A Free Sandwich Actually Costs Time

, , , , , , | Right | May 7, 2019

(It’s almost time to close at the sub shop I’m working at. A lady I estimate to be in her 60s comes in with a coupon to buy a sub and any drink to get the next sub free, which we allow. This is what ensues.)

Me: “Hello. What can I get started for you?”

Customer: “I have this coupon.” *reads off coupon* “So, I want a six-inch [sandwich #1] on [bread], and a six-inch [sandwich #2] on [bread]. Make sure you toast the bread thoroughly; I can’t stand [Store] bread when it’s not toasted.”

(I ask what cheese she wants and get ready to put them in the toaster. As I open the toaster she says:)

Customer: “Wait, what are you doing?! I want the bread toasted; I told you I can’t stand [Store] bread when it’s not toasted.”

Me: “Well, our standard protocol when toasting sandwiches is to have the meat and cheese on already so everything gets cooked.”

Customer: “No, no, no, just toast the bread, or it won’t get cooked thoroughly. I know your ovens; they don’t cook the bread if it has everything on it.”

Me: “All right.”

(I toast the bread twice bare and once more with the meats on them. The bread is very much darker at this point, but not burnt. Vegetables go fine, no issues there, but every so often she gets angry and impolite when she has issues with the way I’m doing things, and then she switches back to normal behavior. We get to the checkout process. She has two sandwiches and a drink which qualify for the coupon, and she also has a bag of chips and another drink.)

Customer: “How much extra will it be if I buy a [bottled drink] instead of a cup?”

Me: “Can you read what your coupon says so I can check?”

Customer: *ignores my question and asks the same question in a more hostile tone*

(I ask her to read the coupon again; she does so.)

Me: “All right, since it specifies any drink, the price would be the same.”

Customer: “Good.”

(I enter her items into the register and she sees the total on her side.)

Customer: “Wait, what? Why is it [price]? It should only be [price a few dollars less].”

Me: “Well, the first sandwich and the first drink are normal price, which makes the second sandwich free, and the system sees the second chips and drink as a meal with the second sandwich, so it discounts them even though the second sandwich is still free.”

Customer: “No, it still should be [lower price]. I think you’re doing it wrong.”

(We have this circular argument about three more times. Meanwhile, other customers are waiting and I am running out of time to start closing procedures.)

Me: “Would you like me to explain how that coupon works one more time?”

Customer: “I don’t care how the coupon works; it still should only be [lower price]!”

(I have no other way to explain to her the prices and calculations, so I just tell her each of the prices, and I am surprised to see her take one of our napkins and start doing the math herself. She then asks me to confirm each of the prices in a not-so-polite manner. This goes on for about five more minutes. She then realizes…)

Customer: “I might be doing the math wrong.”

Me: “All right, so we’re all clear here?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “All right, here’s your receipt. Have a good night.”

Customer: *jokingly* “I wonder where my son gets all his nagging from.”

(We finished up there, she left, and I apologized to the next customers for the wait. This whole exchange cost me twenty minutes and was a contributing factor in our late departure at the end of the night. Not once did she apologize, but maybe she forgot to…)

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This Kid’s Got The Fizz

, , , , , | Right | May 2, 2019

(During my break, I am out smoking and one of my coworkers comes out, cracking up.)

Me: “What’s so funny?”

Coworker: “I was on the phone with this guy troubleshooting his phone and his baby was in the background crying and wailing.”

Me: “Ouch.”

Coworker: “Well, that’s not the worst part. In the middle of the call, he says—“ *imitating a southern accent* “’Hold on… Hey, honey, get that baby some Coca-Cola in his bottle so he’ll shut up!’ Next thing I hear is the spritz of the soda opening and the baby not crying anymore.”

Me: “Wow, are you serious?!”

Coworker: “Yup, that’s a future Nascar driver right there.”

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The Daddy Of All Meanies

, , , , | Right | April 9, 2019

(My dad owns a typesetting and editing business in the 1980s and operates from a home office. He professionally prints stationery, wedding invitations, magazines… basically anything that is on paper, he can do. Since the only other house phone is in my playroom, I am trained from the age of three to take calls politely, put people on hold, and walk to my dad’s office to tell him he has a phone call. At the age of five, I am trained to help out after school, and can do extremely basic things, like get a file and tell clients how much they owe on their specific projects. Long term clients know the reason I answer the phone after three rings, and they know that I will help them if I can. This guy, however, even though he has talked to me face to face on several occasions — I remember that he’s loud and overbearing, which to my five-year-old self is translated to “scary” — and he’s taken my family out for dinner several times to talk about business ventures he’s pursuing, he still can’t accept my “receptionist” role, nor can he understand “family-home-based business,” so my dad usually meets the client at his office. This is the most memorable call from him:)

Me: “Good afternoon. Thank you for calling [Business]. I’m [My Name]; how can I help you?”

