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    Call The Missing Parent’s Hotline

    | Montreal, QC, Canada | Crazy Requests, Family & Kids, Money

    (I am the manager of the admission desk at a museum. While I am serving a client, a woman and her two kids (around 10 and 12 years old) enter the museum and try pass by the admission desk. I politely tell her to wait just one moment while I’m taking care of the client in front of me. I then ask her if I could help her.)

    Woman: “Yes, I’m here for the free activity for my kids.”

    (Our museum holds a workshop for kids each Sunday where they can do arts and crafts, themed with our current exhibitions.)

    Me: “Of course, the workshop is one floor below. Kids 12 years old and under are always free and right now, we offer a 25% discount on the regular entrance fee. So, for one adult, it will come to [price].”

    Woman: “I thought it was free!”

    Me: “It is free for kids 12 and under. But as I said, we offer a 25% discount on the regular adult rate. Also, each kid visiting our museum will receive a free bag with other games they can do in our regular exhibitions.”

    Woman: “No, no, no. I went on [Website that isn’t ours] and they say the workshop is free for families.”

    Me: “I am so sorry, madam, but, unfortunately, while it is actually free for the kids, adults have to pay.”

    Woman: “Well, then, I’ll leave my kids to you and be back in half an hour.”

    Me: “Madam, I am really sorry but a responsible adult must stay with the kids at all time. By law, they cannot stay alone in our facility.”

    Woman: “Why not? Just take care of them. Make them do the workshop. What’s so difficult about it?”

    Me: “Unfortunately, we do not have the accreditations to do so. The volunteer in charge of the activity is not trained to take care of your kids… just to explain the activity and how it works. We need you to stay with your kids.”

    Woman: “But the website says that it is free!”

    Me: “I’m sorry but that website was wrong. It is, indeed, free for kids but not for adults.”

    Woman: “It is false advertising!”

    Me: “Actually, if you check our official website, it clearly state that parents need to pay. We do not have control on what other website posts. I will gladly take the website name again so I can make sure that the information they have is the right one.”

    Woman: “That website says it is free, so you have to let me come for free!”

    Me: “We cannot be held responsible for what other websites put online. Again, if you check our website—”

    Woman: “Well, I don’t care. Why are you not taking my kids, then? We came here because [Other Website] said it was free! I’m from [Town about 20 minutes from here] and we took public transit, which cost money. I don’t have money for this.”

    Me: “I understand your frustration, madam. I really do. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do except make sure that [Other Website] stops posting false information about our workshop.”

    Woman: “Just take the kids, then. They can do the workshop. They’ll behave.”

    Me: “Again, madam, that is impossible. The staff is neither qualified or trained to do it.”

    Woman: “Why not?”

    Me: “Just for the purpose of this, if your kids have allergies—”

    Woman: “My kids don’t have any allergies!”

    Me: “That is not the point. If something, ANYHTHING, happens to your kids, we don’t have the staff or the infrastructures to help them. That is why, when you want to register you kids for school, day camp, summer camp, you have all of those contracts to sign.”

    Woman: “This is insane. You are not giving me a good customer service. I leave my kids alone all the time. Even at the grocery store! I leave them while I do other errands. There is nothing wrong with that! I want to speak with the manager.”

    Me: “Actually, I am the one in charge of the admission.”

    Woman: “Well, there must be someone more important in charge.”

    Me: “There is, but the offices are closed during weekends. Do you want me to provide you with the phone numbers and names of the people in charge so you can contact someone?”

    (I gave her all the names and phone numbers needed and she left saying that she was going to report me for not letting her kids stay unsupervised! You know what the worst part was? This was not the first time! We had to call the police because a couple left their kids at the museum while they went to a restaurant! They were absent for more than an hour. Thank god the police officer was on our side! We also had a woman who left her infant child alone so she could go shopping. In both these cases, none of the parents claimed to know what was wrong…)

    Enough To Bring A Teal To Your Eyes

    | WI, USA | Awesome Customers, Family & Kids, Top

    (I volunteer for our local museum during a popular traveling Sherlock Holmes exhibit. When it is slow, I will walk along with visitors and chat. I am walking with a young mom and her four-year-old daughter. They love the exhibit, and go to the gift shop. I am on a break and stop by the gift shop to say hi to the woman working the register.)

    Little Girl: “Hey! You are the lady that helped us!”

    Me: “Yes, I am. Did you find anything?”

    (She shows me a handful of marbles, one in every color we offered.)

    Little Girl: “What is your favorite color?”

    Me: “I really like the teal ones.”

    (She scampers away, and I don’t think much of it as I have these conversations with kids a lot. I am talking with the mom when her daughter comes back.)

    Little Girl: “Here! This is for you!”

    (She hands me a teal marble.)

    Me: “it’s beautiful, thank you!”

    Little Girl: “It’s a friendship marble. Now we’ll always be friends!”

    Mom: “[Little Girl] and I are on our own. Her dad left us when she was born and I’ve been trying to make sure she has great values.”

    Me: “You’ve done an amazing job! She is a real gem; I loved talking with you today!”

    (I slip the cashier money to pay for the girl’s marbles, and when she is told her marbles are free, she tears up.)

    Little Girl: “Mom and I don’t have a lot of money; we saved just to come here!”

    Me: “Well, in that case…”

    (I refunded their admission and paid for it myself. I made sure they got two free passes for the museum for their next visit, and they came and saw me for the next exhibit. The little girl was just as pleasant as she was the first time. And the teal marble? She had it in her pocket, and since I carry mine in my purse, I had mine that day as well.)

    Giving You A Cold Reception

    | OH, USA | Crazy Requests, Tourists/Travel

    (I’m working in a 19th century mansion that has been turned into a museum. It’s late autumn and the house already gets very cold inside. I’m ringing up a couple for a tour.)

    Customer: “Aren’t they ever opening this house for Christmas again?”

    Me: “Well, it’s very difficult to hea—”

    Customer: “Yes, they said something about it being hard to heat. I wouldn’t think you’d need much heat just for a tour!”

    Me: “Oh, you might feel differently in December. But I also think the guides might revolt over being kept in a 50-degree house all day.”

    Customer: “You’re all just lazy!” *walks away*

    Totally Lost Their Marbles

    | Los Angeles, CA, USA | Crazy Requests, History

    Museum Patron: “Yeah, hi, we’ve looked at everything here. Where is the ‘real” art?”

    Me: “Uhm, did you look in all these rooms downstairs and upstairs?”

    Museum Patron: “Yeah, we saw all that but it’s just a bunch of marble statues. Where is the REAL art?”

    Me: “Ma’am, this IS real art.”

    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)

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