It’s Not Exactly The Da Vinci Code

, , , , | Right | September 16, 2019

(I work in a call center for a security company, and I have dealt with my fair share of interesting customers. This one was a first, though.)

Customer: “I need to get some information about my account.”

Me: “All right. Can I verify your code, please?”

Customer: “Oh, I’m not supposed to give that out…”

(Note that at this point, I have the customer’s information pulled up and I am literally staring right at her code. I just need it to verify that she is who she says she is. I’m taken aback by her response, and I say the only thing I can think to say.)

Me: “Um… I won’t tell anyone.”

(She gave me her code after that, but I think someone needs to tell her that it’s okay to give her code to her security company… which assigned her the code in the first place.)

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God’s Dirt Has Been Paved Over In China

, , , , , , , | Friendly | August 9, 2019

(I am outside my university’s research lab building, by the parking deck. I am American, but ethnically I am half Chinese, which some people can spot right away. I’m also a scientist and an atheist. I am walking towards my lab and using the sidewalk next to the parking garage. There is a security guard standing on the sidewalk next to the garage, watching some birds in a patch of grass. I smile and say hi to her. She stops me.)

Guard: “Isn’t it amazing?”

Me: “…?”

Guard: “You can just throw anything in God’s dirt and it’ll grow!”

Me: “Uh… what?”

Guard: “Yeah, you can have any seeds at all, throw it into God’s dirt, and it’ll grow, just like that! Isn’t it amazing?”

Me: “Well, yes, life in general is pretty amazing. But I gotta tell you, not everything you throw in dirt is going to grow…”

(I launch into a very short explanation about plant needs, soil fertility, and crop rotation, which apparently is quite lost on the lady.)

Guard: *quickly changing the subject* “So, you work in that building over there?”

Me: “Yep, I’m a graduate student here at [University].”

Guard: “Are you Asian?”

Me: “I’m half Chinese.”

Guard: “Isn’t China a communist country?”

Me: “Yep.”

Guard: “Well, you have yourself a nice day.”

(She couldn’t get rid of me fast enough! Shun the non-believer!)

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Carting You Off With The Rest Of The Criminals

, , , , , | Working | August 7, 2019

(Our store has to look out for people overloading their trolleys with high-value items. It’s known as a “trolley-push,” as they attempt to just go straight to the exit — without paying — with the trolley full of items, hoping that security won’t stop them. I have worked every Tuesday night for four years, and have gotten to know our regular customers. I can tell something is up, as the security guard appears to be following someone and a member of management is watching the security cameras. I wander over to the member of management to see if they need help.)

Me: “Hey, are you following someone?”

Management: “Yeah, he’s got a trolley full of stuff. We reckon he’s hiding some high-value stuff in there and will attempt to walk out the doors.”

Me: “Oh, well, I doubt he’ll walk out the doors since he’s [High-Ranking Manager] from [Our Supermarket Warehouse nearby].”

Management: “Um… What?”

Me: “Yeah, he’s got a big family, so every Tuesday he comes and does a massive food shop. He’s a really nice guy.”

Management: “Oh… Right… You can go back to the customer service desk now.”

(It turns out they thought the guy was really dodgy and wasted about half an hour following him. He told me a few weeks later that he could tell they were watching him, which he found wildly amusing, since he was technically senior to them in the company. He still comes in most Tuesdays to shop and say hello!)

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On A Date So Bad It’s Criminal

, , , , , | Legal | August 2, 2019

(Back in the late 90s, I work as a bike security guard at a shopping center. Mostly we are there to watch for people trying to break into cars, prevent people from drinking alcohol in the parking lot before their movie, deal with traffic problems, and just always be moving and visible to deter other types of bad activity. One night, my supervisor and I are doing our hourly check of the back of the buildings when we see a young lady and a young man, probably teens, walking in the shadows. We pull up to them.)

Supervisor: “Hey, guys, you can’t be back here. It’s not safe at night. Is everything okay?”

Girl: “We’re fine. My boyfriend’s car broke down up by the entrance so he walked down here to get me from work. I’m a waitress at [Restaurant]. We’re just walking back to his car; my dad’s on the way.”

(They don’t stop walking and won’t look us in the eye. I also notice she still has her apron on and is holding it with her hands. After a quick glance, I speed up and pull ahead of them far enough to radio another guard to check with the restaurant. My supervisor keeps trying to talk to them.)

Supervisor: “Why are you walking behind the buildings? It’s safer out front, better lit, and less chance a car comes around a dumpster and hits you on a sidewalk.”

Girl: “Oh, there are too many people out front. It’s nice and quiet back here.”

Boy: “I thought it was kind of romantic.” *as they walk by an overflowing dumpster*

Guard #3: *on the radio, quietly* “Keep an eye on them; the police are on the way. She walked out with her entire bank and several credit cards.”

(I started riding left to right and slowing down a bit, signalling an issue to my supervisor. He tried to engage them even more in conversation, asking their names, asking if he could phone someone for them or if they needed a tow truck, etc. The girl just kept walking and avoiding eye contact. Headlights showed around the corner of the building along with red and blue flashing lights, and the girl made a break for it, running toward a cut-through between buildings. I got there first and blocked her path with my bike and myself. She tried to flail at me and grabbed at the bike, but I blocked her. The boy tried to run into the woods behind the center but my supervisor caught him. After a minute of fighting, I got her wrists zip-tied to a drainpipe and my supervisor had her boyfriend down on the ground. The police pulled up and took them into custody, and we all headed back to the restaurant. She had taken over $300 in cash from the register and had 17 customers’ credit cards!)

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Strange Behavior Makes You Insecure

, , , , , | Working | July 29, 2019

(I am a 16-year-old working at my first job ever as a grocery store cashier. I get put in the express lane quite often because I am one of the few employees who does not complain about it. The express lane can be either insanely busy and backed up, or there can be long stretches of time in which I don’t have a customer. During one of these slow periods, I am observing people around me when I see a young man walking by with a shopping basket. He’s quite handsome, and since I am a bit boy-crazy, I watch him until I get a new customer. About half an hour later, he walks by again. I see that he has swapped his shopping basket for a shopping cart, but only has one item in the chart. I think it’s odd that he has only one item in the chart after a half-hour of shopping, but he has been walking quite slowly during both encounters, and I vaguely wonder if he is simply new to the store and does not know where anything is. Another half-hour later, I see him walking by ONCE AGAIN, but now he has swapped out his previous item, a large package of paper towels, for a different item. Finding it extremely suspicious that he has been walking around the store for an hour with only one item in his cart, I finally call the manager over.)

Manager: “Yes, [My Name]?”

Me: “There’s a man who has been walking around the store for close to an hour. I keep seeing him walk by, and he only has one item in his cart and never picks up a second item. It just seems really strange to me, like he might be scoping out the store.”

Manager: “Hmm… that is odd. Can you describe him for me?”

Me: “He’s in his twenties with blonde-brown hair, a red shirt, and khaki pants.”

Manager: “I’ll call security over and see if they can find him.”

(A few minutes later, I see the man walk by again, but this time he is going to the customer service counter without a basket or a cart. Confused, I start to wonder whether the store employs plain-clothes security guards. A few minutes later, the manager comes back over.)

Me: *embarrassed* “He was a security guard, wasn’t he?”

Manager: *laughing* “Yes, but good job! You noticed something strange and reported it, so I am going to give you a free lunch coupon from our hot foods sections.”

(I didn’t dare to look that handsome security guard in the eye for the rest of my shift!)

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