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Spreading Sparkles Of Justice

, , , , , | Right | May 19, 2020

I’m walking up to a coffee shop. A group of rowdy but harmless-looking teenagers are sitting outside.

Male Teenager: *To me* “Hey! I’m Sparkles!”

I reply in my best “grownup-talking-to-a-small-child” voice.

Me: “Well… Yay for being Sparkles, sweetie!”

Male Teenager: “I love her! I love this woman!”

I walk inside, still smiling, and I’m about to suggest the employees provide no more caffeine to the teens outside when I see the employees are clearly distressed and trying to calm a man in the store shouting and berating the barista.

Customer: “I wanted this iced! You are useless!”

Suddenly, he looks at me, trying to drag me into the ordeal.

Customer: “I’ll bet even she knows what I want when I say I want a ‘breve’ latte!”

Again, I call forth my best “grownup-talking-to-a-small-child” voice.

Me: “Yes, I do. It means that you want a latte made with hot half-and-half instead of milk… unless, of course, you ordered it iced.”

The man now realizes the error was his and waits quietly while the barista — now fighting back laughter instead of tears — prepares him the breve latte he ordered. He leaves.

Barista: “Thank you so much! Your drink is on me tonight!”

As I walk outside, the male teenager again shouts:

Male Teenager: “I’m still not over this woman! I love her!

I walked to my car sipping my free drink, feeling loved!

A Vacation With No End Date? Must Be Nice

, , , , | Right | February 17, 2020

Me: “Thank you for calling [Company]. This is [My Name]; how can I assist you today?”

Caller: “I want to book a flight to Virginia Beach for Christmas break.”

Me: “Okay, and what day would you like to leave?”

Caller: “Oh… I didn’t know you were going to ask me that… I guess I’ll have to call back.”

You Won These Rounds

, , , , , , | Working | January 30, 2020

(My wife just closed a large transaction that took the better part of a year — a year of stress and constantly being on-call evenings and weekends. She wants to celebrate by purchasing the newest video game console, which features portability as well as easy connectivity to your TV. We head to the store near our house and pick out several games; this store has been advertising a “Buy Two, Get One Free” sale on their games that we want to take advantage of. It’s Halloween evening, so the store is rather packed and busy, and every employee looks exhausted. With our console and games in hand, we head up to the electronics register and…)

Wife: “All six games scanned at full price; two of them should be scanning as free.”

(The poor kid behind the register looks like it’s his third day of his first job — a bit lost and unsure of himself — but my wife and I have both worked retail and customer service:)

Wife: *very gently* “Can we suggest that a manager would be able to help?”

(While waiting for the manager, I do some quick searching on my phone and discover that the store’s sale only applies to very select games; this is not in the fine print on the advertising or their website, as only one game is listed excluded there, but on in-store signage. It’s shady marketing to get you into the store, but definitely not the fault of the employees or store; these are the kinds of decisions corporate makes. We make polite conversation about the games to the kid — really, he can’t be older than 18 — who seems to perk up a bit despite apologizing every three seconds. When the manager arrives, she listens to the situation, and after a few minutes of checking their system, she zeroes out two of the games and we are all set! When we arrive home, I begin setting up the console while my wife unboxes the games — a couple of the most popular releases have booklets with a lot of flavor and lore, and she’s looking forward to the one regarding a particular green-tunic-wearing character.)

Wife: “There’s no cartridge.”

(I stop, because there absolutely should be a cartridge. The game was shrink-wrapped, inside a box with two circular plastic seals, inside a locked cabinet. My wife silently holds up two thick pieces of black plastic that resemble a game cartridge.)

Wife: “This was in the cartridge slot.”

(We frantically check the box and paperwork for a code, despite the fact that the game should not be a digital download. Inspecting the box reveals that one of the circular seals has been opened and replaced. Doing more online searching, we come to this conclusion:)

Me: “Someone has bought the game, opened the box, stolen the cartridge, placed plastic in there to show a black profile when looking through the plastic case, re-shrink-wrapped the box, and then returned it. Even ignoring the actual crime of theft, it screws the next customer — pretty awful stuff.”

(There was really no way of proving this to the store, but I headed back, anyway, to see if anything could be done. I explained everything that had just happened to customer service, who called over a manager to investigate further. It was the same manager as before! She spoke with the electronics kid and he vouched for us, saying that we were very polite and understanding with the wait. The manager authorized an exchange for another copy of the game, which I then opened on the counter in front of them… just in case! Thinking back over the entire evening, the manager and employees could have very easily told us “no” twice and would have been completely within the rules, but went out of their way to accommodate us. I often deal with suspicious situations in my work, where it looks obvious that people are trying to scam us. This was a good reminder that bad situations can happen to good people who can’t prove they weren’t at fault, and also to treat your retail workers kindly because they’re human beings like you!)

Her Brain Has Expired

, , , , , , | Right | December 14, 2019

(I am a cashier at a large store. We frequently have issues with coupons being misused for fraud and illegal gains, so I’ve learned to really check to make sure they are right. I’ve worked at this store for two years doing this. A customer hands over a coupon. I inspect it and realize it is for a product she does not have, and one we do not even carry in our store.)

Me: “I’m sorry, this is for the lotion, not the lip balm. See, it has a picture of the lotion and says, ‘Try our lotion.'”

Customer: “No, you don’t understand. If you don’t do this often it can be confusing, but you can use this for any of their products.”

Me: “It says this is for the lotion. Also, the coupon is six months expired.”

Customer: “No, you aren’t doing it right; you don’t understand. I know it can be confusing but you don’t know how it works; it can be used for anything.”

Me: “Sorry, but I can’t use this.”

(Understandably, we cannot take expired coupons because the manufacturer will not pay us back for them.)

Customer: “Well, I mean, okay, if you don’t know that’s just too bad that I have to go through this because you don’t know what you’re doing.”

(The customer doesn’t say she does not want the item, so I complete her transaction. She sits at my register staring at her receipt for a good minute and a half before she speaks up.)

Customer: “I don’t want this item since you didn’t use my coupon; do I need to return it here or over at that desk?”

(I returned the item there. She proceeded to stand at the next check lane carefully inspecting her receipt for another five minutes. This customer walked away thinking I was an idiot who “doesn’t know how coupons work” because I wouldn’t take an expired coupon for the wrong product.)

Makes You Want To Elbow Her In The Oboe

, , , , | Right | December 1, 2019

(I work part-time at a small mom-and-pop music store that sells, rents, and repairs musical instruments. I am only here when my boss is unable to come into the store. He takes an annual two-week trip in the summer every year. He is the only one who repairs clarinets, flutes, and oboes. A woman comes in with her shy, middle-school-aged daughter.)

Woman: “My daughter’s oboe isn’t working and I need it repaired by the end of the week.”

(The end of the week is tomorrow.)

Me: “I am sorry, but the man who fixes oboes is on vacation and will not be coming back for another week and a half. You can leave it with us and he will look at it as soon as he comes back, or you can bring it back in when he gets back on [date].”

(The woman turns to her daughter)

Woman: “When is your next practice session?”

Daughter: “Next Wednesday.”

Woman: “My daughter needs this done by next Wednesday. This is unacceptable. We have rented lots of instruments from you over the years and we cannot not have service. I will be coming back in as soon as your boss gets back to return the instrument. We will not be renting from you anymore.”

(The lady ushered her daughter out before I could say anything else. If she had stuck around for five more seconds I would have told her that I could give her a loaner oboe that her daughter could use while she waited for the instrument to be fixed, but I guess that would have taken too long for her.)