I thought I'd share something funny with y'all, especially since the summer months are coming up. Names are of course changed to protect the innocent.
Here's the set up: My mom, my cousin Peace, my younger brother Jack and myself are at a local mall doing some needed shopping. Despite our list being small, we knew it would take a while. See, our must have item (as in, the very reason we came to the mall in the first place) were shoes, with the other items falling more into the category of 'seek out if we have time'. Yeah yeah, insert joke here about women and shoes but actually, Jack's the reason why it was going to take so long.
Jack unfortunately needs specific shoes that are made needlessly more specific by me. The actual specifics are with shoe size and width, with needed ankle and arch support. My specifics deal more with color and style of the shoe, mainly because Mom has the uncanny ability to find over-sized little kid shoes for Jack. I'm serious here, more than one pair she's picked in the past has literally looked like something you'd buy for a first-grader, but stretched to fit an adult. Anyway, it really doesn't help that Jack's needed shoes are a kind that, while they are produced, stores don't tend to carry a lot of them. So yeah, most of this time was going to be devoted to hunting any shoes that fit my brother's needs.
So the four of us enter a store that is part of a chain we trust and know tend to carry the needed shoes. It wasn't busy when we first got in, and the employees (only two on the store floor with a third in and out of the back room) were polite enough. And of course, once we settle in to hunt those shoes, the store experiences a sudden rush of customers that all want to take advantage of the 'buy one pair, get another fifty percent off' sale. We keep to our own business and settle into our routine, which goes as follows:
My mom sits my brother down on a bench, keeps him in a steady conversation and helps him try on the shoes that Peace and I are ferrying from the shelves to her, with Peace and I trying to keep at least one pair of shoes on hand for Jack to try on. Rejected pairs are packaged back up and returned to place by either Peace or myself, with the other one searching for a new pair.
If this sounds odd to anyone, I mentioned once in a comment that my younger brother is autistic. Jack hates shoe stores for a variety of reasons but thankfully has mellowed down over the years, thanks in part to this routine. With Mom keeping him occupied trying on shoes, a steady stream of easily answered questions, and a bribe of his choice of lunch from the food court, we've bought ourselves some time but are still technically working against a countdown timer.
Finally though, we find a bounty of three (THREE!) acceptable pairs of shoes for Jack to wear and now only need him to pick his preferred pair from the trio. Please note that at this point, we've been in there at least an hour and a half, maybe even two. Anyway, I'm allowed to scuttle off to find myself a pair of shoes. I'm trying to make it quick, not only because Jack is starting to get antsy but also because Peace has been eying the sandal rack and I wanted to let her have a bit of time to get a decent shot at it.
So I find a pair of shoes I like and glance around to see where everyone's at. Now, where I am in the Ladies shoes is almost straight in line with the register counter, where the two employees are. Meaning I'm in the perfect spot to see the older employee has a veteran's look of 'Shit happens' and the younger one keeps giving these worried looks at some part of the store. I follow the gaze and first, I'm confused as that part is currently empty. Then it hits me.
It's where we were with Jack, who'd settled on a pair of shoes quicker than expected and is now at the sandal rack with Peace and Mom, the repackaged shoe box held triumphantly in his hands. Had this been before my arrival here at RHU, I'd still be confused but since this was after, I knew the employees were just envisioning the piggy mess we'd left. To be fair to them, the customer rush had finally died down and it couldn't have been easy trying to keep an eye on our group with other custies trying to get their attention for everything from buying to getting shoes down from the high shelves.
They were still nice to us when we got to the register ourselves though, even with Jack trying to hurry the process up so we could go and get lunch (Peace paid for her sandals separate, to Jack's dismay). I couldn't help but glance back as we were leaving and I got treated to the dumb-founded look on the younger employee. She'd finally slipped away from the registers to assess the damage we'd made only to find nothing there. I guess they hadn't seen us putting the shoes back, only taking them down.
Hilariously, even if Peace and I hadn't been taking the shoes back, Jack would have done it himself, being the neat freak he is!
