From Mistress Macha, November, 2010:

Greetings fellow slaves from the depths of Ireland!  

So, I work mostly at this political office/shop thing, but I also sometimes put in time at a cafe near my house to help out the owners (good friends of mine.) 

It's in an area that's become increasingly touristy since the ceasefire fifteen years or so ago, but which some visitors still seem to think is awash with bullets and bombs and so forth. 

Today I have for you our very own Northern Irish twist on the infamous Race Card....

So, I'm at the cafe as a customer and notice the line's getting really backed up. Take a good look, and there's a slightly manic woman (hereafter Crazy American Lady or CAL) gesticulating wildly at the scared-looking cashier at the front. 


So I head over and see if I can help sort things out while the overstressed cashier works through everyone else.

Turns out she's really mad that she only has one bacon soda when 'I ordered TWO BACON SODAS! TWO!'

Anyway, we look at her paper slip (it's still all paper and pen, no computerised tills here, oh no) and it clearly says one bacon soda, one wheaten and jam, and three coffees.

ME: Are you sure you ordered two, Ma'am?

CAL: YES I'm sure there are THREE of us why would I only order food for TWO! *rantrantrant*

OK, so maybe she's right, maybe she's wrong, but the slip only says one and we ALWAYS read back the order to make sure.  Anyway the price she paid is for only the one soda, so I say that we can easily make her another but she'll have to pay the extra.


ME: And you can have one, Ma'am, but first you need to pay the extra £2.85....


ME: Actually, I think you'll find the problem is that you haven't.... So if you would just pay the extra-


ME: ...!


ME: ...... I fail to see how that's relevant, but -


(Side note: We are in the most famously Catholic area in this city.  Look outside and you will see a hundred Irish flags flying from buildings and lampposts and railings. Right across the road is one of the biggest Catholic churches in the country, with a huge Crucifixion scene outside.  I am incidentally wearing a religious medallion, and there is a large Sacred Heart prominently displayed behind the counter. So even if religious bigotry could have been an issue (and it wasn't, she was just crazy-ass mad) this was about as stupid as could be.)

ME: ...Are you high?!

Sadly, I never got to hear the answer to that as the owner appeared with three of his burliest mates and escorted Crazy American Lady out of the cafe before she could start denouncing us for being heathens or something similarly bizarre.

Some people though..... I think they must leave their brains at home.

Anyway, I've lots more stories about both the cafe and the office/shop, so I'll have more to post soon!

Keep sane, Fellow Slaves!

--Mistress Macha

 read more Crazy Lady tales here

read more Retail Hell Around the World here







Discount Rat Revenge at Shoe Store


Shoemess From Fiona, January 2010:

Dearest Retail Hell,

Another story for you from the depths of the shoe store jungle. 

My husband and I own and work in a shoe store.

There is parking right outside the door and we have big glass windows all along the front of the shop.

One day my husband served a young Asian couple (I wasn’t there at the time). 

They took ages for her to try on sale shoes, and in the end she argued for a further discount on an already well discounted pair of shoes, as she had found a tiny mark on the leather (was probably part of the natural leather grain). 

My husband refused to lower the price further. 

We are well used to customers trying to create imaginary faults in a shoe to get a discount (sorry, deescount).

Sometimes we’ll take another small token amount off and the customer leaves happy. Depends how much of a dog the shoe is and what kind of a mood we’re in and how nice the customer is.

On this day he’d had enough of this couple and said ‘the price is the price’ basically. 

So after mucking him around and not getting the shoes for 150% off the original price, they left. 

Not long after the man came back into our store.

Turns out someone had backed into his car just as he was leaving and he wanted to know if my husband had seen that it was the other person’s fault and could be an insurance witness for him.

‘Sorry mate, I didn’t see the accident, as I was putting away the shoes your wife didn’t buy’.  (his exact words - 'the shoes your wife didn't buy' - classic).

A sweet moment for a retail slave to savor.






Aussie Gas Station Hell: What's your name? Why aren't you wearing a name badge?


Gas station 2

From Brad, January 2010 :

Having discovered your site for the first time today and reading through a couple pages, I felt I just had to share my own experience.

