Working Hard: $100; Holiday Spirit: Priceless

, , , , | Right | December 3, 2012

(I am working in the jewelry department of a big retailer. It is December 23, and my coworker has called in sick, so I am working an 8-hour shift by myself. About 5 hours in, I am ridiculously busy and have yet to take a break. Customers are lined up and getting irate.)

Customer #1: “Oh, this is lovely. Do you think my son will like it? He’s about your age.”

Me: “I definitely like it. And since it’s the holiday season, I can print out a gift receipt. He has until January 15 to exchange it if he doesn’t like it.”

Customer #1: “Lovely. I’ll take this, please.”

(I ring her up as quickly as I can. I’m starving, thirsty, and really have to use the bathroom. Unfortunately the line is not letting up and customers are starting to yell at me. I call upstairs and request some help from anyone. 10 or 15 minutes go by and no one shows up. By this point I’m desperate.)

Customer #2: “About time! Hurry up and get me that pair of earrings for my wife!”

Me: “No problem, sir. I’m so sorry for the wait, my coworker called in sick and it’s just me today. Now just so you know the earrings are non refundable for hygienic reasons.”

Customer #2: “Fine, fine, just hurry up.”

Customer #3: “Hey! Hurry up!”

Me: “I’ll be right there, sir. Just a moment!”

(I call up again for some help and again no one comes. I’m in serious pain by this point and feel very light headed. I help a few more customers when this little old lady asks for help.)

Little Old Lady: “Hello, dear. It’s quite busy in here today, isn’t it?”

Me: “Yes, it is! But, then again, that’s the holidays for you!”

(I help this customer, who is quite pleasant and doesn’t seem to mind when customers yell across the counter at me. She even lets me go cash out the simple ones while continuing to help her. This alleviates the line quite a bit. I finish helping this customer and just as she’s about to leave a man comes to my counter visibly upset and slams his fist down on the glass counter angrily.)

Customer #4: “YOU! HELP ME NOW!”

(I am shaken by him slamming his hand on the desk.)

Little Old Lady: “Hey! Leave her alone. She’s all by herself and trying her best! Have some holiday spirit!”

Customer #4: “Well, I’ve been waiting a while and she’s not trying hard enough! She’s wasting time talking to people instead of helping them!”

Me: *tearing up* “I’m really sorry, sir. I’m trying my best but I’m all alone today and I’ve yet to have a break. I keep calling for help but no one comes. I’ll be happy to help you now, though.”

Little Old Lady: “I’ll be right back, dear.”

Me: *confused* “Okay, ma’am.”

(I help the angry customer, and he leaves a little less angry than when he got in. I’ve moved on to other customers and have forgotten about the sweet old lady. Suddenly, she comes back with the store manager!)

Little Old Lady: *to the store manager* “There! Look at her! Look how hard she’s working all by herself! She’s called for help but no one shows up! Now, I think you should take over while this young lady gets a break for all her hard work!”

Manager: “Yes, ma’am, of course. I had no idea this was happening.” *to me* “Go take an hour to have your lunch. By the time you come back, I’ll have two other people with you.”

Me: *starts to cry out of relief* “I can’t. I’m the only one who knows where everything is. And you have other things to do.”

Little Old Lady: “Sweetheart, don’t worry. Go take your break!”

Manager: “Go, I’ll be fine. We can manage an hour without you.”

Me: “Okay.”

Little Old Lady: *gives me a big hug as I’m leaving* “You have a good rest of your shift!”

Me: “Thank you!”

(I have my hour and come back feeling much better. The store manager is still there with two other workers, one from electronics and another from the general cash.)

Manager: “Ah, you’re back! How was your break?”

Me: “Great!”

Manager: “Come to my office at the end of your shift.”

Me: “Okay.”

(At the end of my shift, I go up to his office and he tells me what I great job I did today. He says he was sorry that I had to go through what I did but he rewards me with a 100$ store gift card. The little old lady came back a few weeks later to give me a thank you card for the great job I did that day. Goes to show that not all holiday shoppers are mean during the holiday season!)


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Currently Cannot See Currency

, , , | Right | November 10, 2012

(A customer comes to my till to pay for a fax.)

Customer: “I hate this country!”

Me: “Oh?”

Customer: “How much for my fax?”

Me: “It comes to $1.68.”

Customer: “Oh, no! I don’t have enough Canadian money left to pay for it. All I have is my American money.”

Me: “That’s okay, we accept American bills.”

Customer: “Oh, okay.”

(He hands me an American five dollar bill, and I give him his change is Canadian coins.)

Customer: “What’s this?!”

Me: “Your change.”

Customer: “But it’s Canadian!”

Me: “Yes, we are in Canada, sir.”

Customer: “But I gave you American money!”