Hope this made someone smile!
As a Girl Scout leader and service unit manager, what that woman did was low. I know just how hard those girls work to sell those cookies and how excited they are when they plan what they are going to do with the money. They give up their weekends, their parents give up their weekends to drive the girls and man the booths (and the troop leaders give up the whole month of cookie season). They knock on doors, pester grandma...
While maybe to us ol' retail hands this sort of work is child's play--to girls it is hard. I have had my girls get up at 7am on a Saturday morning so they can get over to the cookie mom's house to get the cookies loaded and to the booth at 8am, and do this in all sorts of weather. Then for 4 to 6 hours (depending on their age, 2 hours if they are brownies or daisy) politely ask strangers to buy cookies. We are very big on being polite, and as Service Unit Manger it is my job to drive around and watch the girls and ask the mangers of the stores who let us have booth if the girls are following rules and being friendly and polite. On the whole I usually don't have trouble with the girls. (The parents... that can be a different story)
While most of the time people are nice to the girls even if they are not buying, we still get the same sort of crap that other retail slaves get. When my girls were just 5th graders I had a woman we had never seen before come up to a booth I had with my girls and throw a box of cookies at us--fucking threw a box of cookies at my 10 year old girls-- because her husband picked the type she hated. And then demanded she get a different box.
Girl Scouting goes from kindergarten to 12th grade, so we have older teenagers who still some times do booths, and guys think it is funny to hit on a girl while she is working a booth. Even though they think they are old enough to run a booth on their own, and at 16 and 17 years old I see their point; it is because of skeevy guys who would hit on them (or the total NAT who tries to steal their money) that we do not let them run a booth on their own. But even with an adult at the booth some jerk will still try to get their phone number. I've had my older girls hit on by grown men.
Then I have one girl in my own personal troop is only 14 years old, but oh my gosh is 5 foot 9in already. She had mix Italian and Spanish heritage so she has the amazing olive skin, gorgeous hair; I'm not exaggerating when I say this girl looks like a super model. But she is the sweetest thing. Thankfully she is really too young yet for her to notice the men who are noticing her. But I swear it makes me want to bring a rifle to all our cookie booths and sit out front and polish it while the men are getting their cookies.
I've had the Christians try to convert us, give us tracts or tell us we are godless sinners and going to hell because we allow gays to join our ranks.
As for Girl Scouting stories---there are times when I think I could start my own blog called the "Dark Side of Girl Scouting" And fill it full of the crap I get from parents who think because their daughter sold the most cookies in the troop then her daughter should be able to say what the troop does with the money. Or the leaders who need to be hand held though their first year, or the crazy parents. Did I mention the crazy parents? Or the crap I get from my regional council who send me paperwork 2 days pass the due date and then ask why it isn't done on time....
So yes, to me I know what those girls have to do to raise that money and for that asshole to just spend it on herself... That just pisses me off to no end. I'm sorry--this is just a subject that is near and dear to me since I have dedicates so much time and effort to the scouts.
Lil’ Deaf Dude knows you can’t understand him, and he tries so hard to make himself clear. I’ve seen him stand for several minutes trying to let us know what kind of cigarettes he wants. And when you finally DO get it, he seems so proud of you and of himself. So, I think he’s the sweetest thing.
Today, he was in the store and a little boy wanted to wave at him and say ‘Hi’. But Lil’ Deaf Dude couldn’t hear him, of course, and had his back to the boy.
The kid was getting more and more upset that Lil’ Deaf Dude wasn’t turning around, so I said, "I’m sorry, buddy, but he can’t hear you. He’s deaf."
As I went over to get Lil’ Deaf Dude to turn around for the little boy, I heard his mother explain that being deaf was that his "ears were broken" and "didn’t work".
The little boy, who was maybe 4, looked SO UPSET that Lil’ Deaf Dude had broken ears, that he ran up and gave him a hug and said he hoped he got his ears fixed.
When Lil’ Deaf Dude’s grandson came to pick him up not long after, I told him what had happened so he could tell his grandpa. It was cute.
