When I was about fifteen or sixteen, I used to work in a small stationer/furniture/globe emporium. It was a great job overall, I had the coolest- if a little overprotective- manager ever. If he was proud of you, he'd say so, and if you did wrong, he reprimanded in such a way that made you never want to do it again, but still keep smiling. This made working with him a real pleasure. I used to get £20 a day, and once he gave me £5 extra for 'doing an outstanding job rearranging and tidying the map section'. I love that guy.
Anyway, I derail. Because the shop was quite smart, and in the center of a well known big city, we used to get a lot of business-types. Most were alright, but some looked down on anybody that:
1. Didn't look as rich as they did
2. Was female
3. Was young
I fit into all three categories. So occasionally, we'd get a real asshole. Fortunately my manager was aware of the regulars, and would normally step in and take the transaction to save me being ridiculed/bitched at/etc by fucktards.
The furniture showroom was upstairs in the building. Whenever anybody went up there, my manager would follow, to assist. One particular day, my collegue had called in sick, so it was just me and my manager. That day fucking ruled, at least, until Mr Stick-Up-His-Ass walked in. My manager was upstairs assisting a couple with chairs, and told me 'any problems, come straight up and get me, Lazenca'. He was very protective of his staff, and would worry about leaving us alone. I assured him I'd be fine, and I'll call him if I needed him.
So I'm sitting at a writer's desk we had in the showroom for staff, because the day is slow as hell, staring into space when Mr Stick-Up-His-Ass walks in. I stand up, greet him hello, and ask if I can assist him in any way. He looks at me, literally turns his nose up, and stalks through the shop.
Fine, I think to myself, and sit back down. He clearly didn't want my help. I keep an eye on him as he walks around, collects up a few pieces of stationery, and heads to the till, which next to my desk. I stand up, and walk over to take his purchase.
"I'd like to open a business account," he says after a moment, after visibly looking around and seeing no older, male members of staff to serve him. (For those that don't know, a business account is a tab businesses would use with us, and we'd send them a bill once a month).
I look at what he wants to buy, and see it's no more than £5's worth.
"You need to spend over £20 before we can open you a business account," I explain. He looks at me like he actually wants to kill me and spits. "Get me your manager, little girl."
So, I'm outraged, tell him to wait right there, and call up the stairs to my manager. He comes down, takes one look at the fuming guy at the desk, and mutters "oh, him." I'm very reassured by this.
He walks over, smiles, and asks what the problem is. I walk over right behind him.
"She," he spits, pointing at me. "Won't let me open a business account."
My manager reminds him of the 'spend £20 rule', so he reaches for the closest item to him on a rack behind him and slams it down on the desk.
"We must be close to halfway with that, now, let me open a business account."
My manager politely informs him, that no, we won't bend the rules for him, so could he please either purchase the items with cash or leave the premises. The guy sighs, takes his wallet out, and shakes his hand at me in a motion that I assume is 'ring it up then'.
So I ring it up, and it's a little shy of £10. He opens his wallets- where he flashes literally a WAD of £20s at me- and takes a £20 out. He turns his back on me, and slams the £20 down on the desk in front of me.
It's the middle of summer, so there's a fan mounted on the wall behind me, blowing on the top setting. The note flies off the desk, and halfway across the shop. The guy, who still has his back turned, watches his note fly past him and onto the floor. His face visibly falls, and he tries to catch it, and then has to crawl on the floor in his nice posh suit to retrieve the note, which had blown under a rack.
I'm exchanging looks with my manager, both of us trying not to piss ourselves laughing. The guy grabs the note, slams it on the desk again, and keeps his hand on it until I pry it out from under him. I bag up the purchaes, flash him a smile, and wish him a nice day as he literally snatches his change from me and stalks out the shop.
As he leaves, my manager calls the guy an asshole under his breath, and heads back upstairs to his waiting customers. It's the only time I've ever heard him swear. I love it when karma bites wankers in the ass.
I work at a cell phone company. It's not some shady dealer or something like that in the center of a mall, it's its own entity. Anyway, a mom & daughter combo came in and their phone wasn't working, and generally the first thing we do when a phone isn't working is to check the water damage stickers. Surprise surprise, the thing was damaged by some sort of liquid. I told her this and she flips, ranting in spanish for her daughter to translate. I tried to explain to them that we have a 30 day warranty that doesn't cover damage of any sort, but they weren't having it, so what does she do? The mom snatches the boxes, stomps 2 feet towards the door, turns around, and throws the box at me. Phone and all. I just sort of stood there dumbfounded since she missed pretty badly, then after they left proceded to strip the phone and give away the accesories in the box.
I thought it was funny
I used to work at airport customer services, and I can tell you that there are very few places you can find more angry, stressed and tired people than at international airports. I would have a lot of stories, but I like to reminisce one special occasion.
