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Steven King’s New Horror: The American Education System

, , , , , | Right | January 31, 2020

(A group of older teenagers walks in and one greets a Shih Tzu in a cart. The dog barks and growls at her, sending her running. The teenagers come up to my register a short time later.)

Me: “Oh, you were the one scared by the little dog.”

Teenager #1: “Yeah! He almost bit me!”

Me: “Yeah, he was a mini Cujo, huh?”

(There’s a short pause.)

Teenager #2: “What’s a mini Cujo?”

(I pause and wait for one of her friends to explain, but they have the same blank look.) 

Teenager #2: “Is that like a type of dog?”

Me: “Uh, it’s a book by Stephen King about a Saint Bernard that’s bitten by a bat and contracts rabies and then goes around attacking and killing people.” 

(They all gasp and joke that [Teenager #1] is going to get rabies.) 

Me: “Yeah, just a crazy dog analogy.”

Teenager #3: *as they are on their way out* “What’s an analogy?”

(I think I died a little bit inside that day.)

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Sadly, Their Sense Of Entitlement Is Never Sold Out

, , , , | Right | January 22, 2020

(I work at a movie theater during college. It is a great job: all the popcorn I can eat, free movies for my wife and me, great coworkers, and generally happy people as customers. But there is one regular customer who is always angry about something and complains constantly. She ALWAYS complains about the food prices, insists that we have food deals that don’t exist, and complains about too little butter on her popcorn or too much ice in her soda. She has also registered multiple loyalty cards with different birth months to scam free birthday tickets, as if we don’t recognize that she’s the same lady who comes to the movies every week and just had a free “birthday” movie a few weeks ago. Anyway, this event happens on a very busy Friday night when a popular movie opens and I am selling tickets at the box office.)

Me: *recognizing Angry Lady and bracing myself for the interaction* “Hi, welcome to [Movie Theater Chain].”

Angry Lady: “One for [Popular Movie] at [about 7:00 pm, the most popular time of day to see a movie].”

(She has completely ignored the large sign directly in front of my register and two feet from her face announcing that the show she wants is sold out.)

Me: *using my politest customer service voice while relishing that I can finally get back at her a little bit for the multiple times she has yelled at me for ridiculous reasons* “I’m sorry, that show is sold out.”

Angry Lady:What?! But I want to see it!”

Me: “I don’t know what to tell you; it sold out more than half an hour ago.”

Angry Lady: “That’s ridiculous! I want to go to [Popular Movie]!”

Me: “Again, that show is sold out. Would you like to go to the 9:30 pm show?”

Angry Lady: “No, that’s too late! I want to go to the one right now!”

Me: “I’m sorry, there are literally no seats left in the theater; it is full.”

Angry Lady: “I don’t care. I come here every week and I want to go to the show right now!

(I finally let her have it, as the line behind her was already 20 people deep and has been building the whole time she’s been yelling at me while my coworker on the till next to me is working as fast as she can.)

Me: “Ma’am, you showed up to one of the biggest movies of the summer, on opening night, five minutes before the movie started. Of course, it’s sold out! Come back for the later show or sometime tomorrow; the show right now is sold out!”

Angry Lady: *jaw dropping and sputtering* “I can’t believe this. I want to talk to your manager!”

Me: *pointing toward the concession stand where my stressed-out manager is helping fill food and drink orders for the backed- up lines* “He’s right over there, wearing the suit jacket. Please go tell him you’re angry that I won’t sell you a ticket to a sold-out theater!”

(Someone in the line actually applauded, which started a wave of applause and laughing from the whole line. The angry lady somehow managed to look even more angry and turned around to glare at the people laughing at her in line, which just made them laugh harder and clap some more. She stalked over to the concession stand to yell at the manager, but, having heard the exchange, he made her wait ten minutes until the concession lines died down before he talked to her. My manager had been working at this theater for many years, and had been dealing with this regular for most of that time, first as a floor worker and then as a manager. He told her the same thing I had about the sold-out show and refused to give in to her demand for a free ticket to a different showing. When she complained about how rudely I had spoken to her, he promised to speak with me about it, which consisted of him coming over to high-five me and trying not to laugh while saying, “C’mon, man, please try to be a little nicer to customers.”)

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We All Just Want To Go Home

, , , , , | Working | January 4, 2020

(I am a seventeen-year-old cashier working part-time. We close at 10:00 pm on weekdays and Saturdays during the summer. This happens around 9:45 pm. At the time, the head cashier on duty is my favorite, and is one of the most genuinely kind people I’ve ever met. Because we are in New Hampshire, many customers come from surrounding states for large purchases to take advantage of our lack of sales tax. A customer comes up to my register with a cart full of small items, her husband trailing behind her with a flat cart stacked high with drywall. Before I’ve even had the chance to greet them:)

Customer: “I’m from Massachusetts and I’m ordering a fridge. I spoke to your store manager and he said that you should take $150 off the price, because there’s sales tax.” 

(There is sales tax despite this being purchased in New Hampshire because it’s being delivered by us to Massachusetts. It’s standard store practice to give a discount to offset that.)

Me: “Sounds good! I’ll just need to call him real quick to verify that, because that’s over my authorized discount limit.”

(I do so, he agrees, and we’re all good. I then begin scanning her items. Now, this is a cart crammed full with tiny electrical and plumbing items, so it takes me a little while to scan and bag them all, despite being one of the quicker cashiers in the store.)

