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The Tired Daughter Of Jane Complain

, , , , , , , , , | Right | September 4, 2023

This happened a while ago, so some specific details might have been lost to time, but the key points are very much remembered.

We have a customer who always — and I mean ALWAYS — finds something to complain about. An item’s packaging is too scruffy, we took too long to find an item from the back, we didn’t wish her a good day when she left, etc. We have pretty much accepted the fact that NOTHING we do will make this miserable old woman happy, so we don’t try; we just brace ourselves for a barrage of complaints while we try to get her in and out as quickly as possible.

A recent encounter ran differently, however, as she came into the store with a younger woman, who we would later find out is her daughter. Her temperament is the polar opposite of her mother’s.

Customer: *As she enters the store* “I see they don’t want to waste money on customer’s comfort by turning on the AC.”

Customer’s Daughter: “I don’t know what you mean; I felt the blast of cold air as soon as I came in.”

Customer: “And the music! As usual, it’s way too loud!”

Customer’s Daughter: “Music? Oh, I didn’t even notice they were playing it. I barely heard it.”

The customers disappear into the store. The mother keeps finding things to complain about, and the daughter keeps politely highlighting that she’s overreacting. I find it humorous but continue with my work at the customer service desk. A moment later, the customer’s daughter rushes up to me.

Customer’s Daughter: “Hi! My mother is here shopping. I saw you spot us on the way in, so you know who I am talking about.”

Me: “Well… I try to remember most of our… regulars.”

Customer’s Daughter: “Last time I was here, I found out how awful she’s been treating all you guys. I saw it for myself, and I was mortified!

Me: “That’s… appreciated, ma’am, but—”

Customer’s Daughter: “You’re just doing your job. Technically, yes, but she shouldn’t be putting you through that just because she refuses to find joy in her life. I apologize, but I also want to help! She’s on the phone shouting at my dad at the moment, but that was planned so she could be distracted…”

Me: *Intrigued* “Okaaaay…?”

Customer’s Daughter: “She’s going to come up to this customer service desk, and she’s going to complain about you guys not having a specific flavor of [Brand] oatmeal in stock. You guys were never going to win that one; she specifically looks for whatever flavor you’re missing on the shelf and will use that to fuel her whining spree directed at you guys just to get some perverse pleasure out of it.”

Me: “Uh… wow.”

Customer: “Yeah, I know. She mentioned a few days ago we were out of [Brand] oatmeal, so I knew she was going to ask for it today—”

As she’s speaking, my manager comes out from the little office behind the customer service desk. She has caught most of the conversation through the open door.

Manager: “Are you oatmeal girl?”

Customer’s Daughter: *Eyes go wide* “Yes! I was told you’d be here when I called!”

Me: “Okay, someone please explain.”

Manager: *Gesturing to the young lady* “This customer here called us a few days ago—”

Customer’s Daughter: “Three days ago, when my mother started complaining about running out of the oatmeal and I knew what she was planning.”

Manager: “Yes. I took her call, and she specifically asked us to order in two of every size, flavor, variation, and packaging type that [Brand] oatmeal produces and put them aside for her. Never one to fail a customer, we said we’d have them all ready for her at the customer service desk by today.”

I look inside the office and am surprised I didn’t notice the small mountain of various oatmeal products inhabiting the corner.

Customer’s Daughter: “Amazing! I’m going to go find her now; she should be wrapping up her call with Dad. She thinks I’ve gone to the restroom. When we get to the oatmeal section, I would bet my house that she will spot what’s missing and come here to complain. Please be ready when she does!” 

And with that, she runs off down an aisle, leaving my manager and I staring at each other with a “That just happened” look. My manager then takes all of the oatmeal boxes in the back and strategically places them behind the desk.

With terrifying accuracy, within minutes, we see our problem regular charging toward us like a bull seeing red. Her daughter is following behind her.

Customer: *Nostrils flaring* “Outrageous! Every time I come here, you disappoint me!”

