Category Archives: General Kraziness
The other day, my krazy koworker (every store has at least one, but this guy is world klass krazy) showed up for work late.
“I’m late,” he said.
I agreed, noting privately to myself that he is, in fact, always at least five minutes late…but that he seldom admits it. The store clock, he claims, is completely inaccurate. That made his admission rather newsworthy.
“You’re late.” I agreed without inflection.
“I have a reason,” he said very importantly.
Ordinarily I tune him out. In fact, ordinarily, I’m walking out one door when he’s walking in the other. We get along a lot better that way.
But this time, I found myself unwillingly intrigued.
“Yeah?” I asked.
I blinked. “Raccoons.”
“In the dumpster!”
“You live,” I reminded him, “in an apartment complex. You mean the dumpster there?”
“That’s what I said! There were raccoons in the dumpster!”
“And you’re late because…?”
“There was a whole family of them!”
“O-kay…” I said, still not really following. I mean, if they’d invaded his living room and held him at knife-point, I could sort of understand. But around here, raccoons and dumpsters are not unlike peanut butter and jelly. You don’t always find them together, but they aren’t exactly an unexpected combination.
“…and you’re late because…?” I prompted.
“I was trying to decide whether to call the cops.”
“Wouldn’t you have called them?” he demanded.
To be fair, I would, maybe, when I had a spare moment, if I’d thought about it or actually cared, have called the apartment manager/maintenance/whoever. Or, more likely, I’d have waited until the garbage truck came. Problem solved.
Heck, I had a raccoon in my backyard a month or so ago and all I did was throw a stick in its general direction and make sure it had gone over the fence before I let the dog out. It was not, I didn’t think, a matter requiring law enforcement intervention.
He wasn’t listening. He never listens, because in his world when he asks a question, you’ve already answered him according to the script inside his head. Therefore, it’s completely unnecessary for him to engage his ears. While I know I said, “no,” it’s likely that he heard, “OMG yes, for I am merely a weak and lowly woman and I am completely unequipped to cope with the scenario you have described!”
“They have shotguns,” he nodded.
I am somewhat unclear on whether he meant that the police have shotguns (although I can’t see any of them discharging weapons into a big metal bucket) or whether the raccoon family had shotguns…which would honestly have been a much more interesting story.
Yesterday, my koworker was late again. No mention of raccoons, but he did give the store clock an accusatory glare.
I guess things are back to normal…
Until a few years ago, the local representatives of various law enforcement agencies (all of whom shall remain anonymous) mostly patronized a competitor’s gas station for their morning coffee and chit-chat. That was before the Midwest Flood of 2008. There’s something about the sight of a person hosing down merchandise for resale after it’s been floating around for a week in a contaminated swampy stew to turn one’s loyalty…not to mention one’s stomach.
They shop here now.
And every so often, I get to hear their own Krazy Kustomer stories. Well, they’re more like Krazy Kommuter stories, sometimes Krazy Komplainant stories, and once in a while there’s even some Krazy Kriminal stories.
This however, really does sort of fit the standard Krazy Kustomer mold:
The other day, an officer was approached by a man who said, “Hey, I accidentally missed a toll and I want to pay for it.”
This is, of course, a good and admirable thing. Not everyone who inadvertently zips past a toll booth is so conscientious. Kudos to him! There was only one glitch.
“Wisconsin doesn’t have any toll roads,” the officer said.
“It was right back there,” the man indicated the Interstate.
“In Illinois, but this is Wisconsin.” Where, let’s reiterate, there are no toll roads. And for the sake of honesty, the last Illinois toll was probably at least a good eighty-ninety miles away, which puts sort of an extended spin on right back there.
“It’s the same road,” the man insisted.
[Now let me just segue here a minute. I get this sort of thing all the time. People ask me a question and argue with whatever answer I give them. On the other hand, I’m middle aged and sort of milquetoasty. I am not wearing a badge, nor packing heat. This is why I’m so fascinated by stories like this.]
“Yes, it’s physically the same road, but the tolls are over the border. In Illinois. On this side of the border, you’re in Wisconsin.”
“So…” apparently the guy really had to do some mental stretching here, “you’re saying I can’t pay my toll here?”
“You have to give it to the DOT in Illinois.”
“I’m not going to Illinois. I’m going to Minnesota.”
“Well, you do have a week to pay it.”
“But I can’t pay it here?”
Y’know, I’d LOVE to know how this little saga will end.
Sadly, we’ll probably never know.
Since I’m not at the station today–yes, it’s true, they sometimes let me have a day off!–I thought I’d expound on a specific subject that is all too often a sticking point in the life of a Kustomer Service Representative:
The Photo ID.