Customer: “You know, we don’t have all night! It’s almost ten, and we have to get home!”

Me: “So sorry for the delay, ma’am! Corporate policy dictates that we scan every individual item.”

(Eventually, I get through this cart, all scanned and bagged — and sorted by function — and I ring up the drywall on her husband’s cart. He then takes the cart outside to start loading it. Technically, this is against store policy, but as it’s now around three minutes before close and I’m about five days away from my last shift before leaving for college, I really don’t care. The customer hands me the packet for the fridge order, and this is where the trouble really begins.)

Me: “All right, I’ve scanned this, and I’ll just have to wait for my manager to approve the $150 discount!”

(This is done remotely and should take just a moment, but it’s declined because it was sent to an assistant manager rather than the store manager. I reroute the request and we’re all set. Maybe two minutes total.)

Customer: “As I said, we don’t have all night! I don’t know why they hire you kids; you don’t know what you’re doing!”

Me: “So sorry for the delay. I was just double-checking that I was verified to remove the sales tax discount!”

Customer: *snorts*

Me: “Will you be paying with cash, card, or check today?”

Customer: “I just opened up a new [Store] card, and the lady at the service desk said the discount would automatically be applied. Why don’t I see it?”

Me: “I’ll have to use the barcode that came with your temporary card printed on the receipt given when you signed up, as well as your driver’s license to complete the transaction with your new card.”

(This is apparently a terrible inconvenience for her, and she has to go digging through her purse for the receipt. Eventually, she finds it.)

Me: “This’ll just take a quick moment, but I’ll have to go back and apply this coupon, and then get the total discount reapproved!”

(I do so, call my manager, tell him I added the store card discount, and he approves it. It takes maybe four minutes tops.)

Customer: “You’re taking too long, and my husband is expecting me outside, probably getting angry. You don’t wanna see him when he’s angry; he gets violent.”

(I ignore this obvious threat because it’s 10:08 and I want to go home.)

Me: “May I see your driver’s license, so I can process the payment through your store card?”

(She pulls it out of her wallet and puts it down on my register counter, ignoring my outstretched hand. I’m used to processing licenses from my state, so it takes me a split-second to find where her license number is on this style ID. Apparently, this takes too long, so she starts reading the numbers out loud for me, very loudly and slowly. Everything goes through, and no one is happier about that than me. Except there’s one final step: stamping the fridge order form to verify it’s been processed. We do this using the receipt printer at each register. All is going well until I stick the packet in the printer, press the button, and… nothing happens. I try it several times.)

Me: “I’m so sorry, ma’am, my printer doesn’t seem to be working right now! I’ll have to call over my head cashier to see if she knows how to fix it.”

Customer: “Well, why don’t you just give me my receipt and let me go home?”

Me: “Well, my printer isn’t functioning, so I’m unable to do that, and I can’t finish the transaction until this stamp goes through. I’ll need my head cashier.”

(I call her and she comes right over. It’s now about 10:15. She tries all her tricks to fix the printer and nothing works. We replace the paper, the ink cartridge, and the toner, and it still doesn’t work. Eventually, we resort to shaking it just see, because we have no idea what’s wrong.)

Customer: “I don’t have time for your little jiggling act! I need to go! I’m just going to leave!” *begins to walk out with her cart*

Me: “Ma’am, if you don’t finish the transaction, your fridge will not be delivered. Also, I have your driver’s license.”

(She stomps her way back.)

Head Cashier: “This system seems to be down right now, so I’m going to have you go to the service desk to finish up. Unfortunately, I have no way to suspend the transaction once reaching this stage, so they’ll have to rescan everything.”

Customer: *unintelligible spluttering*

(We shut down the system, and I went outside to make sure her husband is unloading the drywall that he’d already put in their truck. I’d feel bad for the service desk employee doing this at almost 10:30 pm, but I know for a fact it was my least favorite one: a guy who would take twice as long as anyone else, therefore taking up more of their time. Also, her card may have been charged twice, but I really don’t care.)

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Shave Me From Her Ignorance!

, , , | Right | December 13, 2019

Customer: “I’d like a pound of roast beef shaved, please.”

Me: “Do you want that shaved as in ‘really thin’ or as in ‘shredded?’”

Customer: “Shaved.”

Me: “But do you want it like, falling apart or more together?”

Customer: *starting to become physically annoyed* “Shaved. For my dog.”

Me: “Okay, how about I do the first slice and show it to you to make sure?”

(I slice a piece off and hold it up for her inspection. She approves. I print the sticker.)

Customer: “That’s not shaved.”

Me: *visibly confused* “Oh, you said this was okay, but I can redo it if you want…”

Customer: “No. I’ll take it, but it’s not shaved.”

Me: “Okay.”

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Combo or Bust

, , , | Right | December 13, 2019

(I work at a movie theater. A customer approaches me at the concession stand.)

Me: “Hello, what can I get for you?”

Customer: “Can I get a combo #1—” *large popcorn, large drink* “—but can I get a medium popcorn, instead?”

Me: “Sorry, we can’t do any substitutions; however, it would be the same price as a #1 if you just ordered a large drink and medium popcorn separately.”

Customer: “No, I want a combo. Could I just get the #1 and could you just not fill the bag all the way?”

Me: “Sure, that’ll be $13.”

(I put about the amount of a medium bag into a large bag, handed it to him along with his soda, and he paid and walked away.)

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