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    Aren’t Enough Hours In The Day To Deal With You

    | CA, USA | Crazy Requests, Theme Of The Month

    (I work in the retail store of a contemporary art museum. The museum and the store have slightly differing hours on Thursdays, meaning the store is open two hours before the rest of the museum. For fire safety reasons, the entry to the museum remains open, with a sign in place informing guests of the hours.)

    Me: “Good morning. Welcome to [Museum Store].”

    Customer: “Thank you. You all were closed yesterday.”

    (The galleries are closed on Wed. The store, however, was open.)

    Me: “Yeah, the galleries are closed on Wednesdays. And they don’t open today until 1 pm.”

    Customer: “Okay.”

    (I watch the customer feign interest in the shelves while trying to stealthily make their way towards the main lobby.)

    Me: “Excuse me. The galleries aren’t open until one. I need you to remain in the store.”

    Customer: “You should have a sign.”

    Me: “We do.” *point to the sign*

    Customer: “Why aren’t you open?”

    Me: “The museum stays open late on Thursdays, so it opens later in the day.”

    Customer: “That’s not what it says on your website.”

    Me: “Actually it does.” *I swivel my monitor around and show her the museum homepage with the hours on the front* “There are hours for the galleries and the store. See? Store open: 11am-8pm. Museum Open: 1pm-8pm.”

    Customer: “Well, you shouldn’t have different hours on different days. I really wanted to see [current exhibition].”

    Me: “Well, we open at one, and I can give you a voucher for half price admission.”

    Customer: “I can’t! I have a plane to catch; I have to go to the airport in an hour. We tried to come yesterday but you were closed!”

    Me: “I’m very sorry about that.”

    Customer: “Is there someone from the museum I can talk to?”

    (She clearly means, ‘someone I can complain to to get special treatment.’)

    Me: “Since we don’t open until one, the staff doesn’t arrive until around 12:30. I can also give you the phone and e-mail address if that’s not convenient.”

    Customer: “Oh, I was just wondering. I’m a friend of [Staff Member].”

    Me: “Well you can certainly call them and see if they can arrange a tour for you today before we open.”

    Customer: “Do you have her number?”

    Me: “I can give you her extension here at the museum.”

    Customer:” No, her mobile. You said she’s not here yet.”

    Me: “I’m sorry; I don’t have access to personnel contact info.”

    Customer: “Well, you’re not very helpful!”

    (The customer left. A few minutes later I heard a banging. I looked into the lobby and saw her yanking hard on the front doors, as if the reason they weren’t opening was because she was not pulling hard enough. She looked at the hours on the door, she looked at her watch, and finally figured it out. I never saw her again)

    The True Appliance Of Science

    | Indianapolis, IN, USA | Awesome Customers, Math & Science

    (I volunteer at a children’s museum in their dinosaur area, where I work in the lab. We work behind a glass window that we keep open so the kids can ask us questions about the bones we are cleaning.)

    Every Kid: *completely ignoring me* “Wow! A real dinosaur bone!”

    One Awesome Kid: *staring directly at me* “Wow! A real scientist!”

    Knocking The Wind Out Of Your Sails

    | Boston, MA, USA | Bizarre, History

    (I work in a museum that focuses on the history of a particular ship. One day, a visitor approaches me and asks me this question:)

    Visitor: “Excuse me, I have a question.”

    Me: “Sure!”

    Visitor: “When was the last time [Ship] had all of her sails out?”

    Me: “The last time she sailed under her own power was in August 2012 on the 200th anniversary of her victory with—”

    Visitor: “Yeah, but were ALL of her sails out?”

    Me: “Well, no, only a few of the main ones necessary for—”

    Visitor: “But I want to know when she had ALL her sails out like in this painting.” *gestures to nautical painting*

    Me: “Ah! I see. Actually, artists painted ships with full sails to heighten the drama of the painting. There would be very few occasions when a ship would literally have all of her sails out at once because different sails are used in different situations and angles of wind and—”

    Visitor: “Yeah, but WHEN was the LAST TIME she had ALL of her sails out?”

