That’ll Clear That Anxiety Right Up

, , , , | Right | January 23, 2018

(I work at a large department store, but have just clocked out and am browsing the shoe selection. I see a customer standing near me that has been here for more than thirty minutes without saying anything to any of the employees.)

Customer #1: “H-hello, do you have this in [size]?”

Me: “Oh, sorry. I’m off the clock! But my coworker over there would be more than happy to help you out!”

(The customer turns bright red and starts apologizing profusely. I assure her it’s perfectly fine, and I even walk her over to my coworker and ask for him to help her. Another customer that heard the encounter scoffs and marches up.)

Customer #2: “You little b****, the guy said he was off the clock. You can’t just f****** make him work because you’re a high-maintenance little b****!”

([Customer #1] looks like she’s about to start crying and I try to step in.)

Me: “Hey, please watch your language. She didn’t do anything wrong. She was so nice that I wanted to help her out, anyway. Please mind your own business.”

([Customer #1] has started crying but is clearly trying her hardest to hide it while apologizing to me repeatedly.)

Customer #2: “The b**** wouldn’t be f****** crying if she wasn’t so f****** guilty!”

(By this time, my coworker has called security, and two of our officers arrive and ask what the problem is. [Customer #1] is trying her hardest to hold herself together, and [Customer #2] tries telling them that [Customer #1] was harassing me.)

Me: “Actually, this p**** has been harassing this young lady to the point of tears. Get him out.”

(The man was escorted out practically kicking and screaming, and kept threatening to sue. In the end, [Customer #1] got her shoes in the right size and I stuck around to make sure she was all right. We ended up becoming quick friends, and she shared with me that she had horrible social anxiety and had been trying to work up the courage to ask me for help since she’d arrived! Today, we’re still friends and laugh about the guy who got kicked out for “helping.”)

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Why Are You Making Your Dog Blue?

, , , , | Right | January 21, 2018

(As I walk past the collar and leash aisle, a customer approaches me, holding a pink leopard-print dog harness.)

Customer: “Do you have any boy harnesses?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. Most of the harnesses are right behind you.”

Customer: “Oh, okay. I need a boy harness.”

Me: “What color?”

Customer: “Blue. For a boy. It needs to be a small.”

Me: “Here’s a small blue one.”

Customer: “I don’t like those kinds. They’re too confusing. Too many loops.”

Me: “Here’s another small blue one.”

Customer: “That’s not the right size. It’s too big. I need one exactly like this one, but for a boy.” *holds up the pink leopard print harness*

Me: “I can adjust this blue one for you if you want.”

Customer: “No, it’s too big. What other harnesses do you have?”

Me: “How about a black small one?”

Customer: “That one is too small.”

Me: “I can adjust it to make it bigger.”

Customer: “Maybe I should just get the pink one… but he’s a boy!”

Me: “Dogs are colorblind. He won’t mind.”

Customer: “But you don’t do that to a boy!”

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Sounds Like They’ve Had Too Many Already

, , , , , | Right | January 18, 2018

(I am sitting at bar in restaurant and lady walks up and orders a “Virgin Screwdriver,” which makes me snort.)

Customer: *turning to me* “What?”

Me: “You could have just ordered an orange juice.”

Customer: “I don’t want an orange juice. I want a Virgin Screwdriver.”

Bartender: “A Virgin Screwdriver is orange juice.”

Customer: “No, it’s not; it’s a Screwdriver without alcohol.”

Bartender: “A Screwdriver is just orange juice and tequila or vodka. If I take out the tequila—”

Customer: *interrupts* “I don’t want you to take out the tequila. You’re supposed to leave it in. Just take out the alcohol.”

(The debate continued for a bit longer before the lady decided on a normal Tequila Screwdriver and told the bartender:)

Customer: “But if I get in a wreck because I’m drunk, it’s your fault!”

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Oh, Brother!

, , , , , , | Working | January 17, 2018

I am job hunting and end up waiting tables at a new, fancy, family-owned Italian restaurant run by two brothers. For the first week or so, everything is perfect; friendly coworkers, good food, fast service, nice pay, etc.

