Today we grant the coveted retail balls award for grace under holiday hell, a cool head under custy abuse and the strength to refuse to take any shit from a family who came in after hours on a holiday!
Long time look-e Loo till I finally bit the bullet and posted in comments under the name ServerSlave so we will go with that for now. I have worked in retail “big box” stores, offices, a library, and now an office. I will start off by sharing one of my favorite stories of stupid customers, awesome managers, crappy managers and coworkers of all types.
Way back when, I was waiting tables and where I worked you were required to either work Xmas or New Years Eve, with few exceptions you knew you were on the hook for one of these two days. The store was almost entirely staffed by college students, most of whom lived in the area year round, grew up there, etc, but some did not. These were usually the above mentioned exceptions, the people heading home for the break. This also meant that the store was pretty short staffed for one of the busiest times of the year (leading up to the holidays, we were near a mall and a large “downtown” type shopping area, almost always had 1-2 hour wait min starting @ noon.)
Now the goal for most was to be in one of the first or early cut sections, if possible, of one of these “required” shifts. For me it was to be on for Xmas and not be stuck working new years, I was usually pretty safe as no one wanted to close on Xmas, so I never did get stuck with New Years. As background, I never celebrated religious holidays and neither did most of my family, however, we had one heck of a New Years blow out. This might be weird, but I live in a suburb with a large Jewish, Indian, and Muslim community.
It is probably one of the most culturally diverse areas of the country and is about 15mins outside of what is probably one of, if not the, best known city in the world. This means that Xmas closing shift is pretty good money. Given I never have anything of importance to do on Xmas, I always tried to work Xmas, where it did not really affect me, and get off for new years so I could throw a little shin dig. After having worked in the store for some time I thought I was pretty safe, so when I got a call from a friend/co-worker that the list was up, I did not panic and asked if he would put me down for a closing shift on Xmas.
Shock of Shocks Xmas was completely filled, even the closing slot. I was just starting to try to come up with clever excuses to try to get out of a New Years shift when my friend said that only 1 other person signed up for New Years and so he would put me down for an early cut. I figured that is fine I should be out by 9 or 10pm at the latest, not great, but not bad… that was not to be the case but that is a story for another day.
Fast forward about two weeks, I am getting ready to go home after a double and I overhear my coworkers talking, call them AB and BB. AB was trying to convince BB to take his Xmas shift, that he would even throw him a couple bucks if he did. I found this odd, since we are all poor college students and most of us tried to work as many shift as possible and did not have the money to throw away just to get out of a shift.
I get not wanting to work on Xmas, but giving up cash to not have to seemed a bit extreme. I usually closed and was home by 11pm, most others were home by 8 or 9pm. Yes, you might miss dinner with family, but certainly you would be home for late dessert. Therefore, this exchange piqued my curiosity and I asked why AB was so desperate to not work Xmas. Apparently he had booked a flight to head home on New Years Day, told our manager as much and even written it and put it on the “board.” Our douche bag scheduling manager [hence fourth known as DBSM] decided that since the flight was technically the next day, he was still on the hook, even though the flight was at 2am... to DBSM that was still the next day. On top of that, he was supposed to meet his fiancé’s family on Xmas, they were actually even flying in just so they could meet him.
Given his situation his offer of a cash incentive to get out of his shift made more sense. Feeling bad for him, I chimed in and said I had no plans for Xmas other then Chinese food and a movie with some Jewish and Indian friends. I would much rather make some cash, and could still probably meet my friends for the movie. AB looked as though he was going to cry and started to tell me all the favors he would owe me, including the aforementioned throwing me a c-note.
I told him it was unnecessary and I really did not mind blah blah blah. We then head to the office and tell the DBSM that I was going to take his shift, at which point DBSM snaps “you know that you will still have to work New Years,” while giving me as death stare.
