Trying To Explain “Online” To Them Turns Them Offline

, , , , | Right | January 9, 2021

I always thought the online part of online shopping was self-explanatory, but I guess not. My store offers online grocery shopping. We never have and never will be able to process orders over the phone. The closest we come to phone orders is if you call us and add one or two things to your existing online order.

We have this one lady call us five or six times one day asking if we would do an online order over the phone. We always say no, but unfortunately, either one of my coworkers or a manager tells her we do take add-ons over the phone. She calls back, and I answer this time.

Customer: “So, you do orders over the phone.”

Me: “No, you have to go online and place your order. There is no way for us to process orders over the phone.”

Customer: “But someone I spoke with earlier said if I call in, you would do it over the phone if I had an existing order.”

Me: “No, that’s not—”

Customer: “So, I found an old order with only two things in it and placed that for tomorrow morning, so I want to give you my list now. Grab a pen, because it’s a lot.”

Me: “No, that’s not how it works. You have to go online if you want your order. We cannot shop orders over the phone.”

Customer: “But [Pizza Place] does it!”

Me: “They’re a totally different business with a different business model. They were around before the Internet became what it is now. They are set up to take phone orders; we are not. Our online shopping is closer to [Major Online Retailer #1] or [Major Online Retailer #2]. They can’t take phone orders, and neither can we. If you want us to shop your order, you have to go online.”

Customer: *Whining like a child* “But I don’t want to go online. That’s too much work.”

Me: “We also have an app and you can use that to place your order.”

Customer: “I don’t want to download another app.”

Me: “I understand, but we will not shop your order over the phone.”

Customer: “You won’t?”

Me: “No.”

Customer: “Is your store still open twenty-four hours?”

Me: “No, we recently changed our hours. The store opens at 5:00 am, but the earliest online pickup slot is 10:00 am.”

Customer: “I walk with a cane, and I can’t do my shopping unless I have one of those scooters, but they always seem to be in use. I either have to come in at five when no one else is there, or you can take my order over the phone.”

Me: “It is literally impossible for me to take your order over the phone. I’m sorry, but that’s the way our system is set up.”

Customer: “I guess I’ll come in at five, then, since you’re no help.”

Me: “Would you like me to cancel the two-piece order you placed?”

Customer: “No, just shop it, and I’ll come back for that.”

I texted the next day’s opener and gave them a heads-up about this lady. After I left, she called the store two or three more times to try and get us to shop her order over the phone. Someone must’ve gotten through to her, since this lady did come in sometime early the next morning, did her shopping, and then came back for her two items later. You placed a two-piece order! Just add stuff to your cart before you checkout!

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Creepy, Cut-Off, and Caught!

, , , , , , , | Right | January 8, 2021

It is the summer of 2008 and I am working at a sports bar/pool hall as a cocktail server. I could write volumes about my time there, particularly the constant sexual harassment. This is long before #MeToo and I’m ashamed to say that in favor of a chill, one-of-the-guys reputation, I just play along. Soon, I’ve heard it all and it is nearly impossible to offend me. Until this one jerk. 

We are in the suburbs of Virginia, about a forty-minute drive from DC. A lot of our Happy Hour crowd consists of government employees and military folk from Quantico. 

At the very end of the bar, right next to my station, there’s a very inebriated man being loud and obnoxious. I am running the pool balls through a machine that cleans and polishes them. 

The fact that I am “polishing balls” is enough to set off the obnoxious jerk. He makes several poor attempts at ball jokes, slurring badly and gesturing sloppily. It isn’t anything I haven’t heard a million times so I roll my eyes and ignore him.

He does NOT like that. He starts ranting very loudly.

Customer: “I hate b****es who don’t like sex, like my whore ex-wife!”

He tries to involve the man next to him, who is staring intently at his drink, very clearly trying to not engage with him. I quickly make myself busy elsewhere.

Eventually, I have to go back. When he notices me, he gets excited and leans as close to me as he can without leaving his stool, and asks:

Customer: “What about you, little girl? Do you like sex?” 

I cannot describe how lecherous and disgusting his tone is, even while slurring. The way he says, “little girl,” makes my skin crawl.

Me: “I don’t think that’s any of your business.”

Customer: *Scoffs* “I knew it! These hot young p***ies all hate sex, but they love to tease!”

The bartender beats me to the punch and tells him:

Bartender: “You talk to her like that again, you’ll be kicked out.”

The perv waves him off and starts talking to his unfortunate “new friend” next to him. However, as soon as the bartender is out of earshot, the perv leans back towards me.

Customer: “Ya know, I could teach you all about sex, little girl. I could make you like it. I know what to do.”

I am beyond horrified and frozen in shock. Good thing he is too drunk to control the volume of his voice, as the bartender storms over.

