What The Check Are You Playing At?

, , , , , | | Right | June 8, 2018

(I’m an assistant manager. We can accept out-of-town checks, but we can’t accept out-of-state ones. This has something to do with the way out-of-state checks are handled when they bounce. Basically, if a check from an out-of-state bank bounces, then it is handed over for a criminal fraud charge, as opposed to a local bank where we just hold the bounced check for several days before trying again, and if it fails then, take the person to civil court for the funds. A lady comes into the store to purchase some items, and is paying by check. Since all checks require manager approval, and I am the only one on duty at that time, I head over. When I get there, I see it’s drawn on a Florida bank.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but store policy is that we can’t accept checks from out of state. Do you have another form of payment?”

Customer: “G**d*** you, I need this for my Christmas! You’re going to accept that g**d*** check, or I’m going to call the police on you! It’s legal tender!”

Me: “Actually, ma’am, a check is just a promise to pay. However, if you write that check, and it bounces, then you would be facing criminal charges and arrest. I’d wager that would ruin your Christmas more than me not accepting it.”

Customer: “Well, [Large Retailer] takes it!”

Me: “Yes, they’re a multi-state company, and they can afford to do it, since they have locations just about everywhere. We, on the other hand, only operate in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. So, it’s the policy.”

(The woman is beside herself, and storms out the store, pausing only long enough to knock over several racks of clothing, shove one of the other clerks, and several boxes of shoes. Another customer comes up to me.)

Other Customer: “Hi, I’m an off-duty cop and saw everything. Would you like to call it in? I can speak with the lady; I can see that she’s sitting in her car.”

(I do, and he brings her back in with other officers. We head back to the office, where she’s going on and on about how a check is legal tender, until one officer tells her that it’s not true, and spells out the Georgia law that I’m trying to protect her from.)

Officer: “What do you want to do?

Me: “I want her escorted from the store, and barred from shopping here ever again.”

(He agrees, informs her of this, and escorts her out. Fast forward exactly one year. I’m the store manager now, and I notice in reviewing my checks that someone on my day off took a check from Florida that bounced. I call the young clerk into the office and explain what she did wrong. She relates how the woman had noted that she’d had problems in the store the year before, and had only came back after a previous assistant manager had quit — I hadn’t quit, just been promoted. I describe the lady from before.)

Clerk: “Yes, that’s her. And I saw her again today, looking through the jewelry department!”

(Thinking fast, I told the clerk to stall the customer, while I called the police. Once the police arrived, I handed over the check, and noted the previous incident. The officers and I headed up, only to have the lady turn around and see me. The moment our eyes met, she dropped everything and took off running for the front door. Somehow she misjudged where the door was, and instead ran face-first right into the window beside it, knocking herself out. She ended up cuffed for fraud, as well as shoplifting; she had pocketed several bits of jewelry. A couple weeks after Christmas, I got a call from my district manager about the whole thing. Not only was the lady wanted in two states for fraud, she’d bilked the company out of several thousand dollars. She’d go to various stores and pull one of two acts, either playing innocent, or using the “[Large Retailer] does it” ploy and get clerks to accept the checks. The problem was, the checks were forgeries, and the bank they called on didn’t even exist. The lady was facing some SERIOUS jail time as a result of it.)

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Entitled To Their Opinion, But Not Their Assumption

, , , , , , | Friendly | June 8, 2018

(I’ve recently hurt my knee and am wearing a brace that allows me to walk, but walking or standing for too long is painful, so I park as close to the grocery store as I can. As I’m getting out of my car, I notice a woman parked a few spaces down and across the aisle is glaring at me as she helps an elderly woman out of her vehicle. I force a smile to be polite, close my door, and lock my car up, then take off toward the store.)

Woman: *loudly* “Mom, look at that one! Bet she’s not even hurt. Stupid, lazy teenager. And look at her brand new car! I bet she’s never paid a dime on it! Entitled teenage brat.”

(I would usually ignore an idiot like her, but I’m in a bad mood and my knee is throbbing, so I whirl around as best I can and flip her off.)

Me: *shouting back* “Actually, I’m a spoiled 30-year-old housewife, with a three-year-old used car, not a spoiled teenager! Thanks for playing, b****, but you don’t win the golden Kewpie doll!”

(I turn and start for the store again as the elderly woman starts cackling gleefully.)

Elderly Woman: *loud enough for me to hear* “Serves you right for being a judgmental c***!”

When Tragedy Breeds Joy

, , , , , , | Hopeless | June 8, 2018

My mother was seriously injured in a fall while on vacation, in a city on the far side of the country from where her family and friends live. I left the next day to be with her. I arrived after a six-hour flight, tired and scared, in a city I had never been in. I made it to the hospital and found the waiting room while they finished her surgery. Once there, I realized it was nine at night and I had no idea where I would be staying. I knew I had a few calls to make, and asked a woman nearby if I should step outside to do so. She smiled but didn’t say much.

After a couple of minutes, another woman walked in and came over. She said that was her sister and that she didn’t speak English. I tried to talk, but just lost it. Between sobs, I tried to explain why I was there and that I didn’t know where I was going to sleep or much of anything else. She gave me a hug, and then went to talk to the staff at the desk. She came back with one of them who assured me I could sleep in my mom’s room for at least a few nights, and that it was going to be okay. The first woman sat with me until I was calmer.

At this point I realized they were there for their own tragic reason. It turns out one of her brothers had been shot in the head while working at his store. They didn’t know if he would make it or not. But in spite of all that, she made sure that I was okay.

We saw each other during the week I was there. She never failed to smile and ask how mom was.

Thank you to a family of strangers who reached out during their own tragedy to help someone who needed it.

And thanks to four of Mom’s friends and family who took a week each and flew across the country to be there with her. Her case manager said she had more company than some patients who live in the area and have family close by.

Weeding Out The Bad Products

, , , , | Working | June 8, 2018

(My boss has ordered a few novelty shamrock items for St. Patrick’s Day. They arrive as scheduled and he’s putting them out, when he stops to study one item closely.)

Boss: “Hey, do you want these? We can’t sell them.”

(He then handed me a three-pack of edible shot glasses with a marijuana pattern.)

Error 404: Sympathy Not Found

, , , , | Right | June 8, 2018

(It is Black Friday around eight pm. I have already worked about 20 hours since Thanksgiving, between my two jobs. I am woozy and wobbling on my feet from exhaustion, but I’m doing my best to stay polite, professional, and helpful to customers. A woman approaches my register.)

Me: “Hey, how are you?”

Customer: “Oh, I’m just so exhausted from shopping all day! We’ve been going since seven this morning. Started over at the outlet mall and just made our way over. But, my goodness, shopping is tiring! You wouldn’t believe how many people are out there! Like, doesn’t anyone spend Thanksgiving weekend with their family anymore? It’s ridiculous! I don’t know how anyone could spend more than a couple of hours surrounded by this kind of chaos! I just can not wait to get home and go to bed, but I still have so many other stores to hit.”

(All I could do was stand there, dumbfounded, as I rung up her purchases. It took every bit of willpower I had left to not yell, “YOU’RE tired?! You can go home! This is my life!”)

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