Minimum wage monsters: working horror stories


Courtesy of Olivia Meshanko

Senior Olivia Meshanko has fun in the pool while on break for working. While working as a lifeguard, Meshanko had to navigate many frustrating experiences.

By Trevor Gardemal, Social Media Manager

For many students at WCHS, working part time is a great way to get experience, stay busy, and make money. However, working is not always easy. In fact, sometimes it can be downright scary. Here are three customer service horror stories, just in time for Halloween. 


In our first story today, senior Dagmawi Theodros had to face the horrors of a customer scorned while working as a barista at Starbucks. 

Dagmawi Theodros: If I were to point out one situation with customers, this lady who came in, and it looked like she got straight out of bed, with her daughter who was about my age, and I was at the register because at the time I wasn’t certified to work at the bar. She asked for four black coffees and a chai tea latte, and we made it for her. 45 minutes passed and she came back. She looked like she pulled a whole bunch of hair out of her head, and said “Oh my God, I just wanted to get my order correctly and you guys messed it up.” She comes back with her tray with two drinks in it. Her daughter looked so embarrassed; it was so sad. She’s like, “I asked for chai tea lattes and a black coffee. All of you guys are terrible!” My coworker Del was able to calm her down until she said “I’m going to call my friend, Howard Schulz,” the former CEO of Starbucks. We eventually had to ban her from the store. It was a very traumatizing experience. It really rattled me.

The Churchill Observer: Can you explain the process of banning someone from the store?

T: At Starbucks you usually have to submit evidence in the form of photo, video, or surveillance footage, or you can have multiple written complaints. We have a picture from surveillance, but not mugshots or anything. You would be surprised about the lengths people go to for coffee.

O: How have these experiences affected your view of working?

T: It’s helped me become a more patient and understanding person, and it’s helped me value tips. I tip in every jar now. I have so much respect for people who put all their change in there. It also helps when people are respectful when we get things wrong. 


Chilling! In this installment, senior Abby Howard had to deal with a man who knew no boundaries while volunteering as an Emergency Medical Technician.

The Churchill Observer: What is a day at work that you have found particularly irritating?

Abby Howard: I mean there’s traumatic in the sense of crazy, and there’s also an old dude grabbing my leg and holding on to it for the whole ambulance ride.

O: Can you give me 300% more details?

H: Let’s see… Older male. The whole time he was yelling that he was having a stroke but he clearly wasn’t. He was just kind of nuts. He kept asking me questions about myself, like “How old are you? Where do you go to school? Where do you live? Do you have any siblings?” He was just holding my thigh. It was not comfortable for me. He kept yelling, and I could smell alcohol.

O: What was he yelling about?

H: It was incoherent, random words. He kept talking about the lights. He was like “lights.” He kept asking where we were going. He wouldn’t answer any questions.

O: How have these experiences affected your view of your work, or work in general?

H: I have to choose my words carefully when dealing with patients. It’s important to use patience with patients!


In this next tale, senior Olivia Meshanko faced the horrors of public displays of affection while working as a lifeguard. 

Olivia Meshanko: There was a couple at the pool who had a bunch of kids, and they would literally sit in the kid pool area and make out. It was really gross. We had one of the board members go over and speak to them, but they were so unaware! It was nasty. 

The Churchill Observer: Did they eventually calm down?

M: They stopped making out, but they were still really gross. The wife would sit on the husband’s lap and it made everyone very uncomfortable. When we told them to stop, they thought that we were insane.

O: How have these experiences shaped your outlook on working at the pool or in general?

M: It’s made me realize how difficult it is when you have to deal with an unruly or obnoxious consumer. They don’t understand how much of a pain it is. Working teenagers are special because we’re kids and we’re doing jobs that we’re getting paid for. To be a teenager and to deal with grown people acting like kids takes so much maturity. It’s hard to deal with people who are so unaware and don’t realize that they’re giving literal children such difficult times. 

Thank you for reading “Minimum Wage Monsters.”  We hope we did not terrify you too much. Remember: this Halloween, tip for treats!