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Rated: E · Non-fiction · Experience · #2270443
Having fun with a rude customer

I am well aware that a garden center is not a garden, but of all the places in one of those enormous big box stores, that is the only place I truly enjoy. Perhaps it’s because I’m a city kid and it’s the closest to nature I used to get. Or, perhaps it was the last place my wife would look for me when shopping and I could hide there. I hate shopping.

Probably my least favorite place to shop would be Wal*Mart. On one particular day when I was just browsing around looking at things I couldn't afford, I heard someone say excuse me. I ignored it. I wasn't in anyone's way. I did turn and look when I heard footsteps thundering towards me, though.

"Excuse me!" She shrieked into my face.
"What?!" I said back loudly.
"I need you to get that bag of mulch down off the shelf and put it in my cart!"
"Oh, do I? How about you get out of my face and do it yourself?" I responded.

Now, I could understand her confusion, since I was wearing a blue polo and tan khakis, and she looked like she was confused easily. However, the lack of a name tag should have been a dead giveaway. Now, if this woman had been polite, I might have helped her. She wasn't. She was fuming. Literally a "Karen" decades before the term was ever coined. So what came next will be no surprise.

"I'm going to find your supervisor!"
"Okay…" I doubted she knew my boss at the engineering firm.
"I will get you fired!"
"Well, frankly, it isn't a very good job."

Angered even more, she strode off in a huff, presumably to find my superior. I just continued to check out cool items, but before long she was back with a manager in tow. She proceeded to loudly describe my sins to the point where it was clear had she lingered a moment longer, I surely would have produced a nightstick and beaten her within an inch of her life.

The commotion brought a few other customers to the aisle, who began to snicker and chuckle. Karen must have thought it was because she was about to get me pink slipped, but in reality, it was the faces and gesticulations I was making behind her back. How the supervisor lady kept a straight face is a mystery.

"Ma'am, I'm sorry, but I can't…" She started.
"Yes you can! I want him fired!"
"You don't understand. He…"
"Terminated! Do you understand terminated?!"
"I do, but…"
"Then get it done!" Karen howled.

After a few more outbursts, the manager just gave up. She realized it was futile to try and explain the situation. What she did next, though, was a complete surprise. She turned her attention to me, as did Karen of course, and spoke.

"Paul, did you refuse to assist this customer?" She asked. My name is not Paul, but I played along.
"Yes, ma'am." I said, trying to look contrite.
"Were you also rude to her?"
"Yes ma'am… sorry."
"We've discussed this and you were warned. Now come with me to the break room to clean out your locker."
"But!" I started to say, then sighed and nodded.

The smug smile on the woman's face almost made me laugh and shout that I didn't work here, but I was concerned it might get the manager in trouble. Instead, I followed behind her trying to present a dejected posture. I did it because the obnoxious witch actually followed behind us yapping about who I'd messed with and other "told you so" remarks.

The manager keyed open a locked door and gently guided me inside while wishing the woman a nice day. The door swung shut and we stared at one another for a few moments.

"Paul?!" I asked.
"Well, how would I know your name?"
"Guess you wouldn't. But how did you know I'd play along?"
"After the faces you were making? I liked my chances." She said smiling.

We both chuckled.

"Do you think she'll ever figure it out?"
"Well, she wasn't bright enough to figure out you don't work here."
"That's a excellent point!"

Then we laughed until the tears were flowing down both our cheeks.
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