And I’m Back.

Maybe for this one post.  Maybe forever.  Who knows?

I’ve been AFK for a lot longer than I realized.  I mean, I know it’s been awhile, but re-reading my last life-related post, it was last year, when I was still fairly new at my job and had just signed my building contract.  That seems like a lifetime ago.  Could it really only have been nine months ago?

So much has changed, and yet, nothing really has.  I’m still at the same job, but in a much different place mentally.  I’m still single, although there is definitely someone new in my life.  I’m living back at home, but only temporarily – my house is well and truely on it’s way to being done now.  More than that though, I feel like I’m a different person to back then.  Can nine months really change you that much?  I’m not sure.  I think it has though.

In my last post, I had only been at my job three months.  I was feeling new and awkward and vulnerable.  I was shy, I didn’t feel like I knew anyone.  I was just another face in the big crowd of staff.  Flashforward to today, where I feel like I have found my place in the store (front and centre!) and have some wonderful friends there.  I feel like I can pretty much talk to anyone there now, which for an extremely introverted person, and given there’s 80+ people working there, is a big thing.  A very big thing.  It took a long time to find a job after I lost my previous one, but I feel like I was meant to work here.  The job definitely has its downsides (I mean, it is retail) but I still love it.

I’m also currently learning the ropes for management.  This has always been on the cards due to my previous job experience, but I’m super excited it’s finally happening.  At my previous job, it just kind of happened out of necessity – I mean, it’s not that I didn’t want to do it, but there wasn’t any formal invitation to it, and I never got the official title for it, or the pay to match it.  I was just kind of assumed to be doing the role because nobody else could, and because I was already doing it, why should they increase my pay?  It was an extremely frustrating situation to be in, and I’m sure not an entirely uncommon one in the working world.

Anyway, while this is similar in terms of they won’t be increasing my pay anytime soon, the title is given and the whole store knows what’s going on.  Ideally, obviously, I’d love to be paid for it, but I completely understand that they want to train people first and make sure they’ll do well before anything is set in stone.  Either way, I feel much more comfortable with this scenario.  I also feel like, in general, I get a lot of recognition in store.  I touched on this back in my last post, but that was only a small taste of what I get on a regular basis.  It is safe to say that while I knew recognition was a nice thing, I never fully understood how far it goes with job satisfaction.  I feel like this is one of the major reasons why I love working where I do.  All the store leaders go out of their way to highlight when staff are doing well, and are full of encouragement to get everyone doing better.  When I say encouragement, I don’t mean nagging, or shaming, or being negative – all things I’ve received in my last job, and in turn, I’m ashamed to say, have probably been guilty of dishing out too – I mean celebrating wins and talking about success stories, and sharing tips and tricks on how to do well.  It’s a very refreshing change from where I was previously, and I wholeheartedly want to take this on board with my management skills too.

Tying in with all this, as I touched on earlier, there is someone new in my life.  I don’t really know how to describe our relationship (I feel weird even using that word) but I know there’s something there.  It came completely out of left-field and I think we are both a little shellshocked by it, which is why it’s hard to describe.  I’ve worked with him since I started my new job, but didn’t really notice him – well, no more than I notice any of the other 80+ team members.  He was always friendly, but still, just another face in the crowd.  Until suddenly he wasn’t.  It was literally just like that.  One day, absolutely nothing.  The next, absolutely everything.

