Stay Safe Out There

I helped close up the store last night with the work BFF, the nicest shift leader man alive, and our new seasonal guy that everyone loves. At 9-o-clock we turned off the last cash register, locked all the doors, and pulled out the security gates. The work BFF and I were doing the last minute things (picking up garbage, empty recycling bins) while the shift leader helped our new guy cash out. While we’re piddling about in the office, we could hear banging on the door and a bunch of yelling. By now, it’s at least 10 minutes since we closed, and the store is very visibly closed. It’s dark, the security gates are out, the open sign is turned off, and the store hours posted next to the door say that we closed 10 minutes ago.

Now, we close at 9pm, but the two stores closest to us both close at 10pm. Also, we’re right by the border crossing. Like, if you go out onto the main busy road right outside the store and don’t get into the right lane, you’ll wind up on the bridge and heading over to America. We do get a lot of people coming from out of town who don’t know the store hours or don’t know how to get to the nearest stores. Sometimes they’ll knock on the door just to ask for directions. Also, we’re right by the university, while one of our stores is on a road called University. That store is open until 10pm. A lot of people just see “University location open until 10pm” and assume it’s the one near the university. So, the work BFF and I decided to go out to the vestibule together to see if someone needed directions to the nearest stores.

Last night, it wasn’t lost tourists or someone who read our location wrong. It was three young men who looked to be barely drinking age if they even were.  They were just standing there banging on the door, demanding we let them in so they could drink. WBFF and I get up to the door and tell them through the locked door that we’re closed, but the downtown location is open for another hour. Usually, this is enough to placate people who stand outside our door, demanding booze. Not these guys though. They decided yelling at us through the door would be a better use of their time.

C’mon, I just want one thing!

Dammit, I’m just tryna get my drink on, why you gotta block that?

It’s your damn job, open up the goddamn doors and get me my drink!

We told them all the registers were turned off, the debit machines were off, and the security team would call the police if we let anyone in after the lights go out. They didn’t care. They just stood out there yelling at the two of us. We shut the gate up tight, shook our heads, and went back to the office to laugh at them where they couldn’t hear us. We figured they’d tire themselves out and head downtown to grab a bottle there before that store closed.

About 10 minutes later, we locked the doors for the night and headed out into the parking lot. The new guy got in his car, while WBFF and I walked to hers. We could hear this yelling and then saw a car sitting there honking at our shift leader. It was those three guys! They had sat there in their car, waiting in the parking lot for us. This in itself was creepy enough. But they sat there yelling things at us from their car, watching us walk to WBFF’s car. Then, they sat there in their car, like they were waiting for us to leave so they could follow. We sat there, car off, trying to figure out what to do. I mean, they were pretty pissed off that we couldn’t magically re-open the store for them 10 minutes past closing, make a cash register come to life to ring them through with no drawer in it and sell them a bottle when we legally couldn’t. Like, they were really pissed about that. And then they sat outside waiting for us, and wouldn’t leave until we left. It was really scary.

In the end, I took out my phone and got ready to dial 911 if they got out of their car at all. We sat there for 5 or 6 minutes, trying to keep an eye on them from the locked car we were in. Eventually, they realized we weren’t going anywhere with them sitting there, and they left. Not before driving by us slowly and yelling things at us, and then speeding through the parking lot, almost hitting a minivan and a couple of pedestrians.

Sadly, this isn’t the only time things like this have happened to us at work. I had a group of three younger guys threaten me because I wouldn’t serve them until they gave me their ID. I had the man we refer to as Scary Customer Guy scream at me and shove his pen in my face like he was trying to stab me. We get shoplifters all the time, and more than once they’ve pulled some sort of weapon on our security staff when they try to arrest them. And our store isn’t even one of the two really “high crime” stores in the city!

The point is, stuff like this happens. It doesn’t matter where you are, there is always the chance of crime or violence. Does that mean you should never go anywhere? Stay in the house, hide under your blankets where the world can’t find you? Of course not. You just need to stay smart and be safe out there.

1. Stay In Groups

I’m horrible for this. I walk everywhere and have no problem walking home alone most night. Unless we’ve had an incident in the store, or I had to deny a lot of sales to people in the area, I’m fine walking. My co-workers won’t let me do that though. When we close the store at night, we stand at the doors in a group while the shift leader locks up. Then, we walk as a group through the parking lot, making sure everyone gets to their car ok. We wait and make sure everyone’s car start usually, and everyone gets out of the parking lot ok.

If you’re in a group, you’re less likely to become a random target usually. Some random criminal isn’t going to want to mess with a whole group of people when they could pick on the person who is walking alone.

2. Keep A Legal Weapon With You

I’m not talking about arming yourself to the teeth with guns and ammo. You probably have keys with you. Did you know that putting your keys between your fingers not only makes a great small weapon in an emergency, but it’s also a very low budget way to cosplay baby Wolverine?

We always joke at work that we’re fine in any situation because we have to wear steel-toe boots at work. Those in themselves are a weapon. A kick to the shin or groin with the toe of one of those will stop a lot of people.

Heavy backpacks or purses are great for swinging at people. Large rings make a punch more effective. Keys on a lanyard can be swung around at someone in a panicked moment. There are a lot of things that you have with you right now that can be weaponized.

3. Keep Your Phone Handy

This is the best tip I know. I always have music playing on my phone, so I know it’s right there with me. Know the emergency and non-emergency police numbers for your area. If you think you’re being followed, or you’re in somewhat but not immediate danger, you can always call the police. They’d much rather stop a crime before it starts, or when it’s just starting, then have to clean up the aftermath.

If you don’t feel comfortable calling the police, call a nearby friend. If I have to walk to someone’s house at night, I call them while I walk. That way, I can tell them about anyone suspicious around me. If something were to happen to me, then my friend would not only have a physical description of whoever is bothering me, but she would know where I am so she can call the police for me. She would also be able to hear what is going on as long as I’m on the phone with her.

Well, that’s all the tips I have for today. My work Christmas party is this weekend, and my roots are showing pretty bad right now. I’m off to dye my hair and make myself feel all pretty-pretty again. I am going to work on this topic more at a later date, though, and find some more tips and advise for staying safe out there. I just had to get this out of my head today, because I’m still pretty shaken up about last night.

 

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Got Degrees. Now What?

Just got home from work again. Seven days down, fourteen more to go until I get two whole, glorious days off. Then it’s on to the 6am shift for the rest of the year. The work BFF and I were talking about how great it will be to have days off again and to have afternoons to get things done. A bunch of us at work were talking the last few days about the strange hours and long stretches we’ve been having to work lately. It actually lead to a small mini-flip-out with the manager the other day, which is what started all of this talk.

I was chatting with the girls and the manager in the office while we grabbed promotional materials and organized for our holiday displays. Someone mentioned what they were going to do on their day off, and I jokingly said that I was counting down the days until I actually got a day off and that I can’t keep doing these long stretches much longer. The manager chimed in and said that the only reason I have any long stretches is because I sign up for them, taking people’s shifts on my days off. For the last long stretch, this was mostly true. I had offered to take a few shifts, switch a few shifts, and come in on days off to cover for people. I was supposed to get two days off one week, but those got taken away when a co-worker had to take a leave of absence. Since I already had that weekend booked off, I didn’t make a big fuss when my days off were taken away. This time, with the stretch I’m in the middle of, I didn’t take any extra shifts. The manager just scheduled me for 21 straight days. He tried to deny it, which is when I snapped a little.

