"I was living with my boyfriend in what I was slowly realizing was not a healthy relationship (on both sides). I was trying to make it work for the sake of our newborn. I had just graduated with a BS in a field that was DEVASTATED by the economic hurricane that happened while I was in college. I was completely isolated from my family, and all of my friends were college friends who went home after graduation. [Editor’s Note: Longtime readers will know that normally I leave out details like these from stories. In this case, however, they’re relevant.] To top off the misery, I was working part-time at the Wal-Mart deli.
"I was a decent enough employee, not spectacular. I did my job. I didn't mess it up too badly. I was pleasant to the customers and worked all of my shifts as scheduled. I also was bitter about my situation and did not do anything that wasn't required to keep my job.
"Then one day my boyfriend came into the living room, announced that he was done, and walked out. My life completely fell apart. My car had recently died and I couldn't fix it, so I had been using his. I couldn't afford the apartment with just my paycheck, never mind everything that comes with having a newborn. I had a complete meltdown, made arrangements for my mom to come get me a couple of days later, and went to work. I told the area manager that due to a family emergency I had to leave the state and I was very sorry, but I couldn't give two-week notice. I would, however, finish out my shift and I was so so sorry to leave him in the lurch like that. His response? 'I don't care, today's my last day at this store. The new guy can deal with it. Best of luck to you.'
"That shift I was pretty much normal, but less interested in giving off the 'I live to make my customers happy' vibe. I was polite, but didn't banter. I figured, it's Wal-Mart, so who gives a crap?
"Which brings us to the customer from hell. To be fair to him, none of what was going on in my life was his fault. To be fair to me, I was polite and professional, and also screw this guy.
"He walks up while I'm busy doing something else. I look over to my two coworkers, but they're standing over by the fryer talking, completely ignoring both the customer and me. So I stop what I'm doing and take the guy's order. Two pounds of turkey, shaved.
"Now, most people who asked for shaved turkey wanted a mass of shredded meat, because you can't cut turkey that thin without it falling apart. So I shredded up two pounds of turkey and present it to him.
"'What are you, a f***ing idiot? I didn't say shredded, I said I wanted it SHAVED! THIN! What the f*** is wrong with you? Does that s*** look shredded to you?'
"So I apologize and slice up a very, very thin slice of turkey. Hold it up and ask him if that's good enough for him, before I waste another two pounds. It's not. I set the slicer on thinner. At this point it's so thin that it will fall apart if I touch it, so I just say screw it and slice up his two pounds. When I put it up on the scale, he starts yelling at me that it's not thin enough and what the hell is wrong with me, etc. etc.
"At this point I'm on the verge of tears, but I attempt to explain to him that when you cut real turkey at the setting that would be 'shaved,' for something like ham, it falls apart. What this guy wants is impossible. If I move the slicer to cut any thinner, it's going to end up shredded. He screams at me some more, lets me know I'm a horrible human being, and ends up with, 'IF YOU DIDN'T WANT TO WAIT ON ME, YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE!' Because I'm discriminating against him be not being able to change the way turkey cuts.
"I almost tell him that if I hadn't waited on him he'd still be waiting, but instead I apologize, tell him I'll go get somebody else, and walk away. He shouts 'YOU DO THAT' at my back, because why not.
"The two assholes that were supposed to working with me are nowhere to be seen up front, so I walk into the back. The back is one room, with walk-in fridge and freezer. Neither one is there. So I go out into the hallway that leads to the employee areas and just start walking. The first person I see is the store manager, who I met at my interview and haven't seen since. Thinking back, I'm roughly 90% certain that he had no clue who I was or what area I worked in. I walked up to him, actually in tears and shaking by this point, and told him that I had to leave because of a family emergency. Then I just walked out. I would love to know how long that guy stood there waiting on someone to come finish his order." -- Tori Thomas