I suppose my story is a little bit different then the normal food service or retail one. I spent a summer working for a refrigeration company as sort of a grunt/lacky, I did all sorts of things, from taking enormous service refrigerators to the dump to crawling in fiberglass lined cielings, holding myself up on cross beams, because if I let my weight down I'd fall through the crappy material that it was made of.
It had been a long day, and by long, I mean that my two partners in grunt-ni-tude and I had spent the entire day hauling refrigerators off to be destroyed, grueling and difficult work in the best of circumstances. We were sore, tired, and generally unhappy when we got a call from our boss saying that we needed to take an ice cream freezer to a Maverick out to the fuck-end of nowhere.
Alright, whatever. He pays us good overtime, and this will be an hour to an hour and a half of driving just to get there and back. We figure we can eat on the way there, get back, and really be no worse for the wear. Besides, it was a Thursday, the day before Friday-- we were always willing to take more shit on Thursdays.
So my two campatriots and I get the new Ice Cream freezer tied down in a trailer, hop in the companies new truck (which they surprisingly let us drive,) and get the hell to Dodge.
Everything goes fairly smoothly, we have a couple of big pneumatic jacks in the back that we can stick the old freezer one, and stick the new one in. We've done stuff like this before, it may take 10 to 15 minutes, tops.
Oh, how wrong we were.
We pull into the Maverick, and it's -packed-. See, this place, despite its small town status is the home of a fairly large university, maybe you've heard of it, BYU-Idaho. The store is filled with hungry college students looking for a cheap fix from the rough equivalent of a 7-11.
Our spirits fell quickly.
I, being the spokesperson for the group, went in to inform the cashiers that we were here and that we'd get the freezer out and the new one in as soon as possible. They mentioned all the people, and we'd say we'd move as fast as possible to try and not be too much of inconvience.
Now mind you, working here I got a taste of how people look down on the service industry-- some would inquire very interestedly on what we were doing, and we of course would reply as best we could, gratified that someone took notice of our fuckwitted attempts to fix things. But most of the time, seeing as we were teenagers in a thankless job, we basically got the down the nose treatment from anyone and everyone.
We realized we were going to piss some people off, but there was nothing that could be done, we had to have this freezer out. So we manuevered our way in with the big red jacks, and a wooden thing that the name of escapes me right now. Basically its arranged at a 45 degree angle from standing up straight, and on the end is a flat piece of metal that you slide under things and then hoist on the under end. This Hinger or pulley thing-a-ma-what basically makes lifting heavy things as easy as pie. There are a couple problems in its design, though.
So we get the freezer onto the jacks, and start the arduous process of moving it out, and other then a cop who walked in and jokingly gave us some sass about trying to steal the ice-cream freezer, nothing had happened.
Then she entered. At least, I think it was a she. However, whatever it was, it was enormous, and quite possibly the largest ham-beast I've ever seen. We were bound for trouble, as well, this woman had a 64 oz. big gulp mug in her left hand, and we were right in front of the pop machines. It was like sublime force in the universe had deigned to fuck me over for every lie I had ever told, every piece of candy I had taken from the pantry without permission, and every time I secretly enjoyed being an ass.
So this woman, instead of waiting patiently for us, decides that her big gulp CANNOT, and I mean, CANNOT wait, and instead attempts to shoulder past us. Now, normally this wouldn't have been a problem, but this woman was large enough that in her attempt to get by us, she somehow managed to knock the freezer of the jacks. (Fairly flimsy hold anyways, me and my buddy Nick had to hold onto it constantly for it to not to fall off. Sam drove the damn set-up). It falls off, and nearly crushes Sam's feet. However, thanks to his quick reflexes, he only got out of it with a bruised toe.
Now Sam took medication every morning for anger problems, and it helped, but by no means did it make him a completely sane individiual. Don't get me wrong, I genuinely liked Sam, he just had a fuse so short that he went from 0 to kill in a manner of seconds.
The woman turns on us, "THAT COULD HAVE LANDED ON ME AND BROKEN MY FOOT! I'LL SEE THAT YOUR BOSS KNOWS ABOUT WHAT SORT OF AWFUL JOB YOU DO HERE."
I can see Sam's about to lose it, so I give him a "please don't get us killed look," and turn around to the woman to try and run damage control.
"I'm very sorry miss, the freezer was imbalanced in the first place and must have just been bumped off. We'll hoist it back up and be out of your way in maybe a minute." I notice out of the corner of the eye that the police-man is still there watching all of this occur, which gives me a little pause. He was generally a cool guy anyway, he had helped us out when we were trying to orient things, and had made amusing conversation the entire time he was there. Said he was waiting for a fresh batch of something, but anyways, there he was.
