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    Stiff Upper Lip Vs The American Quip

    | UK | Bad Behavior, Crazy Requests, Musical Mayhem

    (I work in a small independent music shop in the UK. Although our shelf space is limited, we have a pretty good reputation, because of the musical knowledge of our staff and our ability to source and order some really obscure CDs.)

    Customer: “Do you have [certain CD] in stock?”

    Me: “I’m afraid that we don’t have it at the moment.”

    (I quickly checking our database, I find that we’ve never had any requests for it until today.)

    Me: “I can source it for you. Would you like to place an order?”

    Customer: “I need it today. I’m going back to the States tomorrow.”

    Me: “I’m sorry; the suppliers of this disc usually take a couple of days to get things to us.”

    Customer: *looking hugely put out* “Well, can you send it to San Francisco?”

    Me: “Yes, that should be fine.”

    Customer: “I guess you’ll drop the shipping costs, seeing how you didn’t have it in stock when I asked.”

    Me: “I’m afraid that isn’t policy in this shop. We don’t pretend to be able to keep in stock any CD our customers might ask for, after all. But if you—”

    Customer: “Oh, yes, I know what this is. This is Britain muddling through, isn’t it? Just sixty years ago, you won the war; now you can’t even keep a CD in stock.”

    Me: “I’m sorry; we’re only a very small shop, and there’s a lot of CDs—”

    Customer: “Oh, yes, my friend said you’d try to make excuses, and she’s a Professor, you know. But look!” *holding up three CDs she’d like to buy* “I’m keeping you in business! Britain, muddling through!”