Remember To Concentrate And Remain Cordial

, , | Right | February 19, 2019

(This takes place in a very small town. There’s only one school, and everyone knows everyone. There is only one supermarket for the whole town, and I’m working there during the school holidays. A customer approaches, and he’s someone I vaguely recognize from school, a few years younger than I am.)

Customer: “I’m looking for a drink.”

Me: *working in the drinks aisle, stocking up the drinks* “Sure, our juice and water are here, and our soft drink is at the other end of the store.”

Customer: “It’s a juice.”

Me: “What kind of juice?”

Customer: “It’s red.”

(I’ve got a sinking feeling; this is not going to be easy.)

Me: “Well, as you can see, our drinks are over here. Why don’t you look at them, and grab the one you’re after?”

(He goes away and stares at the shelves for a few minutes, then comes back to me.)

Customer: “I can’t see it.”

Me: “Well, this is the only juice in the store. Are you sure it wasn’t a soft drink? They’re at the other end of the store.”

(The customer wanders away for a few minutes, then comes back.)

Customer: “I couldn’t find it.”

Me: *beginning to lose the ability to sound friendly, but the customer doesn’t notice* “Well, these are the only drinks we have. Are you sure you got it here?”

Customer: “I don’t know. My mom bought it.”

Me: “Do you remember what it’s called?”

Customer: “No. It’s red.”

Me: *having completely lost the ability to sound professional, but the customer hasn’t noticed* “Look. I don’t know what you want. I don’t know the name, and these are the only drinks we have. If it’s not here, we don’t have it.”

Customer: “Oh.”

(He wanders away for a few minutes, then comes back again. I glare at him.)

Me: “Yes?”

Customer: “I remembered something. It makes this noise.” *taps his fingernail against the metal shelves* “But not this noise.” *taps his fingernail against a plastic bottle* “It’s a bit like this.” *taps his fingernail against a different plastic bottle* “But not like this.” *taps his fingernail against a THIRD plastic bottle*

(I glare at him for a moment, then take a look at the bottles. The “a bit like this” bottle is very rigid, but the other two are soft. I take a wild guess, and find a glass bottle.)

Me: “Do you mean it had a bottle like this?”

Customer: *goes over and taps the glass bottle* “Yeah! Just like that. Except it was red.”

(This narrows it down a lot, as we only stock two kinds of red juice in a glass bottle.)

Me: “Then you probably want this–” *points to one bottle* “—or this. *points to the other*

(The customer goes away and looks at the bottles, while I try and finish stocking the shelves as fast as possible. But he comes back.)

Customer: “It’s not those.”

Me: “Those are the only red juice in a glass bottle we have. If it’s not one of those, we don’t have it.”

Customer: “Mom got it here, I think.”

Me: “If it’s not one of those, then I can’t help you. Can’t you remember anything useful? A name?”

Customer: “She put water in it.”

Me: “Wait. You mean cordial? A concentrate?”

Customer: “She put water in it.”

(I sigh, and go to the cordial aisle. I point him at the bottles.)

Me: “Here. If it’s not here, we don’t have it, and I can’t help you.”

(I’m trying not to shout, and not entirely succeeding. If my supervisor had heard me, I’d have been suspended. I go back to my shelf stocking, and a minute later the customer returns holding a bottle.)

Customer: “I got it.”

Me: “Congratulations.”

(He seems to want to talk, but I ignore him and get back to work. He leaves, and comes back a minute later.)

Me: “What is it now?!”

Customer: “Can you buy this for me?”

Me: “No.”

Customer: “Please?”

Me: “NO! I am not buying you a drink!”

Customer: “I can give you the money.”

Me: *confused* “Then why do you need me to buy it?”

Customer: *looking nervous* “But… there are girls over there!”

(Having spent twenty agonising minutes dealing with this idiot, this was the final straw. I walked away as fast as I could, and hid in the back room for the next quarter of an hour until my shift ended.)

No Amount Of Chlorine Can Wash Away That Kind Of Hate

, , , | Right | February 18, 2019

(I work at a beautiful, open-air pool and spa complex, often frequented by a visiting international A-Grade sports team. We currently have one unwinding in one of our public, open-air spas. Another customer approaches me.)

Me: “Good afternoon, and welcome to [Pool]. How many children and adults will you be paying for today?”

Customer: “Just me, my child, and my friend here.” *motions to her friend*

Me: “All right, then. That’ll be [price]. The changing rooms are immediately left for women and right for men.”

(She pays, changes, stores her things in one of the lockers, and walks out, towel in hand. I should have called for help as I saw her on her way back. I stupidly didn’t.)

Customer: “Excuse me, but there’s a problem with your pools! They’re filthy and filled with s***!”

(Panicked, I look at the team leader, who hears this. She shakes her head no and continues on her path watching the rest of the pools.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but our lifeguards would have immediately noticed if there was that issue and closed the pool down. There isn’t any way this could have been missed.”

