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A collection of stories curated from different subreddits, adapted for NAR.

We Want To Cry, Too

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: AwesomeDucky21 | June 26, 2021

I work at a gas station for a grocery store. I love my job, but sometimes… the people.

I watch as a lady stops short on the drive up to an out-of-order pump and steps out to move the cone over to the side — a real feat, as it’s heavily weighted against the wind. She gets back in her car so she can drive up properly, then gets back out, takes the red out-of-order bag off the pump handle, and proceeds to throw it into the trash.

She goes about trying to use the pump, but after a minute, she yells that the screen isn’t working!

Gasp! Shock! And HORROR! The out-of-order pump is… OUT OF ORDER!? How dare it be?!

I ignore her yelling as I would any other crazy person doing such crazy things. She walks over to my window.

Customer: “Sir, the pump isn’t working. The screen’s not on.”

I play innocent like I didn’t just watch her do what she did.

Me: “Really? Which pump?”

Customer: “Pump number eight, I believe it is.”

Me: “Oh! I’m sorry, ma’am, but pump eight is shut down at the moment. It needs repairs.”

Customer: “It needs repairs? I didn’t know.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. You didn’t run over the cone there, did you?”

Customer: “No. I don’t think so.”

Me: “Good. It could really damage your vehicle if you were to run it over. But it’s there to let you know that the pump is out of order.”

Customer: “Is that what it means? Well, I guess I’ll go to another one.”

Me: “That would be best.”

She leaves. I want to cry.

Some Very Pointed (And Pointless) Remarks

, , , | Right | CREDIT: CrispinLocke | June 25, 2021

I work for a large cable company that provides for the majority of the rural area and surrounding areas I live in; we are the only store in a sixty-plus-mile radius. They do a service shift that requires everyone with their service to get a small cable box in order to use the service. There is an option to have one delivered or you can come into the store and get one.

Many, many people choose to come to the very tiny store — we’re talking thousands of people. They don’t all come on the same day, obviously, but there are enough that I am hired for the sole purpose of opening the doors for customers and taking their names and issues down on a clipboard so they stay in order of who came into the store first. At any time, we have four to five people assisting these customers with upgrades, getting boxes, etc., except on the weekend when there are two or three.

It’s a weekend and there are two or three customers waiting to be served and two being served when a woman and her three-year-old stalk in past me. I’m holding the door with a huge smile and a friendly “Good morning!” that she completely ignores, and she tries to go up to a coworker of mine who is clearly already assisting another customer.

Coworker: *Pointing at me* “You need to go put your name on the list and wait.”

She looks at me and goes into RAGE MODE. She starts screaming at me.

Customer: “Why aren’t you behind a computer helping anyone?!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. I am the greeter. But I can take your name down; it looks like a ten-minute wait!”

She rolls her eyes and throws her kid on her hip, walking over to me to get in my face, where she spits through clenched teeth:

Customer: “All you do is GREET PEOPLE?! YOUR JOB IS POINTLESS AND YOU’RE A WASTE OF SPACE! IF I WAS YOUR BOSS, YOU’D BE FIRED!

I smile as I hold the door open and my tears back.

Me: “I’m so sorry. I hope you have a great day!”

She glared and flew past me, cussing me out all the way to her car.

I immediately went to the break room and cried. I know my job did look pointless in that moment, but I was doing what I was hired to do; I wanted to be on a computer helping like the rest of them but I literally had no training or even a computer logon to do anything!

You Wanna Be Dramatic, Go To The Theater (But Really Don’t)

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: Aggravating_Lettuce | June 25, 2021

I go out to breakfast at a mom-and-pop diner and have a delicious meal. I worked in the serving industry for three years and still work in customer service. I can’t stand my meal being interrupted by some jerk being dramatic in public.

It is a really slow morning, and I feel bad for the waitstaff. I am one of two parties seated. Another couple comes in, and they’re seated for four or five minutes. The servers are chatting; as I said, there is almost no one there at the moment.

The new table decides it’s time to order, and the guy speaks up a little bit.

Customer: “Uh, can y’all stop talking and take our order?”

