A True Toy Story

| Vancouver, BC, Canada | Working | November 7, 2013

(I’ve just been hired at a toy store, along with a whole slew of other new employees. It is our first day, and the manager is conducting an orientation which is supposed to take four hours.)

Manager: “…and that concludes our orientation. Are there any questions?”

(One of the new hires raises his hand.)

Manager: “Yes?”

New Hire: “Are we really done?”

Manager: “Yes, why?”

New Hire: “Because there’s still over an hour left.”

Manager: “Oh, goodness, you’re actually right. Wow, I usually never finish my orientations that fast!”

New Hire: “So, what do we do now?”

Manager: “That’s a really good question. Normally, I would have you guys started on your training, but there isn’t enough time for that, nor have we sorted out your departments yet.”

New Hire: “CAN WE PLAY WITH THE TOYS!?”

(The other new hires roar in laughter, while the manager ponders about this.)

Manager: *sighs* “Yes, you can play with the toys.”

(For the following hour, all the new employees, aged anywhere between 16 and 25, spent the rest of their shift playing with toys, stuffed animals, bicycles, skateboards, and video games. And we got paid for this!)

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She Got Trumped

| UK | Right | October 18, 2013

(We have a regular couple of customers: a mother and her young son. They come in predominantly to buy trading cards based on a popular hand-held game. The young boy is very polite and sometimes comes alone. The mother is loathed by most members of staff because of her critical attitude towards her son’s hobby and our stock.)

Mother: “This store is just ridiculous. Why do you stock such crap? Children wasting their money! Parents wasting their money!”

Me: “Well, if he’s saved his money up, it’s all his choice to buy these trading cards, isn’t it?”

Mother: “Yes, but it’s just rubbish! Stupid drivel for STUPID people!”

(My manager, who is nearby, and I are both irritated by this. This woman tends to bully her son every time they are here together. Her son is completely silent other than asking for what packs of cards he wants. As the receipt prints, my manager speaks up.)

Manager: “You know, my colleague here plays trading card games.”

Mother: “What? Why?!”

(Note: I’m 23.)

Manager: “So, by that connection, you’d be calling her stupid, for playing stupid games.”

Mother: “Well, yes!”

Me: “Stupid games that teach things like mathematical and tactical skills.”

Mother: “Well—”

Me: “And that you are, effectively, calling your money-managing, polite, patient young son stupid.”

Mother: “Well—”

Me: “Just remember that.”

(The mother goes white and apologizes profusely, before leaving the store. The son ends up talking to me about some of the card games, and now still does every time he comes back. The mother might still make disparaging remarks about our other stock, but she’s never called anything or anyone ‘stupid’ since.)

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Ballerina Rex

| Toronto, ON, Canada | Right | September 25, 2013

(I am in the toy store with my boyfriend. It’s a Saturday, so it’s pretty crowded with children and their parents. We’re looking at the display of a new dinosaur toy series, when a tiny little girl in a pink ballerina outfit enters the store with her mother. The girl spots the dinosaur display from about 30 feet away, and comes running over.)

Little Girl: “Mommy! Mommy look! Dinosaurs!”

Her Mom: “I see sweetie. Do you want to spend some of your birthday money on the dinosaurs?”

Little Girl: “Yes! Can I have the T-Rex? Or the Triceratops?”

Her Mom: “How about one like the one this lady is buying?”

(The mom gestures to me and the velociraptor set I’m holding. I smile, and hold it at her level so she can see it. The little girl examines it carefully, and then slowly shakes her head.)

Little Girl: “It’s a little too scary. Can I have the T-Rex?”

Her Mom: “Sure sweetie, it’s your birthday money after all.”

(She hands her daughter the T-Rex box, which is nearly as big as she is. Her older brother, who looks about 13, offers to carry it for her.)

Little Girl: “AWESOME! Dinosaurs!”

(Clutching the box, she starts skipping towards the cash with her older brother, twirling and spinning like a ballerina the whole way.)

Her Mom: *sees us laughing* “My little ballerina. She’s been stealing her brother’s toy dinosaurs since she was one!”

(The adorable, dino-loving ballerina made my day!)

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A Price Peddler

| Philadelphia, PA, USA | Right | September 21, 2013

(I put a lot of newly built bikes up on the racks. A customer comes in wanting to look at one of the new bikes.)

Customer: “Can you pull that bike down? My son would like to try it.”

Me: *pulls bike down* “Here you go.”

(The customer’s son then rides the bike around the bike section for a minute and is pleased with it.)

Customer: “How much is this bike?”

Me: “It’s $79.99 in a box, or $89.99 assembled.”

Customer: “Why is it more when it’s already together?”

Me: “Well we have bike builders who put the bikes together. But we do have this bike in a box, so you can buy it in a box and then put it together.”

Customer: “I think I should get a discount on this bike since it’s all dirty.”

(The customer is talking about the tires since the bike has been ridden on the store floor, which has some dust on it.)

Me: “Your child was the first person to ride this bike since it was built; we can wipe off the tires so that the dirt is off.”

Customer: “No, it’s been used; look at it! I shouldn’t have to pay full price for a used item.”

Me: “The bike builders just built this exact bike not too long ago, and I know for a fact that your son is the only one to ride this bike.”

Customer: “So, you admit that it was used!”

Me: “Only by your child.”

Customer: “That’s why I should get a discount; it’s used! I want to see your manager!”

(I call my manager who comes back to listen to the issue. My manager backs me up. The customer does eventually buy the bike, already put together, paying the additional $10.)

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He’ll Question You Until World’s End

| Albany, NY, USA | Related | July 1, 2013

(My nine-year-old son and I have just had an incredible exchange with a very nice cashier, who spent the time and energy to let my son review the process of buying something with his own money, and counting change.)

Cashier: “You should stay in school and go to college.”

Son: “I don’t know…”

Me: “He told me he doesn’t want to move away from home.”

Cashier: “When I was growing up in the Caribbean, I couldn’t wait to move out of my mother’s house. Now I wish—”

Son: “Wait, you are from the Caribbean? Like the Pirates of the Caribbean? Are you a pirate?”

Cashier: “No, I’m not, but I went to college and—”

Son: “And you learned to be a pirate?”

Cashier: “No, but the movie was filmed in my country.”

Son: “Did you meet any pirates?”

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