It was a saturday in february 2005, one of the busiest weekends of the year because of the national winter holiday was around that time. I was pulling a double shift, a bit tired but all in all in a good mood since everything was going smoothly, except for a group of Russian tourists with a delayed connection flight to Moscow. It was a group of some 30 people, with only four guys who spoke any English, and even they couldn't quite understand what I was saying. They had been bugging me every ten minutes for hour:
- When does Moscow go?
- I don't know, sir. Your aeroplane is late from the previous route and at this point I can't give you an estimate. I will inform you personally when we have an estimation, please sit down for now.
- But we need to go Moscow!
This conversation with minimal variations took place a few times, and when we found out that the plane was going to be pretty badly late, we gave them a bunch of refreshment vouchers. That kept them happy for half an hour, and after that they were back time and time again. And again. And again. The good Russian gentlemen reeked distinctly of sweat and vodka after a long flight, so needless to say, I wasn't amused to have to deal with them after 13 hours of work on a busy day.
And that's when the shit hits the fan. Now, I was working at a customer service counter that was in front of a huge window giving out on the runway. Something goes wrong with the defrosting car and it crashes into a wing of a Boeing 737-500, causing the end of the wing to rip off on the car, and the whole shebang starts smoking. Afterwards we found out that it was just burning gasoline, but from our point of view it looked like the plane was on fire. We run to close the vertical blinds on the window and not too many people see the incident, but the ones who do are alarmed and start harassing us immediately.
In that very moment, when we try to explain the event to a bunch of customers, two of the Russians who have been sitting further away in the terminal show up, pretty drunk at this point, loudly demanding my attention. I ask what's the problem:
- When does Moscow go?
At this point I just snap. I can't bear to explain them the exact same thing for the jillionth time, so I decide it's time for some radical action. I walk the gentlemen to the window, proudly pull open the curtains to the runway with two firetrucks and a smoking plane and with the biggest grin of my life I exclaim:
- I'm sorry, sir, but your plane seems to be on fire. We will tell you as soon as it's ready to depart.
My co-worked burst out laughing like crazy, but the crowd around us wasn't exactly impressed. I got pulled off the shift and a month's probation. Definitely worth it, though.
Some of the absolute best service I've ever gotten is when I'm the customer in line directly after one of these assholes. Just a couple weeks ago I went to cash two checks and get my address changed at my bank. It was a friday afternoon, so I should've expected there to be a long line as it would be pay-day for alot of people. I totally forgot, but decided I'd just wait in line anyway as I was already there. The elderly man in front of me was yelling as loud as he could that they didn't have every employee working to help costumers, and even pointed to the security guard when he was supposedly pointing out people "standing around doing nothing." The only person (besides the guard, who was doing his job exactly) who wasn't at their own register helping the line was the manager, who was sitting next to a trainee (with a trainee badge) helping her at her register so that she could get everything done fast. The man ended up yelling at the trainee that she needed to be faster or "get out of the business." I was called up next when he was done and stormed out of the place, and the trainee looked like she was ready to cry. The manager just looked like he had been running a marathon and could barely stand. She asked what she could do to help me, and I gave my order but said "and take as long as you need, I'm not in any rush and that guy was insane." She lit up so fast and said after my checks were cashed and my data was changed in the system that if she didn't have a line she'd want to come around the counter and give me a hug. On my way out I heard her say "Why can't everyone be like that?" and the manager said "Most people are too stupid to be patient." Truer words have never been spoken.
Man: I want a Voter Information Guide written in Italian for my 95 year old father who doesn't speak any English.
Me: We only have Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc
Man: So you're prejudiced against Italians, are you?
Me: Sir, it's 2003, and we live in California. There is no institutional racism against Italians anymore. (wrong response)
Man: AHHHH YOU MOCK MY HERITAGE AND THE STRUGGLES OF MY PEOPLE AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Me: I can send the Spanish version, some of the words are the same.
Black Woman: I'm not registered to vote.
Me: You're too late, the deadline to register was last week.
Woman: I KNOW JESSE JACKSON AND AL SHARPTON PERSONALLY AND I'LL HAVE YOUR JOB!!!
Me: Because you missed a deadline that is all over the television, radio, and internet?
Woman: YOU RACIST WHITE BOY etc etc
This was a far better situation than dealing with paying customers however, since once it became clear they were nuts we were free to ignore, mess with, and hang up on them.
The very best customers are the ones who lose their cool and expect me to follow, as I'm an 18-year-old with an earring and they basically expect that by being jackassess they'll entice me to talk back to them. When I'm just as courteous and civil as always, even empathizing with them ("I understand why you feel that way, Sir") they'll quickly get embarassed as they realize they're being out-matured by an 18-year-old with an earring.
I've worked mostly part time at a TJ Maxx clothing store down the street from my house for about 5 years now. I'm lucky enough to work the layaway counter and not be a cashier or returns or something like that. I know many of the women that come in, their names, family, etc. So we're mostly cool with each other and I treat them with respect, they treat me the same. One night I had decided it was a good idea to visit a friend at the Subway down the street. She asks me if I would like to partake of some little festivities while on my break. I agreed and off we went into the freezer. I came back to work and had a very weird experience.