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That’s the thing with me.  It’s always been a bit that way.  I fall extremely hard and extremely fast.  Some of my friends are a bit jealous.  I don’t know why.  It’s not a good thing and has lead to me getting hurt 100% of the time.  The other (or maybe the same) issue is, I’m super clingy.  Like…if you knew me as just an acquaintance, you’d probably never pick it because I’m seriously introverted.  I am happy to not speak to people for a week at a time kind of introverted.  Until my heart latches onto someone, and then suddenly, the second we aren’t communicating, it’s all “noooo, come back, I already miss you soooo much!”.  I can step back and see myself and know it is 100% crazy and not at all attractive but I can’t help it.  I have to literally tell myself dozens of times a day that I need to back off, he’s not going anywhere, you don’t need to be acting like this.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Which is why we are currently sitting in this limbo status.  It is 100% my fault for being way too overbearing, and I’m working on it.  I really am.  He’s basically told me he’s not interested right now, which hurt like hell, however since then we’ve gone right back to how we were, so it’s just a weird place to be in.  That being said, I’m not complaining too much – it could easily have gone the opposite way and he refused to talk to me at all, making for a very awkward workplace.  Plus, I feel like this is just a learning experience on how to take things slow.  So, learn I shall.  Maybe things will eventually fall into place, or maybe we’ll both drift back to being just colleagues.  I know what I’m rooting for, but I’m not going to push it either.

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The other big update is my living arrangements.  Since my last update, I was forced to move back to my parents place – the landlord of my rental property sold the house and the new owners wanted to move in.  So back to my childhood home I went.  After living out of home for four years (and wanting to get out of home for many years prior to that), it hasn’t been easy readjusting.  I’m very grateful I had somewhere to go, don’t get me wrong, and my dog is loving the fact she has company almost all the time now, but it is still a very hard place to be back in.  I’m fiercely independent, and on top of that, my relationship with my family has always been tense.  It improved considerably after I moved out and got my own space, and now, day by day, I can feel it slipping back to how it was.  I feel very suffocated being back and having to answer to people again, and being told what to do and when to do it, instead of in my own time and at my own pace.

My mum especially doesn’t seem to understand why I get home and lock myself away, but then, she’s never really understood me much anyway.  She’s outgoing and very much a people-person.  My dad is quieter, but also enjoys being outdoors and getting things done.  I’m like my nan, who prefers to be left alone and doesn’t like her routine messed up.  They see me as lazy, and while I’m not denying that, it stems from my need to unwind from a day spent talking to strangers.  As an introvert, I need to mentally recover from that, and if I can’t, I have a tendency to lash out or become very upset.  If that means sleeping all day on my day off, or going for a drive by myself, or watching 10-year-old Simpsons episodes, then that’s what I do.  When I was living by myself, nobody was there to judge me on it, and it felt completely normal.  Now, all I’m getting is snide comments and rolled eyes.  I’ve literally been spending hours and hours at work just hanging out to avoid home – this is something I haven’t done at all since I started working there, and something I swore I wouldn’t do for my own mental health, but now, I’m finding that my mental health is being affected if I’m at home too long.  I’d rather be around my friends at work than being told what to do at home, even if that means sacrificing my unwinding time.

Thankfully, my house is well on the way to being finished.  After so many delays I’ve well and truely lost count, the framework went up a couple of weeks ago, and since then the roof has gone up and they’ve put in the windows and wiring, and the fencing.  The bricks will be getting laid tomorrow and the plastering should be completed by next week.  I’m hoping like hell it will be done before Christmas, so I can go back to living alone again.  My dog isn’t going to like it, but on the flip side, she’ll actually see me more as I won’t be avoiding home like I am now.

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I can’t believe how much has changed in what feels like a short amount of time, but there you have it.  It’s also hard to believe exactly a year ago, I was going through some of the darkest moments of my adult life, and today, I’m feeling pretty positive about everything.  2016 has definitely proven itself to be a great year so far!

How has everyone else’s 2016 been?

J x

What a Wonderful Thought

So, today is day two of “Three Days, Three Quotes”.  If you missed yesterday’s, or aren’t sure what I’m referring to, click here!

