Bad Customers Are A Sign Of The End Times

, , , , , , | Right | July 8, 2019

(I work in a relatively pricey restaurant popular with foreigners and expats. We are a street-level venue in a very tall building with a five-star hotel occupying the top floors. I am serving a regular woman who is well-known among the staff for being demanding.)

Customer: “Yes, I will have my usual lunch plate, with—“

(Suddenly, the whole room starts shaking. Manila is being rocked by what I will later discover is a 7.1 earthquake. Earthquakes aren’t entirely uncommon in The Philippines, but this is the strongest Manila has had in a long while. The lights are shaking, some people are screaming, and some plates and cutlery fall to the ground, some smashing. Astonishingly, while I am holding on to the table to stop from falling over, this customer is continuing her order as if nothing is happening.)

Customer: “—with orange juice, and an extra side of ham.”

(She notices my blank look.)

Customer: “Well? Aren’t you going to get my order?”

Me: “Ma’am, we are experiencing a severe earthquake! In these circumstances, we will have to evacuate the building.”

(The customer looks around with disinterest and only then seems to notice the ensuing chaos. She sniffs.)

Customer: “Hmm, yes. Anyway, my lunch?”

Me: *noticing that an evacuation of the restaurant has started in earnest* “I’m sorry, ma’am, but we will all have to evacuate the building.”

Customer: “Why?!”

Me: “Because of the earthquake!”

Customer: “Oh, it’ll stop in a minute! Stop fussing.” *shows off her crucifix necklace* “Earthquakes are the last sign of the apocalypse, not the first. Let me know when there’s a great flood, and then you can skip my lunch!”

(At that exact moment, with God-given perfect timing — pun intended — the earthquake has shaken the rooftop infinity pool on the luxury hotel so much that a dramatic amount of the water had cascaded over the side of the building. With what can only be described as a cacophonous splash, we both look outside to see Noah’s Flood in miniature playing out on the street outside while bystanders run away in a panic. I stare pointedly at the woman.)

Customer: “Fine. I’ll take it to go.”

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Boredom Kills

, , , , , , , | Working | July 3, 2019

An older pickup truck was left at the far end of our parking lot for repair. Apparently, it would not start. I am bored, so I grab the keys and go out to see if I can start it. Why it was left so far away, I have no idea. I don’t plan on being out for long, so I don’t bother to put on my coat. Minus 20C? That’s nothing… So, I get in and close the door. I slide the key into the ignition and turn it, nothing.

I give it a couple of seconds and try it again. Still nothing. Not a sound. No whirring, no clicking, not even one measly little click. I give up after trying a couple of more times. Only mildly disappointed, I reach for the door handle. The handle flops down as soon as I touch it, broken. No big deal. I reach for the passenger door and pull on that handle. That, too, falls down.

Uh-oh… I look down for the window crank. Missing? I look over at the passenger door window crank. That’s missing, too. You’ve got to be kidding!

The rear passenger window will never move. It has been fixed firmly in place since the day the truck was built. Nope, no sliding hatch at the rear window, either. And to top it off, I didn’t bring my phone. Cut off from the entire world, in a parking lot, at work.

Now what? I am at the far end of the parking lot – a good 100 meters away from the store entrance. It is -20, and I am locked in with no coat. The truck is facing away from the store so frantic waving won’t do much good. The windows are starting to fog up and I am starting to feel the cold. If someone even bothers to look from the store into the parking lot and see the back of the truck, they will not see my head. And with this old, worn-out bench seat, I can hardly see over the steering wheel, the curse of being 5’3”. No one will see me from the back or the front. On my left is a long strip mall, but a huge mountain of snow is in the way. I’m pretty much isolated.

I wonder how long it will take for someone to realize that I have not returned, and then how long after that before they start to look for me — if they even try. Hours? Days? Weeks? I start writing my last will and testament in my head — a lot of good that will do.

Finally, I see someone driving towards a store over the right side of the hood of the truck. [Nearby Store] is open! The gentleman gets out of his car and walks towards the store. He’s only about 50 meters away. I have a bright idea: honk the horn. That will get his attention, and of course he will come over and open the door for me. I push on the horn… Silence. I push it harder. Still nothing. I pound on the horn. Not even a fart. Whoever said silence was golden got it so wrong!

Maybe, just maybe, I have been locked up so long that I have gone deaf, or my ear drums are frozen, or this old rust bucket has extremely good sound proofing. The horn has to work. I look over to see if he reacts to my frantic pushing on the horn. Nope, no reaction. Apparently, the horn doesn’t work; either that or this truck is equipped with an ultra-high-frequency horn that only dogs can hear. Either way, I’m screwed.

