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Never Has Pizza Been The Cause Of So Much Pain

, , , , | Right | August 18, 2021

I’m working at the concession stand when my boss comes up to me.

Boss: “Just be aware, we have a camp coming in to see a movie at 1:00 pm.”

Me: “What kind of camp?”

Boss: “It’s some upscale leadership camp for kids from wealthy families. Like, really wealthy families.”

Me: “Ah.”

A few hours go by and one o’clock hits. Right on the dot, a slew of buses pull into the parking lot… and the most chaotic scene I’ve ever seen takes place. About a hundred completely out-of-control twelve-year-olds begin to pour out of the buses. They’re scattering everywhere in the parking lot, screaming, pushing each other around, etc., while a few really strung-out-looking counselors try unsuccessfully to herd them.

Eventually, they begin to enter, and the lobby degenerates into chaos. About half the kids storm the concession stand and, without any awareness for the others around them, they begin to throw out orders.

Kid #1: “Popcorn!”

Kid #2: “Pretzels!”

Kid #3: “Chicken tenders!”

Kid #4: “Pizza!”

Kid #5: “Popcorn!”

Kid #6: “Soda!”

Kid #7: “Popcorn!”

I try to address them in the order they came in, but they continue to shout over one another to the point that I can’t even tell who is first. One kid from the back literally comes up and shoves another to the floor and then — I’m not kidding — throws a giant wad of about twenty $20 bills at me.

Kid #8: “Is this enough for popcorn?!”

Kid #9: “Hey! You pushed me!”

Kid #8: “Did not!”

Kid #1: *Practically sobbing* “What aren’t you getting my popcorn?!”


Kid #3: “Chicken tenders!”

Kid #4: “PIZZA! PIZZA!”

I just decide to go with a random kid.

Me: “You’d like some popcorn?”

Kid #1: *Tears streaming down their face* “That’s what I’ve been saying! Gosh!

Kid #2: “Hey, no fair! Why does he go first?!”


Within minutes, the group begins to break down even further, with several brawls breaking out and kids beating each other senseless. I look over to one of the counselors, who looks completely exhausted and merely gives me an exasperated shrug — pretty much saying I’m on my own.

My manager comes out, looking furious, walks over to who I am guessing is the lead counselor, and begins to have a very serious discussion. I should also mention that during all of this, several regular customers come in and then immediately turn around and leave when they see the kids.

Finally, after about a half-hour, I manage to get all the kids done. Many of them have paid with fifties and hundreds, and several don’t seem to understand how money works, giving me way too much or way too little money for their orders. They leave behind a completely trashed stand, with spilled food, spilled drinks, and money on the floor, our candy rack has been shaken, and candy’s all over the floor, stanchions have been shoved to the ground, etc. They’ve wrecked it. My manager walks over to me.

Me: “‘Leadership camp,’ eh?”

Manager: “Don’t worry, I reamed out the head counselor pretty good. She promised me the kids would be well behaved… and not like… whatever this was.”

Me: “Good.”

That was the last time our theater hosted this particular group.

America’s Got Overtime

, , , , , | Working | CREDIT: nothingbeast | August 16, 2021

I was employed at a small market radio station for many years a while back. I loved the actual work, but the people there were just terrible, particularly the manager in this story. She spent seven years pretending we were friends, working up from sales to sales manager and eventually station manager. And then, one day, she decided to make my job a completely miserable experience. She held station meetings without me, created recording sessions without putting them on my schedule, ignored my reports of tech issues so things never got fixed… It was ridiculous how little managing she actually did.

Since we were a small staff, and I was the employee with the most years, I had a lot of responsibilities. I did everything except sell ads. Every day had the same main responsibilities, but minor changes kept each day different. I punched in at 8:00 am and co-hosted the final hour of the morning show, answered phones and the door all day, recorded ads and clients, edited shows, did the afternoon broadcast from 1:00 to 5:00 pm, and prerecorded the evening news block to air after I left for the day.

One day, the morning show host decided we needed to talk about “America’s Got Talent,” but by the time he had this great idea, auditions were already three shows in. I had never watched the show before because I absolutely hated reality TV. But I thought, “What could it hurt?” and I went home that night to watch the week four episode. While it was entertaining, it was also an overly padded waste of time. But I did my “homework” and did the show the next morning and hyped it up like it was the greatest thing ever.

The next week, I forgot to watch. I went into work and the morning show host asked what I thought. I panicked for a second before telling him I didn’t see it. Since I had about twenty minutes of morning news before I was live, I ran to my office and checked online for a highlight reel. And there it was! An hour-long TV show whittled down to a fifteen-minute video! Perfect! When it was done, I moved to the broadcast studio and did a great recap of last night’s episode. Even the host, who watched the entire show, thought I did a great job keeping up with him.

