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    Put A Cork In It

    | Newcastle, England, UK |

    (A customer has just ordered a large glass of wine. She returns to me at the bar having drunk a good two-thirds of the glass.)

    Me: “Hello, madam, is there a problem?”

    Customer: “This wine is corked.”

    Me: “Excuse me, madam?”

    Customer: *points to glass* “This wine is corked. See?”

    (I look at the glass and there is a small white object in her drink. I take the glass from her and see that its actually a piece of beer mat.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, madam, but this wine isn’t corked. ‘Corking’ is a term used when the structure of the cork, on a molecular level, has allowed oxygen into the wine bottle before it has been opened and turned it sour or unpleasant. This glass has just got a piece of cork in it. In all honesty, madam, that just looks like a small piece of beer mat, not cork. Are you wanting to make a complaint?”

    Customer: “That’s what I meant. The wine is a bit sour. It’s not very nice. It must have gone off, like you said, because the cork has let some air into it.”

    Me: “Would you like to point out which wine you purchased madam?”

    Customer: *points to bottle* “That one.”

    Me: “Are you sure, madam?”

    Customer: “Yes.”

    Me: “That brand of wine is a screw-top, madam.”

    (The customer just stands there for a few seconds, then turns around and returns to her table. Five minutes later, her and her partner leave.)