The Gift That Keeps On Giving

, , | Right | November 22, 2016

A woman comes in with a gift card. I scan it and inform her she has $80 to spend. Thrilled, she goes off to shop. About a half hour later she returns with a large pile of clothes. I scan it, and I inform her that the total is $30 after the gift-card. Thrilled again, she goes off to do more shopping in the sales racks, and I void out her transaction, as I can’t suspend a transaction that’s using a gift card.

A bit later, she comes back with even more clothes. I scan it all again and tell her that her total is now $70 after the gift card. She seems even more thrilled, and I realize that she hasn’t understood that she OWES $70, not that she has $70 left to spend. I attempt to explain it to her, but she runs off, and as there’s a line, I can’t leave the register to chase after her. I void it again, hoping that she’ll understand the next time around. I try to get her attention whenever she comes near the register, but she ignores me.

Finally, she comes back with more clothes and her husband. She tells me to scan her now huge pile. Diligently I do, reminding her that her gift card is only $80. I inform her of her total before I use the gift card, then tell her the new total after, which is over $100.

Once again she’s thrilled and turns around to do more shopping, but her husband catches her by the arm. He asks me to repeat the total, and I do, explaining clearly that this is the price after the gift card. The husband firmly tells her they’re not spending that much on clothes.

Finally, the woman seems to understand that the gift card won’t cover it all, and spends close to 20 minutes picking and choosing which items she is keeping, holding up the line because she refuses to move aside for anyone.

Finally, she leaves with her $80 worth of merchandise, frowning at me like I had been trying to trick her, while the husband shakes his head in exasperation.

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Something Fishy About That Complaint

, , | Right | November 18, 2016

I work at a major chain pet store as customer service and a pet care specialist. I love animals and enjoy helping customers get set up with new pets, and I have several customers who come in and specifically ask for me. Unfortunately, a big part of the job is handling returns of pets who are deceased. My job is to replace the pet and advise them on anything that they could do to ensure success in keeping the pet.

In our store, customers fill out satisfaction surveys online that have an optional comment field. The managers post the comments each week. One day, I get called in to the manager’s office. She sternly tells me that there was a serious complaint about me in the surveys. She reads it to me and I turn redder and redder as she reads the long description of how a customer came in to return a bunch of fish that had died and I did not express sympathy for her loss. “Her cold, uncaring attitude and clear disregard for my emotional well-being and satisfaction as a customer make me feel too upset and traumatized to return to your store. I hope that you discipline her and perhaps terminate her as she doesn’t exemplify the love of animals that your store claims to represent.”

I was crying by this point. By the list of fish that the customer had described, I remembered the customers and that the interaction with them hadn’t been unusual at all. I had even said I was sorry to hear that their fish died and I spent 20 minutes with them trying to help them sort out why. They had even thanked me.

Despite my great record and all the compliments about me from other customers, my manager penalized me for the complaint, suggesting that I might consider finding another job if I didn’t care for animals. (She knew that I had everything from fish to reptiles to cats myself, so that was BS.) I had my hours cut and had to go through extra training.

Two months later, my manager came to me and apologized, saying that a customer had come in saying that they felt bad because they put in a joke complaint about an employee and were worried that she had gotten fired. Guess who? The reason they gave my manager: “We were drunk or high or something, and were just upset about the fish. Anyway, we’re sorry. She was actually really nice to us.”

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They Aut To Have Known Better

, , | Learning | November 15, 2016

I provide training to raise awareness of autism. This training is often given to social workers and foster carers (never together, it doesn’t end well). During this story I’ve given my presentation to the health and social care class of the university, discussing the problems of living with autism and how it has affected me and my quality of life.

After the presentation I make myself available for any questions. The questions can be pretty stupid, such as how it’s affected my sex life, but the best one has to be this:

“So, are you autistic?”

They were honestly shocked when I said yes. They then confirmed they’d watched the presentation so they weren’t just passing by either. The teacher with me who arranged the whole thing facepalmed and apologised to me when the student left, still insisting I couldn’t be ‘that’ autistic.

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Keeping Your Shirt On

, | Learning | November 15, 2016

My math class this year had a contest early in the first semester where everyone could design a shirt and we’d vote on one to become our class shirt.

Fast forward to second semester finals and I decide to commemorate our last day in class by wearing the winning shirt. My teacher is known to be a bit of a joker, so when he silently walks to my desk and scribbles something on my scantron I assume he’s messing with me and I look up at him, confused.

He just said “you picked the right shirt” and walked away. I looked down and he had scribbled “+1” on my test to give me an extra credit point.

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She Likes Turtles!

, , , | Hopeless | November 15, 2016

I’d just moved into a set of apartments for the first time, and I don’t know any of my neighbors. I come home from a long and tiring day of work one evening and venture out on the commons to throw something in a trash can there.

Quite abruptly, a small child comes rocketing across the grass and flings her arms around my legs, beaming up at me.

I didn’t know this kid from Adam, but she chattered sweetly to me about her plastic turtle until I went back inside.

A few days ago I went out on the commons again and found the same toddler there with her family. She charged up to me and declared, “Hey! I didn’t give you a hug this morning!”

I still don’t know any other neighbors, but that toddler’s friendliness made my day.

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