Customers Can Wear You Down More Than An Old Photo

, , , | Right | September 2, 2019

Customer: “Hi. I’d like you to print this photo I took on holiday in Italy on glossy paper.”

Me: “Not a problem. That will be $5 and you can pick it up this afternoon.”

(The customer comes back later on.)

Customer: “NO! THAT JUST WON’T DO! IT DOESN’T LOOK ANYTHING LIKE THE ORIGINAL!”

Me: “I’m not following. Like what original?”

(The customer hands me an old, faded photo taken in the 80s when he was on holiday there thirty years ago.)

Me: “Well, it’s the same framing. I’m unsure of what you want.”

Customer: “It looks too new and shiny and bright!”

Me: “Well, unfortunately, there isn’t a ‘faded, bad-quality 80s photo’ button on our machine. I’m sorry. We can photoshop it for you to look old, but that will cost more.”

Customer: “I don’t have that kind of money to pay you!”

Me: “Maybe leave the photo out in the sun for a few years?”

(Yes, that’s right; the customer was complaining because our machine printed his file too well.)

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With No Money, Comes No Parental Responsibility

, , , , , | Right | September 1, 2019

(I’m on holiday and stop at a popular fast food restaurant for lunch. The dining room is pretty busy but I find a free table in an area with only a man and his five-year-old son. I sit down to eat as they get up to leave, but the father leaves his wallet behind. The wallet is clearly visible outside through the windows. I figure if they don’t come back I’ll hand it to staff when I leave. After a couple of minutes, they come back.)

Man: *picking up his wallet and looking inside* “You b****, you stole my money.”

Me: “Excuse me? I haven’t touched your wallet.”

Man: “Don’t lie, you little s***. I had $100 in here. Now it’s gone. Give me my money back.”

(His son pipes up.)

Son: “But Dad, you said I could only have some chips because you don’t have any money.”

Man: “Quiet, [Son]. Listen here, you b****. Give me my money back before I take it back.”

(By this point, a staff member has come to see what all the fuss is about. This employee has been cleaning tables outside the whole time the wallet was left on the table.)

Employee: “Sir, your wallet hasn’t been touched. I could see it the whole time. You need to leave.”

Man: “Listen here. Someone stole my money and I want it back.”

(He goes to grab my handbag when another customer steps in and restrains him, pulling him away.)

Customer: “[Man], you’ve been warned not to pull this stunt again.” *lets the man go* “Now, get out of here before you’re locked up.”

(The man ran out, leaving his son behind, who was now crying. It turned out the man had tried this in a few places and the other customer was a local off-duty cop. The cop called the station to get the boy’s mum’s information. I stayed with the boy until she came to get him. The staff got the boy a kids’ meal and threw in some extra toys. It turns out the father was a drug addict but the courts had given him access visits with the boy.)

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A**hole Mode: Activated  

, , , , , | Right | August 30, 2019

(A man walks up to my register with an iTunes gift card. It’s worth noting that when I started work in retail, gift cards had to be manually activated by the cashiers during purchase, but at the time of this story, this hasn’t been the case for years. Now gift cards activate automatically when purchased.)

Customer: “Make sure you activate the card for me.”

Me: “Don’t worry; they activate automatically.”

Customer: *suddenly looking very annoyed, and talking to me like I’m a five-year-old* “No, you have to activate them; otherwise, they don’t work.”

Me: “I assure you that it’ll activate automatically. It’ll be good to go once you’ve paid for it.”

Customer: “Look. I came in here the other week and bought one of these, and when I got home, it wouldn’t work. I came all the way back to the store, and the lady told me it was because whoever sold it to me had forgotten to activate it for me, so she did it for me, instead.”

Me: “We had to activate them manually once, but that was years ago.“

Customer: “Well, this was just the other week.”

Me: “I don’t know what to tell you, sir. I know for a fact that it’s automatic now. I’ve sold hundreds without complaint. I’ve even bought them for myself and never had an issue using them.”

Customer: “Okay, fine, sell it to me. Just tell me your name.”

Me: *pointing to my name badge* “I’m [My Name].”

Customer: “Okay, [My Name], here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to purchase this gift card. Then, I’m going to go all the way home and try using it. When it doesn’t work, I’m going to come all the way back and get someone else to activate it. I’m going to explain to them how, despite my constantly telling you otherwise, you refused to activate it. Then, I’m going to make sure you get fired for your incompetence, okay?”

Me: “Sounds good.”

Customer: “Well, okay. I’ll take it, then.”

(He pays for the gift card and it activates. It even prints off the second receipt that says as much, which I show to him.)

Customer: “Thank you. I’ll be back soon; don’t you worry about that.”

