I haven't worked retail in the past couple of years, but I'll relate the story that still makes me laugh to this day.
I used to work in a fairly busy Chinese takeaway in my town. Just Friday and Saturday nights, I'd take orders, help in the kitchen, do stock-taking, answer the phone...general stuff.
Anyway, this night was busy from the word go. I walked in and had about 3 or 4 people try to get their orders in first. And then, this infuriating woman appeared. You know how you look at someone, and you immediately know they are going to be a complete pain in the ass? She had this look all over her face, like someone had just told her she was fired, and lost all her savings on the same day. She was pissy and arrogant and pushing in front of everyone else, almost using her kid as a human shield, daring the other customers to push a 5 year old out of the way.
Getting up to me, she demands "do you do any onion rings?"
Now, we have the menu up pretty much all over this store. There are two copies of it in the window, another two in the shop itself, and there are copies of the menu on pretty much every flat surface inside. Does it say we do any bloody onion rings? No, it doesn't, so piss off. Unfortunately, I know my boss occasionally does special meals which aren't listed, if he has the ingredients to do so. So I tell her "its not listed, however I'll go ask the owner and see if he can do you some."
So off I trundel to the backrooms, where he is washing out a wok and ask him if he can do that. No dice, he says. The only batter he has is for the pineapple rings, which are fairly popular, and he hasn't got many onions, certainly not any cut into rings either. Fair enough. I go back and tell the woman "we don't have any onion rings. But we do have fried onions with beansprouts in the house sauce, if that is a good enough substitute." She nods, so I write down the order and charge her the £1.70 or whatever it was for the meal.
Its very important to note that I said "we don't have any onion rings." I said it twice, clearly, that we do not have them, and offered a substitute, like any good store assistant would. And she took me up on my offer. We made the fried onions, packed them and bought them out. She practically snatched them from my hand and ran out. I shrugged, and got on with serving everyone else.
After that rush, it was pretty quiet. I like that. Quiet nights mean I can mope around and watch TV, or read the paper, and get paid for it. Its a tough gig, but someone has to do it! Anyway, I'm there watching the Channel 4 news, when suddenly, Ms Bitchface bursts back in, this time without her kid in tow. She immediately starts ranting and raving at me about how she wanted onion rings and I had given her fried onion and how this was terrible and it had ruined her life or something. I told her once, kindly but firmly, that I had informed her we had no rings, and she went ahead and made an order anyway. Of course, my politeness was taken as a sign of weakness and she started shouting even louder about this being a terrible outrage and violation of her human rights etc etc ad nauseum.
By this point, I had lost my patience. Fortunately, my boss knows only too well what its like dealing with dickheads with a totally unwarranted sense of entitlement. So I told her to shove her demands for a refund and to get the hell out. I don't have to take this shit, and she knew exactly what she was ordering. Go tell someone who gives a fuck. She stormed out, and I went back to my program.
About half an hour later, I then got a phonecall from a man, asking if this was, and I quote "the prick at the store front of the Chinese?" I told him I prefer to think of myself as an "assclown", which seemed to upset him. He then went on to talk about how I had terribly disrespected his wife and then went on to give me a number of low-grade, bad movie cliche style threats, such as "you better watch the shadows when you clock off, you gobby little shit" etc etc. I nodded and agreed my way through his psychotic breakdown, trying not to laugh, then read out his home phone number to him, once he had finished. I asked him to confirm the number, which he did in a sort of nonplussed voice. I then thanked him for helping the police make their job easier, and hung up.
Needless to say, nothing happened. I clock off well before the takeaway actually closes, and besides, spending your evenings with people who wield carving knives with the sort of accuracy and speed you would not believe tends to make one less worried about potential tough guys walking in on you.
I just found it so pointless. Getting wound up, making threats over the phone....over some fucking fried onion that cost less than £2? Fuck me, do these people actually have lives?
You know, I'm not really sure what "socioeconomic class" I am. I'm richer than my parents, I don't have a real job, and my mannerisms tend to match up with whomever I'm talking to.
...is "con man" a social class?