He's also a top-notch fisherman and is now starting a guide business. So far, he's been okay with talking to people, scheduling, and the like. He had his first trip last week and had a few questions for me when he got home. I tried to answer him to the best of my ability, but basically, some people just suck was my answer.
#1: Why don't rich people tip? This comes from a couple he took out who did not pay for their trip. It was a gift. So, they have absolutely no money into the trip what-so-ever. They made sure to tell him all about how much they travel, their new 200K motor home, fat house, etc. She caught the biggest (insert fish name here), they both received a care package with a map, spots pre-marked, and had a wonderful time! They also said they will book more in the future. Awesome right!!
The tip: $10
I know, I know, tips are not to be expected. I told him that some people just don't tip well, and he should be happy they gave him anything. No, he was not happy with that answer. BTW, that was a 7% tip but at least it was something.
#2: What could I have done differently to receive a better tip? He had their favorite drinks, the care package, he took them out for 2 extra hours, and was extremely customer service oriented. Again, I told him some people just don't tip or don't tip well. Asking for a tip is not allowed and adding a gratuity is the biggest way to make people ANGRY! I also said not to take it personally; how do you think they got rich in the first place?
Now for the last story he has. It was Saturday, and he was up at his dad's house helping him build a new deck. He received a call around 10 am asking him if he has a boat for rent (not uncommon, it happens).
My hubs, trying to make sure he was hearing him right, asked if he wanted a boat, or to go out on someone else's boat. Someone else's - he wants a guided trip, for that day, in the afternoon, on a Saturday.
Now, I know a lot of people have no idea about fishing guides and that's okay - how often do you need that type of knowledge right? But, most guides are booked up for the summer starting in late winter/early spring.
He told the guy I'm sorry, but I'm out of town. Then he gave him a few names and number of people to call. The guy already called 1 of them and he wasn't answering; probably because he was already out with someone.
The guy was upset that there was no one to take him fishing. But here's the kicker, he had this trip planned for the past 3 months and never called anyone in advance and now he's mad.
My hubs felt so bad he couldn't help him. And that pissed me off. Fuck that dude! He had 3 months to figure this out, and he didn't. It was his fault, not yours - do not feel bad for him.
I advised him to get a tougher skin and remember you can't make everyone happy all the time, but we'll see how this goes.
Ke$ha and I same the same affinity for beards, but beard advertising? WTF?! Car ads are bad enough but now we have people walking around with shitty little billboards in their hair? Ridiculous.
Welcome to this brave new world. Cornett-IMS, an ad agency based in Lexington, Kentucky came up with a novel idea for distributing ads around town: pay men $5 to walk around with a small advertisement card in their beards. Sounds like a joke, right? A&W doesn't think so; they've signed up as the campaign's first major business partner.
Hey, at least it's not permanent like a tattoo, right?
So my mom and I have been working the same waitress job for 5-6 years now. She had been waitressing years before, but this is recently. Anyway, about… 15 minutes ago this guy she waited on left and told her to take care. Just that. Prior to this she had talked to him about Italy. Her people are from Florence, this and that, and she said she’s never been. She’s got 8 years of art education and she’s working a waitress job. It’s pretty… Sad and disappointing, I guess. Her and my father divorced 6 years ago and she hasn’t had a real job ever. Just been stuck in a small town she’s not from.
This man who we have never seen before tipped her 1000 dollars for a trip to Italy. Walked out, not another word.
…you know. Just when I start to lose faith in humanity….Hm.
We all loathe Bullseye, and I had a brief stint under their poisonous thumb. But this isn't a story about that... It's about when Bullseye pulled me off the registers and threw me into the integrated pizza fast food court.
Now I had been hired on to be a cashier at Bullseye. I had been working with them for a few months, so I knew my way around their particular registers. Suddenly a wild manager appears out of the long grass, tells me to turn off my light and walks me over to the food court.
