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Call In Sick, I’ll Treat You Like You’re Sick

, , , , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: A_Cat_Named_Frank | October 25, 2022

A few years back, I was developing a new vineyard. Due to the nature of the work, you end up going through a few men. I settled on a reasonably good crew of eight for the after-planting work that included a bloke we’ll call “Bobbie”.

When Bobbie started with me, he admitted that he had a past that involved some heavy drug use, but he claimed he was clean for his kids.

His brothers must have had other ideas because he was soon back on the gear (Australian slang for a particular drug), and his work was slipping. Being casual, I don’t mind being flexible with time worked as long as there’s communication, but Bobbie was coming in late, shooting through early, and at times simply not turning up.

One Monday, he didn’t turn up. When I messaged him to find out what was going on, he said something along the lines of:

Bobbie: “Sorry, mate. I’ve got a bit of gastro.”

This was clearly bulls*** given his history; he’d likely been on a bender and woken up at someone else’s place and didn’t know which side of town he was on.

This is where some malicious compliance came in. I had kids at daycare. I knew that once they got crook (Australian slang for illness) they were excluded for several days. Why should work be any different?

I checked the federal government’s health website which recommended exclusion for three days after symptoms passed to ensure the bug wasn’t spread. This was too easy.

Me: “That’s pretty s***. I can’t risk it going through the crew, and with the number of young kids on the farm, I can’t risk it spreading to them. The government recommends three days to let it clear properly, so take the rest of the week to get over it, mate.”

Bobbie’s one-day sickie to get over his hangover had suddenly turned into a week’s lost wages, and he couldn’t argue because, as thick as he was, he knew he was just digging himself a hole.

Amazingly, he seemed to have learned his lesson and didn’t try that bulls*** on me again.

Doesn’t Feel Hard-Pressed About The Press

, , , , , | Right | February 1, 2021

I work at a winery. One pretty neat thing about our location is that we have a wine press from 1723. It was given by the owners of the company, a wealthy Austrian family, to the president when he joined the business. It is very tall, easily over three metres, and made of wood that is so old it has become petrified, meaning it feels like stone. It is, however, still very fragile, being almost 300 years old.

We have a wide variety of people come through, including families with young children, since we are in a tourist area and do also sell things that aren’t wine.

On this particular day, we aren’t very busy and the only people currently in the building are a family of four. The kids are young but old enough to know better. The father is paying for his items: some T-shirts for the kids as well as some wine. As I am about to hand him the card reader, I look up to see his two children climbing on the wine press.

Me: “Okay, your total is—”

I cut off my sentence when I see the kids climbing on the press, directly in my line of sight from my till.

Me: “Sorry, could you please tell your children to get off the wine press?”

He turns and looks at his kids before turning back to me.

Customer: “Why?”

Me: *With disbelief* “Because it’s a wine press and not a jungle gym?”

Customer: “So?”

Me: “It’s 300 years old!”

At this, and possibly the look on my face since I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, he reluctantly told his kids to get down. I finished with his order and he paid and went into the yard where we also sell food.

My manager had been on her way to tell the customer the same thing herself, and neither of us could believe his attitude. We had another issue with that family a little later involving them trying to grill their outside food on our BBQs, something we don’t allow as it’s a health violation. For the record, we do also have a jungle gym outside for kids to play on.

She Is Tea Total, Part 2

, , , , | Right | July 17, 2020

I’m working the bar at a local winery when a gentleman comes in. He seats himself at the bar and I ask if I can get him anything. He orders a bottle of wine and mentions that his wife will be joining him.

Me: “Would you like two glasses for the wine?”

Customer: “Probably not.”

I think nothing of this and go on about my shift. I notice his companion has joined him, and I walk up and greet her.

Me: “Would you like a glass to share this bottle, or perhaps I could interest you in something else?”

In addition to wine, we have beer, coffee, and soft drinks. The customer’s wife barks in disbelief.

Customer’s Wife:Excuse me?! I’m super pregnant. I can’t have wine!”

I apologize with a smile.

Me: “Sorry, I couldn’t see that over the bar. Congratulations. Would you like a soft drink? We have—”

Customer’s Wife: “HOT TEA!”

Again, I apologize with a smile.

Me: “I’m sorry, we don’t carry hot tea. I have coffee, both regular and decaf, and a variety of sodas, though.”

Customer’s Wife: “That’s bulls***. I want hot tea.”

Me: “Let me get the manager.”

I run back to the owner’s desk, where the manager and the owner are working on the schedule together. I explain the situation. The owner says, “But we don’t even have teabags!” The manager agrees to go talk to the customer, but she wants to hit a good stopping point before she drops the schedule.

I walk back to the bar and explain that I’ve made my manager and the owner aware, and they’ll be out shortly. Can I get them anything in the meantime? The gentleman orders a cheese plate, but his wife is pouting heartily.

Customer’s Wife: “I’m pregnant, and all I want is a f****** cup of hot tea. I should be allowed to get hot tea wherever I want!”

Customer: “We’re at a winery. You can’t expect them to have hot tea. Why don’t you just get a root beer?”


I went to the back to make up the cheese plate, while my manager and the owner came up to investigate the ruckus.

The story has a “happy” ending, though. The owner managed to find a teabag at the bottom of her purse. She produced it for the customer to inspect, with full disclosure that it wasn’t a menu item, and probably not even a recommended transaction with the board of health. The customer snatched it up and was charged the cost of a bottled water for the hot water I boiled up for her. She paid $1.75 to have a bottom-of-the-purse teabag because she wouldn’t relent to the fact that the world doesn’t strictly cater to her needs.

