It’s Tea Total At The Counter

, , , , , | Working | February 3, 2020

I had a rough day at work, so on my meal break, I decide to go across the street and treat myself to a burger from a popular fast food place. I know I have about twenty minutes to get my food and eat if I want to get back to work on time. This shouldn’t be a problem, especially since it’s after the rush when it isn’t busy.

I head inside and place my order at the self-order kiosk. I choose to pay in cash, so I grab my ticket and head to the counter. And wait. And wait. I keep glancing at my watch to make sure I have enough time to eat before I have to head back.

Another customer who came in before me is already there, yelling about how he’s waited twenty minutes for his food. I highly doubt this but say nothing. It takes between five and ten minutes for someone to acknowledge the girl with cash in her hand standing at the counter. They are nice enough to upgrade my drink to a large.

I head to the drink stand and start to pour myself some tea. Their tea pitcher is low and doesn’t even fill my cup up halfway. I head back to the counter and wait another couple of minutes to tell someone. The employee takes my cup and heads to the back. I hear them yelling about if there’s more tea ready — apparently, there’s not — and in the meantime, my food arrives. I start munching on fries, still waiting for the lady to return with my tea. Two employees see me standing at the counter with my food and ask if I need anything before the lady comes back and fills my tea up using the drive-thru drink station.

The whole time I was there, I could see them throwing food out of the drive-thru windows for the cars there. Yet the three people at the counter were ignored. I wish I had had the time to complain to a manager, but by the time all was said and done, I had just over five minutes to eat before I had to head back or else I would get in trouble for taking an extended lunch. I wolfed down my food and left. Then, when I got home, I sent an email to corporate. I’m still waiting for a response.

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A Very Agreeable Robbery

, , , , | Legal | February 3, 2020

Early one morning, I was in a gas station with an annex newsstand when the gas station fell victim to an armed robbery. The owner, however, kept his cool and scolded the young would-be gangster that 6:00 am was no time to rob a store. Everyone knows you have to do so at the end of the day when the till is full. 

They left. Later, I discovered that the owner went to the police and needed considerable more effort to convince the police to show up at 5:00 pm.

They eventually consented, showed up, and to their amazement, they were able to catch the robbers red-handed!

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Today Is A G’Day To Try

, , , , | Right | February 3, 2020

When I was in high school, I also worked at a local supermarket on checkout. As a self-conscious and non-confrontational two-meter-tall — 6’5″ — male, I always greeted everyone with a smile and a “G’day, mate,” just on pure reflex, which is perfectly acceptable in Australia.

But there was one middle-aged man who, every time he came through, got upset at me for calling him “mate” because he went to some high-end English university and he felt he should be called “doctor” and that I was not his mate. 

I wasn’t going to change my normal habits just for him, so I thought nothing of it until one day he just snapped and started to scream at me.

I’d never had anyone scream and berate me for something that is understood as a perfectly normal Australian greeting. After he finished yelling, saying that he would never return, and I shakily finished ringing up his goods, I accidentally said, “Have a good day, mate,” on pure reflex as he left.

He paused for a second and I froze in my spot, but thankfully, he continued walking.

My supervisor gave me some time to calm down and said that I should ignore him and not change myself based on one person.

I took her words to heart and, when he came back a week later, I gave him a nice big, “G’day, mate!” as he came through my checkout. He just ignored me and after that avoided me every other time he came in.

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Your Sprained Ankle Is Straining Society

, , , , , , | Friendly | February 2, 2020

I severely sprained my ankle one summer and had to use crutches and a medical boot while it healed. This meant that I had to use either the disabled toilet or the adapted cubicle when out in public, as I needed to use the handrails to pull myself back up to a standing position. I preferred the latter, as it meant I wasn’t depriving someone in a wheelchair of their only option, but this wasn’t always possible.

(Encounter #1:)

I was at the supermarket with my mum, doing some shopping, when I realised I needed the toilet. As is common in British supermarkets, the entrance to the toilet from the corridor was via two heavy fire doors, both of which opened into the “airlock” in between them. This space wasn’t big enough for me to manoeuvre in with my crutches, and the doors were too heavy for me to manage on my own, so I had to use the disabled toilet, which only had a single door.