All of our weekly schedules are on the magnetic board. I started pulling schedules down off the board, throwing them all down on the desk and laying out my schedule for him. I stood there and counted off the 21 days in a row that he scheduled me for. His response: Well, why don’t you just take a day off or call in sick one of those days?

The reason a lot of us have to take these stupid long stretches is because we can’t afford to just take a day off. Like I’ve said before, if I give away a shift or call in sick then I’m losing 5-8 hours of pay. If I give up a Tuesday night shift, the boss isn’t going to just add five more hours to my schedule later in the week. I have to hope that: a) it gets ridiculously busy and they need the extra help and have to call me in; b) a co-worker gets sick or injured and needs someone to cover their shift; c) a co-worker’s family member get sick or injured and they need someone to cover their shift so they can take care of them; or d) someone dies. The company is not in the business of just giving away money. When I give away those 5 hours, they’re given to someone else. Those hours aren’t banked somewhere for me to use at a later time.

The funny thing is, the work BFF and I both went to school so we could get jobs that are not in retail. We both worked towards careers where we were either salaried employees, or we would have set hours and wouldn’t be scrambling to pick up shifts all the damn time. Unfortunately, with the job market and economy being what they are in many fields, neither one of us has been able to achieve that. So what to do with those degrees I went into so much debt to earn?

I have two degrees a B.A. Honors in Criminology, and a B.A. in Psychology. I had a plan when I went into school to get these degrees. I had a career picked out, and was going to work towards a very specific goal. Unfortunately, a few different things derailed that plan, which lead me to where I am now. There is a huge part of me that still wishes I could have a dream career in some sort of criminological field. I read over true murder stories, keep up on certain crime statistics, I even have the outline I wrote for a Masters Thesis I wanted to do if I ever got the guts to go to grad school. Hell, maybe for fun I’ll work on some of that research! But what do I do with these damn degrees?

Of course, the Queen of the Internet Jenna Marbles has already tackled this problem herself. As another dual-degree holder working on something she didn’t go to school for, she had to find a way to use her degrees so they wouldn’t go to waste. Now, her ideas are a more hands-on approach to using the actual physical degrees than I’ve been looking at. I mean, I didn’t even get mine framed. Hell, I haven’t even picked up the second degree from the school yet! The first degree is still in the cardboard envelope they gave it to me in, sitting in a plastic shopping bag with my college certificate, wedged between a dresser and some shelves so they don’t bend. Someday I’ll frame them and hang them up. Today is not that day, so I really can’t go with any of Queen Marbles’ ideas here.

You see, I’ve been looking at some of the different things I can do now that I have two degrees. I mean, what the hell do you do with Criminology and Psychology? Unless you’re a sexy super genius in a TV crime show, being a criminal profiler is out (even though my goal was something close to that). My grades in psychology weren’t good enough for me to get into a Masters program in psych, so that destroys any dreams of being a counsellor or psychologist. So what other options do I have?

1. Just Be Content in the Job I Have

Ok, I get to play with the surveillance camera at work. And I get to write up the incident reports when we catch shoplifters. I mean, that’s got a bit of a crime-fighting edge, doesn’t it? And sometimes, when we catch a shoplifter and call the police, I get to talk to the cops. Today I got to chit-chat about criminals with a really Sweet constable (who was damn adorable and my girls couldn’t stop checking out).*

2. Go Back To School

Yes, this is something I’ve been thinking of at times. I was all ready to apply to grad school. I had a thesis proposal in the works, a research proposal for my applications, I even had academic references lined up. One of those references is a customer at my store.  It’s almost impossible to look her in the eye some days now. She was so sure I was going to get into grad school at the university I did my undergrad at. Then I would get immersed in some massively messed up crime research on school shootings, and mass shootings, and mass violent incidents, and crime statistics, and I would be so damn happy.

Instead, I chickened out. After getting my references all lined up, and working on proposals, I just didn’t apply. My boyfriend at the time was applying to grad school in his field, and I decided to just find work for the time being. The plan was to work for two years or so, pay off a good chunk of my student loans, pay off the credit cards, and then apply for school. Of course, that didn’t happen. I didn’t get the jobs I had applied to and took a very part-time job in retail. Over the years, I’ve been able to pick up more hours and make a bit more money. But I had to live on credit for a little while. And then kept using credit to keep my head above water and not starve for a while. And now I’m drowning in debt, and can’t even think about student loan payments without bursting out into tears. I know, it’s my own doing, and I’ll fix it all somehow.

But all of that debt threw my plans off, and now I’ve pretty much lost all confidence in myself academically. I’m like the Hiphopopotamus in a rap battle. I would love to go back to school, get a job in corrections and parole. And I’m still looking into that option, it just seems pretty far-fetched at the moment.

3. Go Back To School Online

Ok, this option is looking pretty damn good right now. The other day I made a post about all the different options available for online learning. I’m looking into a few different programs through Athabasca University right now. I’m also looking at just getting a little more education in a few areas that I’m lacking in. I mean, having two degrees is great, but what the hell is it doing for me right now? There’s obviously something I’m lacking in, so I may as well educate myself.

Maybe I’ll get a post-grad certificate in Addiction Counselling, or a diploma education counselling. Or maybe I’ll do something that has absolutely nothing to do with counselling.

Really, at this point, I have no clue what the hell to do with these degrees. I’ve been using the transferable skills I learned and trying to work with those, but it’s only gotten me so far. Maybe it’s time for me to get a new set of skills. Or maybe it’s time I just give up on the degrees and accept that I’ll be a lifer at my current job. What do you think I should do?

 

*he was NOT more adorable than the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend. Not by a long-shot.

And So It Begins……

Just got home from work, poured myself a glass of wine, checked my Snaps from my sister, and am settling in to try and order some new pants for work. I would seriously like to know who the hell is in charge of setting pants styles and deciding that stores will carry only those styles each year. We have to wear plain black pants at work. Any plain black pants or jeans will do as long as they’re presentable and have no visible rips or tears. No yoga pants, or leggings, or ripped up jeans, or pants with embroidery or patterns. Just plain black pants. Think I can find some? Nope!

I have looked at every store I usually shop at. Everything they have is either tights or full of holes. The only blank jeans I found all day that aren’t full of holes had giant embroidered flowers all over the thighs and butt.  Unless I’m willing to shell out $60 for a pair of pants that will be worn out in the inner thigh in a matter of months anyway, I’m not getting any pants today. The closest I’ve found so far are ankle length linen pants with flowers on the back pockets.

Of course, I’m doing this online. Today is Black Friday, so there is no way I’m am stepping foot within 100 yards of the mall today. I know that Black Friday is a huge deal in America, but it hasn’t been that big of a deal here in Canada until recently. I live in a border town, so the last few years we’ve started having Black Friday deals popping up here and there. We even have a little display at work with a handful of Black Friday deals that last the weekend. This year is taking it too far though, in my opinion.