--Terah The Gas Slave
I was just updating on my last couple of stories, and also got another story to warm your heartstrings.
I haven't had my review yet, and my manager hasn't got back to me on the treatment front, so I don't know if I will have to go all legal on them. (I hope I don't, though!)
Secondly, Sparrow hasn't been fired, he was given a second chance. However, on our last shift he no called/no showed, so I think he will be long gone soon.
Anyway, my lovely story of the day concerns one of my regulars. He is only in his mid to late 20's, and lost his hand in a motorbiking accident a few years ago. I will call him the captain, by reasons that will soon come apparent.
Now, the Captain is one of my favourite regulars, and he knows us all by name. He has told us before that he hates wearing his prosthetic hand, because it is uncomfortable, so instead he wears a hook (he always jokes he is going to stab through our pin pad).
Now, on my last shift the Captain and his wife had just wandered into the store, and were browsing around for clothes in the childrens section, when a young boy - I would say no more than three - pointed excitedly and shouted "Look, Mummy! A real life Pirate!"
Mother looks up. Cue an expression of pure and total fear. You can see her mouth open to apologise to the Captain, or explain to her child when this happens:
The Captain puts on a stereotypical pirate voice and shouts "Argh, Matey! We have been spotted! Quick, get back to the ship, before he tells anyone!"
And his wife replies with "Aye-Aye, Captain!"
And with that, they both grabbed each others hands and ran out of the store.
I shit you not, the look on this little boys face was magical! He was so excited, and blabbering to his mum that he saw a Pirate, and he was wondering if he had a treasure map.
The mother explained to him that - although the Captain was obviously a real life pirate - that some people have actually lost their hands and have to wear a hook - and this is the kicker:
The little boy looked at me, and said "If the Pirate comes in again, can you tell him I am sorry I pointed him out, and I hope his arm grows back."
I love this kid.
May all your children be Heaven Spawn,
--The Science Ninja
So anyways, I work at a Super-World store. I work the mid-day shift. So you think that, with a few exceptions, I won't have any hellspawn stories to say, right?
One of our regulars I'll refer to Hands Off. She comes in all the time with her four hellspawn who're between the ages of five and ten. The first time she came in, I thought "WTF why aren't the kids in school?" But then I remembered something - she could simply be homeschooling the kids. We have another regular who does that to his angelspawn. (Who are so sweet - his youngest one even pushes her older brother around in his wheelchair because he can't walk. Awww.)
However, this regular doesn't homeschool her kids. No, she does something radically different - she UNschools them. Basically, if you don't know, it's when you don't even educate your kids and just let them do whatever because then they'll want to learn and be more responsible. She tells this to me every time we return her hellspawn to her, and she never yells at them.
Almost all the time, we see her enter and think, "Oh no - it's her," because the damn hellhounds will go around and create a rampage. Let me describe their recent reign of terror on our store and our employees.
So I'll name the kids Freezy, Moony, Climby, and Runny. The second Hands Off and her hellspawn enters the store, all four of them DART OFF in different directions. Those of us know very well what we're in for. I go right to the frozen food section after Freezy. Guess what he does? He opens a freezer, climbs inside, and then lets it close on him. I run right on over, open it and tell him to get the heck out, but all he does is just taunt at me and throws a freaking box of popsicles in my face. I finally get him out and then try to track down Hands Off to give her hellspawn back.
Along the way, I find her youngest who one of my coworkers is trying to coax off of the top of a shelf. He simply howls in what I assume is latin and then tosses boxes down. Two minutes later, I find that Freezy has run off and is now running after Runny, in pursuit of another of my coworkers. I swear the only thing these kids are learning is how to run - because these kids run FAST.
Freezy and Runny split up and force us to divide our forces. Not long after, I hear a loud clanging noise. Both me and my coworker look over to the banging noise, and I find our manager who is pulling his hair out thinking "Why me?"