Bartender: “That’s it, buddy, you’re out!”

He slams down the guy’s tab, which he wisely had already printed out, just in case. Everyone at the bar, including several large regulars, are staring at him menacingly — except the guy next to him, who is doing something on his phone. He wises up and pays begrudgingly, grumbling and cursing the whole time. Then, he stumbles out of the bar.

The shock has subsided, but I am still shaking with helpless fury that I didn’t speak up for myself. I am so disgusted by what he said, I want to go scrub off three layers of skin in a long, hot shower.

Just when I think I am doomed to a ten-hour shift of furious repulsion, the quiet guy who has been barstool neighbors with the perv becomes my hero. After paying, he approaches me with a big smile.

Barstool Neighbor: “Don’t worry, I got him for you. I work for the DEA.”

He shows me his badge.

Barstool Neighbor: “That idiot actually asked me if I wanted to buy some Percocet! I’m off the clock, so I told him my ‘buddy’ was interested and asked for his phone number. He’s about to go sell some drugs to an agent who will nail his a**!”

As he leaves, I look at the bartender, who heard everything, in amazement. With a look of dawning realization, he says:

Bartender: “Oh, he was on pain pills! I wondered how he got so trashed on two drinks…”


This story is part of our Best Of January 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of January 2021 roundup story!

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Milking This Conversation Until It’s Dry

, , , | Right | January 5, 2021

My store used to carry a brand of glass milk bottles. If you returned the bottle, you got a $2 refund. Unfortunately, this company went out of business. We have put up signs on the milk cooler saying something along the lines of, “We apologize for the inconvenience, but [Company] has ceased operations. We are looking for a new glass milk bottle replacement.” We quickly run out of what few glass milk bottles remain. That doesn’t stop me from having some form of this conversation for the next several weeks.

Customer: “Where is the glass milk?”

Me: “Oh, they went out of business.”

Customer: “They went out of business?”

Me: “Yes.”

Customer: “So you have no glass milk?”

Me: “No, we do not.”

Customer: “When will you have more?

Me: “We won’t. They’ve gone out of business. [Store] is looking for a new glass milk bottle, but we haven’t found one yet.”

Customer: “How do you know?”

Me: “That’s what the sign says.”

Customer: “What sign?”

Me: “That sign.”

I point at one of the signs, which is directly over the empty hole where the glass milk was. Customers have to move their bodies in order to see around the signs.

Customer: “Oh, I didn’t see the sign.”

Why can’t people use their eyes?

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How To Romaine Calm, Part 2

, , , , | Right | January 5, 2021

This takes place during the romaine lettuce recall that affected the entire country. When we receive our shipments of lettuce during this time, customers snatch up the lettuce faster than we can stock it. I have this conversation about once a day for the entire recall.

Customer: “Where is all the lettuce?”

Me: “That’s all we have, because of the romaine recall.”

Customer: “But only romaine is not being sold. All the other lettuce is fine. Where is it?”

Me: “That’s all we have. There’s a shortage of the other types of lettuce because of the recall.”

Customer: “No, there’s not!”

Me: “Yes, there is. Romaine is one of the most popular lettuces out there. That’s why a good two-thirds of our bagged salads are no longer being sold. What’s left has to be shared with every store and every restaurant in the country. There’s not enough supply to meet the demand. Everyone has to share what lettuce is left.”

The customer grumbles and walks over to the iceberg lettuce and reads the sign.

Customer: “There’s a limit?”

Me: “Yes. You can only buy two heads of iceberg lettuce right now.”

Customer: “Why?”

Me: “It’s to prevent people from taking all of the lettuce before other customers have had the chance to buy some.”

This is one of the reasons why I believe everyone should have to take Economics 101 every ten years or so. Supply and demand is not that hard a concept.

Related:
How To Romaine Calm

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Who Doesn’t Love Unsolicited Advice?

, , , , , | Working | January 1, 2021

I recently got a job at a dealership. It has quickly become apparent that one of my coworkers is going to be a problem. I was hired to replace a cashier that was moving to a different state, and this coworker fills in while I finish my last two weeks at my old job. There are only two cashiers on any given day: one in the morning and one in the evening.

I am not that good at confrontations, especially in situations like this where I’m trying to learn.

On my first day, the official trainer can’t train me because she’s the accountant and she has to do her end-of-the-month stuff. Apparently, the problem coworker thought I would be by myself the next morning — my second day — and was upset when she was told she had to work the morning cashier shift because she hates being a cashier.

I’m scheduled at 2:30, but I punch in around 2:20 and head to my station, which is basically a locked room with plexiglass at the counter with only a small opening to pass things through. The problem coworker is there.

Coworker: “What time were you supposed to get here?”

Me: “Two-thirty. I know I’m a little early. I’m still waiting for [Trainer].”