Manager: "We've got a problem. The cashier girls called out. We've got two experienced cookers, but nobody to run the registers. Guess where I'm putting you?" He hands me a food court labeled sun visor.
Me: "Hey! Wait! I've NEVER worked in ANYTHING related to food! Also...." I point to my long, straight, shoulder length blonde hair. "I'm pretty sure this should be put in a net or someth-"
Manager: "You won't do anything but take orders. The cooks will put it on the counter and call out the numbers."
Now RHU, I am well indeed ignorant of how many laws, health codes, hygiene requirements get shoved into the heads of fast food workers, but one thing I do recall is that hair tends to be tied or restrained or something. Perhaps I am foggy in memory, but even the folks at registers at Golden Arches had something, even if it was just a pony tail sticking out the back of a baseball cap.
Again, I've got a sun visor, and my Bullseye red shirt and khakis.
Feeling like a deer in the headlights, I'm deposited in front of a register that works completely differently from the standard Bullseye register.
One of the cooks comes out of the back, bedecked in all the proper hygeine head and hand gear, and gives me the ten second training montage.
Cook: "It's a touch screen. Push these for individuals, push this for a combo, drinks are over here. Hit the total, the tender buttons come up after that. Good luck."
Me: *out loud* B-B-But! (in my head) AUUUUGGGHHH!
I pride myself in being a quick learner. I even pride myself in making very few mistakes once I have the rough hang of any cash register. I absorb training efficiently. Today, I was just chucked off a cliff.
With the desperate speed of the cartoon character flapping two feathers in order to keep from falling off a cliff, I get through the first three custys without incident. They are kind, and patient, because I make it very clear that I am very new.
Then Captain Asshole of the Million Changes comes forth.
Captain Asshole: Okay I want a chicken basket with fries and a medium drink, a slice of pizza... no wait, take the fries off the chicken basket, I want a combo number 4, but substitute the drink for a shake, wait, that slice of pizza, make it the number six instead, hang on, axe the chicken basket and make it a number 1....
His changes are never ending, my fingers are flying trying to keep up with his changes, alterations and deletions, and I'm positive that I'm getting something wrong because he can't fucking make up his mind for longer than five seconds.
The lunch rush is in full fucking swing, people have now lined up behind this douchemobile so far that it's out of the fucking food court, I'm the only cashier, and there's an irate mob muttering behind him.
Captain Asshole: "Okay, that should be everything. What the hell?! It shouldn't be that expensive! What are you charging me for?!"
At this point I give up, poke my head in the back and yell for one of the cooks. She stares at the mess I've made on the screen, voids the whole thing and takes his order anew.
The new order is completely unrelated to anything I'd had on the screen, and he makes several changes while the cook rings him up. Finally, she tells him to get out of line and make up his mind before he approaches again.
I get through five people before Captain Asshole has made his decision, steps forward and orders. I give him the total. He swipes his card to pay. "That's better. I don't know why it was so hard for you to get it right."
My eye twitches and I reach for the nearest object to bash him over the head with, but he has already spun on his heel and walked away to sit with his four kids.
The entire lunch rush --three hours-- is just me, my flying fingers, and the lines. Then I feel a tap on my shoulder. The 2 pm shift has arrived, and a sweet-faced angel gently shoos me away.
My head is filled with an image of my glomping her and sobbing my relief into her comforting shoulder. Instead, I leave and return to the registers of Bullseye for another hour before my break.
May all your customers be nice,
Instructor: Professor Ilia
Welcome, one and all, to a very special school. This is the elite, the esteemed, the deeply sympathetic: RHU University! Again, I want to welcome each and every one of you to your first day of class. Now don't worry about tuition. If you are in the business of Retail Hell, we waive all fees for attending our dignified school. Our professors are here for the sole purpose of teaching you how to identify what has become their passion.
