Cardi-gonna Get You In Trouble

| Kent, England, UK | Working | March 22, 2015

(I’m browsing, with my mum and little sister, in a local charity shop that supports a well-known research company. It’s the height of summer, and said sister is wearing a cardigan because she is self-conscious whilst outside in public.)

Mum: *to sister* “Hey, [Sister], there are some nice dresses over here that you might like.”

(I’m over the other side of the shop browsing their book collection. There is currently one member of staff in the shop, manning the till, but currently doing nothing.)

Sister: *moans* “Mum, it’s hot in here.”

Mum: “Okay, hun. Put it in my bag for the meanwhile.”

(Then, the middle-aged staff member appears right behind them both.)

Employee: *narrows eyes* “Excuse me, ma’am, but we do not tolerate your kind in here.”

Mum: *baffled* “…I’m sorry?”

Employee: “Don’t pretend you don’t know!”

Mum: *exasperated* “No, I don’t know! What are you talking about?!”

(The employee looks at my sister, bends down slightly and tuts at her.)

Employee: “It’s a shame your generation are this way.” *to herself* She should know better.”

(By now I can see my mum is kind of losing it and my sister is tearful. I intervene.)

Me: “Pardon me, ma’am, but don’t you think it’s unfair to make an accusation of someone without actually telling them what is it they’re being accused of?”

Employee: *sighs dramatically* “Oh, all right then.” *points menacingly at sister* “I saw her put one of our cardigans in that bag! Stealing!”

Mum: “That was hers! She came in wearing it!”

Employee: *scoffs* “Yeah, pull the other one.”

(I pull the cardigan from Mum’s bag and show the label to the rude employee.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’ve worked in charity shops before, and they tag clothes just like any other store you’ll find. There is no tag on this cardigan!”

Employee: “She could have taken it off!”

Me: “But this cardigan is [well-known Brand name] and you don’t even sell that kind of label here!”

Employee: “Hmph. Well, rest assured, I’ll be speaking to my manager about this.”

(As we swiftly removed ourselves from the shop, the woman was wagging her finger at us from the large window display. Later, we called the manager before the employee did, and got a profuse apology. The employee was also fired for her appalling treatment of customers.)

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Toiling In The Toilet

| TX, USA | Right | March 19, 2015

Me: “Thank you for calling. My name is [My Name]. Whom do I have the pleasure of speaking with tonight?”

Customer: “Listen, this is going to be an odd request, but I need you to bring me some toilet paper.”

Me: *already knowing this is a prank call* “I wish I could, sir.”

Customer: “Well, why can’t you?”

Me: “Because I’m not at your house, sir.”

Customer: “No, see, I’m not at my house. I’m in the back.”

Me: “In the back… of one of our stores?”

Customer: “Yes. And there’s no toilet paper back here, so I need you to bring me some.”

Me: “Okay, sir. And which store are you located at?”

Customer: *sighs* “Listen… why are you playing games with me?”

Me: “I’m not, sir. I’m simply asking because the store you are in may not be located in the same place, or the same state, that I’m in.”

Customer: *long pause* “F*** it, I’m just going to use my hand.”  *click*

I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 17

| Fort Hood, TX, USA | Right | March 18, 2015

(I am browsing the video game section of a big box retailer wearing normal clothes, with my five-year-old son in tow.)

Customer: “Excuse me; can you unlock this iPad for me?”

Me: “Oh, I don’t work here. But the guy over there—”

Customer: “Why not?!”

Me: “I’m… sorry?”

Customer: “Why can’t you unlock it for me?!”

Me: “Because I don’t work here?”



Under New Unsupervision

| UK | Working | March 18, 2015

(I have recently been transferred to work at another location as they have had a lot of people suddenly quitting. The cashier has a bell to ring if they require assistance; this bell can only be heard on the shop floor. It is the first week of working there:)

Supervisor: “Okay, today we need you to fill everything. So make a list and head to the stockroom.”

(After making my list, I wait for about an hour for someone to come down and swap with me, so they can hear the bell. When no one arrives I run upstairs to find someone. I find my supervisor and other coworkers sitting in the office talking and laughing.)

Supervisor: “[My Name]! Why aren’t you on the shop floor filling?!”

Me: “Because no one was there to swap with me?”

Supervisor: “Well, yes, can’t you see we’re very busy here?”

(She gestures to her and her coworkers who all have phones and food out.)

Supervisor: “Just get on with your job, all right? If the place doesn’t look full by the end of your shift, I will be having words with [Manager]. Oh and [My Name]? Leaving the shop floor with no one else downstairs is a violation of our safety procedures. What if [Cashier] got their till stolen? And you’re up here. I’ll be making sure [Manager] writes this up.”

(As I turn and begin to leave:)

Supervisor: *to a colleague* “Why would they transfer the lazy incompetent one? Can’t even fill a simple shelf!”

(No one came down for the rest of my shift, other than to let me grab lunch. I can now see why they had so many staff members suddenly quit.)

Racing To Prevent Theft

| CT, USA | Right | March 16, 2015

(I work at a well-known ‘tween’ girl’s clothing store. I am half black, though I am very light-skinned, so most people just assume I’m white or Hispanic. During training, we’re taught about some of the common ways people shoplift, such as lining empty shopping bags with tinfoil. On this particular day, two black women come into my store carrying a number of shopping bags, at least two of which are empty and I can see tinfoil poking out of one. We are trained to be extra friendly and helpful to people we suspect of trying to shoplift. Since I am up front, I greet them.)

Me: “Good afternoon. Thanks for shopping at [Store]. May I help you find anything today?”

Customer: *brusquely* “I’m all set! Leave me alone!”

Me: “Okay, ma’am, but please let me know if I can help you with anything.”

(I go back to folding jeans, but keep a close eye on the customers. I notice them getting abnormally close to the jeans display, as though they might try to knock them into the empty bag.)

Me: “Just so you know, we’re having a special on these jeans right now. If you buy two pairs, you get $10 to spend on a future purchase.”

Customer: “I told you I didn’t need any help! Why are you following me?!” *I haven’t moved at all throughout this interaction*

Me: “I was just trying to tell you about the sale we’re having.”

Customer: “You’re racist! I don’t see you following anyone else in the store. You think I’m shoplifting! Racist!”

Me: “Ma’am, I can assure you I’m not racist.”

(At this point a coworker of mine, who is also black, but noticeably so, has come over, as has one of my managers.)

Manager: “Is there something I can help you with today?”

Customer: *storms out of the store in a huff*

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