You think I own Ikea?
April 22, 2021 2:29 PM   Subscribe

 
I enjoyed this. The quantum realm!
posted by brainwane at 2:38 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


Holy cats, this is hilarious -- thank you!
posted by darkstar at 2:43 PM on April 22




I saw Part 2 of this and got distracted laughing and forgot to go find Part 1. I love this man and his accent.
posted by gladly at 2:44 PM on April 22 [3 favorites]


Great link. Thanks.
posted by Keith Talent at 2:46 PM on April 22


Gold.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:51 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


In sharing this link I just invented the term "self consciouslol".

I want to pretend the perfectly timed zings aren't perfect because some are uncomfortably acid but.... They're so tight.
posted by abulafa at 2:52 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]


ಠ෴ಠ
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:56 PM on April 22 [12 favorites]


He's funny, but it's the music that sells it.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:58 PM on April 22 [27 favorites]


I'm laughing my head off. God, this must be so gratifying for him to get to make.

"Every time my order comes here, my order's messed up? Stop coming here."
"The manager doesn't know what's going on, haven't you ever worked anywhere before?"
"The back ain't some magical place. What do you think is back there, Santa's workshop?"
"I'm hardly laughing."
"I have to stand here for 15 hours so you can yell at me instead of your family."
"You're not infallible, Susan, you're at the mall."
"How many people do you think wear a name tag recreationally?"
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:58 PM on April 22 [6 favorites]


"We don't thank our donors. This isn't PBS." is the one that gets me every time.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:05 PM on April 22 [15 favorites]


I first saw this last week and have watched this A LOT. As someone who just started a new retail job, this is SPOT ON.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 3:12 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I shared this on Facebook last week, and you can almost tell who my friends on there who have worked in retail based on who has clicked the reaction button or re-shared it.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:16 PM on April 22 [5 favorites]


"The website also has pictures of employees smiling" - my favorite line
posted by mbo at 3:21 PM on April 22 [23 favorites]


Ahhh, the prophet Moses promised is here.
posted by hototogisu at 3:26 PM on April 22 [4 favorites]


“You’re not infallible Susan, you’re at the mall.”
posted by furtive at 3:39 PM on April 22 [4 favorites]


Have worked retail/customer service plenty. Thought it was mean. Did not like.
posted by aniola at 3:51 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


Except the music. Liked the music.
posted by aniola at 3:51 PM on April 22


“look inwards” hahaha this ran across my computer a few days ago, i must have watched it 5 times in a row. so good!
posted by tarantula at 3:54 PM on April 22


You mean I’m not being witty when I say something must be free when it doesn’t scan? That’s almost as clever as when I respond at a restaurant to “Hi, I’m Jennifer, I’ll be your server!” with “Hi, I’m TedW, I’ll be your customer!”

Why yes, I am a dad; why do you ask?
posted by TedW at 4:07 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


UK retail workers will just say this stuff to your face.

But yes the music tips this over from meh to hilarious.
posted by tinkletown at 4:11 PM on April 22 [7 favorites]


You mean I’m not being witty when I say something must be free when it doesn’t scan?

My dad always said this. And it always got a smile. And now I always say this. And it always gets a smile. And I know - I KNOW, and this video is only reinforcing that, that this can’t be a fresh or funny joke and they must have heard it before. And I’m older and wiser now and I know (and again, this video is reinforcing it) that my making the joke is putting emotional labor onto the cashier.

But just like every time we get to the top of the roller coaster and I need to tell the ride operator at the summit that I’ll just take the steps down, because that’s what my dad always did, I will probably always pretend that if something doesn’t have a price tag then maybe this time - this time - if I ask I just the right winningly kidding way it might magically become free.

I promise I will be a model consumer in all other ways. But I lost my dad a year ago this month and I don’t think I’m physically capable of letting that joke go just yet.
posted by Mchelly at 4:25 PM on April 22 [30 favorites]


Having said that, these are very funny videos and the music is choice.
posted by Mchelly at 4:25 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


Ah, retail. Nothing quite like it to make you realise how many people deserve a quick death in nuclear fire.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:46 PM on April 22 [15 favorites]


Not in retail or marketing, so is there a discount code if you watch to the end?
posted by sammyo at 5:00 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


He had me until the end. I've been a white guy in a polo shirt that has so many times been stopped in a store because someone thought I might be a manager. I might be wearing a polo shirt, but it's not FUCKING BLUE!
posted by Quonab at 5:13 PM on April 22 [4 favorites]


Funny because its true.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:18 PM on April 22 [3 favorites]


Super funny. Might be mean if he said it to an actual person, but if you've never wanted to say any of these things to a customer, you haven't worked retail.
posted by explosion at 5:39 PM on April 22 [29 favorites]


You mean I’m not being witty when I say something must be free when it doesn’t scan?