Manager: “How can we help you, ma’am?”

Customer: “I came here specifically for the raisin [Brand] oatmeal, and you don’t have any on the shelf!”

What happens next is a thing of beauty and will forever remain a core memory for me. My manager, not moving from his spot and barely even breaking eye contact, produces the exact box of oatmeal that the customer was asking for.

Manager: “Our sincerest apologies, ma’am. I hope this resolves your issue.”

The customer is momentarily stunned, as am I! She squares her jaw, glares at the magically produced box of oatmeal, notices a detail on the packaging, and tries to come in for the kill again.

Customer: “This doesn’t help me, does it? I have a family to feed, and this is just the sixteen-ounce box, and I need the thirty-two-ounce one to last me all week! Honestly, if you can’t even—

Once again, my manager magically produces the exact box of oatmeal the regular just requested out of thin air.

Manager: “Of course, ma’am. How silly of us. Please, take this.”

Again, she is stunned. I am standing aside, trying not to let my smirk appear too obvious, as is the customer’s daughter, standing behind this now reddening collection of frustration that is her mother.

Customer: “That’s all well and good, but I needed the gluten-free version—”

Manager: *Slamming two of them on the desk* “Here, ma’am. The gluten-free version doesn’t come in a thirty-two-ounce box, but we do have two of the sixteen-ounce boxes right here, and since you’re already here at the customer service desk speaking to me, a manager, I’ll make sure to price-match both of these so that you pay the same as the thirty-two-ounce box from before.”

The customer is, for lack of a better word… annihilated. To use a Bart Simpson meme; if you look closely, you can pinpoint the second when her heart rips in half.

Customer: *Sniffs* “I… guess that will be acceptable.” 

She snatches the oatmeal boxes and places them in her cart, storming off to continue her shopping. Her daughter turns around and mouths a thank-you to my manager, before turning to back to her mother.

Customer: “…and the music is still too loud!”

They continued their shopping, and we didn’t hear another complaint for the rest of that shopping trip! Oatmeal Girl came back an hour after they left to buy up the rest of the oatmeal she had pre-ordered. When my manager asked her what she would do with all that oatmeal, she said there were plenty of food pantries in the city in need of donations in these trying times.

Thank you, Oatmeal Girl. You’re a true NAR Avenger!

Jane Complain Reaches The Next Level
The Continuing Saga Of Jane Complain
The Saga Of Jane Complain

This Is What Happens When Calcified Entitlement Is Finally Shattered, Part 2

, , , , , , , | Right | July 2, 2023

Reading this story reminded me of my own amazing experience, but it wasn’t me that was leaving, but one of my managers. We work in a grocery store and our manager is a twenty-year veteran who is finally retiring.

We also have ‘that’ customer; the awful regular who exists only to make our lives a living H***.

I am training one of our new hires, a sweet eighteen-year-old woman who is working part-time to pay her way through college. She is getting the hang of the checkouts and is understandably slower than the average checkout clerk. Our lane has signs that state this, not to mention she has a big ‘TRAINEE’ badge on her uniform in big bold letters.

Awful regular has entered our lane and has been complaining about the slow checkout from the first second she stepped in it. She steps up and the trainee starts scanning her items.

Awful Regular: “It’s about time! What is this, be-lazy-at-work day?”

Trainee: “I’m sorry, madam, I am new, and I am still getting the hang of things.”

Awful Regular: “Oh, lucky me, I get the slow girl. Did they get you from the special school or something, eh? Are you part of some special ‘put-the-r**ards-into-the-workforce’ program?”

I decide this is enough and step in.

Me: “Madam! Please don’t be rude. My coworker here has explained that she is new and so is still learning. Please be respectful of that, and her.”

Our awful regular decides that I have said some magic words, and she decides to invoke some of her own.

Awful Regular: “Get me your manager! You’ll be sorry you said that!”

I call over our aforementioned retiring regular, and when she sees that our awful regular is the cause, she looks strangely happy.

