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    Hasn’t Quite Cottoned On

    | Australia | Extra Stupid, Language & Words, Top

    (I work in a fabric store and am a lot younger than I look, so customers often patronise me. I’m used to it.)

    Customer: “I’m looking for cotton fabric.”

    Me: “Okay, any particular weave? We have plain woven, knitted jersey, japara—”

    Customer: “I don’t think you heard me. I want cotton fabric.”

    (Deciding not to argue I take her to the cheapest cotton fabric, which is just plain woven poplin, very similar to the fabric they use to make bed-sheets.)

    Customer: *in a patronising tone* “Don’t you know anything? I want c-o-t-t-o-n!”

    Me: “Yes, this is 100% cotton.”

    Customer: “No, it’s not. Cotton is the fabric they make jeans out of.”

    Me: “Oh, you mean denim?”

    Customer: “No, cotton. Jeans are made of cotton.”

    Me: “Yes, jeans are made of cotton, but it is woven in a particular way to make a fabric called ‘denim.’”

    Customer: “It’s not called denim, you silly girl. Denim is a boy’s name. Cotton comes from a special animal and is used to make jeans. Or have you not gotten to that part of school yet?”

    Me: “Actually, cotton comes from a plant and has a variety of uses that are not just restricted to jeans. Now if you’ll excuse me, my shift ended two minutes ago and I need to get home and finish my university assignment, which is a literature review on the critical success factors of the implementation of enterprise resource planning information systems.”

    (I showed her the fabric she was looking for on my way out. She looked embarrassed when she saw the tag did, in fact, read ‘denim.’)