Getting Booked Into Jail

, , , , , | Right | November 19, 2018

(Years ago I worked in a bookstore, which is now gone. For this part of the story, I’m shelving books while pulling a cart along behind me.)

Customer: “Get out of here!”

(I ignore this.)

Customer: “Did you hear me? I said get out of here!”

(I look around and see a woman who appears to be homeless sitting in a chair at the end of the aisle. She’s glaring at me.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’m shelving books. I’m doing my job.”

Customer: “I don’t care! Get out of this section! I don’t want you near me!”

Me: “Then you’re welcome to move, ma’am, but I have a job to do. I’m going to be shelving this section for the next hour, whether you like it or not.”

Customer: “I was here first! LEAVE RIGHT NOW!”

(I calmly turn away from her and shelve the book in my hand. She jumps to her feet and advances on me:)


Me: “You are in a bookstore, ma’am, and you cannot ‘claim’ any part of our business as your own personal spot.”

(The manager steps around the corner and gets between us.)

Manager: “Ma’am, we allow you to come in from the cold and sit during business hours. We don’t mind that. But we will not tolerate you harassing employees or other customers. This is not your space, and if you cannot be civil, we will remove you from the premises.”

(The woman mutters to herself and chooses to ignore me for the rest of the time I’m shelving. Fast forward to closing time.)

Manager #2: “[My Name], someone went into the bathroom ten minutes ago. Please go chase her out.”

(Since he’s a guy and I’m a girl, I don’t question being asked to clear out the women’s room. But then he says:)

Manager #2: “Make sure she leaves, and don’t let her stall. Be rude if you have to. She’s tried to hide in the bathrooms after closing several times.”

(When I open the door, it’s the same woman, and she has a whole bunch of personal belongings with her. She’s washing her hands, and she has bathroom toiletries lined up around her at the basin.)

Me: “Ma’am, we closed ten minutes ago. Please gather up your things and head to the front door.”

Customer: “I’m not done!”

Me: “Actually, you are. We’re closed, and you need to leave.”

Customer: *fuming* “Fine! But you don’t have to stand in the door.”

Me: “Yes, clearly I do.”

(I stare pointedly at her array of items, which would take her a considerable amount of time to go through one by one.)

Customer: “No, you don’t! Go away! I’ll leave when I’m finished!”

Me: “Ma’am, you can either gather up your belongings and walk out the door, or we can call the police. You cannot stay here, and I have no intention of leaving you alone until you walk out the front doors.”

Customer: “You wouldn’t dare call the cops on me! I’m not leaving until I’m done!”


Manager #2: “GOT IT!”

Customer: “How dare you?!”

(She snatches up her things and shoves them roughly into her bag, then storms by me to the info desk, where [Manager #2] is currently on the phone with the police. She berates him loudly for our rudeness, disrespect, and discrimination against her because she’s homeless, either not paying attention or not caring that the dispatcher on the other end can hear every screamed word. When she pauses for breath, the manager taps the speakerphone button and asks:)

Manager #2: “Did you get that?”

Dispatcher: “Yes, sir, I did. Patrol is roughly a minute away.”

(The woman froze and her eyes went wide, as if she finally realized that we weren’t bluffing, and then she spun on her heel and rushed to the door, where [Manager #1] was waiting to lock her out. A patrol car pulled in even as she stood a few feet from the door, screaming about how she was going to call corporate on us for humiliating her. In the end, she was banned from our store, and both managers sent a message to corporate explaining what happened. Since I never heard anything more, I assume the problem ended there.)

Playing The Waiting Blame

, , , , , | Right | November 1, 2018

(I am working at the registers with a line of people. A man on his phone comes to the registers and puts his books on the counter without acknowledging me or pausing in his conversation. He puts a finger to his lips when I greet him. I stifle the urge to sigh, and ring up his items.)

Me: “Your total is [total], sir.”

(He turns his back on me and continues talking.)

Me: *louder* “Your total is [total], sir.”

(He sticks a finger in his other ear and walks to the farthest point of the registers with his back to me. I turn to the lady who is next in line with huge eyes, look down at the pile of books in front of me, then gather them all up and set them on a shelf behind me. I suspend the transaction and call the lady forward.)

Lady: “Don’t worry, hun. He’s a rude jerk.”

