They Can’t Even Be Silent For Two Minutes

, , , | Right | October 23, 2020

I am working at my local supermarket on Remembrance Sunday, and despite it being a busy day, all the staff are observing a two-minute silence. Management has been announcing this fact every half-hour since we opened, and then every five minutes from fifteen minutes before, and then again two minutes before eleven.

Eleven o’clock hits and I stop scanning my customer’s groceries. The customer that I was serving and the three others at my till all stand there silently, with their heads bowed. About halfway through the two minutes, an irate, older gentleman with a huge trolley of food barges up to my till and pushes past the other customers.

Customer: “Why are you not serving anyone? I demand that you serve me now.”

Bearing in mind that I was halfway through scanning another customer’s shopping when the two-minute silence started, I am unable to do anything until the transaction is finished. So, I start gesturing to the clock and miming zipping my mouth closed so he gets the idea that I am not speaking at the moment, but all this does is make him angry.

Customer: “Are you mocking me? Come on, speak up! Or are you just deaf?”

I can see all of the other customers in the queue getting angry and frustrated with the man for talking during a two-minute silence, but he will not shut up.

Customer: “You need to serve me! I am in a massive rush and half the roads are closed for some stupid parade.”

I should also mention that my town hosts a Remembrance Day service in the town centre every year, and local veterans and serving soldiers, as well as the general public, all attend. This is not unknown; it is actually a very common practice in the UK.

Eventually, a tannoy announcement states that the two-minute silence is over. I turn to the rude gentleman to speak to him.

Me: “I am sorry for not speaking to you sooner, sir, but I was observing a two-minute silence to honour our war dead. Now, I am afraid that all of these customers were before you, and I do not appreciate you cutting in, so back of the line, please.”

Customer: “Well, I had no idea that you were doing a two-minute silence; your store should have announced that.”

Suddenly, the gentleman behind this customer pipes up.

Other Customer: “Look, mate, you have obviously been here for a while, so I am surprised that you didn’t hear the almost dozen announcements warning that this would be happening and that all of the staff this year had decided that they will all take part? You must be the deaf one. Now, you disrespectful little p***k, back of the line.”

Everyone in the nearby vicinity heard the commotion and applauded when the man was sent packing to the back of the queue. My manager, who had overheard this entire conversation, gave the other gentleman a discount on his shopping.

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