Doesn’t “Store Spirit” Usually Mean Fake Smiles And Crying Under Your Register?

, , , , , , , , | Working | April 30, 2020

I worked in a retail store as a floor associate in the clothing department. For the most part, staff got along really well with each other and management, with one major exception: the store manager.

He was completely oblivious to his own effect on those around him but just assumed he was beloved. He routinely took the customers’ side over staff, made major exceptions to policies to favor the customer in front of the staff member who had tried to explain policy — for example, overriding major price changes because a customer misread a sign, not because the sign was incorrect — and would both encourage “store spirit” among employees but berate us if he found us chatting, even while doing our tasks.

Think Michael Scott, only so much worse and real. 

This all came to a head when the employee satisfaction survey rolled around. While most of the store performed as you’d expect of a major department store employing dozens of part-timers at minimum wage, the store manager received a whopping 8% satisfaction score.

His reaction was to schedule a meeting with each team in the store and demand that we all give him three reasons why we didn’t like him before we were allowed to leave the meeting. He listened to all of our severely-censored reasons — because who says what they think of their boss who could fire them at the drop of a hat to their face? — told us why each of our reasons was wrong, misplaced, or just not fair, and then walked around the store in a funk for a month. 

He quit with zero notice in the middle of a shift. Best day ever.

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Took A While To Wrap All That Up

, , , , | Right | April 16, 2020

This happens during the dinner rush at a corporate [Popular Fast Food Chain]. I’ve been there a while so I know what I can and can’t do. The next man in line is an older gentleman with his wife. His English was heavily accented, and a little broken.

Me: “Hello! How can I help you?”

Customer #1: “Two wraps.”

Me: “Is that the sandwich or the meal?”

Customer #1: “Three ninety-nine.”

That’s the price of a single wrap, without a drink or side.

Me: “Okay, is that all?”

Customer #1: “Fries!”

Me: “Okay, what size will that be?”

Customer #1: “Medium fries, medium drink, three ninety-nine!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, that’s the price of our single wrap.”

Customer #1: “No fries?”

Me: “Yes, our meal is six dollars. Not four.”

Customer #1: “[Neighboring City] wrap, medium fries, medium drink, three ninety-nine.”

Me: “Yes, sir, but we aren’t the same store. That store is a franchise; this store is corporate.”

Customer #1: “Meal not three ninety-nine?”

Me: “Exactly, that’s just the price of the wrap, by itself.”

Customer #1: “But, [Neighboring City]!”

Me: “Yes, I understand, but it’s two different stores with two different sets of rules.”

Customer #1: “[Neighboring City] wrap, fries, and drink, three ninety-nine!”

Me: “Yes, but this store is corporate; we have to do what they tell us to.”

Customer #1: “Three ninety-nine, medium fries, medium drink!”

(Exasperated, I finally give up.)

Me: “Would you just like me to ring you up for two meals?”

Customer #1: “YES!”

Me: “Is that all?”

Customer #1: “Yes.”

Me: “That’ll be thirteen ninety-seven.”

Customer #1: “Oh, no! [Neighboring City] three ninety-nine!”

Me: “Yes, sir, but we don’t have that deal. This store is corporate; that store is a franchise.”

Customer #1: “It different?”

Me: “Yes, they are different.”

Customer #1: “Three ninety-nine not here?”

Me: “Yes, would you like to ring you up for just wraps?”

Customer #1: “Yes.”

I complete the transaction and the couple moves along. It’s been nearly ten minutes trying to get him to understand. My next customer is a blonde woman in her early thirties.

Customer #2: “Good job.”

Me: “Thanks. How can I help you?”

I take her order and continue on as normal. I’ve helped maybe three others when my manager brings the man’s food up.

Customer #1: “Fries and drink!”

Manager: “Your receipt says you just bought the wrapsl did you want to buy the fries?”

Customer #1: “[Neighboring City] wrap, medium fries, and medium drink! Three ninety nine!”

Manager: “But that store is a franchise and this store is corporate. If they have a special going on, we don’t.”

Customer #1: “No fries and drink?”

Manager: “That’s right.”

Customer #1: “I need drink, then.”

My manager pulls out a cup and sits it on the tray as the man is still fiddling with his wallet.