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Today’s quote is also one that has been sitting towards the top of my “favourites” album in my phone for a long time.  It’s so optimistic and pretty and it’s also really true.  It doesn’t matter how perfect your life may be right at this second, things can change so quickly (as I’ve learnt first hand this year).  It’s easy to get bogged down in negativity and thinking things will never get better.  It’s hard to let go of things that were so amazing, things you thought would always be there.  It’s difficult to believe you’ll ever be that happy again.  This quote reminds me that it’s possible…in fact, more than possible, it’s definite.  There are great days ahead, days you can’t even imagine, with people you probably haven’t met, in places you never knew about it.  Change is constant and sometimes for the best, even if it seems scary.  Six months ago, I’d never in a million years think I’d be where I am today.  If someone had of told me, I’d have laughed at them and told them they’re joking.  Instead, I’m not only there, but really enjoying it.  That’s why I picked this quote for today.

Today’s three nominees are blogs I just found within the last couple of days.  I hope you like them as much as I did 🙂
Stephellaneous
Life of an El Paso Woman
What Makes Me Amber

Come back tomorrow for my final thrilling installment 😉

The Old Man

They talk about me like I’m deaf. Stare at me like I’m blind. They assume that behind my tall stature and solemn eyes, that I’m tough. How can I tell them I’m just a baby inside? That their words keep my eyes open at night, and their actions make my insides cold?
At my age, everyone assumes I’ve heard it all. Maybe they’re correct in that assumption. Hearing something more than once, however, doesn’t lessen the sting that the echoed words create, nor does it heal the heart it breaks. Doctors have told me I’m what they call ‘depressed’. Back in the day, you were told to have a stiff drink and move on. Now they’re jumping at any chance to medicate me, educe me into some faux-happy stupor. Oh, sometimes I think it’d make for a nice change. Sometimes, late at night as I stare up at my well-studied ceiling, I can’t even fathom my own reasons for denying the drugs. Sitting in the warm spring sunshine, watching my youngest grandchild learning to walk in my favourite little park, however, I realize this is what all the grief and unhappiness has led me to. Rebekah is constantly wishing for me to take the pills. It’s the accepted norm for the world now, a world that has shunned me into it’s darkest corners and rooms they politely call ‘retirement villages’. Those places that cater for our ‘heightened needs’, but in actuality are lonely rooms filled with lonelier souls, forced together by families who now see us as burdens instead of caregivers. Oh, the place has a games room and the nurses are polite and at times even seem to care slightly, but this is always outweighed by the crisp air that follows a death and the cereal that lands in our lap extra-soggy for the ‘retirees’ who refuse – or forget – to put their dentures in of a morning.

Like any place that forces strangers together for extended periods of time, I have a few people I am more fond of than most. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to name them as ‘friends’. I can’t remember the last time I’ve called anyone that. One of the more lively of my acquaintances is a Ms Sally Wheeler. She’s always ready to entertain us with a funny anecdote from her past, or give a hug – surprisingly strong and warm, given her age – to clear our heads from the clouds of doubt. Possibly I would call her a friend did I not think she lied through her teeth on a near-constant basis. In this place, this isn’t unusual, however it’s not usually with consciousness that they are uttered, but rather because of mental illness or lack of memory. Sally, though, suffered none of that, and lied nonetheless. For peace’s sake, I kept my observations to myself. After all, who was Ms Wheeler really harming when most of her audience wouldn’t remember the next day, or the next hour?

Those people who suffer from memory problems, I envy them. It seems strange to others, possibly, but should I suffer like the man simply known as Billy, I’d never have to dwell on my past, on my mistakes or on the words of others. I’d simply live in the moment, completely. Of course Billy never knows what day it is, nor recognizes me or anyone else, and for that he does suffer. Yet, he always seems perpetually happy compared to the few of us completely conscious of where we are and what we’ve done.

It’s funny, I suppose, that Billy doesn’t get hounded by doctors wanting to medicate him. They’ve pretty much written him off as a lost cause, spouting ‘the damage is done’ to his family each time they enquire with the false hope that maybe one day a miracle pill will form and he’ll remember their names once more. I say ‘it’s funny’ because the damage has been done to me too, in the past, and is what almost solely has formed my depression and yet, I never hear the the end of doctors telling me how wonderful their medication is. If they are so willing to help cure a patient who isn’t interested, why can’t they help Billy’s family, who desperately are? The world is cruel like that, I suppose.