(I never saw that customer again, and years later, still have my job.)

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One Final Dessert

, , , , , , | Hopeless | August 17, 2019

I was a young adult dining with my parents at a small Classique French-style fine-dining restaurant. The restaurant seemed to have fallen out of favour. When we arrived, there were only two other tables, both well into their meals. By the time we had finished our mains, we were the only table in the restaurant. We discussed quietly if we should order dessert; we felt guilty keeping the staff there for longer.

Just then, our waiter, who could not have overheard our conversation but had presumably guessed at it, came over with the dessert menus and offered us a complimentary glass each of “noble rot” wine to accompany it if we ordered. There couldn’t have been a nicer way to say “we want you to stay for dessert and continue to enjoy your meal.” We, of course, accepted it, and took our leisurely time over it, as the wine offer implied. The meal was excellent, the service impeccable.

Sadly, fashion had moved on, and the restaurant closed a short while later. 

Salut to the hard-working front of house staff, and the chef and his underlings. I hope they went on to bigger and better things.

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Mortadella Mortified

, , , , , | Right | August 14, 2019

(I work at the supermarket deli, and there is a regular I always hated serving. She is a grouchy old fusspot who always seems to find a problem in something. She comes up to the counter and I’m readying myself for another miserable experience.)

Fusspot: “I want some of that meat, sliced.” *points to case*

Me: *trying to see where she is pointing* “The olive mortadella?”

Fusspot: “Yes.”

(In case you don’t know, mortadella is Italian sausage meat that tastes similar to bologna, but is fancier and made of higher-quality meat. The olive mortadella is stuffed with green olives, and the olives themselves are stuffed with tiny pieces of red capsicum, or bell pepper for my American readers. I pick up the opened chub of olive mortadella to bring it to the slicer, but she starts protesting.)

Fusspot: “No! I want the other one!” *points again*

Me: *putting a hand over the chub she’s pointing at* “This one?”

Fusspot: “Yes!”

Me: “Yes, that’s the olive mortadella. The one you’re pointing at is unopened; I have the opened one here.”

Fusspot: “No, they’re different!”

Me: “They’re the same, and I can’t open a new one until we use up the opened one.”

(The deli workers often make an exception upon request, if the chub is very close to the end, but this chub has barely been used; it’s only had maybe a quarter of it taken off, if that.)

Fusspot: “No, the one I’m pointing at has something else in it. It has that red thing in it.”

Me: “That’s the red capsicum stuffing in the olive. This one has the same stuffing, as well; once you slice through the olive you’ll see the red stuffing inside it.”

(After some back and forth, the fusspot stalks off to the customer service desk. She comes back shortly after with the customer service worker in tow, who is a lovely person but doesn’t know much about the deli. By this time, I’ve explained what transpired with my coworkers in the deli.)

Fusspot: *points to me* “This girl refused to serve me what I wanted.”

Coworker: “Which meat did you want?”

Fusspot: *points again* “That one.”

Coworker: “That’s the olive mortadella. This is the unopened one; it’s the same thing.”

(The fusspot starts arguing with my coworkers and me, and we reiterate our policy that we can’t open a new chub when there is so much left on the opened chub, and that we guarantee that the olives in both chubs are stuffed with the same red capsicum, but it almost always falls out when it hits the slicer. Initially, the customer service worker suggests we slice the opened one and discard the first slices until the stuffing appears, but as the stuffing ends up predictably falling out, it just results in a pile of wasted sliced meat. We try to show her this, but she won’t accept this explanation or that the same thing will happen when we open the new chub. Eventually, the customer service worker tells us to just open the new chub anyway and give her what she wants. My coworkers are fed up and comply. As the first slice comes off the slicer, lo and behold, the red stuffing that the fusspot had been coveting falls out, and the slice is identical to the ones we’ve already sliced. I have been teased before by my coworkers for always being “mellow” in the face of problem customers, but at this point, I am well and truly pissed off. I pick up the slice of mortadella from the new chub that she requested, and march over to the customer, displaying it to her in all its stuffing-less glory.)

Me: *not making any attempt to mask the steel in my voice* “There’s the slice from the new chub that you wanted. As you can see, the stuffing has fallen out.”

Fusspot: *looks down meekly and mumbles something*

Me: *unwavering death glare for five seconds before I silently turn around and continue about my business*

(I know it sounds like a minor thing to get worked up over, and maybe it is, but I hate wasting perfectly good food, and I had reached the end of my rope with this crazy lady. To my pleasant surprise, however, the fusspot returned many times after this incident a reformed customer. She never gave me any problems after that. Somehow I must have scared her into being nice.)

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