FormerRetailer here and, once again, with a story about my mother. Except this time, I was there as well. You might remember, my mother was the awesome one who told an annoying mom off for telling her kid to leave a trip hazard in the store.
First off, I want to make something clear about my mom. My mom is awesome. She’s not a crusty. She’s a good customer and we have been known to brighten retailer slaves’ days, even if it’s simply by laughing about a funny brand name in the kitchen utensils department. And my mom is not a bitch. She only turns into a bitch if you’re one to her first.
Well, this one takes place in a supermarket we went to for our weekly Saturday shopping. While standing in line, the cashier is ringing up our items and I get the usual job of putting them into the cart, my mom stage-whispered to me, in English, “Wonder if I should tell this old lady to stop shoving her cart up my ass.” Since majority of our items were already rung up and in the cart, I told her No, since it really wouldn’t take much longer except a few seconds. The area between the cash registers is very narrow, only one cart-width wide and anyone trying to shove past when there is clearly no room… well, obviously is doing something wrong.
So, items are rung up and my mother puts the card into the reader, beginning to put in her PIN.
Suddenly, the old lady behind her pipes up with a snotty, “Would you let me get by here already?!”
To which my mom instantly replied, “Let me pay first, please!” in a very loud voice.
Yes, unlike my mother, I am very introverted. It takes a lot for me to snap, but I generally avoid doing it, especially around my mom. Likely cause I respect her a ton and also, well, I know she can handle herself just fine. I know something went down cause she caught up while I was putting our groceries into the trolley shortly after, telling me I had “missed all the action”.
Turns out, old lady had an old husband shopping with her. Since my mom was leaving and there was finally room in the small space of where the customers line up and for the old lady to finally move her cart, they moved their cart.
Old Man: (whispering rather loudly) She’s insane…
Mom: (back at their side in three large strides)
Old Man: (pulls his hand back like he’s about to hit her)
Mom: (almost leaning in his face in an “I dare you” fashion) I learned my manners in my nursery AND I kept them as I got older!
Old Couple: (standing silently in shock)
And that’s when mom caught up to me. Part of me wishes I had seen this, another part of me is kind of glad cause I really don’t like causing scenes, even if I’m more of a bystander. But it was great to know my mom managed to put them in their place. Sure, my mom has begun to go along the lines of “I am __ years old, I do not need to take this crap anymore,” but she still knows when it’s appropriate to not take someone’s crap and when she still knows that some stuff has to be taken. This couple? Seemed to be at least 15 years older than she and were rude. Especially with a silly little teenager insult of “She’s insane.”
May all your moms be as awesome as mine (or old custies know to not be asses),
I gotta rant for a moment. Why is it on this entire planet of earth, people forget that those who choose (for whatever reason) to work in the service industry does not equate us to servants? The 13th Amendment protects all of us from indentured servitude.
So, if you don't tip, you made me your slave and spat upon our constitution. I actually love working in restaurants and other service jobs. However, I'm not your bitch, I'm not your slave, and you don't own me.
I manage my time very well, I am very observant, and I have special powers of deduction that I use to anticipate your needs.
All that being said; nothing ever gets my attention by; snapping your fingers, grabbing my wrist/arm/ass, yelling, throwing silverware, talking shit to the next table able about how shitty I am, or sending your perfect food back (to be a dick and get a free meal). Don't ask me to "hook it up."
And for the record, I workout. I run, box, cross train, kickbox, condition, lift weights, and do yoga. Never in my 36 years have I ever thrown the first punch. Although, I've been in fights with considerably larger men than me.
Insults I can handle. 95% of them are laughable.
Being aggressive and putting your hands on me/ dragging me/ hand at my throat is not acceptable. Sexual harassment/ coercion/ groping/ grabbing/ threatening/ and creating an environment of fear and intimidation is not acceptable.
I won't take that shit from anyone!
This story was originally posted on: November 22, 2009
There are times, when working at Wal Mart is awesome. And tonight was one of those nights.
I was working the Smoke Shop (the name given to the register with the tobacco products ), and around 15 minutes before my shift was to end, a couple of punks walked up to the register. Before the guy in front of them could even finish paying, one of them said "Pack of Newport 100's, and make it quick we're in a mother fuckin hurry got it?"
The following conversation took place:
ME: "Got your ID?"
CUSTOMER #1: "Yeah, I got my ID"
CUSTOMER #2: "We both got our fuckin ID's so we're straight"
ME: "Watch the language please"
CUSTOMER #2: "Why?"