*

This is one of my old attempts at writing fiction.  I say ‘attempt’ not because I think I’m no good or I can’t do it…I just never have the patience to follow through to the end.  I’m sure if I could, I’d enjoy writing professionally.  Alas, it remains a hobby instead.  This was written back in 2010, but has always been one of the short stories I’m most proud of.

This was inspired by the prompt ‘Post a previously unreleased chapter from one of your books’, which can be found here

#loveme challenge – Day Twenty-One

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Day 21 – Something You Are Proud Of

I’m proud of surviving through this year.  I’ve had a really tough one – the toughest one of my life by far – and now that I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, I can look back and say that I did well to handle everything as well as I did.  I had moments of weakness (a lot of them), but I also had moments where I proved to myself I’m stronger than I give myself credit for.  I feel like this year has forced me to grow up a lot, and to see things differently.  I have a newfound respect for my job and how important it is because I now appreciate how much it sucks to be job hunting.  I’ve had two cancer scares in my family, I had my first accident that was my fault, I had my first wisdom tooth removed, I had my first episode of sciatica (nobody realizes how much we take moving without pain for granted until they can’t do it!), I lost a lot of friends who I thought I could trust but they stabbed me in the back, I lost out on seeing the guy I like every day because he got a new job.  The list goes on.  It seriously has felt like all this year has dished out for me is blow after blow, and you know what?  I’m still standing.  I might be scarred and battered from it all, but I’m doing okay.  And okay is probably the best possible outcome I could hope for after all this.  Some days are tough, and some – like today – are wonderful.  It’s nice to finally have a good day.  It’s like a rainbow after a storm.  I know now that I’ve survived all this, I can survive anything!

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Time to Change – Day Eighteen

Today was one of my worse days.  I woke up and felt very unmotivated.  Mostly, it was the thought of starting my new job today, one that I didn’t really want to go to.  I knew I should go for my walk before I left, but it didn’t happen.  I told myself I’d go afterwards.

I arrive at the new job ten minutes early.  They were flat out merchandising the place so I stood around awkwardly, being more or less ignored for fifteen minutes.  Then, when they remembered I was there, I was told to read a generic introduction booklet.  It didn’t get much better from there.  I was told to move stock around in an attempt to re-merchandise but having limited experience and no knowledge of the products, it was a slow, frustrating process.  I was shown how to do end of day, and it is world’s apart from what I’m used to.  People used to complain about the processes at my old work…now, I’d have given anything to have it back.  This was so slow and backward.  Nothing seemed logical, the computer program seemed to have way too many over-complicated steps and half the close was spent re-writing stuff that the computer already figured out.  I don’t know, I know I shouldn’t judge so early, but I’m dreading going back tomorrow.  The most frustrating part of the whole thing was I got a call from the other job I’m waiting to hear back from but couldn’t answer it, and by the time we finally left (45 minutes later than I was rostered for, mind you), they’d already gone home for the day so now I have to wait for them to call back tomorrow…and I’ll probably be working again.  Urgh.  I just hope after all this that I get some good news from them.  I can’t wait to get out of this job.  The only good thing about it is the customers, who were all lovely.  If that was 80% of my job like I thought it would be, then maybe it would be okay.

This basically sums up all my interactions with customers.

Anyway, after that shitty first shift with my feet killing me and my stress levels well and truly off the charts, I sunk into a hot bath the second I got home, downing half a (small) block of my favourite chocolate for dinner.  Not an ideal part of my diet plan but hey, if chocolate can bring people round from a dementor attack, it can definitely make me feel better about losing control of my life!  At least, that was my excuse, and I’m sticking with it.  On the plus side, even with the chocolate, I finished under my calorie limit for the day, and my weight hasn’t gone up…hasn’t gone down either which is annoying but better than up!