Resigned to my fate, I come up with an idea for those that eventually find me. I will make a scratch in the door for every day that I survive in the truck. At least they will know how many days I survived in the wilderness, a mere fifty meters over the right fender from [Nearby Store]. The doors are so scratched up already, they probably wouldn’t even notice my survival scratches. When it rains…

I sit there for a few more minutes. It’s probably my imagination, but the air seems to be getting stale. Locked in a dilapidated old pickup truck. Who cares about being embarrassed? I just want out!

Something catches my left eye, beside and behind my left shoulder. No way! Duct tape? I look over my left shoulder, with a near perfect shoulder check, and find a thick plastic sheet duct taped over where the back seat side window used to be! YES! Why didn’t I notice that before?

I may not be able to blow bubbles with bubble gum or swim more than four feet at a time, and I don’t weigh enough to operate a skid steer, but I can proudly say that I can tear my way through a plastic bag. Oh, yeah! Woot… Woot…

It takes a while, but the plastic was really, really thick, okay?!

I squeeze through the slit I made in the plastic window — thankfully, I weigh less than 130 pounds — and drop to the ground head first. It is not the prettiest of exits, but no one knows I am here, anyway. Who cares? I am free!

I dust some of the snow off my clothes, feel a slight bump on my forehead, no blood. Good!

I feel like I just broke out of prison. I am sure the guilt about ruining a perfectly good plastic-n-duct tape window will diminish soon… Yup, gone already, no guilt left at all. Suhweeeet! And I was still clocked in, too! Nice!

I race back to the shop at least a half hour after I left. Whose bright idea was that, anyway?

I’ve learned my lesson. Next time I am bored, I am going to stay put and just close my eyes. I am never again going to underestimate the value of being bored.

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He’s Not Quite As Quick As Lightning

, , , , | Right | June 28, 2019

(I work at an adult education program. I have to help answer phones for all the different classes. This customer is interested in the community golf class.)

Customer: “I’d like to take the golf class, but I travel for work and I need to know when the last class will be.”

Me: *despite the fact that the start date, length of class, and school holidays are in the brochure* “Let me check for you… The last class will be [date], unless we have to cancel because of weather.”

Customer: “Why?”

Me: “Thunderstorms aren’t good with golf.”

Customer: “Why?”

Me: “Lightning.”

Customer: “Really? Well, when will that be?”

Me: “The first class, they’ll give you the phone number to the clubhouse, and you can check with them if the weather looks bad. If we have to cancel, we’ll add a class at the end.”

Customer: “But when will that be?”

Me: “If the weather looks bad.”

Customer: “Yes, but when will that be?”

Me: *realizing he wants me to predict the weather two months from now* “I don’t know, sir, but you’re welcome to check with us any time.”

(I wonder to this day what job he had, and why he was allowed to drive.)

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Your Argument Is Heated But Your Reasons Are Cold

, , , , , | Right | June 21, 2019

(It’s a record-breaking day for temperatures, which are exceeding 45 degrees Celsius — 113 F — all over the country. It’s still 35 degrees Celsius — 95 F — at eight pm. I’m a manager on duty doing the night shift and helping the kids — younger coworkers — by dispatching orders in between making burgers.)

Me: “Order [number]! [Meal]?”

Customer: *visibly angry* “How could you do this to these children?!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am?”

Customer:Do you know how hot it is?

(I am visibly sweating, as the air conditioning keeps failing every other hour due to the system overheating.)

Me: “Yes, I do. I’m doing everything in my power to make sure these kids have plenty of water and I’m even giving out frozen slushies to the kids. Have you ordered yet?”

Customer: “You have my order! I hope you’re ashamed of yourself! Why are you even open?!”

Me: “Unfortunately, I have no say in when we open or close the store outside the listed hours, but I assume it’s so we can continue serving customers such as yourself. If you’re unhappy about the situation we’re in, I’m happy to give you a refund on your order so you can choose somewhere else to eat?”

Customer: “Are you kidding?! I need to feed my family!”

(With that, the customer grabbed her bucket and stormed out of the store.)

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, , , , | Right | June 17, 2019

(I work at a convenience store that’s part of a gas station, and we often stock some automotive supplies inside or in front of the convenience store. One particular very cold day, when it’s -12 F,  a regular customer walks by as I am stocking antifreeze in front of the store.)

Customer: “Hey, [My Name], no one’s going to buy that if it’s frozen solid.”

(I just stare at the customer for a few seconds until it clicks in his head.)

Customer: “Please don’t tell anyone I said that.”

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