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A Dark Assumption

| NV, USA | Bigotry, Popular

(Our retail store hires a young African-American student to work on our sales floor. He’s funny, intelligent, and so sweet, he’s practically made of sugar. In short, he’s the least intimidating person in our staff. A middle-aged female customer comes up to me, looking a bit nervous.)

Customer: “Excuse me.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

Customer: “I need to ask you a question. Do you have a black man working here?”

Me: “Yes… that’s [New Hire]. He’s been here for about two weeks.”

Customer: *relieved* “Oh, thank goodness. I was worried there for a moment. I own the shop next door and I was attacked by a black man last week. I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t him.”

(I assure her that my coworker is, in fact, supposed to be here, and she happily walks away. I’m both startled and angry that the lady would assume that my sweet coworker would be her attacker simply because he is black. Frustrated, I head into the back room where the new hire and the manager are working. I relay the story to my manager while my coworker listens a few feet away.)

Manager: *jokingly* “[New Hire]! You haven’t been attacking anyone lately, have you?!”

New Hire: *also jokingly* “Not that I know of…”

(I’m glad he was such a good sport about it and laughed it off, but it still pissed me off that the lady would accuse my coworker of such a terrible thing based solely on his skin color.)

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Daisy, Daisy, Give Me Your Answer Threw

| Gettysburg, PA, USA | Bizarre

(We get a lot of strange customers in the relics shop where I work. Most of them are older people who just have too much money and don’t know what to do with all of it, so they decide to spend it on expensive cannonballs and things of that nature. When we get a REALLY weird customer in, we write down their name and what they did.)

Older Woman: *picking up various bullets, shells, and other old things*

Me: “Can I help you find something?”

Older Woman: *almost blissful smile* “No, thank you, I’m just listening to their stories.”

Me: “Their stories?”

Older Woman: *suddenly grimacing as she picks up one particular shell* “Yes, dear, they speak to me and tell me what they’ve seen. I only buy the ones that tell really good stories!”

Me: *slowly backing up as this woman is actually starting to scare me with the faces she’s making but still trying to look interested* “Oh, okay, then. Let me know if you need any help!”

Older Woman: *suddenly throwing a twelve pound cannonball across the room with incoherent screeching*

Me: *running back to the desk to grab the pepper spray if she becomes violent* “MA’AM, PLEASE DON’T THROW THINGS IN THE STORE!”

Older Woman: *now calm* “Sorry, dear, that one just frightened me. All it did was scream.”

Me: “Oookaaayyyy…”

Older Woman: *bringing something which I can’t identify beyond ‘twisted piece of rusted metal’* “This one sings quite nicely. I’d like to take it home.”

Me: *glad she’s finally leaving* “Will that be all for you today?”

Older Woman: *paying and leaving* “Yes, dear, thank you very much!”

Me: *turning to coworker who has worked here for twenty some years* “What just happened?!”

Coworker: “Oh, that was Daisy. She’s a bit on the odd side. You’ll see her at least two more times before this summer is over.”

Me: *resigning to the insanity* “I’m writing my letter of resignation to give [Boss] as soon as I see Daisy walk in the door again.”

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Layaway Stayaway

| Franklin, TN, USA | Bizarre, Money, Popular

(I work for a women’s clothing store that has filed for bankruptcy and is going out of business. We have a customer that will put things on layaway and then forget about them until we call her to come pick up her stuff. About a month before we are going to close for good, she comes into the store.)

Customer: “I just heard you’re going to close! That’s awful. I love this store!”

Me: “I’m sorry, too. You’ve been a good customer of ours.”

Customer: “Well, I’m going to get some things while I can!”

(She shops for about half an hour before coming to the register.)

Customer: “I’d like to put these things on layaway, please.”

Me: “Of course, ma’am, but I have to tell you that all merchandise must be picked up before [date], because we will be closing our doors shortly after.”

Customer: “Of course. Of course. I understand. I’ll be back in to pick everything up next week.”

(I process the layaway and take her deposit payment of about thirty dollars.)

Me: “All right, ma’am, your layaway has been processed, and, just to remind you, it has to be paid for and picked up by [date]. We’re closing our doors a couple of weeks after that and we can’t have any merchandise left in the store. Any layaways left here will be returned and refunded.”

Customer: “Of course, I’ll be in next week! I promise!”

(Sure enough, the final day comes, and we’ve called her numerous times to tell her she has to pick up her things or have us return them for her, but she hasn’t come in or returned our calls.)

Boss: “Well, we have to do a return and process a refund.”

(We did the return, but she had paid in cash, so she would have to come into the store to pick up her refund. Two weeks later, after many voicemails, she has not come in to pick up her cash.)

Boss: “Lunch is on [Customer] today. She’ll have to go through the bankruptcy court now to get her money back.”

(To this day, I have no idea if she ever remembered she had left cash at the store.)