Manager: “No, it’s on me.”

The blonde woman is still waiting for her food and sees the exchange.

Customer #2: “You’ve got to be kidding!”

I couldn’t have said it better myself if I was allowed to!

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Has No Notion Of Drinking Your Potion

, , , , , | Right | March 27, 2020

(This was overheard in Diagon Alley at Universal Studios:)

Customer: “Hi! I just need a bottle of water.”

Employee: “Of course!”

(He pulls out a bottle of water. It’s labeled “Gilly Water,” like in the Harry Potter books, since we are in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Gilly Water is just regular water, but it just has a different label.)

Customer: “A regular bottle of water, please.”

Employee: “Ma’am, this is regular water. The label is just different.”

Customer: “I want real water!”

Employee: “I don’t know what else to tell you. This is regular water and you’re holding up the line. You can get a different bottle somewhere else that’s not over here.”

Customer: “Fine!”

(She stormed off to the nearest restaurant. Little did she know, that restaurant also had Gilly Water!)

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Do You Want Me To Not Say It Any Clearer?

, , , , , , | Working | March 27, 2020

(I’ve unfortunately inherited my dad’s severe reactions to orthodontic work. A procedure that would cause most people a day or two of mild pain will cause me a week of severe pain and residual pain for another two. Nothing seems to help and dentists don’t always take it seriously. One summer, I’m working my first two customer service jobs and I get some dental work done. I’m in my usual pain, meaning I can’t talk for more than a few seconds at a time, which is fine at [Job #1]; it’s the front desk of a gym, so it’s mostly just, “Hi, how are you?” But [Job #2] is cashiering at a restaurant, which means I spend most of my day talking. I go into [Job #2] a few hours after getting the dental work and these are the conversations that happen for the next few days:)

Me: *explains dental work, level of pain, and requests non-talking jobs*

Shift Lead: “Are you sure?”

Me: *in a slow whisper, which is all I can handle* “Absolutely. I cannot talk today and I probably won’t be able to stay on register all shift for at least three days.”

Shift Lead: “Okay…”

(They seem to be willing to accommodate, but then…)

Shift Lead: *thirty minutes later* “Hey, can you get on register?”

Me: “Umm… No? Remember it hurts to talk?”

Shift Lead: “Oh, okay. Are you sure?”

Me: “Yes.”

Shift Lead: *two hours later* “Hey, are you feeling better? Can you get on register? [Coworker] needs to go on break.”

Me: “Can anybody else do it?”

Shift Lead: “Well…”

Me: “Okay, fine, but no more than fifteen minutes.”

(Ten minutes pass.)

Me: “Sorry, I tried but I really can’t. You’re going to have to find someone else.”

(It finally seems to get through, but then, the next day…)

Shift Lead: *in pre-shift meeting* “Okay, [My Name] you’re on register today.”

Me: *thinking* “Seriously?” *saying* “I feel just as bad as I did yesterday. I really can’t. I’m sorry.”

(The same thing repeated the next day, and on the fourth day, I finally felt like I could do half a shift on register without too much pain… Buuuuuuut, you guessed it — the same questions were repeated all day again. I was eventually fine and went back to my normal duties, but having had several customer service jobs since then, the situation seems a lot sillier than I realized it was at the time. It makes absolute sense that they need me on my regular job, but when I couldn’t do it they didn’t hold to the accommodations they agreed to or ask me to go home until I felt better, which would have saved them the cost of paying an employee that couldn’t do their job!)

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I, For One, Like Roman Numerals

, , , , , | Learning | March 18, 2020

(On my senior trip to an amusement park, due to the fact it’s a school-related trip, we have to do something educational before having free reign. The last thing we do of our educational part involves a math problem where we’re to only use roman numerals — no 1 or 5, it has to be I or V. We’re also not given a key for keeping the numerals straight, so I decide to use a loophole and scribble my own key “I: one,” “V: five,” and so on since they never said we couldn’t do it that way.)

Staff Member: *looking at my paper, pointing at my key* “What’re those scribbles?”

Me: *jokingly, though I admit my tone may have been unclear* “What? You don’t doodle when you think?”

Staff Member: *leans in* “Don’t be a smarta**.”

(To be honest, it’s probably one of my favorite memories of the trip.)

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