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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!

    Noisy Complaints Are All-Enveloping

    | Provo, UT, USA | Bad Behavior, Extra Stupid, Top

    (I am in a rather lengthy line at the post office to buy a bunch of stamps for work; it is early afternoon. An elderly customer behind me is complaining loudly to no one in particular about the wait.)

    Customer: “I can’t believe they’re making us wait like this. It’s the middle of the day; the line shouldn’t be like this! I have places to be!”

    (I glance back at her, but don’t really pay much attention.)

    Customer: “This is ridiculous! They could just open up more lines and get us all through here quickly, but they just make us all wait in line.”

    (When I get to the front of the line, the customer makes a big show of loudly counting all of the closed cashier stands and complaining. I ask the clerk for my stamps, and he goes to the back to get them, as I need more than he has at his station.)

    Customer: “Oh, now one of them is leaving? I can’t believe this!”

    (The customer suddenly walks up to the counter to stand next to me. When the clerk comes back, she speaks up.)

    Customer: “I need to buy these things, now.”

    Me: “Excuse me? He’s still helping me.”

    Customer: “Well, I just need to buy a few things.”

    Me: “So do I. It’ll just be a moment.”

    Customer: “You’re buying a ton of stamps! I just need these envelopes.”

    (I finally pay enough attention to realize what she’s holding: several flat rate envelopes.)

    Me: “Ma’am, those are free.”

    Customer: “What?”

    Me: “You can take those for free. You just have to pay the postage when you bring them back in.”

    (The customer looks at the clerk, who nods.)

    Customer: “Well, how was I supposed to know that?! Someone should have told me sooner!”

    Me: “It’s written all over the stand you grabbed them from.”

    (The customer looks back at the stand, and sees that I’m right. She then leaves in a huff, complaining about the post office wasting her time.)

    Stamping Her Place In History

    | Kill Devil Hills, NC, USA | Bigotry, History, Theme Of The Month

    (A male customer comes into my post office. I am a female, as are all but one clerk here. The customer asks me for a stamp. My partial book is a Rosa Parks stamp; I hand him one. He becomes enraged.)

    Customer: “A woman?! Don’t you have a picture of a cat or a dog, instead? A woman! I don’t even know who this person is! I will not use a woman!”

    (I act calm, but I am furious.)

    Me: “This woman is Ms. Rosa Parks. She worked for the freedom and equality of all people, of every color. She is one of the people who made sure people of every race are welcome here. And she did it all without any acts of violence.”

    (He takes his stamp. He sees my fury, and backs down pretty fast. Surprisingly, he became a very gentlemanly customer after that.)

    Treating Them Im-Parcel-ly Is Only Polite

    | Melbourne, VIC, Australia | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Criminal/Illegal

    (I witness a customer exchange at the counter while I am in line.)

    Customer: “I’m here to pick up a parcel; here’s the delivery card.”

    Clerk: “Sure, I’ll just look that up for you.”

    Customer: “By the way, why were you rude to my daughter?”

    Clerk: “I… what?”

    Customer: “My daughter came in earlier to get this parcel. You were rude to her, and wouldn’t let her pick it up for me.”

    Clerk: “I’m sorry. As I explained to her at the time, only the person whose name is on the parcel can take it. We have to do that to prevent fraud.”

    Customer: “Her name is on it! Look at the card!”

    Clerk: “Um… I’m sorry, but you wrote that in yourself. It’s a different coloured ink, and the handwriting is different.”

    Customer: “Are you calling me a liar?”

    Clerk: “Look, I’m sorry; only the person whose name is on the card can pick it up. I explained that to your daughter—”

    Customer: “You should learn how to speak to people properly, and stop being so rude!”

    Clerk: “Um… let me go get your parcel.”

    (The clerk is visibly upset as she leaves. Her supervisor comes back with the parcel in question.)

    Supervisor: “Here is your parcel. Now, can you see here on the parcel where it has your name on it?”

    Customer: “I don’t f****** care whose name is on it! I wanted my daughter to pick it up, and you should have given it to her!”

    Supervisor: “That would have been illegal. We can’t just give out parcels because someone says—”

    Customer: “I don’t f******* care! Just give me the f******* book to sign!”

    (She signs for the parcel and storms out, offering one final pearl of wisdom before going out the door.)

    Customer: “You should learn to f******* speak to people more politely, b****!”

    Didn’t Pass For The Passport

    | Brisbane, Australia | Extra Stupid

    (I’m a customer waiting in line at the post office. A man is having his passport photo taken: the rules are quite strict on what photos are allowed.)

    Employee: “Okay, we’re going to have to take another photo. Your mouth was open slightly and they won’t accept it. So, just look straight at the camera with your eyes open and your mouth shut.”

    Customer: “At the same time?!”

    This Phone-y Claim Doesn’t Ring True

    | North Carolina, USA | Criminal/Illegal, Liars & Scammers, Top

    (I am working the front counter at the post office. Customer #1 is in front of me, while Customers #2 and #3 are at the center counter filling out paperwork.)

    Customer #2: “Hey, have you seen my cellphone?”

    Customer #3: “I thought you brought it in with you.”

    Customer #2: “Yeah, so did I. Can you call it for me?’

    (Customer #3 obliges and dials Customer #2’s phone. Surprisingly, a phone starts ringing. Customer #2 walks around by the front of the counter and looks at Customer #1.)

    Customer #1: “Ma’am, I think my phone is in your purse.”

    Customer #1: “No, you must be mistaken. That’s my phone.”

    Customer #2: “Well, if it’s your phone, aren’t you going to answer it?”

    Customer #1: “I think I’ll let it go to voicemail.”

    Me: “Ma’am, I think you need to show us that phone.”

    (She reluctantly reaches into her purse and brings out the phone. Customer #2 takes the phone.)

    Customer #2: “That is MY phone!”

    Customer #1: “Oh, I’m so sorry, I forgot. I did find it on the counter and I was going to turn it in, but I got distracted…”

    (Moral of the story: if you’re going to steal a cellphone, have the sense to turn the ringer off!)

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