There's the fourth member of the hellspawn, Moony. She had pushed over a free sample counter we were going to set up, in the process DESTROYING a toaster oven. The woman who was going to man that free sample counter walks over and just drops the box on the floor at what Moony is doing. Moony just runs over and pulls her pants down, mooning all of us. Freezy and Runny emerge from where they were and start shouting, "Farty poop! Farty poop!"
We manage to round up the hellspawn and drag them back to where Hands Off is going through. (Climby is being peeled off of the shelf.) Once more, we have the normal conversation where we tell her to not come back until her kids can behave themselves. It goes in one ear and out the other, and she responds with one of her stock excuses for why she lets her kids do whatever. ("George Washington didn't go to public school, neither did Ben Franklin", "All school does is teach them how to do mindless paperwork", "I don't believe in school", etc.)
Meanwhile, Moony and Runny have escaped our grasp. Know where they are now? Well, our other homeschooling regular comes in with his two angelspawn who I mentioned earlier. Well Moony and Runny literally KNOCK OVER the one in the wheelchair, while the other angelspawn simply holds her hands to her mouth in shock, and his dad asks if he's okay.
No matter how many times we tell Hands Off to not come back, she ignores us and comes back in anyway.
Two shifts in and it really has not been so bad. For a very popular self serve joint you would think it would be the children who were the biggest problem. Nope its the Tween Mall Rats. I know its hard to pick between a smoothie and a cup of yogurt covered in toppings, but minus some slight difference of price its 100% the same thing.
So far every child that has come in has been heavenspawn. They are polite, they ask for help reaching the third row of toppings (not eating off the topping bar), and they don't scream. I had 3 rush the counter when I was on register and for a moment I was braced and ready until I realized they just wanted to say Hi and ooh and ahh over my hair (black with blue streaks).
TMRs? Dump yogurt they don't want into the shallow drip pan. Leave the levers down, even though there is a sign saying put them all the way up and generally being the bane of everyone working out front.
Now onto my minor complaints and I'll be brief.
First is our shakes. The shakes aren't our problem or even our allergen rules regarding any shakes that have Peanut Butter in them. Its the fact that we have only 3 allergen blender cups, and they MUST be taken in back to be clean. On a rush we have a line out of the store and around the merry go round on the other side of our tables, not to mention however many people crammed into the shop. It is almost impossible with 2 on the register 2-3 making shakes and up to 2 on the topping bar keeping things supplied to go off line for the 2 or more minutes to clean used blender cups. Why we have only 3 of those, but 10 of the regular ones, is beyond me.
Second is despite the fact our boss is laid back and pretty decent, he does not provide breaks(nor is he required to) beyond bathroom and smoke, to us PT slaves. Why? Because we only get five hours. Break allotment under state law starts at 6 hours. So we only get a brief, if that, respite from the madness of the shop. But you now we get free yogurt...wooohoo.
I'm sure I'll be back with future stories as I've already been told a bunch of the crew will be leaving come summer.
May your heaven spawn always be polite and your yogurt frozen.
So, it's Science Ninja back with another tale to warm even the iciest of slaves hearts.
This happened a couple of months ago. I was working fitting room when a father and daughter (about 7) came up, with 4 baskets full of I swear every item of kids clothing in the store. I braced myself for impact, but they were very polite and accepted when I told them they were only allowed 9 items at a time, and that unfortunately the father wasn't allowed in the fitting room (the Kid's and Women's fitting rooms are the same, and we get complaints when fathers, or even young boys, go in).
So this girl tries on clothes, and skips out to show her dad while I chat along with both of them. This goes along until she is about half way through, when this happens:
Little Girl: My Mummy's coming back from Afghanistan this Wednesday. I used to wear a soldiers uniform but now I am a big girl I need to wear something proper.
Science Ninja: Oh, what's she doing in Afghanistan?
Little Girl: She is a doctor with the Soldiers. I miss her sometimes but then I remember that she is keeping us all safe, and I am happy again.
She then skips back into the fitting room to change her outfit, and I am left biting back tears.
She eventually chose some Khaki Leggings, a khaki jacket and a white blouse, laughing and telling me she was dressing up as a shoulder after all.
