When A Normal Workday Takes A Shocking Turn

Jobs are often quite predictable—but sometimes fate throws us a curveball that turns our normal workday topsy-turvy.

1. This Penguin Was Flipping Me Out

I worked at an aquarium. One time, the penguin keeper needed help with a baby penguin, who was about the size of a cat. The penguin keeper's hands were full, so it was my job to hold the baby penguin and make sure she didn't get hurt while I went down this steep stairwell. It was so cute, I thought I was so lucky! Then the keeper turned around and said utterly terrifying: "Make sure you don't let go of her neck, or she'll rip your eyeball out in less than a second".

She added, “Don't be afraid of choking her; wring her neck out if you have to. It won't hurt her, and it's just for the stairwell".

The little gal did indeed try her hardest to take my eye out, and because I didn't want to hurt her, I was afraid of choking her. Then it became an all-out fight.  Luckily, I still have both eyes, and the penguin still pecked away at that aquarium.

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Wikimedia Commons, Harald Hoyer

2. Seeds Of Doubt

I was working the customer service booth at a grocery store. I had an elderly woman call multiple times, scream at me, and call my credibility into question because she purchased oranges that did not meet her highest standards.

Not only was she upset that the oranges were not tasty, but she accused me of pulling a bait and switch on her.

I had offered her a total refund or exchange, but she wasn’t having it.  She said, "What is this? You put out the good oranges, and then when someone tells all their friends to buy them, you put out the bad ones?!"  I replied, "

I'm sorry, ma'am, that you had a negative citrus experience, but I can assure you there was no intent to trick or deceive you". She didn’t believe me.

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3. Up In Smoke

I was looking out the window toward a shop area where two men were getting ready to set up for their annual summer picnic. I suddenly heard a deafening “Bang!” I saw one of the men swiping at his face while the other guy stood there. Then they both walked away, and I found out later that the propane exploded in his face. He went to the hospital with second-degree burns. Needless to say, they weren’t going to be using propane for the BBQ.

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4. I Couldn’t Cut Him Loose

I was working in the sporting goods department of a large retail chain that sold munitions. A man and his significant other came to the counter and told me they wished to purchase a rifle.

After inspecting it, he declared that he would like to purchase it. I filed the usual paperwork and called the FBI hotline, only to find out that he was a convict.

I informed him that there was an issue and I couldn’t sell it to him. I gave him the hotline number and the request code, which was “SOP” for this store chain. He told me that his wife would purchase it. I told him that, per the law, that was not an option because she was with him during his attempt to buy it. I just wanted him to leave, but his next question was even more deranged: He asked for two machetes out of the case.

He was VERY upset at that point, so I told him I needed my manager’s approval for the sale.  I called the manager over, and the guy went ballistic on the manager because I wouldn't sell him the machetes without approval.

The manager sold them to him and wrote me up for "poor customer service".

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