He Decided To Walk In Your Shoes

, , , , | Right | July 29, 2021

I’m an attendant at an indoor shooting range for kids, where they fire foam balls out of air-powered guns mounted within the arena. It can get a little hectic, but it’s an okay shift to get as parents either play with their kids or leave them to it.

There is a narrow passageway leading to the entrance, with a gate clearly stating, “No shoes beyond this point.” As you can imagine, we get a lot of parents walking straight through the gate to play with or watch their kids, and most of my job is reminding them to remove their shoes and place them in a nearby shoe park. There are also coin-operated lockers just next to the shoe park.

Most parents are fine, a few huff and puff, but this particular customer took the cake. He’s a middle-aged guy, fairly heavy-set, not exactly threatening, but I’m a pretty slightly built seventeen-year-old.

Me: “Sir, I’m sorry, but if you wouldn’t mind just removing your shoes if you’re going to come in.”

Customer: “Nah, they’ll get nicked.”

He’s wearing an incredibly battered pair of walking boots.

Me: “I can assure you it won’t be a problem, sir. While we can’t guarantee personal property, I’ve never seen anyone steal shoes around here. If you’re concerned, we do have coin-operated lockers—”

I’m interrupted at this point by the man stepping forward, directly into my personal space, and sticking his face into mine.

Customer: “So, will you guarantee the safety of my shoes, personally? Are you going to do that for me?!”

He is shaping up like he’s about to challenge me to a fight. This is a grown man, squaring up to a teenager, because he was asked to remove his shoes.

Me: “As I said, sir, I can’t guarantee any personal property. But you’ll need to take your shoes off to come in.”

The man gives me a long, searching look, then huffs, removes his shoes, and puts them RIGHT by the entrance. This is technically not allowed, but at this point, I don’t have the energy to argue with him. 

He goes in and starts playing with his kids. After about fifteen minutes, he comes up to me, grinning. 

Customer: “This is great! How long has this been here?! I don’t wanna leave!”

He was perfectly friendly and had a great time, and when he left, he not only thanked me, but he also handed me a lost membership card he’d found in the play area so it could be returned to its owner!

I can only imagine the abrupt shift in personality was due to him realising how pathetic it was to physically intimidate a seventeen-year-old half his weight over a no-shoes policy!

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Meet Uncle Yikes

, , , , , | Related | July 28, 2021

My uncle has “views” on the topic of tattoos and piercings. Specifically, he believes that they are ugly, gaudy, unnecessary, and that anyone who gets them is a vain idiot. He is very vocal in expressing these views, much to the annoyance of the rest of our family.

I have accepted an offer to attend college at a fairly well-known liberal arts college, which convinces my uncle that I’m going to get “inked up” and come home a hoodlum, etc. He tries to convince my parents that they should bar me from going, but they are both very supportive of me and so ignore his “advice.”

After my first semester, I come home for Thanksgiving and our extended family is all there, including [Uncle]. That leads to this moment in the middle of our living room.

Uncle: “All right, [My Name]. Let’s go check you out.”

Me: “What?”

Uncle: *Standing up* “Come on. I’m going to make sure you’ve been keeping your skin clean.”

Mom: *Walking in* “Excuse you?!”

My uncle starts to launch into his typical rant about tattoos and how “no niece of his” is going to mess herself up with them. My mom turns around, lifts up the back of her shirt, pulls down the hem of her jeans, and reveals a small butterfly tattoo on her lower back, which I (and most of the family, apparently) had no idea was there.

Mom: “You can kiss my a** if you think you are going to go anywhere with my daughter to ‘check her’ for tattoos.”

[Uncle] exploded, ranting and shouting. He ended up hauled out of the house bodily and thrown onto the lawn, giving my dad and younger brother some bruises in the process. After some of the things he said then and in the next couple of weeks, most of our family has cut ties with him, with only our grandma (his mother) still keeping in actual contact with him.

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This Is Why They Say, “Neither A Borrower Nor A Lender Be”

, , , | Related | July 27, 2021

My father has read a certain trilogy of thriller books and insists I must read them, too. I’m not a fan of the genre, but he is very insistent. A few months later…

Father: “When are you going to return those books? I want to lend them to my brother.”

Me: “I think I returned them to you already?”