However, about a month into the job, the two owners start bickering with each other. At first it’s just snips and snipes, but over the next week it gets into full-blown screaming. Coming from an Italian family, I can safely say there isn’t a more volatile argument than two Italians from the same family going at it. They go all out, complete with swears and threats, right in earshot of our diners, several of whom have children. Predictably, we get swamped with complaints and demands for refunds, and unfortunately, I even catch a few people recording the outburst on phones. When a coworker goes to tell the brothers that their fighting is ruining the night, the argument gets even louder as they start accusing each other of sabotaging their business. By the time it’s passed, the dining room is basically empty, with a handful of bemused people sitting around, enjoying the “dinner and a show.”

This continues for another week, and unfortunately, the restaurant gets a reputation for the brothers fighting to the point that guests start showing up just hoping to watch. The wait staff and chefs run themselves ragged trying to keep the business afloat, as the owners are now more concerned with their feuding. Eventually, they do make up, but only by reaching the conclusion that the business is failing, not because of them, but because of the staff.

We have all dealt with their crap long enough when it wasn’t directed at us. The first night they try to pick fights with us, the majority of the wait staff walks out without a word, myself included. Before long, the rest of the staff quits as well, either out of defiance, or out of a desire to avoid being the only target left.

I drive by the next week on the way to get groceries and see the restaurant with a “Help Needed” sign on it, and the week after that, it is shut down. I feel bad for them, but if you’re going to start a family business, you should probably do it with a relative you don’t absolutely despise.

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Driving Home The Kindness, Part 14

, , , , | Hopeless | January 7, 2018

(I am a medical student starting my fieldwork. My site is a 45-minute drive away from my apartment, and I am nervous because my supervisor has already attacked my intelligence and insulted me in front of a patient. She’s also insisted I need a specific certification, costing me $600 on my very limited student budget. I have severe driving anxiety due to an abusive situation I escaped. I am driving through heavy rain to get to fieldwork, and when I go to turn onto the highway, my wheel jerks from my hands and I realize I am hydroplaning! I manage to not hit the light-post, but my car is stuck and mud-covered, and I am going nowhere. I’m scared, and I immediately start having a panic attack, both from the near miss and from contemplating what this could cost on my limited budget. Crying and shaking, I leave a message for my instructor, then try to remember how to call my insurance, who tell me they will take upwards of an hour to get to me since it’s not an emergency. Then, I notice a truck pulling off near me and the driver waving at me. I roll down my window.)

Man #1: “Are you okay?”

Me: “Yes, b-but I’m stuck. I can’t get out.”

Man #1: “I have a car shop nearby. I’ll go get my chain. You sure you’re okay?”

Me: *surprised, still crying* “A-Are you sure? You don’t have to. I’m o-okay, just scared and late for w-work.”

Man #1: “Yeah, I’m sure. It’s like five minutes away. You sit tight.”

(He drives off. Another truck stops about three minutes later and what looks like a man my age and his father hop out.)

Man #2: “Are you all right, miss?”

Me: “Yes, j-just stuck.”

Man #3: “Can we call you a tow?”

Me: “A man’s g-gone to get his chain to g-get me out.”

(They stayed with me, helping me get over to the side of the road safely. When the man arrived with his chain, they actually turned to block the on-ramp so no one would get hit while the first guy chained my car to his and pulled my car out of the rut it was stuck in. I walked around the car, and nothing was damaged! It was just very dirty, and some grass was stuck in the bumper. The whole time, the men kept checking on me, making sure I was okay, and offering to get me somewhere safe. By the time I got back in my car, I wasn’t crying anymore, and I felt a lot safer. Thankfully, I got to my fieldwork only about thirty minutes late, and I wasn’t forced to eat ramen that week. Thank you to the very kind gentlemen who stopped for a scared student, and were so gentle interacting with me.)

Driving Home The Kindness, Part 13
Driving Home The Kindness, Part 12
Driving Home The Kindness, Part 11

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