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That Particular Vessel Was Aptly Named

, , , , , , , , , , | Related | January 16, 2023



After a short hospital stay, my brother unexpectedly dies. Of course, we are devastated, but we know that we need to clear out his apartment of a few things right away. He owned several guns, and we think those should be secured before we move on to other things.

Some family members and I go through his two-bedroom apartment looking for as many of them as possible. He was a bit of a hoarder, and his extra bedroom is stuffed with things. We manage to find most of the guns right away, but I discover something unusual in the bedroom closet.

A pot-bellied stove.

I don’t have time to dwell on it, but it comes up later when my mom is asking about the apartment. She says the stove was actually something that my dad had purchased at an estate sale (he was notorious for buying random things) and my brother’s live-in girlfriend at the time saw it and wanted to turn it into a planter. That didn’t happen, and into the closet it went and probably hadn’t been thought about in years.

Cut to a few days later when we have the time to really clean everything out and I’ve emptied the closet except for the stove. It dawns on me to check if there’s anything inside. I reach in, feel a plastic bag, and pull it out.

And it’s full of marijuana.

I knew he smoked when he was younger, and he told me he hadn’t for a long time. Or maybe it was his girlfriend’s before they split up. Either way, it had been forgotten. But it did provide a humorous story to tell at his visitation.

Because what else would you expect to find in the belly of a pot-bellied stove but pot?

A Hard Time For Everyone On The Books

, , , , , , , , , | Working | December 21, 2022

I was working at a mall-based bookstore as an assistant manager. About a year and a half into my time there, my manager decided to quit. We all could see it coming, and there were no hard feelings. We wished her well and anticipated her replacement, who was coming to us from another store in the chain.

He was easy enough to get along with but seemed a little aloof. Regardless, he seemed to know his stuff, and we continued along with no disruptions.

At this point, Amazon was a long way off, and the larger chain bookstores weren’t as prevalent, so we maintained a pretty brisk business all year round, and it got hectic over the holidays.

As we got closer to the holidays, our manager started coming in later each day, changing the schedule last minute, and just not keeping up with any of the standards of the store. I tried my best to pick up the slack, but there were certain things that had to be done by him. And he was still aloof and just didn’t want to explain what was going on, even when I confronted him about how this is affecting everyone.

Then, one December day, he just didn’t show up.

Nobody could reach him at all. I called our district manager to advise him, and he wasn’t able to find the manager, either. So, we muddled through the holidays as best as we could. Other assistant managers came over to help with closing and opening, I put in extra hours, and we managed to get through it.

After everything had calmed down, I did find out from some of the manager’s old coworkers what had happened to him. His changing of the schedule and coming in late were all part of him trying to live a lifestyle on the down-low. And the day he didn’t show up was right after he came out to his wife as gay and she kicked him out.

Not that there’s a great time to come out for anyone, but that sure was the worst time for our store.

Processing A Refund Can Be Tire-ing

, , , , , | Working | December 9, 2022

My spouse and I went to a big box store to pick up some prescriptions and buy groceries. We finished up shopping and went to the checkout. By this time, I was to the point where I needed to finish up and sit down someplace due to health issues, so I wasn’t paying close attention to the process.

I loaded the items onto the belt while my spouse grabbed the bags and put them into the shopping cart. I prepared to pay and looked at the screen, and it said $270. That seemed a little high to me for the number of items we got, but I went ahead and paid. The cashier seemed like she started to say something to me and then changed her mind, but I didn’t think anything of it. I just wanted to get done and go sit down.

We went out to the car and loaded up the groceries, and I got to sit down, and we headed home. I got a text notification from my credit card but didn’t look at it until we got home — about a twenty-minute drive.

When I finally checked the text message, it said that the total purchase was $424.96! What?! I got the receipt out and, sure enough, that was the total. I looked through the items we had purchased, and the very last one was a tire — for $270! I called the store to see if I could get the refund over the phone or online, but no, I had to drive back to the store.

