What A Conehead

, , , , , | Right | March 3, 2020

(I work nights at a gas station and I’m usually on my own. One night, though, I have the company of a contractor who has been asked to repair the fraying vinyl flooring. This means that we can’t let any customers into the store for safety reasons, and since customers need to come into the store to pay for their fuel, we have to shut the pumps down, as well. I go out and put “out of order” signs on all the pumps, I put bright orange cones across both entrances/exits, and place a sign on the door advising customers that we will be closed for an hour or so whilst the floors are being repaired.)

Me: *to the repairman* “With no customers around, I will be able to give the coffee and slushie machines a thorough clean.”

Repairman: *chuckles* “People will still try and come in. Trust me; I’ve been doing this for years.”

(I don’t believe him; with the door sign, out of order signs on the pumps, and orange cones across the entrances? Surely not. But he is right. We get a few night-owl customers who come on foot as they live nearby and they buy late-night snacks and cheap pastries just before we throw them out for the day. Despite the sign on the door, there are a few who still bang on the doors wanting to come in.)

Customer #1: “Can I come in?”

Me: “No, I’m sorry, it’s dangerous. The floor is being fixed; you can’t walk on it.

Customer #1: “I just want a slushie and a box of donuts.”

Me: “No, I’m sorry. I can’t let you in.”

Customer #1: “Can you bring me some, then? I’ll tell you my PIN number; you can swipe my card!”

Me: “No.”

(They leave in a huff. But what tops off my night is the customer who taps on the window next to the counter where I am restocking the cigarettes and calls out:)

Customer #2: “Your fuel pumps aren’t working!”

(I look at him incredulously. I’m not sure I’ve heard right.)

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Customer #2: “None of your fuel pumps are working. I’ve tried them all!”

Me: “I know, sir, we’re closed for an hour or so for maintenance. That’s why the ‘Out of Order’ signs are on them.”

Customer #2: “Oh… okay. I was wondering about those signs.”

Me: *can’t resist asking* “How did you get your car in here? I put cones across the entrances.”

Customer #2: *looking at me as though I am an idiot* “I just moved them to the side and drove in. Simple.”

(I shake my head in disbelief as the man gets back in his car and drives away. I am amused when he stops his car just after he drives out of the parking lot, gets out, puts the orange cones back across the exit, hops back in his car, and drives off. I glance at the floor guy who is chuckling under his breath.)

Repairman: “I told you so!”

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Whatever The Magazine, She Has Issues!

, , , | Right | February 21, 2020

(I work in a newsagents selling magazines and lotto tickets. A regular customer comes in a bit earlier than usual to get her magazines but they are not ready. My coworker is serving her so I get her regular magazines out of the box for her as we chat and she buys them, and everything seems fine. Twenty minutes later, this occurs. Bear in mind that this is a previously sweet old lady who I have served many times.)

Customer: “YOU!” *pointing at me*

Me: “I beg your pardon?”

Customer:You gave me the wrong magazine.”

(She throws down a very old magazine which is definitely not one from our store as it is months old.)

Me: “I’m sorry, I gave you [other magazines], not this one…”

Customer: *interrupts* “I AM AN HONEST PERSON!”

Me: “We don’t actually have that magazine in our store. Could you have possibly left your magazine in the food court? They have free magazines there; they might have gotten mixed up if you were having a coffee.”

Customer: *to my coworker, shaking with anger and ignoring me* “What will you do about it?! I AM AN HONEST PERSON! I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS!”

Coworker: “Um…”

Me: *to my coworker* “Give the lady another magazine.” *to the customer* “Just so you know, there is honestly no possible way this magazine came from our store. It might be worth retracing your steps. “

Customer: “I have never been so insulted. I know your manager and she will hear all about the way you have treated me!” *storms out, leaving some very bemused customers in the line behind her*

(Five minutes later, while I am serving another customer, she returns.)

Customer: *to coworker* “I found my magazine in the food court but I’m returning this one because, like I said, I am an honest person!”

(She walked out, but not before scowling at me. That was last week; she sent a friend in to get her magazines this week!)

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You Cannot Appease The Cheese

, , , , | Right | February 18, 2020

(Part of my job is to mark down low-coded stock and remove anything that has passed its use-by date. I usually put anything to be dumped into a crate and remove it from the shop once finished. This particular day, a woman comes up to the reduced bays and starts rifling through the reduced items. She then spots the out-of-date stock in the crate and makes to go through it.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but that stuff is no good; I can’t sell it to you.”

Customer: “But I need some cheese. Can’t you just let me have it?”