Since this is the first day of school, I thought we would all introduce ourselves and share with the class your subject of study. Now please, don't feel nervous or ashamed. Everyone here is in the same or a similar boat, so take comfort in the fact that none of your classmates are going to look down on you for being here.
Each of you has selected a particular area of study. Whether you're a bright eyed newbie or a well seasoned veteran in the field, you have your goals; which you hope to reach by the end of your program.
First, myself. I'm Professor Ilia, but please, just call me Ilia and leave that professor stuff for the term papers. (Hint, there won't be any.) I am here to teach those of you who are seeking to earn either a diploma or a degree. What's the field?
For those of you seeking the Diploma, you will be learning the rare and fascinating field of Custology: the study of Custies. For those of you in our Degree program, you'll be learning the much more challenging field of Crustology, or, the study of Crusties. These two species are variants of Customers, a species you will encounter on a constant basis in your retail environment. If you plan to be a Crustologist, it is strongly recommended that you attend Custology courses as well, in order to have an in-depth understanding of your field.
Now please put your hands down. I will elaborate, of course, on the differences between the two in a later discussion. Suffice it to say, much of this class will be field work, requiring you to enter the dangerous and untamed wilderness known only as, "Your Job."
"RHU Dictionary" by Professor NC Tony
"Retail Hell: How I Sold My Soul to the Store" by Freeman Hall
Also, it may be useful to refer to Urban Dictionary from time to time, as we will reference some words rom this knowledgeable fountain.
I would also like to expand on some definitions, which can be found in the aforementioned RHU Dictionary:
Retail Slave - Anyone working in the retail field, generally with minimum wage pay, dealing with Custies, Crusties, Coworkers from Hell and Managers or Business Owners who suck. You will end up working very hard with high expectations of perfection from your scum-sucker of a boss and endure a great deal of abuse from just about everyone else. Retail Slaves are a general label for anyone working in this field, it can cover anyone from a cashier, to taking reservations at the front desk of a hotel, to the unlucky sod trying to get that last commission that will ensure rent is paid this month. "Retail Slave" is also somewhat of a misnomer: actual slaves have more job security.
Everyone here is a Retail Slave. But you may also be in one of the following stages:
Retail Whore - You love retail! You feel right at home and believe that you have found your dream career. (Dear God, we were naive in those days). Your coworkers are awesome. (Until you've actually worked with them.) Your boss is cool. (Who the hell turned loose the evil clone?) And the customers are friendly. (Right up until that ONE walked through the door and shattered everything like an expensive glass bauble.) To clarify, this is the ideal you were thinking when you stepped through the door on your very first day of your very first job... ever... until it all turned to shit. This state rarely lasts very long. Also known as the State of Denial.
Retail Slut - You hate retail. HATE it. It's the 10th level and everything from the lower colon of Hell ends up here. But you also feel trapped and dream of another career. Retail Sluts are either here because there just isn't anything better out there that doesn't require a massive amount of debit or else you are stuck in this shit hole until you can find a better job when you graduate.
Retail Droid - This state is the final stage in your suffering. You have been immersed in your retail environment for so long that you get shit done on autopilot because the colors in your head are more engaging than your daily grind. This state can be temporary, or it can be long term. The main characteristic is that you do things in a robotic monotone of drudgery because you know this shit so well you are no longer required to think about it in order to do it. This is also the state that your miserable shit-kicker job strives to beat, maul, abuse or otherwise thrust you into. It also generally requires a level of brainwashing that normally violates the Geneva Convention so hard that its farts will never make noise again.
Retail Zombie - The final stage in your existence. While the Droid stage is the end of your suffering, there is one final step down. Retail Zombies feel no pain, know no pain, and are no longer aware of the world around them. They shuffle through their existence, uttering low moans through their slack jaws. Vacant eyes may move around in the skull, but the Zombie cannot focus on anything happening. Once the shift ends, the Zombie collapses in place as a pile of jumbled body parts, unmoving until another day dawns and the hateful siren song of yet another workday drives the poor creature to reassemble itself and continue its meager existence for the few pennies it is being paid.
