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Bad Customers Strike More Than Once

| WA, USA | Bad Behavior, Health & Body, Popular

(I’ve been working at the same pool as a lifeguard for four years. I am guarding our outdoor pool on a day with weird weather: sunny, 90 degrees, but then thunder crashes in the distance.)

Me: “All right, everybody please clear the pool! There’s thunder in the area!”

Woman: “Are you sure that was thunder?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am! We need to clear the pool because it’s unsafe to—”

Woman: “Yeah, yeah, how long is it going to be closed?”

Me: “30 minutes from the next time thunder sounds.”

Woman: “Fine.” *walks back to her chair*

(We open the pool in thirty minutes with no problem. Ten minutes later, thunder claps again.)

Me: “All right, everybody, please clear the pool! There’s thunder in the area!”

Woman: “How long will it be closed this time!?”

Me: “Another thirty minutes, ma’am!”

Woman: *muttering about my incapability as she walks away*

(Thirty minutes later, I open the pool, but hear thunder. But maybe this time it’s a plane? I’m not quite sure.)

Boss: *over my walkie-talkie* “Lightning strikes! Shut ‘er down.”

Me: “All right, everybody please clear the pool! There’s lightning in the area!”

Woman: “This is unbelievable! How can you not tell the difference between thunder and a plane!? You are completely r*****d! That’s obviously the Blue Angels!”

Me: “Ma’am, I know it’s frustrating, but I have to shut down the pool or run the risk of—”

Woman: “Shut up! I’ll be having a word with your manager about your laziness! Don’t want to guard your pool, is that it?!”

Me: “Ma’am, my manager is the one who told me to close the pool in the first place!”

Woman: “Liar! You just don’t want to have to be responsible for my son if something happens to him!”

Me: “Ma’am, if you have any complaint please take them inside to my manager—”

Woman: “How dare you speak to me this way, b****! I’ll get you fired! It’s the God d*** Blue Angels!”

(As she’s speaking clouds block the sun overhead and it immediately starts raining. We’re both soaked in a couple seconds. Lightning flashes, followed by thunder.)

Me: *turning away from the shocked woman* “Ladies and gentlemen, it is now unsafe to remain on the pool deck! Please exit in an orderly fashion and resume swimming indoors!”

(The woman filed a complaint. I got a small raise.)

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Your Excuse Holds No Water

| CA, USA | Bad Behavior, Crazy Requests, Family & Kids

(I work at a city pool as the head lifeguard. We do not allow flotation devices such as life jackets, foam noodles, puddle jumpers (they go around the upper arms and the chest), etc. A family comes to the pool with puddle jumpers, and are told at the gate that we do not allow flotation devices in our pool. About an hour later, a family comes and has a child in a swimsuit that has built-in floaties in the front and back. We have no control over that so they are allowed. A few minutes later, I see a young girl with puddle jumpers on in line for the diving board. Her dad is with her.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but flotation devices are not allowed in the pool.”

Dad: “She just wants to dive off the diving board and she’ll take them off.”

Me: “Sir, you were told at the gate that we do not allow any flotation devices in the pool. If she cannot swim to the pool on her own or without her floaties, then she should not go off the diving board.”

Dad: “This is ridiculous! This is a stupid rule!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but not all parents are as careful with their children as you are. In the past, we’ve had too many children left unattended in the pool with a lifejacket on and no parent. Many parents expect the lifeguards to be babysitters while they read a book or play on their smartphones and leave their children in the pool. Even though they are wearing a lifejacket, those are not made for swimming but for floating. Some young children can actually get stuck face down in a pool while wearing a life jacket.”

(The dad pulls the little girl out of the line and she proceeds to throw a fit, crying and demanding to go off the diving board. I continue to roam the pool deck. I see this dad talking to a lifeguard up in the chair, then goes to the front gate and talks with the guard working the cash register. I go to the front gate to excuse the guard to rotate to his next station and ask the dad if I can help him with something.)

Dad: “You are a bunch of hypocrites! There is a girl in the shallow end of the pool with her mom and she has a lifejacket on! What are you going to do about that?”

Me: “Sir, this girl is wearing a bathing suit with the flotation pads built in. Do you want me to go over to the mom, tell her that the bathing suit is a flotation device and make her remove it and have her child swim naked?”

