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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!

    Trying To Lend Color To The Argument

    | ON, Canada | Crazy Requests, Extra Stupid, Technology, Theme Of The Month

    (A customer comes to the counter with two sheets of black and white images she has printed from her computer.)

    Customer: “Can you scan these and get someone to put all the pictures together so they go with the writing I have?”

    Me: “Sure we can. Do you have these pages saved digitally?”

    Customer: “What do you mean?”

    Me: “Do you have them saved on a computer somewhere? Or on a USB drive?”

    Customer: “Yeah, on my computer at home.”

    Me: “Did you want to save them to a USB drive first and use the digital files? It would be a much better quality.”

    Customer: “I don’t know what a USB drive is.”

    Me: “It’s just a way of saving files so that you can transfer them to a different computer.”

    Customer: “No. Just use my print out.”

    Me: “Okay.”

    Customer: “But can you scan them in colour?”

    Me: “No.”

    Customer: “Why not?”

    Me: “Because those are black and white.”

    Customer: “So?”

    Me: “We can’t scan them in colour if there is no colour to scan.”

    Customer: “But they were in colour on my computer. So there’s colour in them.”

    Me: “Yes, there was colour on your computer, but you printed them in black and white. So when we scan the black and white print out, it’s going to be in black and white.”

    Customer: “But I want them in colour! I don’t understand why you can’t just change your scanner to the colour setting.”

    Me: “I could change it to the colour setting, but there is no colour on this page to scan. It’s all in greyscale, so it’s only going to scan it in greyscale.”

    Customer: “Why?”

    Me: “Because a scanner just scans what it sees. It can’t pick up something that isn’t there.”

    Customer: “But you have colour scanners!”

    Me: “Yes, that is used to scan colour pictures.”

    Customer: “I don’t understand why you can’t just scan it in colour!”

    Me: “Because it’s not a colour picture.”

    Customer: “Yes, it is! It was in colour before I printed it!”

    A Sudden Stamp Of Recognition

    | Seattle, WA, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Theme Of The Month

    (I work in a copy shop/shipping store. It has a modern all-glass front with two entrances. Currently, I am currently the only one on shift. A customer comes in.)

    Customer: “Hi, do you sell stamps?”

    Me: “No, sorry, we don’t sell postage. [Store across the street] has stamps, though, at every register, and they’re just down the stairs at the end of the parking lot.”

    Customer: “Oh, all right. Thank you!”

    (The customer leaves, but I watch her walk 10 feet to our other entrance, and enter our store again.)

    Customer: “Hi, do you sell stamps?”

    Me: “…I’m sorry, ma’am, we do not. However, if you go over to—”

    Customer: “See, that’s what the other girl said, and she told me to come over to this location!”

    Me: “Ma’am—”

    Customer: “You young people need to learn to be clear when you’re giving directions!”

    (As she says this, she looks around and the lightbulb goes off.)

    Customer: “I’m in the same store, aren’t I?”

    Please Pay To Make Them Stop

    | ON, Canada | Money, Technology

    Customer: “I’m done doing my copies over there.”

    Me: “Oh, great. Did they turn out okay?”

    Customer: “Yes.”

    Me: “Good.”

    Customer: “Where do I pay?”

    Me: “You paid already.”

    Customer: “No, I didn’t; the machine told me to take my card out.”

    Me: “Yes, the new machine doesn’t require your card to stay in the whole time. The good thing about that is people won’t forget their cards anymore!”

    Customer: “Okay, but I still haven’t paid.”

    Me: “Yes, you have.”

    Customer: “No! I put my card in and then it told me to take it out!”

    Me: “Yes, because it remembers your card. You hit “end session” on the screen when you were finished, right?”

    Customer: “Yes.”

    Me: “Did it ask you if you wanted a receipt?”

    Customer: “Yes. It’s right here. But I want you to print me a new one so you can prove that I’ve paid.”

    Me: “I’m sorry?”

    Customer: “I have a receipt here, but I don’t think it’s true because I didn’t leave my card in.”

    Me: “You don’t have to leave your card in. That receipt will be correct. And the next person’s job will not be charged to your card, because you hit “end session”.”

    Customer: “Okay, but how do I know that this receipt isn’t lying?”

    Me: “Why would it be lying?”

    Customer: “Because my card wasn’t in the machine while I did my copies!”

    Me: “But it’s not supposed to be. That’s how the new machine works. I can print you another receipt over here if you want.”