Usually, American Thanksgiving signals the start of the Christmas season around here. The mall stays open later, people rush out to go Christmas shopping, there’s decorations and Christmas music everywhere. This year, instead of just keeping the mall open later than normal, stores in our mall were given the option to open at 6am in order to attract the cross-border shoppers who were coming home from a long night of deals at that time. People lined up at stores at 7am, and it wasn’t even the day after Christmas!

I admit I have done the 7am lineup once with my siblings. We made a day of shopping on Boxing Day, getting those post-Christmas clearance deals. I did it once, and once only. I’ve been offered a few times to go again and turned them down every time. There’s just something that bothers me about adding to the madness that causes people to have to get out of bed on a nice, relaxing day to head into work hours early to serve anxious shoppers who come through their store like a tornado.

Black Friday isn’t the only sign the Christmas season is starting, though. Today we had our first seasonal worker in training on cash! He seems like a really sweet guy, and he caught on really quickly. We’ll hopefully have the other four workers in very soon to get their training in because this is our busy season. For some reason, people go nuts this time of year even just shopping at my store.

I get it, this is a busy time of year for people. I mean, just for me this time of year means more hours, a tonne of baking, more shopping in a matter of days than I usually do the rest of the year, wrapping gifts, chasing the ever playful Bowser Kitten after he gingerly plucks another ornament down off the tree and runs off with it in his mouth to nap with, and the mounting stress that comes with dealing with everyone else who is doing much of the same thing. Add to this the constant barrage of sweets, invitations to dinner parties, yet another Secret Santa, Christmas Parties, dealing with relatives who insist there is a War On Christmas, knowing that you’re going to have to spend at least one Christmas dinner stuck between your very liberal uncle and your ‘”Make America Great Again” aunt, and it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin. The thing is, we’re all going through this stuff right now.

I know that you’re stressed, and you’re tired of dealing with people. You just want to walk into a store, grab everything you need in one fell swoop, cash out, and never set foot in a mall again. You don’t want to deal with all the other shoppers who are ready to pull out the pepper spray and fight to the death over the very last whatever the hell the popular toy is this year. Walking through the mall, you keep replaying old video clips of the 1983 Cabbage Patch Kids riots that happened in stores, waiting for someone to run up behind you and wack you with a metal folding chair so they can take the last cheese log at the Hickory Farms kiosk. You’re on your toes, ready just in case some random dude tries to piledrive you into the shiny tiled mall floor over a novelty Santa apron. The last thing you want to deal with is an over-attentive store clerk asking you what you need.

The thing is, that clerk is dealing with this crap too. Go check out YouTube, look for Black Friday shopping videos. Watch the 1983 Cabbage Patch Kids clips. I saw clerks in those videos carrying baseball bats for their own safety. These employees get trampled, get grabbed at, get screamed at, get threatened, all over a few dollars worth of merchandise. And this is on top of the normal dumbassery they deal with! They still have the secret shoppers to worry about, the stacks of clothes that are laying in a heap on the floor minutes after being carefully folded. They have to deal with poop in the change rooms, and parents letting their kids run rampant in the stores while they shop. When you have some free time while in front of your computer and aren’t obsessively reading through my old posts (or listening to the I’m Sorry Dad podcast, which I highly recommend), go check out Not Always Right. People post stories all year about the crap they have to deal with working in retail. Now imagine dealing with the things you read on there, plus all the crap that comes with the holiday season.

And to deal with the increase in shoppers over the holidays, a whole lot of stores hire seasonal workers. We have a new batch being trained right now, and a few stores in my plaza started training their last week. I know a few places in the mall here were starting their workers next week. That means that these people will have maybe six whole weeks of experience by the time they’re done. They may be really slow on cash. They probably don’t know where things are in the store. They don’t know how to look things up, or where the next closest store is, or when the next sales start. They’re basically hired to run cash so the full-year employees can get everything else done.

I know at my store, there’s a 6am shift just for the holidays. The work BFF and I will get in at 6am to wash the floors, pull the warehouse, stock the front end, and start putting stock away. Then we’re unloading the delivery, scanning the warehouse, and doing more stock once the store is open. There is a tonne of freaking stock to put out, and we have everyone possible in to help out. We pull every available body to keep stock on the shelves and need those extra people on the cash registers. For the most part, they can handle themselves. But they’re temporary workers who have no clue what goes on the there the rest of the year. They can’t tell you where a specific wine is, or what pairs best with veal, or whether we’re getting any Beaujolais Nouveau in before the holidays. They are just there to run cash.

So while you’re out shopping this holiday season, have a little patience. Chances are, the person at the cash is new at this. Yes, you’re tired and sore and hungry and frustrated with having to deal with 3/4 of the city being crammed into the mall all at once. But they’ve had to deal with all of the same things, with the added stress of being yelled at and given attitude by shoppers who can’t believe they have to wait an extra 90 seconds to be rung through because their cashier is slow. These poor workers are getting the mental shit kicked out of them, and then having to go out into that same madness to do their own shopping.

So be kind this holiday season. Remember that the people serving you in the stores are just that: people. They deserve the same kindness and respect that you would expect from them.

Sir, Please Don’t Shove Bottles in your Pants

It’s been a long, strange few days. The Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend is worn out from his 10-hour days at work and just wants to curl up on the couch and eat pizza tonight. So instead of his usual experimentation in the kitchen, he’s making a frozen pizza and some garlic bread. Of course, he can’t just throw the pizza in the oven. He’s in there right now throwing on extra mushrooms and cheese, and grating cheese and garlic for the pre-made garlic bread. Even when he’s too tired to be creative in the kitchen, he is so damn creative in the kitchen!

I think part of the reason we’re not cooking tonight is because of the damn fruit flies in this house right now. I tried for weeks to get rid of them. I’ve scrubbed the kitchen down, gotten rid of any food sitting out, I even set up little traps for them with wine and dish soap. But they just keep coming from somewhere. Well, AAB may have found where they’re coming from. It seems that the roommate in the basement is doing more than just stealing forks from us. Every two weeks or so, we run out of cutlery and plates, before suddenly everything is clean and put away while we’re both gone. We’ve known that it’s him hoarding it all in his room. Well, it turns out it’s worse than I thought.

AAB went downstairs to do his laundry. There, in the laundry tub in the laundry room, is a massive pile of plates, cutlery, pots, and pans. They’re not washed, and some of them are not even rinsed. If he’s letting this sit out in the open, what the hell kind of shape is his room in?

I’m thinking that our biggest goal for 2018 should be to figure out our housing situation. I’ve been putting off making any decisions because I’ve applied for jobs in other cities. I don’t want to buy a house or sign a lease, only to get a job four hours away. This is getting to be a little ridiculous, though. I think it’s time to either shit or get off the proverbial pot. I mean, living with people who have such an overarching sense of entitlement is really starting to get to me. I mean, can you imagine moving in with other people, taking all of their kitchenware, hoarding them in your room covered in filth, and not even thanking them for letting you use them? Or how about not even asking if you can use them in the first place!

