It’s the Most Wonderful Tiiiiime of the Year! (Or, Going Ham Sandwich Crazy on Valero Employees)

Have I ever mentioned that I once held 4 retail positions at 4 seperate popular retailers, all at once? Because I did.

The year I moved back to San Diego, my mother decided to move back to Connecticut. Faced with a dilemma, seeing as I was currently only working at Torrid when I learned I wouldn’t be living rent free at Mom’s after November that year. In true Sondra fashion, I applied for jobs in the mall I was already working at. I originally planned to get just a second job, but then I kept being offered all of these opportunities….my Other Mother, Melanie, had just given me her old minivan, so I was finally mobile, which opened up my availability (no bus or trolley makes life so nice!), and I knew that if I kept my jobs around the same areas, I’d be able to swing it. I’d done two jobs at once before, so I was ready!

I got a second job at The Children’s Place in Plaza Bonita mall, where my Torrid was. Torrid was a decent job. The hours sucked, but I got to help women find confidence AND the perfect outfit. It was pretty awesome. However, some of the said women had a tendency to come try on clothes after some sort of shower strike, so funky fitting rooms and stupid shoplifters with strollers were probably my biggest issues. Then, I was offered a position working at HoneyBaked Ham for the holidays, where my friend’s mom was the manager. Then, I signed on with GoldRush, to work at the Plaza Bonita and El Camino Real kiosks. I was a very tired individual. I will be blunt, and share that working at ANY mall near the border during the holidays is absolute murder. Those Mexican ladies do NOT play when it comes to $3 pajamas and 75% off clearance racks. They will hit you with carts, fling strollers to throw you off their course, and then? Then they will stand at your register and slow the whooooole line down while they make sure you ring everything up at the right price, and send their 6 year olds back and forth to grab more sale items. Also, I no longer appreciate ham or turkey after HoneyBaked. I went home sticky, smelling like glaze every night, not to mention just being plain grumpy after fighting with old ladies and old men alike because the coupon said 1/4 hams were starting at $19.99, not $19.99 each. As you can see, sir or ma’am…I am a lowly cashier…not the marketing department! Also, it is not my fault that you kept the aforementioned coupon this long, and got in line the day before Thanksgiving to get your “$19.99” ham, and there are none left. That, my dears, is why the coupon was out for long…to allow everyone sufficient time to get a product that is typically in high demand!

Woo sah.

I say all this to make a point: Regardless of what you may think of me after some previous DMV venting, I really do my best to be kind to the retail workers of America. I’ve been there! I did the Starbucks drive-thru, the Torrid Fitting Rooms, the Children’s Place War Zones, and had to hand out flyer after flyer to get people to sell me their gold at a random kiosk in the mall. I was only slightly higher in popularity than those annyoing flat-iron people! I’ve worked at Baby Gap, The Body Shop, a pasta place that went out of business (and didn’t tell me until after I showed up for work to find the windows boarded up. I stopped waiting for my check from them a loooong time ago), and the list goes on! I can relate! I know that it is so hard to deal with some customers, but that EVERY customer has to be treated as if their situation is important, and capable of resolution. I can sell you something you don’t need, and make you believe that you are bat-shit crazy for living this long without it. I can ease your mind, even though I cannot solve your problem myself, because I know exactly who to take your problem to for a solution. I know that your time is precious, so I do all of this with the intention of wasting as little of it as possible.

Which is why I can’t seem to wrap my head around the issues that I had over the past two days at two multi-billion dollar retail corporations.


Black Friday. I order a nice set of non-stick, dishwasher safe cookware and utensils, as well as a Queen-sized  down-alternative comforter. My items arrived Friday, and I was ridiculously excited to complete my fabulous Liberty of London duvet set with a down alternative comforter I got for a steal! Then I open the box, and FAIL. It’s a twin. I have a moment of internal panic. “Did I order a twin on accident, in my online Black Friday frenzy?” So, I grab my phone, open the shipment email from Target, and the order reveals that I, as I thought, ordered a Queen….not a Twin. So, Saturday morning, Sean is kind enough to take me to Target to return it. I consider exchanging it, but had been informed that the one I need is at another location, and I mean….I ordered it online for a reason. So that I would not have to travel the county to find it. We have far more Wal Marts than Targets around here. So I try to stay sane. Now, you’re telling me that because YOU didn’t properly fulfill my order, I am forced to use MY time on MY Saturday to correct this? Unacceptable. Furthermore, I am informed that regardless of the fact that my packing slip and confirmation slip state that I ordered a Queen size, because it is no longer Black Friday, I will have to pay the difference for the bigger size. Oh honey…

So, I do what I need to do. You know what really pushes my buttons, though? Why is it that it takes all of ten seconds for these people to withdraw my money for my purchases from my bank account, but it takes 3-5 days for me to get my money put back in there? Doesn’t really seem very fair, if you ask me! Especially when TARGET messed this whole thing up. Not me! But hey, I had a fun day with friends to look forward to, so I sucked it up, and cut my losses. I’ll find a better down alternative comforter somewhere else, and it will be Queen sized, and we will live happily ever after.

