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    Pan-bi-a-trans-homo-heterosexual

    | Minnesota, USA | Math & Science

    (I have been helping a customer find an apple tree he wants to give as a gift.)

    Me: “Just so you’re aware, if the person you’re buying this for doesn’t have another apple tree, or there isn’t one close by, this tree isn’t going to produce any fruit.”

    Customer: “What do you mean?”

    Me: “Well, apple trees only produce fruit through cross-pollination.”

    Customer: “What does that mean?”

    Me: “Well, the simplest way for me to explain is: People are unable to reproduce with themselves, right?”

    Customer: “So, is this tree male or female?”

    Me: “Well, apple trees are asexual.”

    Customer: “So, it’s gay?!”

    Adventures In The Third Dimension, Part 2

    | Massachusetts, USA | Math & Science

    Customer: “Hi, I called earlier about getting a storage unit.”

    Me: “Okay. What size were you looking for?”

    Customer: “I don’t know. You told me on the phone.”

    Me: “Hmm, well, there are 4-5 people in this office who answer the phone at any time. I don’t think I spoke to you.”

    Customer: “Oh. Well, it was…hmm. I don’t remember.”

    (I walk her outside the office into the parking lot show her a painted grid on the ground that illustrates the different sizes. I take a long time explaining the different sizes, and how much each costs. She has a price/size list in her hand the whole time. She looks very confused but finally seems to understand and decides she wants a 10’x10’ storage unit. We go back in the office so we can do the paperwork.)

    Customer: “Okay, so, 10’x10’ is the width?”

    Me: “Well, 10’x10’ means the space is ten feet wide and ten feet long.”

    Customer: *blank stare*

    Me: “The grid you just looked at painted on the ground shows only the footprint of the storage unit.”

    Customer: *blank stare*

    Me: “The illustration grid painted on the ground does not show the third dimension, which is height. The ceiling is about 8 feet high.”

    Customer: *blank stare* “So…I can stack things UP?” *she looks excited*

    Me: “Yes. You are not renting a two-dimensional space.”

    Customer: *blank stare*

    Me: “You are not renting a parking space. You are going to be renting a three-dimensional storage space.”

    (I gesture with my hands to make the shape of a three dimensional box.)

    Customer: “This is so confusing!”

    Related:
    Adventures In The Third Dimension

    Taking The I Out Of Identity

    | Lima, OH, USA |

    (I am at the front door at my store greeting customers when a customer comes in. I remember helping him activate a warranty
    replacement phone I ordered for him the previous week. Keep in mind that I am a white guy.)

    Customer: “Is that black guy here today?”

    Me: “You know his name?”

    Customer: “Is [my name] here?”

    Me: “That’s me.”

    Customer: “You sure?”

    Me: “Uh, yes.”

    Customer: “Huh. You sure that’s you?”

    Me: “Yes, sir. I check every morning.”

    The Horrors Of Mispronunciation, Part 3

    | Atlanta, GA, USA | Family & Kids, Rude & Risque

    (I’m a librarian. I am walking through the children’s section and see a boy of around 12 browsing through ghost stories. He
    picks up a book, opens it, and immediately drops it back on the shelf.)

    Boy: “Ooh! That book’s too scary!”

    Me: “What book is it?”

    Boy:Ghosts of Prostitutes.”

    Me: “What?!”

    (I walk over and pick up the book. It is titled “Ghosts and Poltergeists”.)

    Related:
    The Horrors Of Mispronunciation, Part 2
    The Horrors Of Mispronunciation

    The (Not So) Odd One Out

    | Tampa, FL, USA |

    (I am stocking shelves alongside two other employees that are dressed in the same company uniform as me when I am approached by a customer.)

    Customer: “Excuse me, do you work here?”

    Me: “Yes–”

    Customer: “Never mind, you don’t work here. Sorry to bother you.”

    Me: “No, ma’am, I do work here. What can I help you with?”

    Customer: “You do? Hmm…I didn’t recognize the uniform. Are you sure you’re not just messing with me?”

    Me: “Yes, what can I help you with?”

    Customer: “Nevermind. I’ll just ask the nice young lady working behind you.”


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