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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!

    Category: Family & Kids

    Every Day The Same Old Storytime

    | NC, USA | Bad Behavior, Books & Reading, Family & Kids

    (I’m the manager of a small public library. Every Saturday morning, we hold a program for infants and young toddlers where our children’s librarian leads everyone in simple songs and nursery rhymes, then reads a very simple book. The babies are so engaged that they rarely cry, and they usually laugh, which even I think is the most adorable thing in the world. My coworker (who is a pro) and I are working the circulation desk when this happens. A woman storms up to my coworker as the program is beginning.)

    Woman: *clearly annoyed, waving at the babies and parents* “How long is this going to be going on?”

    Coworker: “Story time lasts about 30 minutes.”

    Woman: *sputters* “How often do you do this?”

    Coworker: “Every Saturday at 11 am.”

    Woman: “Well, you should really post a sign about it! In bold type!”

    (Note: There is such a sign, literally in bold type, 80 pt. font, four feet to her right on our “Events” bulletin board. There are two other copies of the same sign elsewhere in the building, in addition to the program being advertised on our website and the local paper’s events calendar. My coworker is naturally polite, though, and just stares at her as she stalks off.  She sits back down at the computer where she’s been working and huffs loudly for several minutes while the children’s librarian and parents sing “Jack Be Nimble” and “The Grand Old Duke of York.” Two minutes later, she’s back in front of my coworker.)

    Woman: “They’re not even reading stories! They’re singing!”

    (The group is currently singing ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat.’)

    Coworker: “Yes…”

    Woman: “Singing!”

    Coworker: “Yes…”

    Woman: “You let BABIES in the library? BABIES!”

    Coworker: “Yes.”

    (She threw her hands up in the air, made a sound of disbelief, and stomped off again. She was lucky she got my incredibly chill coworker and not me, who would have pointed out the sign beside her and tried to give her a lecture about the importance of helping children get an early start in developing pre-literacy skills like syllable recognition.)

    Tastes Like Bad Parenting

    | Florence, KY, USA | Bizarre, Family & Kids, Rude & Risque

    (A woman and her roughly 14-year-old daughter are standing in front of the family planning section.)

    Mother: “Here, taste this one.”

    Daughter: “Ew, it tastes like rubber bands!”

    Me: *walking over to see what is going on* “Can I help you?”

    Mother & Daughter: *simultaneously* “No, nothing is going on!”

    Me: *perplexed as to what I’m seeing* “Why are all these packages of condoms open?!”

    Mother: “We just wanted to taste them before we bought them!”

    Me: “Uhm, no. You can’t just open them!”

    Mother: “Well, geez! You don’t have to get mad about it! I want to speak to a manager!”

    Me: “Ma’am, my manager will tell you the same thing. Please stop tasting the condoms with your daughter. You should pay for all of these!”

    Mother & Daughter: *giggles and runs out of the department leaving behind all the open condoms*

    (For what it’s worth, we sold flavored condoms, but they didn’t taste any of those!)

    Race And Relations

    | Nashville, TN, USA | Family & Kids, Food & Drink, Liars & Scammers

    (I’m working as a server in my family’s restaurant. It’s important to note that I’m half-black, but can pass for being a tan white. A group I’m serving flag me down.)

    Customer: “Hey, I got a complaint about you.”

    Me: “What seems to be the problem, sir?”

    Customer: “My wife and I’ve been finished for ten minutes and those white people over at the other table got their checks and their table cleaned and we still haven’t even gotten ours.”

    (I look down at their table, I checked up on them not five minutes ago to ask for the check and they said they weren’t done, and they haven’t eaten much more. Meanwhile the customers they’re talking about had cleaned their plates.)

    Customer: “You think we’re gonna pay at all, much less tip, for such a discriminatory business? Forget it. We want to talk to your manager and get your racist a** fired.”

    Me: “Sir… I’ll do you one better. Want me to get the owner?”

    (The customer grins smugly and nods.)

    Me: “Hey, Dad!”

    (My dad, who is unmistakably black, came up to the table. Upon seeing him, the customer looked at me and registered that I’m not just really tan, and just kind of sank into his bench while his wife, who had just looked embarrassed at this ordeal, burst out laughing. My dad at least got a good laugh out of it – immediately before he banned the guy from the restaurant for trying to use the race card to snag a free meal.)

    Should Just Slink On Out Of There

    | Australia | Family & Kids, Liars & Scammers

    (I work in a games arcade located next to a movie cinema with a step escalator. In the arcade, you play games which give you tickets, which you can exchange for a prize (toys, lollies, novelty items, etc.). A woman comes in with her daughter and her daughter’s friend (12ish).)

    Me: “Hi! How are you today?”

    Customer: “We have 56 tickets. What can we get?”

    Me: “Well, let’s round that up to 60 tickets, okay? So have a look in this section.”

    Child: “I want a metal slinky.” *this is worth 60 tickets*

    Me: “Okay, here you go. Have a nice day, guys!”

    (They walk out without saying anything. Five minutes later they walk back in and talk to my coworker.)

    Customer: “You gave us a broken slinky.” *proceeds to place a twisted pile of metal that was once a slinky on the desk*

    Coworker: “Oh, no! I’m so sorry about that guys; what happened here?”

    Customer: “We received it like this! All my daughter did was take it out of the packet and bounce it up and down and it ended up like this! Get us a new one and make sure it isn’t broken.”

    (My coworker goes to look at the packets, and there is no way they could get tangled within a packet and anyone familiar with logic would realise that simply springing a slinky down and back up would never twist and stretch a slinky like this one was. I took a wild stab in the dark here.)

    Me: “So guys. You’re telling me that you DIDN’T try to push this slinky down the step escalators?”

    Customer: “Uh… Uh… So you saw that, huh?”

    Me: “No, but now you’ve admitted it, we can’t provide you with a new one for something that’s not our fault. Have a nice day!”

    A Winning Counter-Threat

    | USA | Bad Behavior, Criminal/Illegal, Family & Kids

    (We have a client who frequently calls and threatens to send her father to our firm because her case isn’t resolved, in spite of us telling her repeatedly that she has to wait for the final hearing which has been scheduled. Her father also repeatedly threatens us as well. I’ve finally had enough with this phone call.)

    Client’s Father: “If you don’t file a [name of motion] by TODAY, I’m going to come down there personally, and we’ll see what happens!”

    Me: “Good. I’ve been looking for a reason to call the police.”

    Client’s Father: “What? You can’t do that! Attorney-client privilege!”

    Me: “See, here’s the thing Mr. [Name]: you are NOT the client. Furthermore, I’m the paralegal. I don’t get paid enough to deal with your threats. If I quit, the attorney has no one to deal with your abuse. If you come in and threaten me, I have every right to fear for my safety and take actions to ensure I am safe.”

    Client’s Father: “WHY YOU B****! I’LL TEACH YOU—”

    Me: *interrupting him* “FURTHERMORE, your daughter is in the middle of a custody battle with her ex being represented by one of the loudest attorneys in town. How do you think a criminal charge will affect her case?”

    Client’s Father: “DON’T YOU DARE SPEAK TO ME LIKE THAT!”

    Me: “Likewise. Show up at the office and I’ll call the police, and you’ll lose your case. If you have a problem, take it up with the attorney. I’m not dealing with you anymore.”

    Client’s Father: “HOW DARE YOU!” *I hang up mid-sentence*

    (He never did come in to threaten me… and he never did complain either!)

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