Children Can Be A Real Pay-n

, , , | | Right | July 5, 2019

(A middle-aged customer returns a DVD.)

Customer: “I want to return this, and I want you to not rent out movies to my son anymore.”

(This is generally a valid request, as our customer cards are transferable and friends and family members can rent in the cardholder’s name if they know the correct PIN. But the cardholder can, of course, put a lock on that, in which case we put a corresponding note in the account. When I scan the DVD to take it back, I see that this is not the case here, as it was rented from the son’s own account. He is 19 years old.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but it looks as if your son is a legal adult and this is his own account. I cannot stop somebody from using his own account, just because somebody else says so.”

(The customer looks at me with a grim expression, but says nothing.)

Me: “That will be 15€, then.”

Customer: “See, that’s what I mean!”

Me: *with a smile* “Well, it’s his account, and his responsibility. You don’t have to pay for him, you know?”

Customer: *grumbles something unintelligible, pays, and leaves*

(People, it’s not my fault that you can’t teach your children to be responsible with money!)

Real Pretend Advice

, , , , , | | Related | July 5, 2019

(I am taking my young daughter for some after-school shopping, and she has just been telling me about her day at school where they have been learning about personal safety, including not telling complete strangers their names. We popped into a coffee shop where they write your name on the cup and I realise I can use it as a teaching experience.)

Barista: “Name?”

Me: *gives a completely random name and steps to the side to wait*

Daughter: *looks confused*

Me: “Do you know why I gave the wrong name?”

Daughter: “No?”

Me: “What did you learn today about talking to strangers?”

Daughter: “Oh! So the lady still doesn’t know your real name!”

Me: “That’s right, so she can’t pretend she knows me. If she tried to pretend to know me, she would be using the wrong name, so I’d know she was a stranger.”

Daughter: “So if a stranger asks my name, I can give a pretend name?”

Me: “Yes, or you can just say, ‘I’m not supposed to talk to strangers.’”

Daughter: “Mum, that lady is shouting your pretend name.”

(The poor barista had been calling my order for the entire time, and I’d been listening for my real one.)

En-Treat-ing Them Not To Get Her In Trouble

, , , , , | | Right | July 2, 2019

(I am helping a lady with two trolleys and two toddlers through my till on a Friday afternoon. One of the poor mites is sick with a cold, and the other is grumpy and tired. I’m trying to keep them amused while keeping the experience as stress-free as possible. The mother has unloaded everything and just arrived at the other side of the till when she leans down and puts her head in her hands in genuine distress.)

Customer: “Oh, dear God, no. Please don’t. This isn’t happening. It can’t be happening.”

Me: “What’s wrong, love?”

Customer: “I left the bags in the back of the car. I left the d*** bags in the back of the d*** car and I can’t go get them.”

(Her sadness is so distressing I immediately try and fix it.)

Me: “That’s okay; I’ll go get them for you!”

(The customer stares at me as if I have two heads, and I make a hasty retreat.)

Me: “I mean, only if that’s okay with you. I’m sorry, I probably shouldn’t have said anything—“

Customer: “No—“

Me: “—but, I mean, you can’t go get them, and you’re under enough pressure as it is… I apologise, ma’am, I over-help sometimes.”

Customer: “No, it’s okay. Go get them for me, please. Thanks so much!”

(She hands me a HUGE bunch of keys.)

Customer: “I’m the white one by the brick wall opposite the pub. Bags are in the boot, left-hand side. Thanks so much!”

(Astonished I’m not in trouble, I take the keys and hurry into our car park. There is only one brick wall next to the pub, but there are at least five white cars. One of them is a brand-new, gleaming Rolls Royce Phantom which is being admired from afar by several gentlemen. Not knowing which car is the one I want, I find the key-fob and press it. Everyone jumps as the Phantom lights up and clicks. Everyone stares at me as I casually walk over, pull open the boot, grab a stack of neatly-folded shopping bags, and close it again. In the back seat of the car is a stack of kiddy treats. Acting on impulse, I open the back door and grab a couple.)

Me: *shrugs* “Forgot the bags, didn’t I, like a silly numpty.”

(I scurry back inside to find the mom trying to corral two screaming kids and arguing with my manager.)

Customer: “No, she offered to get bags for me out of my car! She has not abandoned me!”

Me: “Hey, I’m back. They were exactly where you said they were. No problems. Hey, [Manager], how about we get this lovely lady checked out and you can tell me off later, yeah? Hey, boys, want a treat?”

(Between us, we get everything packed up in record time. Her kids calm down, and their mom visibly de-stresses and feels a lot better. As she turns to go:)

Customer: “Thank you so much! Hope you don’t get into trouble!”

