A Heart-worming Tale

, , , , , , | Related | February 26, 2021

My teenage son and I have just finished checking out. He takes the receipt and starts to toss it in the trash.

Son: “I should just throw the receipt away, right?”

Me: “No, we have to keep it.”

Son: “Why? You can’t return food.”

Me: “You can if there’s a worm in your celery.”

Son: “…”

Me: “I once got some celery, and when I cut into it, a worm had eaten all of the inside parts. I put the worm in a jar, took the celery back, and asked if they wanted the worm, too. They exchanged the celery but didn’t want the worm.”

Son: “So, did you keep the worm? Love it? Nurture it? Raise it as your own?

Me: “Well, this wasn’t how I wanted you to find out, my little celery worm.”

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Needs A Clean Break From That Day

, , , , , | Working | February 25, 2021

I’m for hire via a temp agency for day jobs which are mostly cleaning jobs. I’m sent to a holiday park one town over for the day, along with several others, and I am told I will be given a ride by someone from the temp agency, since it’s a bit too long of a road for me to bike there.

The workers gather at the agency office to be picked up and my ride turns out to be one of the workers. The woman herself is… a character, to say the least. The few teeth she still has in her mouth are disgustingly yellow, her hair is a mess, and the thick and greasy layers of makeup that she smeared on her face still can’t conceal all the bruises she has underneath. She leads me to her tiny old car, which is so filled with trash that I literally have no place to sit. She shoves some off the passenger seat, leaving my feet in a pool of plastic bottles, used tissues, cigarette butts, and I don’t wanna know what else. 

We get on the road. It’s scorching hot outside, about thirty degrees Celsius, and she leaves all the windows closed while she’s smoking cigarettes behind the wheel and swaying like a drunk.

She manages to drive right past the holiday park that is situated on the outskirts and drives all the way into town about fifteen minutes away.

Her reasoning? “They said it was at [Town] so that’s where I’m going!”

We pass a local theme park that has advertisements up for a Halloween event and she happily states that she should apply as a scare actor. “I look a fright anyway by myself!” No s***!

We end up arriving at the holiday park half an hour late. We don’t know where we are supposed to report in, so she calls the agency to ask. Halfway through the phone call, she hands her phone over to me and lights another cigarette. I’m trying to keep the makeup-smeared phone as far away from my face as possible. The conversation I try to make with the temp agency is constantly interrupted by loud and gross coughs from the woman and her yanking her phone back to her so she can listen in, continuously coughing loudly near my face.

Finally, we get sent to our duties to clean the bungalows. I end up with another lady who explains what needs to be done with the greatest haste and impatience.

She leaves me alone to clean the bungalow. At this point, it should be noted I have slight autism and anxiety issues. I’m left behind with little to no instructions, and the hellish ride to get here has made my emotions pile up and the result is a giant panic attack.

I go back to the front office to call in sick and fetch a bus back home.

Just another day in the life of working temp jobs, leaving me to wonder how on earth people can be so gross.

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Liquid Butter And Chemicals

, , , , | Right | February 15, 2021

One of our popcorn machines catches fire due to some wiring problems. We put it out pretty quickly with a fire extinguisher and bring it outside. I am tasked with cleaning out the popcorn and extinguisher before we store it somewhere.

A man comes up to me as I’m cleaning the popper and points at the popcorn in the trash which is covered in extinguisher chemicals.

Customer: “This popcorn any good?”

Me: *Laughs* “It’s in the trash, sir.”

Customer: “Mind if I take a handful?”

Me: *Laughs again* “Very fun—”

Before I even finish my sentence he grabs a big handful from the trash can and walks away.

Me: “Sir, that has chemicals on it!”

He keeps walking.

Me: “Sir, it’s not safe to eat!”

He still continued. I immediately called my manager on the walkie to tell him what. The manager and security met him in the parking lot and asked if he’d eaten the popcorn. He refused to say he did, probably for fear of getting in trouble, but his mouth was covered in it. I hope the treat was worth it.

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Of Chemically Unsound Mind, Part 2

, , , , , | Right | February 14, 2021

My bookstore has a waist-high wooden counter to hold the registers up, and in the front of it, little cubby holes for various impulse buys. There are panes of glass over that so, should a customer look straight down, they can see those little $5-or-less baubles and maybe make a last-second addition.

I loathe those panes of glass. They are impossible to keep clean. In an hour, the things will have accrued coffee rings, greasy fingerprints, and various other little germy smudges. We have to put in a lot of effort to keep these clean lest the next customer gets coffee on their nice, clean, brand-new books.

Enter a mom and her kid.

The kid is initially standing patiently and quietly by Mommy’s side. But he is JUST tall enough that his lips can wrap around the beveled edges of the glass and suck on it like a pacifier. Maybe the texture or shape is appealing to his mouth… or maybe Mommy should have weaned him a bit earlier than the tender age of ten.

Me: “Oh, sweetie, please don’t put your mouth on that. We clean it with Windex and Clorox. You don’t want to swallow that stuff. It’ll make you sick to your tummy.”

The child stares me straight in the eyes and continues to suck on that tasty, tasty glass pacifier provided especially for him. Mommy is chattering obliviously on her phone, still trying to pile more books in front of me, but she seems to be unaware that I am not ringing AND that I am talking to her son.

Me: “Kiddo, please don’t suck on that!”

I shoo him backward, but the kid is clearly determined. He backs up two steps, and as soon as I ring the first book, he comes right back and latches onto that thing like a nursing baby. 

I stop the transaction in its tracks, move the books, and wipe off the glass with the dripping Clorox wipe that’s wafting enough chemical fumes to make my eyes burn. The smell makes him beat a hasty three-foot retreat from the counter.

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but this glass isn’t sanitary. I can’t, in good conscience, let your child put his mouth on this any longer.”

The woman stops her conversation as her eyes start to burn from the cloud of Clorox fumes. 

Mom: “Do you have to do that now?!”

Me: *Bluntly* “Yes. For the third time, this glass is covered in chemicals, and your child was putting his mouth on it. I now have to clean the glass again because he slobbered on it.”

She wags a finger in a limp-handed way.

Mom: “[Child]! Don’t put your mouth on things!”

I made the glass surface gleam wetly with a thick layer of corrosive liquid. Then, I paper toweled it dry, of course; after all, there was a line, and we could not wait for the glass to dry on its own. Now, we had a cloud of Clorox fumes at the registers.

Worth it, in my opinion, as this was finally enough. I wonder if those “no chew” sprays for puppies would work on a kid.

Related:
Of Chemically Unsound Mind

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On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 23

, , , , , | Right | February 11, 2021

A lady in her late fifties or early sixties comes in. She uses the bathroom and then leaves. Her daughter approaches me. She’s probably almost twenty.

Daughter: “My mom just went to the bathroom. I’m so sorry.”

She left with her mother. Concerned, I walked into the bathroom. The toilet — the entire toilet — including the surrounding walls and floor, was covered in poop.

My store does not have a bathroom janitor or someone who can be on bathroom duty, so I was forced to clean it up. It took my two other coworkers and me to clean it up. We definitely don’t get paid enough for that.

Related:
On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 22
On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 21
On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 20
On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 19
On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 18

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