My dad always said this ... And now I always say this.


The trick is to say it ironically, so that both you and the cashier are in on it together and can chuckle good-naturedly at the cruel "joke" that is life itself.

...I may have said too much.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:44 PM on April 22 [14 favorites]


Ah, retail. Nothing quite like it to make you realise how many people deserve a quick death in nuclear fire.

I blame my early time doing fast food drive through for my recurrent dream of building a cobalt warhead.

So ... so shiny. Clean. Absolutely no grease anywhere. Methodical. The apex of careful attention to detail. Everything where it needs to be, everything with purity of purpose. Pulsing with barely-constrained hatred for all vertebrate life.
posted by aramaic at 6:16 PM on April 22 [17 favorites]


Like Greg_Ace, I have to believe that most retail people can tell whether you're making a joke they've heard a million times in a clumsy effort to make a human connection or because you think laughing at your jokes is one of the services you're entitled to. It's usually pretty obvious to people whether they're being treated like a thing or a person.
posted by straight at 6:32 PM on April 22 [24 favorites]


Unfortunately these are things most in public service can only think rather than say. One must eat, after all. But an advantage of working at a loud dance club where you couldn't hear yourself scream is to be able to smile, give a small salute and actually vocalize, "Ah, fuck you very much!" A great catharsis...
posted by jim in austin at 6:45 PM on April 22 [4 favorites]


Like Greg_Ace, I have to believe that most retail people can tell whether you're making a joke they've heard a million times in a clumsy effort to make a human connection or because you think laughing at your jokes is one of the services you're entitled to. It's usually pretty obvious to people whether they're being treated like a thing or a person.

Not to put it to bluntly, but so what? The truth of the matter is if doesn’t matter why you’re telling the joke, the person working retail is still obligated to act like they find it funny. It’s just as much emotional labor to pretend to find an ironic joke you’ve heard told ironically a million times as it is to pretend to laugh at the same joke told unironically.
posted by Gygesringtone at 8:19 PM on April 22 [37 favorites]


"Mr. Lucas, at Grace Brothers,
we do not con the mugs."

- Captain Peacock
posted by clavdivs at 8:36 PM on April 22 [9 favorites]


customer service here. flagging as fantastic.
posted by soakimbo at 9:31 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]


The truth of the matter is if doesn’t matter why you’re telling the joke, the person working retail is still obligated to act like they find it funny.

I don't think this is quite true. Telling the joke ironically in a knowing way is making light of a shared slightly awkward situation and the teller is obligated to laugh or at least acknowledge the awkwardness of the situation but expecting them to find the "joke" funny is different and so much worse.
posted by Uncle at 9:47 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


Years ago, when I worked retail, a fellow co-worker and I held back some sweaters from the table of (special buy) sweaters - they were especially ugly and all size XL, so we knew we weren’t missing any sales. It was *so sweet* to say “Let me check in back and see if we have anything.” Then to come out triumphant with my “find”. The customer was Not Happy, but I was smiling inside.
Also, I worked retail for so long that apparently I had a certain look. For YEARS I would get asked questions only an employee would know. This happened in random stores (Goodwill, Macy’s, a hardware store -you name it), regardless of what I was wearing - I could have a coat and hat, and still be stopped by a customer.
posted by dbmcd at 9:47 PM on April 22 [18 favorites]


The truth of the matter is if doesn’t matter why you’re telling the joke

Or even if the joke goes whooshing past your head
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:30 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


I don't think this is quite true. Telling the joke ironically in a knowing way is making light of a shared slightly awkward situation and the teller is obligated to laugh or at least acknowledge the awkwardness of the situation

I realise the joke makes you feel better as a customer but the scanner breaking isn't the employees fault so why would you punish them by obliging them to do emotional labour?
posted by zymil at 10:45 PM on April 22 [7 favorites]


Also, I worked retail for so long that apparently I had a certain look.