I was lucky enough to have moved employment from one gas station (where the boss was a "customer is always right" man) to another where the boss was quite happily, and very readily, prepared to support his staff. In fact, his very own words in the interview where "if the customers is giving you a hard time, tell them to fuck off and show them the door. I don't want their money if they are giving my staff problems." And yes... this was the first and only time I ever heard him swear.
This site was quite large, having 18 pumps, a shop floor that was just as large as the forecourt, a 4 bay mechanic and an autowash/jetwash complete with vacuum cleaners.
Each section of the site was a separate business in and of itself, tho almost all of them where paid for services at the cashier (my position). When there was a problem with any part of the site not handled directly by the gas station, there were procedures we had to follow, IE if the autowash broke down, we would take down the customers name and number and the boss would contact them the next day after the problem was fixed and arrange a replacement wash or a refund (which was noted in the same book that we took the names down in).
This guy had to be one of my favorites. The blower at the end of the wash had stopped working about 3am. Us console operators weren't allowed to leave the store unattended unless it was to change the price board (in which case we would lock the front doors) and we certainly weren't allowed to go try finding reset switches in the wash, in the near dark. Keep in mind that everything else in the autowash worked fine, just not the blower, so his car was clean, just not dry.
The guy comes in to tell me the blower didn't do its job, and the following is a rough remembrance of that conversation.
Me: Ok. All I can do to help you right now is take down your name and phone number, and once the boss has fixed the problem, he will contact you.
Him: (after he started giving me his name, stops and): No fuck that, I want a refund. Show some initiative! (gotta love it when customers pull that little gem out).
Me: I cannot do that at this time. That wash isn't run thy this gas station per se and refunds are handled separately. Normally all I can do is either give you a free wash or take your name and number. Since the blower isn't working, there isn't any point in giving you a free wash since you will still end up with the same problem.
Gas station 1Him: OH, OK. well then my name is XXX and number XXX......wait. You said I could get a free wash?
Me: yes
Him: Will the docket be good for any number of days or does it expire?
As luck would have it, I had a customer come through just the day before, a regular, who asked me the exact same thing. He had bought the wash, but had left without going through, and hadn't come back to town till 3 weeks later. Since the docket stated "Good for one time today" I wasn't sure of the answer and the customer bought another wash. He came back in after the wash to tell me he tried his older docket and it had worked.
Me: I know for a fact that the docket will last at least a week. (I proceeded to tell him about the other customer and the older docket, but told him there was only a week between times, rather than three. I was just covering my own ass in case it was a fluke)
Him: Ok. I want that in writing.
Me: Pardon?
Him: I want you to sign this docket stating it will work up to a week later. It's the law.
Me: No. I am not required by any law to do that, certainly not against my will and not certainly without my permission.
Him: Whats your name? Hey why aren't you wearing a name badge!?
Me: Its not required.
Me: Excuse me?
Him: I run a (franchised grocery store) and I know all about how its supposed to work! you are supposed to be wearing a name badge! I WANT TO KNOW YOUR NAME!
Me: Privacy laws here in Australia make that request illegal. I do not have to give you my name if I do not wish you to know it. The only time it is illegal to not give your name is when a police officer identifies himself as a police officer and asks for it. (I later found out that this was untrue. A police officer does not have a right to ask for your name unless he has reasonable grounds, IE you have broken the law. It is however advisable that you do give your name to the police, since they are more than likely to find a reason :) )
Me: Are you a police officer?
Him: Yes.
Me: Then show me your badge, and I will gladly give you my name.
Him: Well.. I used to be a police officer. How the hell am I supposed to identify you to your boss when I speak to him?
Me: He is the boss. He knows who he rostered on. Just tell him what time and day it was.
Him: Your boss will be hearing from me!
He then left, with his free docket, and the three customers, who witnessed the whole exchange, laughing at him. It turns out, one of the three was in the store for the exact same reason, and quite happily took a docket for later use, and didn't mind driving down the road for the time being to dry his car.
The boss, who heard the story from me later that morning, told me that the guy had rung up to complain and when asked what my name was, the boss told him my name was Joe Bloggs, a name used here in Australia much the same way John Doe is used in America.
Hope you enjoy this story as much as I enjoyed living it.