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A Mountain Of Estúpido

, , , , | Right | September 28, 2020

I grew up on the border and speak Spanish as a result. After graduating from college, I moved to a small mountain tourist town, where I work in the Visitor and Conference Center. Most of our tourists come from Texas and Oklahoma, who want to ski in the winter or escape the heat in the summer.

This conversation happens one afternoon when I’m alone in the office.

Tourist: “What is this mountain range called?”

Me: “The Sangre de Cristo Mountains.”

Tourist: *Angrily* “You know that means ‘Blood of Christ,’ right?”

Me: “Yes, sir, I speak Spanish.”

Tourist: “Well, why don’t you call it by its name?!”

I am not sure if he’s serious.

Me: “I did call them by their name, sir. A Spanish explorer named them.”

The tourist turned red and marched out. His wife still bought a couple of maps, while looking rather amused at the whole thing.

Totally Estupido, Part 13
Totally Estupido, Part 12
Totally Estupido, Part 11
Totally Estupido, Part 10
Totally Estupido, Part 9

Don’t Offer Her Your Two Cents; She’d Take It

, , , , , , | Working | September 24, 2020

I worked in retail in the late 1980s. One of my coworkers was an unbelievably stingy woman. Amongst the many examples I can give you: she would pay in exact change for anything, would walk a mile in the rain to save two cents on groceries, go to thrift stores or haggle to buy clothes for her children — and always at least a size too small, I noticed — and would wear the same outfit every day until it fell apart or she really needed a shower. Speaking of which, she would use soap from the employee bathroom during breaks instead of buying her own. Here are some memorable instances of her penny-pinching.

When we were being given a raise of $3.50 a day, she asked, “Could you possibly give me this week’s money in advance? I need to buy extra gas.”

My boss asked, “Why?”

She replied that her daughter needed a new Girl Scout uniform. When he said he couldn’t do this, she said, “Fine, I’ll sort it out myself.”

When I saw her daughter delivering Girl Scout cookies, she was wearing a uniform with a massive tear underneath her armpit and dried mud on the hem. I asked her why and she shrugged, saying, “Mom said she can’t afford to sew it up.”

Now, my family wasn’t poor by any stretch of the imagination. True, my coworker worked in retail, but her ex-husband earned more than enough to pay alimony checks. I asked why she hadn’t asked him for more and was told that she didn’t want to spend money on a stamp.

Another example is when we were holding a Christmas celebration. I had brought in a box of chocolates, as everyone was bringing their own food. There was quite a bit leftover, and even a quiche that had been out-of-date; the person who had brought it in had misread the label and threw it in the trash. Guess what happened to the leftover food? That’s right; my coworker took it all home. She said to me, “Why waste going to the grocery when this perfectly good food is enough to feed me for at least a day? Roughly three meals, to be exact.”

I had never heard of anyone who ate crackers, chicken Kiev, or quiche for breakfast, but there you go. She also took half my box of chocolates, in case you’re interested.

But what really took the biscuit didn’t happen at work, specifically. I was carpooling my own kids to soccer practice and had offered to take my coworker’s son, as well; I promised that I would give him a uniform as my own kids had outgrown theirs. I arrived back at the house with its overgrown front yard and saw that my coworker had stapled the curtains together in the front room and duct-taped cardboard over her kids’ window.

When I asked why, she told me, “Why bother getting a blind when this is much cheaper?” or something like that.

My coworker lived in a two-story house with excellent plumbing and heating and in a good area, but she washed laundry in the bathtub, sometimes after her children had been in it, collected bottles and cans that the family used and sold them to a recycling plant — not that that is a bad idea in itself — had oranges on forks as an after-dinner treat, made her daughter give her all of her babysitting money when she grew old enough to go on a regular basis, let a graffiti mark on the ceiling stay there for ten years, gave her son a Barbie backpack for high school because it was going for cheap at the retail and made him keep it for four years, and broke the handle off the freezer door and never got it fixed.

However, she died ten years ago at a relatively young age and left each of her children $70,000. So I guess that’s something.

The Saga Of The Saucy Salsa Sampler

, , , , , , | Friendly | September 7, 2020

I’d like to make a public service announcement. We have all bought salsa at the store only to be let down when we got home and tried it. But please don’t open the jar at the store, stick your finger in it, sample it, and then try to put it back on the shelf.

Who does that, you ask?