Ironically, that sense of entitlement is something a few of us were talking about at the end of my shift tonight at work. We were sharing stories about truly honest people who forget to mention the case of water on the bottom of their cart, only to return later to pay for it. I know, I didn’t think such people existed, but I work with one of them! People like her seem to be very few and far between, especially where I work. Standing outside the store tonight, we were going over the shoplifters we’ve caught on camera so far this week, and how many we possibly missed.

You see, a lot of the shoplifters we catch seem to follow a few different scripts. There is the “run in, grab and conceal the bottle, run out” kind. They’re kind of like the Smash’N’Grabs I witnessed when I was with friends in a convenience store late one in Detroit. That night, after the store had stopped selling beer and had just turned the lights off in the beer cooler, a group of kids came running in. Two of them grabbed as much beer as they could carry and headed for the door, while the other two smashed pop bottles on the floor as a distraction. This isn’t a new schtick, and it’s something they actually train pretty much any and all retail workers to look out for. Sure, their exit methods vary at times. Some run out claiming they forgot their wallet in the car. Others pretend they didn’t find what they were looking for and just head for the door. Some are in and out so quickly, you don’t even notice them at first.

Another popular type is the “bring a big bag and hide stuff in it” people. I mean, how do they think they’re getting away with this? Sure, they may be able to walk out the door, but that’s only because we’re not allowed to tackle suspected shoplifters anymore. We still have them on camera, and we document the crap out of them. When we have security in the store and they catch these people, they’re going down for every single theft we have them on camera doing. Some of these people are amazing though. I’ve seen people load bags up with hundreds of dollars worth of bottles and just walk out the door with a big grin on their face like they just got away with murder.

My personal favourite is what I like to call “The Pants People”. These people walk into a store and just start shoving stuff down their pants. It’s amazing just how much one person can fit into a pair of pants, really. These are the worst people to catch because if we get the product back it all has to be sanitized if we can still sell it. I’ve actually seen people walk in with elastic bands around the bottoms of their sweatpants just so they can fit more stuff in there without it falling out the bottom. Of course, this makes them easy targets to follow, considering elastic bands around your ankles is not exactly a huge trend this season.

What gets me with each and every one of these people we catch is the sense of entitlement they have. Most of the ones that we do catch with either security or police present just seem to think that it’s their right to walk in and take whatever the hell they want, without paying for it. We’re not talking about people stealing a loaf of bread to feed their starving family here. I have seen people who have the money to pay, sometimes with them in their wallets, and just not want to. More than once, I’ve seen someone get caught somewhere and then pull out the money for the items. They seem to think that if they just pay for it then and there after being caught, they’ll just be let go. The thing is, it doesn’t work like that.

Believe me when I say that I understand how expensive life can be. I have had to do without many times before. I’ve had to survive off of what I could get at food banks. I don’t have cable, or a car, or pricey electronics (aside from the computer I saved up for). I’m not out taking trips, or going on shopping sprees like some of my friends can do. I have to budget, and grocery shop at the dollar store at times. I haven’t eaten name brand macaroni and cheese in years because that’s a splurge for me. I know what it’s like to live paycheck to 4-days-before-the-next-paycheck. It sucks. But I keep doing what I’m doing, trying to get ahead even just a little bit. I know I’m not entitled to anything, the world doesn’t owe me a damn thing, and it’s no one’s job but my own to pay for my life choices.

Then I see these little Draco Malfoy brats coming into the store, shoving a bottle or two in their coat pockets, and pulling the “don’t you know who my father is” crap when they get caught. They seem to think that because their daddy is someone important, they can get away with anything.

Or we get the “well I’ve had a hard life, this is life’s way of giving back to me” shit-nobs who seem to think that because life didn’t go the way they planned, life somehow owes them. I have actually heard someone (not at my store, at a nearby drugstore while I was cashing out and security grabbed them) say that because they went to school for a certain career, and then couldn’t find work in that career six months later, the universe owed them for letting them waste all that time in school. Hell, if that were a good enough reason to steal, I’d be knocking over banks left, right, and centre!

It really just boggles my mind how people can rationalize something like stealing, making it seem like they have a right to do it. I get it, some people are in a place in life where stealing really does seem like the best option. Maybe they’re starving and are stealing food or something to sell for food. They could be in the throes of addiction, and can’t find any other way to pay for their habit. For them, stealing seems like the only option. These are the people society failed, the ones who need more social programs, the ones who need help. Still, that doesn’t give them the right to walk into my store and just load up their bag with whatever they damn well please. We need to fight for better social programs to help people like this, in order to stop people like this from resorting to theft.

The ones that bother me the most are the ones who have options. The ones who have the money to pay, but don’t think they should have to. The ones who do it for a thrill, or for a cheap night out. They’re the ones who pull the “don’t you know who my [relative] is” crap or pull out their wallet after they’re caught. These seem to be the majority of the ones I’m able to catch on camera, or in the act while on the floor at work. And these are the ones that piss me off the most.

I don’t know about you Sunshine, but I was raised not to take what isn’t mine. It doesn’t matter if it’s another kid’s toy, a product in a store, or credit for another person’s work. All of that is stealing, and it’s wrong. Why do these people seem to think it’s alright for them to do it?

Do You Never Sit?

The last few days at work have been just ridiculous. Tuesday night after I left apparently there was the most dramatic shoplifting and arrest ever at our store. I don’t know the details, but it somehow involved random heroes trying to attack a security guard, a woman thinking she’s SpiderMan,  and physical threats of violence. We’ve had people from the surrounding businesses coming in the last two days wanting all the details.

Then last night, it was Asshole Night at the store. It started with one guy demanding we do a cashback on her credit card, no matter how many times I told him I couldn’t do that. I mean, even if I could just bill him for a random amount, my drawer doesn’t open unless there’s cash involved. Later a co-worker went up to a group of five guys and flat-out asked if all of them had their ID with them, since they were all shopping together, all touching everything, and very loudly talking about how they were all splitting the booze. Of course, when they got up to her counter, only two of them had ID, and they tried to argue with her. Everything seemed to go downhill from there for the night. We had the weirdest conversations with customers, the weirdest transactions, and a man who took three trips into the store to try and get cash back from what looked to be the bank card Moses carried in the desert for 40 days, only to get money from a cabbie.

And then today….. well, I was supposed to leave work before 3pm, and didn’t cash out until close to 6pm. Our manager is off sick with a heart issue. Then our assistant manager had a cardiac episode while he was unloading skids off the delivery truck this morning. One of our closers called in sick, we had to borrow a new person from another store, our next-in-charge woman (who has been doing the job of three people for more than a week now) was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and our closing shift leader (who is already a big ball of nerves) was on edge because everyone else was on edge. So I did the only thing my family taught me to do in a time of crisis: I fed people. I ran to the dollar store and got Christmas cookies, and pfeffernusse, and little holiday candies and chocolates, and made a big snack plate. I got a candy bar just for the acting manager. And I got soda and bells for me.

