Instrumental In The Decision

, , | Right | April 4, 2013

(A lot of the people around my area haven’t been coming to our local guitar store, due to the competition of a well-known chain store having been built about two years earlier. A young teen customer comes into the store. The only other people here are the owner, and a customer who has been a regular for quite some time.)

Me: “Hello! How may I help you today?”

(The teen customer is obviously quite shy, perhaps shopping alone for the first time.)

Teen Customer: “Uh… I was looking for a specific model? It’s a Squier, if I remember…”

(Before I can ask the teen customer which model he wants, the regular scoffs.)

Regular Customer: “Really, kid? You broke or something? Can you not afford a real instrument? How sad that these kids can only get the cheap stuff.”

(The teen customer obviously takes this to heart. He frowns and turns to leave the store. Before he leaves, the owner of the shop places his hand on his shoulder. He then glares at the regular.)

Owner: “Wow, really, [Regular Customer]? That’s how you’re going to treat one of my customers? Listen, I know you’ve been coming here for over 20 years now, but the day I let you speak to anyone who steps into this store the way you just did, is the day hell freezes over! So what if he wants one of the cheaper models? We’ve all got to start somewhere; let the kid choose what he wants! Being a regular does not make you king of my store!”

Regular Customer: “What are you going to do about it, kick me out? Like you’d ever do that!”

(Without even a moment of hesitation, my boss walks over to the regular and escorts him out. The teen customer looks over at me, his jaw drops.)

Teen Customer: “Did that really just happen?”

Me: “I have no idea, little dude.”

(About a minute later, the owner strolls back in casually, and smiles at the teen customer.)

Owner: “Now, what can I get for ya’, kiddo?”

(The teen customer’s face lights up as he excitedly informs us of the exact model he wants. He tells us that he has saved up all the money that he’s gotten for doing chores around the house for over a year, just to buy the guitar. My boss throws in some strings and picks for the kid too! I love this job, and my boss!)

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Bigotry Unleashed

, , , , , | Right | March 14, 2013

(A gay couple has just met up in the restaurant and kissed each other upon arrival. Another customer has seen this and is obviously angry.)

Angry Customer: “Damn f**s.”

Gay Man: “Excuse me?”

Angry Customer: “You heard me, you little s***. Let’s not make this into some little pride protest, okay? I have to accept that you’re going to live your lifestyle, and you have to accept that I’ve got freedom of speech.”

Gay Man: *quietly* “Is it too much to ask for a little human decency?”

Angry Customer: “Human? Listen up, what you’re doing is not human. I think I have the right to determine what I think is human.”

(The manager shows up. He’s a quiet Italian man who I assume is conservative due to the Christian imagery and portrait of Reagan he keeps around the restaurant.)

Angry Customer: *to the owner* “Hey, can you move either them or us to another table?”

(Instead of responding to the angry customer, the owner instead speaks to his wife.)

Owner: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but we have a strict ‘no pets’ policy in my restaurant.”

Wife: “Uh, I, uh, what? I don’t have a—”

Owner: “Well, according to your talking monkey over here, I can determine who’s a human and who’s not. You bring an animal into my restaurant? I gotta assume it’s your pet.”

(The angry customer stormed out. When I left, the owner was giving his description, and copies of security camera footage, to the biggest crowd of police I’ve seen. Apparently it’s a bad idea to not pay your bill at a restaurant that gives free coffee to cops.)

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Judge A Sandwich On Its Filling

, , , , | Right | March 11, 2013

(A young girl that is about 14 years old walks in. She gets some looks from our other patrons, as she has bright purple hair, multiple piercings, a leather jacket, and ripped jeans. It is freezing outside and she has a scowl on her face that makes me nervous.)

Me: “Hello, welcome to [Coffee Shop]. How may I help you?”

Young Girl: “I’ll take five of the largest black coffees you have, and ten of your ham and cheese sandwiches.”

Me: “Okay, will that be all?”

Young Girl: “Yeah.”

Me: “Your total is [price].”

(To my surprise, she pulls out a $100 bill. I am suspicious, and I check to make sure it’s real. It checks out, and I give her a bag with her sandwiches.)

Me: “Here is your change. Your coffee will be ready in a moment.”

(I keep an eye on her as she stands around glaring at anyone who looks at her. I see her looking at the tip jar. When I hand her the coffees, she asks me about it.)

Young Girl: “Your tip jar says that the money goes to you guys. Are any of you in college?”

Me: “Yes, I’m going to Rochester Institute of Technology. A few others are in college as well.”

Young Girl: “Good for you.”

(She pulls out the change I gave her and a few more $20 dollar bills. She crams then in the jar and salutes me jokingly before walking out. I am stunned, and chase after her. I find her on the street corner talking to some homeless people and handing out the sandwiches and coffee.)

Me: “Excuse me!”

Young Girl: “I’m sorry, did I forget something?”

Me: “No, but you just tipped us over $100 dollars. You’re also giving away a lot of food.”

