It’s Rude To Feud

, , , | Right | September 18, 2017

(A customer comes up to the counter with two young children.)

Me: “Hi there. What can I get for you today?”

Customer: “Two tickets to [Popular Movie] and two small freezes.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but our machine isn’t working today. Would you like to substitute for a soft drink?”

Customer: *to his children, his tone suddenly shifting from polite to rude* “Throw things at her until the machine is fixed.”

Manager: *comes over to stand beside me, towering over both me and the customer, clearly having overheard what he said* “Hello, sir. Is there an issue over here?”

Customer: *clearly rattled* “Nope. None at all. I’ll take two small [sodas], ma’am.”

(I considered myself very lucky to have such a great manager, who looked out for us instead of bending over backwards for unreasonable people just to keep himself golden in the eyes of corporate.)

The Monster Calls Every Day Of The Week

, , , | Working | September 17, 2017

(I’m 24 and I’ve liked The Beatles since I was 16. A new documentary about them has been released to the theatres, so I decide to check it out. Most of the conversation happens in Finnish, but the documentary was released under its English name “Eight Days a Week.”)

Me: “Hi! I’d like these.” *points to the soda bottle and the chocolate bar that I set on the counter* “And a student ticket to Eight Days a Week.”

Employee: “What?” *says something incoherent*

Me: *assuming I said the middle part too quickly* “A student ticket?”

Employee: “But which movie?”

Me:Eight Days a Week.” *short silence* “The Beatles film…”

Employee:A Monster Calls?” *this film also goes by its English name in Finland*

Me: “No, Eight Days a Week. Beatles.”

Employee:A Monster Calls, at what time?”

Me: “No. Eight Days a Week, The Beatles, at [time].”

Employee: *brings up the seating chart for A Monster Calls* “This one?”

Me: “No.”

Employee: *finally brings up the seating chart for Eight Days a Week* “This one?”

Me: “Yes…”

(I wonder how horribly I mangled English to make “Eight Days a Week” sound like “A Monster Calls.” Or maybe I was just too young to be buying tickets to the Beatles documentary.)

Unfiltered Story #93677

, , | Unfiltered | September 11, 2017

My dad told a story often, that, knowing how his intolerance of nonsense was matched only by his toughness, seems totally legit. Even my friends, after knowing my dad for a few months, agree that it’s something he’d likely do.

As a movie theater manager in the ’70s, my dad was in charge of the (sometimes twice) weekly trip to the bank. He didn’t have a bank bag back then, and the bank was just on the other side of the alley from the theater OR he’d have to walk around the lit, street-side block, so why not walk, right? Well, someone nearby caught on to the pattern, seeing a man walking to the bank through the alley that connects the buildings instead of walking around the lit block, with a lunch from the movie theater, and coming back with no lunch bag, concludes that it’s pretty obvious what’s in the bag.

Dude: *points gun at my dad* STOP! Give me all your money NOW –
Dad *shoves guy across the alley, and loudly shouting after him* No! I don’t have time for your shit!

With that, my dad walked briskly through the remaining portion of the alley, and called the police from the bank, and in subsequent weeks, he’d let other senior employees take the deposits, and made his banking patterns completely unpredictable and lunch bag free, usually hiding the $$ in a jacket or sweater. He told us kids that if we have to walk with a large portion of money on a regular basis, at least become unpredictable and do NOT carry the money or package within view!

Unfiltered Story #93675

, , | Unfiltered | September 11, 2017

[It’s late spring in north Texas, but school’s not yet let out so the theater I work for doesn’t have earlier hours for summer. This particular day is unseasonably mild, and so I’m not surprised to see a customer standing around about an hour before we open — our spot’s popular for people who walk around the strip mall for exercise.]

Customer, as I approach: “About time! When do you open?”

Me: *eyeing the clear hours on the door* Not until 11:30, sir, so another hour and change.

The customer grumbles, but I think nothing special of it — he might have confused us for another theater, which is pretty common. I unlock the door to enter, only for him to promptly push me aside and walk in.

Me: Sir? We’re not open yet. Please wait outside.

Customer: The door’s open, you’re open now.

Me: Sir, I opened it so I could enter. I was going to lock it after.

Customer: Well, you can’t. I’m here now. Get me some popcorn.

Me: We’re not open for over an hour, sir, and I haven’t even cooked the popcorn. Please wait outside. I’ll be happy to bring you some when it’s ready and I have money in my register.

Customer: You unlocked the door, you’re open. It’s your own fault you didn’t get here earlier and made popcorn, no excuses. Make me some now!

Me: I’m nearly 20 minutes early for my shift, and can’t even clock in until then. I have duties to perform before I can even begin to serve you. Please, wait outside.

Customer: This is horrible customer service! I demand my popcorn free!

Me: No. Now I’m going to begin my duties. Please let me, and I’ll be able to help you faster.

*At this point, the manager arrives*

Manager: [My name], why did you let a customer in early?

Me: I didn’t. He shoved his way in and won’t leave.

Customer: Your employee won’t serve me! I demand free popcorn and movie for the inconvenience!

Me: *aside* Look, he’s annoying as can be, and he’s interfering with my ability to get started. Is there any chance you can tell him to go, or should we call the cops?

Manager: Not really worth it. Just do your best to ignore him. *manager leaves for his office*

Customer: Hey! Hey you! What’s this movie about? *points to a movie poster for a popular film with an exceptionally evocative title and poster art*

Me: That’s an Oscar-bait film. Please, sir, I need to go in back to get some supplies.

Customer: What about this one? *points to the poster for an early summer blockbuster, part of arguably the most popular franchise in American history*

Me: *pausing* …that’s a space opera, sir. It’s [series title].

Customer: Never heard of it.

He continues to point at each film poster and demand details, occasionally also demanding to know whether I’ve somehow had time to go in back to get popcorn for popping yet, despite him not allowing me to leave.

At this point, the manager calls.

Manager: It’s ten until we open and you haven’t even started popping!

Me: I’m the only one in the lobby, and this customer refuses to let me go. Can you bring the popcorn?

Manager: I’m busy! You tell him to leave and come back.

Me: I’ve done that, remember? He won’t listen.

Manager: Tell him to leave or we won’t serve him!

Customer: Hey! Get off the phone, I need you to tell me about this movie! *points at a superhero film poster, whose trailer has been playing overhead off and on for half an hour* What is that about?

Me: I need to finish working, sir. I’m behind, but I’ll be more than happy to talk to you about any of these films *after we open*.

Customer: I can’t believe this! You’re so unprepared you open without food, you talk on the phone instead of dealing with me, and you treat me like an idiot who can’t read. If your attitude doesn’t improve, I’m walking out!

Me: You shoved your way in, and stayed even after I told you we weren’t open. I told you I needed to finish my opening tasks, and you demanded instead I summarize a dozen movies. I’m sorry, but in less than ten minutes, we finally open. I need to hurry, and I’m not going to be able to talk to you until I’m finished.

Customer: How dare you! *storms out just as the manager comes back, carrying the popcorn*

Manager: Wait! Come back! *frowns as the customer gets into his car and drives off* What did you do?

Me: …I finally got him to leave, just like you asked.

Manager: You shouldn’t have let him in.

An Inconvenient Pun

, , , , | Working | September 1, 2017

(The manager and I are standing behind concessions. It’s a weekday afternoon during the school year, so things are slow, and we’re standing there in an awkward silence.)

Me: “If former Vice-President Gore were to release an album of him playing the drums, he would have to call it ‘Al Gore Rhythms.’”

Manager: “Um… wow… Why don’t you go clean… something?”

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