One Born Every Hour

, , , , | Right | February 1, 2019

(While we are usually a 24-hour store, for the past two days, from between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am, we have been closed due to renovations. This has been advertised on our social media page, as well as on large signs posted around both the store entrance and the drive-thru for the past week. These sorts of things have been happening several times an hour, despite stacking milk crates four-high — average person height — across the drive-thru, all the outside lights being off, and tradies almost constantly bringing large tools and material in and out of the store. First story:)

Me: *opens the locked door to let tradies in*

Customer #1: *following behind tradies* “Are you open?”

Me: *repeating line I’ve been saying all night* “Unfortunately, no, we’re closed until 6:00 am due to renovations.”

Customer #1: *trying to push her way in* “But you’re a 24-hour store!”

Me: “As I said, we’re currently closed until 6:00 am for renovations. However, since it’s only 9:00 pm, our other locations are still open.”

Customer #1: “But you’re 24 hours!”

Me: “All our equipment is taken apart for the renovation, and there are no registers open for you to buy anything; it’s impossible to make your food and there is literally no way for you to pay for it. Please, try one of our other locations on [Main Street]; it’s only a few minutes away.”

(She finally takes the hint and leaves. Second story:)

Customer #2: *drives straight through milk crates blocking the darkened drive-thru and screams into the ordering box* “WHY THE H*** ARE THERE CRATES IN YOUR DRIVE-THRU?!”

Manager: *through the headset, which he is only wearing for this exact reason* “We are closed until 6:00 am. Please drive through.”

Customer #2: *yelling* “This is bulls***! There aren’t any signs!”

(There are several signs around the customer. One is even taped to the order box in front of her.)

Manager: *visibly restraining himself from sighing in frustration* “There are several signs around you, including those on the milk crates you drove through.”

Customer #2: *still yelling* “How the h*** was I supposed to know?!” *reverses, knocking over more crates, and almost damaging our brand-new menu boards, before taking off over the speed limit*

Taking Stock(holm) Of The Language

, , , , | Right | January 31, 2019

(I’m Canadian, currently doing a study-abroad semester in Stockholm. It’s just before Christmas, when I’m set to head home, so I’m browsing a well-known department store for some gifts. I’m looking at a display of scarves when an elderly woman comes up to me with an armful of items.)

Customer: *speaks Swedish*

(Although I’ve tried to learn the basics, I’m nowhere near fluent in Swedish and have no idea what this lady is saying.)

Me: “Um… Jag kan inte… pratar svenska. Um… sorry.” *I can’t speak Swedish.*

Customer: *scoffs and rolls her eyes, and keeps speaking Swedish*

Me: “I don’t speak Swedish. Um, I’m sorry. I can’t help you.”

(I turn back to the display of scarves, but she forcefully grabs my arm and tries to pull me back. I can’t stand random people touching me, so I give her hand a brisk slap.)

Me: “Please don’t touch me! I have no idea what you’re saying and I can’t help you. I’m very sorry! Now, please leave me alone!”

Customer: *starts screaming at me in Swedish*

(Her expression makes her look like she wants to claw my eyes out. Thankfully, an employee comes over and tries to defuse the situation. It doesn’t help much, and eventually, the lady has to be escorted out by security.)

Employee: “I’m so sorry. She thought you worked here and was trying to get you to give her a discount. She’s actually done this to so many people that she’s not supposed to be in the store, but we have so many entrances it’s hard to keep her out. But you’re American, right? No one from here would’ve stood up for themselves and caused a scene.” *pauses* “Not that it’s a bad thing. We Swedes just don’t like drawing attention to ourselves.”

Me: “Canadian, actually. But thanks, I think?”

Employee: “Aha! Well, that explains how you can stand up for yourself and be polite at the same time. Good for you!”

(He went back to work, and I was left there thinking, “What the heck just happened?”)

Also Allergic To Crazy Strangers

, , , , , | Friendly | January 31, 2019

(My family and I go out to do some holiday shopping at the mall. My husband decides we need to split up, so he goes one way, and our six-year-old son and I go another. As we’re walking, a young lady attempts to hand him a peppermint candy cane, which I gently decline.)

Me: “Sorry, we just found out he’s allergic to most red candies.”

