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    Acting Totally Incremental

    | TX, USA | Food & Drink, Math & Science

    (I am out on delivery late at night. The customer to whom I am delivering has been very drunk on the phone. When I arrive at his house, he stumbles outside to meet me, pulling out his wallet. A girl follows him outside.)

    Me: “Mr. [Name]?”

    Drunken Customer: “Yep, that’s me.”

    Me: “Here you are, sir! Your total this evening will be $46.70!”

    Drunken Customer: “Okay. Here you go.”

    (The customer hands me $70.)

    Me: “Of course, sir; let me get your change.”

    (I hand back a twenty dollar bill and three ones, but he won’t take it.)

    Drunken Customer: “Nope. No change. That’s your $5 tip right there.”

    Me: “Um, yes, sir, I appreciate it very much, but—”

    Drunken Customer: “No, no, no. Listen. 46 and whatever is like 47, right?”

    Me: “Yes, sir.”

    Drunken Customer: “Well, fifty minus forty-seven is this three, right?” *points to the three $1 bills*

    Me: “Yes, sir.”

    Drunken Customer: “That leaves the two and the zero.” *points at the $20 bill* “And two plus zero is two, and then plus the other $3, and two plus three is five, and that’s your $5 tip!”

    Girl: “Just take it and go. He thinks he’s good at math when he’s drunk.”

    Me: “Thank you very much, sir! Have a wonderful evening!”

    Drunken Customer: “Don’t spend all your $5 in one place!”

    (He is the best tipping customer of the night! When I get back to the store, my manager can’t believe how thoroughly the customer explained his math!)

    Perfume

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    Have A Heart (Attack)

    Finally Singing To The Same Tune

    | NM, USA | Geography, Home Improvement, Musical Mayhem, Top

    (I’m a piano tuner in a sparsely populated area in the rural west. The phone rings.)

    Me: “Hello, [Name] piano service.”

    Caller: “Do you tune pianos?”

    Me: “Yes I do. I also do all kinds of repairs, as well as complete restorations. The only thing I don’t do is moving.”

    Caller: “Great! What’s the total cost for a tuning?”

    Me: “I need some more information to give you a price. Do you know how long since it’s been tuned?”

    Caller: “Well, we live on a ranch on long way from nowhere, and it’s been here since before 1900, so for sure at least that long. Our family has never spoken to a piano tuner before.”

    Me: “Wow! That’s a really long time! I’m honored! So, do all the keys go up and down, and does each key make a sound?”

    Caller: “Yes, we checked, and it actually doesn’t sound that bad. Out of tune of course but everything works.”

    Me: “Great! You mentioned being on a ranch. How far from [city I'm in] are you?”

    Caller: “We’re 25 miles outside of [town of 500 people, 200 miles away] on a gravel road that goes through a mountain pass. Well, actually, you have to cross the entire mountain range to get here. We own an entire valley.”

    (I look up their location on Google maps, calculate the driving fee, and give them a price for a service package.)

    Caller: “That’s a very fair price! Sold! But you don’t do the moving? Is there a mover you usually recommend?”

    Me: “Yes, I have a favorite mover. Wait. ‘The’ moving? I’m not sure I follow. Oh, you’re moving it somewhere else before I tune it? I could contact my mover, tell them your location, and get a price, and get back to you.”

    Caller: “Wait, what? Now I’m confused. We like your price on the tuning, but now we need to add the costs of the moves to know the total price?”

    Me: “Moves? You’re moving it more than once? Am I tuning it, then it gets moved, and I tune it again? Is this all at once, or separate jobs? Now I’m lost!”

    Caller: “Do you actually do this very often? We’d think you’d have the procedures and costs all worked out by now.”

    Me: “I’m so sorry, but I’m not following you at all. Let’s start over. Where is it getting moved TO?”

    Caller: “How would we know that? Are you being a smart-a**?”

    Me: “What?”

    Caller: “Where do you live?”

    Me: “Why would you need to know that? Are you threatening me?”

    Caller: “We DON’T need to know! And of COURSE we’re not threatening you! But YOU asked where it was getting moved to. For Christ’s sake!”

    Me: *lightbulb goes off* “You want to move the piano to where I am?”

    Caller: “Of course! How else are you going to tune it?”

    (I am in stunned silence. In my entire career, no one has ever thought they had to deliver the piano to ME to have it tuned, and then have it moved back to their house.)

    Caller: “Hello? Are you there?”

    Me: “Yes. I’m here. I see the misunderstanding now. Piano tuners always drive to where the piano is, no matter how far away, and tune the piano where it’s at. The piano does not have to be brought to me. Pianos are NEVER brought TO the tuner. Tuners always go TO the piano. The price I gave you includes me driving all the way out there to your ranch and back home, staying at a motel if I have to, gas, tax, the work I’ll do, everything is included. There’s no need for a mover at all.”

    (There is a prolonged silence before they continue.)

    Caller: “We’re really not as stupid as you probably think we are right now. Really. No one here has the slightest idea what a piano tuner does, or how they do it, or what it costs. We’ve just been raising cattle for five generations out here, see, and… oh Christ.”

    (I hear several people in the background start to laugh. I can’t help it and start laughing too. We’re all choking on laughter over the phone for at least a minute.)

    Caller: “That’s a h*** of a long drive, so how about we get the guesthouse ready so you can stay overnight? Is cash okay? Do you like steak? What would you like for breakfast? If you like fishing we have miles of private streams. Bring a friend if you want; nothing but room up here!”

    (I end up with more value in free-range gourmet steaks and wild trout packed in a huge ice chest, than my entire tuning package fee!)

    He’s The Best Actor Of The Bunch

    | TN, USA | Holidays, Liars & Scammers, Theme Of The Month

    (It’s mid-September. I’m helping my parents with their haunted house by working in the concessions stand. For the past few years, a customer has gone through and come back out blackened and bruised and sues us, claiming one of our actors hit him. While he has never won a case due to lack of evidence, the trials themselves drain away anywhere from $500-$1000 of our income. We ban him the year before, but this year after, he comes back and we’re sure it’s to try his scam again. The cashier is new and doesn’t know his face, so she goes ahead and sells him a ticket. After that he walks up to the stand where my coworker and I are.)

    Customer: “Man, just starting the season, and you guys are already this busy? I bet you’ll be rich before the year is over.”

    Coworker: “Yeah… I get a feeling not as much as we should since you’re here.”

    Customer: “Aw come on; I can’t help it that your employees are all brutes and bullies. Anyway, I’m going to go ahead and go in, take care!”

    (My coworker looks ready to call security; I tap her on the shoulder and shake my head, watching as the man goes through.)

    Coworker: “Why did you do that? You know what he’s going to do.”

    (I give my best slasher smile.)

    Me: “We bought security cameras this year.”

    (Sure enough, he makes another attempt at his scam. The camera catches him goading an actor into attacking him, and when they don’t fall for it, he walks out of sight of people, but still where cameras are. He bashes his arm and head against the wall until he bruises. When he tries to sue, we let him take to us to court and show the camera footage. The case is dropped immediately, and we counter-sue him for roughly three times the cost of being taken to court, very nearly making up all the money he has scammed out of us in the years past.)


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