I settled down to do my business. Suddenly, I heard the door rattle, like someone was trying to open it. I called back that I’d be out shortly. The rattling stopped, and then the person outside started banging on it. I shouted again that I’d be out as soon as I could. The rattling and banging continued. It unnerved me enough that I fumbled my crutches as I stood, forcing me to waste more time figuring out how to pick them up.

When I got out, I saw who was banging on the door: an elderly woman with a cane. She’d barely managed to move out of the way of the door when I opened it, despite me giving warning of doing so. When she saw me, younger than her and not in a wheelchair but clearly leaning heavily on crutches, her face practically turned purple, and she started to splutter.

I apologised for taking so long, but that it couldn’t be helped. I also suggested that she wait a few moments before going in; my pain medication was having an apocalyptic effect on my bowel.

She didn’t listen and practically slammed the door in my face. Only to rush out and into the main toilets a few seconds later. I wasn’t kidding.

(Encounter #2:)

The main shopping centre in my city doesn’t have doors separating the toilets from the main corridor and uses bends and curves to maintain privacy and confine smells. This means I could use the adapted cubicle in the main toilets, instead of tying up a disabled toilet. It also, however, meant having to queue.

On one such occasion, I was waiting in the queue and was almost at the front. There were three or four people ahead of me when the only adapted cubicle opened up. The first person headed towards it. That was fine; I wasn’t at the head of queue, after all.

When I was at the front, I didn’t go for the next cubicle to open, or the one after. I literally needed the adapted one. It was the only one with grab bars. I let close to a dozen people go ahead of me while I waited. The first few, who’d seen the other woman go into the cubicle, were sympathetic.

When she eventually came out, wearing a completely different outfit, I went to use it and recoiled. It had been wrecked. The bowl was absolutely rammed with toilet paper. More toilet paper was on the floor. There was a bloody tampon sitting on top of the sanitary bin. A pair of knickers was sticking out of the “in” tray of said bin.

The only cubicle I could use in those toilets was unusable. The next nearest non-customer toilets were on the next floor or at the other end of the same floor. The disabled toilets were RADAR locked. And, thanks to the wait, I was now absolutely busting.

Luckily, someone managed to flag down a member of the cleaning staff, who had the ability to give me access to the disabled toilet. I pity the person who had to clean that up.

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Pizza: It Can Save Lives

, , , , , , , , , | Friendly | February 1, 2020

I had a doctor’s appointment because I have depression. My life is currently pretty bad, as I am unemployed, without a car, and am basically mooching off my parents — who have split, mind you — for money. It’s a rainy, very gray day. I’m staying at my aunt and uncle’s house, and I haven’t eaten anything since breakfast. I’m hungry but won’t eat anything just because I don’t feel like it and I think of it as imposing on my aunt and uncle.

So, I have enough money to get the bus to go to the doctor, and my stomach is feeling incredibly empty. I’m absolutely regretting having not gotten something to eat because of my own stupidity and start thinking that maybe things would be better if I was dead. In other words, I am having a major depressive episode. I signal to get off the bus, only the stop I get off at is a short walk from the one in front of the doctor’s office, the one I had wanted to get off at. I’m now walking in the rain, mentally berating myself for having screwed up, when a guy comes by on his bike.

He’s got a pizza box and asks if I’m hungry. My first instinct is to say no, but then I stop and say yes. I take one slice of pizza and eat away, turning down his offer for more out of mere politeness. He even offers me the whole box but I still say no. One slice is enough. The guy informs me that he has done his good deed for the day and says, “God bless,” before riding off on his bike.

That guy completely changed me. That one man who offered me pizza when I was starving and feeling like my life wasn’t worth living gave me something precious: hope. He cared enough to make sure someone like me got something to eat because it was the right thing to do. Even now, thinking about it, I feel like crying that anyone could care that much as to help a random stranger at a bus stop. I’ve never seen this guy again, but I will always remember Pizza Bike Guy, who might have saved my life with one selfless act.

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