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This Boss Sure Ain’t A (Crystal) Gem

, , , , , , , | Working | June 29, 2022

I worked in a rather toxic library with terrible management. I had a coworker who was diagnosed with prosopagnosia (face blindness) during my employment. She wasn’t so bad that she couldn’t recognize anyone — she got to learn all our faces eventually — but she had an extremely difficult time learning the names or even recognizing our regular patrons.

Our boss was the exact opposite. After meeting someone one time, she knew everything about them: their families, where they worked, where they went to school, etc. It really was an amazing memory. But as a result, our boss couldn’t understand why [Coworker] struggled.

About once a month, our boss took my coworker around and introduced (or reintroduced) her to everyone who happened to be in the library at the time. It was during this that [Coworker] was going through appointments to get diagnosed with prosopagnosia, so I forget at which time exactly [Coworker] was formally diagnosed with the condition in relation to all these events.

During these tours, our boss would chat with our regulars. “It’s great to see you again! How is your statistics class?” “Hello, it’s been a while! How are your three kids? How are your two dogs?” “Wow! Look how much taller you’ve gotten over the past year!” Those kinds of things. All the while, my coworker just looked very bewildered as she tried to process a dozen names and faces and life stories all at once. Afterward, my boss would ask [Coworker] about people’s names, and she couldn’t do it. My boss expressed great disappointment in my coworker.

Boss: “So much of our job is community outreach and relationship building! How can you give good customer service if you don’t know anyone’s names?”

Coworker: “I’m polite to everyone and try to help them to the best of my ability.”

Boss: “You need to know our people! Come on, this one is easy. They’re here all the time. What’s his name?”

She pointed to a little toddler boy.

My coworker was just speechless and looked as if she was going to cry. She just shook her head and pointed out that there were THREE blond toddler boys running around our library at that moment and she couldn’t tell any of them apart. To be honest, I couldn’t tell them apart myself, and I’m there more often than [Coworker] and don’t have prosopagnosia. 

My boss sent my coworker into the back where I found her crying five minutes later. She was terrified she was going to get fired, written up, or (most likely) docked in her upcoming employee review because she couldn’t tell faces apart and couldn’t recall the names of people she only meets once a month. I did my best to reassure her and pointed out that [Boss] has an exceptional people-based memory and that not everyone is like that. I could maybe only name a third of the patrons present on that day, after all. 

Of course, this being [Boss], she didn’t let up. Now, it was a well-known fact that [Coworker] was a huge fan of “Steven Universe,” so my boss took [Coworker] aside one day — though not far enough since we all heard the conversation.

Boss: “Listen, [Coworker]. If you can tell apart all the characters in Steven Universe, you can tell apart the children who come into our library.”

Coworker: “It’s not the same! In Steven Universe, they’re all different colors, for one. And second, they all have really different designs. It’s like saying that just because I can tell a cat is not a dog, I should be able to tell one little blond boy apart from another little blond boy.”

Boss: “Think of it this way, [Coworker]. It’s not as if a Steven Universe character is going to walk through our doors. You’re much more likely to meet real people, and you need to put an effort into remembering their names. It’s like you care more about fictional characters than our real patrons.”

Coworker: “That’s not true at all! My brain just literally doesn’t remember them! I try and try and try, and as soon as they look away, my brain tosses out all information related to them.”

She was once again almost in tears.

Boss: “It’s a matter of priorities, [Coworker]. If you can remember Steven Universe, you can remember real people.”

I wound up leaving the library myself shortly after this due to the toxic nature of that boss, among many other things. I never did hear if [Coworker] pursued the issue with the Union or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission due to what likely qualified as disability discrimination, especially once she got her formal diagnosis. I did a bit of reading on my own about prosopagnosia — enough to know that our boss was being MASSIVELY unfair and unfactual, as the part of the human brain that processes 2D images (like “Steven Universe” would be) is completely different than the part of the brain that processes facial recognition.

Call… The… Police!

, , , , , , | Right | June 16, 2022

A customer comes up to me at the meat counter.

Customer: “Hey, man. Can I ask you something?”

Me: “Sure!”

Customer: “You see that movie, Human Centipede?”

Me: “Uh… no.”

Customer: “It’s about this guy who takes people and puts them—”

Me:I know what it’s about! What was your question?”

Customer: “Well, I wanted to do that to chickens. How would I do that?”

Me: “These chickens are dead, right?”

Customer: “Do they have to be?”

Try Not To Flubber Your Lines

, , , , | Right | June 8, 2022

In the ’90s I worked for a now-defunct retailer that sold books, music, and movies, and also did movie rentals. When we were slow in the other departments, we would help out putting returned movies away. As I was doing so, I heard this exchange (which has been burned into my brain for twenty-five years) between a customer and our video manager:

Customer: “What’s this one about, this Hamlet?”

Manager: “That’s Shakespeare, the Shakespeare play. They did a movie of it.”

Customer: *Pointing at Mel Gibson on the cover.* “You mean him?”

Manager: “Right, Mel Gibson plays Hamlet. Glenn Close is in it too, Alan Bates. Good cast.”

Customer: *Looking at the pictures on the back.* “So who does Shakespeare play? Which one’s he?”

Manager: “Um, he isn’t in it…”

Customer: “So he’s the director or what?”

Manager: “No, he wrote it…”

Customer: “But he’s not in it?”

Manager: “No, he… he’s been dead for some time…”

Customer: “Well, what’s it about?”

My manager gives him a two-sentence summary of the plot, to which the guy responds with nine words that instantly became an employee inside joke for ages afterward, and I quote:

Customer: “So it’s not a family movie like Flubber, then.”

He left with ‘Flubber.’

Get Her To Her Best Friend’s Wedding On Time

, , , , | Right | May 16, 2022

It is the nineties. I work at a movie theater with sixteen screens. An elderly woman approaches me.

Woman: “What time is the movie?”

Me: “That depends. Which movie are you looking for?”

Woman: “You know, the movie! The movie!”

Me: “Um…”

Woman: “The movie with Judy.”

I don’t remember the rest of our conversation, but eventually, I figured out that the movie she was referring to was “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” “Judy” was Julia Roberts.

Rated R You Serious?, Part 5

, , , , , | Right | May 14, 2022

A father brings his three young boys in to see “Deadpool”. He gets the obligatory warning that it is R-rated, but he waves us off with the now meme-able phrase:

Customer: “It’s a comic book movie. How bad can it be?”

Me: “Okay, sir, as long as you’re aware that because I have given you this warning, once I sell you these tickets, they are non-refundable.”

Customer: “Whatever, I am sure it’ll be fine.”

Of course, less than half an hour later, out he comes with his children.

Customer: “I need a refund!”

Me: “For what reason, sir?”

Customer: “That movie is pure filth! I demand a refund for you scarring my boys!”

The boys are giggling and talking about “boobies”, so they seem fine to me.

Me: “So, let me get this right. We warned you that this movie was R-rated and not suitable for children, and we explicitly said that we could not refund you after the tickets had been sold. Now you want a refund because the movie is not suitable for children?”

Customer: “Well, when you say it like that, you make it sound like I’m the idiot.”

Me: “Precisely, sir.”

He did not get his refund.

Rated R You Serious?, Part 4
Rated R You Serious?, Part 3
Rated R You Serious?, Part 2
Rated R You Serious?