I said I understood, I was just trying to help AB out, not get out working New Years. Then DBSM tells AB that he has to work New Years if I was taking his Xmas shift, which would defeat the whole purpose of me covering his shift. We try to explain this to DBSM, but it was useless as DBSM was dead set on making AB work one of the two shifts. I even pointed out that both shifts were completely covered, and some people are not going away nor working either shift.
I explained that me taking his shift only for him to work a shift is insane. NADA. DBSM did not care, and said we could always use more help and he did not think it “fair” if AB did not have to work one of the shifts.
WTF? The shifts are fully covered already and many others are not working one of the shifts either. We were only saved by Cool A** Manager [hence fourth known as CAM] coming in and telling DBSM that it was fine, so long as I worked both shifts AB was off the hook.
Fast forward to Xmas eve. When I first walk in I ask if either closer wants to take my section, as it was an early cut and I knew closing on Xmas I could make some good money. Sure enough, I get one of the closers to trade sections. Everything was going pretty well, I had a slow but steady flow of customers until about 8pm. It died down very quickly after that, and as we were going to close in 2 hours I asked CAM if I could cut everyone else on the floor. CAM said sure, and even told the other closer he could go home if he wanted as CAM would pick up the slack if any more tables came in. I got all of 3 tables for the next hour and a half, and most of them were in and out before 9:30. I spent most of the time sitting at the bar with CAM and the bartender [who was Jewish and also asked to stick around in hopes of getting a few stragglers. ] CAM then decided no one else is coming and tells me and bartender, “Might as well clean up a bit and lock up.”
I put the chairs up, sweep, do side work, and various other closing type things and was just waiting to cash out with CAM and clock out. CAM walks by with keys and heads to front doors and is about to turn the key when we see a young man come up. CAM had just locked the door, but unlocked it, cracked it open, said a few words back and forth with the young man and then came up to me and bartender.
CAM: “You two, they are a party of 15 and want to know if we are still open. I told them I had to see if my staff was willing to stay late. If you want to take them I will tell them ok, if not I will tell them you clocked out already.”
ME: “I have nothing better to do, let them in.”
Bartender “Sure, if Serverslave makes more, he tips me out more.”
CAM then lets them, fills them in on the fact we had just cleaned up and broken down the restaurant and asked if they minded waiting while we put the tables together, got the chairs, etc. They seemed fine with it. This is where it starts to get bad.
I JUST put the chairs in place, and they swarm to their seats, I had not put down silverware, put out sugar caddies, and no one told them to sit yet. In fact we had pretty specifically told them to please wait till we got them as it was just the three of us and wanted to make sure everything was ready before they sat. I write it off, and proceed to put out the silverware and napkins when BAM one of the hellspawns slams their chair into me. I figure it was an accident as he was seated very close to one of the walls and it was snug fit for me to get through, so I ignore it.
I got around the tables taking drink orders when BAM the same hellspawn slams his chair into me. I realize this is no accident, and politely point it out to his mother. I get the drinks and CAM asks if I need help, I tell CAM I am fine and proceed to bring the drinks out. As I am putting out the drinks BAM again the little hellspawn hits me with his chair.
Rather then risk another attack I simply place the remaining drinks at the end of the table and ask if the mother would be so kind as to pass it down a bit. I then take dinner orders, and recognize that the party was a family of either Indian or Pakistani descant.
This meant either they wouldn’t want beef or pork accordingly, thus I take the time to point out on the menu all the places that one of these two things might be present but not mentioned [our soups had pork and rice was sometimes cooked in homemade beef stock, as an example.] I put in the order and bring it out, and I think overall it was record time for a 2 top much less a party of 15. I let them take a few bites, check on them, make sure they have everything etc. I then walk in back and hang out with bartender and cam trying not to hover around the table TOO much as I had nothing else to do… I tried to keep it to no more than once every 10 mins or so.
Everything seemed to have gone fine, I went to drop the check and take the last of plates away when the grandfather says, “Thanks for staying late; I am sure you want to be with your family rather than here.”