Coworker: “That’s the problem with twenty-somethings. They don’t know how to get anywhere on time. You should always be here fifteen or twenty minutes early. We open at seven, so you should be set up and ready to go at seven.” 

I anxiously wait for the trainer to arrive. When she still hasn’t arrived by 2:50, I start to wonder if she forgot she was training me today.

Me: “I wonder where [Trainer] is.”

Coworker: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Do you have her number to call her?”

Coworker: “No. I don’t get anybody’s number and no one has mine. [Dealership] isn’t paying for my phone, so nothing work-related is going on it. If I need to call out, I know the number for the dealership. And you’ll never see me on my phone while I’m at work. My family knows to call here if there’s an emergency and they need to get a hold of me.”

Thankfully, a manager walks by a few minutes later and calls the trainer for me. She is stuck in traffic and finally shows up an hour late. I go about my day and the trainer asks if I’m comfortable doing the morning shift by myself the next day. I do agree to try the morning shift after being reassured that I don’t really do anything until about nine or ten, and the trainer will be in around 9:45.

The next morning, I show up at 6:50 and start my opening tasks. By 7:15, I’ve finished everything and I’m scrolling through Facebook on my phone when guess who shows up? The coworker thought that once again she would be the morning cashier. She offers to stay with me, and while I’m glad to not be alone, I wish I was with anyone else. I decide not to point out that she was the one ranting about how you should always be twenty minutes early when she herself was fifteen minutes late.

I get a transaction around eight. The money-taking part is easy; it’s logging the money properly that I’m not fully comfortable with, but I have notes and I start to do it the way I was trained.

Coworker: “Okay, stop what you’re doing. You’re doing it wrong. Don’t listen to the twenty-somethings; they don’t know what they’re doing. They make things way more complicated than they need to be.” 

Me: “But this is how [Trainer] and [Other Cashier] showed me how to do it.”

Coworker: “Trust me, I’m sixty-something. I’ve been around way longer than they have. How old are you anyway?”

Me: “Twenty-six.”

Coworker: “You’re older than I thought.”

I get this a lot. Most people think I’m nineteen to twenty-two.

Coworker: “Anyway, the only thing the twenty-somethings are good at is Excel. I’m assuming you know how to use Excel.”

Me: “Yes.”

I’m thinking to myself that I’m a business major and had to take a computer class for business majors where 80% of the assignments were based around Excel, but she starts ranting again. I mostly tune her out at this point.

A little while later, we’re bored with nothing to do.

Coworker: “Let’s scan some documents. I know [Former Cashier that moved away] would scan sometimes in the mornings when it’s slow.”

Me: “I don’t know how to do that. They didn’t show me.”

Coworker: “Well, it’s not rocket science. All you do is push some buttons.”

I’m thinking, “It may as well be rocket science since I don’t know what I’m doing because it’s only my third day!” She shows me how to scan old documents into the computer. While I do that, a worker from another department waves hello as he passes. I would estimate that about 40-50% of the workers at the dealership speak both English and Spanish. The worker who waves is Hispanic, and I acknowledge him through the plexiglass barricade.

Coworker: “Yeah, that’s [Hispanic Coworker]. He’s nice, but his spelling is atrocious. I keep saying that if people would just learn to speak proper, then there wouldn’t be as many spelling errors in the world. Most words are spelled like they sound. I mean, [Other Coworker] always says, ‘idear,’ instead of, ‘idea.’ It’s spelled like it sounds. Like, people from Boston don’t speak proper.”

I mentally bang my head into the desk and resist the urge to say, “Okay, boomer,” and risk getting fired after only three days. I have to listen to her rant about grammar, twenty-somethings, how the other cashier doesn’t keep anything in a “logical place,” and how to properly file things — something else the other cashier apparently doesn’t know how to do “correctly” — for another hour and a half until the trainer comes in to check on me. I am honestly so horrified at some of the things I hear that I don’t know how to respond.

I pray for customers to come so she will shut up for a few minutes. When I do have customers, she watches me like a hawk and makes me super nervous, but she makes sure I logged everything “the right way.” As soon as the trainer comes in to check on me around ten, the problem coworker leaves.

Trainer: “I am so sorry you had to be stuck with her all morning. Everybody kind of hates her, but we can’t get rid of her. Do you need help with anything?”

Me: “Yes. Help me undo everything. She was having me do stuff all out of order, and she had me separate the receipts from the invoices, and I don’t know what I’m doing anymore.”

The trainer helps me get organized and settled. Thankfully, there isn’t too much to do, and she tells me to page her if I need anything. I manage to get into a rhythm and I’m feeling more confident. A while later, the problem coworker stops by.

Coworker: “How are you doing?”

Me: “Good…” *waits for her to leave* “…now that you aren’t here.”

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