Candy Cane Lady: “Oh, that’s okay. Let me—“

(Another woman has obviously overhead, and storms over.)

Other Customer: “That’s bulls***! You’re just saying that so you can have his candy!” *snatches a cane and attempts to shove it into my son’s hands, resulting in him hiding behind me*

Me: *pushing him further behind me* “Ma’am, get the f*** away from my kid.”

Other Customer: “You’re a horrible parent! Not letting your child have a candy cane! He’s not allergic! Nobody’s allergic to candy!”

Me: *backing up so my son is standing in the doorway of a store, with me between them* “Ma’am, if you don’t back the h*** off, I will defend my child.”

(Apparently, through this ordeal, the lady with the canes has been calling mall security, who finally show up and escort the aggressive lady away, still yelling about “fake allergies.” I explain to the officer what was happening, and, as per his script, he gives me a warning before walking away.)

Candy Cane Lady: “Some people, huh? Let me see if I’ve got some spearmint left for this brave little man.”

(He got two and gave one to his daddy!)

No Honor Among Thieves

, , , , , , , | Legal Right | January 30, 2019

The emergency callout in the supermarket chain I work in is “Mr. Steed.” I’ve heard it several times throughout my time working. Every single time I’ve heard it, it’s always been a stealthily calm, “Mr. Steed, could you please come to [aisle/service desk]? Thank you,” to deal with a customer who’s starting to get verbally abusive or threatening. Nearly all the altercations have happened at the registers, and the staff there are good at de-escalating situations, while I work in the deli at the other end of the store, so I usually don’t even hear the altercations.

I’m working in the deli, serving customers as usual, when I hear extremely loud shouting from what sounds like a group of young men, erupting from the direction of the registers.

The store announcement is desperately screeching, “MR. STEED! MR. STEED! MR. STEED!”

Many of the customers around me are looking extremely nervous, and some customers from the fresh produce section hurry over to the group of customers waiting at the deli, I assume looking for safety in numbers. I start seriously wondering if I should open the deli gate and let customers in behind the counter, just in case there is a serious risk to their safety. There is another, equally desperate, “MR. STEED! MR. STEED! MR. STEED!” call, I can hear all the able-bodied grocery boys running to the front, and the shouting at the front registers continues for about twenty seconds or so until I assume they are tackled by all the guys who answered the Mr. Steed call.

As I can’t see what’s happening and understandably, none of the customers want to investigate, I don’t find out the bizarre extent of what happened until about half an hour later, when one of the cashiers comes up to the deli during her break.

It started off as an apparently standard shoplifting gig that got caught. It was a group of three or four guys, and the cameras caught them stuffing things into their backpacks, so when they got to the front registers the cashier had to do a bag check. During this check, when all the stolen items were emptied from [Thief #1]’s bag, a wallet came tumbling out onto the pile.

It turns out the wallet belonged to [Thief #2], which I thought was rather funny, but evidently [Thief #2] did not find it so funny. An all-out brawl ensued right there at the registers, which explains the testosterone-saturated shouting I heard. Apparently, stealing from the store is fine, but stealing from your fellow thieves is not!

Pee Happens: A Novel

, , , , , , | Right | January 29, 2019

(We are attached to a mall. Our store is the only location outside the mall with a public restroom. Due to this, our bathrooms tend to be every shopper’s first stop. We try to keep it as clean as possible, but on busier days we can only check it once or twice every couple of hours. After one busy weekend day, we were just about to do a clean, when a woman marches over to my coworkers and me.)

Customer: *angrily points* “You! You need to fix the bathroom. I use it all the time and it’s disgusting.”

Me: “I’m sorr–”

(Customer cuts me off by slamming her fist onto the nearest bookshelf.)

Customer: “No! It’s disgusting and you are just lazy and just as disgusting if you think that’s acceptable. You are not getting paid to just stand. You need to work!”

Me: “We are actually just about–”

Customer: “No! It’s gross. You MUST do something! It smelled like pee and there was some on the seat! I can’t believe you allow that to happen.”

Me: “Um, what would you like us to do? Pee happens.”

(With that, she turned bright red, slammed her fists again, and stormed away. My coworkers could not stop laughing. The kicker, the bathroom was not bad at all. Not even toilet paper on the floor.)

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