Crazy, Stupid People

13 Sep

I might be an author, but it doesn’t pay my bills. So I work at a party store. Besides doing cash and stocking shelves, part of the job includes making balloon bouquets for various events. This can be fun, except when I run across annoying customers. They might be nice people in other situations, but they don’t make my job any easier.

So if you’re not in the mood for a quiet rant, then don’t read any further. Here goes:

I should explain that most of the balloons are pre-ordered, so we make them up for a pre-arranged time, attach the order form, and line them up on the shelf. On a busy day we can have up to 30 different orders waiting to be picked up.

Here are actual dialogues I had with customers last weekend. To set the scene, there are half a dozen ‘walk-in’ customers (meaning they didn’t have the foresight to order ahead of time, and have to wait) at the balloon counter, and they’re getting more impatient by the minute. I can feel their eyeballs on me as I blow up each balloon. It’s hot and I’m sweating like a roast pig at a luau. It’s all hands on deck and we’re crazy busy.

(Italics denote thoughts only. If I really said these things out loud I’d be fired)

Customer: “I’m here for my daughter’s balloon order, she came in last Friday.”

Me: “What’s the occasion?”

Customer: “Birthday.”

Me: “Child or adult?”

Customer: “Child. And don’t ask me what she ordered, because I have no idea.”

Me: (Smile while grinding teeth) Good idea, to send someone to pick up your balloons who has no idea what they’re picking up.

At this point I get the name of the order, and start to look through the order forms on the huge line up of balloons. I pick one or two that look promising, and age appropriate — of course, I have no idea how old a child this is for, since the customer didn’t mention it. The customer shakes her head each time. Several frustrating minutes later …

Customer: “I know there was a dinosaur.”

Me: Really? A dinosaur? I thought you said you had no idea what the bouquet looked like? You couldn’t have mentioned this earlier?

I grab the giant dinosaur balloon arrangement off the shelf. It’s hard to miss. We’ve now wasted seven minutes on what should have taken two.

Next customer is in a hurry. She wants two bouquets of ten balloons each, and she wants them yesterday.

Customer: “How long will this take?”

Me: “About fifteen minutes.” (She wants twenty balloons. It takes about forty seconds to blow up one balloon. Unless one pops by accident while you’re inflating it, which sounds like a gun shot and makes my heart stop every time. Then it takes longer.)

Customer: “Fifteen minutes?” She frowns, obviously annoyed that I can’t snap my fingers and have the balloons magically appear in my hands. “How much will this cost?”

Me: “Twenty-five dollars.”

Customer: “Twenty-five dollars? That’s ridiculous! How can that be?”

Me: “The balloons are twenty-five cents each, so that’s five dollars. It costs $1 for each helium fill.”

Customer: “The helium costs a dollar for each?”

Me: “That’s right.” (Included in that cost is the ribbon to hold the balloon and the labor involved in making up the balloon, but I’m not in the mood for long explanations.)

Customer: “I thought helium was free.”

Me: “No.” Helium is not air. It’s a gas that’s manufactured and shipped to us in tanks. It costs us money to buy. If we give it away for free we lose money. DOH!

The customer walks away in a huff.

Then there are the crazy customers. As a retired nurse, there is one thing I learned very early on — there are more crazy people walking around the streets of your community than there are in the local mental health facility.

I don’t mean head-banging, rubber room crazy. I mean odd ducks. Flakes.

Here’s another actual conversation:

Customer: “Do you have any tooth fairy stuff?”

Me: “No.”

Customer: “You know, like a small pillow to hold the tooth, or a little box, or something like that?”

Me: “No.” I know what you want. I’m telling you we don’t have it.

Customer (surprised): “I’m shocked. I think you’re the first party store I’ve ever been in that doesn’t have that stuff.”

Me: Then go back to those other stores. “The only fairy stuff we have is Tinker Bell.”

Customer: “But Tinker Bell has wings. The tooth fairy doesn’t have wings.”

Me (jaw dropping): “How do you know she doesn’t have wings?”

Customer: “Because she’s the tooth fairy.” (Sighs) “Well, that’s so irritating. It’s just so disappointing.”

Me (nodding): “Sorry.” Lady, you need a shrink. And if that’s all you have to worry about, you’ve got it pretty good.

I’m not making any of this up. This is life at the party store.

Do you come across crazy or annoying people at your job or in your community? I’d love to hear from you, so I know I’m not the only one.

One Response to “Crazy, Stupid People”


  1. Crazy Chick Q & A #17 « Lafemmeroar - February 2, 2012

    […] is the title of your favorite post? Why? Crazy, Stupid People. I wrote it after a bad day at work. It’s basically a rant about customers. I’ve since […]

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