s discounting anymore.”

Customer: “What?”

Cashier: “It’s not on the menu.”

Customer: “But you could still make it.”

Cashier: “No.”

Customer: “Well, can I use this for something else?”

Cashier: “No.”

Customer: “Ask your manager.”

Cashier: “It’s expired.”

Customer: “You don’t know that. Ask your manager.”

Cashier: “There’s an expiration date printed in the corner.”

Customer: “You haven’t even asked.”

Cashier: *to the manager* “Got a second?”

Manager: *to the cashier* “I don’t. Hang on.”

Customer: *to both* “I’ll wait.”

(He waits. The cashier waits. Everyone in line waits.)

Manager: “Okay, how can I help?”

Customer: “What can I use this coupon for?”

Manager: “Nothing. That coupon is expired.”

Customer: “But you don’t have this item.”

Manager: “Good point. It’s expired and we don’t have that item.”

Customer: “So, can I use it for something else?”

Manager: “No.”

Customer: “Why not?”

Manager: “The coupon’s for that. And it’s no good anymore.”

Customer: “Can I use it for this menu item?”

Manager: “You can’t use it at all.”

Customer: “Well, what about this one?”

Manager: “You can’t use an expired coupon.”

Customer: “Call the owner.”

Manager: “I am the owner.”

Customer: “Call the real owner.”

Manager: “Excuse me?”

Customer: “The corporate owner. Call the CEO.”

(If this case doesn’t make it to the Supreme Court, I’m going to be severely disappointed.)

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God Help The Mister Who Messes With My Sister

, , , , , , , , | Working | March 16, 2020

This is how my little sister unknowingly helped me assert myself at work.

When I was in college, my younger sister, about 17, worked for a call center. She told me about how she was instructed to handle creeps and rude jerks, which she had opportunity to practice. If a guy called in and started yelling, making inappropriate comments, breathing heavy, etc., she would very pleasantly say something along the lines of, first, “Excuse me, sir, please don’t talk to me like that,” second, “Excuse me, sir, but if you continue to talk to me like that, I’m going to have to hang up,” and third, “Excuse me, sir, but you have continued to talk to me like that, so I’m going to hang up now,” and hang up.

After college, I took a job working with people with special needs and moved up to supervisor. I worked with a particular man and met his mom. She was generally okay, though she condescendingly told me my own life experience of a similar illness, which I had shared to say that I understood, didn’t count. When I became a supervisor of another department, my former supervisor — an awful, condescending person herself — warned me that this woman can be pretty awful and keep you on the phone for an hour. 

Then, one day, with my former supervisor nearby, she called. She didn’t appreciate me pairing her son with another participant due to staff calling out sick, but I prioritized my participants, so I know I was doing what seemed best for everyone. I told her specifically that I had to prioritize everyone as a whole, not just her son. But she continued yelling, insulting my ability to do my job, my lack of consideration, etc.

The yelling after I explained myself only lasted a couple of minutes. I remembered my sister and cut in with, “Ma’am. Ma’am! MA’AM! It is not okay for you to talk to me like that.” I heard her sputter, and say, “Uh… Oh, oh. I’m sorry.” And we ended the call calmly. Since then, I know to just call it out; name it. No insults or anger or bickering are needed to put someone back in their place. Not that it always works, but it often does.

I believe, though we never said a word about it, that my former supervisor had been waiting to enjoy my suffering and thus legitimize herself, and that makes this memory that much better.

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Unfiltered Story #187353

, , , | Unfiltered | March 14, 2020

I work at a donut shop and currently my two coworkers and I are trying to move quickly through a line of customers. My more experienced coworker does drinks while my other coworker and I are at the register. I just finish helping a customer when I see I am very low on $1 bills. It is the closing shift so whatever $1 bills we have, that’s all we have. I turn to the last three customers in line.


“Is anyone paying with card?”

Everyone is paying with cash. Even though we are not supposed to (because my boss only wants the register open when there’s a cash transaction) my coworker opens her register and gives me $1 bills. I take the next customer.


“I’ll get a dozen.”

I serve him his dozen and as he pays, I notice he pays with card instead of cash. He would’ve been out much faster if he would’ve said something in the first place.