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  • August Theme Of The Month: Best. Customer. Ever!

    Category: Geography

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

    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!”

    Not Even Remotely Thinking

    | Ruidoso, NM, USA | Extra Stupid, Geography, Tourists/Travel

    (I work for a small shop in town. We get a few tourist high points a year. It’s a mountain town with a population of about 8,000. It’s only 20 minutes away from another town and about 45 minutes from a larger city.)

    Customer: “How do you people live out here?”

    Me: “What? What do you mean?”

    Customer: “It’s so… remote.”

    Me: “Oh, well, we have everything we need here. Also, there is larger city about 45 minutes away if we need something that we cannot find here. Besides, it’s beautiful here.”

    Customer: “But… do you have electricity?”

    Me: *looks at all the lights in the store, the electronic cash register and the neon sign outside, the lamp posts outside and the traffic lights* “Yes… yes, we do.”

    Customer: “What about plumbing?”

    Me: “Yes…”

    Customer: “Are you sure?”

    Me: “Positive?”

    Customer: “What about [popular and huge hotel]? Do they have lights and toilets?”

    Me: “Yes… everywhere here does. Literally, everywhere.”

    Customer: “But… it’s so remote. How do they get the lights here?”

    Me: “….wires and light poles?”

    Customer: “But where do the wires come from?”

    Me: “The nearest power station?”

    Customer: “What about water?”

    Me: “Pipes, and it would come from the nearest water treatment plant, which we have here.”

    Customer: “I just don’t understand you people at all.”

    Me: “Well, enjoy your stay…”

    Customer: “Do the people here have cars?”

    Me: “Have you seen cars since you have been here?”

    Customer: “Yes.”

    Me: “There you go.”

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