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Some People Just Aren’t Meant To Deal With Customers

, , , , | Working | July 3, 2021

The municipal waste centre in my town is cramped. There is only space for about four cars to offload waste. I park directly in the entrance because it is the only place I can stop. I start offloading my waste.

A worker comes up and says something incoherent about parking. I ignore him. There are several people unloading and chaotically parked.

Worker #1: “You’re blocking other cars!”

Again, he isn’t looking at anyone in particular. He’s just shouting across a busy depot, where no-one is parked properly.

Me: “Who?”

Worker #1: “You!”

By now, the three cars in front of me have vacated the car park. I move my car forward and park as best I can. I approach him.

Me: “May I help you?”

Worker #1: “You can’t stop in the entrance like that!”

Me: “Where would you have preferred I go? It was taking me one minute to offload, and I moved forward as soon as the car in front did.”

Worker #1: “You don’t park there, all right?”

He sighs heavily like he is dealing with a spoilt child. I have had it with his attitude.

Me: “Are you the boss here?”

Worker #1: “Yes.”

Me: “Have you a higher-up I could have a word with?”

Worker #1: “I am the boss!”

Me: “Doesn’t answer my question, mate.”

Worker: “[Town five miles away, where the main depot is located].”

Me: “Have you a name of someone I can speak to?”

He wordlessly marches into his tiny office, writes something down, and hands me a piece of paper. He then pushes past me out of the office. He’s given me a name and telephone number, which I call. There is no answer.

I decide it is worth driving five miles to [Town] to complain. Staff at [Site #1] work alone, so they need to be excellent at dealing with people, including those far more difficult than me. [Town] has a much bigger depot with lots of staff.

Me: “Hey, is there a manager I could speak to for two minutes?”

Worker #2: “Sure, what’s it about?”

Me: “One of your colleagues was less than diplomatic with me.”

Worker #2: *On radio* “Hey, boss, a fella here says one of us was rude. Are you available?” *To me* “He’ll be out now.”

A man in a suit appears.

Boss: “How can I help you?”

Me: “Hi, I’m [My Name]. You might need to talk to the bloke on shift today at [Site #1]. Doesn’t respect personal space, he’s been impolite, can’t understand another’s perspective…”

Boss: “Why? What happened?”

I recall the story.

Me: “You can’t expect to shout across seven people like that and be understood. He’s also got to understand that people will get different ideas about where to park. That depot is very cramped and busy. I imagine staff here might get away with that attitude, sometimes. At least they have backup. To work by yourself, you need far better interpersonal skills than he showed to me.”

Boss: “I’m sorry for how he spoke to you, and thank you for coming all the way out here to raise that with us. Do you have the slip of paper he wrote on?”

Me: “Yes, here you go.”

Boss: *Reading* “[Worker #3]? You asked for his manager’s name and he wrote this down?”

Me: “Yes?”

Boss: “You’re kidding.”

Me: “No?”

Boss: “[Worker #3] isn’t his manager; I am his manager! That’s just another worker!”

Don’t Park, Don’t Park So, Don’t Park So Close To Me

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: JHRequiem | June 27, 2021

I work at a grocery store, but every now and then we receive special non-food products to attract new customers. A few weeks ago, a cheap treadmill was on sale, which is, of course, very heavy. A customer came to my manager and me.

Customer: “I’d like to purchase one of the treadmills that’s on sale, but I’ll require assistance getting it into my van.”

We agreed and then checked him out.

Manager: “Can you please pull your van up to the front?”

Well, the gentleman did a bit more than that… or maybe he took it too literally. He backed up his car so close to the entrance/exit doors that he was about a foot from hitting them and was completely blocking traffic in both directions with his van.

He proceeded to open his trunk, and my manager flipped out.

Manager: “Sir, YOU CAN’T DO THAT!”

All the while, the man was standing there with his trunk open, raising his arms like, “Hurry up!”

It was crazy, but honestly? It was hilarious in a way!

That Must Have Been One Important Cigarette

, , , , | Friendly | CREDIT: fredzred | June 21, 2021

I had abdominal surgery twelve days ago. I am finally feeling up for shopping and there are things I need from the hardware store. I’m a thirty-year-old disabled woman in a wheelchair — I’m an incomplete quadriplegic — and I don’t have a car, so I get a taxi — with a ramp on the back so I don’t have to get out of my wheelchair.

The taxi driver drops me off and I go in to do my thing. Nothing out of the ordinary. When I finish my shopping, I call to get the taxi back. It will be a fifteen-minute wait, but it is such a nice day that I don’t mind waiting outside.