Checking driver’s licenses and various bits of identification is one of those inconvenient, yet necessary services I provide in the course of my work. Alcohol sales, tobacco sales, checks (which we seldom take and they have to be local if we do)…all of those things require that I verify certain information about the client and/or kustomer. This isn’t peculiar to our little store, it’s a state thing, so it’s amazing how many rolled eyes, exasperated sighs, and outright arguments I get about it. (I save the eyes for craft projects.)
The litmus test is this: If you look like you’re 27 or under, I’m going to ask for ID. (My record was a 42 year old but she looked GREAT for her age and came uncomfortably close to smooching me.) I will also card you if you’re border-line young looking and wearing one or more of the following: a hat, dark glasses (especially on a cloudy day) or a mask. Yes, I said a mask. You’d be amazed. Deer hunters who love to cover every square inch of skin with camo, take note.
If you really irritate me, I’ll even card you for a lottery ticket because yes, you do have to be eighteen to buy one, Skippy. Deal with it.
Although it happened a dozen years ago, I still remember my first confirmed fake I.D. catch like it was yesterday. To be honest, the perpetrator wasn’t exactly caught out by any superior sleuthing skill on my part. A young man asked for cigarettes and presented me with an almost-rectangular piece of white plastic. Upon inspection, the front of the plastic “card” had a sloppily cut out of a black and white yearbook picture scotch-taped to it, and the words, BORN IN 1981 printed beneath the picture with purple crayon. (I could be wrong. It could have been a purple marker, but it looked like crayon.) I looked at the card, looked at the kid and said, “You’re joking, right?”
“It’s a student ID,” he insisted in a squeaky voice. He looked about twelve.
“We both know what it is,” I said, only he was too young to hear any PG-13 language, so I merely ended the lesson with, “Go away.”
Even after all this time, that young man (presumably old enough to buy smokes legitimately now if he’s not incarcerated somewhere) has the distinction of being the Reserve Champion of the All-Time ID Presentation Moron event at the Krazy Kustomer Olympics. At least on my shift.
Foreign ID’s and Passports are always lots of fun too. Finding the D.O.B. is interesting, especially when the card is written in Cyrillic or Mandarin Chinese or something. I WILL find it, mind you. Eventually. Hope you brought a magazine to read while you wait.
There’s also the never-ending controversy over taking personal checks and what constitutes a local address. We don’t have one of those machines to verify that a check is good, so we take only local checks with the rationale that if we have to
go to your house and break your kneecaps prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, it should at least be convenient for us. I mean, if you live a hundred miles away, or you’re not even from this state, why try to convince me that you’re a local? Therefore I am going to look at your check and cross-reference it with your ID very closely. Sometimes they don’t match, and I won’t take it. Sometimes they tell me that you’re from Saskatchewan. Same result.
And please, while we’re on the topic of checks, for the love of all that’s unleaded, don’t ever tell me that your check is “good.” No one has ever, not even once, told me that their check was going to bounce like a terrier on amphetamines, and yet, voila, it has happened! It’s equally pointless to say that you use a reputable bank, or one that has a local branch. If you have no money in the account, the bank is not going to tell us, “Oh, but since we have a local branch, we’ll honor this check even though we looked in the vault and there’s a multi-generational colony of spiders spinning webs in the space that person’s money used to be. Also we think we found Jimmy Hoffa, pending DNA analysis.”
Regardless, of all the fake ID’s, non-ID’s and “It’s in the car/house/camper/my other jeans/I lost it, why can’t you take my word for it?” ID’s, there is one that stands out above the rest. One that even eclipses The Boy With The Purple Crayon. When I asked our reigning Champion All-Time ID Presentation Moron for his ID and was presented with…
Well let’s just say my response went something like this:
“I’m sorry sir, but when I ask to see your driver’s license, I can’t accept a brochure featuring a penciled “Self-portrait of the artist as a young man” as an alternative.”
I think that one stands alone, don’t you?
A lady walked in and slapped a couple of bucks on the counter. “Two in lottery.”
“Can you be more specific?” I asked.
“You know what? If you’re going to be like that, just forget it,” she snapped and stormed out.
Uh…what just happened?
As a youngish couple wandered around the store, insulting each other in the accents of the deep south, I noticed that their car (parked at Pump 1) had a medium sized dog leaning so far out the open window on the passenger side that it seemed on the verge of tumbling right out. It was a pit-bull.
“Is that your dog and is she about to get loose?” I asked the couple.
“Yep, she’s ours,” the woman answered. “She’s just fine as she is.”