I bet you $10 (which I will deposit into your account 3-5 days after you win it. Sigh) that I won’t find it at Wal-Mart.


I previously posted that I suspect I am allergic to Wal-Mart. Between the stray children, and dazed employees….I just get all itchy and anxious whenever I go to one. It’s really too bad, because Wal-Mart really does have some deals that I can go for. This Black Friday, I gave them a shot, but made sure it was online only (actually, Aunt Elsie and I went to one Friday morning to get some pillows they didn’t have online and she almost got in a cart battle with a lady. And Aunt Elsie isn’t a fighter unless you make her really mad. So, point proven!), and got the major stuff I wanted. A memory foam mattress topper, my new laptop…my laptop arrived three days later, and I have no complaints. However, somehow, my mattress topper arrived…and it is TWIN sized! AGAIN! Sheer panic sets in, I check the confirmation email, and nope! I didn’t accidentally order a Twin! I go back to Wal-Mart, say to heck with it, and decide I just want my freakin’ money back. I don’t want to walk and try to find the other one, because I hate Wal-Mart….especially the one by my house that is right next to a Costco!

And so, it begins. Wait in line behind a strange man who keeps looking back into the large box my mattress topper was delivered in, and grunting. Get OUT of my business, sir. You are freaking me out. Get to register, and nice girl Jen goes to help me. She gives me a strange look, because SOMEBODY at the Wal-Mart warehouse sent my topper shrink wrapped, with a photo copy of the label, rather than an actual BeautyRest label. Don’t look at me, Jen! I didn’t do this crap! I just paid for it. Look at the invoice and packing slip, and get it crackin’!

Nice Jen is having trouble processing return without an actual bar code for the item, even though the bar code on said packing slip registered and clearly states that I am entitled to a refund of $36.09. Jen then informs me that because I made my purchase online, they’ll have to give me a store credit gift card. I kindly inform Jen that I will not accept my reimbursement in that form, because I am not about to walk the aisles of Wal-Mart. I don’t need anything at Wal-Mart, except what I ordered(however, I am tempted to run and grab some Benadryl from Aisle 8, because I feel the hives coming at this point. Scratch, scratch, scratch!) And Target already put me in a bad mood, so I don’t want to attempt to exchange it. Jen informs me that they cannot credit it back to my card, even though I was under the impression that a debit card typically processes as credit, and can only be used online in the first place if it has a Visa or Mastercard, etc symbol, and those are credit companies(scratch, scratch, scratch!). She concedes, and negotiates giving me a cash refund since “debit is almost like paying cash.” Lord have Mercy.

Jen still cannot process code for product, so Gina steps in. Gina gets to the step where she just has to have a Customer Service Manager do an override to give me a cash refund (itch,itch, itch), and then said Customer Service Manager informs me that she needs my card because online orders are ran as credit(itch, itch, itch!). No….you don’t say! At this point, I don’t want to wait 3-5 days for THAT refund to process because I have no cash and have to go to the gas station before I head south to get Josh and Alex from the airport. She gets all irritated with me (nevermind that she missed the last ten minutes of torture I’ve endured, and that her job, as stated on her nifty plastic name tag, is CUSTOMER SERVICE MANAGER, SCRATCH, SCRATCH, SCRATCH!), and says she will do it this time, merely because I was misinformed. And, I only get $31, because they’re not refunding shipping in stores. What the heck EVER.

I leave Wal-Mart without stabbing out my own eyeballs in frustration to arrive at the gas station.


I get out of the car, and I am closing the door when a gentleman rushes from the other side of the pump and tells me he is going to pump my gas for me, since my boyfriend isn’t here to do it. Although the gesture was cheesy, I definitely appreciated it after my dreadful Wal-Mart experience just up the road.I lie, tell him that yes, I do have a boyfriend, but he is currently deployed (insert sweet “sorry” smile here).  I go inside and ask for $20 on pump #5. The girl behind the counter smiles, says “$20 on 5?” and I smile, and say yes and thank you, and have a great day. I get back to the car where ol’ boy, who I then realize has a very nicely structured jaw line, is still waiting to pump my gas (that’s what she said. Haha). I look a little bewildered, walk inside and inform the girl it’s not working, and she says “You’re at pump 5? I put it on pump 3…” I reply by saying, ‘Yes, I’m at pump 5.” She says “Oh, well I can’t do anything about it.”