Manager: “Mrs. [Awful Regular], I am glad that it’s you. I heard a shrill banshee cry coming from the registers and was worried a cat was choking on a whistle.”

Awful Regular: “What?! How dare you!”

My manager glances at me, and then at the trainee, and then back to the now-fuming awful regular.

Manager: “Let me guess, you stepped into a lane that was signposted as belonging to a trainee, and you’re complaining that you have to deal with a trainee.”

Me: “That pretty much sums it up, [Manager]!”

Awful Regular: “Your r**arded clerks are going too sl—”

Manager: *Interrupting and bellowing.*You do not get to speak that way to my staff!”

The sudden outburst has shocked the awful regular, and admittedly me, into silence.

Manager: “You do not get to speak that way to me, or my staff, or any poor soul that has the absolute displeasure of being within two metres of you ever again. For twenty years you have been coming here and ruining the days of countless colleagues and it ends today! You will finish your transaction in silence, or you will be banned!”

Awful Regular: “You can’t ban me! I am a customer, and I will be writing to your head office to get you fired!”

Manager:I am quitting in less than two weeks! You have nothing! Get out. We are refusing you service.

The awful regular is now frighteningly aware that their years of behaviour might finally be coming back to haunt them.

Awful Regular: “You… you can’t be serious?”

Manager: “Madam, I have never been more serious about anything in my entire life. You are a miserable little woman who lives to only spitefully bring fear among poor workers just trying to get through their day. Every minor inconvenience to you is a letter to management that got some poor teen in trouble and shattered their confidence. Every out-of-stock item got you a coupon from head office and a reprimand for our stocking staff. Madam, we are done with you, and I envy people who have never met you.”

With that, our manager points to the exit and just stares. The awful regular tries to make another protest but our manager diligently just continues to point towards the exit.

The awful regular finally realises they have no power in this moment, and they storm out.

Me: “[Manager]! That was amazing!”

Manager: *Now shaking.* “I have been practicing that speech all month! Getting to do that was one of the reasons I wanted to retire!”

The awful regular did write to the head office (because of course she did) and the head office said they would investigate what happened. Head office was also aware that this was the one-hundredth-and-thirty-sixth complaint letter they had received from this same woman over a twenty-year period, and decided that there was simply no pleasing some people and decided to ignore any further complaint from her in the future.

I can’t say if the ban was ever upheld, but I never saw her ever again so I like to think that even if it wasn’t she was too ashamed to ever come back.

This Is What Happens When Calcified Entitlement Is Finally Shattered

Donut Get Complicated With Me

, , , , , , | Right | June 4, 2023

I’m goofing off behind the counter on a slow night at work when my coworker appears with a box of mini donuts and asks if I want one. I take one and ask what they’re for.

Coworker: “I have a regular customer who always brings me some because I help her with complicated orders.”

Me: “Aw, that’s sweet.”

Coworker: “She even gave me a choice. She asked, ‘Do you want [Donut Shop] or [Bakery-Cafe]?’ I chose [Donut Shop] since I had [Bakery-Cafe] recently.”

Me: “So now whenever she walks in with donuts, you know what’s coming?”

Coworker: “Yeah, I see her and her donuts and I’m like, ‘Aw, s***e!'”

I still have not met Donut Lady.

Your Behavior Makes Them Very Anime-ted

, , , , , , , , , , , , | Right | May 31, 2023

I am working at a food counter at a convention centre in the middle of a large anime event. I am extra happy to work this weekend, as I am an anime geek and I get to tell my customers how much I love their cosplays.

A timid-looking girl in a wheelchair is with her friend and they order some food from me. She is cosplaying as an anime character.

Me: “That’ll be £10.95. By the way, I love your outfit! Tougou Mimori from Yuki Yuna Is A Hero, right?”

With this, the girl suddenly breaks down crying.

Me: “Oh, no! Did I say something wrong? Did I get the wrong cosplay?”

Girl: *Through some tears* “No, you got it right! You’re the first person to get it right!”