Dad: *grumbles something and walks away when I ask an approaching family how I can help them*

(The two other guards told me later that he said the same thing to them, and they both gave him the same answer about making that poor girl swim naked! He called me “Shrek” and told one of the other guards I was being a b****. He has come back two other times and caused trouble by acting childishly and deliberately breaking rules along with his wife. He is now known as the “Shrek” guy.)

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Drowning In Bad Parenting

| USA | Bad Behavior, Family & Kids, Popular

(I am teaching a swim class of school-aged children when a parent plops a three-year-old child on the steps into the water and walks away.)

Me: “Hi. Do you know which class he’s in?”

Parent: “He’s with you!”

Me: “No, he’s not. I’m teaching older kids now. Do you know the name of his class?”

Parent: “He’s with you! He’s in your class! Sweetie, run to your teacher!”

(The child starts running to me and promptly face-plants in the shallow water, requiring me to rescue him.)

Me: *to parent* “No, he is NOT with me.” *to child* “Sweetie, are you okay? Go back to your mom, please.”

Parent: “He’s with you! Why don’t you know your own students? [Child], go with your class.”

(At this point another teacher comes over to see what is going on.)

Teacher #2: “No, he’s not in my class either.”

Me: “No. He can’t get into the pool until we know whose class he’s in.”

Parent: “Go with your class!”

(The child makes a beeline through the shallow water at me and the second teacher, running right off the top step into deeper water. Teacher #2 and I have to grab him to prevent him from sinking.)

Parent: “You almost drowned my kid! I’m going to complain.”

(Turned out, it was the three-year-old child’s first day of class. She’d signed him up after class started for the session, did not know what class level he was in, plopped him in the pool without bothering to find out, went to leave, and then twice directed him to join a random class against the orders of staff, requiring us to rescue him twice. She had the audacity to be mad at us! We could have reported her for neglect.)

On The Straight And Narrow (Minded), Part 4

| OR, USA | Bigotry, Crazy Requests, Family & Kids

(I am female. I work at a pool as a lifeguard/swimming instructor/supervisor for a few summers. The town is extremely conservative, and I am dating another woman.)

Me: *picks up phone* “Hello, this is [Pool]. How can I help you?”

Customer: “I’ve heard there’s a [lesbian slur] working at your pool. How can you let her around the children?”

Me: “Ma’am, our employees personal lives are not our business.”

Customer: “Well, I want her fired. It’s inappropriate.”

Me: “You do realize it’s illegal to fire someone based on their sexuality in this state, right?”

Customer: “I don’t f****** care. I don’t want her around my daughter! She’ll fill her head with horrible ideas and make her a sinner!”

(By now, my boss has noticed that I’m about to cry, so she picks the phone up and tells me to hang up. I only hear my boss talking. Note: My boss is a 50-year-old mother of two that comes off as quiet, and I’ve never heard her curse before.)

Boss: “Ma’am, that’s not how we operate here.” *pause* “Well, f*** you, too. All of our employees are valuable members of the team, and I’d rather lose you as a customer than her as a family member. You are no longer welcome here.”

Related:

On The Straight And Narrow (Minded), Part 3

On The Straight And Narrow (Minded), Part 2

On The Straight And Narrow (Minded)

 

Unable To Swim Through His Bigotry

| OR, USA | Bigotry, Bizarre

(I work at a pool where all the supervisors and managers are female. The only male employees teach swimming lessons or life guard. It’s a small pool, so there’s normally only two or three of us on duty. I was supervising a very quiet open swim with a male coworker. I’m 24 and he’s 16.)

Customer: “I need to speak to your manager.”

Me: “I am the manager, sir. How can I help you?”

Customer: “No, you’re not. I need to talk to the maaaaaanageeeeeeeer.”

Me: “I AM the manager. What do you need?”

Customer: “No, you can’t help me. I need the man out on deck right now.”

Me: “Sir, the guard on deck has been working here for less than two weeks. I’ve been here for over six years. What do you need?”

Customer: “Never mind. I’ll just ask him when he’s off.”

(I switch with my coworker a few minutes later. Not even a minute after, he comes out on deck to ask me to help the man who had been bothering me earlier.)

Me: “Are you willing to let me help you now?”

Customer: “YOU can’t help me. I want to speak to your boss.”

Me: *seeing where this is going* “My boss is also a woman. So is about 75% of this staff, which is fairly common in an aquatic environment. Now can I help you or not?”

Customer: “Fine. I need change for a dollar.”

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