I'm helping a woman in layaway. She's never been to my store before. She's white, middle aged, and is dressed in what appears to be expensive jewelry and clothing. I wonder why she is using layaway when it appears she shouldn't have any problems affording her items. Behind her is a short, tubby, young black woman in sweat pants and a stained shirt. I get these types of people of every race, including lots of trailor trash rednecks. As I'm working the computer, both spot this cheap looking vase I have behind me. At the same time. Uh oh.
Rich lady: Excuse me, how much is that vase you have behind you?
Fat lady: Excuse me, but I saw that vase first. How much is it?
Rich lady: I believe not! I asked first, so I should get an answer.
Me: Uhh...it's like 50 bucks or something.
Rich lady: Good, I'll take it then.
Fat lady: Uh uh, I seen it first. You keep your damn hands off of it.
I focus my eyes on the computer screen as they begin to yell at each other. I'm way too high for this, I tell myself. What the hell do I do? The argument eventually turns into a shouting match full of f-bombs and racial slurs. I stand there completely shocked of what is happening and unable to do anything. A few seconds later, the black lady slaps the white lady in the face. I let fly with a "holy shit!" while the slapped woman looks completely shocked. I rush over in an attempt to get between them, suddenly finding my spine. The white lady then picks up the vase (which I never even remember putting on the counter) and slams it into the side of the black woman's head. The lady falls like a sack of potatoes to the floor. I'm flipping the fuck out, while the white lady looks directly into my eyes with a calm expression and says something to the effect of:
"Young man, you saw how I was assaulted first, so I responded to defend myself. Now, I would like to purchase this vase please."
Eventually the police were called and both women were questioned, as was I. I had sobered up by then, thank god. I don't know if any files were pressed, I didn't care all that much. Fucking bizzare.
It's honestly nothing special. I was still a tech, although nearing my end, as I had given them (secretly, in my mind) 6 months to make good on the raise they promised me. I hadn't seen a dime of the gigantic $0.50/hr raise I was promised when I earned my A+ cert, so the clock was ticking. Enough tangent shit, basically this woman brought in an old school Apple LaserWriter. I was dong both service writing and tech on this particular evening because I was the n00b and I think the other guy was out at dinner. She asks if we needed her Mac serial cable to test it, I say, "no we have our own" or something like that. I make it a point to never be rude right away, that's a great way to fuck shit up instantly. She says that she has to go somewhere, yadda yadda, I tell her we will call her when we know what's up. This, in retrospect, was an error.
I hook the thing up and lo and behold, it works. Shit, it must have been her cable. Alright, call the customer, explain that it must be her cable, and have her bring it in so we can test it and get her going. I call, and I distinctly remember her sounding unhappy, but I don't quite remember if she was being an asshole over the phone. Probably not, because I think I would have remembered that. She comes in about an hour later. FUCKING ENRAGED. I mean, there was one customer who kept calling us fuckheads and retards, but she takes the cake. She was goddamn spitting, and I'm standing there not knowing what the fuck. First thing she starts yelling about is the 40 minute drive, and then how it's my fault she had to bring the cable (true, and I seriously still feel bad about making that mistake), how the $100 diagnosis was all over a stupid cable, etc. I mean, everything in the book. I was still the meek nerd back then, I tried so hard being nice, I think the barrage lasted about 3 minutes before she broke me (this actually happened before the furniture thing, and I've never been the same meek wiener since). So I just whipped her cable at her printer and yelled "FUCKING CUNT" then slammed the desk. Super mature, I know, but I was 17, what are you gonna do? I must have looked like a miniature ape, all I needed to do was fling shit at her and beat my chest. She just looked horrified and left in a hurry. No "I'm calling your manager" or any of that. Odd.
Looking at the situation, you have to realize, I didn't make her drive there at that exact moment, in fact, I told her over the phone, "whenever it's convenient, please stop by with the cable". I do believe I apologized for not taking it in the first place (probably a few times, I still feel stupid about that). Not only that, but she seriously could have waited 2 minutes when she got there, not yelled at me, and completed her transaction and received her printer back once I told her that the cable was certainly bad (it was). I seriously then would have refunded the printer diag charge if she bought a cable right then and there, so everything she said was ridiculous.
Well, it turned out that this little showdown couldn't have come at a worse moment (if I wanted to continue at CompUSA that is). The retail manager and my manager were talking about promoting me to some type of floor manager at that exact moment, about 20 ft. behind me. The retail manager just stood up and said, "I guess not" and he walked away. I didn't know what was up until my manager said, "you just lost a promotion, you need to control your anger". Looking back, thank god. If I had made a career out of that place, I'd have eaten a .45 by now.
Well, there it is. Like I said, nothing special.
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.