Young Girl: “Yeah, my dad is crazy rich. I feel like I can do more if I actually interact with people instead of signing a check to a charity. Every Friday I gather anyone I see who needs a good meal, and buy it for them.” *she smiles brightly* “I may be young, but I can make a difference. I usually hand out flyers for homeless shelters or soup kitchens, too.”

(Without another word, she walked off silently. I didn’t stop smiling for the rest of the week. It goes to show you that appearances aren’t everything!)

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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Powers

, , , , , , , | Right | January 14, 2013

(I’m half-Chinese, but with my sunglasses on, people usually can’t tell. I’m fluent in Mandarin. One day I get a text from my friend, a grade-school teacher.)

Friend: “You speak Chinese, right?”

Me: “Yeah, why?”

Friend: “Come down to [intersection] around noon and explain what the f*** is going on.”

(At my lunch break I head down there. On one side of the street is a crowd of school kids, while on the other side an elderly Chinese man with an ice cream cart.)

Kid #1: “I’m gonna do it.”

Kid #2: “No way.”

Kid #1: “Yeah way. I’m fast enough!”

Kid #2: “You’re not Chinese.”

Kid #1: “So?”

Kid #2: “Only [Chinese Name] can do it.”

Kid #1: “I’m gonna do it.”

(Kid #1 dashes across the street, yanks back the cover of the cart, and grabs a handful of ice cream. He takes off, but the vendor catches him, pinning both arms behind his back.)

Vendor: “Ah, three bars? Your total is $9.28.”

Kid #1: “Lemme go!”

(The vendor removes some money from the kid’s pocket with his free hand.)

Vendor: “Cash paid is $20.”

Kid #1: “Yeah, yeah, I know the drill.”

(While still holding the struggling kid, the vendor deposits the $20 in his till and takes out change.)

Vendor: “Your change is $10.72.”

(The vendor puts the change and ice creams in a bag and hands them to the kid, who takes off.)

Vendor: “Have a nice day!”

Kid #2: “Told you.”

Kid #1: “Fine! Okay, [Chinese Name], you do it!”

(A short Chinese boy steps forward. His clothes are patched and despite the weather, he’s not wearing a coat.)

Chinese Kid: “Let us meditate… on the way of the wind.”

(He strikes a ridiculous pose and exhales loudly. The other kids jump back.)

Chinese Kid: “…on the way of the snake…”

(New pose, hissing loudly. The others back away even more.)

Chinese Kid: “…on the way of the hawk.”

(He flaps his arms and jumps in a circle. The kids are a good twenty feet away now.)

Chinese Kid: “The meditation is done.”

(He runs up to the ice cream vendor and grabs a handful of bars. The vendor strikes him with an exaggerated karate chop which the kid easily blocks.)

Chinese Kid: *flees, speaking Chinese* “Thank you, Mr. [Vendor]!”

Vendor: *shakes his fist angrily, also in Chinese* “Sorry we are out of lime today!”

(The Chinese kid kicks towards the vendor from across the street.)

Chinese Kid: “My mother says she hopes your leg feels better!”

Vendor: *red-faced with rage* “It does! Tell her thank you for the tea!”

(The kids are enthralled. As they eat the ice cream, I approach the vendor.)

Me: *in Chinese* “What just happened?”

Vendor: “Oh… you understood. That little boy is a new immigrant, and all the other children mocked him because he is small and weak. He told them Chinese people have special powers, and they beat him up and told him to prove it. But I overheard and whispered to him to rob me. Now we have a deal.”

Me: “How wonderful!” *pointing behind him* “Hey, can you tell what that is?”

(As he turns around, I drop some money on the cart and grab a bar of ice cream, fleeing.)

Vendor: “You forgot your change!”

Me: *shakes my fist* “It’s a tip!”

Kids: “Whoa! How did you do that?”

(I slip off my sunglasses. The Chinese kid bows to me and I bow back.)

Kid #2: “Told you they have special powers. Never bully a Chinese kid, man. Never!”

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Before Black Friday Comes Brainless Thursday

, , , | Right | December 6, 2012

(Our store is open on Thanksgiving, and I’m one of the unlucky few scheduled to work. This means I don’t get to go to the traditional feast. Nobody is happy, and the store is mostly dead. We have more or less the same exchange with the few customers who come in.)

Customer #1: “Dear, you shouldn’t be working on Thanksgiving! Do you get to see your family at all today?”

Me: “No, we close too late. But it’s not really that bad in the end.”

Customer #2: “That’s still awful. You girls should all be home eating and enjoying yourselves!”

Customer #1: “It’s shameful they make you come out and miss a holiday just for money and greed.”

Customer #2: “I know! Why in the world would anybody be open on Thanksgiving?”

(At this point I am bored, depressed, tired, as well as hungry.)

Me: “If people like you did not insist on shopping today, we wouldn’t be open. Everyone would be at home where they wish they were.”

(Surprisingly I was not fired, or even written up. The manager was just as annoyed at having to work as I was!)

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