Cookbook For Cooking Up Some Fake Drama

, , , , , | Right | December 20, 2019

(It is the holiday season, and I am working in a bookstore in a high-traffic mall. One employee has called out sick, one didn’t show up, and one has fallen ill during her shift, leaving us temporarily without any staff to cover the information desk. I am trying to man the information desk but, as the manager on duty, I keep getting pulled away to take care of situations at the register, which has a line nearly to the back of the store. I have just run back to the register to process a return with no receipt and get a cashier small change when I see an elderly lady walk up to the information desk. She demands help from a man who is patiently waiting for me to return to order a book he needs.)

Me: *calling over* “I apologize, ma’am; I’ll be right over to help.”

(Unprompted, the man helpfully explains the situation to the lady.)

Customer: “Well, that’s not my problem, is it?” *shouting* “I NEED AN EMPLOYEE HERE!”

Me: “I apologize. I will be right over. If you have a quick question, I might at least be able to point you in the right direction.”

Customer: “Where are your employees? I need help.”

Me: “We’re short-staffed at the moment so I’m the only person available, but I also need to keep this line moving. I’m very sorry for the inconvenience. I may know what book you’re looking for if you would just tell me.”

(She asks for a cookbook I am unfamiliar with.)

Me: “I’m sorry, I’m not familiar with that title. I’ll check our inventory in a moment; please bear with me.”

(I am getting change out of the safe for one of the cashiers when I hear loud banging. I look up and the elderly customer is violently banging on the keyboard of the computer at the information desk while the man waiting looks horrified.)

Me: “Excuse me, what is going on?”


Me: “Ma’am, that is a computer. It cannot call an employee. Please don’t break the keyboard.”

(The cashiers happen to all be temporary seasonal help so none of them have been trained on the information desk, but I send one to help this lady — at least to hold things over until I can get back. The next thing I know, the lady is yelling at the cashier I sent over.)


(The cashier hurries back to the registers with tears in her eyes and the man who had been waiting slinks away in terror.)

Me: “Ma’am, please calm down. I’m finishing up over here and I’ll be right over.”

(Within ten seconds, I finish at the registers and begin walking around to the information desk. The phone rings and I see the customer picking it up. Horrified, I run the rest of the way.) 

Customer: *to whoever is on the phone* “What the f*** are you talking about?! JUST GO AWAY!” *slams the phone back on the receiver*

Me: “Ma’am! Why did you answer the phone and hang up on that customer?”

Customer: “Oh, uh, I thought it was someone calling from the back to help me.”

Me: “Why would someone be calling you from the back room? I told you I was coming right over.”

Customer: “Well, why should I have to wait? And what’s the big deal? It’s just a phone call.”

Me: “You cursed them out and told them to go away!”

Customer: “I did not! I’m a customer and you aren’t treating me very well right now.”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m trying my best to help you but you’ve driven away two customers now — one on the phone and one who had been waiting here before you. I understand that us being short-staffed means nothing to you, but there isn’t anything I can do about it right now.”

(While the customer continues to yell at me, offended by the way she feels she has been mistreated, I look up the cookbook she was looking for.)

Me: “Unfortunately, we don’t have a copy of the book you are looking for here, but it does look like a store thirty minutes away has a copy.”

Customer: “I don’t want to drive that far! Can’t you just order it?”

Me: “I can definitely order it, but unfortunately, it would not be here in time for the holidays.”

Customer: “Oh, I don’t mind waiting. I’m not in any kind of hurry.”

Me: “…”

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The Bankers And The Lawyers: All Have To Wait

, , , | Right | December 15, 2019

(It’s a very busy day at a local sandwich shop. A woman about five people back in line starts sighing loudly.)

Customer: “I shouldn’t have to wait! I need to get this lunch now! I’m a paralegal for [Lawyer], a very important lawyer! She has a very important job and she needs her lunch now!

(This continues for a few minutes, with everyone in the shop completely ignoring her. Finally, the owner, who’s behind the counter, gets tired of her whining.)

Owner: “Do you see the man behind you?”

(The woman turns and sees a tall man in a suit behind her.)

Owner: “That’s [Man], the president of [Large Local Bank]. If he can find the time to wait in line, so can you.”

(The woman tried to find a retort before just turning and storming out of the store.)

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Their Phones Don’t Have Reception That Far

, , , , , | Working | December 11, 2019

(Sadly, I only hear my mom’s side of this phone call:)

Mom: “Hello, my name is [Mom] and I’m calling about [Her Father]’s account. You see, I’m his daughter, and we sent you a copy of his death certificate when he passed in [time about a year and a half before] but it seems you’re still charging us for his phone.”


Mom: “The account owner is deceased. That’s why I’m calling.” 


Mom: “You can’t speak to him. He’s dead! I faxed you a copy of his death certificate!” 

(Pause. My mom is getting increasingly more frustrated.)

Mom: “I don’t have the PIN. The only person who had the PIN was my father who, once again, has been dead for over a year.”



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Delivered A Special Kind Of Milk  

, , , | Right | December 7, 2019

(I am helping a male customer, probably in his early 50s.)

Customer: “I have one question: when did they start hiring models here?”

(I laugh and continue to help him. A few minutes later, he says the following.)

Customer: “Where did you get those blue eyes from? Your mom or your dad?”

Me: “My dad. Everyone else in my family has brown eyes.”

Customer: “What color were the milkman’s eyes?”

(I had no idea how to respond to that.)

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That Just Crossed A Line  

, , , , | Right | December 6, 2019

(It is a slow night. I have no one in my line. My coworker behind me has two customers. One is taking very long to finish.)

Coworker: “Hey, [My Name], can you take her?” *points to the other customer*

Me: “Sure!”

(The lady and I start to put stuff on my line. I have my back turned to the register, and when I put some of the lady’s stuff down, I see that someone has just come on my line.)

Me: “Oh! Hello, I’m sorry but this lady is—”

Customer: *on my line* “WHAT THE H*** ARE YOU DOING?!”

Me: “I… I am taking this lady’s stuff on my line because she has been waiting. I’m sorry, but I did not see you. You can go to register five if you—”

Customer: “Where is your manager?”

(By this time, I am starting to check out the lady.)

Me: “I… I don’t know. I think he left.”

(I finish up with the lady and start to ring the other customer up.)

Customer: “I am going to talk to your manager. You should have not done this.”

(I finish and she goes to the front end. I am about to cry because I have only had this job for a few months and need money. My coworker behind me is trying to calm me down. One of the front end people comes to me and asks what happened. I tell her.)

Me: “I was just trying to help.”

Front End Coworker: “Okay, don’t worry about it.”

(She goes back, and I see the customer leave the store. My front-end coworker comes back and tells me that I am not in trouble.)

Me: “Thank you.”

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