Krazy Kustomer Kwote Of The Day:
“Ma’am, yesterday I got gas here and then spent the night at the motel yonder. Today there is bird manure all over the back of my car. I will be using your wash buckets yonder to clean that off. I have never seen such a mess and don’t know why you people can’t do something about it!”
Do what exactly? Kill the birds? This is a rural area!
Yeah, I’ll just grab my Red Ryder 200 Shot Carbine Action Range Model Air Rifle with a compass and this thing that tells time built right in the stock…and I’ll get right on that for ya, mister. If I don’t shoot my eye out first.
Update: He just carried the now-filthy squeegee into the store, laid it on the counter where people set their food, to “prove he hadn’t left bird manure or rocks” in it. SERIOUSLY???
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…
So, a girl (late teens/early twenties) puts four candy bars, a bottle of juice and a bag of chips on the counter. I ring up the bottle of juice and the chips first and only then does she stop me.
“Wait,” she says, and pushes forward a single candy bar, neatly cut from the herd. “Ring this up first. By itself.”
“I already started on the other things,” I say. “Do you want to pay for them first and then we can do that one as a separate transaction?”
“No,” she says. “I told you to ring this up first.”
With a mental shrug, I void the transaction, wait until the cash register spits out the receipt of rejection, and start over, ringing up the single candy bar as directed. She pays me with a twenty dollar bill from her right front pocket. I give her the change. She puts it in her right front pocket.
“Now the rest.” She taps her fingers impatiently on the counter.
I ring up the rest.
She reaches into her left front pocket and, you guessed it, pays me with a twenty dollar bill.
And I really, really, really want to say something.
But I don’t.
A little while ago, I noticed a garbage can on the verge of overflowing by one of the pumps, so I grabbed a fresh bag and during a rare customer-free moment, sallied forth bravely to take care of it. I pulled off the lid, grabbed a double handful of bag, gave it a businesslike lift…and nothing happened.
The thing weighed a ton.
Upon investigation, I realized that some clever soul had taken their own non-subtle white garbage bag (chock-full of whatever) and rammed it into our already full enough thank-you-very-much, garbage bag. This is really freakin’ annoying, to tell you the truth. Anyway, I decided to remove the intruder first, reasoning that this would enable me to get our bag out without my needing back surgery or a Medflight or something.
So, Garbage Can – Take Two. I reached in, grabbed the white bag, gave a businesslike lift and as it cooperatively popped loose from the can to about the level of my chest, it exploded.
I’m not saying that the bottom dropped out of it. I’m saying it exploded. Because it exploded.
Plastic bags rip. I know this already from bitter experience. Too many times, I have felt the dreaded “brown goo” seeping through my shoes from a leaking garbage bag, no matter how carefully I tried to hold it at arm’s length while waddling at breakneck toward the dumpster. And Heaven forbid that I wear sandals. Really, the brown goo is everything noxious you can imagine, all condensed and pureed. Brown goo on bare skin would probably give me leprosy at the very least.
But at least I know to expect brown goo. And this wasn’t it.
Never before have I seen this level of catastrophic disintegration. And never before, in the line of duty, have I found myself liberally splattered with…
In a vague way, I’d be quite interested to find out if the gasses from watermelon decay can interact with the chemical compounds in plastic.
In a more immediate way, I’d really like a shower.
Yesterday, I made a Facebook post, thusly:
I think I’m going to die. I reached in to a windshield wash bucket for what I assumed was a carelessly discarded rag and came up with a handful of chicken carcass. Bleached white. With my bare hand. There is not enough hand sanitizer in the world to make this right.
An elderly lady (accompanied by her adult grandchildren) walked up to the counter. As I was ringing up their purchases, she noticed some bags of beef jerky on display, picked one up, turned it around in her hands thoughtfully for a minute and said,
“Oh girls, this looks JUST like your Grandpa!”
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 guy put a bottle of brake fluid on the counter.
I rang it up. “Is that it?” I said.
I told him the total.
I rang in the gas. “Okay the gas and brake fluid. Is that it?”
I told him the total.
“And a pack of Marlboro Reds.”
I gave him a long Look. He seemed normal enough, so I reached for the cigarettes while taking a deep, cleansing breath. “The gas, the brake fluid and the cigarettes. You’re all set now?”
“Nope. Nothing else.”
“Okay.” I rang it all up and opened my mouth to tell him the total.
Somehow I knew that was going to happen.
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.”
Last night, my co-worker Janet was at work, I was at home, and we were chatting on the phone. I was sharing my nascent thoughts about whipping my horrible doughy carcass into shape and competing in a Tough Mudders’ event next year. Janet, always a very supportive friend, was atypically quiet, although I think she wasn’t feeling well and having some asthma issues or something. At least that would explain the snorkeling wheezy noises she was making.
[I’d have thought she was laughing her head (or other bodily parts) off at me, except that I know she’d never do that. Not my friend, Janet. No way.]
ANYWAY, Janet is the consummate multi-tasker, especially when it comes to using the telephone, so as I talked and she wheezed, she was simultaneously waiting on customers. I could hear the transactions cranking along like white noise in the background and honestly I didn’t take too much notice when a cigarette lighter was sold. We sell them. It happens. We don’t get emotionally attached to them or anything. It’s not like adopting out puppies.
But a few minutes later, the lighter buying customer returned and crossed the line into true kustomercentricity.
First she asked for matches. After buying a lighter.
And then she asked to swap out the original lighter she’d bought for a cheaper one of a different color “and don’t worry about the price difference,” I heard her say.
I paid closer attention.
The original lighter was purchased for someone waiting out in the car. That person rejected that specific lighter based on the following criteria:
1.) They were en route to a casino.
2.) The lighter in question was orange.
3.) Orange lighters are…BAD LUCK.
Yes, you heard it here first. Orange cigarette lighters are a contagion guaranteed to put a boil on Lady Luck’s bottom. Or something like that. (Also, smoking is bad for you, but I digress.)
So, let’s make sure we understand this.
In an effort to improve gambling luck, the kustomer paid $1.99 (plus tax) for the orange lighter and then traded it in even-steven for a $1.29 (plus tax) lighter, thereby incurring a loss of $0.70 before ever setting foot in the casino.
I think this is a valuable lesson for all of us, don’t you?