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    Even Jack Reacher Can’t Fix This One

    | Canberra, ACT, Australia | Bizarre, Books & Reading

    (Two women, talking extremely loud, walk in. I let them browse and keep on with fixing a display because it’s a mess. Suddenly one starts yelling:)

    Customer: “IS LEE CHILD DEAD?!”

    (I realise that she’s screaming at me… from the other side of the shop.)

    Me: “Excuse me?”

    Customer: *with a great deal of attitude* “I SAID… IS LEE CHILD DEAD? WHY AREN’T YOU LISTENING TO ME?!”

    Me: “I apologise, ma’am. Usually people walk over to me, or say hello first, when they have a request or a question.”

    Customer: “Well, I was too busy talking to my friend! YOU should have been eavesdropping on our conversation!”

    Me: “So I could butt in and tell you about Lee Child?”

    Customer: “No! How DARE you?! I come in here to relax, not to be bothered by know-it-all shop people!”

    Complaining For The Devil Of It

    | Australia | Bizarre, Family & Kids, Religion

    (I am serving a customer who is buying shoes. She has come in with her daughter, no older than six. She is really nice to me until she spots a necklace I am wearing that my mother bought me for good luck. It is a moonstone with a pentagram above it, traditionally a pagan symbol for good luck before it was associated with Satanism.)

    Customer: “ARE YOU A SATANIST?!”

    Me: “… pardon??”

    Customer: “You’re wearing a satanic symbol around your neck! You’re a Satanist! How can you wear that and be hired here?”

    (The customers daughter looks very shocked and looks at me worryingly, mostly startled by what her mother had just said.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, I’m not. This necklace was a gift from my mother. The symbol was originally pagan as a symbol of good luck and other nice things. It later got associated with Satanism, although it really isn’t anything to do with Satanism at all. I am no Satanist. I did not mean to startle you.”

    Customer’s Daughter: *smiles and looks relieved* “It’s very pretty.”

    Customer: *huffs and glares at me* “Well, it traumatises children! You should never wear that filth to work!”

    (The customer stormed out of the store, fuming, dragging her confused daughter along with her. I chose to keep wearing the necklace every day as she was the only customer who had a problem with it.)

    Hasn’t Quite Cottoned On

    | Australia | Extra Stupid, Language & Words

    (I work in a fabric store and am a lot younger than I look, so customers often patronise me. I’m used to it.)

    Customer: “I’m looking for cotton fabric.”

    Me: “Okay, any particular weave? We have plain woven, knitted jersey, japara—”

    Customer: “I don’t think you heard me. I want cotton fabric.”

    (Deciding not to argue I take her to the cheapest cotton fabric, which is just plain woven poplin, very similar to the fabric they use to make bed-sheets.)

    Customer: *in a patronising tone* “Don’t you know anything? I want c-o-t-t-o-n!”

    Me: “Yes, this is 100% cotton.”

    Customer: “No, it’s not. Cotton is the fabric they make jeans out of.”

    Me: “Oh, you mean denim?”

    Customer: “No, cotton. Jeans are made of cotton.”

    Me: “Yes, jeans are made of cotton, but it is woven in a particular way to make a fabric called ‘denim.’”

    Customer: “It’s not called denim, you silly girl. Denim is a boy’s name. Cotton comes from a special animal and is used to make jeans. Or have you not gotten to that part of school yet?”

    Me: “Actually, cotton comes from a plant and has a variety of uses that are not just restricted to jeans. Now if you’ll excuse me, my shift ended two minutes ago and I need to get home and finish my university assignment, which is a literature review on the critical success factors of the implementation of enterprise resource planning information systems.”

    (I showed her the fabric she was looking for on my way out. She looked embarrassed when she saw the tag did, in fact, read ‘denim.’)

    The Situation Has All Gone Pear-Shaped

    | Basingstoke, England, UK | Funny Names, Health & Body

    (I’m assisting an older customer trying to find some nice shrugs to cover her arms when she wears strappy dresses. I have found her a few and, for some reason, we have changed topic to women’s shapes.)

    Me: “So, there are five general different shapes.”

    Customer: “Five?”

    Me: “Yup! Straight: where you’re equal measurements across the board, strawberry or top heavy: where your shoulders (or breasts) are the largest part of you, apple: where your waist is the biggest part, pear: where your hips are the widest and the hourglass: where your top is in proportion to your hips.”

    Customer: “Oh, I’m a small hourglass as my shoulders are in line with my hips. You must be too!”

    Me: “Oh no, I’m pear-shaped. My hips are easily the widest part of me; my top half is a lot narrower.”

    Customer: “Oh… you look in proportion though. Oh! Probably because you have big boobs!”

    Me: “Er… thanks. Anyway, was there anything else you were looking for?”

    (I help the customer and check her out.)

    Customer: “Thanks for your help, Big Boobs!”

    Me: “You’re welcome. Bye!”

    (There’s a small pause.)

    Manager: “Good job, Big Boobs.”

    Take A Swipe At Reading

    | Raleigh, NC, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Technology

    (The card reader in my store is a little different, in that it asks you to select credit or debit before you swipe. It is much more intuitive than most, and the machine gives very explicit instructions, but it still trips people up. The following happens at least 10 times a day.)

    Me: “Your total is [total]. Go ahead and select credit or debit on the screen first, and then swipe.”

    Customer: “Credit.” *swipes card*

    Me: “You’ll need to hit the credit button first, and then you can swipe.”

    Customer: *swipes card*

    Me: “Ma’am, if you’re using credit, you’ll need to hit the blue button on the screen. After you do that, you can swipe your card.”

    Customer: *hits button on screen*

    (Screen now reads, in large letters, PLEASE SWIPE CARD.)

    Customer: *stares blankly at screen*

    Me: “Ma’am… swipe your card now.”

    Customer: *swipes card* “Why is it asking for a PIN? This doesn’t have a PIN, it’s a credit card! Why doesn’t your machine work?!”

    Me: “It’s asking for a PIN, because you hit the green debit button instead of the blue credit button. Hit CANCEL, and we can start this again…”


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