You’ve Put Us Off Ever Being Helpful Again

, , , , , | Right | December 9, 2020

I am a disabled, overweight woman. I am into “wood art” and generally doing DIY at my home in Scotland. I am also a British Army Veteran. Due to a back injury I sustained in the military, I can’t walk more than a few meters, so I get around on a mobility scooter, complete with Armed Forces Veteran stickers on it, front and back. I’m proud to have served.

My local big-box DIY store famously wears orange. I go there fairly often, often enough that I know where many things are. I’m dressed in jeans, a floral print top, and slip-on shoes — no orange anywhere.

I am down the electrical supplies aisle, looking for just the right light switches and sockets for the remodel I am doing in my long hallway at home. I pick one up every now and then to match with the colour swatch I have brought with me to see how they look. Most of them I put directly back on the hook I picked them out from, and others go in the basket on the footplate of my scooter.

Also in the aisle is an old man. I’d say he’s probably in his eighties. He is looking at the shelves but seemingly rather confused.

Me: “Are you okay, sir?”

That’s mistake number one.

Old Man: “I’m looking for an adapter so I can plug in my electric toothbrush to charge.”

I know exactly what he needs, so I show him exactly where they are. Mistake number two. He smiles and gives me a grateful, “Thank you,” and off he goes happily with his adapter in hand to the tills. I feel good. I’ve helped someone out.

I go back to my own shopping, or at least I try to.

Young Man: “Excuse me!”

I turn to see a young man with a handful of different switches.

Young Man: “Which one of these should I use for an internal switch for an external light?”

I look, as I’m feeling chuffed with being able to help. Mistake number three. I point to one that has a light on it so you can see when the switch is on.

Me: “I’d probably use that one, so you know if the light is on or off if you can’t see the light itself.”

He smiles happily, dumps all the other switches on a shelf, and starts looking at other items on the shelves.

I go back to my own shopping, or at least I try to. Again.

Enter [Woman].

Woman: “Excuse me!”

Me: “Yes?”

Mistake four.

Woman: “Where do I find that stuff to put on walls to fix a hole?”

Me: “It’s down the other end of the store, somewhere near the painting supplies, somewhere near the tills.”

Woman: “Yes, but where, and which shelf?”

Me: “Not sure. Just take a look down there. A member of staff might be able to help better.”

Woman: “I need you to show me.”

Me: “Sorry, just look down there; I’m about to pay for my shopping.”

Woman: “But you need to show me! I don’t know the right stuff.”

Me: “Look down there; there’s a big banner by the right isle. There may be someone there who works here.”

Woman: “But you work here; it’s your job to help customers! Show me where it is and what I need!”

Me: *Getting annoyed now* “It’s not my job; I don’t work here. Am I wearing an orange apron? Ask someone wearing an orange apron. They will help you.”

I start trying to roll my scooter forwards towards the tills. The woman, faster than a speeding bullet, steps directly into my path, only an inch or two in front of me. These scooters are heavy and solid, and they won’t take damage from hitting an ankle. There is absolutely nothing I can do to stop quickly enough.

The woman shrieks.

Woman: “You hit my leg! You tried to run me down! Owwww…”

And the tears flow. Her shriek alerted a couple of staff members, who come running.

Woman: “She ran me down! I want the manager, I want the police, and I want an ambulance! I want her fired and arrested!”

Then, a mature-looking man in a suit, with a large orange badge with his name and the word “Manager” on it comes running up, also alerted by the shriek and the shouting. He asks what happened.

Woman: “Your assistant in the lazy cripple chair tried to kill me! I want her arrested, and fired, and I’ll sue the store for my injuries!”

Manager: “What assistant? This lady doesn’t work here.”

Woman: “She does, and she tried to run me down. My ankle is probably broken!”

She’s still standing, stomping around, shouting, and generally not behaving like someone with a broken ankle. Maybe a spoiled toddler, though.

Me: “She asked me where something was, I told her where to look, she got demanding and behaving like a spoiled child, and then she deliberately stepped in front of me when I went to leave. No way I could stop in time.”

Woman: “Liar! You do work here! I saw you helping two other people. Him!”

She points at the young man, who stopped to watch the commotion.

Me: “Yes, I helped, out of the goodness of my heart, because I’m a nice person. That doesn’t mean I work here.”

Young Man: “Yeah, she was nice enough to help me. I asked her because I saw her helping out an old bloke. I knew she didn’t work here.”

Manager: “Yeah, she doesn’t. Let’s go back to the office to talk about this. Then, we’ll see what needs doing.”

Woman: “And you’ll call the police and an ambulance, and fire her!”

I just shake my head.

So, off we go to the office. The woman remembers her “broken” ankle and starts putting on a deliberate limp. On the wrong leg. She moans all the way to the office about her broken ankle. In the office, the manager invites the woman to sit. I can barely get into the office as my scooter doesn’t have the turning circle to get further in.

Manager: “Let’s start with the CCTV and see what happened.”

He turns the CCTV monitor around so we can all see it. He presses some buttons and runs the video back to where I ride into the aisle. I’m seen looking at products. I’m seen talking to the old man. I’m seen taking him to a shelf and passing an adapter to him. I’m seen talking to the young man and pointing at a product in his hands.

I’m seen talking to the woman and pointing down the store. She is seen looking angry, with fists clenched, talking at me. I’m seen moving off. She is seen rushing past me and deliberately stepping in my path, where I obviously don’t have time to stop.

Manager: “Just so you know, I’m a retired police officer. Do you really want the police and an ambulance? Your ankle is clearly not broken and it’s clear what really happened. Do you really want to get charged for wasting police time? They do that these days, as the police are short of manpower, and they won’t thank you for calling them for what is clearly your own fault. They may even charge you with a hate crime, based on what I and my staff heard. Or will you just leave the store and not come back?”

Woman: “But…”

Manager: “Really?”

The woman wilted. She stood, and with no sign of a limp, she walked out meekly, escorted by a member of staff. I was thanked for my patience and handed a gift card, “For your trouble, and so you’re not put off using [Store].”

I paid for my wares — using the gift card, which covered the whole cost, with some credit remaining on the card for my next visit. I may not help anyone else next time, though.

Source: Reddit (Credit: Penster_Elle, Original Story)

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