I have (or at least had) that look, though I can't claim to having much experience in retail. Not sure what it is. It may be my clothing style, which gravitated generally toward business casual (tucked in button-down shirt and khakis). Or it may be that, when I was in my 30s, I looked always managed to seem purposeful, like I knew what I was doing even when I didn't, but with a slightly hounded look of someone under indeterminate time pressure.

Or it may have been that I can't help but straighten the merchandise on the shelf when I see it's in disarray.

I remember one evening when I inadvertently wore a burgundy golf polo and khakis while shopping in a Target and straightening the canned goods. I had four or five people ask me for assistance. I happily helped them out, though I told them I didn't work there. It occurred to me after the second person asked that I was inadvertently wearing the basic store employee uniform.

Nowadays, I'm in my 50s and wear jeans more, so not as many people confuse me for store employees. The requests for assistance I get these days are mainly from elderly ladies at the grocery store who need help getting the merch off of the top shelf. It makes me feel like I'm contributing to society, somewhat.
posted by darkstar at 10:46 PM on April 22 [4 favorites]


This is very funny, but why is it always Susan or Diane or Karen who is annoyingly demanding? Why not Brad or Kevin or Craig?
posted by Tuba Toothpaste at 11:11 PM on April 22 [15 favorites]


UK retail workers will just say this stuff to your face.

I've always liked Billy Connolly's line up on the difference between US and UK customer service: "I'd rather be told to have a nice day by someone who doesn't mean it than be told to sod off by someone who does."
posted by Paul Slade at 11:55 PM on April 22 [14 favorites]


David Mitchell's got the right idea too.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:01 AM on April 23 [3 favorites]


> [...] Telling the joke ironically in a knowing way is making light of a shared
> slightly awkward situation and the teller is obligated to laugh or at least
> acknowledge the awkwardness of the situation

>> I realise the joke makes you feel better as a customer but the scanner breaking
>> isn't the employees fault so why would you punish them by obliging them
>> to do emotional labour?


Maybe that's a cultural thing but that sounds very odd to me in the UK. In this situation I probably wouldn't make this particular joke but I might make some joke and I would do so in a way that I would hope would communicate that I understand the position they are in and will not be making it a problem for them - i.e. to relieve them of the emotional labour of trying to make me feel OK about the situation.
posted by merlynkline at 12:24 AM on April 23 [14 favorites]


David Mitchel’s got the right idea too
But…also David Mitchel
posted by rongorongo at 12:31 AM on April 23 [3 favorites]


Now I want him to present a whole series of "the things that we think but don't say"... up next: tech support responses. Cuz that's a whoooole chapter right there.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:15 AM on April 23 [3 favorites]


Like most internet comedy videos, I wish he had cut about 75% of his content before uploading, but this was cathartic and it got a couple lols out of me all the same. I've been in customer service way too long and I goddamn despise it. Currently taking concrete steps to make my permanent getaway because I'm cooked, I'm done, I can't keep coping with these ridiculous people and the power they think they have over me because they might spend a little bit of their stupid fucking money.
posted by EatTheWeek at 5:01 AM on April 23 [5 favorites]


Worked retail out of college, running a camera/electronics dept - first Christmas a young kid I'd hired cracked under pressure, long days, crazy crowds four deep and some really nasty man with an issue he couldn't have hoped to resolve who finally barked in his face, "I want to speak to someone higher up!" To which the kid took a slow step back, bent his knees, sprung in one smooth leap on top of the counter now looking directly down on him and snarled, "Is this high enough for you, bitch?" To which I had to stifle my amusement, grab him down, push him through the door to "the back" and fire him on the spot - but not without telling him that was without a doubt one of the funniest things I'd ever seen.
posted by thecincinnatikid at 6:21 AM on April 23 [36 favorites]


Why are so many people in this thread invested in their need to tell stupid jokes to retail workers.

Look, they're probably very tired. They are definitely underpaid with few to no benefits. Just be nice to them. Some of them do want to chat others want to stay in the fugue state that lets them endure their shitty ass job. Respect that.
posted by emjaybee at 6:42 AM on April 23 [27 favorites]


I realise the joke makes you feel better as a customer but the scanner breaking isn't the employees fault so why would you punish them by obliging them to do emotional labour?


Exactly, an item not scanning or and item not having a price tag or whatever isn't even awkward from the cashier's point of view. Every place I've ever worked, that's just a thing that happens. It might be slightly more work, but chances are very good that the person working the register won't even remember that it happened by the end of their shift.
posted by Gygesringtone at 6:43 AM on April 23 [5 favorites]


This is very funny, but why is it always Susan or Diane or Karen who is annoyingly demanding? Why not Brad or Kevin or Craig?

