Friday, November 12, 2010

Quickies (not the fun kind) VOL 1: Some of my "favorite" customer encounters, in brief.

I think it makes me look like a real estate agent.  Or an insurance broker.

Every now and then*, I have a simply delightful encounter with an esteemed patron that I will never forget, that will stick with me forever, to be told to my hypothetical children and even more unlikely grandchildren. The encounter could've been an action, a word, or a full-on exchange of thoughts and ideals that when recalled, just plain tickles me.

Incidently - I fucking hate being tickled. Ask the boyfriend; let's just say he's lucky he doesn't bruise.

Every single job I've had (and I've had six in the last 4 and a half years) has come with a wonderful story or two to share with you, my dear friends. Some are just plain classic; some make me laugh now, looking back - and others still make me very, very happy I am not one for violence. The Worst of the Worst were definitely those I encountered at Wal-Mart and Empire Theatres. The ones I encounter currently, at the video store, are far more benign. But every one of these impossibly rude, ignorant, and just plain mean mother effers deserve their place in this blog.

Consider this a companion to my earlier Open Letter to Every Annoying Customer I've Ever Had (definitely worth a read if you haven't already!).

Some of these stories you may have heard before, as I am fond of recounting them when I'm feeling particularly steamed. Others have been chronicled in my short-lived Livejournal blog, Box Office Blues.

Without further adieu or prolonged explanation (beyond that which I've written to this point - I'm sorry, I don't know how to keep things short and sweet), here are the Classics, categorized by job. This is the first collection, soon to be followed by another.

*I get a little bit terrifiiiiiiied but then I see the look in your eyesssssssss... Both myself and my other half are completely unable to speak a line from a song in normal conversation without then immediately singing whatever song it's from. I swear, it's a syndrome.

Short and not-so-sweet, Vol. 1:

  • Some things are universal to any job. Let's say it's Rememberance Day (Veteran's Day, for my American homies). Many things are closed, except the movie theatre, and restaurants, and the video store. As I worked two Rememberance Days at the theatre and 2 at the video store (yesterday included), I can tell you that this played out about 325987346975694 times -
*phone rings*
Me: Hi, *whichever establishment I'm working at*
Caller: Are you open today?
*what I want to say*
Nope, I'm just paid to answer the phone and tell you we're not!
*what I end up saying*

Now, one can argue that once you call and someone's answered, what are you supposed to say? That's easy, "Oh, great! You guys are open, that's all I wanted to know." I've had that response a dozen times and there's nothing wrong with it. I encourage it. It saves a shred of your image you're trying to cultivate in which you aren't an idiot.