Father: “No, you didn’t, so give them back.”

Easier said than done. My house is a hoarder’s dream or a nightmare. Books travel through it all the time, to and from charities, flea markets, libraries, remainders, and whatnot. I’m quite sure I wouldn’t give away a lent book, but sometimes the brown stuff happens. After weeks of searches, I give up and buy new copies.

Me: “Here are your books, Dad.”

Father: “Why did you buy new ones?”

Me: “Well, first, because you taught me manners. I lost something of yours and I’m replacing it. And second, frankly, I was getting tired of you nagging me because [Uncle] was being left out of a mind-blowing literary experience.”

Father: “Nonsense! You shouldn’t have. You must be out of your mind. And [Uncle] does not need them so badly anyway.”

Me: “Right, Dad. Can you please give these to [Uncle], and we can all move on?”

Sadly, we don’t. I just swap from being belittled for being untidy and a bad borrower — in spite of the fact that my father forced the books on me — to being belittled as touchy and careless with my money… until a few days ago, when my mother puts two banknotes in my hand.

Mother: “These should cover the expense for your books. I was tidying up your father’s wardrobe and found his copies under the bedsheets.”

I’m thankful that the nagging has ceased at last, since now they’re too embarrassed to mention the issue!

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Has Some Friction With The Mother

, , , , | Right | July 27, 2021

I’m working in a soft-play area as a supervisor. Our rule for the two biggest slides is that children have to wear trousers or leggings below the knee, and sleeves, due to the risk of friction burns if the kids aren’t careful on the slides. Vests and football shorts are a no-no. We actually encourage full coverage of arms and legs but recognise that’s not gonna happen in the summer, though we still ask parents to approve their kids going down if they’re in, say, shorts and a T-shirt. We give each kid a stamp if their parent or guardian gives the okay.

There’s quite a lot of grumbling and groaning from customers who aren’t prepared for the rules, but generally, we get to where we need to be. We even sell cheap leggings and trousers for kids who are wearing clothes we deem too dangerous.

I approach a customer whose kids have walked up to me asking if they’re allowed to go down.

Me: “I just need to check with your mum.”

The girl is fine, but the boy is wearing a vest and so needs to put something over his arms.

Customer: *Smiling* “Is everything okay? Can they go down?”

Me: *Also smiling* “Almost! We just need to find something for his arms—”

Customer: *Suddenly furious* “WHAT?! YOU KNOW WHAT?! I HAVE ABSOLUTELY HAD IT WITH THIS PLACE! GET ME A F****** MANAGER, NOW! ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!”

This is clearly beyond my pay grade, so I do just that, and one of the managers comes from the office and takes over. I go about my business. At the end of the day, I approach said manager and ask what happened.

Manager: “Oh, she had something with long sleeves for the boy in her bag. She said it was just ridiculous we were ‘forcing’ her to ‘make him boil’ in the summer. I did explain everything about the health and safety issues, and she agreed but still said it was ridiculous.”

Me: “Oh, well, at least she did what we asked. She was really yelling and screaming at me.”

Manager: “That’s no good. Was she abusive?”

Me: “No. I guess just hot and bothered.”

Manager: “Aren’t we all? Imagine if we stopped applying the rules just because it was warm?”

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Oh, Brother! – Part 6

, , , , | Related | July 24, 2021

Back when I was a teen, my dad admitted to me that my grandfather wasn’t actually blood-related to either of us. The long story short is that my grandmother accidentally got pregnant with my dad as a teen and my ultra-conservative great-grandparents forced her to marry the first available guy they could find — my grandfather — to save their family’s reputation. She then went on to have my uncle with him before they got divorced when my dad and uncle were teens. Neither of them was told the first part until they were in their twenties.

Dad: “I always used to give [Uncle] s*** as kids because we didn’t really look alike. I’d always tell him crap like, ‘You aren’t Dad’s kid!’ or, ‘You’re adopted!’ You know, the stuff you antagonize a younger sibling with, obviously not meaning it seriously. Well, it turned out it was me who wasn’t related to Dad! [Uncle] still hasn’t let me live that down and I can’t say I blame him.”

Related:
Oh, Brother!, Part 5
Oh, Brother! – Part 4
Oh, Brother! – Part 3
Oh, Brother! – Part 2
Oh, Brother!

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