Hi, RHU. Trivia Grrl here again with a story from the mists of time.
Our bookstore opened late in July, so we missed most of the Back to School Madness that year. Which meant that the next summer, when we'd been open almost a year, we were learning by trial and error. But try telling that to the Crusties. It didn't help things that because of the store layout, they were queuing directly under a skylight, and we were having a very hot, sunny summer that year.
The way the section is set up is that there's a counter where the customers order/shout/abuse us, and behind that is a rectangular section with shelves along the walls and down the middle. We were still trying to find the best layout, so things were constantly in flux, no one knew where anything was, and we hadn't learned a lot of the rules that we now have. Rules like empty baskets don't go behind the counter, no really, they go back in the basket store. These were the stiff sided baskets you'll see in supermarkets, not the soft collapsible ones.
It's lunchtime, and there are two of us serving, me and DG, an older woman. DG is an awesome coworker, not afraid to get in the face of customers who need it. We each have a customer waiting at the counter and there's a line of maybe ten or fifteen more people behind them. I'm at the counter with my customer, going through her schoolbook list, while DG is moving around behind the counter, collecting books for her customer.
There is an almighty crash and DG shouts. I turn around to see that she has stepped on the side of a discarded basket; it's buckled under her and she's gone, literally, forehead first into a shelf and is now bleeding heavily. I shove the list at my customer, pick up the internal phone to scream for help - also literal - and go to try and mop her up. I'm afraid to move her because I didn't see what way she fell and I don't want to hurt her. Distantly I can hear my customer explaining to the queue what's happened to try and keep them from complaining.
Manager and two other staff members appear; Manager and one staff helps DG away, while the second staff moves to help my customer at the till. I get rid of the basket and come back to help DG's customer. He is sympathetic and easily dealt with and I smile for the next one.
Me: Sorry about that. How can I help you?
Customer: About time! I've been waiting for ages!
Customer: You should have kept helping us! She was hardly going to get any worse, was she?
Yes, apparently we should have stepped over and around her as she bled all over the floor.
Me: (at this point I sound rude, know it, and don't care) What do you need?
Customer: I need a (particular type of) writing copy!
I stare at her. I carefully step around my co worker, come out from behind the counter, reach for a shelf directly beside my customer, take down the copy, put it on the counter in front of her, walk around the counter and face her again.
Me: Is there anything else?
Customer: You've got blood on this one!
At this point my coworker steps in, sends me to get cleaned up and deals with the customer somehow. It doesn't occur to me until my manager finds me, ten minutes laterstill washing my hands, that I'm probably in shock...
(For closure, DG had a severe concussion. She came back to work two days later, but had to go home when a customer snapped at her and she burst into tears. Almost a week later she was back properly. And we never left baskets behind the counter again....)