Homework: Try to think back to the exact moment when you switched from a happy Retail Whore to a Retail Slut or from a Retail Slut to a Retail Droid. If you would like to share your experience, please Submit it to the class via email. We all want to help you alleviate the pain.
P.S. If you are aware of the slow decay into a Retail Zombie, please, please, please seek professional help and focus as much as possible on the stories we are providing you with on our site. They will halt the decline and may even help you recover somewhat from this horrible condition.
This is a management story and one of my own youth/ignorance.
I'd been at this mall-based store for maybe 2 weeks at this point... 16 and only my second "real" job. I knew the rules well enough, but I wasn't certain of my footing.
I amble into the store a few minutes early, and the assistant manager (we are the only two working) is at the check out reading a magazine - there's no one in the store. I give a "hiya" as a I go by, heading for the back room to drop off some stuff and hang out until my shift starts.
A little explanation of the store - it was a very long and narrow mall location which made it very difficult for anyone sneak by - there was one entrance into the mall proper itself. The assistant manager was a bit of a flake - nice but just a little dizzy all the time.
So when I step into the background, there's a little boy - maybe 10 years old - sitting on the counter right inside the door, riffling through our backstock of NES cartridges. I'm a little surprised and so is the kid... I'm not 100% sure how to handle this but I do know that the back room is not for customers. So I ask him what he's doing back here.
"She said I could use the bathroom," he replies. Odd since that doesn't usually involve rifling through video games... but, I think to myself, maybe he's telling the truth and maybe my manager did let him into the back to care of business while she waited up front with her nose in a magazine and... failed to mention it to me when I walked by?
That's not right. He definitely shouldn't be going through our software but, I reason to myself, a little kid might get really curious if left alone in a toy shop of Nintendo goodness.
So I have him hop down, and I guide him to the front of the store where I say to my manager, "He's ALL DONE in BACK," stressing the words like the worst actor who ever walked on stage to say "To BE or not TO BE!"
In other words, I was trying to give her a hint that he may or may not have been up to something in the back room... but I was too unsure of myself to accuse him of anything (given the rules - or lack of rules - on handling shoplifters... like never accusing them of anything but instead using phrases like, "I see you've found some items you are interested in. Would you like put them up by the register so you don't have carry them around?")
My manager bobs her head enthusiastically and smiles like a derp and says, "Ok!"
The kid looks at me and says, "Can I leave?"
I shrug... I guess...
So he leaves. And I ask her about it... and she denies having ever seen the kid, and she didn't let him in the back.
Later that day, she's eating lunch in the back and I have the door propped open to talk to her while the store is dead. She mentions the kid and then makes a very actorly, "Oooh" sound and checks the back door (to the mall hallways) and finds it unlocked. This, she indicates like she was Sherlock Holmes, must be how he got in. (Why was the door unlocked exactly?)
She says she hears kids running up and down the hallways all the time so that explains that. She then checks the inventory of NES stock and finds a whole bunch of cartridges have been stolen... right out the back door.
I have to explain this to the district manager later who, to his credit, didn't blame the guy who'd been at the store for 2 weeks... but nothing happened to the assistant manager either (as far as I know)... or the store manager who could, in theory, have left the back door unlocked.
Smash Cut to 2 years later...
The assistant manager moved onto another store and became the manager...
Smash Cut to a few years later...
Assistant Manager is fired for stealing software by letting her husband come in on slow days and just letting him take stuff.... or possibly taking returns on non-existent items for cash... multiple stories were told, but the end result was the same. She was out of there, probably after a 5 year crime spree that I walked in on, but didn't have the where withal to handle properly (not, I suppose, that it would have been a sales associate's place to bust her).
Firstly- Had a customer a couple mornings ago, in drive-thru. I greeted him, and he said he needed to check the menu first. No problem, I got some stuff done while waiting- five minutes later, he says he's ready:
Custy- Okay, I'll have some french toast sticks.
