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    Textual Discrimination

    | Melbourne, Australia |

    (A customer approaches me holding an audio book.)

    Customer: “What’s this?”

    Me: “It’s an audio book.”

    Customer: “What’s that?”

    Me: “Well, it’s books read aloud so people can listen to them instead of reading the text.”

    (The customer looks horrified.)

    Customer: “Do you have more?”

    Me: “Oh yes, those shelves behind you there.” *pointing*

    Customer: *looking at the rows of audio books* “That’s disgusting! People who can’t read shouldn’t be allowed in libraries anyway! You shouldn’t pander to them!”

    Me: “Well, it’s also for people who have low or no vision.”

    Customer: “They have no right to books, either!” *storms out*

    A Snake Eating Its Own Tail

    , | Essex, VT, USA |

    (It’s late at night and only one manager, another employee, and I are working. I’m manning the drive-thru when a car pulls up.)

    Customer: *over speaker* “I just came through the drive-thru, and I got a fish sandwich.”

    Me: “Okay, how can I help you?”

    Customer: “There was a bite in my sandwich!”

    Me: “I’m sorry? Please drive around and I’ll see what I can do.”

    Customer: *at window* “What you can do, young lady, is get me a new sandwich.”

    Me: “Um, sir, nobody here would have taken a bite of your sandwich. Are you sure it didn’t just break off?”

    Customer: “NO! Give me a new sandwich! I just tasted this sandwich and it tasted terrible.”

    Me: “Wait – you bit the sandwich after you found a bite?”

    Customer: “No, you idiot! I bit the sandwich, and I need another one!”

    Me: “…”

    Old MacDonald Had A Meal

    | Australia |

    (I’m a waitress at a restaurant, and an elderly man just ordered a steak.)

    Me: “How would you like your steak, sir?”

    Customer: “Alive.”

    Me: “I’m sorry?”

    Customer: “Alive. I want it alive.”

    Me: “I’m not sure I get you sir – do you mean rare?”

    Customer: “No. Alive! When I poke my fork in, it will have to say ‘MOO!’”

    Me: “…I’m not sure we can arrange that for you, sir. It’s impossible.”

    Customer: “You’re saying it’s impossible for you to bring a cow in here?”

    Me: “That’s right, sir.”

    Customer: “OK, I’ll have mine well done then.”

    You’re Not Burning, But My Eyes Are

    | Texas, USA |

    (I’m working the front of a tanning salon and a customer comes up to me, completely naked.)

    Customer: “Does this tan look even to you?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I need you to go back to your booth and put your clothes on. You’re bothering the other customers.”

    Customer: “But I need to know if this tan is even. Does it look like I’m burning?”

    Me: *trying not to look at her* “Ma’am, I’m sorry. I need you to go back to your booth and put your clothes on. You can’t just walk around naked.”

    Customer: “Fine! You’re no help at all!”

    LOL OMG Grandma, Read The FAQ

    | California, USA |

    (We have an older patron who comes into the library to use the Internet. She’s around 65 and not computer literate, so we help her out whenever she needs us.)

    Patron: “Miss, could you help me? I don’t understand what is happening.”

    Me: “What’s the problem?”

    Patron: “I think I had a stroke or something!”

    Me: “Oh my God, what do you feel?”

    Patron: “Well, I can’t understand the words on the computer. It doesn’t make any sense! I’m so confused!”

    (She seems fine, just aggravated, but I call over my co-worker who is in a nursing program.)

    Me: “Can you check her out real quick?”

    Coworker: “You’re fine. What did you feel?”

    Patron: “Well, nothing. But, all of a sudden, I lost my ability to understand writing. I opened an email from my granddaughter and I didn’t understand a word of it!”

    (My coworker and I read the email:)

    Hey grandma! I’ve been having a gr8 time in Ny with mom and dad. we’ll b back in ca on the 4th. I miss u! c u l8r!”

    Coworker: “Um, I think she just wrote in a hurry and didn’t realize that you didn’t understand her shorthand. It’s teenspeak, so it’s a little hard to understand.”

    Patron: “Oh, thank God…such a stupid girl! I’m going to tell my son to throw her TV and computer away and make her read some books!”

    Me: “Ma’am, you’re preaching to the choir.”

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