The sixth episode came around, and this time, I remembered it was on, but since I knew the TV station was going to post the highlights for me the next day, I opted to spend my free time on something that I actually wanted to do. The next morning, I went straight to the highlight reel and got caught up on every act that was important enough to talk about. Again, the show host thought I did a great job.

But my manager didn’t think it was good enough. She called me into her office.

Manager: “Why are you purposely ignoring requests to watch America’s Got Talent?”

Me: “What difference does it make whether I watch the hour-long broadcast — full of commercials and long-winded filler to stretch the run time — or the highlight reel that has every high point and does the same job in fifteen minutes.”

Manager: “It makes a difference!”

She did not elaborate. She was always pulling that “I’m right and I don’t have to tell you why” crap.

Manager: “Next week is when the judges will begin cutting acts, and there are going to be episodes every Tuesday and Wednesday for the rest of the broadcast. Watching them is mandatory!

Me: “How long are these episodes?”

Manager: “They’re an hour each.”

And that’s when I decided to put an end to this bulls*** once and for all.

Me: “So, that’s two hours of show prep each week. Do I mark that down on my timesheet as overtime, or am I expected to cut out at 3:00 pm on Fridays so I don’t go over my scheduled forty hours?”

My manager’s eyes bugged out as if she had never once expected me to demand payment for dictating how I spend my time outside of the office. I just stood there, waiting to see if I was going to be making extra money or getting an early start to the weekend.

Suddenly, the fifteen-minute highlight reel during regular paid office hours was “good enough”. Funny how that works, eh?

Neither The Customer You Deserve Nor Need Right Now

, , , , | Right | August 10, 2021

I worked in an IMAX theater many moons ago. We were part of a science center, so we only had one screen to show movies. Besides the educational films we showed during the day, we had blockbuster films we showed in the evenings. The current film had an actor who had recently overdosed and died, so tons of people wanted to see his last movie. One night while the movie was playing, a man approached our concessions and ticket stand.

Customer: “Hey, that poster there.”

He points to a ten-foot vinyl poster of the deceased actor.

Customer: “How much is it?

Me: “Um… it’s not for sale. Sorry.

Customer: *Obviously not listening* “No, but how much?

Me: “I, uh, I’m sorry, sir. It’s not for sale.

Customer: “Okay, but how much would you sell it for? I’m a huge fan.”

He opens his phone and plays a sound clip saying, “Why so serious?”

Me: “It’s not mine to sell. I can’t say. I can take your contact info and—

Customer: “No, I want to buy it now.

Me: “Sir, the poster is not for sale. There is no price. You cannot take it.

Customer: “Okay, cool, I hear you. But give me a number.

Me: *Fed up* “Ten million dollars.

Customer: “What?! F*** that!”

The man left and I, thankfully, never heard another word about it.

This Customer Is Bananas

, , , , , | Right | August 2, 2021

I work in a movie theatre. Although we do have some “fancier” foods than normal, like pizza and chicken tenders, that’s the extent of extra things beyond standard movie theatre fare.

Guest: “Can I have a strawberry banana smoothie, please?”

Me: “We don’t have that.”

Guest: “Yes, you do. I can smell the bananas.”

Me: “We don’t make smoothies or even have the stuff to make a smoothie here.”

Guest: *Raising her voice* “You always serve smoothies. I had one last week! You just don’t want to serve me because you’re f****** lazy!”

Me: “Ma’am, we have never sold smoothies.”

She screeches and storms out.

Next Guest In Line: “Did she confuse you for the tropical smoothie place across the street?”

Me: “I hope to never find out.”

Did The Earth Not Move For You, Too?

, , , , , , | Working | July 23, 2021

In 1974, I go to see the new disaster movie Earthquake. The high-budget movie features famous actors and “Sensurround”! This involves specialized bass speakers that create a sound wave that is more felt than heard. The speakers make the theater rumble during the earthquake scenes.

The movie follows the typical disaster movie formula. Part One introduces characters pre-disaster. Part Two shows characters during the disaster. Part Three shows the characters after the disaster.

In the movie, before the big quake, there is a pre-quake, but there is no Sensurround, and I wonder why. (I learn later that Sensurround should have been felt during the pre-quake.)

Everyone in the theater can tell that the earthquake is going to happen very soon. And then… the movie skips from Part One directly to Part Three, leaving out the earthquake part. The entire audience is wondering, “What the f***?”

Three minutes into Part Three, the movie stops and the theater lights come on. The projectionist messed up. Ten minutes later, the movie finally resumes with Part Two. We finally get to feel Sensurround, but the climactic moment in the movie is lost.

After the movie, I get in the long line with all the others wanting a voucher refund ticket. The manager is sitting at a folding card table in the lobby to sign refund vouchers and he is not happy. After ten minutes in line, it is finally my turn. The manager looks at me and says, “So why do you think that you deserve a refund?”

Internally, I just thought, “Whatever the forty people in front of me told you.”