Before she left, I wished her a good day back with her mother, and she came to give me a hug! Her Dad shook my hand, and the next day I got a 100% survey handed in.
Just thought that something like would make you smile :3
Hope all your Customers are as sweet as candy,
--The Science Ninja
At our cafe, we have these little peg jump games on a bunch of tables. Mostly to entertain kids but adults like to play with them too.
Sadly several are missing some pegs, mostly from idiots breaking them or dropping them and certain workers not noticing they just vacuumed up a peg - though that worker was recently fired to general huzzahs, for reasons I won't get into here right now.
Anyways, I was walking past a table with a boy, about 7 or 8, and his dad. I noticed the boy was underneath the table reaching for something, and when he emerged, I realized he had dropped the peg, then gotten out of his seat and picked it up, and put it back in the game.
I will mention they weren't even playing it at the time - the food had arrived already. So he was just being responsible.
I thanked them both for what I saw. They enjoyed their food, and left a nice tip. I really hope I see them again!
Now, in case that was too sweet, a quick story from last summer to dilute it.
A customer told me the regular coffee is out. There is a new one brewing, which takes 3 minutes, and I apologized for the wait and said it would be replaced very soon. I turn to finish writing out an order and hear a crash.
Bastard moved the brewing coffee pot (which are like 1.5 feet tall) and stuck his mug under the flow, and knocked the pot to the ground. Which was already half-full with coffee.
If looks could kill, he would have been vaporized.
So the other day I told you all about the evil little hellspawn. Well, lets go to the other side of the age chart and tell you about the crazy old man I encountered.
Who: Myself, two adorable Karebear cubs, Grump (old customer) and special guest appearance by Tank later on.
Where: Jewel, starting at the meat counter and ending in the freezer section.
Decided to go food shopping at Jewel yesterday. I prefer to buy my meat there compared to the meat at Hellmart. My local Jewel happens to sit next to the local Bullseye, so that's where Tank ran off to, hoping to score on a birthday gift idea for the youngest Karebear cub. My local Jewel also has those carts with the play car attached to the front that my kids freaking adore because they think it's so super cool and they can pretend to be driving while I shop in some form of peace. And we just happened to score one!
Anyways, I made my way to the meat department. I had only been there for about 2 minutes trying to decide on which to make for dinner tonight: beef or pork. I had parked the cart right in front of me, out of the middle of the aisle (cause on the other side of the case was the chicken case) and had just looked forward for two reasons: make sure no one was there and to remind myself I need lunch meat, which happened to be right in front.
Like I said, I had been there no more than two minutes and had decided on something for dinner (got both beef and pork, can decide at home!) and was about to cross the aisle to get a thing of chicken when I realized an older man standing in front of me. I was going to leave my cart where it was, but after seeing the man standing there, I said, "Oh I'm sorry where you trying to get to the meat?" while in the process of moving said cart. I was polite, respectful, yadda yadda.
Grump huffed and said, "Well, yeah, your damn cart takes up half the aisle (false! was only blocking half of the beef, could of gotten to anything else easily). Stupid bitch should learn to keep her legs closed and stop popping out kids then you wouldn't have to take up half the damn store and be in everyone's way."
Now...hold the fuck up...I was there for two minutes. I was barely blocking much. I quickly moved my cart, so he could get to the blocked area. I was polite. I even apologized. And I am still trying to figure out how I was popping out kids when I only have two and they are four years apart.
After I picked out my chicken, I turned to him and said, "No reason to be a dick about it. Obviously you have a working voice, you could have easily asked me to move. Politely. And I would have." And I walked away, leaving him red in the face and muttering something about women needing to learn their place or some bullshit. (I could be wrong on what he said, I was trying to block him out, but that's what it sounded like he said.) I just went about the rest of my shopping.
Every time he was in the same aisle as me, Grump kept saying, "Guess I won't be getting anything from that shelf," meaning my cart was in his way. It wasn't really, I knew what I wanted and needed and hauled ass getting it all.