ME: "Because it's rude and disrespectful, and I don't appreciate it"
CUSTOMER #1: "Yeah"
ME: "Last warning, either cut the trash talk, or find somewhere else to buy your smokes"
CUSTOMER #2: "This is fucked up bullshit"
**unknown to me, our back and forth has gotten the attention of a manager, who has walked over to the CSM podium so he can hear us, without letting on that he's now paying strict attention to what's going on**
ME: *walks away from register*
CUSTOMER #1: "Hey, the Newports are right there" *points*
ME: *walks back to register* "I know perfectly well where the god damn Newports are. I'm not about to stand here and let a couple of 19 year old cocksucking pricks act like assholes and expect me to wait on them and let them get the fuck away with it. There's a gas station across the street, next place is either Kangaroo or On the Run. Pick one" *walks away again*
CUSTOMER #2: "We wanna talk to your manager"
CUSTOMER #1: "Yeah, your manager"
MANAGER: *walks up to the register* "Something I can do for you gentlemen?"
CUSTOMER #1: "We wanna make a complaint"
CUSTOMER #2: "She's being a bitch"
CUSTOMER #2: "Good, then you know what we're talking about"
CUSTOMER #1: "Yeah dude, you see how she's been treating us"
MANAGER: "Let me get this straight. You want to file a customer complaint because instead of my cashier overlooking your behavior and letting you get away with it, she had the balls to call you out on it, and put you in your place?"
CUSTOMER #2: "Yeah, I mean NO"
CUSTOMER #1: "Dude, can we just get some smokes?"
MANAGER: "Sure, at the gas station across the street, or anywhere else you want to go. Just not here. You gentlemen need to leave the store now, before I call the cops and have you escorted from the premises. "
*both customers beat a hasty retreat out the door*
ME: "What if they call in a complaint on the 1-800 number?"
MANAGER: "I don't think they're that smart. But if they do I'll tell Steve that you were justifiably provoked, and it was a last resort. What time are you outta here?"
ME: "As soon as reset hits"
MANAGER: "That's what, fifteen minutes from now? You can go ahead and go, no big deal"
MANAGER: "Have a good night"
ME: "You too!"
I love it when we get a customer who claims that they talked to the manager, but can never tell us who they talked to, and they can never describe them with any accuracy. That happens all the time at my store!
We ask what color hair. One manager has hers blue, one has hers pink, and mine is green. Its kinda hard to forget.
I love being told, “He had dark hair and glasses.”
It is always a desperate shot in the dark, you can tell!
Delivery Bitch here. I’ve been promoted to delivery and kitchen hand, which brings in a whole new level of hell.
If you’re ever ordering any sort of food to be delivered, please adhere to the following:
1) Give us the right phone number. Yeah, simple I know. We need it so if we have a problem or are running late or can’t find you, then we call. If we don’t have your phone number well, then no delivery for you. Our system is set up so a phone number can find if you have ordered before or have special instructions. We cannot process a delivery without a number.
2) Give us the right address. That's it. Just give us the right address.
3) Ensure you have a way to pay! We don’t accept gold bars, marijuana, cigarettes or anything in lieu of cash. If you need the eftpos machine, tell the order taker. Our drivers make the call whether to leave your order with you with a promise to pay within 24 hours (remembering that we have your name, address and phone number), or bring the whole thing back to the store.
5) If there are complicated instructions allow us to repeat them back to you! Just because you have told us, doesn’t mean we have been able to write them down.
6) We are not mind readers! Don’t make a complaint because YOU ordered the wrong thing, thinking it was another thing. That ain’t our fault. We will try to rectify it.
7) Don’t haggle. We generally automatically apply discounts for meals or deals we have running. I might apply an extra discount if you are a regular. Our prices are already low, we can’t do much more for you.
8) Wear clothes when answering the door! A robe will suffice if necessary. Underwear will not.
9) If possible have as close to correct change as possible. But don’t pay in poo change. I will make you count it out and bag it.
On another note, the other day I was serving a lovely customer, and another customer walked up to the door, looking like he was blowing kisses. Took me a while to realise we was after cigarettes. Now, the fact that we sell pizza is signposted everywhere in our store.
He came in after a few minutes and asked, "Do youse sell cigarettes?”
It was 1pm and he sounded drunk.
“Nah mate, try the servo down the road 50 metres.”
We watched him stagger out the door and walk down the street.
The customer I was serving and I cracked up laughing after he had left.
This story was originally posted on: February 05, 2010
I've often had people ask me about my days in retail hell. Before becoming an RN (which has it's own special kind of hell) I've worked in retail, restaurants, and call centers. I tell people I will never ever become a waitress again. While I sometimes long for the days of having a pocketful of cash on a Friday night, you can't pay me enough to work as a waitress again. I've had people ask me how come? Well....it's a long story but here it goes:
While going to school to become an RN, I worked at a restaurant. A chain restaurant that I will not name.
