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Next Time Ask For Proof Of Purchase

, , , , | Right | October 21, 2021

A half-hour after the last movie goes in, we officially close the theater, empty the registers, and lock doors. We keep some popcorn on hand in case anyone comes out for a refill, but other than that and cleaning up the theaters, we’re pretty much done with customers for the night. That being said, there’s almost always that one or two people who pre-ordered tickets and are running late, so we have someone watch the front doors and let in any stragglers who already have tickets.

It’s been forty-five minutes since the last movie went in, so the theater is totally closed, the doors are locked, and our systems have been shut down. I’m watching the front doors when a group of teenage boys suddenly runs up to the doors and starts pounding. I open the door.

Me: “Hey, guys! We’re closed for the night and can’t sell anything, but I can let you in if you already have tickets. Do you have tickets?”

Teenager #1: *Nodding* “Yes.”

I open the door and let them in. Immediately, two of the boys go to the box office while the other two go to the concession stand.

Me: “Um, fellas? We’re closed.”

Teenager #1: “Oh, we just need tickets to the [Movie] that just went in.”

Me: “Unfortunately, we’re closed and the registers are off. We can’t sell any more tickets or snacks tonight. That’s why I specifically asked you if you already had tickets.”

Teenager #1: *With a s***-eating grin* “And we will have tickets once you sell them to me!”

Me: “Sorry, guys, if you don’t have tickets, you’ll have to leave.”

Teenager #1: “But we just need tickets.”

Teenager #2: *At the concession stand* “Where is everyone?! I gotta get my popcorn on!”

Me: *Turning to him* “We’re closed!” *Turning back to the first kid* “I’m sorry, but you’ll have to leave.”

Teenager #1: “For real?”

Me: “Yes, for real.”

The teens gather and act like they’re going to leave, so I go back to watch the door. I suddenly hear a coworker.

Coworker: “Did those guys have tickets?”

Me: “Who, those kids?”

Coworker: “Yeah, they just started walking toward the auditoriums.”

I leave my post and sprint to the back of the lobby and see the kids about to head into one of our theaters.

Me: “Guys! Seriously?”

Teenager #1: “Uh… well, you wouldn’t sell us tickets, so…”

They immediately turn and sprint into the theater, with me following behind them. I end up having to waste five minutes slowly corralling them, and I only finally get them to leave after threatening to call the cops. As they leave, the first kid turns back and sneers.

Teenager #1: “Go f*** yourself!”

Failure To Liar

, , , , , | Right | September 30, 2021

My first job in high school is as a scorekeeper at a trapshooting range. Five guys with shotguns line up sixteen yards away from the trap house and shoot at bright orange clay pigeons. A shooter calls “pull” or some variation thereof to indicate they are ready for a target. Before the days of voice-activated pulls, it’s the scorekeeper’s job to push a button immediately upon hearing “pull.” If a shooter feels the pull came late, they won’t shoot at it. Most are pretty nice as this is an unusual occurrence. Each bank has four traps where the shooters take aim at twenty-five targets each. Their final score is out of 100.

I’m at the fourth trap of the bank. We are a few shots into the round when the only teenage shooter of this group calls “pull.” I push the button and he lowers his gun and calls, “Late.” I don’t think it was, but I give him the benefit of the doubt. I send another target when he calls again and we move on.

A few shots later, the same thing happens. He asks for a target, I push the button, he calls, “Late,” and doesn’t shoot. I know I wasn’t late and suspect he simply didn’t like the placement of the target when it left the trap house. Now I’m paying special attention to him.

A few shots later, he calls, I push the button, and he simply lowers his gun without saying anything.

Me: “Failure to fire.”

This is usually called when a gun misfires but is also appropriate when a shooter chooses not to fire at a good target. If a shooter has more than one failure to fire per round, he will be charged with a missed shot. The teenager turns to me, mouth wide open.

Teenager: “Excuse me?!”

Me: *Pointedly* “Failure to fire. That was a good pull.”

He looks around at the other shooters in his group for support, all of whom are studiously ignoring him and not making eye contact. The round continues as normal. He fires at every target after that.

At the end of the round, shooters usually come up to check their scores, say thank you, etc. The teenage shooter stalks away without coming by my chair. The lead shooter comes up to me.

Lead Shooter: “He’s been pulling that crap all day and you’re the first one to call him on it. Here, this is for having a backbone.”

He handed me $20!

Egg On Your Face, Bikes In The Lake

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | September 11, 2021

A couple of teenage boys have been annoying the neighbourhood, mostly doing stupid kid stuff: knocking on doors and running, shouting and being stupid in the road, hanging around the shops making stupid comments to people, etc.

All the people who’ve complained have been labeled as entitled and dismissed. The police can’t do much to minors.

As time has gone on, it seems getting away with stupid stuff long enough has made these boys feel a bit braver and untouchable. Now there are reports of the kids egging houses, letting down car tyres, and chasing other kids on their bikes, threatening to run them over. Still, no complaints can get past the Entitled barrier.

One comment on social media has stood out. A pensioner is getting constant harassment. They ring her doorbell several times throughout the night, throw stones at her window, take her milk, anything to get a reaction. Still, the ignorant don’t care. They say, “That’s what we did as kids,” and, “Don’t you have real problems to deal with?”

Then, the pensioner comments one more time, tagging her sons, two burly men.

“My sons saw two bikes, two pairs of trainers, and some keys thrown into the lake. If anyone has a concern with this, my boys will be with me for the near future. You can find my house; it’s the one covered in egg.”

The boys must have learnt their lesson, as all antisocial behaviour stopped after that.

