This story was originally posted on: February 25, 2010. Language Warning: Bad words used.
I encounter stuff every day that is worthy of the site (as we all do in Retail Hell), but this pushed me over the edge and actually led me to take steps toward quitting.
This happened a few months ago, but I'm just now getting around to submitting it. Somehow I thought I'd get over it, and that I was overreacting... but I'M NOT.
This was the absolute pinnacle of bullshit. Apologies in advance for the length, but I think the ridiculousness is worth it.
So, I work at a clothing chain store. Rhymes with "mold slavey". We are also located in a mall, it's the only mall in town and we get a fair amount of traffic.
It's the Tuesday before Xmas, and I'm going about my business as the primary cashier. Ringing, smiling, being nice... the regular bullshit. We're pretty busy, and I'm ready to go on my (much-needed and long overdue) lunch, when a customer who I'd rung up about five minutes prior came up to me.
At first, I'm thinking oh, shit... this lady's either gonna complain I fucked something up that I actually didn't, or that she wanted a non-existent discount, or that the sun isn't shining bright enough. But instead, she brought a little problem to my attention.
Well-meaning Idiot: Oh, I'm sorry to bother you, but there's a lost little girl.
(in my head: FUCK MY LIFE.)
Me: Okay, where is she?
Well-meaning Idiot: In the mall. And right outside our entrance, a few feet away from the doors that lead out of the mall and into the world, there's a small girl, about 4 years old, who is BAWLING her fucking eyes out. She is crying so hard she literally cannot breathe. All the other mall patrons are just passing her by, some are making comments to the people they're with, but nobody is stopping to help her.
Apparently, well-meaning idiot took it upon herself to help the girl (hence, she is WELL-MEANING), but didn't take her to mall security, or the mall office, or the police liaison (hence, she is an IDIOT). She instead chose to tell the last mall employee she encountered, and then she walked away. Leaving me to deal with this poor child.
I left my register after making sure there were two other employees up, and letting them know the situation and tried to ask the little girl questions that could possibly help me find her mom. I asked her name, her mom's name, what her mom was wearing, what stores they went to... and I got no reply. So I tried again in Spanish. I'm the first to admit my Spanish sucks, but I tried. I know I made a little sense. But still, nothing.
So I get on the piece-of-shit walkie-talkie and let my LOD know that there's a hysterical little kid who's lost, and I was gonna take her to mall security. I didn't get a response, but there was nothing I could do but leave. I couldn't call security, because our mall security does not respond to a problem. We've tried everything to get them to help us in the past, and I knew that they'd take half an hour to show up, and then wander around the mall to find the mom, leaving the little girl behind in my care... fuck that shit.
So I take the kid's hand, and we go over to the police liaison office, because it's on my side of the mall. It's fucking locked. Lights out. The security office is way the shit on the other side of the mall, and little girl is freaking out even more now that the office is locked.
I start having a mild panic attack because I really don't know what to do. I can't drag this apeshit little person all through the mall.
So I went to the little kiosk where they sell mall gift cards and give directions and stuff, and ask the dude there why the liaison office was closed. He said there had been a small fire on in the food court (OF FUCKING COURSE) and that everyone was over there.
I am mothafuckin' DONE at this point. So I let him know that I was an employee from mold slavey, this little girl got lost in the mall not in my store, she won't answer my questions, and I didn't know what to do.
And you know what he said?!
"I'll get to it in a minute"
OH, HELL NO! I told him he needed to call security NOW and let them know the situation. I am nearing tears myself, and I think he could tell I was reaching my breaking point. So he got on his fancy walkie and asked for an officer.
I sat down on the floor in front of the kiosk, and little girl sat next to me. She's still understandably in tears, and I'm pretty damn close. I didn't want to leave her with the kiosk dude who didn't give a fuck, but I knew I was gonna be in big trouble if I didn't go back to work soon.
Then, about 3 minutes later, baby girl shoots up like a fucking rocket and takes off. I start freaking out and chase after her, when lo and mothafuckin behold, she had run straight to her mom.
This bitch... she had about a million bags attached to her stroller, that had a damn infant in it (this baby literally looked days old, nowhere near old enough to be out and about).
And what did she do upon being reunited with her not-so-beloved daughter?
Asked her why she ran away.
I nearly flipped shit. She didn't thank me. She didn't ask if her daughter was okay. Little girl's still crying, and they walked out of the mall. Welp. Back to work.
This whole ordeal took maybe 10 minutes all together, although it felt like hours. I figured someone would have told my LOD the situation, and hopefully he'd be semi-understanding. Oh, no. I walk back in the store and go straight up to him and apologize.
What does he do? Proceed to tell me, aka yell, that what I did was incredibly irresponsible, that I can NEVER under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES leave the store without permission, and that if I ever did anything like that again, I'd be written up.
I was floored. I mean, I'd tried to tell him what was going on. I can't make these old walkies work, and I sure as shit can't make you listen when I talk.
I stood there for a few seconds, and then I walked back to my register. Did I mention that several of my coworkers, not to mention quite a few customers, were nearby? Because the level of humiliation I felt really adds to the story. He then came over and told me to take my lunch.
I practically ran to the stockroom to clock out and immediately had a mental breakdown. Luckily, my two amazing merchandising managers were in the back and asked what had happened. I told them, and they were disgusted. Then my asshole LOD (whose name happens to rhyme with DICK... coincidence? I think not.) came looking for me.
He then asked the stupidest motherfucking question I have ever heard: "What's wrong?"
I almost went apeshit bananas. I started screaming. "I tried to let you know what was going on! I called you on the walkie! YOU DIDN'T RESPOND. I didn't leave the store to go for a walk. I made sure people knew where I was at. I was gone TEN MINUTES! SHOULD I HAVE LET THAT GIRL GO OFF BY HER FUCKING SELF AND GET HIT BY A CAR OR KIDNAPPED BY A GODDAMN PEDOPHILE?!"
Then I burst into tears, and ran to the bathroom. Where I spent the next twenty minutes of my lunch.
I regret lots about this incident. I regret being nice to that dumb bitch that I rang up, because maybe if I had been a cunt, she wouldn't have brought me that poor little girl. I regret not screaming at the horrible excuse for a mother. I regret not karate chopping my cocksucking LOD in the throat. And I regret letting my emotions get the best of me. but I DO NOT REGRET trying to help a child.
However, I am slightly thankful this happened. It made me realize that I actually do have a soul, otherwise I wouldn't have given a flying fuck about that girl.
And I also realized that I needed to quit. Because there is no motherfucking way that I can stay in a place that would punish me (and I did get punished for this; just a verbal warning though, not a write-up) for helping a child in need.
So I've almost completely closed my availability, and as soon as something else, anything else, comes my way, I'm gone.
But I get the feeling that every time I hear a scared "mom?" from a kid, I'll flashback to that day from hell.