It’s A (Lint) Trap!

, , , , | Right | July 12, 2018

(I am working returns when one of the customer service guys asks me to take a call. Picking up the phone, I speak to a rather nice, young-sounding woman who notes that she purchased a washer/dryer set when our store opened about six months ago, and everything ran fine until just recently. Now she’s having trouble with the dryer. She wants to know if her dryer is covered under warranty and what we might do to fix it. Since our policy is to find out as much about the problem before sorting out if it is covered or not, I ask a few questions.)

Me: “Does the dryer turn on?”

Woman: “Oh, yes. It’ll turn on just fine.”

Me: “Is it not heating or drying the clothing?”

Woman: “Oh, that works fine, I suppose.”

Me: “Well, that pretty much covers it. What exactly is the nature of your problem?”

Woman: “Well, it starts fine, but every time we use it, the d*** thing catches on fire.”

Me: “Fire?”

Woman: “Yeah. Fire. We have to shut it off and douse it, or it’d burn the house down.”

Me: “Uh… Yeah. Just curious, you know to empty the lint trap, right?”

Woman: “What’s a lint trap?”

(At that point I realized that not everyone should own appliances.)

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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The Wrong Person Got Their Jaw Wired Shut

, , , , , , | | Right | May 23, 2018

(I was recently in a pretty bad car accident that left me with a broken jaw which had to be wired shut. While I can talk, I tend to avoid it since it is painful at times, and it is sometimes hard to understand me. My boss understands this, and has even gone so far as to have these big “Cannot Speak” signs made up with some details to explain my problem. For the most part, the customers have been nice and understanding about it. One day, around noon, I’m sweeping the front of the store when a smartly-dressed woman steps through the door. She walks over to me and asks where something is, and I don’t answer. Instead, I wave in the direction of the manager who comes over and asks what it is she wants, while I go back to sweeping. The woman asks and is directed to what she needs, and the manager comes back and tells me to ring her up.)

Woman: “Oh, hell no. I don’t want him ringing me up.”

Manager: “And why not? Did he do something wrong?”

Woman: “No, it’s just that he’s obviously a [disabled slur]. I don’t want this waste of human space screwing up anything.

Me: “Not [disabled slur].” *my words slur due to clenched teeth*

Woman: “See? They can’t even talk right. If I were president, I’d have all of them aborted before birth.”

Me: “Not [disabled slur].” *slurred again*

Woman: “Oh, shut up and let the adults do business.”

(I held up a finger to my manager, who I could see was VERY pissed. Walking over, I picked up a piece of paper from the copier, snagged a marker, and wrote out, “You ignorant, uneducated bigot. I can’t speak because I had a car accident, which you may have read about in the newspaper. My jaw is wired shut.” I turned the paper around so she could read it. I watched her look at it, look at me, and then look at the manager. You could almost hear the gears working in her mind as she started to blush, and refused to look at me the entire time. Shortly after she left, one of the regulars who overheard the conversation noted that it was everything he could do not to smack her in the head, in the hopes it might knock some sense into her.)

What Fun Your Yonder Ignorance Breaks

, , , , , , | | Right | May 18, 2018

(I was born in the southern US and raised there all my life, so I have a THICK southern accent. I also have two degrees, one in archaeology, the other in anthropology. At the time this takes place, I am working on my archaeology thesis, and have taken a job at a local “big box” home improvement store just to make ends meet. I’m about to get off work for the day, and I’m walking back in the direction of the customer service desk to clock out, when a customer approaches me.)

Customer: *with a thick Jersey, or New York City accent*  “Could you tell me where plumbing is located?”

Me: “Just down yonder, ma’am. Under the sign that says plumbing.”

Customer: “’Yonder’? ‘Yonder’? God, that’s why I hate coming to the south: all these d*** uneducated rednecks. ‘Yonder’ isn’t even a word! I’ve taught English all my life and I’ve never heard it. Can’t you use proper English, or is that beyond your eighth-grade education?”

Me: “’Yonder,’ as you might be interested to know, is an old English word that was first recorded as being used in the 1400s, though historians agree that it likely was in popular use prior to that. Specifically, it refers to an instance when the person making use of the term does not know the cardinal direction in which they are directing. Furthermore, when used as a measure of distance, it must be a distance that is greater than a few feet, but shorter than a full mile. Thus, when Romeo makes the famous statement, ‘But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? ‘Tis the east, and Juliet is the sun,’ Romeo is noting that he does not know what direction Juliet is from him in relation to the cardinal directions, and that while she is some distance from him, she is well within the standard of being less than a mile away, but more than a few dozen feet away. In the southern United States, due to the majority of early settlers coming from poorer regions of the United Kingdom, the term ‘yonder’ was retained; whereas in more urban environments, where settlers came from more wealthy locations, the saying fell out of favor, due in no small part to persons not wanting to sound poor.”

Customer: “I… What… I… How do you know that?”

Me: “Studied English in college. It was a requirement.”

Customer: *a bit huffy* “Well what are you studying? Liberal arts? Fat load of good that will do you.”

Me: “Actually, I’ve my masters in anthropology, and I’m finishing up my doctoral thesis in archaeology. I just work here to make some extra cash.”

(The customer gets VERY quiet, and then finally says:)

Customer: “Ah, so, under the plumbing sign?”

(I just nodded while she tottered off. I do believe I rather destroyed her prejudiced idea about all “rednecks” being ignorant.)


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She Almost Blue Up

, , , , , | Right | May 2, 2018

(A customer comes in with a microwave in its box in their cart.)

Me: “Hi, how we doing today?”

Customer: “Crappy.”

Me: *lifting the microwave box out* “So, what was the reason for this return?”

Customer: “It blew.”

Me: “Blew up? Well, that’s not good. Were you using it at the time?”

Customer: “NO. It’s not blown up.”

Me: “But you said it blew.”

Customer: “Listen here, you moron: it’s blue. B. L. U. E.”

(This prompts me to blink and then raise an eyebrow. As I start to open the box, my manager comes over, and the customer begins to get in a huff.)

Customer: “What, you don’t trust me? You’re just racist like everyone else.”

Me: “Honestly, I’m just curious. I’ve never seen a blue microwave before.”

(She starts going off on a rant about how we’re obviously racist, while my manager shoots me a quizzing look. I shrug and open the box, then pull out the foam.)

Customer: “I knew I shouldn’t have come here, with you stupid racists. I’m going to complain. You idiots don’t know what you’re doing. I wanted stainless steel, and that moron back there sold me a blue microwave.”

(At this point, I know exactly what’s wrong, and try to chime in, only to have her yell at me to shut up. The manager is trying to explain, but she’s not hearing it. Halfway through her latest rant, I finally manage to get a bit of the film up, and I grab it and pull hard. There’s a LOUD ripping sound, revealing the stainless steel underneath. The customer looks at me in shock, and I shrug.)

Me: “It’s not blue now. The film, you see: you have to take it off. It protects the stainless steel.”

(The woman reluctantly took the microwave back. About twenty minutes later, while I was at lunch, the lady’s husband came back. My manager came looking for me, and I came out. The lady’s husband handed me a large pizza from the local pizza place, and then chuckled, saying that he’d tried to explain it to her, but she wouldn’t listen to him. The pizza was her idea to apologize for making an idiot of herself. Free lunch. I can’t complain.)

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