Me: “No, sorry. Once a product is out of date, it’s illegal to sell it, so I can’t let you take it.”

Customer: “But you could give it to me, right? I could just take it, right?”

Me: “No, sorry. Same deal. I can’t give it to you or sell it to you.”

Customer: “But I could just take it, right? If I just took some, I could just not say anything, right?”

Me: “No. All it would take is for you to return it and say it was out of date and I would lose my job. They’re pretty strict on this kind of stuff and I’m not risking my job for a few dollars of out-of-date cheese.”

(The customer then tries to reach past me to get at the out-of-date stock; I have to physically block her from taking the stock.)

Customer: “That’s so wasteful. I bet it just goes in the bin. I can’t believe you’d rather throw it out than just give it away.”

Me: “That’s the company’s policy, not mine. In any event, I can’t let you take anything.” 

(I then had to leave the shop floor and take the stock out the back as she would not take the hint that she couldn’t have the out-of date-stock. She later complained to a manager that I wouldn’t give her reduced stock, neglecting to mention the stock was out of date. When questioned, I explained the situation to my manager who said I did the right thing to refuse her as she could have easily tried to return it, claiming it was out of date and costing me my job.)

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Dark Skin Means Having To Be Thick-Skinned

, , , , | Right | January 17, 2020

(It’s my very first day on the job at a big office supply store. I am trailing the team leader of my department around, watching him assist customers. It’s relevant to this story that he has very dark skin, but speaks with the standard accent of this city; it would be safe to bet he was born and raised here. A customer approaches and addresses me.)

Customer: “Excuse me. Could you please help me find [product]?”

Coworker: “Certainly, sir, I’ll help you with that! Please follow me.”

(The customer gives me a confused look.)

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, first-day training, just learning the ropes! [Coworker] will be able to assist you.”

(My coworker leads us to the product, and then spends a good few minutes answering questions about the product, helping the customer decide which is the right one to buy, and generally being an excellent help with exceptional product knowledge. The customer picks his product off the shelf, and then, as he is about to walk away, he turns to me.)

Customer: “I’m very impressed. He did a very good job for his first day; you must be an excellent trainer!” *turns to my coworker, and in a slow voice someone would use to address someone who can’t speak English* “Gooood jobbb! You did VE-RY WELL! Good luck at NEW JOB!”

(The customer walked away happily, leaving my coworker and I speechless and shaking our heads in disbelief, especially since he had just carried on an intelligent, lengthy conversation with the customer.)

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Getting Their Guitar Strings Crossed

, , , , , , | Legal | December 6, 2019

My father told me this story from when he worked in a pawnshop in the 1980s.

The pawnshop specialises in musical instruments and equipment and is the largest second-hand dealer of those goods in the city. One day, a friend of Dad’s wants to pawn a 1970s Ibanez Les Paul-type guitar with a sunburst finish. It doesn’t have a serial number — not unusual for Ibanez at the time — but it has some identifying marks: belt buckle scratches on the back and a small Brazilian flag sticker on the back of the neck. The deal is made and his friend walks away with the money.

As the months go on, Dad’s friend doesn’t come back for the guitar, so Dad calls up and tells him that it will have to go to auction. It fails to meet the reserve price at auction, so Dad calls him up again and says it will go on the shop floor for sale but that if he wants it back he can come in and pay for it — at a discount — before it’s sold.

One day, a man walks in and sees the guitar on display. The man claims it is his and describes it to dad in detail — the scratches, the sticker — without touching it. Dad calls the police and a detective from the theft division is sent out. The guitar is taken as evidence and Dad’s friend is subsequently charged with dealing in stolen goods.

Some months later, another man walks in wanting to sell a guitar. It is a 1970s Ibanez Les Paul-type guitar with a sunburst finish, belt buckle wear on the back, a Brazilian flag sticker on the back of the headstock, and with the same case and accessories as the other guitar.

Dad stalls the second man and is able to convince him to get a coffee across the street while they do additional ID checks. Then, he calls the police and speaks to the detective, who confirms that the original guitar is still in evidence.

The detective comes to the shop with the original guitar. It is confirmed that there are two nearly identical guitars.

Then, the customer who claimed the original guitar was his walks in!

Dad suggests to the detective that the customer plays both guitars and tells them which is actually his. The customer confirms that the second guitar is his, because he had adjusted the string height to be lower than the other guitar.

The man trying to sell the second guitar is charged and Dad’s friend is cleared.

We’re not sure why the two guitars were identical, but we suspect that there was one owner who bought them new and sold them separately. This would explain the similar belt buckle scratches and the Brazilian flag stickers.

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