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When I was a much younger and more brazen gentleman, I worked in a deli for a chain grocery store, part-time. I had a daytime job that paid the bills, but the deli was a second job for extra pocket money for the weekend or dates. This particular store I worked at is on the fairly ritzy side of town, but our customers came in all types of personalities. We had your rich moms, your business dads, and your various crazies.
One long, endless night on the job, tired from working at my other job earlier, I was just looking forward to going home in a few hours when my shift was over. There was a long line of people, at least 10 impatient customers. The only other person working with me was a lady, at least 90 years of age. Needless to say, she wasn’t moving with the speed of a Gazelle. I however, was cranking out the customers with assembly line like efficiency. However, It just didn’t seem to be fast enough.
I looked up from my stack of various meats and cheeses surrounding the slicer. Next in line, I could tell was going to be a problem. The woman asked for some of the roasted turkey that was on special. This turkey was very loose, instead of just being a pressed slab of solid meat. The woman, surly from being in line more than fifteen seconds, requested that it be sliced very thinly.
I delicately and expertly sliced a pound of the turkey she had requested, and put it on the scale to weigh it. “I want it thinner than that.” I looked up. I explained to her, “Ma’am, I can’t slice it any thinner, it will just fall apart.” “I want it thinner!” she exclaimed, relentlessly. I turned around to the slicer, moved the dial one notch to the left, and began to cut again. “Look” I said, while showing her the falling shavings, “It will just fall apart ma’am.” “I think you can do better than that…” she said as she crossed her arms. I felt my neck slowly beginning to get hot. I looked at her, back at the meat, and then back at her. I took the large piece of turkey off of the slicer and set it on a piece of wax paper on the counter. “If you think it can be done better, feel free to try it yourself!” I neatly took off my apron, picked up my things in the back and walked out. All the jaws of the people in line were agape.
I went home. I was worried all night about the potential fallout at work. I knew they would just send someone over from another department to help my co-worker, so I wasn’t worried too much about that. The next day, I thought about it, and just went into work like normal. Yes, I pulled a George Costanza. I just pretended nothing happened, and nobody even noticed. I did get a stern talking to that day by my manager for leaving early, but she couldn’t stop laughing while telling me. I will never regret that day, as finally, someone made the hungry customer eat her own words.