In all of the craziness of this week, there’s something that stands out in my mind. One of my co-workers has a chair at her register. She’s what we call a modified worker. She has issues with her wrists and her feet, and we accommodate that. She still works her ass off, though. In an 8-hour shift, she can unload a truck, fill the warehouse, do stock, and run cash. She regularly does more than the young new girls we have at the store. It’s just that she has to wear a wrist brace while running her cash register, and she can’t stand at the register. She has her own chair that she wheels out the start of every shift, and is willing to lend out to anyone who needs it.

Still, random people will regularly say things like, “Must be nice, getting paid to sit on your ass all day”. She hears variations of that all the time. A few weeks ago, the work BFF had a powerful migraine and had to borrow the chair. If she didn’t sit, she felt like she was going to pass out. But by just sitting, she was able to run cash just fine. In just the two hours we worked together that day, I heard two or three people make similar comments to her. We’ve had other modified workers at our store in the past, who are now at other stores, and they had to deal with a lot of the same thing. Even I experienced it last year around this time. I don’t know what I did, but I messed up my back something fierce. Even when I was sitting down, I was crooked and obviously in pain. Even moving to bag larger bottles was painful for me. And still, I got comments about me being lazy, about me sitting on my ass while everyone else worked. And those same people make comments to my co-workers to this day along the same lines.

I’d just like to know, do these people ever sit at their jobs?

Before I worked here or went back to school, I had an office job. I made a bit more money than I make right now, and I sat on my ass all day behind a desk. I worked on a computer, handled money, and talked to customers all day. Not a single one of them ever said that it must be nice to sit on my lazy ass all day.

My mother works for a doctor. She sits behind a desk all day, greeting patients, making appointments, and taking money. No one ever tells her that it must be nice to sit on her ass all day.

My father sold cars for many years. A big part of that job was sitting at a desk, doing paperwork. No one ever told him that it must be nice to sit on his ass all day.

We already get all kinds of bizarre and intrusive questions and statements from customers. Being a union store and government-owned, a ridiculous amount of people seem to think that we make $30+ an hour and get full medical benefits. In fact, we had a customer say that to us out of the blue not 10 minutes after we opened today! Our assistant manager (before his incident) and a co-worker were goofing off while they walked to the warehouse together to put some things away. A regular customer came in, saw them joking together, and commented that “it must be nice to make $48 an hour with full benefits just to goof around”. People are always up in our business, trying to make us justify our existence to them. In fact, the three of us working cash at the time combined might make that $48 an hour, with absolutely zero benefits and no guaranteed hours.

We have people that assume we make ridiculous amounts of money an hour. We have people that assume we’re all rich, and we’re all lazy, and we’re all too stupid to find “real” jobs. We have people who think that just because we work in a liquor store, they are automatically somehow better than us. And all of these people are quite vocal about it, making sure we know what they think of us at all times.

I can deal with the people who think we make crazy money running a cash register because it’s been made publically known that is not true. During our last union contract negotiations, everything was made public. People still ignored what was published, didn’t read anything about what we were fighting for, and came at us asking if we were happy now making $48 an hour. Those people, I keep telling myself, are a lost cause. They want to hate us, and want to blame us for the price of alcohol. They seem to think that if the government did things their way, things would be so much better and so much cheaper. They ignore everything they’ve been told and just rag on us every chance they get. In my mind, these people are a write-off. There is no getting through to them, so why bother trying.

It’s the people who see someone sit for a few minutes and assume that they’re some lazy piece of crap that really gets to me. Yes, my co-worker sits at her cash register. She has a medical reason and doctors’ notes that allow her to do so. In order to get that chair, she had to go to doctors, and get doctors’ notes, and get medically assessed. She had to go through a crazy amount of red tape just to be able to sit down because it is medically necessary.

I want to know, do these people randomly walk into offices and shame the people working there for having chairs? Would they like to come into our office in the store and shame our manager? He spends most of his day sitting in a chair at his computer, doing work. Is that acceptable to these people? What about secretaries in doctors’ offices? I would like to see one of these random customers go to the awesome forward-sassy-yet-kind secretary my doctor had and try telling her that she’s lazy for sitting in a chair.

I wonder how many of these people have jobs where they have a chair. Even if they don’t spend their entire day in them, do these people sit? My co-worker doesn’t spend her entire 8-hour shift sitting at her cash register. Like I said, she’s in the warehouse slugging cases of spirits around, and throwing cases on carts so we can put them out on the shelves. As long as we don’t stack the boxes two-high on a bunch of carts, she’s out there putting away stock with the rest of us. She’s one of the most knowledgeable people I know in our company when it comes to wines, and my go-to when a customer has a question I can’t answer. She’s on her feet and lifting heavy stuff for the majority of her shift, and only sits down because it is medically necessary. If she didn’t have to sit, if the pain wasn’t that bad for her, then she would probably spend a full shift out there on her feet. So how long does she have to be on her feet in order to be worthy of sitting?

This is just one of those things that really makes me mad. I hate when someone comes into a workplace and just talks down to the workers there. If someone needs to sit, let them sit. If they need to eat, let them eat. If my cashier somewhere has a water bottle, or a pop bottle, or a little baggie of chips, I don’t care! I mean, if she’s snacking on ribs and getting sauce all over my purchase, that would be a problem. But I have seen people freak out on cashiers because they needed a sip of water. I have had customers come up to my register while I’m taking a drink of water and flat out say, “Done your break yet? Gonna get a little work done today maybe?”

What really pisses you off at work? What do customers say to you that just makes you want to throw things at them? Drop me a line anytime at TheFailedGrownUp@gmail.com or comment on my posts and let me know.

Yes, You Really Do Need To Show ID

Well, today is a bust. I woke up feeling like death, dragged myself out of bed, and went to work. I am sore all over, my head is pounding, my neck is stiff and sore, and to top it all off I have cramps that could cripple a giraffe. We were also short staffed at work today, so I couldn’t even leave early. I have felt like falling down all day. Cases of coolers that I can usually throw around two at a time felt like they were filled with cement today. I could barely lift things, let alone be of much help doing our Monday afternoon load.

Luckily for me, the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend took the day off work today. He usually does four or five 10-11 hour days a week, one day of 8-10 hours, and a 5 hour day on the weekend. So, sometimes when Monday rolls around he’s just too damn tired to get up.  Instead, he stays home, watches a little tv, and just relaxes. But today he saw how sick I feel, and he’s been working at home all day. I came home to a freshly scrubbed kitchen. He even cleaned out the toaster and the microwave. The bed is all made and looking extra comfy for when I collapse after I finish typing this. And the ever playful Bowser Kitten looks like he’s played plenty of fetch today and will sleep well during my nap. He basically did everything I do in a day (except for the writing part) and is still going to make dinner, let me nap, and take care of me all afternoon and evening.

