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Thank You For Being A Friend (And An Amazing Uncle!)

, , , , , | Related | August 3, 2021

I don’t recall my exact age when this story happened, but I know that puberty came much earlier for me than my peers and that I was presumably in the very early stages of it at this point, as I’d just recently started to consider the idea of dating and romantic (or sexual) attraction.

This new attraction confused me a bit, mostly because I found myself as attracted, or perhaps more attracted, to other boys as I was to girls. I grew up in a more conservative area and so didn’t realize that there were people who weren’t heterosexual out there yet.

My parents had a close friend who visited semi-regularly. He would often take time to spend with me as well, to the point that he was almost like an uncle to me. One day, he was in the living room talking with me while my parents were busy doing something elsewhere in the house.

Friend: “So what about you? Do you have yourself a girlfriend or boyfriend yet?”

Me: “What did you say?”

Friend: “I asked if you were dating anyone.”

Me: “You said, ‘boyfriend’?”

Friend: “I said girlfriend or boyfriend, whichever you have.”

Me: “Boys can’t have boyfriends.”

Friend: “Sure, they can! Most boys prefer to date girls, but some boys end up preferring to date other boys, just like some girls end up dating other girls.”

Me: “Why do they date boys?”

Friend: “That’s just who they like to date. Everyone is different and likes different things, right? You like vanilla even though I know chocolate is much better. Same thing with dating — some just feel happier dating other boys instead of girls.”

Me: “How do they know?”

Friend: “What do you mean?”

Me: “How do they know they want to date other boys?”

Friend: “Oh, well, I’ve never been gay — that’s what they call boys that only date other boys — so I can’t really say for sure. I mean, can you explain how you knew you liked racing games more than other video games? It’s just something you figure out because it’s what you enjoy and like doing. Like, if you close your eyes right now and picture dating someone, are they a girl or a boy?”

This question was a little too on the nose for me. I panicked a little, not wanting to admit that I’d probably pick a boy, so I lied.

Me: “I don’t want to date anyone!”

Friend: “Oh, girls all have cooties, right? Well, just for the record, whenever you do decide to date someone, your parents and I would love to meet them, whether they were a girl or a boy.”

I remember thinking that day that he was staring at me like he saw through me and already knew I was lying. For years after that, whenever any topic about dating or sex came up, he seemed to make a point of saying, “girlfriend or boyfriend,” and generally making it clear that he would be supportive whichever I ended up dating. I never knew if he would have done that anyway or if he was doing it specifically because he suspected I was gay.

He was the first person to suggest to me that being attracted to the same sex could be okay, and his continuing to hint that he would be supportive of me even if I was gay was honestly a real help as I struggled to identify, and admit to myself, my own sexuality. It was good to know that at least one person would be my friend no matter what.

I ended up being somewhere between gay and bi; I’ve had relationships with both sexes but generally, I’m a bit more attracted to men. When I finally came out officially, the friend was right; my parents were fully supportive of me. As to their friend, his response basically boiled down to, “I knew it, and I’m glad you’re finally ready to come out to us.”

I don’t know how long it would have taken me to even realize that non-hetero people existed without him, or how difficult it would have been to come out if I didn’t know I had someone supporting me through it.

Won’t Even Give Them Credit For Trying

, , , , , , | Right | June 6, 2021

I work at customer service at a home improvement store. I am training a coworker. He and I have been processing returns and we’ve been really busy. I notice there is a problem with the return he is processing, so I stop what I am doing to find out what’s going on.

The customer and her husband paid with their store credit card. Immediately after their transaction, they paid off the bill. They want cash back for the return, which is a little over $600.

Me: “Sorry, ma’am, we can’t do that because it has to go back to the original tender.”

Customer: “I don’t understand.”

Me: “You can’t get cash for the return; it was paid with the credit card.”

She keeps repeating that she doesn’t understand.

Me: “Would you like to talk to a manager?”

Customer: “No. I don’t think that’s how it should be.”

The return is processed, and they stand off to the side and call someone. They talk for a couple of minutes and leave, thank goodness.

A couple of hours later, we’re slammed. I’m coming back to customer service when who do I see? The same lady and her husband. They are also joined by another woman and a toddler.

I don’t have the pleasure of dealing with them. The seasonal/outside supervisor gets called because he is the only available manager. It goes back and forth for a while. He calls the credit center to find out what can be done, which is nothing! All four of them finally leave after wasting time and gas because they thought they could get a manager to override it.

Don’t expect cash back on a return just because you paid off the bill. There are some things that not even managers can do.

The Lucky Last Slice

, , , , , | Working | May 7, 2021

I’m eating a pizza with a friend. When there’s only one slice left, I notice a hair baked into the crust. I go to complain.

Me: “There’s a hair baked into this pizza. I’d like a discount on our bill, please.”

Clerk: “I can get you another pizza.”

Me: “We just ate the entire pizza before we realized it was unsanitary. I don’t want another pizza; I’d like a discount.”

Clerk: “All I can offer you is another pizza.”

I take the hair in my fingers and lift. The entire slice rises. I hold it, dangling in the air by the hair for several seconds.

Clerk: “I’ll get you a discount.”

Wishing You Could Flip Them The Bird, Part 2

, , , , , | Right | April 19, 2021

My store sells ducklings and chicks during March and April and will promote them for Easter sales. It is the day before Easter when this happens.

I get to work for the closing shift and am called to the bird pen as soon as I clock in. During my time in there, I sell about a dozen chicks and the last two ducklings we have to a nice family with two small children.

Not ten minutes later, an angry-looking woman and her husband come up to the service desk and tell me someone put ducks back for them. Confused, I go to the back room to check if someone put them in the “sick chick” box to hold them. Nothing’s back there.

I head back to the customer and tell her that there are no more ducks in the store and that I am sorry for the inconvenience.

She looks at me and calls me “a f****** liar” and says, “You all promised me birds.” I simply tell her that birds are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, and again, that I’m sorry for the circumstances.

She leaves in an angry huff, exclaiming that she’ll never come back to our “h***-hole” store. 

I walk away glad that the birds are gone. Who knows what would have happened if she had gotten them?

Wishing You Could Flip Them The Bird

The True Cost Of Healthcare

, , , | Right | March 23, 2021

I work at the main desk at a VERY large hospital. I have a couple walk up to my desk.

Woman: “Hello, we need to find a patient’s room number.”

Me: “Not a problem! What’s the last name?”

I grab two visitor passes and a sharpie.

Woman: “[Patient].”

I quickly look up the room number and turn to write it on the visitor passes.

Me: “Okay, 431.”

I glance up to see that the couple’s eyes have gone wide and they are looking at me as if I have lost my mind.

Woman: “You… have to pay to visit someone?!”

Me: “Uh, no… it is room 431.” 

I motion to the visitor passes I have already written the room number on.

Woman: “Oh! Good! I don’t have no money!”