So, twenty minutes back to the store and up to customer service. The only person there, [Employee #1], didn’t know about my phone call, so she started to look at the receipt. [Employee #2] came over.

Employee #2: “Oh, you’re the one who called about the tire!”

She started to process the refund and started having problems. At about this time, [Employee #3] showed up, so she took over trying to process a refund. She also got an error about the product not being in the system.

[Employee #3] called for a supervisor, who looked at the receipt.

Supervisor: “How did you get charged for a tire? We don’t sell tires at this location!”

Me: “I don’t know. I didn’t buy one!”

The supervisor finally decided that he could put the money on a gift card and then go to one of the cashiers and get cash to give me the refund. Then, he couldn’t get the swipe on the computer to put the funds on the gift card! He tried three different gift cards, and then [Employee #3] said maybe it would work on the other computer. She switched it over and got it to work.

[Supervisor] ran to get the cash, and I finally had my refund!

Apparently, the cashier who had checked us out was new. I had seen her manually entering the UPC from one of our items, and she must have entered it incorrectly, selling me a tire instead of a bottle of vitamins! The supervisor was surprised that the computer didn’t catch her mistake, and I told him about her starting to say something to me but then stopping.

The fun part is that some family members work for the big box store corporation. My spouse had texted them about being charged for a “tire” and one of them texted back saying, “That location doesn’t even sell tires!”

We’d Suggest They Put Up A Sign, But We Know How That Goes Around Here

, , , , , , | Working | August 24, 2022

I stop at my local membership warehouse store to get gasoline. The gas prices have been high lately, but this store usually has gas anywhere from twenty to thirty cents cheaper per gallon than most gas stations. As such, it’s always busy.

Unfortunately, the layout for the pumps at this store isn’t great. There is room for maybe five vehicles to line up behind the ones at the pumps. Beyond that, the vehicles start blocking one of the entrances to the parking lot for the store. Because of this, the store has enlisted employees to help guide the drivers to move their vehicles a bit closer and provide room for people just entering.

I’ve just pulled up to the pump, gotten out of my car, swiped my membership card, and am ready to tap my credit card for payment. At this point, I can see someone in the corner of my eye kind of hovering close by. Since I still need to type in my PIN for payment, I get wary of people standing too close to me when I pay. I turn to see one of the store’s employees looking at me expectantly. I think he must have a question or something important to tell me.

Me: “Yes?”

Employee: “Are you going to tap for payment?”

I’m thinking maybe there’s something wrong with the pump. I look back to the pump and don’t see a sign or any other indication that I couldn’t pay by tapping, so I look back at the employee.

Me: “I was going to. Why?”

Employee: “We’re encouraging everyone to tap to pay when possible.”

Me: “Okay?”

Employee: “You see, all the cars are lined up waiting, and if everyone taps to pay, it saves up to forty-five seconds on each transaction. It’s a much faster way to pay.”

Me: “Yeah, I know. I would have been done by now.”

I turned back to pay, blocking his view while I typed in my PIN. I didn’t bother to see if he was giving that spiel to anyone else, but he definitely wasted my time. Even if I was swiping, I could have gotten done faster.

Three Grand Can Buy You A Lot Of Chianti And Fava Beans

, , , | Right | June 17, 2022

I’m working in the drive-thru of a bank, which generally has a cash-out limit of $2,000; we have to get approval for amounts over our limit, and this takes time that we don’t like to waste for customers in the drive-thru.

A customer pulls up.

Driver: “I want to take out $3,000. I know that’s more than the limit, but I have someone in the car who shouldn’t come inside.”

Me: “May I ask why that is?”

Driver: *With an added chuckle* “Well, he’s a little crazy.”

My coworkers and I watched as the man in the back seat gave us a straight-up serial killer glare. 

I don’t think he blinked that entire transaction.

It was definitely one of the weirdest, creepiest encounters I’ve had in customer service.