Sam, clearly about ready to kill stuck the wooden thing underneath the freezer again and tried to hoist it up. And I kid you and myself not, we were only 5 seconds into the process when the ham-beast decides that she needs her slurpy or what-not NOW. She then attempts to climb over the ice-cream freezer.
My cry of, "Please, miss! Wait for a couple seconds!" is heartily ignored.
A woman of this size does interesting things with kinetics, as she balanced herself on the freezer in an attempt to pull her enormous girth over it rocked forward suddenly, driving the wooden piece -hard- into Sam's shoulder. He grunts, and is spending all his energy in not having his collar bone crushed into his heart. Then said Ham-beast loses her balance and falls backward, falling off the freezer and onto the floor. This sudden reversal made the freezer fall back into its normal position, sends the wooden wedge straight into Sam's chin, knocking him into a stand of cracker jacks and sunglasses arranged opposite from the pop machines.
He's out like a light.
And now the Ham-Beast is screaming at us, "YOU COULD HAVE BROKEN MY TAIL-BONE, I'LL SUE. I'LL TAKE YOUR COMPANY FOR EVERY FUCKING PENNY ITS WORTH, YOU WORTHLESS ASSHOLE."
The police men steps in at this point and tells her that he thinks she should leave for a minute and let us do our jobs, this sets off another time-bomb, "YOU WANT ME TO LEAVE!? I'M AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, I HAVE MY RIGHTS. I'M NOT LEAVING UNTIL I HAVE WHAT I WANT, YOU SHOULD ARREST THESE MEN RIGHT NOW!"
I paraphrase, of course, but the entire screaming schpiel basically was her telling us all that she had a right to her 64 oz. soda, and by God, no one was getting in the way.
The police man escorts her out at this point, her screaming can be heard all the while. We get called "Fucked-up high school dropouts with no futures," get told that out "goddamn company will be hearing from her lawyers, and that she's gonna take us for every penny we've got," and my personal favorite, "I could have been seriously injured by your negligence."
All the while, me and Nick are trying to get Sam to come too. (Which he does)
Jesus christ, that was long, sorry.
Athough not exactly a customer service incident, I have an good story.
I worked for a time at a small golf course/driving range. One of the more hair raising things I would do there was drive the old "ball picker-uper". Of course people would aim for me, and it was usually extremely loud and extremely suprising when a ball would find its mark on the cage that covered the windows. It was cool though. I didnt mind much and would usually just laugh it off. It was only when I would come in close to pick up the short balls that any real damage could be inflicted.
On this particular day there were perhaps 3 people at the range, real slow. I come in real close on the far left and stop to wait for a guy to finish hitting a ball. He is using his monstrosity infant-sized driver and hitting them out to the 300 mark. He finishes up with his hit and I go to cross infront of him. Once he realized my intent he scrambles to tee up again. Once he gets the ball on the tee and is lining up his shot I start yelling, telling him to wait. I swear the bastard gets a little smile as he starts his swing. The ball rockets at me, bounces off the back wheel, and straight into the guys shin. He drops and, after watching to make sure he is not seriously injured, I have myself a good laugh.
Honestly the guys lucky he didnt kill himself.
One of my favourite stories, not involving me. A woman came in shopping on Christmas Eve for presents at 530pm, the store closed at 6pm. She's rushing around getting stuff and gets to the counter. The guy working the counter rings up the stuff and the woman goes "oh and I'll take 5 boxes please". The guy working the counter goes "I'm sorry Mam, we only get so many boxes in for the Christmas season and they are usually gone very quickly when we do get them". The woman starts freaking out and screams at the guy "You don't have any boxes? You're so unprepared!!" The guy looks her dead in the eye and goes "You're shopping half an hour before the mall closes on Christmas Eve and I'M unprepared?" Woman just grabbed her shit and took off.
Not really an asshole customer, more of an asshole scam artist. As a quick backstory people have a habit of stealing suits from sears and then returning them in an attempt to get money or an exchange which would get them a receipt which then they can return THAT suit for money. So this hefty black woman comes in with a suit:
HBW: I would like to exchange this suit it doesn't fit my son.
Me: Sure thing, what is your phone number
Me: Ok, and your last name
HBW: (last name)
At this point I should point out that Sears can look up addresses by phone number, her phone number puts her in the far east end of Toronto (Scarborough). I am about 1 - 1.5 hours away from her house and on the west side of the GTA (Oakville)
Me: Ok may I have your reciept please.
HBW: Oh, I don't have it
Me: Ok then, well since we're just exchanging that shouldn't be an issue. Do you know what size suit your son needs.