    Me: *pause* “I guess I don’t know exactly.”

    Visitor: *to his family* “Oh, she doesn’t know.”

    A Few Planets Short Of A Solar System

    | Cartersville, GA, USA | Bizarre, Math & Science, Money, Theme Of The Month

    (I work in the administrative offices of a museum. One of my job duties is to answer the phone. The following call takes place one afternoon.)

    Me: “Good afternoon, [Museum]. May I help you?”

    Caller: “Yes, I would like to sign up for the astronomy workshop.”

    Me: “Are you a member?”

    Caller: “No, but I want to be. How much does it cost?”

    Me: “There are different levels…”

    (I explain the different levels of membership and prices.)

    Me: “If you join today, I can give you the member price of $10 for the workshop and book your spot. If you are unable to join today, I will have to wait until the advance member registration is over and the cost will be $25.”

    Caller: “I guess I need the family membership to cover my daughter and my mother. Well, she’s really not my mother but the nursing home was going to throw her out on the street…”

    (She tells me a lengthy story about how a woman who isn’t her mother came to live in her home.)

    Caller: “But I don’t have $95 to pay for it. I really want to come!”

    (At this point she begins sobbing hysterically because she wants to come to the workshop, but we are only accepting member reservations at the moment.)

    Caller: “I come and sit in your parking lot on the weekends and watch the happy expressions of people who are leaving your museum, wishing I could go in. Sometimes I will come and walk amongst the trees and think about what is going on inside the museum.”

    (At this point, I’m a little creeped out but I try to help her because I feel a little sorry for her.)

    Me: “I think it would be okay to make an exception for you and let you sign up, and even give you the member price.”

    Caller: “Oh, thank you. Thank you. I will come see you next time I come to walk among the trees.”

    (She never showed up for the workshop. I guess she got tired of walking among the trees.)

    Went On A Jurassic Lark

    | Rapid City, SD, USA | Bad Behavior, Criminal/Illegal, Family & Kids, Top

    (I work at a geology museum. A woman and her son, who looks about five, walk in. The boy is entranced by the mammoths, dinosaurs, and marine reptile skeletons on display. The mother looks unimpressed, and is on the phone for most of her stay. Since the building is kept at a pleasant temperature, she drops her heavy coat off with me at the front desk. Later, I spot her heading for the exit.)

    Me: “I hope you had a good time at our museum. Did you have any questions before you go?”

    Mother: “I’m not interested in your stupid dinosaurs.”

    (She heads for the elevator, which is around a corner. I assume she has her child waiting there, since I can’t see him in the rest of the museum. Three hours later, I see her son wandering around the displays, looking lost. I rush over to him.)

    Me: “Hey, buddy. What are you doing here?”

    Son: *in the most heartbroken voice ever* “Have you seen mommy? I fell asleep.”

    Me: “I saw her a little while ago, bud. Why don’t you have a seat over here? Do you have your mom’s phone number, or a way to contact her?”

    (Fortunately, he has a list of emergency-contact numbers in a tiny wallet. I call the one labeled ‘Mom’ in blue crayon, after giving him some paper and colored pencils.)

    Mother: “Who is this?!”

    Me: “This is [My Name], from [Museum's Name]. We have—”

    Mother: “You d*** well better ship me my coat, you b****! That’s a $500 coat, and I’m already on the other side of the state!”

    Me: “You also left your son here, ma’am. And I don’t have a box in his size.”

    Mother: *after a brief pause* “You son of a b****! You should have told me I left my kid behind! It’s going to take me five f****** hours to get back there!”

    (I decided to end the call, and instead called the police department. The mother stormed in a little over four hours later, long after the museum is supposed to be closed. She had a nice long conversation with child-care services. Her son gave me a hug and thanked me for staying with him. I still have his drawing of a plesiosaur.)

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