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Brutal Honesty Is Often The Best Policy

, , , , | Working | June 4, 2020

My grandmother recently passed away after a long hospice stay. Her loss has been extremely hard on our family, especially for my mother. My grandmother worked as my mom’s secretary at my mom’s office and used to receive a bunch of scam phone calls.

After my grandmother passed, I took up as my mother’s secretary and scam phone calls kept coming in for my grandmother. One day, after four of the same scam phone calls keep coming in for my deceased grandmother, I have this exchange.

Scammer: “Hello! Is Ms. [Grandmother] there? We have an exciting offer for her for a free vacation!”

Me: “This is the fourth time you’ve called. You know she won’t be answering the phone, because she’s passed away.”

Scammer: “Oh, but can we get her phone number? This is a once-in-a-lifetime offer!”

Me: “Well, here is what you’re going to need to do. First, go to the store.”

The scammer hmms and uh-huhs agreeably.

Me: “Then you’re going to buy a ouija board, gather your summoning circle, and contact her yourself because she’s dead!

Scammer: “Oh.”

I heard a click as the scammer hung up the phone, and I haven’t heard back from them since. I know it wasn’t the most polite way to handle it, but each call was causing fresh grief for my mother and me. The scammers were not getting the clue. And to be honest? I got a dark sense of satisfaction out of the exchange.

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Mishandling And Manhandling

, , , , , | Working | May 18, 2020

At my work, we have what is called ‘80s Friday, which is when a local dementia charity arranges a gettogether on the last Friday of every month for their more elderly participants. They meet up in the supermarket next to us and do a big shop together for everyone.

This invariably leads to some of the group coming to our store, as well, which sells clothes. Due to the nature of dementia, these days can be a bit demanding, so naturally, those who are more sympathetic to the condition — such as me, with several members of my family currently suffering from Alzheimer’s — tend to work these days

A manager has recently died and his funeral is on the next ‘80s Friday. Because the rest of management wants to go to the funeral, human resources decides to bring in what we call a “jump starter,” which is essentially a manager from a smaller store who wants to get ahead of the process and trial working in a larger store like ours. The manager is made fully aware of the demand and she agrees to do it.

The day comes and I am working the closing shift. I step into the staff-only area to get ready and find the new manager crying and babbling about it being too difficult. As a supervisor, and feeling rather sympathetic to how difficult these days can be, I offer to cover the rest of her shift. It’s unconventional, but I have done it before. She leaves in good spirits and the rest of the day is largely uneventful.

When I come in for my next shift, I discover a complaint has been made by the charity lambasting the new manager for her treatment of one customer. It’s quite serious and is escalated to HR. The other staff fill me in that when a dementia sufferer accidentally spilled some orange juice, the manager threw a literal children’s tantrum — kicking and screaming on the floor — before physically pushing the customer out of the store.

We all think she is going to be fired but are shocked to find that HR actually takes her side and pretty much commends her for her actions, blaming the incident solely on the customer, saying she should have known drinks weren’t allowed in store, and outright banning her. They also appoint the manager as the new replacement for the one that died.

Half of us, including two managers, hand in our resignations in protest, and after the charity finds out, they decide to move their monthly event elsewhere, which reflects badly on us from the perspective of our supermarket neighbour. Rumours also spread and our reputation plummets, resulting in severely dropped performance over the next month.

It’s eventually agreed that the new manager might need a bit more time working where she originally was, and she agrees to leave us; we agree, as well, to withdraw our resignations if she leaves. We also get permission to work more closely with the charity after HR sends them a formal apology and compensation.

Everything is now more or less back to normal, except we have just recently learned that the new manager had actually only been working in retail for about a month before coming here. She was also admin staff who had never worked with customers, and her store was one of the smallest clearance stores in our cluster, employing about thirty people; we employ over two hundred. We have no idea why she thought she could suddenly step into a management role, or why HR believed in her. We all suspect something is amiss, or there is bias somewhere, as manhandling a customer has never been tolerated prior to her.