Because of gender roles and stereotypical gendered behavior.

Brad, Kevin, and Craig are less likely to go in the first place. They're doing "manly things," not shopping. If they do go, they're less likely to ask for help. Instead they'll wander the warehouse, refusing to ask directions, sure they can find what they need. If the furniture was missing a piece, they'll clumsily cobble a shitty replacement instead of going back and asking for a replacement piece. Et cetera.

It's not that men are at all better, it's just that through a set of shitty traits, they're less likely to encounter (and annoy) customer service workers.
posted by explosion at 6:47 AM on April 23 [8 favorites]


In my experience working events in a specific city, about 1% of the people caused any trouble at all, but in that selection.... Again, this is just anecdata based on specific experiences... It was the white women who would give long complicated rationales for why the rules didn't apply to them, why they were entitled to whatever special treatment they were asking for. A white woman With a Problem typically took between twice and four times the average to deal with, and the answer was typically to take them to a manager so they could get an official no, or the manager would just give them the special treatment.
posted by Jacen at 6:57 AM on April 23 [7 favorites]


Work customer service long enough and you will meet entitled, ignorant shitbirds along the entire gender spectrum, trust. And yes, keep your hilarious jokes to yourself, across the board. Just pay for your shit and leave; we have work to do.
posted by EatTheWeek at 7:03 AM on April 23 [4 favorites]


For me, it's the transition from sitting down to standing up that makes it.
posted by Corduroy at 7:36 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


The expired discount one hit home. I do online customer service for a company that has an “all sales are final” policy. Every day, I have least one customer saying, “I understand all sales are final, but…”—no. If you understood, you wouldn’t be giving me some mundane reason why it shouldn’t apply to you.
posted by kaisemic at 7:47 AM on April 23 [4 favorites]


This is very funny, but why is it always Susan or Diane or Karen who is annoyingly demanding? Why not Brad or Kevin or Craig?

Brad, Kevin and Craig are busy parking the crew cab F-150 they commute with in the loading zone, or the fire lane, or the handicapped spot.
posted by rocketman at 8:10 AM on April 23 [15 favorites]


if you've never wanted to say any of these things to a customer, you haven't worked retail.

The first retail job I had (and really the only one per se) was selling Walkmans and Discmans and stereos and the like. Alec, the guy who trained me, said on day one that the hardest part of retail was not saying the things that you wanted to say.

He did kind of skirt the edges of this, though. Perhaps three days into my time there someone came to the counter and asked about a product. “I’m looking for a radio to sort of fill a room.”

Alec asked, “With sound?” I was so hoping the customer was looking for a radio nineteen feet long.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:17 AM on April 23 [7 favorites]


My wife does every single one of those every time I'm shopping with her - and a huge percentage of the time, they actually work.

Also I've never heard a woman say 'working hard or hardly working?' that one is defintely 'guy at the hardware store'.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:18 AM on April 23 [3 favorites]


This is very funny, but why is it always Susan or Diane or Karen who is annoyingly demanding? Why not Brad or Kevin or Craig?

My middle name is literally Karen and I'm in the demo, and one part of the answer is probably - women do a lot more of the shopping, and carry a lot of emotional exhaustion, and often inappropriately and horribly dump that on customer service staff.

I am not at all justifying that but it definitely is something I've observed at both sides of the counter.

Another part of the answer is sometimes when the men make the same complaint, whether it's their manner or something else, their complaint is perceived as more legitimate. I have had to do training with my staff around this because not often but enough, when a bad customer experience is escalated to me and I dive into it, the mom has sometimes softly expressed a concern once or twice, but when the dad comes in about it, it gets escalated to me right away. So that's the flip side.
posted by warriorqueen at 8:18 AM on April 23 [9 favorites]


...one of those every time I'm shopping with her - and a huge percentage of the time, they actually work.

As a reluctant shopper, one that struggles to find a slot between the F150's for a small car and happy when it's under a shade tree, observing the, ah, negotiations, there does seem to be wiggle room within just enough corporate policies that allow the seemingly unreasonable requests to be processed just often enough that it encourages the, ah negotiators, to continue their shenanigans.
posted by sammyo at 8:44 AM on April 23 [2 favorites]


Why not Brad or Kevin or Craig

or Sam?
posted by flabdablet at 8:52 AM on April 23


I can admit that "I'll be quick" and "This isn't basketball. We're not playing to the buzzer." stung a bit with recognition, but it still made me laugh.
posted by gladly at 8:56 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


there does seem to be wiggle room within just enough corporate policies that allow the seemingly unreasonable requests to be processed just often enough that it encourages the, ah negotiators, to continue their shenanigans.