Having him around really cheers me up on days like today. On top of feeling horrible, I also had to deal with customers. For the most part, this usually goes ok. They put their item on the counter, I scan it, they pay, we say goodbye, and they leave. But sometimes, asking people for ID throws a wrench in our little routine. For the most part, people have no issue showing me their ID. There are always those few people out there who make a big deal out of it. Too big a deal, if you ask me. They seem to think they know my job better than I di, and frequently lecture me on why they don’t need ID. Or they huff and they puff and whine and pout and generally waste everyone’s time. Actually, there’s a whole lot of different things people do when it comes to ID that either really pisses most cashiers off, or gives us a damn good story to tell our families at Thanksgiving when they say, “Wow, your job is so easy. Must be nice to not have to deal with any real drama or work, eh?”.

And yes, I had someone say that to me last year at my parents’ New Years Day party.

1. I know the rules better than you do.

We get trained over and over about the rules when it comes to IDing people in our store. We’re told repeatedly about the consequences we could face if we don’t ID people properly. We know that corporate pays mystery shoppers just to come in and see if they get ID’d, and if we don’t ID them we could get in serious trouble. So for those of you who are wondering, all the different reasons we can have for legally asking you for your ID are as follows:

  1. You brought the product up to the counter, or are paying for the product, and look like you could be under 25.
  2. We saw you touching the product in the store while you’re shopping with someone else, they are buying something, but you are with them.
  3. We see you give money or any other form of payment, like a debit card or credit card, to someone who is buying booze.
  4. We hear you ask someone to buy you something.
  5. We hear you tell someone which product to buy.
  6. You came in as part of a large group, where multiple people are all picking up the product, talking about products, and it is all part of one large purchase.

If you bring a bottle up to the counter, put it down in front of the cashier, and your friend is paying for it, you both need to show ID. We actually had a guy last weekend put a bottle down on the counter in front of one of my little Kitten Crew cashiers, and his friend pulled out his wallet to pay. When she asked them both for ID, the one who carried the bottle up right in front of her said, ” I literally never touched it.”

She. Watched. You. Put. It. On. Her. Counter. Dude.

Luckily, this was the sassiest member of my little Kitten Crew. She can take abuse from customers, stare them down, and talk to them in a totally deadpan manner. She stared this dude right in the eye, grabbed the bottle away from him, and said: “I literally saw you put it down on the counter, so now I literally need to see your ID or you can literally just leave now.”

We get a tonne of young people who take a fit and claim they know the rules better than we do. We’ve had young kids claim they are the children of police officers and lawyers, so obviously, they know the law better than we do. They get right in our faces, try and taunt us, tell us their father will hear about this. They go the full Draco Malfoy.

If we ask you for ID, it’s because we had one of those 6 reasons above to do so. We’re not backing down. Once we ask you for ID, legally you have to show it to get your purchase. Once the words “I need to see your ID” leave my mouth, you’re showing me your ID or you’re leaving empty-handed.

2. No, you don’t need it.

Seriously, people tell us this all the time. We ask for ID and they say, “you don’t need that”.

Look, if we didn’t need it, we wouldn’t ask for it. You’re not the one who decides if I need to see your ID or not. If we have a reason to see your ID, we’re the ones who decide to ask for it. It has nothing to do with whether you think you need to show it.

3. Why would you threaten us?

One night, I had three guys all shopping together in our store. They were talking pretty loudly, so all of the cashiers knew they were shopping together. Like, we heard them talking about how much each of them was paying the other one to buy the rum for the three of them for the night. One of them grabbed the bottle, brought it half-way to my register, and then handed it to his friend who put it on my counter. I asked all three of them for ID.

Only one of them had it.

The one gentleman asked me a bunch of questions, very calmly and honestly, about why he needed ID, and what he should do the next time he comes in shopping and forgets to bring his ID with him. The other guy was nowhere near as nice. At first, he just kept insisting he didn’t need his ID. Then he basically took a sidebar with the friend who did have an ID. They whispered to each other just off to the side of my line, and then came right back up to my till. Then buddy had the nerve to look me in the eye and say, “I don’t know these two guys. I’m not with them. I don’t need ID.”

Seriously. He walked in with his two friends. He shopped with his two friends. He very loudly talked about giving his friend $15 towards a bottle of rum. Then he carried the bottle of run halfway up to my register before giving it to his friend to bring up. And suddenly he’s never met these guys in his life?

To make what turned into a very long, drawn-out, expletive-riddled story much shorter, I denied their purchase because they didn’t all have ID. I did what we’ve all been trained to do. Of course, this didn’t sit well with them.

These boys yelled and screamed at me, tried to convince me to sell to them anyway, and were just a general nuisance for a few minutes. I told them to leave, and that they weren’t being served by any of us there that night until they all had their ID with them. This didn’t sit well with them. They slowly walked back towards the door, still yelling at me. Once they got to the door, the only one in the group who actually had ID stood there staring at me. He stood there just pointing at me, and suddenly yelled out that he was going to “track [me] down and fuck [me] up”.

Want to know how you make sure you are watched by management and security in a store for the rest of your natural life? Threaten an employee.

I don’t think these guys realize, but they are being watched ridiculously closely any time they walk into any of our stores. Security knows their faces. We all do by now. All any of them have to do is step out of line in the slightest way just once, and they’re banned for life. You can’t just go around saying you’re going to track people down and mess them up and expect there to be no consequences.

4. We don’t take pictures of ID

I had a coworker who had the greatest reply to this once. It was so great that years later, we use this reply regularly. And I do mean regularly. Even on a slow weekend, the front end gets this situation a handful of times.

Someone will come into the store. In this situation, it’s usually a member of a small group of people. This group will walk around for at least half an hour, with a shopping cart, with all members of the group putting things into the cart. When they’re asked for ID at the counter, at least one person in the group will pull out their phone. They didn’t actually bring their ID with them, but they did take a picture of it on their phones. I mean, it’s not like pictures can be manipulated by modern-day technology or anything, right? A picture of a passport or license should be good enough.

No. No, it’s not.

As my coworker once said, “If all you have is a picture of your ID, then all you’re leaving with is a picture of the booze. Sorry.”

5. We don’t care if you let your kid drink at home

Seriously, we all drank underage at some point. Ok, except for my mother. She waited until college before going crazy on the cherry whiskey and orange juice. But my friends (and siblings, and their friends) drank underage. But back in my day, because I am ridiculously old and can say that, we knew well enough to give our money to our of-age purchaser before they went into the store and told them what to get us without walking in with them and yelling, “Oooh, this is what I want! Buy me this!”

My parents knew we drank underage. Like most of my friends’ parents, they said they would rather we do it at home or at the home of a friend (with trusted parents somewhere nearby) than stealing booze and hitting up a bush party somewhere. When I really really wanted a bottle of Crown Royal for a party, and I had the money leftover from babysitting, my dad went out and got it for me. I didn’t have to go to the store with him and tell him what I wanted. My friends and I knew that if we were mature enough to drink, then we were mature enough to know what we wanted and give someone the money to get it.