“Okay,” I smiled, trying to show that I hadn’t intended any offense. I mean, I like dogs and I’m not a subscriber to the theory that all pit-bulls are plumb crazy and’ll tear your throat out as soon as look at you. I’ve known some very nice pit-bulls over the years. “She just looked like she might be thinking about hopping out and going for a stroll, that’s all.”
“Oh, she sure does jump out,” the kustomer told me with evident pride. “She does that all the time. She don’t run off, she just comes by the door and waits for us.”
“Ah,” I said, less than thrilled at the thought of a loose dog (well trained or not) sitting around outside the store but what can you do?
The lady laughed. “Tell you what, if she does, you won’t have no more customers until we leave. That dog is plumb crazy and’ll tear your throat out as soon as look at you.”
This morning, a very normal appearing guy a little younger than myself walked in and asked if we had any coffee. My standard answer is, “It’s over there, under the sign that says ‘coffee’ on it.” (And it is. Seriously. It’s a huge garish orange and yellow sunburst poster that takes up a third of the wall and has pictures of steaming coffee mugs on it.) Anyway, he thanked me and went over to the coffee counter.
A minute later, he walked back with an empty cup in his hand. “Ma’am, I’ve never used a coffee machine in my life.”
This was okay by me because the coffee is not in a machine. (It is made by a machine, and you would not BELIEVE the mess it makes if someone turns that machine on when there is not a pot underneath it. But that’s another story.) The coffee is in pots. Coffeepots. They’re very nice. You put the cup under the spout and push the lever on the top and coffee comes out. It’s amazing. Also user friendly. Until now.
I walked back over with him and indicated the pots in approved Vanna White style. “This is regular coffee and this one is Vanilla Nut flavor.” The pots are clearly labeled of course, but I had diminishing faith in his deductive abilities.
He just stood there, clutching the cup like a distraught villager might grip a sombrero.
Sighing, I relieved him of the cup, demonstrated briefly and handed it back.
He held the cup with all the enthusiasm that I would have if someone gave me a tree slug. “And there’s…milk or…something that goes in this?”
(I went through something similar when I took a statistics course and realized in the middle of the exam that I had no idea what a “coefficient of variation” was, or what I was supposed to do about it. That was a bad day.)
I showed him where the creamers and sugars were, but I had another customer waiting, so I left him to it.
Eventually, he came to the counter with the cup and a handful of creamers and sugar packets. The cup was maybe a third of the way full…exactly as it was after I demonstrated Basic Coffee Acquisition 101.
“You can put more in the cup you know,” I told him. “You can fill it up, if you want.”
“Oh. Can I?” Away he went again.
By this time, I’d certainly figured out that my konfused kustomer was not making a coffee purchase for himself – that there must have been another recipient waiting in the wings somewhere. And while I personally consider coffee to be the elixir of life itself and proof that God is real and loves me, I recognize that there are a select few people in the universe who do not partake of this wondrous caffeinated gift from Above. I’ve even met a few.
I’ve just never met one who didn’t realize that when purchasing a self-serve beverage, it is normal and accepted behavior to fill up the cup.
Back he came with slightly more coffee. It was about half-full this time. The cup was medium sized, so I gave up and charged him for a small.
“Between you and me,” he said, lowering his voice, “I can’t stand the smell of it. Makes me want to puke.” He gave me a sickly smile and left, still holding the cup as far away from him as possible. Tongs would have been welcome, I’m sure.
That was about an hour ago.
Now I obviously don’t know who that coffee was for, but I’ve been pondering the incident and I think I’ve got it narrowed down to a possible scenario.
I’ll bet he bought it for a woman.
Let me explain.
Although I haven’t personally been in a seriously romantickish relationship in close to a decade, I recall that there are certain things a woman expects her suitor to do, by which he must prove his courage, love and adoration. (And okay, let’s be honest, his malleability.) It used to involve slaying dragons. Today I call it, The Buying Of The Product. If you’ve been in a “serious” relationship, you probably know what I’m talking about. A couple are traveling somewhere and pull into a convenience store parking lot. His intention is to buy himself a cup of soda big enough for a raccoon to swim around in. It’s a guy thing I’ve never really understood.
He turns to her, “You coming with?”
She stretches and yawns casually. Too casually. “No, but while you’re in there, buy me a box of [Feminine Hygiene Product], okay?”
And with all the primordial survival instincts hardwired into his DNA, he wildly looks around for a dragon to kill instead. With his bare hands if necessary. But his ancestors hunted all the dragons to extinction. Stupid ancestors. The only big, green, reeking nasty thing in sight is a garbage dumpster and that’s just not gonna cut the mustard this time.