Tank finally showed back up once I hit the freezer aisle. Which is good since he is picky about what veggies he likes (rarely the same that I or the kids like). So we were stopping in front of the frozen veggie section. Cart in front of me, out of the middle of the aisle. Blocked about two doors to the freezer and we were trying to be quick. I was grabbing my broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot mix while Tank was grabbing his preferred veggies (corn, I think.) Weren't even there for more than a minute when my cart goes flying away from me. (Remember my little cubs were in the car part of it!) Grump had taken it upon himself to shove my cart out of his way rather than waiting half a second more or asking politely to move.
The cart didn't go straight very well on its own, so naturally it veered off and crashed into a door, causing my baby to hit her head on the plastic steering wheel. Crying began because it shocked her, she couldn't see me, etc etc. I rush over, my arms full of veggies, and Tank just says, "What the hell man?" Grump decided to take off now rather than get the product he was trying to get.
After calming the baby down, I filled Tank in on what happened and we went on our merry way to finish shopping. No idea where Grump disappeared to, figuring he bolted for the register or something. Apparently he didn't because he showed up again behind us while we were at the registers. He didn't say anything to us there, but instead took to eyeballing Tank and glare at me.
Sorry, Grump, I haven't learned to balance a cart on top of my head just yet. I thought I was doing good parking the cart to the side rather than in the middle of the aisles. Guess not. :(
(Now really, did I do anything wrong? I must know for my next trip to the store. I know those carts with the special seats are bigger than most carts, but I never had issues with them before. If I wasn't doing such a heavy shopping trip, I would have just used a normal cart, but these let me put more in the bucket and seat and I don't have to worry about my kids running around crazy otherwise.)
There are three stories and the first one starts in the drive thru, I had school that day, so I had done my make up really nicely: black cat eye liner, mascara and a beautiful deep red lipstick. I was taking orders in back cash and one vehicle in particular I'll always remember.
A woman was having problems with the debit machine, she was getting frazzled and she started blaming me because I was the worker so it was obviously my fault. Suddenly, the little girl in the back rolls down her window and asks this beautiful question: "Mommy? Why is the lady so pretty?"
The lady completely deflated from her annoyed attitude, looked at her daughter and said "She's just pretty like that." The rest of the transaction went smoothly and I smiled the rest of my shift.
The next story is a little boy, three years old and wow could he talk! I took his happy meal order, and this was at the time we had just gotten transformer toys. His mom took him aside and I started taking her order next. I guess he'd been trying to get my attention for a while, but he finally just said really loudly, "Hey lady! I want that one please." While pointing to the transformer he'd rather have. The kid was three years old. He made my entire night.
And finally, a cute child who had a Power Rangers gun from his happy meal. I wasn't on a counter, but I was stocking it. I had just come up from taking an order in back cash and I began to stock up coffee cups. Suddenly from behind me I hear in a tiny, high pitched voice, "Freeze!"
I turned to look and here was the kid, holding his little gun up to me. I quickly put my hands in the air and acted surprised. "Oh no! You've caught me! Please don't kill me, I have so much to do!"
Now for some awesome news! I've been slaving away in McHells for almost a year now, and the only reason I was able to make a wage that matched other retail establishments was due to the minimum wage going up again. I've been dealing with bullshit managers, creepy coworkers and the blatant racism of being one of five workers who is not Filipino. And the racism isn't coming from the Filipinos.
I've been overworked, short changed and had to scramble for rent because they would refuse to give me enough hours to make it. I am finally on my way out of McHells and into a different job. Here in my spot of Canada the minimum wage is $10. If you work a job in my province that gets tips, you still get the $10 plus tips.
Remember Kawaii-chan? The awesome waitress who dealt with my cataplexy without batting an eye? Well her restaurant was hiring so I took my chances and dropped off a resume. Before I even managed to leave the building from dropping it off, she stopped me and offered me the job. I start tomorrow and I am so excited!
Out of one purgatory and into the next, although I think I'll like this one.
--Screaming Off Key
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!