Customer: *immediately starts screaming at the top of her lungs* “NO! I MEAN THEY’RE FULL OF FILTH! YOU NEED TO GET THEM OUT OF THE POOLS AND CLEAN THEM IMMEDIATELY.”

Me: “I beg your pardon?”


(I am completely stunned, but wary of her getting physical, I call up to the personal trainers in the attached gym for security and manpower:)

Me: “I’m sorry, we don’t do refunds, and we are not making anyone leave. This is a public pool for the public and they have just as much right to be here as you do, and if you don’t accept that, then you can leave.”

(Two fairly bulky PTs have turned up by now, along with the complex manager.)


Me: “I’m sorry, no. We don’t do refunds, and I’m going to have to ask you to leave. Now. Your behaviour is not acceptable for this establishment, and you will be trespassing if you try to come back in.” *looks at the complex manager for approval, she nods and motions to the PTs to remove her*

(The customer screamed and bellowed horrific abuse and racist insults all the way out the door. We wound up giving the sports team free access to all parts of the complex and a voucher for dinner at the attached restaurant. They seemed to think it was hilarious and were incredibly kind and good-natured about it all, much to my relief.)

Underprivileged Understanding Is Underwhelming

, , , , | Right | February 10, 2019

(As a receptionist for a local government office, I get a wide variety of people in. I do my best to treat them all with respect, though sometimes it’s not easy. A man comes in who wants to know about funding for local buses. I show him the information, and he notices the funding is separate for regular school buses and for those that transport kids with special physical needs.)

Customer: “Uh… Ah, yes, those buses are for underprivileged kids.”

Me: “Yes, well, they’re for kids, like in wheelchairs. They need ramps and stuff like that.”

Customer: * gives me the most withering, pitying look I’ve ever received* “That’s what ‘underprivileged’ means, dear.”

(I didn’t have the heart to correct him. He was so sure.)

Drivers Know No Other Way To Get Around

, , , , , | Working | January 17, 2019

(It’s 5:30 in the morning and my supervisor and I are in the bus depot, preparing for the first shift of the day. The phone rings. It’s the other early-morning driver, who reports that his car won’t start and he won’t be able to get to work for his first run.)

Supervisor: “I can’t go to collect him because I have the first run out of [Destination #1] in fifteen minutes, and he lives way out in [Distant Suburb].”

Me: “And I have to be driving the bus out of [Destination #2] at the same time.”

Supervisor: “I’ll wake up the mechanic and see if he can help.”

(He does so, and outlines a complex plan which involves him dropping a jump-starter pack from the depot workshop to the mechanic’s house while he is en route to [Destination #1], so the mechanic will then proceed to our colleague’s place to start the car. The supervisor and I will do our own bus runs while also making deviations from our routes that cover the areas that our missing colleague would have done, until the missing driver has finally reached the depot and is able to take over. By the time the supervisor has finished sorting it out, ten minutes have passed and it’s time for us to leave for the early-morning runs.)

Supervisor: “I’ll just go and get the jump-starter pack from the workshop and head out to the mechanic’s house now and… Oh, d***. I don’t know [Colleague]’s exact street address. Would you ring him to get that while I get the jump pack and bus sorted out?”

(Before I can do so, the phone rings again.)

Colleague: “Oh, and by the way, I just moved house last weekend to [a street address only a few minute’s walk from the depot].”

Supervisor: “…”

Me: “…”

Locker Stocker

, , , , , | Working | January 12, 2019

(It’s the day before a planned inspection and audit. One of the things we were warned about was that our lockers would be inspected, and if any stock was found inside it would be classed as theft and dealt with accordingly. I have two days off, including the inspection day. There is a staff member who is constantly trying to get me into trouble, but the manager doesn’t believe she purposely does it. As I am getting ready to leave work, my manager asks me to come in the next day to help finalise a few things.)

Me: “Sure thing. I can be here at ten, if that’s okay?”

Manager: *standing in front of lockers* “That’s great. Now let’s get out of here.”

Me: “Oh, I almost forgot my jacket. It’s in my locker; could you pass it to me? It’s unlocked.”

Manager: *opens my locker* “Very good — a nice empty locker.”

(The next morning I get in and go to my locker, and I find that it has been stuffed full of stock.)

Me: “Uh, [Manager], could you look at this, please?”

Manager: “What the…? I know your locker was empty last night.” *starts pulling out the stock* “I saw [Coworker] carrying these half an hour ago; I told her to put them away”

Me: “So, she put them in my locker?”

Manager: “Oh, she probably didn’t do it on purpose. You know we use the top row of lockers for storage.”

Me: “My locker isn’t on the top row, and it has my name written on it.”

Manager: “There’s no way she would do that on purpose. I don’t know why you can’t get on with her.”

(A couple of weeks later, the coworker decides to also take her wrath out on the manager, and after being pulled up on it, she walks out, sending a nasty resignation letter to try and get the manager into trouble. Three days of a lovely, peaceful workplace pass when the manager comes up with this gem.)

Manager: “You know, I think that [Coworker] was the cause of all the trouble around here.”

Me: “You think?”

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