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This Complaint Is Older Than Most Veterans

, , , , , | Right | July 4, 2020

I am a twenty-one-year-old female and I work at a well-known bedding and housewares store. I am working opening shift on July 4th as the main cashier when an older man comes in.

Customer: “Do you have a windshield cleaner with replacement pads?”

Me: “Hmm, we have two kinds in the store. Let me show you the first that’s just up front here!”

I walk out from behind the counter and lead him to where one of the two kinds is hanging. I point to it.

Me: “We have this one here, the [Brand]. Is this it?”

The customer suddenly raises his voice.

Customer: “No! I want a windshield cleaner with replacement pads! That’s not it!”

His volume and tone are making me nervous.

Me: “Okay! Well, we have another type that is further back in the store. Let me call another employee to the front and they can help you find it!”

I walk away and call over the walkie-talkie for another employee. Since I am the main cashier, I have to stay within a certain area near the main registers. I walk back behind the counter just as my coworker comes up. I introduce him to the customer and explain what he is looking for.

Me: “He’s looking for windshield cleaners, and it’s the other one, not [Brand].”

My coworker nods and looks at the man, but he interrupts before my coworker can say anything.

Customer: “I need a windshield cleaner with replacement pads! And not that one on the wall!”

Coworker: “Hmm…”

My coworker walks over to a newly-placed bin with the second kind of windshield cleaner in it. He takes one out and shows it to the customer.

Coworker: “Is this it?”

Customer: “Yeah, I guess so.”

He takes it, my coworker thanks him and walks off. The man approaches the counter I am at in order to pay.

Me: *Smiles sheepishly* “I’m sorry about that, sir! They must have put the bin up yesterday when I wasn’t in and I didn’t get a chance to notice it. It’s crazy how much a store can change when you’re gone, even in such a short time!”

The customer tosses the cleaner on the counter.

Customer: “Yeah, right, you just don’t want to serve veterans! None of you do!”

Me: *Startled* “No, sir! Actually, my dad and grandfather are both vet—”

The customer ignores me and interrupts, leaning on the counter and getting very close to my face.

Customer: “Don’t lie to me! I know the truth!”

He takes out his wallet and begins pulling out a bill. I’m already overly sensitive to loud noises and shouting, and him getting so close only makes the whole situation worse, so I am shaking by this point, but I manage to put on a smile.

Me: “All right, that will be $10.59.”

He pulls out $11.00 and hands it to me, picks up his item, and starts to head toward the exit around the counter. I quickly finish ringing out his order.

Me: “Oh, sir, do you want your change?”

Customer: “Yes.”

He continues walking toward the exit as he holds his hand out toward me. I plop his change into his open hand.

Me: “Have a good day!”

Customer: *Nods* “Have a happy July 4th.”

Me: *Confused* “You, too!”

Customer: “Oh, you’ve already made it better!”

He said it in a genuine tone. Then, he walked out. I was stunned. I fully respect veterans and I entirely understand that July 4th can be a bad day for some of them, as I assume was the case here, but still, this was a startling and bizarre scenario for sure!

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