Working With A Slytherin

, , , , | Working | February 11, 2019

(I’m female, but not a girly-girl. I work at a thrift store. I am working my way through my in-bin, sorting donated shoes. I grab a sneaker and something inside it moves. I’ve heard stories of coworkers finding live mice inside of things before. Our area is considered to be high desert, so of course, less savory things could potentially be inside my shoes. I freeze as the light reflects off of something shiny and segmented. And it’s pretty big. For just a second, my heart seizes. Normally, insects and spiders don’t bother me too terribly much. But on the other hand, I am NOT keen on finding myself with a giant, irate, venomous creature in my collection of footwear. I hold very still for a heartbeat. Nothing moves. I carefully jostle the shoe again, and it moves again, and I get a better look. Segmented legs, but they’re plastic. I breathe again. I extract a pretty realistic toy scorpion out of the shoe. Was it some random kid’s toy that got mixed in by accident? Nope. There’s a price sticker on the bottom of this thing. OUR PRICE STICKER. From this month. I turn and walk kitty-corner across the aisle, holding the scorpion toy by the tail, to the toy processing area.)

Me: *equal parts sweet, sarcastic, and menacing, as I hold up the toy* “[Coworker], dearest… my sweet, wonderful… innocent… darling… coworker… Why was there a scorpion in one of my shoes?”

Coworker: *grins at me, mischievous* “Because I put it there. I’m surprised you didn’t squeal. I was kind of hoping for one.”

(I give him a dirty look and drop the toy into his hand.)

Me: “You’re an a**hole. And unfortunately for you, insects don’t bug me that much.”

Coworker: “I’ve got rubber snakes if you want!”

(I roll my eyes, grab an equally realistic rubber snake toy, loop it around my neck and parade off with it.)

Me: “Good luck scaring me with snakes!”

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Being Thrifty With The Obvious

, , | Right | February 9, 2019

(I work full-time at a thrift store. These conversations happen far too often:)

Customer: “Excuse me, what color tag is on sale?”

(This is most often asked while the customer is standing between two eye-level signs advertising the special of the week.)

Customer: “Hey, which way to the donation center?

(Asked while standing next to a sign pointing to the donation center.)

Customer: “Any new racks coming out?”

(Said while standing next to a rack of clothes that was brought out in the last ten seconds.)

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The Cutest Little Peanut

, , , , , | Hopeless | January 27, 2019

(Following the death of my son-in-law, my daughter and her two children come to live with me. I’m not the richest lady around, so we have to seriously budget while my daughter gets back on her feet. It’s been rough on everyone, the eldest girl, age three, especially, since she and her father were so close. That particular day, we are frequenting a local thrift store that always has some sort of deal going on, looking for some cheap clothes for the kids. My granddaughter is getting restless and doesn’t want to sit still in the cart. I start handing things to the lady at the register, but I keep having to stop to try to keep my granddaughter seated. All of a sudden, she starts yelling and reaching for something.)

Me: “Hey, hey, careful. What is it, sweetie?”

(The cashier looks where my granddaughter is pointing. She reaches over to grab something.)

Cashier: “Maybe she wants to hold Woodstock?”

(I look to see the cashier holding a little yellow bird that I only know from the “Peanuts” comics. It is a little dirty but it is still in great shape and is quite cute. She hands the stuffed bird to my granddaughter and the girl immediately quiets down and snuggles it. I feel myself getting a little choked up.)

Me: “Thank you.”

Cashier: *smiles* “No problem. He’s my register buddy for today. I found him in toys. Woodstock is the best bird, so I just had to have him up here with me.”

(I return the smile as she scans my stuff.)

Me: “It makes sense that she would notice it there. Her father used to read her Peanuts books all the time. She loves that series.”

(The cashier pauses for a moment, and her smile starts slipping a little.)

Cashier: “I got into Peanuts through my dad, too. He gave me all his books when I was little. It’s something we both enjoy together.”

Me: “Really? That’s sweet.”

