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Secretaries Run The World

, , , , , , | Romantic Working | June 22, 2022

This happened in the mid-1990s when having a cellphone was pretty much unheard of. I own a car repair shop in a small town, and one day, a woman came in visibly distressed. As she was turning off the highway, she heard a pop sound and it sounded like her tire. It actually wasn’t; it was her tire axle, which is a completely different thing and a bit more costly.

After looking at the amount of work it would take, what it would cost, and whether we had the part in stock (surprisingly, we did) I went back out to talk to her sitting in the waiting room. Or at least, that was where I had left her. Instead, I saw her standing behind the desk answering the phone and writing notes for the mechanics, and my front person was nowhere to be found.

When she hung up the phone, making another note, she caught my eye. When I started to ask her what was going on, the phone rang again, and she sighed and picked it up again. She gave our answering spiel and then also started asking what vehicle the customer was talking about. When that call was done, I quickly asked her what was going on.

She laughed and shrugged her shoulders.

Customer: “About forty-five minutes ago, your front office person told me he needed a smoke and walked out. Then, the phone started ringing, so I just answered it; I’m a receptionist and I know how important it is for the customer to be heard! Don’t worry; I’ve been telling everyone that I’m brand-new but I’d get all their questions to the proper people. That’s what this notepad is filled with!”

My front office person strolled back inside as I was letting the woman who had graciously helped out know what was going on with her car. The front office guy had the gall to tell me that he thought he might need to go home early. I let him know that he could go home early as in right now, and then I let him know what I thought of him leaving a customer alone at the front desk for over forty-five minutes.

Employee: “This place will go to pieces without me!”

Then, he took his stuff and stormed out. I turned to the woman who had helped me already so much.

Me: “I’ll give you a free replacement on your axle if you can help me out with the phone for the rest of the day.”

Customer: *Laughing* “Only if you buy me lunch; I’m starving!”

After getting her lunch and getting her car roadworthy, I walked back to our front office to find that in between calls, she had wiped down everything, made piles/folders for pressing issues, reorganized the call system to make more sense, and even managed to hang up a notification system for all of the mechanics.

Me: *Jokingly* “Are you looking for a job? Because you can have one with me any time.”

Customer: *Laughing* “I’ll think about it!”

And now, nearly thirty years later, she still laughs when people ask how we met and tells them, “I came in for a car repair and found a job and husband.”


This story is part of our Halfway-Through-2022 roundup!

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Either She Doesn’t Exist, Or She Came To Her Senses

, , , , , , | Right | September 13, 2021

I work in a bridal boutique. I take an appointment; the caller to book the appointment is the groom. That in itself is not too unusual, but the rest of the conversation is.

Groom: “My fiancée and I are getting married in six months and she hasn’t tried on any dresses at all yet. She says she’s not really a dress kind of girl, but I really want her to wear a dress to our wedding. I think if you have her try some on, she’ll see how pretty she looks and change her mind.”

We get this from a lot of friends and family — usually, the Mother of the Bride — and our policy is to offer styles to the bride and let her pick what she wants to try on.

Me: “Sure, we can schedule an appointment for her to work with a consultant and browse our samples. She can try on any styles she’d like so she can get a sense of what she feels best in. Can I ask for a little more information about your wedding date and preferred budget, or should we ask her when she comes in?”

Groom: “No, no, you can ask me. She doesn’t want to try on dresses, so I’m making the appointments so she can’t get out of it.”

Me: “We do have some dress alternatives, like bridal jumpsuits or separates, so hopefully we can find something that’s close to her personal style.”

Groom: “Do you have anything in her size?”

Me: “We carry samples in mid-range sizes to fit up or down and gauge how a fitted dress will look, and then we can order her the dress or outfit she chooses in her size based on her measurements.”

Groom: “Well, I don’t know; she’s really fit and toned.”

He goes into a long description of her Pilates routine.

Groom: “She needs something that will be flattering on her and I want her in something fitted to her figure.”

Me: “We can easily size most styles down with clips so she can see how they’ll look in her size, so that shouldn’t be a problem.”

Groom: “She needs something that shows off her figure. She has a really nice figure; she wears a lot of fitted pants and high heels.”