(When I arrived for my next shift, I got called into the manager’s office where I found a letter addressed to me. Turned out the lady’s husband was the CEO of one of my company’s suppliers, and the letter was to make sure I wouldn’t get in trouble for what I did. Instead, I was complimented on my level of service, and I was also offered a small gift, which I chose to donate to the local food bank. I never saw the lady again, but her husband comes in for his lunch occasionally and always makes sure to ask after me, and when he found out I was trying to change career, he offered me a new job!)

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Father Keeping You In Line

, , , , , | | Related | July 2, 2019

It’s Father’s Day weekend, so I offer to take my dad to a movie that he wants to see. I purchase our tickets before arriving so we just scan them and go straight to the concession, which has really short lines for a Saturday evening. There’s only one family in front of us.

While we’re waiting for them to finish up, an older man suddenly shows up next to me — my dad is on my left and this man is on my right. He’s holding an empty popcorn tub and just creates his own line. 

It’s worth mentioning that there are at least three other concession lines open, each with only one or two people being helped. He had to pass at least one of those lines to reach the one we’re at.

When the family in front of us leaves, the man suddenly steps up in front of us. I really don’t feel like sticking my foot out to trip an old guy, despite his rudeness, but the cashier refills his popcorn like everything’s okay.

I say to my dad, quite loudly, “I guess we don’t have to stand in lines anymore?”

Neither the man or the cashier acknowledge why he was cutting. I’m pretty sure they serve refills for certain popcorn tub purchases, but it’s really rude to make someone standing in line wait just because the guy ate his popcorn super fast and wants to rush back to his movie.

My dad told me later he was sighing that I said anything because he didn’t know if the man would try to pick a fight. I still think the guy was rude but it’s not the first time in my life an old man has cut in front of me and I don’t know why it’s wrong to call it out.

Thinking Outside The Box By Leaving Them Outside

, , , , , , | | Right | July 1, 2019

(I work at an entertainment facility that often hosts kids’ birthday parties. We offer party rooms and activities, but we do not provide childcare and never have. Whenever a customer makes a reservation, it’s clearly stated on the form they sign that children under 13 must be accompanied by at least one adult at all times. One Friday afternoon when we are slammed with customers, a mother comes up to me in our lobby area with her son who’s nine or ten years old.)

Mother: “We’re here for [Child]’s birthday party.”

Me: “Welcome! That’s great! That party actually starts in about one hour, so—”

Mother: “Oh, I know. I still have to go pick up my daughter, so I’ll just leave my son here for now.”

(I gesture to our lobby, which is open to the public and currently full of people coming and going every which way, trying to help her notice. When that doesn’t work, I try to think of the most professional way to make this woman realize that she would be crazy to leave her son there alone.)

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, but all of our employees are busy helping other customers right now. There would be no one available to watch your son.”

Mother: “Oh, that’s fine!”

Me: *thinking she finally came to her senses*

Mother: “He doesn’t need watching!”

Me: *shocked, and wondering how I can make this more obvious without offending her* “Uh… well, it’s really up to your discretion, ma’am, but we are not certified to provide childcare and none of us are trained to—”

Mother: *angrily* “You don’t get it! You don’t have to do anything! I’ll just leave him here and he’ll be fine!”

Me: “Ultimately, the decision is yours, but we care very much about everyone’s safety at [Company], and I just don’t feel it would be a good idea.”

Mother: “Ugh! FINE!”

(She grabs her embarrassed son by the hand and literally drags him out the door. Thinking the problem has been resolved, I go back to helping our many other customers, until my coworker arrives for the start of her shift about twenty minutes later. Keep in mind it is January and literally freezing outside.)

Coworker: “Hey, did you know there is a little boy standing in front of our building?”

Me: “What?! Oh, no!”

Coworker: “Yeah, I just let him borrow my phone, because he wanted to call his mom and ask her why she hadn’t come back yet.”

Me: “Oh, my gosh! Is he okay?”

Coworker: “Yeah, I asked him if he wanted to come and wait inside, and he said he wasn’t allowed to! What’s going on? What should I do?”

Me: “You’re not going to believe this.” *relates the story to her* “So, I guess when I told the mom she shouldn’t leave her son inside, she took me literally and left him outside!”

(My coworker kept an eye on the boy and made sure he was okay, despite our being short-staffed and not technically allowed to watch other people’s children. His mom finally came back, another THIRTY MINUTES later! She glared daggers at all of us and continued to shoot us dirty looks all afternoon every time we had to walk past where she was sitting. Fortunately, the little boy did have a fun time at his friend’s birthday party! I hope things got better for him. Since then, we have put up more signs to notify customers that adult supervision is required at all times.)

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