    (The customer gives me her card, and I print her receipt, which is identical to the one that came out of the copier.)

    Me: “See? It’s the same.”

    Customer: “But how does it know?”

    Me: “I don’t know; it’s just smart I guess!”

    Customer: “No! HOW does it know!? HOW does it work!?”

    Me: “You mean how does the technology work?”

    Customer: “Yes! It’s blowing my mind!”

    Me: “Um, I don’t know how it works; I’m sorry. It will just have to continue to blow your mind.”

    Reach Out And Touch Someone

    | Canada | Technology, Theme Of The Month

    Customer: “Hi, I want to get business cards, and I heard you had a sale.”

    Me: “Yes, the color business cards are on sale, and they start at 250 for only $10!”

    Customer: “Oh, I don’t need color cards.”

    Me: “Um, well it’s only the color ones that are on sale.”

    Customer: “I just want black and white cards.”

    Me: “Well, you can get black and white cards if you want, but they’re not on sale, and are more expensive than the color ones right now. It would make more sense to get color ones.”

    Customer: “I don’t want color!”

    Me: “Well, that’s okay; you can get black and white cards. They are just more expensive.”

    Customer: “Okay.”

    Me: “Okay, so do you have them designed already then?”

    Customer: “No, I want you to do that for me.”

    Me: “Great, we actually have a live video agent over here. It’s a computer with a webcam, and you talk to the designer through the webcam and they can set up a card for you.”

    Customer: “How am I supposed to show a computer what I want my cards to look like?”

    Me: “Well, it’s a person. And you can explain it to them, show them a picture on the camera, or you can scan images.”

    Customer: “I don’t like this. I don’t know how to scan things.”

    Me: “Oh, that’s okay. I’ll come show you before you get started. And then I’ll introduce you to the video agent, okay?”

    Customer: “Okay, I guess.”

    (I show her how to scan.)

    Customer: “But I have more than one page!”

    Me: “That’s okay; you just do the same thing with the next page. Okay, so let’s get a video agent on the webcam, shall we?”

    Customer: “No! I don’t want to talk to a computer!”

    Me: “Oh, it’s not a computer; it’s a real person. They’re just on a webcam.”

    Customer: “No, I think I’ll go to a different copy shop.”

    Me: “Oh, how come?”

    Customer: “Because I don’t like talking to computers!”

    Me: “It isn’t a computer; it’s a person.”

    Customer: “But. I. Want. To. Touch. Them.”

    Me: “Excuse me? It’s like Skype.”

    Customer: “I don’t like Skype! I’m going somewhere else!”

    Not Quite Marrying A Prints

    | Sacramento, CA, USA | Bad Behavior, Crazy Requests, Top

    (In our copy center, we regularly help brides with their DIY invitation kits. A man comes up to the counter, roughly half an hour before the store closes for the night.)

    Customer: “I need these place cards printed, and I want to wait while you do it.”

    (My coworker and I review the order, and we realize that the entire job would take several hours to complete exactly to their specifications.)

    Coworker: “Unfortunately, sir, this order would take hours to complete. I can get started on it tonight, but we close in 30 minutes, and we’d have to continue working on it tomorrow morning.”

    Customer: “What!? But it’s for my wedding!”

    Coworker: “Well, when’s your wedding? I’m pretty sure we could work something out.”

    Customer: “You don’t understand! It’s tomorrow morning! I need these done now!”

    (My coworker and I, both women, stare at the man for several seconds in shock and then continue.)

    Coworker: “Okay, well in that case we have two options. We can do [option 1], which but won’t look as nice but will be done faster, or [option 2], which will look more formal, but will take a little longer. Worst case scenario, I’m pretty sure we can have this done in time.”

    (The customer is now irate as well as in a panic. The time my coworker had told him the order would be completed was only a couple of hours before his wedding. He starts to launch into a tirade about incompetent employees when my coworker interrupts.)

    Coworker: “Sir, if I was your soon-to-be-wife, and I found out that you had waited until just now to have this order printed out, I would be furious. We just gave you two options to get this stuff done so she never has to know you procrastinated so badly. You can choose one of them, or you can try finding someone else to print these for you; and good luck doing that at this time of night.”

    Me: “How long have you had to print these, anyway? Weeks? Months?”

    (The customer snapped his mouth shut, chose one of the options we’d outlined, and stormed out of the store. When he came back the next morning, he was visibly stressed but showered us with thanks for saving his hide on the order.)

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