At this point, I’ve stepped away from the reservation computer and am leaning against the wall, holding the phone with a baffled look on my face. My coworker has stopped her paperwork and is staring at me strangely since this side of the conversation has gone so quiet.

Groom: “…and she has really large breasts for her size. She wears a DDD cup so she needs something that will show them off…”

Me: *Desperately trying to interject* “That’s fine. We’ll take her measurements once she finds a style she likes—”

Groom: *No indication that he’s heard me.* “…she prefers [Brand] lingerie and she wears a lot of demi-cut black lace…”

I’ve completely slid down the wall at this point and am basically sitting on the floor, holding the phone.

Me: “That’s great! I have all the information I need, and we can sit down for a chat when she comes in for the appointment!”

Groom: “You’ll be able to make her try on dresses that will fit her and look good on her figure?”

Me: “Uh-huh. I’m sure we can find something that she likes!”

Groom: “Okay, good, because she really doesn’t want to wear a dress and I want to make sure she shows off her figure…”

At this point, I was considering a followup drink for every time he described her figure.

I finally wrapped up the call, confirmed the booking, and considered going home to take a long shower to scrub the call off my skin.

I wrote minimal notes in the appointment field to avoid scaring off consultants working that day. I just mentioned that the groom may be in attendance and he had some preferences but, so far, the bride didn’t seem too sold on a traditional dress. I made a mental note to try and be available around that time for support, as well.

We confirmed the appointment with the contact information given to us — the groom’s phone and email — in advance of their time frame but, wouldn’t you know it, the appointment was a no-show. At this point, we seriously started to doubt the bride existed outside of his imagination!

Guess We’ll Just Live In Sin, Then!

, , , , | Working | January 29, 2021

When my fianceé and I were planning our wedding, one of our first decisions was the person who would perform the service. She had been raised in a fundamentalist Protestant sect, and although she had become more liberal in her thinking, she was still friendly with her pastor and his family, so he was a natural choice.

We made an appointment to ask the pastor to fill the ceremonial role. And we were shocked when he refused, quite cruelly, and turned on me, asking me pointed questions about my beliefs and referring to our “mixed marriage.” My metaphysics is more middle of the road. I stood my ground, at one point asking him:

Me: “So, you believe that Anne Frank, unbaptized infants, and toddlers go to Hell?”

Pastor: “There are degrees of punishment.”

So, yes. We left with my fianceé in tears, and we got my parents’ minister to officiate.

But it didn’t end there. Between then and the wedding, the pastor called and begged my fianceé not to marry me, saying it would be “her biggest mistake.” She hung up on him.

Everything got settled when his wife wrote my fianceé a letter and told her that they had always hoped she would marry their oldest son. He wasn’t worried about her immortal soul; he just wanted to keep her on the market!

We got married without her minister in attendance and, several decades later, we are happily retired with successful children and well-adjusted grandkids. And the oldest son they wanted her to marry? Mutual friends report he is living in a squalid trailer park in Florida, barely making ends meet.

Poor Etta

, , , , , | Friendly | December 15, 2020

I’m grabbing groceries on my way home from work one afternoon. As I’m picking out a box of cereal, an older man approaches me.

Man: “Excuse me, miss? This might sound strange, but is your name by any chance Etta?”

Me: *Laughs awkwardly* “Nope, it’s [My Name].”

Man: “Ah, I figured it was a long shot. See, the thing is, I ask because you remind me of my late wife.”

I’m not sure what to say.

Me: “Uh…”

Man: “Oh, not when she was on her way out! No, no. You remind me of her back in ’57 when we first went steady. You’re the good version, not the used one.” *Chuckles*

Learn It And Learn It Well

, , , , , , | Romantic | August 17, 2020

My partner and I had a quick registry office wedding last week as our real wedding has been rescheduled to next year. We are now in the process for adjusting to being sort of married.

In conversation, my partner says something cheeky and I GLARE at him in a mock-aggressive warning. Something occurs to me, so I pull the expression again and point at my face.

Me: “Hey, [New Husband], what’s this?”

New Husband: “It’s… your face? Being annoyed?”

Me: “No, it’s a strong wife-eye signal.”

I love being married.