From BasementRat, August, 2017:

A friend who is a docent for a large U.S. zoo often tells me about his fun encounters , both the animal and human kind. He is studying to be a large animal veterinarian. It is mostly outdoor work, which he enjoys and he has come to know the habits, likes and dislikes of the animals on exhibit.

Visitors to the zoo are many, especially on weekends. My friend enjoys speaking to tourists from all over the country and the world.

One day a group of about a dozen came up to the rhino enclosure. They were all wearing team sweatshirts from the University of Michigan. My friend was delighted to see them because he had gone to the school . He told them all about the rhinos and warned them to stay back from the fence because they have a habit of urinating in a wide arc. A hippo will fan his tail in a circular motion while in the water , a sort of cement mixing of their urine and excrement, while a rhino when urinating, will pretty much flood an entire area with pee.


After five minutes they said that the exhibit was lousy ,a waste of time and money. My friend told them that they are not trained circus acts and not to taunt the animals.

My friend walked away in disgust and got about twenty feet away from the rude tourists when he heard screams.

He turned around in time to see the dozen sweatshirt wearing alums being hosed down with gallons of urine.

From head to toe, some with open mouths too stunned to move, the visitors were soaked in steaming piss.

Drenched and stinking, they cried for help, and demanded an answer why?...why did the rhino do THAT? My friend quipped…”Well, you were wearing Michigan team sweatshirts, that particular rhino came from an Ohio zoo, he is obviously a Buckeye fan.”




read more Zoo Hell stories here




Tales From Working at a Zoo For the Summer



September, 2009:

My name is Maria, and though you have not met me, you know me, just as you know every employee at a store that gives you that look you know so well, that makes you want to lean over and grab their shoulders and scream, "I AM NO CUSTY, I AM LIKE YOU!" 

I work at a zoo for a summer job in an undisclosed location in the USA. 

Not retail? I beg to differ. 

I worked at a ride for kids and their parents, or at a station selling feed for animals.

Screaming children every day, rain or shine, coffee or no coffee.  To add to that, it was the same CD we had to play for background music on the carousel with 16 4-minute songs that played for the entirety of an eight-hour shift. You heard that music when you got home, when you were driving, even while you slept.

I half awoke most nights seeing a line of people on the side of my bed, yelling at them to get the fuck out of my room, it was 3 am and the ride wasn't open yet. 

I can deal with that. I can deal with terrible customers, rude adults, bratty children, the pounding need to get my tubes tied lest I breed one of those hellspawn; it was simple as long as I had wonderful coworkers. 

For the most part I did.

Except one.

This coworker was hell. 

I am an ambitious, devoted worker who loves the bosses I had and truly enjoyed working for a company with the message a zoo has, and I take my job to heart. This coworker was a stoned-out slacker who showed up for shifts two to three hours late consistently, left early, took 1-2 hour breaks at a time (we're allowed 2 15-minute breaks and a half hour for lunch).  Usually there was a stench of pot about this loathsome creature who almost never actually worked even when present and accounted for. 

One day, this coworker didn't show up until a hour from the end of my shift, the opening shift.  They brought moral to an all-time low when present and constantly barraged the helpless managers with shirking and complaints.


When Crappy Coworker finally quit, it was too happy a surprise.  

It just goes to show how important coworkers can be to a working environment.

My dear friend who worked at a similar attraction was a true Retail Whore. She was either stationed in the large shop or at one of the three or four other small satellite stores scattered about her park. 

Her management was a group of sadistic morons who knew nothing about sales, motivation, compassion, or other things you need to house a soul. 

The biggest example of this was that in the dead heat of the summer, the management decided to remove stools from the satellite stores. This meant that all employees had to stand for at least four to five hours straight on their shifts, waiting between breaks.

The rational?

That stools made the employees look "bored" and "unapproachable". 

Management bullshit. 

My friend developed chronic back and leg pains so bad that she had to take pain pills to work.

But instead of keeping it to herself, she took every god-given chance to complain to every manager that came her way and got all her coworkers to do the same.

A memo to HR was drafted telling them that she, and her coworkers would go to the state department of labor unless they did something, but before she had a chance to send it out, what should happen but the management "decides to graciously return the stools" with a list a mile long about "regulations" for the stools. 

Bullshit, the employees led a peaceful but threatening uprising and you caved.

Vive la resistance.







Zoo Hell: I don't even know what happened with this transaction



From vomirrhea, Tales From Retail:

I work in the giftshop of a zoo. It started pouring cats and dogs outside. I get a man trying to buy rain gear at the .counter.

Man: Two umbrellas please.

Me: That will be $20.

Man: Wait I was told umbrellas were only $6 a piece.

(OK wtf, by who?)

Me: No, they are $10 a piece.

Man: Well I don't want that, that's expensive.

Me: We have ponchos that are cheaper.

Man: OK I will take 2 of those instead.

Me: That will be $14.

Man: Where's my umbrella I want an umbrella.

Me: You do? Just one? With the Ponchos? OK

(then he suddenly puts back one of the Panchos without a word)

Me: OK you want one Poncho and one umbrella?

Man: (in a frustrated voice) you know what just give me two Ponchos and two umbrellas, I need to get back to my family!

I rang him up, and he stalked out of the giftshop leaving me standing there like. Wut?











Retail Memories: Mum Kindness at the Zoo



From mermaid-for-this, Tales From Retail:

Spent a summer working in the gift shop of a small zoo that was in a wealthy area, posh mums were the bane of my existence but one of them was responsible for the kindest gesture I've seen in my retail career.

I was finishing a transaction with a lovely woman (Mum1) who was trying to unfold her buggy so she could leave but was struggling. Gift shop was quite small so she was blocking people from moving past her to the exit, there was quite a wealthy looking woman (Mum2) behind her waiting to leave with her own buggy and I braced myself for unpleasantness.

Mum1: Oh I'm SO sorry this buggy is rubbish but we can't really justify buying a new one

Mum2: What brand is it?

Mum1: Names a low-end brand

Mum2: Oh no they're terrible quality. You know my little one has pretty much grown out of this one and we were going to get rid of it, you may as well take it!

Mum1 is astounded and protests to this gesture but Mum2 is already collecting her stuff from the buggy to hand it over.

Mum2: Honestly you'd be doing me a favour, otherwise I'd have to arrange for someone to collect it.

Mum2 refuses to take any money of Mum1 and leaves with her child, thanking us for the visit. Mum1 is still in shock and then checks the brand of her new buggy and practically faints.

Mum1: This brand costs over a thousand normally!

We look the model up on the computer (hey, slow day) and lo and behold this buggy (which is in very good condition) retails for around £1,300, and this woman has handed it over like it was nothing. Mum1 teared up and told me they couldn't afford even a cheap new model and now had a high-end one! She left still in daze after I said we could dispose of her old one and I thought about this interaction every time I had to deal with horrible customers that summer.