As I am waiting, I notice that someone is parked in the disabled parking space but there are no disabled tags on the windscreen. It’s annoying, but I honestly don’t care at this point; I just want to get home. About ten minutes later, I see a middle-aged woman walk out of the store and go straight to that car. She opens the boot, puts her shopping in, and goes around to the driver’s side. But instead of getting in, she gets out a cigarette and starts looking at her phone.

A few minutes after that, my taxi arrives. [Taxi Driver], being the polite and patient man he is, waits for the woman to drive out of the car space. The woman knows he is waiting for her and she is d*** sure she is parking illegally in the disabled parking space, but do you think she cares? She finishes her cigarette and gets into her car.

We wait. And wait. And then wait some more. Then, [Taxi Driver] gets rightly fed up and parks the taxi directly behind the woman’s car, blocking her in. This is when things get interesting.

The woman begins to honk her horn repetitively for a few seconds, and then she gets out of her car.

Woman: “What the bloody heck do ya think ya doin’? Ya blocked me in!”

Taxi Driver: *In a mock-apologetic tone* “I’m very sorry, ma’am, but I needed the car space. And you seemed to want to stay there. Just thought I’d do you a favor. Now, if you don’t mind, I have a job to do.”

[Taxi Driver] gestured in my direction as I gave the woman a BIG smile. I hate confrontation, so I appreciated [Taxi Driver] doing it for me. [Taxi Driver] got into the car and fastened me and my wheelchair into place. All the while, the woman was yelling profanities and threatening to call the police. If it were any other day, I would have been happy to call the police so the woman would get a fine. But I just wanted to go home.

It only took a few minutes before I was secured in the car and we left, but I made sure to give the woman a smile and a one-finger salute through the window as we were leaving, which made the encounter all the sweeter.

Towing The Line

, , , | Friendly | CREDIT: doronbecker | May 18, 2021

There is a parking lot underneath the building where my family and I live. All of the parking spots are rented and taken except for two spots at the side of the entrance to the lot; all of the building agreed that those two parts are free parking for people who LIVE IN THE BUILDING and don’t have rented spots, like children that get cars and can’t park where their parents park. Basically, it’s a matter of first come, first serve in those two spots.

I am coming back from taking out the trash when I am confronted by my neighbor.

Neighbor: “Is your car parked at the entrance?”

Me: “Yeah. Is something wrong?”

Neighbor: “Yeah, something’s wrong. I have trouble coming in and out of the lot because of you; you’re blocking the path!”

I know that’s not true.

Me: “No, I’m not. It’s an agreed parking spot. If I parked incorrectly, I can go check it.”

Neighbor: “You need to leave that parking spot. My kids are coming over and they need a place to park.”

Me: “Wait, what? You’re telling me to leave that parking spot just so your kids — who don’t even live here — could come over? No, I’m not gonna move.”

Neighbor: “You kids are so disrespectful! You all park like it’s Chicago up in here! I’m gonna call a tow truck on you if you don’t move your car right now!”

I’m not a kid; I’m twenty-one.

Me: “Bye.”

Neighbor: “You have until Sunday!”

I approached the owner of the building. The funny thing is that when I went to the owner, [Neighbor]’s sons had already come to the parking lot and not only parked in a spot that wasn’t legal but blocked both [Neighbor]’s car and the path to the entrance and exit, eventually causing a big traffic jam.

The owner was furious. He kicked the sons out of the lot and gave [Neighbor] some nasty yells. My dad and I just looked out of the window, ate popcorn, and enjoyed the show.

The tow truck the neighbor threatened me with never came.

The World’s Strangest Parking Lot Attendant

, , , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: Internal_Use8954 | May 15, 2021

I’m a woman, and I was twenty-four when this happened about two years ago. I was working as a construction and design engineer for hospitals doing plumbing and air conditioning. I worked for a company that was hired by the hospital, not for the hospital itself.

My company had been hired to do an ER renovation on an old hospital, and the plans for the existing building were really old or damaged or just didn’t exist anymore. As low man on the totem pole, I got the fun job of going out to the hospital to document and investigate the existing building — lots of going up on ladders and looking above the ceiling to track down pipes and ducts and such. Because this was an ER and therefore working twenty-four hours a day, we had to time our investigation for non-busy times — namely three to seven am in the middle of the week. I was also working my normal office hours because I needed the overtime pay, so for all of these interactions, I was exhausted and just didn’t care anymore.

