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    What A BS Degree

    , | The Netherlands | Bigotry, School

    (I’ve been helping a student from China get her books for her Master’s programme. Her English is fine, but she has a strong accent. After I’ve finished helping her, the next customer steps up.)

    Customer: “If that’s how she speaks English, she’s going to have serious trouble with Dutch. She’ll be useless in class!”

    Me: “Actually, her courses are all in English, so she won’t have to learn Dutch.”

    Customer: “What? That’s ridiculous! They’re making all these courses in English to let lazy foreigners get in easily. What about us, hmm? We have to put up with having to speak a foreign language in our own country just so she can come here and basically get handed a place at university by the stupid management. I bet she’ll get a job here, too. Everyone seems to think it’s more prestigious to hire some foreigner than someone who actually knows the language and the culture and everything!”

    Me: “… Anyway, let’s get your books. What is your major?”

    Customer: “International relations.”

    Lions And Tigers And Big Box Stores, Oh My

    | North Georgia Mountains, USA | Family & Kids, Pets & Animals, School

    (I’m a tour guide for a private college in the North Georgia mountains in a town of 9,000 people. It’s not the biggest city, but it’s the biggest within about 50 miles. A married couple from Atlanta comes to visit the college.)

    Man: *nervously* “How do people typically adjust to living in the middle of nowhere?” 

    Me: “I actually think it’s peaceful here in the mountains, and I’ve never heard anyone say they miss the traffic.”

    (At this point, the couple sees a small green spider on the roof of the golf cart and literally jumps out of the stopped vehicle.)

    Me: “Aw, he won’t hurt y’all.”

    (The man hesitates three times before finally squishing the spider with his handkerchief. He cautiously climbs back in.)

    Woman: “Do you have any… mountain lions here?”

    Me: *in an exaggerated southern drawl* “Ain’t seen many mountain lions ’round these parts, far as I reckon.”

    Man: “What about bears?”

    Woman: “Panthers?”

    Me: “I’m pretty sure the most we have up here is foxes and coyotes.”

    (The woman gasps like she might have a heart attack while the man’s eyes get very wide. I do my best to assure them that these animals are harmless to humans and that they will likely never see on on campus, and continue with the tour.)

    Woman: “How far is civilization from here?”

    Me: “Well, the city is the county seat, and there’s lots to do and see downtown, and plenty of options for shopping and dining.” 

    Man: “Is there a Walmart anywhere near here?”

    Me: “About a 10 minute drive.”

    Couple: *in unison* “HALLELUJAH! CIVILIZATION!”

    D As In Duh, Part 2

    | Pennsylvania, USA | Language & Words

    Me: “You’ll also want to check out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  You can apply for that online if you have internet connection.”

    Caller: “I do. What’s the URL?”

    Me: “All right. It’s www dot ‘F’ as in ‘Frank,’ ‘A’…”

    Caller: “Sorry, how do you spell that?”

    Me: *confused* “…How do you spell what?”

    Caller: “Effasinfrank.”

    Related:
    D As In Duh

    Ph.Duh, Part 3

    | New York, NY, USA | Technology, Top

    (An older professor calls for help with his campus webmail. He is trying to open an email by checking the box. I show him how to click the subject instead. Lo and behold, the email opens.)

    Professor: “Well, that worked. But that’s extremely poor design, you know. How was I supposed to know to click the words?”

    Me: “Well, I’m glad we could help you figure it out.”

    Professor: “This is ridiculous. Not a single other email works like that! This is the only one I’ve ever seen where you have to click the words, not the checkbox.”

    Me: “Actually sir, that’s standard design for webmail. But now that you’re able to open your email—”

    Professor: “I use [email provider] at home and it doesn’t work like this! How come yours is different from [email provider]?”

    Me: “I’m not familiar with [email provider]‘s webmail, so I’m afraid I can’t answer your question.”

    Professor: “You’re trying to tell me that EVERY other email is just like yours, and I’m telling you it’s NOT TRUE.”

    Me: “I’m sorry that I can’t explain the differences between our webmail and [email provider]‘s. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

    Professor: “Yes, you can GO DIE!”

    (He hangs up on me, and my boss, who overheard the conversation, is livid. She contacts the professor’s department chair to report him for harassing me, and the chair sent back his deepest apologies and assured us he would reprimand the professor. Justice!)

    Related:
    Ph.Duh, Part 2
    Ph.Duh

    Calling B.S. On Your B.S.

    | Michigan, USA | Liars & Scammers, Top

    Me: “Thank you for calling [university]. What can I help you with today?”

    Caller: “Yes, hi. I would like to know how to be an alumni. Like, how do I get the alumni membership of this university?”

    Me: “Well, ma’am, have you graduated from our university?”

    Caller: “No.”

    Me: “So you are still attending this university at the moment?”

    Caller: “No. I just want the benefits. I can get money off on my insurance, but I need you to make me an alumni officially.”

    Me: “Have you ever attended our university?”

    Caller: *impatient* “No! Can you just tell me how to do this?”

    Me: “Well, an alumni is someone who has graduated with an actual degree from the university. You cannot be an alumni unless you have graduated with a degree.”

    Caller: *silent*

    Me: “One of our degrees.”

    Caller: *still silent*

    Me: “Only graduates from our university can have our alumni benefits.”

    Caller: “What?!”

    Me: “You can’t be an alumni and have those benefits without graduating from here.”

    Caller: “What? I just want it for insurance. How come you can’t understand this?!”

    (This went on for another fifteen minutes before she gave up!)

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