Me- Excuse me, sir?
Custy- I said I'll have some french toast sticks.
For those of you who work at Golden Arches, you know we don't serve those, so I politely told him:
Me- I'm sorry sir, we don't serve those.
Custy- *pause* Oh. Okay, well, then I'll have a croissanwich.
Okay, first time didn't bother me because hell, it happens. Second time would NOT have bothered me if he didn't stare at the menu for FIVE FUCKING MINUTES!
Luckily, this was when we first opened, so he didn't cause a line.
I told him politely but firmly "Sir, this is "McD"s, not "Booger King."
Meanwhile, my manager had a headset on because apparently he likes to listen to my interaction with the freaks I seem to attract (I HEART my managers lol). At that, I hear him howling up front- evidently, my morning cheerfulness gave way to dead pan. The guy ended up thanking me and driving off. We had a chuckle about it with our SM later on ( my managers are friggin AWESOME ).
This one woman didn't answer my greetings or my offer for her to drive up and order. At first I figured she didn't hear me so I was pretty much shouting over the downpour, to the point that my mod hollered, "Are you sure your headset's working?"
Finally she starts ordering, then stops. I ask her if that was everything:
Custy- Oh, I'm still deciding.
Custy- I'm not done yet, I'm still deciding.
Finally, after racking up a $37 order, she's done. I tell her the total, and that I'll see her at the first window. She pulls up looking like a drowned rat. I feel bad for her until she utters these gems-
Custy- *scowl* You need to cover your menu and speaker.
Ok- first of all, I greeted you three times, shouting each time. Second, I offered for you to drive up so you wouldn't get wet. Thirdly, if you have a big order and not sure what you want, COME THE FUCK INSIDE, YOU CRAZY BITCH! IT' S DRY AND YOU CAN TAKE ALL THE FUCKING TIME IN THE WORLD!!
*deep breath, neck crack*
As you can tell, a major pet peeve of mine is when someone either gets a big order in drive thru cuz then they get pissed when we have to park 'em or doesn't answer me with "Just a minute" if they're not sure what they want.
If they don't eat a lot of fast food, that's fine, I'll wait til they decide. At least acknowledge the poor shit working pit. Anyhoot, after that, My mod took over so I could go on break, and you know, stick my head in the fryer.
Side note, thank you to all my regulars for making this not-morning-person happy and cheerful, even at ungodly o'clock in the morning. You guys ROCK!
I've got other stories but those will be next time. Til then, may all your custies have an inkling of a brain cell.
So a quick catch-up: Baker Bitch and I worked for a mid-priced hotel bakery, making pastries and breads for the hotel's restaurant, and the banquet halls adjoining. The bakery area was a tiny, galley-style, and you had to turn sideways to get past someone, it was that small. If you didn't like your co-workers, you were kind of screwed, being that close physically. Baker Bitch and I were the only ones working in the bakery at that point, and while I didn't hate her, I mostly tolerated her while secretly cleaning up her messes. Now, because the bakery was just the two of us, and open 7 days a week, there were days when our shifts overlapped, and days when we would work by ourselves and maybe leave notes to keep the other person up to speed. This story occurs when the schedule happened to be just BB on her own the first day, and me on my own the next.
There was a large-ish banquet scheduled for my day on, and I had mostly nothing to do with it, as the group had ordered cheesecake for dessert and Baker Bitch had made them the day before. All of the individual plating was done by the banquet staff, so I anticipated a quiet day of prep.
Not so fast, Without Nametag! Remember that your supervisor is Baker Bitch, who is not only ignorant, but thinks that she's Thognar's Gift to Baking. Near the end of the banquet, the staff very quietly approaches me (this very quiet approach was quickly becoming a common occurrence, and meant that BB had fucked something up again, which I would have to fix, also quietly). They brought me a slice of plated cheesecake (no really, "they" is correct: several people wanted to see my reaction), and asked who had made it. Baker Bitch, of course. It was pretty enough, white and creamy-looking, like cheesecake should be, but they appeared nervous. They told me that they were embarrassed to serve this cheesecake. They requested a tasting, which I did.