Unfortunately I didn’t get my exercise in today.  In the end, after leaving work much later than anticipated, getting stuck is traffic and having to get petrol on the way home (stupid petrol light!), it was dusk as I was pulling into my drive.  Ah well.  I’m sure all the merchandising I did today and am set to do tomorrow will partly make up for it.  Maybe.

Hopefully I’ll have a happier post tomorrow and some good news on the job front.  So frustrated I missed the call.  I hate having to wait so long to know the outcome, especially when I can’t wait to get out of this job!  I really hope something good finally comes my way.  I don’t know how much more bad news I can take.  Fingers crossed!

-JD

By Heart

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “By Heart.”
You’re asked to recite a poem (or song lyrics) from memory — what’s the first one that comes to mind? Does it have a special meaning, or is there another reason it has stayed, intact, in your mind?

Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is,
And we were young…
– A E Houseman

I’ve been obsessed with the ‘Tomorrow’ series by John Marsden for over a decade.  I’ve read the books, I’ve listened over and over to the audiobooks.  It’s my favourite series ever.  That poem (or I guess, a portion of it) was in one of the books, and it’s stuck by me ever since I first came across it.  Firstly, it’s such a beautifully written piece, there’s no denying that.  But secondly, it really speaks to me, particularly as the poem was originally based on soldiers in World War 1, and I found it via a book series based around a fictional war.  It reflects the bravery that soldiers have…a bravery I can scarcely wrap my head around.  More than that, it speaks of an attitude most of us have towards dying.  It’s always surprised me when older people say that aren’t afraid of death, or they’d welcome it (and mean it).  I know some of the time it’s due to their faith and belief in what’s coming next…something I don’t really have.  I mean I have hopes and wishes of what it will be but no faith it will eventuate that way.  But to hear someone say they’d welcome death in a genuine, not-depressed way…I just can’t imagine how to feel like that.  Death is such a final thing.  You leave your body, you are no longer part of the world, you no longer exist.  How does anyone welcome that?  How does anyone have so much faith in whatever belief they hold that they aren’t even a teensy bit afraid of what will happen?  This is why the poem speaks to me.  It puts it into a perspective I’d never previously thought about.  “But young men think it is/and we were young”.  Maybe I just can’t imagine it because I’m just too young?  Maybe it takes decades of living to appreciate the end of it?  After all, the only young people who I’ve heard genuinely say they’d welcome death are those who have suffered through horrendous loss or disease…those that mentally age us beyond anything else.  This is why I’ve memorised that poem, and why I hold it so dear.  I helps me make sense of it all.  Funny how three short lines can have such a profound impact.

-JD

#loveme challenge – Day Ten

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Day 10 – Share a Secret

Hmmmm.  This is a tough one.  I’m a pretty open person, so if something is secret it’s for a good reason.  I think I’ve been pretty honest in this blog – a lot more so than I’d originally anticipated – which is making answering this question hard.  I guess the post I wrote yesterday was something I’d previously kept very much to myself.  I recently lost my job for something stupid and something I shouldn’t have done, but the reason it got found out (in part, anyway) was because I put my trust in someone I shouldn’t have.  That’s always been my problem, no matter how many times I get burned because of it – I always look for the good in people and always want to trust everyone.  It has gotten me in trouble many times and maybe after this latest incident, I’ll have finally learnt my lesson.  Maybe.

-JD

Telco Horror Stories Part I

Now that I’m no longer a part of the company I spent the past five years with, I think it’s safe to disclose what it’s like to be on the firing line at one of the places where customers feel it’s okay to verbally abuse young people for things they had no control over.