Not only that, every store has different rules for things like discounts, coupons (including if the customer should present them or has to ask for them), if ads expire, extra stock, and every things else, so the Karens of the world also have to be experts at remembering the exact policies of every store they shop at, which is an unreasonable expectation.

I don't say this in defense of Karens (or my wife) at the expense of service reps, but just to also illustrate how little marketers and management care about front line workers, which creates this confrontational environment.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:58 AM on April 23 [6 favorites]


NB that "Karen" was coined by Black people to specifically describe white women who treat Black employees like the help. You can google this on your own, but it's worth pointing out that the original coinage was gendered on purpose to describe a specific use of white privilege.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:36 AM on April 23 [18 favorites]


I have worked retail for years, and "listening to customers tired jokes" is just part of the job, along with basic politeness and small chit-chat when appropriate. It's the dickheads who actively want to make you feel bad who are the problem, not people who try to make conversation in a clichéd way. It's on the same level as talking about the weather. A bland alternative to scanning in silence.

My god the dickheads though. You never want to be the one who has to do the closing of the fitting room 15 minutes before the store closes because people will *kick off*. They are FURIOUS they're not allowed to try on armfuls of clothes a full five minutes before they're supposed to be out the door. My strategy was to be aggressively nice and cheery because it annoys the hell out of people who are actively trying to make you feel bad.
posted by stillnocturnal at 10:44 AM on April 23 [5 favorites]


I worked at a liquor store in a state where liquor sales had to stop at 10pm and the register was computerized to shut down. It was fun to tell people who came in at 9:55 that no, they really had five minutes before I could not physically operate the till if I wanted to.
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:55 AM on April 23 [4 favorites]


Ah, we also had a huge sign that our state law required IDing everyone in the store to buy liquor, not just the person buying. Guess how mad people got anyway.
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:59 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


Ah, we also had a huge sign that our state law required IDing everyone in the store to buy liquor, not just the person buying. Guess how mad people got anyway.

Having worked in Liquor stores before: All the people. Except the ones who "left their ID in the car and would be right back" and would walk right back in without their friends and try a different register.
posted by Gygesringtone at 11:35 AM on April 23


NB that "Karen" was coined by Black people to specifically describe white women who treat Black employees like the help. You can google this on your own, but it's worth pointing out that the original coinage was gendered on purpose to describe a specific use of white privilege.

Yes, and I loved that original usage. But now I see more and more of the "Karen" language used by people who seem to think that it somehow evades culpability for their blatant sexism. It's all over the internet, and I especially notice it on reddit, which is a lot more like MRA-land than Crone Island.

It's not the creators' fault that the usage has slipped so far, but sometimes I wish they had come up with better taunts than "Barbecue Becky" because holy hell did the sexists glom onto it to twist it to apply to basically every woman who Does A Thing.
posted by zug at 11:48 AM on April 23 [9 favorites]


This is very funny, but why is it always Susan or Diane or Karen who is annoyingly demanding? Why not Brad or Kevin or Craig?

My middle name is literally Karen and I'm in the demo, and one part of the answer is probably - women do a lot more of the shopping, and carry a lot of emotional exhaustion, and often inappropriately and horribly dump that on customer service staff.


I dropped one woman as a friend and have pulled way back on friendship with another because they both have the habit of being aggressively rude to people working retail or hospitality over any minor issue that arises.

Something I observe about both of them is that they are unhappy and frustrated with various aspects of their lives and very bought into consumer culture / women's magazine culture as a means to feel better about their lives. They believe the ads that sell the lie that buying something will make everything better. To them being a customer is something that should make them feel good and special at all times. Anything that hinders that leads to a torrent of abuse for the unfortunate person in front of them.

While having sympathy for their problems I don't have any sympathy for the behaviour. Their frustration is one root cause but the other is that they fundamentally don't see the other party as their equal. They think they are allowed to dump their crap all over someone else just because they are spending some money. And that says something pretty fundamental about their character.