Me: *Nervous laughter* “Oh, well, I am sorry to hear that. But it’s a limited-run anime from 2014, so I guess you kinda have to be a fan?”

Girl: “It’s just, she’s the only anime girl in a wheelchair, so I thought I would try her out. She’s such an inspiration to me, and I was getting so upset that not one other person at an anime convention got it. You’ve just made me soooooo happy!”

Her friend then gets a photo of us both to record the happy memory. I say thanks to the photographer, who responds in basic sign language.

Girl: “Oh, yeah, my friend is deaf.”

Me: “Ah. Is that why he’s cosplaying as Bojji from Ranking Of Kings?”

The girl’s eyes go wide, and I look at her friend who has read my lips. His cosplay is based on a deaf anime character, so for me, it was an easy guess.

Girl: “Who are you?!”

I got pics with both of them and shared Instagram details so I could continue to marvel at their amazing cosplays.

I would like to point out that I think those with and without disabilities should both be able to cosplay characters with or without disabilities, but in this particular instance, it was like putting two and two together. This will always be my favourite customer encounter.

This story is part of our Highest-Voted-Inspirational-Stories-Of-2023-(so far!) roundup!

Read the next Highest-Voted-Inspirational-Stories-Of-2023-(so far!) story!

Read the Highest-Voted-Inspirational-Stories-Of-2023-(so far!) roundup!

The Latest NAR Avenger: Olive Man!

, , , , | Right | January 9, 2023

I am stocking shelves and I can see a mother and two children standing in the aisle. The mother has stopped to take a phone call and the boys are play-fighting with some toy lightsabers. They are going quite rough, and knock a jar of olives over on the shelf. I step on over and pick up the items.

Me: “Hey, guys, try to be a little careful, yeah? Don’t want to accidentally break something.”

Boy #1: “F*** you!”

Boy #2: “Yeah, haha! F*** you!”

Me: “No need to be rude guys, I just—”

At this point the mother has noticed I am talking to them and storms a few steps toward me.

Mother: “Hey! Hey! Don’t you dare talk to my boys! What are you, a creepy weirdo? It’s just olives!”

Boy #1: “Yeeeeeah, it’s just olives, weirdo!”

Boy #2: “Yeah, olive man! It’s olive man! Haha!”

Me: Ignoring the boys. “No, ma’am, I am an employee who is trying to prevent your children from breaking something, and therefore saving you from having to buy it.”

Mother: “Do not tell my boys what to do!”

As she is scolding me with that last line, the boys’ play fight continues and they knock over several jars of stuffed olives. They shatter all over the floor. The boys look at their mother with an “uh-oh” look. The mother then looks at me, and then shrieks at me with what she considers a well-reasoned argument in her defence.

Mother: “You knew that was going to happen!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, I did. That’s why I tried to stop them.”

Mother: “Come on boys, we’re leaving!”

Me: “Leaving to the customer service desk to pay for the…” Quickly counts. “…seven jars of olives your boys broke.”

Mother: *Scoffs, while getting out her car keys.* “Screw you! Good luck proving it was my boys!”

Me: *Pointing.* “I don’t have to. Those cameras caught the whole thing, as well as capturing you entering the store from the parking lot, which is also surveilled by cameras so we know which license plate to report to the police if you choose to leave without paying.”

Mother: “It’s… it’s just some f****** olives! I’m going to complain about how you’ve treated me to your manager! What’s your name?”

Me: “Don’t you know? Why, I am Olive Man! Customer service desk is this way.”

I escorted the customer to the customer service desk and called for a clean-up from there, while explaining to the manager on duty what happened. The customer was charged appropriately. I would have let it go if they had been nice, but they had created Olive Man, and Olive Man requires justice…

This story is part of our Highest-Voted-Stories-Of-2023-(so far!) roundup!

Read the next Highest-Voted-Stories-Of-2023-(so far!) story!

Read the Highest-Voted-Stories-Of-2023-(so far!) roundup!