Ok, so our parents knew better back then than to bring some whiney, hormonal teenager into the liquor store with them to pick something out. Dad basically said, “Am I grabbing something for you? Or do you have a 19-year-old friend who’s going to buy you booze behind our backs anyway?” Dad didn’t let me get the cheap gut-rot stuff. He sat me down and taught me about responsible drinking. Then, mum told me the story about the college party she went to where she and her friend had too much cherry whiskey and orange juice. The grass never did grow back properly on her neighbour’s lawn where she threw up. If watching your mother roll around on the floor doing her impression of 19-year-old her rolling around in the back of her friend’s boyfriend’s van doesn’t scare you into drinking responsibly, nothing will.

The point is that my friends and I didn’t walk into the store advertising that our parents were buying us booze, and our parents didn’t let on that they were buying for us either. If we did get the privilege of going into the store with them, it was a “blow this and you’re drinking Kool-Aid at parties until you’re legal age” kind of deal. I wish I could say that kids these days keep screwing this up, but it’s the parents I take issue with.

I have lost track of the number of parents who have loudly yelled across the store, “Honey, do you want whiskey or vodka for your prom party tonight?” while talking to their very under-age child. Again, if we think you’re buying it for someone who doesn’t have ID proving they’re of legal age to buy it themselves, we can’t sell it to you. It’s called a “second party purchase”, and a cashier could actually do jail time for that.

So when you’re yelling across the store, or we hear you say something like, “Just grab what you want and bring it up to the counter”, legally we need to ID your kid. And really, we don’t care if you let them drink at home. Seriously, we don’t. If I had a kid that age, I would let them drink too. I want to teach my kids about responsible drinking, the consequences of drinking too much, and the legal restrictions put on the sale of alcohol. And part of that means not obviously buying for your kid right in front of me.

Look, if you come in and buy a bottle of whiskey, I’m going to assume it’s for you. If you buy 12 bottles of whiskey, I’m going to assume you’re buying gifts or stocking up on something. Any of those could be for your kid, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about that. But the second you let your kid pick out that whiskey in my store, we have a damn problem, Brenda!

6. The drinking age here is 19

The next province over, the legal drinking age is 18. You still have to be 19 to buy alcohol here.

I’m in a border city. In Michigan, the legal drinking age is 21. Many many American young adults trade in their stars and stripes and freedom from ‘Merica to come to the Great White North and drink legally in bars. When those 19 and 20-year-olds go back across the border, they still have to be 21 to buy alcohol there.

If you’re a student here from another country, or on vacation here, or visiting a friend, or on an international quest for love, or doing whatever the hell you’re doing that brought you to my store, and you’re from a country that has a lower drinking age, you still have to be 19 to drink here. End of story.

7. No, I won’t seriously ID your 5-year-old

When someone comes in with little kids, I like to joke around with the kids. I ask them for ID.

You mean you don’t have anything? Drivingt lisence? Fishing lisence? Boating lisence? A lisence to kill? What about a health card? A sick card? A feeling a little pukey but still want to go to school card?

What can I say, it’s my schtick. If your 5-year-old grabs a can from your basket and tried to put it on the counter, I know you’re not buying it for them. While they’re not allowed to touch anything in the store, I know they’re just trying to be helpful.

When people bring their 17-year-old kid into the store, let them pick out something, and then let them bring it up to the counter, do you have any idea how many of these parents yell something along the lines of “What, would you ID my 5-year-old if I brought them in with me?”

8. We’re IDing you because we have to, not because we want you

The Kitten Crew probably gets this more than I do, but even I get this sometimes. And I’m really damn old, remember?

If I ask for your ID, it’s because I need to legally verify that you can buy what you’re trying to purchase. Not because I want to sleep with you. Seriously.

That’s just what I can think of off the top of my head right now. And that head is freaking pounding. I think it’s time for me to lay down with the always snuggly Bowser Kitten while AAB finishes dinner for us.

So is there anything else you have to deal with when IDing customers that I missed here? Leave a comment, or drop me a line at TheFailedGrownUp@gmail.com.

Sometimes People Suck

Well, this has been a doozy of a weekend at the store, Sunshine! We opened two hours late yesterday, in order to observe a time of silence and honor our troops on Remembrance Day. Then today, somehow the world forgot our store hours even though they’ve been the same since April 1st. We’re open 11am until 6pm every damn Sunday and open until 9pm on Saturday. None of that changed this weekend, and people just couldn’t wrap their heads around that. We were getting so many phone calls the last two days that I was put in charge of answering the phone. An hour into my shift yesterday and already I had answered at least half a dozen “are you guys open” calls.  There were a few real gems in there though.

Caller: Hey there, are you guys open today?

Me: Yes, we’re open until 9-o-clock tonight.

Caller: Great. And what time do you close?

Seriously, a call went like that. My poor work BFF was standing next to me, and only heard my side of the conversation. “Yes, we’re open until 9-o-clock. We close at 9-o-clock tonight. Yes, 9pm. No, 9. Nine tonight. Ok, thank you, bye.” Most of the rest of the calls were basically just, “I drove by and saw the open sign was on/people were in the store/ my husband came home with whiskey, does that mean you’re open?”

A lot of the people I work with don’t like taking calls like that. I get the biggest kick out of it, though. I take my phone duties very seriously and was freakin sprinting through the store to get the phone last night. Today, I could answer a call before the first ring was barely done ringing. Stuff like that just gives me a silly little break to my day. Some people think that nothing can bother me if I find calls like that funny.

THey’re wrong. Dead wrong.

[Cue ominous music]

There are so many things that customers do that bother me. Like, I turned to my co-worker today and told her it must be near closing time because I was getting unreasonably angry about things customers were doing and saying. It wasn’t, the customers were just that annoying. In any job you have to deal with annoying people, I keep telling myself. This is no different, except that they stick around for a much shorter period of time than an annoying co-worker in an office would.

Do any of these things bother you two? Are there things customers do that annoy the ever living crap out of you? Here’s a list of just the very basics, the most common, the things that we have to deal with far too often that annoy the sweet candied horse plops out of me.