Did I mention that I worked with little old ladies, arguing over honey-glazed hams? On the day before Thanksgiving, AND even on Christmas Eve? Did I mention that I never ONCE lost my cool, acted rude or incapable, or made them hate me? Did I perhaps, mention, that I was a genius when it came to making them understand that I understood how ridiculous the coupon verbage was, and that while unfortunately, I the lowly cashier could not correct this issue, I would be back, in just a moment if you don’t mind waiting, because I know how busy you must be, with my manager?

Oh. I did? Well! Then, perhaps you can understand why I was about 3 seconds from lunging across the counter at this girl.

First, let me just say that it didn’t actually dawn on me until I was recapping this story for Alex and Josh that I could have just driven around to the other pump. It was just one of those days where I was mentally exhausted from dealing with trivial issues. The Wal-Mart thing really killed me! So, I stand there, try to keep my composure, and pressed my index and middle finger to the spot between my eyes. I do that sometimes to calm myself down when I’m really annoyed. I don’t know why, because it really doesn’t help. But it gives me a second to plan how to handle something without going to jail, you know?

Then, I look up at her, thinking she might have figured out how to simply put the money on the correct pump by now, and she looks at me like I am the stupid one and says “Well, I mean, I don’t know what you want me to…”

I can only assume the last word there was going to be “do.” But I’m not really sure, because that was the point when I went ham sandwich crazy!

I slam my hand on the counter, and tell her that I am not going to pay another $20 to use the pump I am already parked at, where a man is wasting his time waiting to pump gas into the car I have, although he has already filled his tank up! I am not. I WILL NOT!

I may or may not have insulted her intelligence and begged her to go back and get her GED, so that she could go somewhere and take a computer literacy class. I was seeing red, so the part after I slammed my hand down is a bit hazy. I am not proud of the way I acted, but I was really just not in the mood.

Wouldn’t you know? Somebody sure did figure out how to fix it, then. May I just say, and I mean this in the nicest way possible: Some people shouldn’t work in any position that involves cash registers, technology, or contact with other people.

Whew. I really just needed to vent. I mean, all these occurences within a matter of two days was really just a little too much for me. I’ve done these jobs, and I feel that I was trained to handle these types of situations for customers with much more finesse, poise, and professionalism than I witnessed at any of these THREE establishments. And that is seriously disappointing.

Also, “ham sandwich crazy” is a lovingly used phrase that I reserve for my worst moments, stemming from when I worked at HoneyBaked. When it wasn’t peak hoilday season, HoneyBaked makes sandwiches. They are actually REALLY good, in the most legit way. Tons of bread options, fresh veggies usually purchased at the store daily, and HoneyBaked ham or turkey made it just delicious. I once had a customer who went out of their way to complicate this simple order process, and checked every single condiment and topping on the sandwich order form for her HoneyBaked ham sandwich, and then came back and tried to get me fired, because I put pepperocinis,which she claimed to be allergic to, on her sandwich.

a) you checked pepperocinis on the form, loca!

b) you watched me make your sandwich behind the GLASS

c) I am new here, and I do not appreciate you causing a scene or bringing my manager into this. I’m the girl who gets customer service awards….not problems.

d) I actually get kinda sensitive with stuff like this, because you know, I give 150% on my jobs…even if I am slinging ham to the masses or spraying disinfectant in fitting rooms. So don’t you come over here with your mess, when it was YOUR fault for being a glutton!

e) Who the heck ever heard of someone being allergic to pickled peppers? I am allergic to avocados, bananas, mangoes, and coconut…and that’s weird. But really? Pepperocinis? Smack yourself.

She tells my manager she didn’t have her glasses on, and so she had no idea that pepperocinis are what she marked on the form. She feels that I should have asked if she had any food allergies. Oh, honey. I am a cashier/sandwich maker. Not a registered nurse or physician. Again, smack yourself.

After she finally left, my manager tried to stop laughing and said “You should have seen your face! I thought you were going to faint! Were you….(gasps, laughs some more)… holding your breath?”

I simply replied “I sure was….because that lady was about to have me get all kinds of crazy in here! You want a ham sandwich? I’m about to go ham sandwich crazy!”

And the rest, my friends is history. And to be quite honest, I think that wretched woman is also a part of why I cannot stand ham anymore.

‘Til Next Time!


2 thoughts on “It’s the Most Wonderful Tiiiiime of the Year! (Or, Going Ham Sandwich Crazy on Valero Employees)

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