You Will NOT Be Mugged Off

, , | Right | June 15, 2020

I’m a female mechanic, but I’m also a welder and I spent a year in Finnish Defence Forces, so I’m trained as a gunsmith-corporal. We’re having a coffee break on a loading platform when an elderly customer pushes his lawnmower in front of us.

Customer: “Now, start earning your salary and take this up there!”

Without waiting or looking at us, he just walks around the corner to enter our shop. We exchange disbelieving grins and return inside to see what comes next. Inside, the customer is acting snobbish and bold, giving out a list of what to do to his lawnmower, and belittling products we have on sale. He goes on and on about them all being made in China without quality checks and about how the factory stamps are lying about the origin.

We’re getting irritated and my coworker is snapping back at him a bit sharply. We sell quality gardening machines which run literally twenty to thirty years if maintained right. Luckily, he leaves after noticing that our mood to serve him is getting very cold.

A week passes…

The customer appears and wants to buy a big trimmer. He continues belittling everything but now he includes chauvinist jokes! I ignore this as usual and start to prepare the trimmer for test use.

Customer: “No, no, no! Don’t put gas in it! It will leak in my car!”

Me: “This is a brand-new machine; the cap will hold. It won’t leak, and we can put a plastic bag around the engine just in case.”

Customer: “No! It will leak! Don’t put gasoline in!”

Me: “Are you sure you want to take this with you without testing its use? You’ll know that if you do, we can’t guarantee it works and you are on your own with it.”

The customer thinks for a moment, and just when I start hoping he’ll just take the d*** thing and leave, he has an idea. 

Customer: “You can put some gasoline in and then pour it back to a canister after.”

We do that and I test-run the engine. Giving instructions is easy; he listens and hopefully understands. He makes only a few mild chauvinist jokes.

Me: “Okay! You can now go back to the shop. I’ll get you an equipment box and carry the trimmer out for—”

I’ve walked ahead to get the key and I hear the loud cracking sound of porcelain breaking behind me. THAT sound was my own personal Disney Princess coffee mug breaking. 

Customer: “Oops. Hope that wasn’t expensive.”

The customer storms past me carrying the trimmer.

I have had enough. Being rude, chauvinist, ignorant, and stupid, I can take any day at my work, but you don’t break stuff and just lift your shoulder about it. As he comes back for the extra equipment box, I approach him, holding the broken mug.

Me: “You broke my mug. I told you I’d bring the trimmer and there’s a d*** good reason for it. THIS.” *Shaking the mug* “And this.”

I point at the huge “WORKSHOP — NO CUSTOMERS” sign next to the workshop door.

The customer is about to take the box and head casually out but he freezes. I’m short and polite to customers, so my stern, strong military-command voice takes him by surprise. 

Me: “The workshop is slippery due to oil on the floors; if you slip and hurt yourself, our insurance won’t help you.”

Customer: “But I have my own—”

Me: “That doesn’t matter. We handle machines in the workshop so customers like you don’t hurt themselves or break anything. Customers don’t have anything to do there for many good reasons. I told you to go to the store side. Now. You owe me for that mug. It was my d*** favorite Disney mug.”

The customer is stunned and his eyes are nailed to the floor as he has realized there’s no use trying to argue with me or be a smarta**. 

Customer: “How much do you want for it?”

After giving me ten euros, he slips away very, VERY fast without looking up again. I should have announced a higher price, but just having the opportunity to give him a brimstone-and-fire lecture was priceless. When he is gone, I notice there’s another customer at the desk. 

Customer #2: “Did he break that?”

Me: “Yep. I’m not letting anyone in the workshop today.”

Customer #2: *Amused* “Then it was right to demand payment. It should be clear why the workshop is for mechanics only.”

I hope we’ll never see that snob again, and if that misfortune appears, I’ll make sure to be there, glaring at him and just waiting for him to give me a reason to smack his oversized ego down again.

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