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Intelligence Dissolving

, , , | Right | April 30, 2021

A customer buys five yards of water-soluble stabilizer, a film-like product used in machine embroidery. You place it under the fabric you are embroidering to keep it in place for better results, then you spray it with water and it dissolves.

It runs about $4 or $5 a yard — a touch on the expensive side. The customer comes to the register and pays for her stabilizer, around $25 all told. I start to put it in a bag and she stops me.

Customer: “Oh, no bag. I don’t want to waste a bag.”

Me: “Are you sure? It’s raining out.”

Customer: “I won’t need it. My car is not far from here. I won’t get that wet.”

She left in a heavy rain. And to keep herself dry? She held the stabilizer over her head. In the rain. Did I mention it’s water-soluble? And not a cheap product?

I guess I’ve worked retail too long. I’m only surprised she didn’t try to get a refund.

Let’s Hope This Is Dry Humor

, , , , , | Right | April 23, 2021

I’m bringing the carts from outside into the vestibule at work. It’s rainy so the carts are wet. A lady approaches me.

Customer: “Excuse me, do you guys have any carts that are dry?”

Me: “We may have some carts that other customers have left in the front end of the store, but other than that, these and the carts that are outside are the only ones we have.”

Customer: *Visibly irritated* “Why don’t you have any carts that aren’t wet?

Me: “Um… because it’s raining and they’re coming from outside?”

Customer: “Ugh, this is ridiculous.” *Turns her nose up and walks inside*

This Story Starts With Hurricanes, And Then It Gets Worse, Part 2

, , , , , , | Right | April 18, 2021

Hurricane Irma is making landfall in a few hours. The storm is record-breaking in size, so despite being mid-state we’re already getting high winds and heavy rain. Our store waits a bit late to close down, but we still close down mid-afternoon before our customers would normally expect the drivers to pick up. We’re busy inside tarping equipment.

Boards are all sold out, so we’re also putting tarps up in the front to try to keep water off the merchandise and equipment if the windows break.

From the other side of the tarp, I hear a frantic knocking.

I pull the tarp aside and a woman is standing there in a business suit, getting absolutely soaked, a piece of paper in a plastic sleeve pressed to the glass.

Customer: “I need to get this shipped out overnight!”

I provide a lengthy blank stare as I try to process the customer’s request. The store owner hollers from the back of the store.

Store Owner: “You have got to be s***ting me!”

Customer: “Please. I have to have it there tomorrow. Let me in!”

Me: “Ma’am, that’s not happening.”

Customer: “Why not?!”

Me: “We’re closed. All the drivers are off the road. No one is going to be taking your package anywhere until after the storm.”

Customer: “Can you just make a label for me and I’ll find a truck?”

Me: “No, ma’am. We’re closed. All our computers are disconnected and bagged up. There are no trucks for you to find. They’ve been off the road for hours now.”

Customer: “Why would they do that?”

Me: “Because they have other priorities right now.”

She smacks my window with frustration and taps away through standing water up over her high heels. She stares back at me for a good moment, mouth open with shock.

Store Owner: “F****** idiots.”

There’s another tap on the glass behind me. A man is standing there holding a box. 

Next Customer: “Can I just drop this off? I know it won’t go out today.”

Store Owner: *Rushing to the front* “Absolutely not!”

Next Customer: “I just wanna drop it off! It can go out after.”

We both watch as a large banner that used to be bolted in front of the neighboring gas station blows past him through the empty parking lot.

Store Owner: “There might not be a store left standing here after. Go home.”

Sure enough, the roof came off. Windows were about all that survived.

This Story Starts With Hurricanes, And Then It Gets Worse

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

Read the next Best Of April 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of April 2021 roundup!

On Cold Days, The Customers Are Colder

, , , , , | Right | March 26, 2021

It was one of the coldest winter days this year in my part of Ontario; the temperature is -25 degrees, -30 with the wind chill. A lady called to complain that the takeout she ordered got cold enough on the fifteen-minute drive home that she had to rewarm it.

It was hard to find the sincerity in my voice to apologize to her.

A Storm Of Bad Behavior

, , , , | Right | March 17, 2021

It is March of 2017 and we have some horrible windstorms. Power is out all across the state from twenty-four hours to weeks at a time. It is day one of the storm. I arrive at work to discover there is no power, but due to company policy, we are forced to stay open.

We have one person at the front who can process transactions in cash only, one person to verify prices as needed, and one person to limit the number of people in the store at one time, plus management. Our store policy indicates that in order to sell tobacco/vape and alcoholic products, we must ID every customer and scan their ID. We do this with regulars, out of towners, and even employees. It’s a dumb policy, but it’s to cover our butts.

Our sweet older lady is working the register, and I’m the price checker. Everything is going quite smoothly despite working by flashlight. Eventually, I hear arguing coming from the front.

Customer: “Just look at my ID and do the math! I need my cigarettes!”

Coworker: “Ma’am, I’m terribly sorry, but due to company policy I am unable to sell you cigarettes with no way to scan your ID.”

Customer: “F*** your policy! Just sell me the d*** cigarettes! I’m [number] years old!”

Coworker: “I’m sorry but it’s against store policy to sell tobacco or alcohol without being able to scan an ID.”

The customer stormed out in a huff. Over the next hour or so, this same scene happened again and again, for alcohol and cigarettes. We even put signs near all the appropriate products and on the front doors.

Eventually, our store manager — who is super nice 99.9% of the time — snapped and closed the store. He told us that we could leave the second our shift management got the okay from corporate. Luckily, about three hours later, we got the okay to finally leave. In the upcoming days, some of the same customers came in and acted as if nothing had happened, never apologizing for their obnoxious behavior.