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    Be-Wear Open Questions

    | Memphis, TN, USA | Bizarre, Rude & Risque

    (I work once a week at the help desk answering calls for students, alumni and guests. This exchange happened after I helped an elderly student change his password. Since this is my first day of work, I have a team leader shadowing my calls.)

    Me: “Is there anything else I can do for you today?”

    Client: “Yes, ma’am… Whatcha wearing this evening?”

    Team Leader: *muffled giggling*

    Me: *bewildered* “Uh… I’m sorry, what?”

    Client: “What are you wearing? I’m serious.”

    Me: *struggling to muffle my laughter* “Standard work clothes, sir.”

    Client: “Well, you shouldn’t be leaving yourself open to questions like that, little lady. It gets ya in trouble. You have a good day.” *hangs up*

    (I took myself out of the queue and my team leader and I spent a good five minutes laughing.)

    Questionable Behavior

    | Pullman, WA, USA | Crazy Requests, Family & Kids, Pets & Animals, School

    (While I am a student I work as a tour guide for prospective students.)

    Me: “Now if you have any questions. Feel free to ask me anything that doesn’t violate my fifth amendment rights!”

    (A good portion of the groups laugh as expected. The tour continues with me answering the occasional question. A mother of a high-school girl has one.)

    Mother: “What are your enrollment numbers?”

    Me: “Our undergrad enrollment is [number]. If you count grad students it goes up to [higher number].”

    Mother: “Thank you.”

    (Several minutes later, this same mother asks another questions.)

    Mother: “Where are the dining halls and how many options do they serve?”

    Me: “Well, ma’am…”

    (I proceed to give her every piece of info I can about meal plans, the dining locations, and even the specific food items. Several more minutes into the tour…)

    Mother: “I heard that last year you had a swine flu epidemic and had to shut down the school!”

    (At this point I wonder if she is clueless or deliberately trying to get a question I can’t answer.)

    Me: “Actually, several students were diagnosed but nowhere near an epidemic.”

    Mother: “How do you know? I heard they had to cancel two football games here!”

    Me: “Ma’am, I go to every home football game. If they really did cancel a football game then I have no idea what I was watching.”

    (Some of the other parents are trying to contain their laughter, and even this woman’s daughter looks embarrassed at her mom)

    Mother: “Fine.” *looks around and then points* “WHAT KIND OF BIRD IS THAT!?”

    (The rest of the group as this point cannot believe this is happening.)

    Me: “If we look at that bird, we can clearly see that’s a magpie, which my friend pointed out to me last week. Now moving on…”

    (At this point the mother pulls out a phone as we continue and about two minutes later I hear the daughter.)

    Daughter: “See? It was a magpie! Now, will you please stop!?”

    There’s A Twist At The End

    , | AR, USA | Extra Stupid, Food & Drink, School

    (I serve ice cream on a buffet line in the college’s cafeteria. There’s vanilla, chocolate, and twist on the soft serve machine.)

    Student: “Can I have some soft serve vanilla ice cream?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, we ran out.”

    Student: “Oh. Then can I have the twist?”

    Caught With Her Pants Down

    | OR, USA | Bigotry, Crazy Requests, School

    (I manage a set of female residence halls at a small, private university.)

    Me: “Hello, Ms. Smith? This is the residential coordinator for your daughter’s hall. I’m calling on behalf of my student staffer to find out what’s going on that you’re concerned about.”

    Mom: “What?! Why the h*** you callin’ me? That’s stupid!”

    Me: “Well, you contacted my student staff saying that you needed to talk to them immediately about your daughter. I told them I would call you back because there are a lot of legal issues surrounding parent communication that they are not necessarily up to date on. So, what’s the problem?”

    Mom: “I hate this university. That is so stupid. Well, anyway, some stupid [Asian slur] stole my daughter’s pants from the laundry!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, what? Tell me exactly what you know.”

    Mom: “Well, she went down to move her laundry into the dryer, and someone already had done it! She was only an hour late! And there was some [Asian slur] girl doing her own laundry! She told my daughter that she didn’t move the laundry, that it was already moved when she got there, but she could hardly speak English, so she’s lying.”

    (Note: We have five washers for 200 girls. You have to be on top of your laundry or someone will move it so they can do their own. 10 minutes is the grace period we encourage people to give others.)

    Me: “Okay, well, I will talk to your daughter and get some more information, including who the other student was.”

    Mom: “It was a [Asian slur]! I’m so disgusted with this University. We pay so much for it and it’s terrible.”

    Me: “I’m going to have to ask you to stop saying that word. We have several students of Asian descent who live in the building, and I honestly cannot imagine any of them stealing laundry. I will talk to your daughter to get more information and hopefully find the pants. I hope one student’s potential actions don’t cloud your judgment of the university as a whole.”

    Mom: “Well, I am going to go say very bad things about this University to everyone I know! You all should teach students how to handle laundry and how to be nice people! It’s your job!”

    Me: “I will be sending a reminder email about laundry etiquette to the building, but all I can do is encourage good behavior. We also will document the situation with the pants, and try to find out what happened. I hope we find them. Is that all I can help you with?”

    Mom: “Well, I’m very angry, and it’s stupid that you called, and that d*** [Asian slur] needs to be sent back to her own country!”

    Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way, ma’am. Goodbye.”

    (Five minutes later, the resident found her pants, in her room, in her laundry basket. She hadn’t looked for them before talking to her mother. I hate my job.)

    Error: Tuition Not Found

    | NY, USA | Extra Stupid, School, Technology

    (I’m in grad school. I work part-time at the university IT desk.)

    Me: “This is [University] service desk. How can I help you?”

    Caller: “Hi. I’m having a problem with my computer. Could I schedule a time to come in?”

    Me: “Sure thing. What’s your student ID number?”

    Caller: “I don’t have one.”

    Me: “You can find it on the back of your student ID.”

    Caller: “I don’t have an ID.”

    Me: “If you don’t have one of those yet, you can get it from the ID office in [Building]. Do you have any documents from [University]? Almost all documents you’d get from us have your ID at the top.”

    Caller: “No. I’m not a student.”

    Me: “Are you a faculty member, or an alumnus?”

    Caller: “No. I’ve never been to [University]. I just heard you have tech support.”

    Me: “Okay… I’m afraid we only offer support to students and faculty. I have the number of a local repair shop if you need it.”

    Caller: “Will they charge me money?”

    Me: “Probably.”

    Caller: “But you offer your services for free.”

    Me: “… TO STUDENTS. This is a help desk for students of [University] ONLY. We don’t offer support to the general public.”

    Caller: “Why not?”

    Me: “Because we’re not a computer repair shop. We’re a part of [University] and we exist solely to offer tech support to students and faculty. I’m afraid we can’t help you if you’re neither. Would you like that phone number now?”

    Caller: “I don’t understand why you won’t just let me bring in my computer! It would only take a minute.”

    Me: “We can’t service your computer because you’re not a student.”

    Caller: “That’s so mean! What’s so special about being a student?”

    Me: “Tuition?”


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