  • WalMart: When will this be going on sale?   I'm not 100% sure when that $15 item that certainly retails for a good 10 to 20 dollars more at any other establishment will be further marked down. This may come as a surprise to you, but this young girl working in Sporting Goods isn't exactly in cahoots with head office, or whoever the hell decides when sales - excuse me "Rollbacks" -will be taking place. Seeing as we just got it in a few days ago, you might be waiting a while. And if you aren't willing to just buy the damn thing - AT WAL-MART, FOR FUCK'S SAKE, then how badly do you really want it? Yeah, that's what I thought.
  • The busiest gas station in town: Can you turn on the air pump?   Okay, you obviously saw the sign that said, "50 cents". Do I think someone should have to pay for air? Not necessarily, but I also don't have a car, a bike, or anything else that would need such a service, and since society treats me like dirt, I think I'm entitled to be a little selfish and not give a rat's ass, don't you? Anyway, I don't care that you think it's "outrageous" and that you're "going somewhere else!" Do you know how much money this station makes? And stop calling me a liar; I promise - if I did have this magical button you speak of that could turn on the air pump and save you a couple of quarters (is that a new SUV you're driving? I'm sorry you're so hard up for cash!), I would gladly press it - TO GET YOU TO SHUT THE FUCK UP.
  • The video store: It couldn't have been late, my son/daughter/husband/whoever took it back *due date*. I get this every day, and it used to be confined to sketchy deadbeat customers, but lately it's been a constant string of "good" customers, and it is driving me to drink. Listen, the computer's don't lie. You say your kid took it back on Sunday and it's showing returned on Monday (this time it happened to be Thanksgiving, so... your kid was not in school, maybe they kept it another night to watch?), then guess what - IT WAS RETURNED ON MONDAY. I don't care how much your son/daughter/husband/wife/sister WHOEVER insisted they brought it back - do you ever stop to think, just for ONE SECOND, that they might be lying to you because they don't want to get blamed for the late fee? So instead of owning up to the fact they didn't bring it back in time, they blame us? Of course not, because your pwecious family would never do that.
  • Again with the everywhere: But I was here last week and... Although I, personally, was most definitely here last week, and I have no proof that you were, and you could very well be lying, I will still give you the benefit of the doubt. You easily could be telling the truth. But ONLY on that part of your statement. Whenever someone starts a tirade with this, it will immediately be followed by a lie. "But last week someone told me these were going to be one sale." No, they didn't. "But last week it was only $5.00 to see a movie!" No, it wasn't. "But I was here last week and they let me take my 7-year-old to see the Texas Chainsaw Massacre!" No, they didn't.  "But last week someone told me you could rent two movies and get one free!" Okay, which one of the four people, total, who work here, none of whom are new or stupid, told you that? Oh, wait - no, they didn't. "But I rented a movie here last week!" Your account has been inactive for six months because you stole $100 worth of video games, would you like to see your transaction history? Better yet, would you like to pay for the games you stole, or should I call the police?
  • The movie theatre: No, the rating is based on parental discretion...  This is what we call "the perfect way to make yourself sound like you have the mental capacity of a retarded goldfish". Now, when it comes to what your children watch on TV, the video games they play, and the music they listen to - at HOME, mind you - it is up to you. You give the permission, and they can do it. Now, when you go to the movie theatre, there's a set of "ratings" in place. Obviously, little Jimmy or Susie can see any movie rated G or PG. If it's rated 14A, you can bring them along and watch it with them. But when it gets up to 18A - Canadian law states that they must be 18-years-old or older, OR be at least 14-years-old AND accompanied by an adult. That is what it means. It does NOT mean your 11-year-old daughter can go with you to Good Luck Chuck (and that movie is so filled with sex, I can't believe any parent would try to take their kid, but I digress). You can argue til you're blue in the face (and the woman who has this story seared in my memory certainly did) that "IT'S PARENTAL DISCRETION! THIS IS MY DAUGHTER! I DECIDE WHAT SHE SEES!" But I'm just going to continue to repeat, "As you can see on that awfully official-looking sign that was sent to us by the MPAA, it states explicitly that it is Canadian law. Are you above the law, ma'am?"
  • The first call center I worked at: Dear, your accent is so strong I can't understand you.  Today, kids, we learn the definition of irony - this call will always stick with me, because the caller? WAS FROM NEWFOUNDLAND. AND COULDN'T UNDERSTAND MY ACCENT. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? For funsies (and my foreigners): Now, this was a commercial but it is EXTREMELY ACCURATE. Seriously. A guy that works with the boyfriend is a Newfie and this is exactly how he speaks.

I saved some of my lengthier and more rage-worthy stories for volume 2, stay tuned, friends.


  1. Nicole In Whose Porch You Used To StandNovember 12, 2010 at 2:31 PM

    I LOL'd a lot at this one because I feel your pain. My boyfriend read it as well and chuckled. I love your blogs Britt :) PS-Newfoundlanders legitimately sound like that.
    PS- Is it sad that I understood that Newfoundlander 100% lol

  2. LOL Nicole your posting name killed me. And yes, one of my neighbors is a Newfie so I know too well that they sound JUST LIKE THAT, but unlike you, I can't understand :( ahaha you have a skill.


* Anything intentionally antagonistic or misspelled to the point it would cause an educated person pain to look at will be deleted.