  1. Very stinky people. Our store is next door to a gym. For some reason, customers feel the need to have a very intense workout, sweat out days worth of booze, garlic, hot sauce, and cigars (from the smell of it), and then come directly to our store in all their stinky, sweaty glory. Then they get offended if we spray FeBreez after they leave.
  2. My hand is right there in front of you, waiting for you to drop your change and/or bills into. Instead, you throw your money down on the counter. Bonus points if it’s a wet day, you had your bag or umbrella up there first, and you throw the money down in a puddle that makes it impossible for me to pick it up off the metal counter unless I slide everything over to me, and dump your damn puddle water all over my pants.
  3. Most people will at least tell the person they’re talking to, “I need to pay, hold on just a second” and pay me. Most people. Unless it truly is an emergency, why do you need to keep yammering away into your phone? I don’t care if Crystal bought the same couch as you. Why do I need to hear about what a bitch she is for copying your style, which you just copied from an Ikea catalog anyway? Bonus points if you’re on your phone and then get mad at me for not asking for your points card, even though I did ask. You just didn’t hear me over your whole couch conundrum on the phone.
  4. I need to push a different button on my register for debit and for credit card payments. That’s why I ask what kind of card you’re paying with. No, tapping it 37 times on the machine won’t magically make it read it. And no, saying “it’s a tap/ chip/ Scotiabank/ card” doesn’t clear anything up for me. If I ask you “debit or credit”, just pick one.
  5. And that whole payment thing happens AFTER I ring up your items.  You can’t pay for things until I ring them up. Throwing bottles on a counter, saying “credit”, and then tapping your card on the machine before I even get the chance to ring in a single bottle isn’t going to do anything.
  6. Cashback is a service we offer to people who are paying debit. We add an amount on to your total, and then give you that amount in cash after your card is approved. Why do you go through the process of putting your card in the machine, entering your PIN, taking your receipt, and start to walk away before you ask for cash back?
  7. And yes, you have to buy something in order to get cash back. You can’t just insert your card, push buttons, and get money without buying something. You’re thinking of an ATM, which we have a bunch of in the plaza. We’re a retail establishment. We’re in the business of selling stuff. You have to buy something to get cashback.
  8. Again, this is a retail establishment, not a bank. If you pay for a $7 purchase with a $100 bill, there is a good chance that I’ll have to give you some smaller bills for your change. It’s not like I keep a wad of $50 and $20 bills hidden away just in case you come in and want to flash your big bills at me. If you want a bill broken, go to a bank.
  9. Same goes for other businesses wanting to buy $5 bills and change off of us. There are three banks within walking distance of my store, 2 of them in the damn plaza. Go see them! We need our change for breaking the $100 bills for $7 purchases!
  10. Again, we’re not a bank. Yes, our cashback limit is $500 if we have it in our till. That doesn’t mean you can specify how you want your money. No, I can’t give you $500 in fifties and hundreds. There is a damn good chance your cashback will be entirely in $20 bills, possibly with $10 bills in there. There is even the chance I’ll be down to giving you $5 bills if that’s all I have. Don’t try to give me back my bills and demand a $100 bill. If I didn’t give it to you, then I don’t have it!
  11. I had a woman today tell me no less than 9 times that she needed two of her wines in one bag, and three in another bag. She was going somewhere and wanted to drop the three wines off at home, and bring the other two with her. She told me this 9 times to make sure I knew to put the two wines she put at one end of the counter in one bag, and the three wines all the way at the other end of the counter in another bag. She spoke very slowly the last few times she told me this. I know I looked tired and sick (because I am), but I can follow simple instructions.
  12. And yes, just because I’m a cashier doesn’t mean I’m an idiot. I can ring through purchases, make change, do math, hell I can even read the damn labels! You’re the one who can’t figure out the self check out, Brenda, so don’t talk down to me when we’re on opposite sides of the counter.
  13. We have clearance tags that say SAVE $X.xx on them, right next to the the price. You could be saving $10.00 on a bottle of scotch, but it still costs $75.00. Or you could be saving $1.75 on a bottle of wine, but it still costs $9.00. If you misread the tag and think you’re getting the wine for $1.75, why are you getting mad at me for it? It says very clearly what you’re saving and what you’re paying. Just because you read it wrong doesn’t mean I’m an idiot. And just because you said “Wow, $1.75!” out loud when an employee was in your line of vision doesn’t mean that they heard you, or that they knew what product you were talking about. We have some really cheap things in our store too. For all we know, you could be talking about a cheap clearance beer or a wine stopper, if we even hear you in the first place, Brenda. Stop trying to make you not wearing your reading glasses in public our fault.
  14. We all have nametags. Don’t refer to us as “the redheaded bitch” or “the ditzy one” or “that fat guy”. Either read the tag or point us out. No need to insult us to another employee to try and make yourself look good.
  15. We know all the liquor laws when it comes to denying someone a sale. If someone ahead of you in line is getting denied, don’t stick up for them. We could lose our jobs AND get a huge fine and possibly even face jail time if we serve someone we shouldn’t. We’re trying to do our jobs here, and the shit we deal with when it comes to denying service is enough to warrant an entire post of its own.
  16. “It didn’t scan, I guess that means it’s free!” No, it isn’t. If you leave without paying for it, you’re stealing it.
  17. “Gee, I was worried. I just printed that $20 bill before I left the house, didn’t know if you’d take it!” You’re not funny. Do you know how many times I hear that? And how many fake bills we actually have to deny? And how much trouble we can get in if we do take a fake bill? Just don’t, man.
  18. We have to fake a chuckle at some pretty damn awful jokes sometimes. When we can’t even muster a fake giggle, then whatever you said is just plain wrong. That’s right, your racist jokes just make us uncomfortable. Same with the sexist comments, whether they’re about us or anyone else.
  19. We get paid to be friendly. 99.9999% of the time, we’re not flirting with you. I have only seriously ever flirted with one customer, and he is now my Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend. That’s one out of the tens of thousands of people who came through my line that year. One. If I smile, it’s because I have to. If I touch your hand, it’s because I was giving you back your change or your ID, not because I was hoping you’d take my hand brushing up against yours for a tenth of a second as some sort of flirtatious action meant to make you want me. No, I don’t want your number and no, I don’t wanna give you mine, and no I don’t wanna meet you nowhere and no, I don’t want none of your time. Honey, I’m looking like class and you’re looking like trash trying hit on some poor cashier.
  20. Those goes triple if you’re like 50 and trying to flirt with my 20-year-old co-workers. I will call you out on that shit man. I’m very protective of my little kittens, and you’re just making them uncomfortable.
  21. Just because our hands grazed while I was giving you back your change, don’t wait outside the store until my shift ends. That is beyond creepy. Like, we will call the cops on you and I’ll have multiple escorts home to make sure you’re not following me.
  22. Same goes for if you threaten to kick my ass, or track me down, or mess me up because I wouldn’t serve you.
  23. There are cameras and mirrors EVERYWHERE. If I look you dead in the eye and say “do you want to pay for the bottle you shoved in your pants”, that means that a) I saw you shove a bottle in your pants, b) you are on camera shoving a bottle in your pants, and c) I just approached you near the door to make sure I could get you to look directly into a hidden camera so the cops have a good, clean image of your face. And we document EVERYTHING, dude.
  24. I have to ID people who look 25 or younger. If you’re very obviously in your 60s, don’t ask me why I didn’t ID you. Don’t try to guilt me into IDing you. Don’t tell me I’m making you feel old, or tell me 37 times that it’s weird that I didn’t ID you. You obviously look older than 25. Get over it, GreyBeard.

So that’s just the short list. You know there’s so much more to retail like that can get on your nerves. Luckily I’m not in a store that has stacks of clothing that can be destroyed in seconds, or those big bins of big rubber balls that internet folk kept diving into for ‘the lulz’. Are kids still saying for the lulz these days? Are lulz on fleek? I don’t know anymore. Kids these days, am I right?

So what kinds of customers really grate your goat cheese? Is there something you hear 37 times a day that just makes you want to rip off your ears and shove them in a blender? Or makes you want to shove parts of other people in a blender? Leave a comment, or you can send me your retail horror stories at TheFailedGrownUp@gmail.com . I’m sure I’ll have another one (or 97) of these posts in the future. Let me know what you’re dealing with that I don’t have to at my little piece of retail heaven.