While I think there is something around emotional exhaustion and consumerist expectations that can trigger this behaviour in women, it is by no means limited only to women. For a while one of the above friends was dating a guy who was equally awful to staff given any chance. `He was similarly frustrated and caught up in consumerism. It was such a fundamental behavioural trait to both of them that in the early stages of their relationship they bonded by sharing stories of their 'awful' customer service experiences.
posted by roolya_boolya at 12:03 PM on April 23 [19 favorites]


Oh absolutely. I think what bothers me is that because of the broader usage, it's become easier for white women to drive the conversation as "Karen is sexist!!" for all applications of Karen, and well, where possible I think it's important to note the nuance so that white women hold ourselves accountable for saying "some instances of Karen are sexist, but we still have to work on the original problem that made Karen."
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:09 PM on April 23 [4 favorites]


There's some weird dude in my neighborhood who has posted three US flag decorated signs around his house that say something like "No Karens Zone" or "No Karens Allowed" or something like that. Some folks who say "Karen" are pointing out problematic privileged behavior patterns about white women. Some other folks who use it seem all too excited about their new tool with which to shame and silence women, white or otherwise. I am in no hurry to meet this neighbor, either way.
posted by EatTheWeek at 12:43 PM on April 23 [10 favorites]


Like most internet comedy videos, I wish he had cut about 75% of his content before uploading

That's the TikTok style/grind, though; he didn't upload these as a compilation originally, it's one little 15 second bit at a time, dripping out on the regular to feed the algorithm, normally showing up for viewers as punctuation between a bunch of other vids. Something blows up, taking your bits and putting a reel up on twitter or youtube to get some cross-platform visibility you can have some control over (vs. other people posting comps of your stuff so THEY can get the clicks etc) makes sense but just like it was with vine collections there's a transformation with the change in context.

I also love that particular TikTok music cue he's doing these off of, because it affords so many possible interpretations of this general "tonal shift and confrontational counterpoint" meme. And his use of it is really great and on the money though I feel like he rushes the cue on the music sting a little bit on some of these.
posted by cortex at 12:45 PM on April 23 [9 favorites]


Ah, that's what I was missing, thanks. I've only ever seen TikTok videos in that second stage compilation form I suppose.
posted by EatTheWeek at 12:54 PM on April 23


Also having this sourced to a specific user is nice for me because one of the stupid hard things about TikTok is tracking down that random meme sound that everyone's using but TikTok doesn't like to surface in their "popular sounds" interface because it's not a licensed moneymaker etc. So now I finally know this is BGC Drama Effect; that's a search link for tiktoks using that sound, so you can see a bunch of random variations on the form.

Including this one from @angryreactions, who has a great schtick as an aggressively loving person. Or this one from @kallmekris who is also tremendous. Or (WandaVision spoilers I guess) this set of Marvel riffs.
posted by cortex at 1:26 PM on April 23 [5 favorites]


That’s almost as clever as when I respond at a restaurant to “Hi, I’m Jennifer, I’ll be your server!” with “Hi, I’m TedW, I’ll be your customer!”
Guess what? The waiter doesn't need to know your name.
posted by soelo at 2:00 PM on April 23 [9 favorites]


Guess what? The waiter doesn't need to know your name.

I take it you’ve never been to Starbucks.
posted by TedW at 2:08 PM on April 23 [4 favorites]


Maybe that's a cultural thing but that sounds very odd to me in the UK. In this situation I probably wouldn't make this particular joke ["It doesn't scan, so is it free?"] but I might make some joke and I would do so in a way that I would hope would communicate that I understand the position they are in and will not be making it a problem for them - i.e. to relieve them of the emotional labour of trying to make me feel OK about the situation.

I think that's the difference - people who use this joke often believe that this is what they are doing. The problem is that this is a "joke" only from the perspective of the customer. Five seconds of putting yourself in the employee's shoes - that of a person who is now getting tense because this CONFOUNDED DAMN THING ISN'T WORKING - would let you see that a much better "quip" might be something like, "I thought technology was supposed to make our lives easier or something?"

I admit to having one joke I've used on occasion, something I save for hectic Christmas-shopping season or unusually busy theaters or such like. As they're wrapping things up with me, I lean in and say "I promise you that this day will end, and you will get to go home." I've always gotten at least a half smile; but sometimes I get a genuine smile, sometimes a sigh and "boy I can't wait." And one time, a particularly harried usher in a theater in London just blinked, then started giggling and leaned back in towards me and said, "bless your cotton socks!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:31 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]


To them being a customer is something that should make them feel good and special at all times. Anything that hinders that leads to a torrent of abuse for the unfortunate person in front of them.