HBW: Oh he just needs a suit, I'll go find one.
Me: But Mam, if you don't know what size he needs you might just have to go through this all over again. If you know what pantsize he wears we can go from there.
HBW: No, I'll just go find one (and she waddles off)
Now I call security because I know she's full of shit.
HBW returns: I'll take this one
Me: ok, lets resume the return then. Do you have your driver's licence on you?
HBW: No I don't have a driver's licence, why?
Me: Well because this is a no-bill return we need some form of ID. Do you have a health card? That would work as well.
Me: Do you have any sort of ID? Anything? Birth Certificate? Letter from your mother? Anything?
HBW: No I don't!! Why are you giving me such a hard time, I just want to exchange this suit!! You're just giving me a hard time because I'm black aren't you!!
Now I just wanted to scream "Ya, it's because you're black. It has nothing to do with that fact that you drove from the other side of Toronto passing at least 10 other, better equipped Sears stores to exchange a suit for your son when you have no idea what size suit he wears. And apparently you walked here because you have no driver's licence and you have zero ID. But yes, it's totally because you're black"
I didn't though. At that point security called me back and told me to just put through the return because either way we're out the same amount of money. So I put through the return, and hand her the new suit. On the plus side she still didn't get a reciept.
My brother is the Regional Manager for a chain of quick-lube places in town. One of his stores is located next to a bar that hosts popular karaoke nights. More often than not, that quick-lube catches a lot of overflow parking from the bar those nights. Since the store closes at 6:00p, they usually don't have a problem letting people park there after hours - even though it is clearly and repeatedly posted not to. Occasionally, there is a car or two still in their lot in the morning [2drunk, 2drive], but typically people are pretty good about picking them up before the shop opens. As for the others,well, the local towing company is a frequent visitor.
Last week, there was a car left overnight. But,instead of being in the actual lot, it was parked right up next to the building. Directly IN FRONT of a bay garage door. This basically shut down 1/2 of the store, as a car could not be serviced in that bay. In an unusual act of kindness, the Store Manager [SM] delayed calling the tow company until 10:00a, thinking that car owner would surely have come by then. Nope. Towing ensues.
Noon rolls around and an irate, 40ish female storms into the shop and demands to know where her car is. The SM apologetically explains that her car was on posted private property, that they waited until 10:00a, that it was towed and that she will need to go to the tow impound lot to claim it. She then proceeds to verbally demean his shop, his hair, his mother, his heritage, etc, as he calmly continued perusing his morning paper, ignoring her completely. Out-of-breath and getting no reaction, she stomps out the door. The SM then looks up and throws out a loud, "Thanks for choosing [quick lube], ma'am. Please come back and see us, reeeaaal soon."
A little over an hour later, the SM receives a call from an acquaintance at the tow company. Apparently, Irate Towed Female [ITL] had made an appearance at the tow company, demanding her car. They said they would be more than happy to get her car, as soon as she paid the bill for the tow. She went ballastic. Her screams could be heard from outside, as she informed them that she was not paying for any such tow and the it was the quick-lubes bill. After about 10 minutes of the same argument, the cashier bellowed, "Look lady, no money - no car!" Not yet defeated, ITL starts madly clawing through her purse and produces set of keys. With a wicked gleam in her eye, she then, spins around and RUNS down the adjacent hallway, launching herself out the back emergency door. [SIDENOTE: She apparently had been able to see her car through a plate-glass window behind the cashier during this entire time.] Then, not only does she manage to unlock her car door and start the car, but as she tore out of the parking lot she was grinning maniacally and using both hands to flip-off the attendant. Chuckling, the cashier just picked up the phone and called the cops. He turned over her tag number and information from her insurance verification, which included: her name, address and telephone number.
Later that night, my brother got a voice mail from a friend [who happens to be a Reserve Cop], that went like this: "Dude. You know that story you told me earlier about that crazy chick with the towed car. I just heard over the scanner that "the boys" just caught up with her. She led them on a 7 mile car chase, man! Looks like she'll be spending the night, compliments of the County and her car is being impounded. Again. At the Police Impound. I don't think she'll be making Karoake tonight."
BREAKING NOW: a story so dangerous that there are those within our government that might kill to keep it from getting out.
Ma'am, what if I told you I have the miracle of a lifetime right here in this briefcase?
The Comedy Goldmine examines the funniest and most creative threads from the Something Awful Forums. Although the Comedy Goldmine has changed authors many times over the years, its focus on the Something Awful Forums is still the same. Includes hilarious Photoshops, amusing work stories, parodies, and other types of oddball humor.