Server: *Immediately* “Oh, I’m sorry!”

She runs over to the table. Instead of giving her his order and moving on, the guy starts berating her for being unprofessional, decides she rolled her eyes at him, and gets up while slamming his chair and stuff.

Customer: “This is the worst service I’ve ever received! I’m leaving! How dare you roll your eyes at a customer?!”

He’s making his way to the door repeating insults and, of course, a party of five comes in, and this irked party of two is being loud as they bump into the party of five.

Customer: “Don’t even walk into this h***hole. You don’t want their food or to talk to these tr—”

I can’t deal with it anymore.

Me: “Sir, that’s enough. You said you were going to leave. Now shut the f*** up, stop being dramatic, and leave. The food is fantastic, the service has been—“

Customer: “WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY TO ME?!”

Me: “I said leave.

I turn to face the party of five standing by the entryway. They all look like deer stuck in headlights.

Me: “The food has been fantastic. Sorry for the theatrics. That dude needs to go. Please have a seat wherever you’re most comfortable.”

The rude guy and his wife were looking at each other and at me, bewildered, but eventually, the wife nudged the husband to leave the store. The place started to settle. Three servers came up to me to say thank you. Eventually, my check came my way, and the table of five loudly asked the manager to give me a discount for getting them to stay.

I DEFINITELY DO NOT WORK HERE

, , , , , | Romantic | CREDIT: tamiraisredditing | June 24, 2021

I am studying in the park by my house one afternoon when a cute guy around my age, wearing a sweatshirt from my college, sits down directly next to me. I think that’s kind of odd, especially during a global health crisis, so I kind of scooch in the other direction.

Guy: “So… hi, I’m… I’m [Guy].”

He’s all stuttery and not making eye contact. I think it’s so sweet that he is this nervous to talk to me, so I take the bait.

Me: “Oh, well, hi, I’m [My Name].”

Guy: “Oh. That’s a really pretty name. I never would’ve guessed that would be your name.”

There is a long awkward pause as I try to think what I could say in response to that.

Guy: “So, uh, how about a walk? Around the park?”

I think, “That’s really gutsy to ask, but you know what? I kind of like that.” So, I say sure and pack up my books and off we go. I figured it is the middle of the day and we’re surrounded by other people, so, worst-case scenario, I can always ditch him if things feel shady.

As we walk, he makes more nervous small talk. I tell him some stuff about my interests and background, asking him about his.

Guy: “Wow, I didn’t expect you to actually tell me so much about yourself.”

I’m not sure how to feel about that, but all right.

Guy: “Should I just, should I tell you a little more about me, then? Because it is almost 3:00 pm.”

I figure maybe he has to go somewhere by 3:00 and I missed him mentioning it.

Me: “Sure, tell me everything I should know about you.”

I figure the whole experience to this point has been like a fairy book or sitcom so I should just keep rolling with it.

Guy: “Maybe we should have this conversation at your place.”

Uh… I thought asking me, a total stranger, to stop what I was doing and take a walk with him was gutsy. I think what he just said was sleazy. At best.

I kind of nervously chuckle as I look for non-confrontational outs to the situation.

Me: “Ahaha, we’re definitely not going to my place.”

Guy: “Oh. Okay. Sure, fine. I didn’t mean where you live, necessarily; I just meant the place, wherever it is we’re going. I’m sure you’ve got something all worked out. Anyway, I can start telling you… uh… about myself now, sure.”

He kind of looks around to see if other people are listening.

Guy: “See, I’m really more of an a** kind of guy. I have a major spanking fetish. So, if you’ve got any short skirts or—”

Uh… AAAHHHHHHHH! WHAT?! WHAT?! WHAAAAAT?! Forget the non-confrontational exit.

Me: *Instinctively* “Stop. This conversation is over.”

I turn to hightail it into the nearest store. The guy runs after me.

Guy: “Wait, what? I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to— I’m sorry! The ad said you were cool with kinks and stuff, so I just thought… Wow, I’m sorry.”

All right, that slows me down. Did he just say, “ad”? He’s stopped near me now, catching his breath.