I get that dread feeling, as my fellow server slaves will attest we all know what this means. WE ARE GETTING BONED ON THE TIP. Universally when you get a complement from the guy paying the tab he will stiff you on tip thinking his kind words are a substitute for cash. THEY ARE NOT!!! I turn with a big smirk and tell him I actually have no problem staying late. Why the giant smirk? The jokes on him, our restaurant ALWAYS includes 18% on parties of 5 or more. It says so on the door, the menu, pretty much everywhere. I even point it out to the man after his comment, I often did this when tables are nice as both/either an F U if you had planned on skimping on tip or a thank you and my effort at trying to ensure you don’t double tip if you hadn’t planned to F me. They pay, to the penny, and leave. I go to clean up the table when CAM comes over with a giant smirk of her own.
CAM: “They complained about you”
Serverslave: “WTF about what, they got the best service possible, I think the best ever”
CAM: “I know, they wanted me to discount the bill or comp some of the food off”
CAM: “They just said the service was lousy, I just said sorry they felt that way, have a nice evening and gave them a dessert coupon and an app coupon… ”
CAM then explains she had personally dealt with that same family some 2 dozen times in last year, and it was decided they would not comp them anything more the dessert and/or appetizer unless a specific problem was cited as all the comps and voids were ruining our numbers. Score one for the slaves!
I had mixed feelings over the experience and am sort of zoned out while cleaning when I notice a backpack. I mull over just trashing it, or putting it in lost and found, or burning it when I look out the window and see the family has not left yet. I do the right thing and run it out to them and go back to cleaning. Then I hear TAP TAP TAP and look up to see the grandfather knocking on the window and motioning to the door. I go over to the door and crack it open;
Serverslave: “What can I do for you?”
GF: “I just realized I forgot to tip you.”
SS: “Actually due to the size of your party gratuity was added.”
GF: “Oh, well here take this anyway.” He hands me $20
SS: “Thank you. I heard you had a complaint about my service. Can I ask what I did to make your experience less than perfect? I would like to know so I can work on it next time.”
GF: “we felt rushed, I mean, we understand you want to be with your family”
SS trying not to scream or blow my lid I explain that I wanted to work, that I said we should let them in, and that I had nothing else to do that night and chose a closing shift.
GF: “Well you just sort of threw the drinks down, it seemed like you were in a rush”
SS furious now but trying to remain calm “As I said to the mother of the child, I placed the drinks how I did because, as I explained to her, one of the children kept ramming his chair violently into me. I did not think I could place them safely given that fact.”
GF: “ I didn’t…”
SS: “It’s alright." [yes I cut him off] and proceed to abruptly shut and lock the door.
I am steaming at this point, I go in back and tell CAM what I did as I know a complaint is incoming and thought it best to get in front of it. I simply cannot believe the nerve of that family. CAM said she had my back and not to sweat it, pretty much as long I did not say anything involving expletives I was good to go.
I finish cleaning up and see they also left a purse, I do not bother to try and run it out or put it in lost and found, I just left it on the floor under the table [ok I MIGHT have kicked it further. And under a booth. And through a pile of dirt.]
In short, I give great service and they want to F!#$ me on a tip, even after they think they stiffed me I run out backpack, and they drop me $20 on a $200+ bill. WHAT A HOLES! They never did file a complaint and they actually came in once the next week. I saw them being escorted to a table and stared, and they all just did this weird looking at their feet shuffle thing...
Huff Po: Let's paint a picture, shall we? It's the morning of Mother's Day. You're taking Mom out for a nice meal. Your car pulls into a restaurant. Is it an upscale brunch spot with mimosas? Is there classical music playing? Nope! It's Hooters!
If her reaction is, "Wow, awesome!" and not, "I'm never speaking to you again," then you might want to take advantage of the original breastaurant chain's Mother's Day promotion, which gets the lady who bore you any meal costing $10 or less on the house, plus a drink purchase.
That's a great deal! Sort of! Regardless of what your own mother might think, Hooters definitely expects people to take advantage of it. BuzzFeed writes that based on last year's deal, Hooters expects 20,000 mothers to swing by on May 12. Yes, really.