Longtime Client: “UGH!” *mumbling to someone else* “It’s that dumb little girl again.” *back to me* “I’m getting so sick of this s*** from you little people. Don’t you have anything else to do? Go play with your f****** toys or something.”

Me: “Sir! If you would like to talk to my dad, who ow—“

Longtime Client: “YOUR DADDY? UGH. NO.”

Me: “Okay, goodbye, then. Have a—“

Longtime Client: “NO! No, no, no! I want to talk to [Dad]!”

Me: “Okay. I will go get my dad, then.”


(I place the call on hold, with the client still ranting, and walk into my dad’s office thirty feet away.)

Dad: “Who’s that?”

Me: “[Longtime Client]!”

Dad: “WHAT?!”

Me: “The scary man!”

(I had not previously let my opinion on him be known. I am internally berating myself for saying that…)

Dad: “Um… Yeah, actually, he is, isn’t he?” *picks up phone* “Hel—“

Longtime Client: *apparently arguing with someone away from the phone* “AND IF THAT STUPID LITTLE GIRL HAD GOTTEN ME A HOLD OF [DAD] INSTEAD OF HER STUPID DAAAAAADDY, MAYBE—“

Dad: “OKAY, ONE D*** THING! I may be her dad, but I’m not stupid. I heard everything you said, and my daughter was unfailingly polite. You do not treat my daughter like that under any circumstances, ever!”

(My dad quietly shoos me out of his office and closes the door before he proceeds to rip into the guy completely. I remember looking up the word “unfailingly” later on that day. After he finishes, my dad comes to talk to me about my phone etiquette:)

Dad: “You okay?”

Me: *sniffily* “Yeah, that guy’s scary. Do we have to go to dinner with him again now that you have his work done?”

Dad: “No, never, honey. He’s not a client anymore. But you know what? When people say, ‘No, not your dad; get [Dad],’ you say, ‘Okay, [Dad] will be with you in just a moment,’ or, ‘Okay, I’ll go get [Dad],’ before you hit the hold key, okay?”

Me: “Okay. And I’m glad we don’t have to see him again.”

Dad: “So am I! I’m sorry he was scary and mean to you.” *hugs me*

(Years later, I found out that not only did the ex-client not pay my dad for the order that had just been completed that day, but he also wrote a bad check on the previous order, and had a habit of skipping the bill whenever he’d take us out. My parents took the client to court to recoup their expenses, and got a lot more than they were hoping for: the judge awarded them attorney’s fees in addition to the payments from the previously unpaid jobs, and our attorney asked my dad for 450 printed wedding invitations, insisting that that was more than enough to cover all the court expenses!)

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Stealing Was A Mis-Steak

, , , , , | Right | March 28, 2019

(I am eight and a half months pregnant. I’m exhausted one night, eating lunch in the coffee shop next to the lobby of the store where I work. The registers are all clearly visible from my location, and our cashier has closed his register down and taken over the self-checkout so those cashiers can go home. The self-checkouts are now the only registers open. As I’m finishing my lunch and am about to clock in, I see a guy wearing a fantastic leather jacket looking around and acting kind of iffy. I casually take a look around to see what he can see, masking my movements in a yawn and stretch. He can see me in the coffee shop, the manager with their back to him opening the counting room behind customer service, and the cashier at the self-checkout talking to some guy who is bent over his work station. He probably thinks I’m half asleep due to my yawning and putting my head down on my folded arms, and takes that opportunity to dart through the closed register, with premium steaks in his hands. I run over to intercept him at the customer service desk. Even though I see him attempting to steal the steaks, it is actually a fireable offense for someone in my current job position to accuse someone of stealing, and we must offer them every opportunity to pay for their purchases prior to exiting the store.)

Me: *running in front of steak thief* “HEY! Sorry, sir, register #6, which you just went through, was closed at the time! Perhaps the cashier at the self-checkout might want to help you out with your purchase tonight, as our customer service is also closed!

(I’m walking backward at this point, chattering up a storm, increasing my volume as we’re getting farther away from the self-checkout. He’s trying to get past me, but he can’t maneuver between me and the bakery displays in the lobby, partly because I’m huge, and partly because I’m faster than the average pregnant woman.)

Steak Thief: “You f****** b****! You have no proof that I didn’t pay! Don’t accuse me of stealing! You didn’t see jack f****** s***.” *continues walking*

(I know that if I touch him, it’d legally be considered assault. The instant he calls me a f****** b****, I recognize him! He was a low-level manager from a different store in the same chain, who thought I was bitter over a promotion I had applied for, that he got, that I had to decline due to a poorly-timed interstate move. His hate for me since I declined the promotion has been intense, and he has stated before that I hate him over my failure to be good enough for the promotion. He’s basically a gas-lighting a**hat, but everyone who matters knows that I’m leaving the job as soon as my maternity leave starts.)