Me: “Yes, but I have to give you Canadian money back.”

Customer: “But if I pay you in American, you have to give me American back!”

Me: “No, we don’t have American money.”

Customer: “Why not?!”

Me: “Because we’re in Canada.”

Customer: “How do I know you’re not screwing me for the exchange?”

Me: “The till calculates it for me.”

Customer: “Well, what am I supposed to do with this stupid Canadian money?”

Me: “You could buy things with it, or you could exchange it at the bank.”

Customer: “I hate this stupid country! Why would you give me Canadian change?!”

Me: “Like I said — because we’re in Canada.”

Customer: “But I paid with American money! How can you accept it but not give it back?!”

Me: “We accept it for the convenience of customers. If that’s all they have, then they can still pay for their items. But we don’t stock American money in our tills to give back to them.”

Customer: “Why not?!”

Me: *pause* “Because… we’re in Canada.”

Customer: “Oh, I can’t wait to get out of this stupid country!”

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Always Handle Grown Ups With Kid Gloves, Part 2

, , , , | Right | September 26, 2012

(I am serving at a very busy restaurant downtown with a very large patio. Outside the patio entrance, there is a big red stop sign that reads, “Please wait to be seated.” Two customers in their late twenties walk past the sign and rudely ignore the hostess’s calls to stop. They sit down at a dirty table. I walk up to the table and start stacking the empty glasses from previous guests.)

Me: “Hello—”

Customer: “REAL NICE! We came here for a nice lunch and have to sit at a dirty table?! Unbelievable!”

Me: “Sorry about that, folks. We’re really busy and the guests from this table just left less than a minute ago. Let me take care of that for—”

Customer: “Is that supposed to be some kind of excuse?! How hard is your job, really?! What a joke! You’d think you people would have some kind of system to address these things!”

Me: “Again, I’m very sorry. Normally, we clean a table before the next guest is seated by our hostess, but you seem to have seated yourself, so let me take care of that for—“

Customer: “Who?! That rude little girl that yelled at us on the way in?!”

(At this point, I’m holding a stack four or five pint glasses in one hand, a billfold from the last table in the other, and four menus under my arm, and I’m trying to keep table 44’s apps and drink order in my head.)

Me: “Ma’am, she didn’t yell at you. She plainly said, ‘Excuse me,’ to try and get your attention.”

Customer: *scoffs and YANKS the menus out from under my arm*

Me: “Ma’am, it’s not exactly polite walk past the sign, ignore the host, and be upset that YOU sat yourself at a dirty table.”

Customer: “Sign? What sign?!”

Me: “The big one at the front that says, ‘Please wait to be seated.'”

Customer: “Yeah, well, what if I told you I can’t read? Huh? Then what?!”

Me: “Well, that’s why it’s red and shaped like an octagon so you’ll associate it with ‘Stop.'”

Customer: *smugly* “Yeah?! Well, maybe I’m color blind, too!”

Me: “Well then, sweetie, it sounds like you’re gonna have a really tough time with our menu.”

(I walk away before she has a chance to respond. I eventually circle back to their table with two kiddie paper coloring menus and crayons. A few minutes later, they are gone but have scrawled a note on the back of the kiddie menu. This is exactly what it says:)

Customer’s Note: “YOUR A A**HOLL WERER NEVER COMMING BACK AGAN”

(It was also followed by a very crude scribble that a coworker and I later concluded had to be an attempt to draw male genitalia.)


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These Minutes Are Minutiae

, , , , | Right | July 30, 2012

(I work in the pro shop at a golf course, and people often call to make tee times. Note that our tee times are spaced eight minutes apart.)

Me: “Hello, this is [Golf Course]. How may I help you?”

Customer: “Hi, I’d like to make a tee time for 2:30, please.”

Me: “All right, I’ve got 2:32. Can I have your last name, please?”

Customer: “2:32?! That’s WAY too late! Do you have anything earlier?”

Me: “Sure, I have 2:24.”

Customer: “2:24?! That’s MUCH too early. You guys need to have better times!”


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Generosity That Knows No Bounds (Or Much Of Anything Else)

, , , , | Right | July 16, 2012

Me: “Would you like to make a donation to help support children who are sent back to school without supplies?”

Customer: “Oh, fine.”

Me: “Okay, you can make a donation in any amount that you like, or you can donate a back to school kit, which has nine essential school supplies in it. The kits are five bucks.”

Customer: “Fine, I’ll donate a kit.”

Me: “Great, thanks for your contribution!”

Customer: “How long is this going to be going on for? Because this is my third time coming into the store, and I get asked every time to donate! I’m going to run out of money!”

Me: “It’s going on ’til September, but you know, you’re allowed to say ‘No’ when we ask you.”

Customer: “No, I’m not!”


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