Why Shoplifting Is Bad, Volume II

, , , , | Right | September 8, 2021

Working the reference desk in the days before the Internet was challenging but still fun and often exciting. It was like solving a mystery AND getting the information the patron needed. My library at the time was also well known for having materials not available anywhere else in the state.

We were also the first place teens came when they were caught committing petty crimes (mostly shoplifting) and were usually carrying a piece of paper from their assigned counselor.

On this particular day, my coworker and I are run off our feet by an influx of patrons. When someone requests an item, one of us or one of our pages will go get the item(s) and place it on a table designated for pick up.

Our library board considers any and all security as unnecessary and silly, which is why we have one guard who sleeps all day and absolutely NO alarms, tattle tapes, or anything else that might prevent items from being stolen.

A woman doing historical research comes in to get access to two very old tomes not available anywhere else. Because of their age and their fragility, they are not something that can be checked out. While the page goes for those items, I find myself helping a girl who is maybe fifteen or so. If you were to look up the word “surly” in a picture dictionary, her photo would be right next to it.

Girl: “I need to know what I think about why shoplifting is bad.”

She shoves a piece of paper at me and waits. According to the paper, she was caught shoplifting and, in addition to some community service, she has to write an essay about why shoplifting is a bad thing. The paper does, in fact, read, “Tell us exactly why YOU think shoplifting is a bad thing to do.”

Girl: “You need to find me a book that tells me what I think.”

Well, this reference interview isn’t going to be fun. Fortunately, it isn’t as if I have to narrow down her choices. The paper tells us exactly what she needs.

Me: “Actually, when you read further down, they ask you to read five articles about shoplifting and what it does to the economy and the community. I can get you the articles, but you have to read them and form your own conclusions.”

Girl: “Naw. I want a book that tells me what I think.”

Me: “We don’t have any books that tell you exactly what you think. But I will be happy to find you articles.”

Girl: *Huffs* “All right, but I would rather have a book that tells me what I think.”

Apparently, we have books for every single person in town titled “What [Person] Thinks”.

I show her the one computer-type thing we do have at the time: a search engine where you type in the subject and the search engine relays a number of magazine articles on the topic. We choose five articles and I call a page to get the magazines.

Me: “We’ll put the magazines here on the table with your name on them. You can make copies of the articles if you don’t want to read them right here and take notes.”

The girl grunts and promptly disappears.

Remember the lady who needed the two tomes? Well, she has wandered off to look at fiction and movies, so her items are put on the pick-up table with her name on them.

Twenty minutes later, I see that the two books are gone. Our researcher must be somewhere taking notes. There is also still a five-magazine stack on the table for the girl. Just at that moment, the researcher appears.

Researcher: “Sorry. I got carried away look around at the art upstairs.”

I choke because I know the books are gone.

Me: “Uh, you didn’t take the books to study?”

Researcher: “No. I went upstairs to see the art exhibit and there was an interesting program going on so I stayed for that.”

Me: “Oh, dear.”

I flag down the page who got the magazines.

Me: “Did you see [Girl]?”

Page: “Oh, sure. She took those two old books you got for her and left.”

I have the page check the building and, sure enough, our young shoplifter had kind of struck again. She left with the books, not trying to check them out. She just took them.

I have to explain this to the researcher who, fortunately, is understanding while disappointed she could not use the items. She left us her name in case the items returned.

It is maybe a month later when my colleague reports [Girl]’s return. She comes in, throws the two old books on the desk, and snarls:

Girl: “I asked her for books about what I think about shoplifting and she gave me this junk.”

Colleague: “Uh…”

My colleague points to the name of the researcher, still attached to the front cover of the top book.

Colleague: “Is your name [Researcher]?”

Girl: “No, it isn’t. But she sent someone into the back and I saw them put these out so I thought it was for me.”

The books were already on the table when she arrived, so we cannot imagine why she thought they were for her.

My colleague explained to her what had happened and quietly pointed out that she had, essentially, stolen the books. [Girl], unimpressed, stormed out, never to be seen again.

At least we were able to call the researcher and she was able to get her work done.

If You’re Old Enough To Be A Little S***, You’re Old Enough To Be Treated Like One

, , , , | Right | September 2, 2021

I am a teen working in a popular local restaurant. It is at the end of a thirteen-year-old’s birthday party. The mother has been a complete nightmare the whole time. Everything goes fine until I’m clearing dessert at the entitled little man’s table where he is surrounded by his twelve- to thirteen-year-old friends.

Boy: “You’ve been absolutely great today!”

Me: “Thank you so much!”

Boy: “In fact, you’ve been so great that my friends and I have gathered a tip for you!”

Me: “That’s terribly sweet of you but I’m sure that’s unnecessary.”

Boy: “But I insist!”

He slides a nickel across the table while I have ten dishes in my hands while his friend snicker.

Me: “F*** YOU!”

I storm away so angry I don’t know what to do. It’s only when I reach the kitchen that I realize what has just happened. I cursed… at a “child”… on his birthday. I immediately go to the owner.

Me: “I need you to hear this from me before you hear it from his mother.”

I tell him the story, expecting to be fired on the spot. The owner is silent for a good ten seconds and then looks me in the eye.

Owner: “Good for you. Don’t you ever take s*** from anyone.”

Me: “You’ll probably be hearing from the boy’s mother.”

Owner: “Don’t worry. I’ll explain to her that I trust and care for my staff and she has a little s*** for a son.”

There was never a complaint, as I think the kid was too afraid or shocked to say what happened.

Not everything is terrible in the service industry if you have a boss that believes in you and backs you up. I was in the kitchen one day and almost backed into him, and he yelled at me, “Hey! Don’t look where you’ve been! Look where you’re going!” Best advice ever.