Un-CoOperative here; writing as a customer, rather than a retail slave today. After a trip to my local Big-T [the UK’s main rival to the re-branded UK version of Walmart], I came to a realisation; supermarket retail slaves suffer through a whole level of retail hell that I had never truly appreciated before.
Perhaps it was the recent reading of ‘co-worker hell’, or the hellspawn e-reader release that I just happened to be reading on my phone while shopping, but I really started to pick up on some of the shit you guys put up with.
Coming from a retail-background of working in a fairly small store – having 10 members of staff on over a sixteen-hour day, or more than a thousand customers being a darn busy weekday at the Un-CoOperative – I always thought big retail store slaves had it fairly easy in comparison.
I mean, on a busy Saturday at the Un-CoOperative, we’re expected to handle sixteen to twenty cage deliveries into a warehouse that fits about five cages, whilst manning the tills, stocking the shelves, cleaning, doing reductions, stock rotation, dealing with NAT’s and whiney-ass colleagues, between two of us [yes, TWO] on an afternoon/ evening, when we can quite easily get between 20-30 people queuing for only one till, as our only other staff member is accepting a delivery.
I always thought that the Big-T staff – hired to work on a specific section, or even on till – getting to sit on their asses all day whilst being paid a full £1-3 more an hour CSA rate than I get team-leading.
Boy, was I bitchslapped in the face for that stupid assumption today!
I walk in to my local Big T. Only planning on grabbing a couple of bits, ready for my three-day weekend of back-to-back ten-hour shifts – mini candy bars, some ice cream, a little soda [so healthy, right?]. I make a bee-line for the Halloween isle; all the big retailers have picked up on the marketing hype brought over from the US [thanks, guys!] surrounding the candy-filled, hellspawn sugar-high holiday.
When I was a kid [a mere decade ago-I’m not that old!], my parents wouldn’t have dreamt of letting me go out trick-or-treating [or begging for candy, as my parents would have called it], though the odd bag of Halloween chocolate from Cadbury’s maaay have made its way into our kitchen cupboard every year.
Anyway, I digress. Big T has one Halloween isle – it’s 3 isles wide, with two ‘walls’ of Halloween goodies – one side edibles, the other merchandise like costumes, balloons and DVDs, with a bunch of big displays in the centre of the isle. This leaves enough room around the edges for two trolleys to pass either side – IF the idiot custys are paying attention. It’s only a Thursday! I tell myself. School hasn’t let out yet! Most people with ‘real jobs’ will still be at the office for a couple of hours, I thought. Somehow, RHU’ers, this made it worse.
One side of the isle is blocked by a group of five adults’ coo’ing over a drooling, sticky crotchfruit that couldn’t have been older than six months. Besides dripping on the floor [drool, thankfully, nothing more...fragrant] it wasn’t screaming or touching anything, so if anything, it was being a better example than the gaggle of idiots surrounding it, who seemed oblivious of those of us who wanted to get in / out of the isle.
Keep calm Un-CoOperative, I tell myself. It’s just one group of idiots...WHAT is that child holding?
I pause, as a hellspawn no older than six runs in front of my trolley.
Resist the urge to run into the little bastard... just because it would look like an accident, doesn’t mean you could stop your evil cackles of glee and you know it, I say to myself.
IdiotCustyMom#1: Put it dooooown. I said no, hellspawn #1!
Its mother whines, not looking up from the extra small slutty witch costume she holds in one hand.
Please woman, that XS wouldn’t fit your pinky-finger. Put it down and pay attention to your little brats, so I don’t have to! I watch as hellspawn #1 puts it down. It finally registers just what the little darling had been waving around; it’s pulled the stick from one of the Halloween balloons out, leaving a deflated and sorry-looking helium bat crumpled next to a guy-Fawkes dummy [another holiday that none of our local hellspawn seem to understand –sighs-], which its’ sibling, hellspawn #2, a good eight years old or so by the looks of it, is PUNCHING. Straw everywhere. IdiotCustyMom still obsessing over her own chance to wear a freaking belt-length ‘dress’ for the holiday season.
