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  • A Caffeinated Christmas Miracle
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  • Self-Helpless Against Stupidity

    | Middletown, NJ, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Extra Stupid, Technology, Theme Of The Month

    (One of the local supermarkets recently ‘upgraded’ their self-checkout systems. While nominally faster, the new systems are more complicated and far more prone to bugs. The first time I hit the ‘use a coupon’ button the whole screen is covered with a ‘please wait for attendant’ warning. One of the workers comes over.)

    Me: “Oh, I’m sorry; I don’t know what happened.”

    Attendant: “Let me guess. You needed to use a coupon?”

    Me: “Um… yeah?”

    Attendant: “No problem. One second.”

    (She swipes her ID card, types in a code, swipes the coupon, hits ‘done,’ and puts it in the slot.)

    Attendant: “There you go.”

    Me: “I guess there’s a problem with the coupon part?”

    Attendant: “Yeah, we had a rash of people having issues with the sensor when putting the coupons in the slot who were just about ripping the machine apart instead of asking for any help at all.”

    Me: “There’s no way they’d be that—”

    (As if scripted, there’s suddenly a loud banging just behind us at the other machine; another shopper’s receipt jams in the printer because they tried to yank it out before it was done printing, and she is now PUNCHING the printer to try to get it to work.)

    Me: “…okay, thank you for the help. Have a nice day and God’s speed, brave warrior!”

    Attendant: “Once more into the breach!”

    Help You To Help Me

    | OR, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Theme Of The Month

    (My mother and I go to her favorite store, which is offering a 50% coupon. An employee is rather helpful with us, and when mom has other questions about an extra coupon, the employee explains that we can use both.)

    Mom: *brings the purses up to the register*

    Employee: “And that will be all today?”

    Mom: “Yeah, and, also…” *fishes out the coupon* “I’ve got this extra coupon that I was told—” *stops herself, and realizes it’s the same employee* “Oh! You already know this! You’re me! I mean, you helped me!”

    (I couldn’t stop laughing.)

    Dishing Out The Cold Truth

    | UT, USA | Crazy Requests, Extra Stupid, Technology

    (It’s been snowing steadily all day. Still, customers come to shop for electronics and ask stupid questions.)

    Customer: “I bought [Satellite TV Service] here, but I’m having trouble with it. Can you help?”

    Me: “I usually handle computer questions, not TV questions, but I can try. What’s going on?”

    Customer: “The channels just aren’t coming through right. They’re all pixelated, and they keep cutting out, and sometimes there’s nothing to see or hear at all.”

    Me: “That’s not good. When did it start?”

    Customer: “This morning.”

    Me: “I haven’t heard of any problems from [Satellite TV Provider]. I’m guessing that it has something to do with the snowstorm. The snow could be interfering with your signal, especially if some has accumulated in the dish of your receiver.”

    Customer: “Can you check?”

    Me: “Can I check what?”

    Customer: “Can you get on your computer and check to see if I have snow on my dish?”

    Me: “…no, I can’t do that.”

    Customer: “Why not?”

    Me: “The store computers don’t have access to information about whether a person’s satellite dish has snow in it. I’m sorry.”

    Customer: “Well, how can I find out?”

    Me: “You could try going home and looking at it…”

    Not Showing Growth As A Person

    | PA, USA | Bad Behavior, Bizarre, Health & Body

    (I am a male with long hair. Sometimes when I feel like being a smart-a**, most of the time really, I end up having this conversation with other long haired men, in this case being a worker at a retail place. People tend to respond the same way, so it usually plays out the same way.)

    Me: “That long hair makes you look like a girl.”

    (The clerks features rapidly shift to annoyance, then confusion when they see my long hair, then anger.)

    Clerk: “Well, YOUR long hair makes you look like a girl, too!”

    Me: “No. No, it doesn’t. You see *points* I have a beard. So, my long hair makes me look look a dumba**. YOUR long hair makes you look like a girl.”

    Clerk: *stunned*

    Me: “Why don’t you have a beard?”

    The Currency Of Understanding

    , | Germany | Bizarre, Money, Tourists/Travel

    (The year is 2010. The euro has been introduced as a common currency throughout Europe in 2002. An elderly lady approaches me, picks some items, and wants to pay.)

    Me: “That is 28.50.”

    Elderly Lady: “Oh, so little? Are you sure?”

    (I notice her picking out some old Austrian schillings from her purse.)

    Me: “I’m sorry. ma’am. You can’t pay with those here; this is outdated currency.”

    Elderly Lady: “No, no! I have always paid with them!” *picks out some more* “Look, I have money!”

    Me: “Lady, I’m sure you have enough, but… I simply cannot accept Austrian schillings. We have the EURO.”

    Elderly Lady: “Yes, yes, I understand. You want deutschmarks? I don’t have any deutschmarks. Schillings, you take?”

    Me: *suddenly understanding* “Yes, ma’am. That would be… 280 schillings, please.”

    (I pack her things, she hands me 250 old Austrian schillings, but I go with it. She seems to have disappeared with her travel group, when a younger lady, also speaking Austrian dialect, turns up.)

    Younger Lady: “Hey, there. Did my grandmother bother you?”

    Me: “What grandmother? Do you mean…”

    Younger Lady: “Yeah, my granny. Did she try to pay with schillings?”

    Me: “In fact, she did. And I sold her something.”

    Younger Lady: “Well, you shouldn’t have sold her anything. What’s her bill?”

    Me: “28.50; but as I said, she already paid. I took her schillings. Maybe I can exchange them for something.”

    Younger Lady: “No! Give them back to me. She’ll be mad about not having them! How much did you say?”

    Me: “€28.50.”

    Younger Lady: *hands me over two 20 Euro bills* “Keep it, for goodness’ sake!”

    Me: “No way, ma’am. That’s far too much.”

    Younger Lady: “Well, then give me 10 back.”

    Me: “Fair enough; thank you.”

    (The rest of the day, I wondered why my supply of ‘free’ coffee and food worked so fine. Later on, I realized that the young lady had left some money at every booth near mine because I was so friendly to her grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, which I didn’t realize immediately. Thank you, ladies, you were amazing!)

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