I had to park in the hospital parking garage, on the top floor, to be out of the way of patients and visitors. I had finished early because an emergency had come into the ER and I had to get out of the way. I had some extra time, so I decided to close my eyes for a bit before driving to the office.

I was woken up by a tapping on my window. A man was peering in the window. I waved at him, thinking he was just making sure I was all right; I was sleeping in a hospital parking lot, after all. The man gestured for me to roll down my window, so I cracked it to hear him better.

Man: *Gruffly* “Employees are to park in the back lot, or on the street if that’s full. Next time, I’ll have you towed.”

He then turned and marched back to his golf cart, which he had blocked me in with.

Me: “I don’t work here!”

He left. Then I left and went to work thinking it was a one-time deal. Little did I know…

Over the next few visits, I came back to my car to find increasingly angry “parking tickets” about parking in employee parking from now on! They were printed on standard printer paper and were very obviously homemade, with a blurry hospital logo and word art “Parking Enforcement” across the top. The notes threatened booting and towing and had demands for my supervisor’s name so I could be reported. My coworkers and I had quite a laugh over them. I even left a note on my dash saying I wasn’t an employee, and the next “ticket” had a rant about lying and a threat: “You will be written up for lying once I get your supervisor’s name!”

Then, one morning I came out to find the guy waiting for me. He had blocked my car with his golf cart and was grinning at me like a cat who got the cream.

Man: “Employees have to park in the back lot! You are in so much trouble. I demand to speak to your manager! Give me their name and number and the department you work for! I won’t let you leave until you give me your manager’s name!”

He did have my car blocked in. I tried to explain that I wasn’t an employee. I pointed out my outfit — work boots, jeans, safety glasses, and a toolbelt with flashlights, tape measures, lasers, and a clipboard with my drawn plans — and told him that this is where hospital admin had told us to park. But he insisted that my disguise wasn’t going to trick him and demanded to speak to my manager. I was so exhausted and wasn’t really up to arguing, so I just pulled out my business card and my boss’s card and handed them over. I had told my boss about this, and he just told me to ignore it, as he had confirmed with the hospital that that was where I was supposed to park.

This dude pulled out his phone and called my boss and reported me. My boss — an older gentleman, president of the company — told the guy that he had to let me leave or he was calling the police. When the dude hung up, he told me:

Man: “I’m letting you leave this time, but next time you park here, I’ll boot your car and find your real manager’s number and report you! Some trick with your friend won’t work!”

He got in his golf cart and zoomed away. Luckily, my boss found this whole thing hilarious.

It was about a week before I went back and I was almost done with my task. I had finished for the day once again and headed out to my car to find that the man had — sort of — done what he had threatened.

There was a thick chain looped through the handle of my driver’s side rear door and around a cinderblock, all tied together with a large padlock. I knew this guy was a bit nutty, but I also had figured out that he didn’t have any real authority, so to find this half-clever, half-poorly-thought-out ball and chain attached to my car was a bit of a surprise.

I got into engineering because I like solving problems and this wasn’t a particularly complex problem. I simply rolled my back window down, lifted the cinderblock and excess chain into my car, and then drove away. I passed the man on my way out. To say he was shocked was an understatement, and I gave him a jaunty wave as I drove by. It was a cold drive back to my office with the window open, but it was worth the look on his face.

When I got to the office, I had to go in and sign out the bolt cutters, and I was followed out by a parade of my coworkers to see it for themselves.

I had to go back one more time. I was eager to see what the man might do after his last plan failed. I came out to find that he had tried the chain and cinderblock bit again. This time, he had wrapped the chain around the bottom of the wheel a few times and had the cinderblock tied pretty close to the wheel and the chain through the handle again. It was definitely chained in a way that would take a lot more ingenuity to get out of… or a pair of bolt cutters that I hadn’t returned to the office — you know, just in case.

I cut through the chain, unchained the car, and then loaded the whole lot into my trunk. The man must have been harassing some other person, because he only pulled up as I was backing out of the spot. He blocked my car — again! — with his cart and jumped out. He came to my window and I did roll it down just to see what he had to say.

Man: “Hey, hey! Where are the chains?! How did you get loose?! This is stealing! I will have your job for this!”

I never did hear the rest of the rant, as I yelled during a pause for breath:

Me: “Magic, and I’m not an employee!”

And I drove around his cart and away. It was the most dramatic exit of my life and will probably never be topped.

It was my last day there for now, and I’ve since gotten a new car, so I’m not sure if I’ll run into that man again. I’d like to think he is still puzzled over how I managed to unchain my car. My boss did lodge a complaint, but I don’t think anything came of it.