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A Fitting And Tasty Tribute

, , , , , , , | Related | May 11, 2020

My grandma was… eccentric, to put it mildly. She was a slight kleptomaniac, she took no s*** from anyone, she raised eight kids alone after her husband died, she worked at a chocolate factory for thirty years because it meant that she and her kids had a steady supply of candy, and she absolutely loved throwing parties and having people over.

When she dies, we decide to throw her the best wake we can, and as such, almost everyone who comes brings cookies, coffee, soda, sandwiches, PLENTY of chocolate, and maybe a flask or two. The funeral home has a couple of sitting areas set up in the basement, so we stake one out and turn the wake into an all-day affair, with people coming in and out as they can. 

A couple of other wakes are going on, as well, and toward the evening, we notice a little boy from another wake, maybe seven years old, sneak over to the sitting area we’re using, steal a couple of cookies, and run back.

Me: “Did he just…?”

Aunt: “Yeah. Man, I would not have had the guts to do that at his age!”

Cousin: “To be fair, that family has been here for at least five hours; that’s pretty long for a kid that young.”

Aunt: “And we definitely have the better snacks!”

I look, and sure enough, the sitting area that the other family is using has coffee and a veggie plate — nowhere near as attractive to a little kid as our overflowing array of goodies.

Me: “You know, I think Grandma would’ve approved. Remember when she stole the serving plate from the restaurant at [Uncle]’s wedding?”

That led into another round of stories about my crazy, awesome grandma and got us laughing too hard to be too upset. When his parents came down, the little boy kept glancing over, wondering if we were going to tell on him, but it was so much like something my grandma would’ve done that we couldn’t be annoyed. It was a nice laugh when we badly needed one!

This story is part of our Gorgeous Grandmas roundup!

Read the next Gorgeous Grandma story!

Read the Gorgeous Grandma roundup!

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Those Are Some Killer Pants

, , , , , , | Right | April 23, 2020

I work customer service for a local retail store, and I often deal with customers wanting to return a wide variety of items for a wide variety of reasons. My location has a frighteningly lax return policy, but up until now, I haven’t experienced first-hand how big of a problem it can be.

Customer: “Hi, I need to return these pants.”

Me: “Of course.”

I quickly log in to my computer.

Me: “Did you have any issue with this item? Or was it just not what you needed?”

Customer: “Oh, no. No problem. We just don’t need it anymore.”

I start to search the item for a tag and start turning it inside out when I can’t find one. The customer waits quietly while I search but apparently feels the need to break the silence after a minute or two.

Customer: “My father passed this week, you see.”

Me: “Oh…”

I am completely unprepared for a confession like that.

Me: “I’m so sorry.”

Customer: “We bought a lot of pants like this to make him comfortable. He really loved this brand.”

Me: “…”

Customer: “These pants haven’t been worn, though.” 

Me: “Right.”

There are noticeable lint and fibers from some kind of bedding on the pants.

Customer: “My father only wore the mediums for his last three days or so.”

I look down at the big M on the inside label of the pants.

Me: “…”

After digging around in her purse for a while, the customer found the receipt for the pants, and I had to return these pants that she had heavily implied her father died in.

After the customer left, I threw the pants in our defect bin, poured sanitizer on my hands until it was all I could smell, and tried to go on with my shift. When I got home that night, I threw my entire uniform into the wash, and took a shower. I still feel kind of ill.

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You Know What They Say About Birds Of A Feather

, , , , , , | Related | April 22, 2020

My grandmother passed away, we had her funeral, and we went to entomb her with my grandfather. I hate social gatherings in general, so I tend to avoid talking to people unless they’re in my immediate family. However, this one nice elderly lady comes up and talks to me, telling me how much I look like my grandma when she was young. We have a lovely chat and when we leave, my mom says:

Mom: “It was so nice of you to talk to Crazy Aunt [Aunt].”

Me: “Huh? Why is she called that?”

I figured she must have had a wild youth or something.

Mom: “Because she’s crazy. Literally. She lives in an insane asylum and got a day pass for the funeral.”

It just figures that the one person I would get along with is certifiably insane.

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