First post! Yay me!
I am a disabled, overweight and scarily ugly looking woman. I am into ‘wood art’ and generally doing DIY at my home in Scotland. I am also a British Army Veteran. Due to a back injury I sustained in the military I can’t walk more than a few meters, so I get around on a mobility scooter, complete with Armed Forces Veteran stickers on it, front and back. I’m proud to have served.
My local(ish) big box DIY store famously wears orange (I also believe the company is owned by the same folk that own a US big box store that famously wears orange). I go fairly often, often enough that I know where many things are. Dressed in jeans, a floral print top and slip on shoes. No orange anywhere.
I was down the Electrical supplies aisle, looking for just the right light switches and sockets for the re-model I am doing in my long hallway at home. I pick one up every now and then to match with the colour swatch I have brought with me to see how they look. Most of them I put directly back on the hook I picked it out from, and others go in the basket on the footplate of my scooter. Also in the isle is a old man. I’d say he’s probably in his 80s. He is looking at the shelves but seemingly rather confused. Being nice, I ask him if he’s OK. That’s mistake number one. He tells me he’s looking for a adapter so he can plug in his electric toothbrush to charge. I know exactly what he needs, and show him exactly where they are. Mistake number two. He smiles and gives me a grateful “Thank you”, and off he goes happily with his adapter in hand to the tills. I feel good. I’ve helped someone out.
So I go back to my own shopping, or at least I try to. “Excuse me!”. I turn to see a young man (YM) with a handful of different switches. “Which one of these should I use for an internal switch for an external light. I look, as I’m feeling chuffed with being able to help. Mistake number three. I point to one that has a light on it so you can see when the switch is on. “I’d probably use that one, so you know if the light is on or off if you can’t see the light itself”. He smiles happily, dumps all the other switches on a shelf and starts looking at other items on the shelves.
So I go back to my own shopping, or at least I try to. Again. Enter Karen (K). “Excuse me!”. Mistake four. “Yes”, I reply.
K – “Where do I find that stuff to put on walls to fix a hole?”
Me – “It’s down the other end of the store, somewhere near the painting supplies, somewhere near the tills.”
K – “Yes, but where, and which shelf?”
Me – “Not sure, just take a look down there. A member of staff might be able to help better.”
K – “I need you to show me.”
Me – “Sorry, just look down there, I’m about to pay for my shopping.”
K – “But you need to show me! I don’t know the right stuff.”
Me – “Look down there, there’s a big banner by the right isle. There may be someone there who works here”
K – “But you work here, it’s your job to help customers! Show me where it is and what I need!”
Me (getting annoyed now) – “It’s not my job, I don’t work here. Am I wearing an orange apron? Ask someone wearing an orange apron. They will help you”. I start trying to roll my scooter forwards towards the tills. K, faster than a speeding bullet steps directly in my path only an inch or two in front of me. Now, these scooters are heavy, and solid, and won’t take damage from hitting an ankle. There was absolutely nothing I could do to stop quickly enough. K shrieks.
K – “You hit my leg! You tried to run me down! Owwww…..” and the tears flow. Her shriek alerted a couple of staff members who come running. “She ran me down, I want the manager, I want the police, I want an ambulance!. I want her fired and arrested!” Then a mature looking man in a suit, with a large orange badge with his name and the word ‘Manager’ on it comes running up, also alerted by the shriek and shouting. He (M) asks what happened.
K – “Your assistant in the lazy cripple chair (yes, really…) tried to kill me! I want her arrested, and fired, and I’ll sue the store for my injuries!”
M – “What assistant? This lady doesn’t work here.”
K – “She does, and she tried to run me down. My ankle is probably broken!” (Note, she’s still standing, stomping around, shouting and generally not behaving like someone with a broken ankle. Maybe a spoiled toddler though)
Me – “She asked me where something was, I told her where to look, she got demanding and behaving like a spoiled child, and then deliberately stepped in front of me when I went to leave. No way I could stop in time.”
K – “Liar! You do work here! I saw you helping two other people – him! (pointing at the young man, who stopped to watch the commotion).
Me – “Yes, I helped. Out of the goodness of my heart because I’m a nice person. That doesn’t mean I work here”
YM – “Yeah, she was nice enough to help me. I asked her because I saw her helping out an old bloke. I knew she didn’t work here”
M – “Yeah, she doesn’t. Let’s go back to the office to talk about this. Then we’ll see what needs doing.”
K – “And you’ll call the police and an ambulance, and fire her!” SMH….
So off we go to the office. Karen remembers her ‘broken’ ankle and starts putting on a deliberate limp. On the wrong leg. Moaning all the way to the office about her broken ankle. In the office the manager invites Karen to sit. I’m barely in the office as my scooter doesn’t have the turning circle to get further in.
M – “Let’s start with the CCTV and see what happened”. He turns the CCTV monitor around so we can all see it. He presses some buttons and runs the video back to where I ride into the isle. I’m seen looking at products. I’m seen talking to the old man. I’m seen taking him to a shelf and passing an adapter to him. I’m seen talking to the young man and pointing at a product in his hands. I’m seen talking to Karen and pointing down the store. She is seen looking angry, with fists clenched talking at me. I’m seen moving off. She is seen rushing past me and deliberately stepping in my path, where I obviously don’t have time to stop. “Just so you know, I’m a retired Police Officer. Do you really want the police and an ambulance? Your ankle is clearly not broken and it’s clear what really happened. Do you really want to get charged for wasting police time? They do that these days as the police are short of manpower and won’t thank you for calling them for what is clearly your own fault. They may even charge you with a hate crime with what I and my staff heard. Or will you just leave the store and not come back?”
K – “But…”
M – “Really?” Karen wilted. She stands, and with no sign of a limp walks out with a member of staff escorting her meekly out. I was thanked for my patience, and handed a gift card “for your trouble, and so you’re not put off using <store name>.
I paid for my wares, using the gift card which covered the whole cost, plus some more credit remaining on the card for my next visit. I may not help anyone else next time though…
Edit – Wow! I had no idea people out there would enjoy my post so much! Thanks everyone!
To clarify a couple of points:
Firstly – Yep, I think I’m scarily ugly. But only physically. I know this because I have a mirror. Halloween has nothing on me! Unfortunately I need to look at myself when I brush my hair or put my makeup on. Otherwise I’d ban mirrors from my home. Inside though, I think I have a good soul. I’m not always perfect, not always kind (I’ve learned that sometimes kindness needs to be tempered with a reality strike or unhappy truth), and certainly not always right. I do try to be decent to people though, just don’t mistake my kindness as weakness.
Secondly – Apparently the UK Big box store that famously wears orange is not the same company as the US Big box store that famously wears orange. My mistake. Maybe I should have researched that first. Still, I suppose it’s an understandable error when you look at the two companies styles.
Thirdly – In reality I will still be helpful when I can and if the person asking for help is respectful, polite and deserving of kindness. I’m naturally a nice person IMHO. I’ve tried acting nasty but my friend always laugh at me. I’m not very good at it. I’ll stick to being the genuine me.