Make no mistake. This IS a test. His performance is being strictly evaluated from the point of request until he returns with the box of [Feminine Hygiene Product]. He fails if he doesn’t make the purchase. He loses major points if he brings it back in a brown paper sack, especially if he double-bagged it. He might earn those points back if he returns via a circuitous route, clutching the package like it’s the cure for smallpox and he’s dodging enemy agents in order to deliver it intact to the CDC. If he’s whistling the theme song to Mission Impossible or has a running style like Matt Damon in the Jason Bourne movies, or just LOOKS like Matt Damon in the Jason Bourne movies… marry him.
It is possible, just possible, that this particular time-honored scenario is what was befalling Mr. Coffee-Makes-Me-Puke this morning. Or maybe he already passed the [Feminine Hygiene Product] test and was going for the post-graduate credits. Or maybe she simply knew his greatest weakness and threw a caffeine scented gauntlet at him instead of the traditional task.
Or maybe, and I like this one even better, he just loves her enough to bring her a cup of coffee unasked. Even though he hates it. Just because she likes it.
Regardless, half cup or not, I’d say he passed.
A neatly dressed man walks in and comes up to the counter. He says, “I want one–” and he stops.
He says nothing else.
I wait, with my patented expression of semi-concussed helpfulness firmly in place. (It’s more or less the same as a Golden Retriever faced with a textbook on particle beam assays.)
He simply stands there in a state of cranial constipation.
The thought occurs that he isn’t sure exactly what he wants, but that he wants something and he’s content to wait until it hits him. Even if it takes forever.
Which means I’m waiting too.
A short eternity later he intones the words, “One lottery.”
“You want a lottery ticket?”
“What kind of lottery ticket?”
He looks at me.
I look back.
I have to confess that usually when I’m at a lottery impasse with a kustomer, I offer them their array of choices in as efficient a way as possible … which is to say, in one breath and as fast as I can speak. Something like this:
We have PowerBallMegaMillionsMegaBucksSuperCashBadgerFivePickThreeAndPickFour.
Sometimes they get whiplash.
In this case, I go much slower, with audible commas and everything.
He continues to look at me.
So I wait again.
And I wait.
Eventually, with the slow deliberation of a tectonic plate readying to shift, he says, “I want … one … Power … Mega.”
There is no such thing as a Power-Mega.
I ask for clarification and itch to reach for a novel to read while he readies his answer.
But I wait.
It’s a tossup what’s going to happen first, him answering me, or the sun going nova and making the point moot.
He says, “One.”
“One which? Power Ball, Mega Millions or Mega Bucks?”
And I’m back to waiting.
Eventually I’m going to have to have a bathroom break. Or get some sleep.
Once a lottery ticket is printed out, it’s a done deal. You can’t stuff it back into the machine. If the cashier makes a mistake, they are expected to purchase the ticket.
I don’t care.
I print out one of each, place them firmly on the counter and say in a clear, firm tone, “That’ll be three dollars.”
He pays! He leaves!
The crowd goes wild!
I do a little happy dance and smile widely at the next kustomer who walks in. “Good afternoon!” I say, giddy with relief and goodwill toward mankind in general. “What can I do for you?”
“I want … one lottery.”
Just watched an aggressive young man pulling and yanking furiously at a cooler door in a determined quest to retrieve a bottle of milk. It took me three tries and finally shouting at the top of my lungs before I could get his attention and explain that it’s a sliding door.
Milk. It does a body good, but the cooler door might never be the same again.
From the Facebook Archives:
A regular customer (who until now is a customer and not a kustomer) is buying his usual two packs of cigars.
As we’re casually chatting during the transaction, he mentions that he spends part of his time working in Milwaukee. I ask what he does for a living.
He laughs. “I’m a Respiratory Therapist.”
I have complained to my friends in the past about “krazy kustomers who karry kash in their kleavage.” There really are few things in the world that I find more unsavory than someone digging around in there and coming up with a wad of crumpled and damp bills with which to pay for their snickers bars and unleaded. Sure, it’s nice that there are some people out there who are endowed enough to apparently keep all of their worldly possessions…uhm…close to their hearts, but really there are limits.
But, I don’t want to seem completely heartless, so after dealing with one such transaction today, and after…well, kareful konsideration…I will make an exception, a kodicil, if I may.
It is okay to karry kash in kleavage if you are on krutches.
HOWEVER, if you are in the company of four able bodied people, all of whom look capable of carrying things like cash, wallets, keys, masonry blocks and mid-sized ponies (as happened today) the exception does not apply.
I think that’s fair. Don’t you?