A Useful Comeback

| VA, USA | Bosses & Owners, Ignoring/Inattentive

(I’m a new hire, a bagger, just a few weeks into my summer job. It is a Saturday morning less than an hour after opening. It’s just me and a handful of other cashier and bagging types, as well as one assistant manager who is playing Angry Birds on his tablet. While waiting for customers to arrive, we have already cleaned all the checkout conveyor belts, made sure that all the checkouts are stocked with paper, plastic, and canvas bags, placed all the carts and baskets at the front of the store for customers, and returned all displaced merchandise to where it belongs, apart from some items that just turn up seemingly from nowhere, which we don’t even seem to have in stock. With all this stuff done, we’re just hanging around and waiting for customers to show up. I’m looking at one of the gumball machines just for a second when suddenly the store manager walks in and comes up behind me. She isn’t happy.)

Manager: “[My Name], what are you doing?”

Me: “Good morning, ma’am. I’m waiting for customers to arrive.”

Manager: “Why are you standing still doing nothing?”

Me: “Because everything has already been done, ma’am.”

Manager: “Go find something to do.” *she points to the assistant manager, who is still playing on his tablet* “Like him; he never stands idle.”

Me: “Understood, ma’am.”

(I just grab a can of soup from the shelves and pretend to be looking to restock it. When I check back on the checkout lines, there are a few customers and none of the cashiers are overwhelmed. However, the manager was there, and she was not happy.)

Manager: “Where were you, [My Name]?”

Me: “I was making sure that all the canned goods were in order.”

Manager: “Why weren’t you bagging items?”

Me: “Because I was making myself useful elsewhere as you told me to do.”

(That was how I learned to always leave at least a couple things undone, just for the sake of looking busy.)

Have To Grow A Thicker Skin

| Australia | At The Checkout, Employees, Health & Body

(I have eczema on my forehead and hands. It is a skin condition which is hereditary where the skin, in layman’s terms, doesn’t recognize itself and attacks itself believing itself to be an invader of the body. This results in rashes, flaking skin, redness, cracking and bleeding. You can go years without it, and then it may crop up mildly or severely one year. My hands are cracked, but people notice my forehead which is currently cracked, bleeding and flaking a lot. People keep staring at me and it can make me feel insecure. I go to the supermarket to buy some groceries, when the lady at the register begins staring at me, really obviously.)

Me: “Hi.”

Clerk: *continues staring at my forehead*

Me: “I’ll just have these items, please.”

Clerk: “Sure. So, how’s your day going?” *still glaring at my forehead*

Me: *had enough* “Oh, pretty good. But I have eczema, so everyone keeps staring at my forehead.”

Clerk: “Oh… uhm… Yeah, I get eczema, too!” *hurries away without saying goodbye*

Me: “…”

There’s A Meth To His Madness

| Australia | Health & Body, Language & Words

(I’ve been working a long shift and spy an older guy checking out a display of soft drinks. Thinking he is trying to choose, I suggest:)

Me: “The full range is in the drinks aisle if you wanted an easier choice.”

Customer: “Oh, no, I didn’t want any. I just wanted to know how much sugar is in it.”

Me: “Well, it’s soft drink, so probably lots.”

(He nods, then picks up the sugar free one.)

Customer: “What about this stuff? Any better?”

Me: “You don’t want that either. It has methamphetamine in it.”

(He pauses after a few seconds, and looks up at me.)

Customer: “I don’t think that’s what you meant, is it?”

(I catch the gaffe and apologise.)

Me: “I mean aspartame!”

Customer: *laughs* “It probably has all of it in there somewhere, anyway.”

Shut Down Your Argument

| Warrington, England, UK | Employees

(It is 8:50 pm. I am a customer, arriving to do my shopping. I find that the supermarket doors are mostly closed. I see an employee in a kiosk.)

Me: “Are you closed?”

Employee: “No, we close at 10:00.”

Me: “That’s what I thought, but three of the shutters are down.”

Employee: “Yes, we do that so that we don’t get a rush of customers at the last minute.”

Me: “So, people who can be bothered to find the open entrance are allowed in?”

Employee: “You’d be surprised how many people can’t be bothered.”

Me: *trying not to laugh* “Right. Thanks.”

Puts The A** Into Harass

| UK | Employees, Health & Body, Ignoring/Inattentive

(My mother has taken my 91-year-old grandfather to the supermarket. He is very frail and has short term memory problems so cannot react quickly. He is standing near the car while Mum locks the doors when a supermarket employee pushes a row of supermarket trollies towards him at speed. Mum dives out and grabs the front trolley just before it hits Grandad.)

Mum: *angrily* “Careful! You almost hit him.”

Worker: “You can’t speak to me like that; that’s harassment!”

Mum: “…and nearly knocking over a man in his 90’s isn’t?”

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