I think that link to consumerism is really interesting and on the nose.

I've long had a rule that I'm not close friends with and never date anyone who is rude to counter staff/wait staff/etc. more than once (and even once, on the dating end.)

I don't think it's led me wrong, at least, I like the people who have passed the bar. It's funny, as someone who is occasionally counter/reception staff I have more sympathy than I do as friend.
posted by warriorqueen at 3:16 PM on April 23 [5 favorites]


One day, I will have an opportunity to use this joke. And I will, oh yes I will. And it will be a good day.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:44 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


The most utterly toxic, odious customer-service berating asshole I've ever encountered was a guy, a former co-worker of mine. We started working on a software project together and went out to lunch and dinner together while we were on the project. He was aggressively mean and demanding to wait staff and customer service people.

One day, after a few concerning episodes, it came to a head. I was in the passenger's seat of his car once when going through the drive-through at McDonald's and they got the order wrong by leaving out the fries or something. He parked the car in the drive through lane and berated the teenage girl at the window until she cried, after which the manager came to the window and he berated and threatened him, as well.

During the episode, I tried to interrupt a couple of times and defuse the situation, to no avail. The manager finally told him to drive on or he'd call the police on us. As we were leaving, my co-worker turned to me and said, with a wide grin, "I just love doing that." We rode back to the office in silence.

After that, I told him I could never go to lunch with him again because of his incredible cruelty I'd witnessed. He laughed and said I was being too sensitive. In my mind, your garden-variety "Karen" can never really compare to that seriously messed-up dude.
posted by darkstar at 6:36 PM on April 23 [10 favorites]


So both my wife and I both have smaller than normal feet. After we were married, I told her that I wanted to go hiking with her, but I thought she actually needed some real hiking boots for the places that we were going. Since her feet were difficult to fit, we ended up going to the one high end outdoor store in town.

A year later, I also needed new hiking boots. I looked around, but in the end I ended up at the same outdoor store, buying women's boots that would fit me (a man). The guy selling me the boots said that he recognized me from the last time I was there, when I bought my wife's boots.

I've worked retail before. We had only been in the store one time before. It didn't seem possible to me that he had recognized us based on one experience. So I straight up asked him how he knew us. He told me that he remembered us because we had not been total jerks when we were there, unlike the vast majority of their customers. I still get angry about this.
posted by Quonab at 7:34 PM on April 23 [9 favorites]


Darkstar, your story reminds me a bit of a tale I think I once related on the blue: a friend of mine has a sister who owns a Tim Hortons franchise (an ubiquitous coffee and soup/sandwiches/donuts chain in Canada). It has a drive-through window, and in common with the standardized designs for these places, the lane for the drive-through is isolated by curbs: behind the spot at the window during busy times, you’d typically find a line of seven or eight cars, of whom maybe #4 is hollering an order into the panel.

Once every three or four weeks (pre-pandemic, anyway), they were visited by one guy whom they all came to know and dread. Let’s call him Kevin. Kevin was dispatched to pick up lunch for the plant or the depot or wherever he worked, some fifty people. He collected the orders from dozens of coworkers, and then through some heady mixture of cluelessness, passive-aggressive conduct, or entitlement, he would order these at the drive-through window.

To assemble fifty meals, even fast food ones, takes as long as you’d think, but Kevin would pull up to the window and sit there with eight or ten cars locked in behind him. Unless they reversed out one by one, they were stuck.

After the second or third time this happened, the owner went out to talk to Kevin. Would he like to maybe park over there and they’d bring the food out to him in a few minutes? Is there any chance he could call his order in, say, thirty minutes ahead for future weeks? No, he preferred it the way he was doing it, thanks.

I sometimes wonder if Kevin tells stories of how the turkeys at Tim Hortons can’t even process a basic lunch order without being thrown into a tizzy.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:42 PM on April 23 [7 favorites]


Not to put it to bluntly, but so what? The truth of the matter is if doesn’t matter why you’re telling the joke, the person working retail is still obligated to act like they find it funny. It’s just as much emotional labor to pretend to find an ironic joke you’ve heard told ironically a million times as it is to pretend to laugh at the same joke told unironically.

What I meant is that if you are genuinely trying to treat someone as a person like yourself who deserves respect and is doing a hard job, it might not be ruined if you stumble into telling a joke they've heard a million times.