(The cashier finishes ringing up my stuff and is preparing to move on to payment when she stops for a moment. She looks at my granddaughter, and then at me.)

Cashier: “Does she want to keep him? She can have him if she wants.”

Me: “No, no, we can’t. I’m already tight on money.”

Cashier: “Actually, it’s fine. We have a special kids’ club here where children under 12 get a $0.99 toy or a kids book for free with any purchase. He’s a $0.99 toy, so he qualifies for the deal.”

Me: *surprised* “Really?”

Cashier: “Yeah.” *looks at the bird* “I wanted it for myself, but I think she needs him a little more than I do. After all, Woodstock is the best bird. He deserves only the best home.”

Me: *holding back tears* “Thank you. Thank you so much.” *turns to my granddaughter* “Sweetie, she says you can keep the bird. Can you say, ‘Thank you’?”

Granddaughter: “Thank you.”

Cashier: “You are very welcome.”

(We finished checking out and left. My granddaughter quietly hugged that bird all the way home. I think it’s going to make a great addition to our home.)

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Recycling The Same Answer Over And Over

, , , | Right | December 3, 2018

(I work for a local non-profit that includes a thrift store that funds our work. We have a box truck that we use to pick up donations from people. We will pick almost anything with a few exceptions. The other day I answered the phone:)

Lady: “I would like to schedule a pickup time. I have a washing machine to donate.”

Me: “Great! Let me get some information from you. First, is the machine in working order?”

Lady: “No, but I figure that you could part it out or recycle it or something.”

Me: “I’m very sorry, but we cannot schedule our truck to pick up broken items. If you want us to have it you will have to find a neighbor or a friend to help you get it here.”

Lady: “No one will help me and I really wanted to give it to you guys.”

Me: “Ma’am, I am sorry but it costs more to send the truck to your house than we could get by recycling the metal in the washer.”

Lady: “But I really wanted to give it to you. I guess it will just have to send it to the landfill if you don’t come get it.”

Me: “I am sorry, but we cannot pick up non-working items because it costs too much.”

Lady: “Well, I will just have to send the machine to the landfill. The new machine is being delivered tomorrow and the old washer has to be gone and I really wanted to give it to you guys.”

Me: “I understand that it is important to keep it out of the landfill. Who are you buying your new washer from?”

Lady: “[Big Box Store].”

Me: “That is great news because I know that they will take your old washer away and recycle it for you. That way it won’t go to the landfill.”

Lady: “But I really wanted to give it to you guys.”

Me: “Ma’am, with fuel costs and labor costs it would cost us about $50 to pick up your washer and we might get $5 for recycling it. We simply cannot pick up broken items. But [Big Box Store] will take it to recycle it for you when they bring your new one.”

Lady: “But I really wanted to give it to you guys.”

(I tried a few more times to explain the logic of why it did not make sense for us to lose money when it is hard enough as a charity to raise the necessary funds to perform our work. I just kept getting the response. “But I really wanted to give it to you guys.”)

Me: *at this point starting to lose my patience* “Surely you see that it doesn’t make sense for us to spend $50 to send our truck to you when we will only get $5 for your broken washer.”

(Recycling is not our charity work; alleviating poverty is.)

Lady: “But I really wanted to give it to you guys.”

(At this point I did not know what else to say that would get my message across to her so I just told her one more time that we would not pick up her broken washer and hung up quickly. I am still puzzled as to why she wanted to gift us her broken washer that would cost more money than we could make from it.)

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Schrödinger’s Mall: Full Of Customers And Empty At The Same Time

, , , , | Right | November 27, 2018

(On a particularly busy Sunday in our thrift store:)

Customer: *walking in and grabbing a cart* “This place is always way too busy! Can’t move in the aisles when it’s always this crowded! You need to do something about this!”

Me: *shrug* “Okay.”

(About an hour or so later, the same customer is checking out.)

Me: “All right! That will be [amount], please!”

Customer: “Ugh! Your prices are so d*** high! This is why nobody comes to your store!”

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