Guy: “Again, I’m so sorry, and look, this may not be the best time to ask this, but am I still gonna be charged? Like for the full time? Even if you’re leaving?”

It took a second to figure out, but to make a long story short, this poor guy was experiencing a touch of lockdown loneliness, so he went and hired a call girl off of some personals section online.

She’d told him she’d be there in the park wearing an identical graphic tee to mine, and we apparently have very similar features because she’d described a similar height, build, hair, and eye color to mine.

Once we got everything worked out, he was especially apologetic and begged me not to speak of the encounter ever again in case we know anyone in common.

I’m going to do my best to keep that promise; instead, I’m posting about it under the cloak of Internet anonymity because — oh, my God — I just had to tell someone.


This story is part of our Best Of 2021: Readers’ Choice roundup!

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A Sign Of The Times

, , , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: MidnightBallad | June 24, 2021

I’m at the store picking up a few things for baking and can’t remember where to find molasses. Rather than waste time combing up and down the aisles with too many people, I seek out an employee.

I hear someone say, “Excuse me?” a few times with lessening patience. I turn around and see the person and the employee he is trying to call out to. The employee is stocking some canned goods and doesn’t seem to notice the man at all. The customer grabs the employee’s shoulder and scares the crap out of him.

The customer gets in the employee’s face.

Customer: “I know you heard me, dips***! You ignore all your customers?”

When the employee’s back is to me, I see “I am hearing-impaired” in bold white letters on the back of his blue vest. I was heated by the customer already, and knowing he is harassing an employee — an impaired person at that — really burns me up.

I go up to the man as the employee backs away from him, clearly alarmed by the customer’s abrasive action.

Me: “Excuse me, but you don’t need to be so harsh. He wasn’t ignoring you. He’s hearing-impaired.”

Customer: “That don’t mean he can’t hear me talkin’.”

I resist face-palming, especially after touching things in the store. The employee is too unnerved to do anything, so I ask the man what he needs. He says he can’t find something and I tell him exactly what aisle it is in. He leaves, and the shaken employee leans against his locked cart, seemingly on the verge of crying.

My ASL (American Sign Language) isn’t great, but I know enough to be polite.

Me: *Signing* “Are you okay?”

His eyes light up for a moment.

Employee: *Signing* “I’m fine. Thank you.”

He goes on to sign more, but I only catch “jerk” and “rude customers” and “scared,” which is enough for me to get the gist. Over the years in my retail job, I picked up some ASL for retail workers in online videos to be more helpful to the occasional deaf or hearing-impaired customers who came into the store. So, I know enough key signs to hold at least a short conversation.

Me: *Signing* “Sorry, I only know a little ASL.”

He gives me a friendly smile.

Employee: *Signing* “No problem. Did you need help with anything?”

I don’t know the sign for “molasses,” so I spell it and shrug, feeling a little sheepish since I almost never have to sign. He signs to me where to go but I don’t catch much of it, and he can tell. He lets out a little laugh and signals for me to follow him, so I do, and he leads me to the aisle the molasses is in.

I can’t reach it, so I sign for the brand I want. He reaches up and hands it to me.

Me: *Signing* “Thank you. I appreciate it.”

He signs something and points to the jar. He does this twice, and I realize he is teaching me the sign for “molasses.” I sign it back to him and he signs, “Yes!” with a smile. We both laugh and he asks where I learned sign language. I tell him I learned online and just practice every now and then, mostly for fun and because I am fascinated by the language. He reaches into his pocket for a notepad and pen to scribble something. I patiently wait until he hands the paper to me.

Employee’s Note: “You showed me kindness I almost never see. Thank you for helping me and respecting my community when many don’t. Never stop learning. I wish more people were like you.”

Me: *Signing* “Thank YOU. I’m [My Nickname]. Nice to meet you.”

Employee: *Signing* “I’m [Employee]. Nice to meet you.”

Rather than shake hands, we bumped elbows and parted ways. That guy really made my day, and I bet I probably made his week.

When I made my purchase, I saw the rude customer from before in the other line getting an attitude because his card was declining. He noticed me as I grabbed my bags. I gave him a smile, signed, “A**hole,” and left.