I know this can be said about most retail jobs to some degree.  Retail is all about grinning and bearing it, everybody who’s ever done a stint in that field knows it.  But when people ask where you work then immediately and without fail follow up with “oh, you must get yelled at a lot” or “that must be a tough job”…you know you’ve probably got it worse than the local checkout chick.

Before I get into the horror stories, don’t get me wrong.  I wouldn’t have spent five years in the industry (and an open mind to rejoining it if the option is there) if it was completely awful.  There are a large amount of lovely, easy-going, wonderful customers that make our days great.  There is also a feeling of family between staff members, because we know we’re in this together.  I’ve met a lot of wonderful people in that place.  The job itself is actually quite enjoyable, if you like sales and meeting targets.  It keeps things a lot more interesting than restocking shelves.  This side of the job isn’t interesting though, so I’m not going to talk about it.  Just know that it is there, and that these stories – though memorable – are a small part of the job.

Sir Scream-A-Lot

This one has stuck with me for a long time, purely because it was my first real taste of the dark side of telco. I had only been there maybe two or three weeks at this point, and only part time, so I was brand new.  I’d started with another girl on the same day.  We’d been specifically told not to serve customers alone, but it was flat out and customers will approach you if they think you’re just standing there ignoring them, whether you’re clearly a trainee or not.

Anyway, we were both standing at the front counter and he comes in to pick up his phone that had been returned from a warranty repair.  Now, keep in mind five years ago the phones were more basic, people chucked them around a lot more, they broke easier (well, if they weren’t Nokias) and on top of that, telcos never ever replaced phones.  Ever.  They’d always attempt to fix them under warranty.  It sounds weird now because most places just swap faulty devices with referbs but back then, everyone just expected their phone would get fixed.  Also keep in mind that because of this, the turnaround time on warranty repairs was a lot longer.  I’m talking between 3 – 4 weeks, and that’s if it was an easy repair.  It’s a long time.

Now, being newbies, we didn’t really comprehend any of that.  I mean we’d been told, but we hadn’t served enough customers to know what their thoughts on it all were.  So when the guy said he was there to collect his phone, we thought “great!  Something easy we can do!” and I promptly went to the cupboard and dug around to find it.  I bought it over and handed it to him.  Nice and easy, next customer please!  But no.  He took off the paperwork that phone was wrapped in and had a quick read through it.

‘Why does this say returned unrepaired due to liquid damage?’

That stumped us.  We looked at each other then I tentatively said “Unfortunately, if the repair guys found signs of water damage it voids the warranty”.  WELL, DID THAT SET HIM OFF.  He went from zero to 1000 in a second.  I’d never experienced someone screaming in my face like that before, and I scared the shit out of me.  I was warned on day one that customers could get angry, but I never expected this.  He demanded that I personally get his broken phone fixed.  He demanded that the company compensate him for the time his phone was away.  He raged about how the repair guys must have gotten it wrong or how they must have damaged the phone themselves.  Meanwhile, myself and the other newbie both stared at him, wide-eyed, shaking and not having a clue what to do or what to say.  Nothing he was saying was possible, I knew that even then, but I also knew I wasn’t going to be the one to tell him that.  Not unless I wanted the phone hurled in my general direction.

*Cue valuable lesson*

My assistant store manager, overhearing the screaming (it was hard to miss), rushes over and tells the guy in no uncertain terms that he is absolutely out of line speaking to staff that way and that we will, under no circumstances, deal with him unless he calms down.  I watched on, thinking that this could only escalate the problem.  He kept yelling, though a little bit of the fight seemed to have gone out of him.  Once again my manager stood her ground.  “Sir, if you keep this up I won’t hesitate to call security to escort you out”. I’d never heard that line before.  It was like flicking a switch.  He stopped screaming, just like that.  He was still fuming, but the noise had subsided.  He looked around and noticed that the whole store – all the staff and customers – were dead still and staring at him, waiting for his next move.  He grabbed his still-broken phone and stormed off.