RHU, do you know what corn starch tastes like? Yep. Now, do you know what corn starch feels like? For lack of a better word, it feels squeaky. This cheesecake had both the mouth-feel and taste of corn starch. After several customer complaints, the banquet staff tried a slice and were horrified. They came running to me.
Do you remember my telling you that Baker Bitch was a vegan? Again, I think veganism is admirable. Many vegans follow this lifestyle because of deeply held beliefs, and it's not easy. The vegans that I can't stand, though, are judgmental vegans, the ones who look down on you for not making the same lifestyle choice as they do. Baker Bitch was this kind of vegan. She got on my case all the time.
I had developed blood-sugar issues earlier that year, and she insisted that my problems would go away if I became vegan. Um no, you dumbshit. My blood-sugar problems actually improve when I consume more animal protein. Don't tell me that beans will provide me enough protein, you're not a fucking doctor.
Back to the story: Baker Bitch, in her infinite, self-righteous wisdom, decided to make enough vegan cheesecakes to feed a banquet of 100 + people, and not say anything. This way, when people came back raving about how good the cheesecake was, she could happily declare that it was vegan, and wouldn't they all be pleasantly surprised? (There is no doubt in my mind that this was how it played out in her mind. I can see the smarmy smile on her face, too.) This was not what the client had ordered. And they were not happy with it.
How did her "brilliant" plan go so horribly wrong? Baking is like chemistry: one cannot simply substitute one ingredient for another without the possibility of failure. A new recipe requires experimentation before the recipe is acceptable, and the ratios of dry and wet ingredients must remain within certain limits in order to bake correctly. Vegan food prep is similar: simply swapping out one vegan ingredient for a non-vegan one rarely works as well as intended, and it will always taste different than the original. Well-done vegan cooking and baking occurs when the chef/baker has spent a while experimenting with the substitutions in a certain recipe and has found a happy medium of taste, consistency, and vegan ingredients. Baker Bitch had not done this. She had swapped out vegan ingredients and probably ended up with a mixture that was too soupy, and so added corn starch... too much corn starch. Sadly, I imagine that she had brought her own vegan substitute ingredients from home, as the restaurant did not stock items like that.
Like many stories on RHU, this one does not have a happy ending. If the banquet had been a small meeting, say 10 people or so, I could have pulled some of the restaurant's desserts and given those to the banquet staff to serve instead. But this was 100 + people. There was no way that I could have found anything that quickly to feed that many people an alternate dessert on the fly.
So the client complained. And I think (I hope) that the head chef gave an earful to Baker Bitch when she came in next. I imagine that she told him that she wouldn't pull any more crap like that in the future. Unfortunately, that's the end. I can't imagine how many of those people at that banquet advised others to stay away from the baked goods at our hotel: "The food is good, but the desserts are inedible."
May you live a thousand years and never eat Corn Starch Cheesecake,
Greetings Curious Scroller,
If you've never landed in this part of cyber space before, you have taken a hard, fast plunge into the fiery depths of work hell. RHU is dedicated to giving the service worker a voice. If you are an angry customer, a corporate suite, a homophobic race-hater, and you don't like skull masks or swear words, this blog isn't for you. Click away now, before your ears bleed and your eyes explode.
I'm Freddy, Crypt Keeper of Retail Hell Underground RHU -- a place for service slaves to have a voice, tell their story, support each other, or just have a chuckle about the insanity of working in the 10th Circle of Hell! I'm also the author of "Retail Hell," the funny memoir about life as a handbag sales associate at an upscale department store! The sequel, "Return To The Big Fancy," has just been released in hardcover and e-reader and is available wherever books are sold!