I twitch. Calm down, I think, and just grab your candy. Oooh, they have those mini Cadbury’s chocolate bars in again! Mine mine MIIIIINE!
Avoiding hitting either hellspawn, I make a bee-line for my chosen chocolate. That’s when group of idiots number three catch my attention.
Two women – I’d say early to mid twenties – are shrieking at an ear-splitting level usually reserved for infants experiencing air travel for the first time whilst being gnawed on by wild foxes.
Both blond, fake-tanned, and with the maturity of a semi-ripened squash, they are running across both openings/ exits to the Halloween isle – no more than three feet in front of me.
Well, shit. Just keep your head down, it’ll be fiiiine....What the fuck are they doing, anyway?
You know those spray-cans of coloured paint you can get on various holidays? You know, the ones you use on windows or cars that last a couple of weeks? They have decided that these are just SO MUCH FUN! What are they doing?
Having a spray-paint fight. In the middle of Big T. Less than 5 feet from unattended hellspawn#1 and #2 [as IdiotCustyMom is now on her phone, completely oblivious to the rest of the world] and less than 3 feet from me, and a fellow well-behaved Custy in her sixties.
These two geniuses are using green and pink spray paint on each other’s hair, faces, arms, jackets – you name it, they’re aiming for it. It’s already all over the floor, two displays, and a handful of dvds. The fuck, people!
I look behind me – the first group of cooing custys are still there, blocking the left lane. Good Custy? Now blocking the right, her trolley sideways, ignoring the rather weary-looking retail slave who is trying to edge his way past her with a full box of novelty lanterns. I have no choice – it’s onwards, or remain stuck there, with the rising possibility that I may start screaming obscenities at these wonderful potential candidates for the Darwin award.
As I make it to the safety of the dairy isle, I breathe a sigh of relief. There’s only me, three Custy’s, and a retail slave in this isle. Nothing can go wrong – right?
I make it to the soda corner with the usual troubles [all of the good-offer pancake mix is gone, no fewer than 3 pushchairs have bumped in to me or forced me to go the long way around, as they cannot seem to budge over a freaking inch to let me past, my eardrums now bleeding from various screaming and shouting hellspawn running rampant around uncaring parents and equally weary-looking custys and slaves alike].
I watch as a hellspawn goes up to one of the young slaves stocking the energy drinks; he can’t be older than sixteen [the retail slave], while the kid looks around eight or ten. It would seem that hellspawn can’t reach a pack of six soda that’s pushed right back on one of the upper-shelves; he points, and pulls on the slave’s pocket to get his attention.
Silly slave; smiling at the hellspawn, grabs the six pack for it. He can’t have been working in retail for long! He hasn’t yet learned to fear those who have yet to grow beyond midriff-height.
Pack of six cans in hand, what does the little darning to? He throws it at retail slave’s foot. Not drop – throw. Lemonade begins to leak across the floor, as the little shit runs out of the soda-corner, making it way back to the care and attention of the she-devil who spawned it.
Wincing in sympathy, I grab a couple of the Big T brand energy drinks – my Stepdad’s addicted to the things – and make my way to the checkouts. None of the isles are particularly busy, so I just join the nearest queue.
Cheerfully, TillSlave begins ringing me up, only to discover that the energy drinks don’t have any barcodes. No big deal, right? TillSlave apologises, and puts on the red light above her till, to get someone to come down and grab a barcode for her. I offer to go and grab another can, but by this point, there is a queue of around 3-4 people with trolleys full of shopping behind me, and no easy way back past the tills in to the store, so TillSlave asks me to just wait at the end of her area, while she starts ringing through the next person.
Three customers later, around ten-fifteen minutes, I ask again – are you sure you don’t want me to just grab another can? Really, it’s no trouble! Translation: I just want to go HOME!
Tillslave: No, really, it’ll just be another minute or two.