Apparently, some lady at [Major Retailer].

I am shopping when I hear the pop of a jar and turn around to see a finger leaving this lady’s mouth and her tightening the lid of a jar of salsa. Then, I watch as she debates putting it in her cart or back on the shelf — hopefully feeling some moral conflict — but then she turns to the shelf and sets it down.

I hate confrontation because I always feel like I’m a jerk and in the wrong, but I don’t know what happens. It just comes out of my mouth.

Me: “Surely you are not going to not buy that.”

Customer: “Oh, uh… I was just setting it down on the shelf for a second.”

Regardless of whether she was truly just setting it down for a second — but why? — she shouldn’t be taste-testing anything! This is so ridiculous!

Me: “Yeah, okay. I’m pretty sure you went to put it in your cart and then turned around and set it back on the shelf because you decided you didn’t want it. How would you like buying something someone else opened?”

I don’t even mention taste-testing. Eww!

Customer: “I was just setting it there for a second! Just leave me alone and mind your own business!”

Then, she started to curse at me and call me names.


I talked to my sister after the incident, who told me that as much as she would like to confront the lady, she would probably have just watched her and waited until the lady left, and then she would have taken the jar to an employee. That would’ve been wise because then I would have known for sure that no one else would buy the sampled salsa; for all I know, as soon as I left her, she put it back on the shelf.

But hey, at least she had a mask… We are all so safe.

She Carried The Change Too Far

, , , , , | Right | August 5, 2020

A fifteen-ish-year-old girl comes to the counter with a box of candy.

Me: “All right, that’s going to be $3.75.”

Girl: “All right.” 

She hands me a five-dollar bill, and I give her $1.25 for her change. She gives me a weird look and then walks away to her friend. They talk for a while, and then the girl comes back to the counter.

Girl: “Shouldn’t I have gotten $2.25 back?”

Me: “You got [candy], right?”

Girl: “Yeah.”

Me: “And you gave me a five, right?”

Me: “Yeah, the candy was $3.75, so I gave you the right amount of change.”

Girl: “No, you didn’t. It should have been $2.25.”

Me: “Ma’am, even the register says it is $1.25.”

Girl: “But why?”

Me: “The candy was $3.75, the quarter makes $4, and the dollar makes $5.”

Girl: “Oh.”

She walks away, acting like I’m still wrong and she doesn’t want to deal with it anymore.

Coworker: “Did that just happen?”

That Went From Pop-Tarts To “You’re Getting Fired!” Very Quickly!

, , , , | Right | July 17, 2020

I am working late at night at a grocery store. It’s about ninety minutes before close and there are two cashiers — a coworker and me — and two baggers, but one is doing closing duties, so I don’t have anyone helping me at the moment. For some reason, it’s crazy busy and both [Coworker] and I have six to seven people in our lines waiting to check out. The manager is nowhere to be found.

I scan a customer’s item and he says it’s the wrong price. I go check and the customer is correct. As I am walking back to my register, another customer stops me.

Customer: “These pop-tarts I bought earlier rang up wrong; I need a refund.”

I glance at the receipt and the sign.

Me: “Okay, sir, I can help you with that in a minute, if you can just get in line.”

This customer starts screaming at me saying I am disrespecting him and that I am being rude. He also claims he is a regular — I’ve never seen him in my life — and that he can’t believe I would talk to him like that.

I try to get a word in while I continue to check out the customer in my line.

Customer: “I am going to speak to your manager right now!

Again, I have no idea where the manager is at the time.

Me: “Okay, sir.”

Before I can say another word, this customer stomps off and starts yelling at my coworker and the bagger who have no idea what is going on. Finally, out of nowhere, the manager finally shows up and the customer demands the corporate number, all while screaming at the manager about how rude I am and claiming that I purposely charged him wrong.

Finally, the manager gives him the info and the crazy customer leaves, but not before yelling at me that he WILL get me fired.

A few days later, I got called into the store director’s office and he asked me what had happened with this customer, as he had called the regional director and told him I was rude and that I was too busy to help him. 

I explained and ask him point-blank what he would have liked me to do in that situation. I wasn’t rude, the manager was nowhere to be found, I didn’t have a chance to call the manager because he was screaming and yelling so loud, I had a line and had to help them since they were there first, I couldn’t just pull money out of my drawer and give it to him, and customer service was closed.

The store director just looked at me and told me to go back to work.