I was a mess afterwards, shaking and crying and generally just in shock.  I did, however, learn a lot from that experience, probably moreso than any other during my stint there.  It’s okay to stand your ground and refuse to be belittled and disrespected. While some people will read this and be horrified that we don’t have to lay down and take abuse, it’s 100% true and something I made every effort of teaching new staff members from day one.  If they are making you feel uncomfortable or upset, you can ask them to leave.  If they won’t leave, you can excuse yourself and call security.  We don’t get paid fantastically and it most certainly isn’t enough to warrant that level of aggression.  Reality check, future aggro customers: it’s a fucking phone.  There are wars raging right now, famines happening, people dying.  A lot of people don’t even have access to basic supplies like clean water, and here you are, speaking to a random employee who did nothing wrong worse than you’d speak to your ex over a gadget that, while useful, isn’t keeping your heart beating or your tummy full.  Just saying.

Vodka Lady

Ask anyone who worked in my store between 2012-2014 who Vodka Lady is and you’d get the same upturned nose and grimace.  She was a repeat offender (and probably still is), an old lady who clearly has a lot of addiction issues and an aggressive streak.  At her peak, she’d come in once every couple of weeks, her hair all matted and breath reeking of cigarettes.  Normally, with regulars, you get at least a 30 second warning as they approach the store so you can mentally prepare yourself.  Vodka Lady never gave you that option.  She’d come in when the store was at it’s busiest (and trust me, when the store is busy you can barely find anywhere to stand) and march straight up to you, demanding service then and there.  It didn’t matter that you were halfway through a contract with another customer and there were clearly half a dozen people waiting to be served.  When you’d politely tell her that unfortunately nobody is free and she’d have to wait, she would absolutely blow her stack.  She wouldn’t just yell though, that we could deal with.  Instead, she’d go around to each staff member individually and try her luck with each of them, getting progressively more worked up as she received the same “you’ll have to wait” line each time.  Once she’d exhausted that option, she’d then go around to customers, bad mouthing us and the store and the company, standing awkwardly close and making everyone feel on edge and uncomfortable.  In between this, she’d also have screaming outbursts of swearing and calling staff members rude names.  Finally, when one of us cracked (and it was usually me) and we’d ask her to leave, she’d then start on the “you never want to help me” path.  If we were feeling especially patient we’d try to explain – once again – she’s come in on an extremely busy day and we can’t help her just now.  It wouldn’t make a difference though, she didn’t want to hear it and would inevitably storm out, saying she’d never come back.  If only that were true.

Once, she came in when it wasn’t busy (there’s a first time for everything), got served by the manager who has the patience of a saint, and asked why her phone wasn’t working.  The phone was dirty, old and missing it’s backplate, but he humored her and had a look anyway, and found there wasn’t a SIM card in the phone.  She muttered something about leaving it somewhere and left.  We both knew it was too good to be true.  Sure enough, she storms back in ten minutes later, raging that the manager stole her phone battery and demanding it back.  He had no idea what to say – she’d left with the phone and battery ten minutes earlier.  After explaining multiple times that he didn’t have it, she changed her mind and decided to ask how much a replacement backplate would be for her crappy old phone.  The manager advised we don’t sell backplates, to which he copped a berating of “why the fuck not?!”.  Once again she marched out of the store, though luckily we didn’t see her again that day.