Me: “Oh, I was in [Coffee Area] five minutes ago; I saw everything. Furthermore, I remember you. Congratulations on the job you got recently, and that I’ll have to decline again. Either find me your f****** receipt now, or leave these items with me.” *continues walking backward in front of the steak thief* “Hey, [Cashier]! Come here!”

(The man that the cashier has been talking to straightens up to full height; he is much taller and a little broader than the cashier, who is 6’5″ and 250 pounds.)

Big Customer: “Stay here, dude. I’ve got this.”

(I hear this, but it doesn’t make sense that [Cashier] has been told to stay there, until the incredibly tall, sturdy, and broad seven-foot tall man that I had never seen before I saw him talking to the cashier strides over to us in about four steps. I am completely mesmerized by this man’s tallness, and the steak thief is clearly scared.)

Big Customer: *in a booming, loud voice* “Hi! I’m [Cashier]! Dude, you want to pay for those steaks any time soon?” *striding forward, as the thief backs up towards the registers* “Both this young lady and I saw you go through the sixth register without an attendant. So, either pay for the steaks, return them, or, if you do neither, I’ll get your a** fired, then trespass you from the store, and fine you $500 in addition to the cost of this premium meat.”

Steak Thief: “I… uh… um… err… Yeah, I was just totally leaving these here with this very, very nice lady, because I totally… uh… I forgot my wallet? And the cashier? She—“

Me: “We have no other women on shift right now. But we do have cameras that you know capture audio, as well.”

Big Customer: “Steaks. Now.” *extends hand*

Steak Thief: “Can I… I mean, can I go once I…?” *puts steaks on my belly and RUNS out of the store* “BYE!”

Big Customer: *as soon as the thief leaves* “Whew, he didn’t call my bluff! And yes, I am a [Same Name As Cashier], but I have nothing to do with loss prevention or anything. That little dude at self-checkout—“ *points at the 250 pound, muscular 6’5″ cashier* “—wouldn’t have been able to do much here.”

Me: *laughs* “Yeah, well, you gave a very good version of that spiel, and the dumba** has probably heard it often enough from places he doesn’t work at to believe you. Unfortunately, he knows that he could get through me just by talking and walking. He’d been trained in my job before.”

(The manager at the other store fired the steak thief because they had a video of him pulling a similar stunt at a store in a neighboring suburb. I, as predicted, declined the promotion again, and left the company during my maternity leave.)

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That’s Just Not Cool

, , , , , , | Working | March 25, 2019

(I am working as a tire technician at an auto parts store that also does car repairs. I am always early to work, but at this job I often show up before the store opens when the store manager is not there yet. He is the only one with the key to the store, and we cannot get in until he shows up. After he lets us in, we have to stand in line to clock in on the only terminal set up for that. As a result, I often clock in late but I don’t think anything about it as my direct supervisor is often just as late. One day my future wife — at this time just a close friend — brings her car in to have the A/C worked on since I don’t have the equipment or the time to do it at home. The A/C specialist does the work and the night service writer writes it up with my discount. She picks the car up the next day. That night I get a call from her that the car has overheated for the first time ever and asks if I could look at it. The coolant is low, but when I add more it doesn’t seem to be leaking until the car is running, but it isn’t coming out onto the ground. While I am trying to figure it out, I discover that the carpet in the back seat of the car is wet, and after a little more investigation I find out that coolant is coming out of a hole in the heater core and running through the back seat vents. I pull it out and find a small hole poked into the side of the heater core. Immediately, I take it back to the night service writer. He gets a part off the shelf for me and writes it off. I fix the car and then go back the next morning to talk to the service manager.)

Me: “Yeah, I pulled the heater core and found this tiny little hole poked into the side, right on a seam; it had to have been done on purpose.”

Service Manager: “You’re right; that couldn’t have been an accident. He shouldn’t have needed to do any work inside the car.”

(Just then, the day service writer — my direct supervisor and the son of my friend’s coworker — comes into the service office.)

Service Writer: “You should have told me that was your car!”

(I looked at him for several seconds like he was crazy and then calmly said, “I quit.” I told my future wife, and she understood how ethics can be a burden. I don’t think she ever told her coworker, though. I had never applied for unemployment benefits before, but I then found out that I was eligible if I quit for cause. I wrote it up and turned it in. Later, I got the denial in the mail, not because they didn’t believe my explanation, but because the company claimed that I had been late over fifty times! By that time I had another job and fighting it was not worth it.)

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