October Theme Of The Month: Halloween!

Category: Geography

You may call them “lost”, but we prefer the name “geographically disadvantaged.”

Has No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 8

| AZ, USA | Extra Stupid, Geography, Money

Me: “Thank you for calling [Credit Card Services]. I’m [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Customer: “I want to make a payment.”

(I take payment.)

Customer: “Am I late?”

Me: “Unfortunately, yes. The cut off time is midnight Eastern Time. But I can look into the late fee for you.”


Me: “Excuse me?”

Customer: “I’m in Texas! It’s not midnight where I am!”

Me: “I understand that, but we go by eastern time—”

Customer: “That’s just a made up rule!”

Me: “Sir, time is not a made up rule…”

No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 7
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 6
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 5

Should Have Taken A Different Rhode

| Newport, RI, USA | Geography, Tourists/Travel

(I live and work in a popular tourist town on an island. We provide boat tours around the bay between the island and the mainland. A woman comes up to me.)

Woman: “How do you know when you cross state lines during the tour if you’re on the water?”

Me: “Well, our tours don’t leave the bay, so we don’t encounter that situation.”

Woman: “You don’t cross state lines?”

Me: “No, we don’t.”

Woman: “Well, what’s that then?”

(She points at the mainland in the distance.)

Me: “That’s Providence, ma’am, and right across the bay is Jamestown.”

Woman: “No, no. What state is it?”

Me: “It’s still Rhode Island.”

Woman: “No, it can’t be. What state is it?”

Me: “I assure you, it’s still Rhode Island. Providence is the capital city.”

Woman: “How can the capital city of Rhode Island be outside of Rhode Island?”

Me: “It isn’t. All the land you see across the water is still Rhode Island.”

Woman: “But that’s impossible!”

(Suddenly I realize why she’s confused.)

Me: “Ma’am, the island we’re on right now is called Aquidneck Island. Rhode Island is a state comprised of several different islands and a large mainland. Providence is on the mainland and Jamestown is on Conanicut Island, which I assure you is still a part of Rhode Island.”

Woman: “You mean we’re not on Rhode Island?”

Me: “We are IN Rhode Island, but we are currently ON Aquidneck Island.”

Woman: “Well, that’s just false advertisement!”

How To Fry Their Canadian Bacon

, | Quebec, QC, Canada | At The Checkout, Geography

(I’m a European immigrant: I don’t necessarily look foreign, as I’ve been told by some… But I sound foreign. While serving an older customer:)

Customer: “And what race are you?”

Me: “I’m from the human race, ma’am.”

Customer: “Well, of course? I mean what “race” are you?”

Me: “There are no race among humans, ma’am. If you want to know my phenotype, I’m Caucasian, like you.”

Customer: “I’m a proud Canadian!”

Me: “That’s your nationality, ma’am.”

Customer: “Well, uh, I’m never shopping here again!”

Border-ing On Love For Donut Holes

| Detroit, MI, USA | Awesome Customers, Awesome Workers, Food & Drink, Geography

(This is back when I am a student. I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan. My roommates and I frequently like to drive through Detroit to the nearest border crossing into Windsor, Ontario, Canada. It is less than an hour’s drive. A quite famous Canadian coffee-shop chain, known for its donuts and donut-hole-like small pastries, has not yet expanded its operations into the US.)

Roommate #1: “You know what I want? [Donut holes].”

Me: “Ooh, [Donut holes]! You know I’m always up for [Donut holes]!”

Roommate #2: “[Donut holes] do sound good. We could go; it’s not that far. Hey, [Roommate #3], you want to come with to get [Donut holes]?”

Roommate #3: “To get … [Donut holes]? You mean, like to Canada?”

(This brief attempt at being the voice of reason falls through, and all three roommates and I pile into my car for the drive, about 40 minutes at 1 am. We get to the guard booth.)

Border Guard: “National origin?”

Me: “We’re all Americans.”

Border Guard: “Where do you live?”

Me: “All of us live in Ann Arbor.”

Border Guard: “Destination?”

Me: “Windsor.”

Border Guard: “Length of visit?”

Me: “Um, I’m not sure. Half an hour, something like that? Less than an hour for sure.”

Border Guard: *raising his eyebrows* “Purpose of visit?”

Me: “We really need some [Donut holes]!”

(He laughs at that and waves us through. We obtain our lovely little balls of goodness and head back home, which of course entails another stop.)

Border Guard: “National origin?”

Me: “We’re all Americans.”

Border Guard: “Where have you been in Canada?”

Me: “Just into Windsor.”

Border Guard: “How long were you in Canada?”

Me: “About 45 minutes? Something like that.”

Border Guard: “Uh huh. And the purpose of your visit?”

Me: *with my very best deadpan wide-eyed serious look* “We really, really needed some [Donut holes]!”

(Behind and beside me, my roommates beamed and held up our boxes of [Donut holes], which are pretty distinctive. And then we have our pièce de résistance…)

Me: *holding up another box* “Look, we brought you guys a 20-pack!”

(This would never happen today, of course; too much trouble to do this on a whim, and the guards probably wouldn’t be allowed to accept it, either. I hope the world’s gotten safer, because it’s sure gotten less fun.)

Getting Loony Over A Loonie

| Niagara Falls, NY, USA | Geography, Money

(The border crossing tolls between Canada and the US are $0.75 US; or $1.00 Canadian, which is a pretty fair exchange rate at the time.)

Toll Booth Operator: “Toll, please.”

Driver: *hands over a loonie — a Canadian $1 coin*

Toll Booth Operator: “Thank you; have a nice visit!”

Driver: *just sits there*

Toll Booth Operator: “Did you need something else? Customs is on the other side.”

Driver: “No, I’m waiting for my change.”

Toll Booth Operator: “You’re not due any change; you gave me a loonie.”

Driver: “Yes, but I’m American!”

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