My Drug Dealer Stole My Phone

This lady also became a semi-regular.  The first time she’d come into store, one of the politest guys in our team had screamed at her and stormed off.  We’d never heard TJ raise his voice like that to anyone, much less a customer.  She is one of those people who honest to God think they’re above everyone else, and have this horrible attitude towards everyone.  She’d come in, asking about a particular phone, and TJ began explaining the features and the plans.  Instead of listening (or saying she’s changed her mind and wants to look at a different phone instead), she began inserting snide remarks and comments after everything TJ said, getting progressively more offensive and patronising.  There was no need for it or any reason to do it other than she just got enjoyment out of watching him squirm and try to pretend he didn’t hear her.  After twenty long minutes of this, he snapped, telling her in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t going to deal with her horrible attitude any more and to look everything up online if she wasn’t going to listen, before marching off.  Instead of leaving (like most people would have), she stayed around, waiting for him to come back so she can torture him some more.  He refused.  The store was empty aside from her and a couple of staff members, so she then started saying really loudly how unprofessional he is and that she needs service and he just walked off on her.  Sensing she actually wasn’t going to leave without more service, Ashleigh approached her, expecting to talk about a different handset because the customer had spent the last half an hour bad mouthing the phone she originally came in asking about.  Instead, she decided to sign up for it.  It was at that time we realized that the two terrors who had been climbing all over the children’s ride out the front of the store were hers, as she insisted they come into the shop while the contract was being put through.

It was a nightmare.  She kept up her bad attitude the whole time Ashleigh was going through the contract, asking dumb questions just to get a reaction, and giving unsatisfactory eye rolls each time an answer was given.  Meanwhile, her two monster children clambered all over the furniture, screamed the store down, spilled food all over the floor and left rubbish scattered everywhere.  Not once did the customer tell them to be quiet or to sit still.  Finally, the contract was done and the customer left.  We thought that was the end of it.

Wrong.

She comes in about a month later, her terrible entourage in tow again, but this time with her husband as well.  TJ spots her and immediately dives out the back, refusing to deal with her.  A different staff member approaches her and asks her how they can help.  She says she’s lost her phone and wants a replacement.  The rep asks if she’s got insurance, which she does, and they are advised they need to make a claim then wait for insurance to send out a replacement phone to the store.  It should only take a couple of days.  This is not what the customer is expecting.  She loses it, demanding a phone on the spot “because my child is very sick”.  Hard to believe, what with them once again climbing all over the furniture, but anyway.  She rep apologises but explains that there’s nothing we can do about the policy in store, it is what it is, and we could give her a replacement SIM card with the same number if she wants to use her old phone (keeping in mind we knew she’d only just gotten her new phone a month ago).  She refuses to even acknowledge that idea, and asks to speak to the manager.

Once again, the manager with the patience of a saint comes out, and tries to calmly explain the situation again, trying not to seem like he’s yelling at her as he fights to be heard over the two brats’ screaming. She begins to sob hysterically, saying she absolutely can’t be without a phone and that her drug dealer stole her new phone.  Although tempting, the manager bit his tongue and didn’t suggest that maybe she should just pay her drug dealer the money and get her phone back that way.  Instead, taking his patience to a new level, he agreed to see if customer service would arrange a loan phone for her.  This isn’t usually offered for insurance and still wouldn’t get her a phone today, but he wanted to at least look like he was trying to help.  Customer service refused, as expected.  Their reasoning was that she’d have her replacement phone before they’d get the chance to courier one out to her.  Fair call.  She then got back on her high horse and said she didn’t want a loan phone, she wanted a brand new phone exactly like what she had, and she isn’t leaving without it.  Her husband started up then too, demanding the same thing.

It got into an argument then.  She just wouldn’t accept the fact that we couldn’t just hand over a new phone because we felt sorry for her (which we didn’t but she thought we did).  The argument dragged on and on, nothing changing.  She spoke with insurance who advised her exactly the same thing, then the billing department, then tech support.  The longer it dragged on the worse behaved and louder her nasty children got, though who could blame them?  They were bored out of their minds.  Finally, realizing that she’d spent so long getting nowhere, she agreed to purchase a cheap phone only if the company would credit her back for it.  Although this was going to be an uphill battle too, the manager jumped back on the phone and got the credit arranged, and she left, cursing and swearing loudly as she did.

These are just a few of the stories I’ve got, I’ll be posting more later.  Like I said, telco isn’t all bad and these aren’t your typical customers, just ones that have stuck with me.

– JD