November Theme Of The Month: Black Friday!

Category: Geography

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

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.”

O, Canaduh, Part 5

| Manchester, England, UK | Crazy Requests, Geography

Me: “Good Afternoon, you’re speaking to [My Name]. Can I take your reference number, please?”

Customer: “Hi, I’m calling from Toronto.”

Me: “Okay, how can I help?”

Customer: “Well, I’ve seen [alarm product that we don’t stock] being advertised and I want to know if you could sell me one?”

Me: “I can look into it for you. Are you looking to install this into a property in the UK?”

Customer: “No, of course not! I told you I’m in Toronto. Why ever would you think that?”

Me: “Well, ma’am, you have called a company based in the UK, so the systems we sell are set to UK settings.”

Customer: “Well, I know that.”

Me: “So, then you’d be aware that even if we did sell you a system, it wouldn’t work in your property?”

Customer: “Of course it would! We’re a part of the British Commonwealth!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, it definitely wouldn’t work, as it needs connection to a power outlet, and the outlets in Canada are different to the ones here in Britain. Also, even if we were to look into selling you a system, regulations state we need to get a trained engineer to install it for you, and none of our engineers would be able travel to Canada from the UK to install it.”

Customer: “Well, what am I supposed to do?”

Me: “I’d recommend contacting a supplier in Toronto.”

Customer: “You’ve just lost thousands of dollars!” *slams phone down*

O, Canaduh, Part 4
O, Canaduh, Part 3
O, Canaduh, Part 2