Me: “Thanks, ma’am. Sorry for the wait.”

Lady: “Don’t apologize, dear. You aren’t responsible for his bad manners.”

(I get through three customers before he comes back and cuts in front of the rest of the line. He stares while I retrieve his books and redo the transaction, and then he wordlessly pays and walks off. I get through my line and a manager approaches.)

Manager: “A man just complained that you ignored him and helped three people before helping him.”

(I explain the situation, and the manager merely frowns.)

Manager: “Well, you know, some customers don’t appreciate you stopping their transaction.”

Me: “And the twelve customers behind him would not have appreciated being forced to wait for him to come back. Do you want one complaint, or twelve?”

(The manager just sighed and walked away.)

Need To See It To Believe It

, , , , , | Working | April 12, 2018

(I’m 5’3″, and while I’m not the shortest person at work, I still tend to get overlooked… a lot. This happens in a single shift. The manager calls a store meeting. I take my place on the floor next to several other employees. I am sitting right in front of where she is standing.)

Manager: “Where’s [My Name]? [MY NAME]!”

Me: “I’m right here, [Manager].”

Manager: “Oh.”


Manager: “And [My Name], go to aisle [number] and start pulling down overstock.”

(I’m in the aisle, digging through a box when the manager looks down my aisle and bellows over the radio:)

Manager: “[My Name]! I told you do go to Aisle [Number]!”

Me: *standing five feet away, straight down the aisle from where she’s standing* “What the heck do you think I’m doing?!”

Manager: “Oh. I didn’t see you.”

Me: *annoyed* “Obviously.”

(Even later…)

Manager: *bellowing into the walkie-talkie* “[My Name]! You’re supposed to be helping in the framing department!”

(I am up a ladder, handing a box of overstocked frames down to my coworker. We’re both less than three feet away.)

Me: “G**d*** it, [Manager]!”

Manager: “Oh, there you are.”

Me: “Grr…”

Coworker: “Maybe you’re like the elf who helps out the cobbler. You know, never seen, but always gets the job done?”

Me: “I wouldn’t mind so much if it didn’t get me yelled at!”

Letting That Minute Sink In For A Minute

, , , , , , , | Working | February 22, 2018

(We have [Manager #1] who is notorious for not knowing how long a task is going to take. If he claims that it will only take “a minute,” it usually takes fifteen. If he says, “fifteen minutes,” it can be up to two hours.)

Manager #2: *over walkie-talkie* “Hey, guys, we’re running behind today. Can anyone stay fifteen minutes after their shift to help finish this up?”


Manager #2: “Anyone? Anyone at all?”


Manager #2: “Guuuuyyys, I mean fifteen actual minutes, not fifteen [Manager #1] minutes!”

Coworker #1: “Yeah, okay. I can stay for that long.”

Coworker #2: “Me, too.”

Coworker #3: “Sure!”

(I was laughing too hard to chime in, but I did stay to help for those fifteen minutes, too.)

Their Geek Knowledge Is Labyrinthine

, , , , , | Working | September 1, 2017

(Our shipping trucks arrive at three am, so the early shift often talks about random things to keep our minds active enough to move and sort the boxes without just falling asleep on top of them. Usually it’s nerdy stuff. One day…)

Coworker #1: *to [Coworker #2]* “Well, the Punisher is all extreme anti-hero business since he’s more of a ‘shoot them all’ kind of guy, whereas Batman is a little bit more mellow when it comes to handling villains… not counting Frank Miller’s psychotic imaginings of him being the ‘G**D*** Batman’….”

Manager: “Oh my GOD! Nowhere else do I learn so much about crap I don’t care about. Can’t you find something else to occupy your brains?”

Coworker #3: *singing* “I’d guess you’d say…”

Me: “What can make me feel this way?”

Coworkers #1, #4, and #5: “My girl, my girl, my girl!”

Manager: “Something else!”

Me: “You remind me of the babe!”

Manager: “Noooo…”

Coworker #1: “What babe?”

Coworker #2: “The babe with the power!”


(The manager then flees the stock room under the pretense of taking a full cart out to the floor.)

Coworker #1: *to the manager’s fleeing back* “Never complain about our topics of discussion… we can always find something else annoying to switch to!”