Both myself and TillSlave watch as no fewer than FIVE team-leader or manager-position members of staff walk past, look at the light, and keep on walking.
By the time it hits fifteen minutes, I’ve had enough. I manage to squeeze my trolley past the final remaining customer in TillSlave’s queue, intent on leaving my stuff there while I just grab the damn barcode myself. Finally, one of the runners comes over, asks what TillSlave wants, and goes to get the barcode.
As I FINALLY pay for my shopping and shuffle as fast as I can past the obstacle course of lurking Custys and abandoned trolleys to make it to the exit, I really start to contemplate the crap Big T slaves have to put up with;
Custy’s who think that blocking isles to chat is the best use of their day
Parents who don’t give a damn about what their hellspawn are doing – or who they’re doing it to
Hellspawn who wilfully destroy stock and make attacks on retail Slaves that any adult would be prosecuted for
Idiot Custy’s who use stock in dangerous ways before dumping it – unsellable, surrounded by a mess that some poor slave will have to clear up later
And stressed out Custy’s and fellow-slaves who’s sympathy wears thin as the slave’s co-workers and their fellow Custy’s make the whole experience even worse.
So yeah; things may be pretty shitty at the Un-CoOperative, but you guys in the big retail stores put up with entire levels of crap we can’t always imagine. Yes, you may be paid more for it. Yes, you may be allowed to sit-down without the threat of being fired. But you guys seem to attract a whole new level of crazy that us small stores are lucky to avoid [for the most part, anyway].
So, I salute you, retail slaves of Big T; you deal with more crap than we realise.
They had almost everyone working; it might have actually been everyone. But it wasn't like a bunch of people worked the afternoon and some at night.
No, the first waiter to go home went at 8 PM even though they started at 10:45! AND the restaurant was empty, at no point were there more than five tables filled in the dinning room, they could have sent people home hours earlier.
I got sent home at 9, and most people were still there. I really don't get it, it's like they didn't want anyone to enjoy New Years.
I was allowed to leave at 9:15, and didn't get home till 10. I had to cancel my plans because I had been standing for 9 hours, was covered in honey mustard, and it would have taken another half an hour to get anywhere.
Also, a lot of us were working New Years Day. I really hate this place right now and am so glad I am leaving the country.
From Huff Po:
A Little History
In 1824, John Cadbury opened a shop in Birmingham where he sold tea, coffee, hops, mustard, cocoa, and drinking chocolate, which he made himself using a mortar and pestle. A century later, in 1923, the company that grew out of his shop released its first cream-filled eggs. But the Cadbury Creme Easter Eggs we all know and love weren't invented until 1971. Four years later, the first TV ad appeared for Cadbury Creme Eggs and these chocolate confections became an international Easter classic. Many Americans will remember the "clucking bunny" campaign, begun in 1982.
Read more: Your New Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie
How are they made?
The Cadbury Creme Egg is manufactured by pouring liquid chocolate into a half-egg shaped mold, which is then filled with white fondant and a dab of yellow fondant. Because the fondant has a greater density than chocolate, the two don't mix together and the fondant pushes the chocolate outwards. The two mold halves are quickly closed and cooled to allow the chocolate to set.
How do you eat yours?
In 1985 Cadbury launched the memorable ad campaign, "How do your eat yours?" The official Cadbury website offers two methods: "egg and soliders" and "bite and lick." If you prefer egg and soldiers, you eat the chocolate egg like a soft-boiled egg by placing it in an egg cup and eating the fondant filling with a spoon or scooping it out with Cadbury Fingers. "Bite and lick" -- pretty self-explanatory -- describes the method of biting the top and sucking out the cream.
Read More: Easy Ways to Upgrade Instant Ramen Noodles
According to a Cadbury survey:
53 percent of people bite off the top, lick out the cream, then eat the chocolate
20 percent just bite straight through
6 percent use their finger to scoop out the cream
An extra tip Cadbury offers is to mash the remaining chocolate shell (left after biting the top off and eating the fondant) and mix it with a dash of Grand Marnier.
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!