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    Change Can’t Make You Change

    | ME, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre

    (I’m a 22-year-old queer female. While I don’t exactly go around singing my orientation from rooftops, I do have two queer pride pins on my work uniform and I always wear a rainbow bracelet, so it’s pretty hard to miss. A  man who’s about 60 years old comes through my line.)

    Customer: “I have a bad back. Can you lift that out for me?”

    (He points to a 15-pack of beer. I lift it out, scan it, and put it back in his cart.)

    Customer: “Wow, look at you. You’re pretty strong. Your boyfriend must be happy with you.”

    Me: “I don’t have a boyfriend.”

    Customer: “Well, why not?”

    Me: *deadpan* “I have no idea.”

    Customer: “Well, we can’t have that. How about I take you out to dinner tonight?”

    (I take a moment to very pointedly look at my two pins and then hold my arm up in plain sight and stare at my bracelet.)

    Me: “I already have supper plans.”

    Customer: “Come on, it’s just one night.”

    Me: *as I hand him his change* “I already have supper plans.”

    Customer: “That’s a shame. I would have let you keep the change if you’d said yes.”

    (After he leaves, my manager, who’s known me since high school, approaches.)

    Manager: *laughs* “Yeah, because eight bucks is gonna turn you straight and take away your standards.”

    Avoiding Spring Bathroom Break

    | Fairfield, CT, USA | Bad Behavior, Food & Drink, Liars & Scammers

    (I work at a bar near the beach. It’s usually a popular spot, especially when Spring Break comes around. A trio of college students comes in ordering the Spring Break special, which is where you get pitchers of beer for $1 each until you take a bathroom break, after which it becomes regular price. Our bathrooms do not have any windows and are guarded by two security guards who stamp every patron who leaves the bathroom so management can keep track of everyone. Two of the college students used the bathroom but the third person continues to keep drinking without using the bathroom. After over 60 minutes of drinking he orders another pitcher.)

    Customer: *inebriated* “Yo, bro. Another pitcher, please!”

    Me: “Right away, sir. It’s amazing that you keep going like this.”

    Customer: “Yes, all this drinking is making me thirsty.”

    (The people nearby, including the manager, laugh when he says that. The manager decides to step in.)

    Manager: “Sir, if you don’t mind me asking, what is your secret? I mean everyone I’ve seen usually goes to the bathroom after 30 minutes of drinking but you haven’t visited the bathroom once. How do you do it?”

    Customer: “All right, I’ll show you.”

    (The man proceeded to lower his pants and reveal he was wearing an adult diaper. It was soggy looking and yellow like popcorn butter. The manager was so shocked and disgusted by this he took out his cell phone, took a picture of the guy, then whistled for one of the security guards to have the guy escorted from the bar. He then ordered the other two patrons to pay for the difference since they ‘cheated.’ Scared by the security guards, they paid and left me a nice tip!)

    Caught Between A Drunk And A Hard Place

    | USA | Bad Behavior, Food & Drink, Hotels & Lodging

    (I am a young female working alone late at night. I’m busy with another customer when a heavily intoxicated man starts yelling sexist and obscene slurs at me, despite his friend trying to pull him away. The customer in front of me turns towards him.)

    Customer: “Hey buddy! F*** off! Can’t you see that she’s not interested?!”

    (The drunk makes a move towards him, but thankfully his friend finally manages, with lots of effort, to finally pull him away.)

    Me: “Thank you. I didn’t know what I was going to do.”

    Customer: “No problem, I always wanted to say that when working in customer service.”

    (We finish with his issue and then…)

    Customer: “So, can I get your number?”

    Me: “Ah, sorry, we’re not allowed to give our numbers to customers.”

    Customer: “Oh well, you missed out. Probably a [gay slur], ain’t ya…” *walks off*

    Me: “…”

    Hasn’t Quite Cottoned On

    | Australia | Extra Stupid, Language & Words

    (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.’)

    Never Listened In Or Outside Church

    | London, England, UK | History, Tourists/Travel

    (I work as a tour guide on an open top bus tour around London. My job is to tell tourists about the history of the city, and the landmarks that we pass.)

    Me: “… and as we continue along Fleet Street we’ll see one of the great landmarks of London coming into view, the wonderful dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral. St. Paul’s Cathedral is our next stop. St. Paul’s Cathedral was built after the great fire of London of 1666. St. Paul’s Cathedral stands 365 feet from the ground to the tip of the golden cross at the top of the dome, one foot for every day of the year.”

    Lady On The Bus: “What’s this building here?”

    Me: *pointing at St. Paul’s Cathedral* “This one?”

    Lady On The Bus: “Yes.”

    Me: *sighing* “The Sealife Aquarium.”

    Lady On The Bus: “The Sealife Aquarium?”

    Me: *shrugging* “Yeah, why not?”

    Lady On The Bus: “Thank you.”

    (She writes ‘Sealife Aquarium’ carefully on the bus tour map, next to the little picture of ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL, underneath the words ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL that are printed next to it.)

    Me: “Pleasure. Welcome aboard those joining us here at St. Paul’s Cathedral…”


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