Ethel And Her Big Balls

| Folkestone, Kent, UK | Holidays

(My mum spots a bag of Christmas baubles in the window of a charity shop that she likes, so goes inside to buy them. She takes the bag to the till. It says on the bag that there are 15 baubles inside and that they cost £1. The shop is being manned by two old ladies, one at the till and the other in the stockroom.)

Mum: “Just these, please.”

(The old lady at the till studies the bag.)

Old Lady #1: *shouting REALLY loudly* “Ethel! How much is this bag of balls?”

Old Lady #2: “What was that?”

Old Lady #1: “This big bag of balls! How much are they?”

Mum: “It said they were £1 here.”

Old Lady #1: *picks up the bag* “Oh yes, £1. How many are there?” *shouting again* “Ethel! How many balls am I holding?”

(Mum and the other customers were trying really hard not to laugh at this point. Old Lady #2 came out of the stockroom to help Old Lady #1, and to stop her from shouting about “big bags of balls”!)

Hindu You Know What You’re Talking About?

| London, England, UK | Bosses & Owners, Holidays, Religion

(While volunteering in a charity shop in a fairly multicultural area, the discussion turns to how unusually hot the summer is, and the upcoming difficulty that will cause during Ramadan.)

Coworker #1: “It’s Ramadan soon! I feel sorry for anyone who has to fast in this heat!”

Manager: *turning to another coworker* “Will you be celebrating Ramadan?”

Coworker #2: “I’m Hindu…”

Manager: “So you will be celebrating Ramadan, or…?”

Not In Ctrl

| Durham, NC, USA | Bosses & Owners, Technology

(I am an admin clerk at a charity shop. Being that we’re nonprofit, we don’t have a dedicated tech support person, because the store director has an A+ certification, albeit from many years ago. One of our employees has received an email with an attachment that crashes his computer, and the director is trying to delete the offending email.)

Director: “[My Name], do you know anything about command line prompts?”

Me: “Not really. What are you trying to do?”

Director: “I’m trying to open Outlook in safe mode. Not the whole computer, just the program. I’ve been trying this for 20 minutes now and nothing’s working.”

Me: “Ok, let me Google it… Oh, man.”

Director: “What?”

Me: “You’re gonna be so angry…”

Director: “What??”

Me: “It says you can just hold down the control key while you click the shortcut.”

Director: “Mother-f*****!”

That’s The Way The Diet Crumbles

| Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK | Bosses & Owners, Food & Drink

(I volunteer at a local charity shop. The shop has recently been trying to take on some more volunteers. The manager is discussing one of the newer sign ups with the assistant manager.)

Manager: “So [new volunteer] said she wants to lose weight.”

Assistant Manager: “Well we can start by replacing the biscuit tin with a fruit basket.”

Manager: “And fill it with biscuits?”

(The worst part was, she genuinely thought it was going to be filled with biscuits.)

Not Volunteering Yourself For Abuse

| England, UK | Bosses & Owners, Food & Drink, Ignoring & Inattentive

(Having decided to volunteer at a local shop that sells clothes for charity, I meet with the manager to find out what I’ll be doing while I’m there. She is very cheerful and upbeat and we get on well. We go through all the normal stuff about fire drills, what sort of clothes are good enough to be sold, prices, etc. Then I agree to start the next day. As my shift starts at 12:30, I decide to go to get a sandwich. I bring it into the store room where the clothes are sorted before going on sale or being thrown out. It smells pretty musty in there. But, as there isn’t anywhere else to sit, I start to eat my sandwich after opening one of the big side windows wide open. The manager comes into the room.)

Manager: “New girl! Hey, you, new girl! Come here! Now! I know you’re in here!”

Me: “I’m here.”

(I walk over to her with my sandwich in my hand.)

Manager: “I just wanted to tell you about a change to the—”

(The manager breaks off when she sees the sandwich in my hand.)

Manager: “You can’t eat in here. I told you that you have to eat outside the back door. Have you forgotten that? I only told you yesterday. Are you stupid or something?”

Me: “You didn’t mention anything about food yesterday so I thought I’d eat here.”

Manager: “You can’t eat here as you’ll make the clothes smell horrible. What are you eating, fish? It smells dreadful in here now! How dare you ruin all the clothes for the shop? You’re so selfish.”

Me: “I’m eating a plain cheese sandwich by an open window. And it smells pretty bad in here already.”

Manager: “Oh, I don’t come in here myself. That’s for you people who do all the menial tasks. Besides, it’s always smelled musty, ever since I started working here.”

Me: “Well it can’t be me who made it to smell so bad if you say it’s always smelled this way. I’ve not even started my very first shift yet!”

Manager: “Well, I’ll let this go as you’re new but if it happens again I’ll have to fire you. And that won’t look good on your CV, will it? Stupid girl!”

Me: “You know what? I’m going. I don’t have to be called names and insulted.”

Manager: “You won’t get this month’s pay cheque if you walk out. It’s in your contract!”

Me: “I’m a volunteer. I didn’t sign one and I don’t get paid.”

(I collect my bag from the corner and walk out through the shop. The manager shouts after me.)

Manager: “Stupid b****! I’ll make sure you never work again!”

(About a month after this happened I got a call from the same shop. A new manager had taken over and wanted to see if I could come back to help again. She had even set aside a space for people to have lunch in away from the clothes. She also told me the previous manager was fired right after I left for being abusive and rude to the customers and staff alike.)

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