She Is Tea Total

Of Broken Glass And Beer

, , , | Right | April 8, 2020

(It’s about fifteen minutes before closing. We have a nice porch where customers are welcome to sit and enjoy our wine and our food or a picnic they bring. There are signs everywhere stating this, and also that the porch and grounds close fifteen minutes after the store closes. I’m at the tasting bar with one customer and his three-year-old son, and most of my coworkers are starting to close up. A second customer is being helped at the far end of the bar by a coworker. My customer’s son is sitting on the bar.)

Male Customer: “You don’t mind if my son sits on the bar, do you?”

Me: “Well… I’d prefer it if he didn’t, but it’s almost closing, so I guess it’s okay.”

Male Customer: “Okay, great!”

(He’s doing a wine tasting slowly, so I pour him wine every few minutes. The female customer comes over when my coworker is called to help someone else.)

Female Customer: “I’m not really doing a tasting; I’m just trying to decide on a bottle to buy. Can you tell me about these wines?” *asks for some details and I tell her* “Okay, can I try that one? Just to see if I like it.”

Me: “Generally, you’d need to purchase a tasting, but since it’s just one, sure, that’s fine.”

(As I go get her wine, I notice that the male customer’s child is getting pretty antsy.)

Me: “Sir, maybe you should let your son down; I don’t want him to knock anything over.”

Male Customer: “Oh, no, he’s fine! I’m almost done anyway.”

(I get the wine for the woman. After a few minutes:)

Female Customer: “Could I try this beer? It sounds good. My husband might want to buy some; he’s outside.”

Me: “Sure, he can try one thing if he’s also deciding on what to buy.”

(I go over to the beer tap to pour her beer. As I’m waiting for the foam to settle, I hear a huge crash and turn around. The area where I was standing before is covered in shards of glass, both the bar and the floor. Somehow, the little boy on the bar broke a glass, or possibly threw it. Usually, when our glasses break, they break into two or three large pieces, but this one is a stem and a lot of shards. I’m a little stunned.)

Coworker: “Oh, my God, [My Name], what happened?! Are you okay? [Coworker #2], can you run and get the broom?”

Me: “I’m not really sure! I’m okay, though.”

(The male customer won’t look at any of us.)

Female Customer: “Excuse me! My beer, please?”

Me: “Sorry, do you mind waiting a moment? I want to be sure I don’t have any shards on me and I’m wearing sandals, so I’m afraid I’ll cut my feet if I walk through here right now.”

Female Customer: “But my husband is waiting outside for this beer!”

Me: “Sorry, it’ll just be a minute to clear a path. I’m a little paranoid about broken glass.”

(After two or three minutes, we get things cleaned up and I pour a fresh beer for the woman; I’m being overly cautious but want to make sure there’s no glass in her beer. The male customer and his son slink away without looking at anyone. The female customer is still there.)

Female Customer: “This beer is really good, but it took you a while.”

Me: “I’m really sorry, but I was worried about the glass everywhere.”

(She leaves the bar and buys some things, including a glass of beer. My manager tells her that we’re closing as soon as she’s ready but she can take her time. After she pays, she sets her bag down on the tasting bar and asks where the restroom is. Then, she goes outside, comes back after a minute, and puts her bag of purchases on the bar.)

Female Customer: “I need to wait for my husband to come in and watch my bag while I use the restroom.”

Me: “It’s okay; I can watch it for you.”

Female Customer: “No, he’s coming; he’ll watch it. I don’t want it to disappear.”

(There are no customers anymore, just me cleaning the bar and three coworkers cleaning up other areas. Eventually, her husband comes in and he waits with her bag. After what feels like a long time, she comes out and they all go out. They all go to the car and we grumble a bit about this customer who wouldn’t actually purchase a tasting, and I discover she had several free tastes from my coworker, using the excuse that she was trying to decide what to buy. After a few minutes, we notice that the family is returning from their car with a grocery bag and a cooler, and they set up a picnic dinner on the porch. It’s now ten minutes past closing time, and five minutes before our grounds are closed.)

Manager: “Oh, no. Are they really going to set up dinner out there as the grounds are closing, after all the nonsense in here? Who wants to tell them they have to go?”

(We’re all silent.)

Manager: “Ugh, fine. I guess it’s a manager’s duty anyway. I’ll give them ten minutes and then I’ll go out.”

(After ten minutes, they haven’t even started eating, and the woman has barely touched the beer, which is obviously not something her husband wants. My manager goes out to speak with them.)

Manager: “I’m so sorry, but our grounds are now closed.”

Female Customer: “So? We’re not shopping anymore.”

Manager: “No, the grounds. We can’t have customers using the grounds beyond fifteen minutes after the winery closes.”

Female Customer: “What are you trying to say?”

Manager: “That you’ll have to go. I’m sorry.”

Female Customer: “But you just sold me this beer! What do you expect me to do?

Manager: “I sold you the beer about twenty minutes ago; I expected you to drink it. I’m sorry, but these are the rules. It’s not safe here after dark, since there are no lights that are left on after we leave.”

Female Customer: “Where are there signs saying this? I’m not leaving because of your secret rule.”

(My manager points to the three signs clearly visible and readable from where they are.)

Female Customer: “F*** you!”

(She pours her beer on the porch floor and she and her husband pack up all their food and kids and leave. My manager comes back in and says:)

Manager: “How much you wanna bet that’s our newest bad Yelp review?”

Drink Of The Sinners!  

, , , | Right | August 11, 2019

(I work in a wine tasting room in a popular tourist town in Arizona. While I’m working there one afternoon, the following exchange happens.)

Middle-Aged Woman: “Do you sell any white infidel?”

Me: “Pardon?”

Middle-Aged Woman: “Yeah, white infidel! I love that stuff; it’s like crack. It’s the best!”

Me: “Do you mean white zinfandel?”

Middle-Aged Woman: “Yeah! That! Got any?”