But I think you and others are making some good points. Part of that is not making careless presumptions that they're just like me. Something that seems harmless to me could, in the context of lots of other customers making demands, still sound irritating or demanding. I hadn't seen that matter how you tell that joke, it still contains a request for special treatment and maybe the customer is just mostly kidding.

There's no formula to insure you are being kind. You gotta keep listening and paying attention to what people actually think and feel. I have to care about the actual consequences of my behavior, not just what I suppose ought to be the consequences.
posted by straight at 8:08 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


"I promise you that this day will end, and you will get to go home."

Don't forget that some workers don't have a home to go to. Or a home they look forward to.

[yikes, I hadn't seen the comment I'm quoting when I was pontificating in my previous comment. All that wasn't directed at you, EmpressCallipygos]
posted by straight at 8:12 PM on April 23


You mean I’m not being witty when I say something must be free when it doesn’t scan?

My dad always said this ... And now I always say this.

The trick is to say it ironically, so that both you and the cashier are in on it together


In the same vein, "Ah, well, it must be priceless like... witnessing a baby's first steps". (Or whatever awesome thing comes to mind )
posted by otherchaz at 5:11 AM on April 24


[yikes, I hadn't seen the comment I'm quoting when I was pontificating in my previous comment. All that wasn't directed at you, EmpressCallipygos]

....Well, you kind of just ruined the joke that actually HAS brought genuine chuckles to retail workers, so that was kind of enough.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:28 AM on April 24


Soelo, I take it you're referencing the "Dr. Rick" Progressive Insurance ads which I confess I love unironically.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 6:02 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


I was once asked, at King's Island outside Cincinnati, Ohio, if I was an employee. On the one hand, yeah, I was wearing clothes similar to what the employee uniform looked like at the time. On the other hand, I was 12.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:09 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


In all the discussion about whether joking around causes more emotional labour or puts people at ease I think there is one thing you can always say that is universally appreciated and that is 'thank you'.
posted by roolya_boolya at 6:30 AM on April 24 [13 favorites]


"Can you check in the back" makes my eye twitch, but that's because my retail experience was in a small local chain of music instrument stores where we really did have only about half to 2/3 of our stock out on the floor at any given time so I would have to trudge to the inadequately lit and thoroughly unorganized storage room and poke around and probably climb up a ladder 5 times and dig an unmarked guitar case out from underneath 6 other things just to see if there was 1) a guitar in the case 2) actually the make and/or model and/or color I was looking for, and if we didn't have it in the back I'd have to call the 2 other stores AND our central warehouse and then some other poor saps would have to go through the same exercise. (And no we probably didn't have it anywhere.)
posted by soundguy99 at 7:33 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Scott Seiss sounds like a pretty awesome guy in addition to being really funny. Interview with the Ink
posted by gladly at 7:57 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


..Well, you kind of just ruined the joke that actually HAS brought genuine chuckles to retail workers, so that was kind of enough.

Hey, that's not fair. Are you blaming me for homelessness and domestic abuse and second shifts? You can totally reword that to say the same thing without assuming that "going home" is what everyone is looking forward to at the end of their shift. It was a very kind thing for you to do; I'm just trying to help you do it even better.
posted by straight at 9:13 AM on April 24


Don't forget, some workers will actually die before the end of their shift, let's try to be more fully inclusive shall we?
posted by aramaic at 10:34 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


Some of his early stand up
posted by fullerine at 11:29 AM on April 24


It was a very kind thing for you to do; I'm just trying to help you do it even better.

I do not recall "helping me do it even better" being a task I expressly requested of you in the first place. Much as I presume the staff of retail establishments would enjoy you pointing out more "helpful" ways to bag groceries, stock shelves, or suchlike.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:01 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I shouldn't have put it that way. That's me clumsily backpedaling and trying to say I think that's a lovely gesture and I didn't meant to poop on it.

I was thinking this thread is more about customer service from the point of view of the customer service people and I was trying to think about things from that perspective.
posted by straight at 1:30 PM on April 24


Why not Brad or Kevin or Craig?

Talk to any woman working in the food service industry and she will inevitably have so many stories about every boomer male who thinks they’re clever and witty by saying stupid shit. “How was everything?” Boomer dude points to finished plate, “It was terrible!”

I say this as someone who always leaves a 30% tip because my dad is that guy.
posted by photoslob at 5:29 AM on April 26 [3 favorites]


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