I had just finished the last day of three grueling days of nursing finals. I was tired. I didn’t get off work till 11pm. I’d been up since 5 am. I had to be in to see my college adviser the next morning at 7:30 am to sign up for next semesters classes. I also had to fill out paper work to renew four of my scholarships. Not only was I working late, but I had to be up early the next day.
This man came in to celebrate his girlfriend's birthday. She was lovely, smiled a lot didn’t say much, but had noticeably astounding fake breasts. He was nasty, grumpy, angry. He was determined to be a real bastard, and a bit smelly too.
I took down elaborate instructions to enable the bartender to prepare his favorite drink, which ended up being some horrific concoction of cranberry juice, melon liquor and something blue.
He made me take a couple of these back because the bartender failed to make them horrid enough. The bartender, the wait staff and I tasted the blue stuff and it was as nasty as it smelled. The bartender-poor her. She gagged and coughed on the stuff for ten minutes. Finally, he accepted the drinks with much criticism of our bartenders ability to prepare said horrid blue crap.
Criticism continued throughout the meal. The menu was crap, he didn't like anything on it. The room was too cold so I turned up the heat. The room was too hot so I turned down the heat. He didn't like this table. I moved him three times. He didn't like this table either. It was 8pm on a Saturday night with a college basketball game that ended at 7:30 so there weren’t that many choices in the way of tables.
He wanted me to recommend a wine. I did. Several options, several price points, he chose one, he hated it. He said our wine was gross. I took the wine back. I sent our night wine director over. He suggested a wine. This wine was also "Gross. Are you trying to rip us off?" He decided to stick with his horrid blue cocktails.
He ordered a tenderloin for his main course. His girlfriend ordered a shrimp salad. The beef arrived. He asked for horseradish. I asked the chef. Doc said no, we didn’t have any horseradish. We were out until our Sunday afternoon delivery (this was a Saturday night.) So I relayed the information. The customer stared at me in what I hoped was disappointment. I should have known it was the look of complete insanity.
He freaked out. His meal was ruined, his day was ruined, his girlfriend's birthday was ruined, his horrid blue drink was ruined. His entire life was possibly ruined. The restaurant was gross, it was screwed, I was a moron. I took the biggest deep breath I ever took. I wanted to smack him at that point, but I didn’t.
Could we bring him another condiment? Mustard? Hot pepper oil? Deep fried dishwasher? Could we prepare something else for him? Anything? Anything at all?
As he went on with his rant, I got a stroke of inspiration. I fled next door to the tiny little drugstore and its even smaller, sad little grocery aisle. Which was nothing more than two small, wobbly shelves, almost dangerously over packed with over priced travel sized toothpaste, trial size deodorant, peanut butter, grape jelly and bread.
There, in all its glory, wedged somewhere in between the plastic sporks and a box of 18 count six ounce Dixie cups, was a small four ounce bottle of horseradish. That small little bottle cost me $4.19. I sighed. I could have gotten a bottle of the stuff three times as big at Safeway for $2.89.
I purchased the blasted horseradish with my own hard earned tip money while my other perfectly lovely tables languished under the watchful eye of my non-English speaking Hispanic busboy. I tried to send him for the horseradish but after much explanation was afraid he'd come back with a jumbo box of cornflakes or a 24 hour wear lipstick in deep rose.
I returned some fifteen minutes later, sweating, out of breath, triumphant. I held the small, sad little bottle in all its splendid glory up to the man. "I found some Horseradish sir."
But he refused the horseradish. It was too late. His meal was ruined. I was an idiot. This place was a dump. He went on and on. At that point I lost it. I really lost it. I was at my breaking point, and I went nuts.
I apologized for ten full minutes. I apologized for myself, for the restaurant, for the chef, and for the owners. I apologized for the tables and the table makers and the tile makers who make wobbly tables possible. I apologized for the heating systems and the fans and the lights and the napkins and the glass makers and the linen makers and the silverware designers and my hairdresser who colored my hair. I apologized for the length of time it took me to run to the store, and for my parents who didn't spawn a faster runner. I apologized for the farmers who grew the vegetables and the geneticists who created the cow that gave birth to the calf that became his overcooked steak. I apologized for western civilization and for bread and for chairs and for the class structure and for the demand for service jobs, the current economy and apologized until I couldn't any more. Until I couldn't think of anything else.
Then I left. I left my other tables, I left my Hispanic busboy, I took off my apron, took off my trendy red tie and left. Then I went home, turned off my phone and drank on some vodka from my freezer (nothing blue).
And this is why I will never, ever work as a waitress again.
Custy: "I'm never shopping here again!"
I wish we could take customers seriously, and make this a self inflicted banishment. That way they’d take their business elsewhere and play the same card… and then get put on that place’s trespasser list. Eventually they’d just do all their shopping online until they started complaining and, well… got ignored or marked as spam.
All the while not realizing that THEY are the problem.