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    Time Waits For No Chinaman

    | TX, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Math & Science, Time

    (An older customer approaches my cash register.)

    Customer: “Did you know that all the reality TV shows you watch today are 35 years old?”

    (I look up to see if he was joking as some people with odd senses of humor come in my store. He isn’t.)

    Customer: “Yeah! Five years ago I created a virus that turned all the TV transponder clocks back 50 years to 2008. At my old house, I received a TV station from China that was all in English and they said that the year was 2100. If you believe that the year is actually 2014 you are sadly mistaken.”

    (I am still speechless. I don’t know if I should mention the inconsistencies in the time that it actually is or is not, so I just ring up his purchases. After the customer leaves, the next customer approaches.)

    Next Customer: “It is kind of a scary thought that that man is allowed to operate a motor vehicle!”

    Me: “Yeah. I figured I shouldn’t tell him that I have actually lived in China and we pretty much agree on what year it is.”

    (The man’s purchases: two Neil Diamond cassette tapes easily over 30 years old. Maybe he was stocking up for the next time he releases the virus again!)

    Given Short Shrift At The Thrift

    | Portland, OR, USA | Bad Behavior, Crazy Requests

    (I am shopping at a thrift store. A customer barges up to me with a dress in her hand and waves it in my face.)

    Customer: “Excuse me, do you work here?”

    Me: “No… sorry.”

    Customer: “You LOOK like you work here. I can’t find this dress in a small.”

    Me: “…yeah, that’s the problem with these thrift stores. Not always the right sizes.”

    Customer: “Where can I find it in a small?”

    Me: “I don’t know. You may have to pick another dress.”

    (The customer stares at me a minute, suspiciously, as I’m going through a rack.)

    Customer: “Where are the size-eight shoes?”

    Me: “I don’t know. Normally they’re over there, but they just rearranged everything so I don’t know. You’ll have to ask someone who works here.”

    Customer: “I need shoes to match this dress in a size eight!”

    Me: “Good luck!”

    Customer: “You are NO HELP AT ALL!”

    (The customer flings the dress at me and storms over to the shoes. She starts scattering them all over, and demanding to the room in general that she needs a size eight. One of the poor employees ended up getting stuck with pampering her the entire time I was there.)

    No Ram-ifications

    | ID, USA | Liars & Scammers, Technology, Theme Of The Month

    (I work in the back of the thrift store, where everything is sorted and tested. A Hispanic family comes in the front of the store, carrying three very old laptops.)

    Customer: “We bought these laptops from here, and would like to exchange them from something else.”

    Manager #1: “I’ll take these back to the electronics guys, and make sure they work.”

    (He takes them back to the guys, and relays the story. While I don’t work at the electronics testing station, my area is right next to it, so I can see clearly what they are testing. They sometimes call me over because I have a strong technical background.)

    Tester: “I don’t ever remember seeing these laptops.”

    Me: “Neither do I!”

    Manager #1: “Hey, wait a minute. There is no sticker residue! Nor is there rubbing of where they should have been! Also, they didn’t come in with a receipt. Something’s fishy here.”

    (While they have me quickly test the laptops, Manager #1 gets Manager #2, who is fluent in Spanish, but Caucasian.)

    Manager #1: *in Spanish* “Hello! So, were you trying to exchange the laptops?”

    Customer: *flustered* “Did I say ‘exchange?’ I meant ‘donate!'”

    Manager #2: “Well, I’m glad we could sort out the miscommunication!”

    (Two of the laptops don’t boot up because they don’t even have a hard drive. The one that does boot has a very small amount of RAM. The kicker? Even if, by some fluke, we had sold those laptops, they would have been thoroughly tested, and all three would have been sold as ‘for parts,’ meaning that the customer wouldn’t have been able to afford even one working laptop!)

    Bagged Herself A Steal

    | MI, USA | Criminal/Illegal, Liars & Scammers

    (I’m a college freshman working in a thrift store. The most expensive item in the shop is $10. I am straightening up a rack when I watch a customer go into a dressing room, then emerge from the dressing room wearing a completely different outfit and make for the door. I stop her.)

    Me: “Excuse me, ma’am! You realize you’re going to have to pay for that, right?”

    Customer: “I know that! I’m not an idiot!”

    (The customer turns around and walks over to a bookshelf, as if that’s where she’d been headed all along. I go back to the rack, but watch her out of the corner of my eye. She slowly begins making her way towards the door again.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. You still need to pay for that.”

    Customer: “I did.”

    Me: “Ma’am, I watched you. You went to the bookshelf and then tried to leave again.”

    Customer: “You were SPYING on me?! I want to talk to your manager!”

    (My manager, having heard the commotion, is already on his way over.)

    Manager: “Is there a problem, ma’am?”

    Customer: “Yes. This little girl was spying on me and accused me of trying to shoplift my own clothes!”

    (I began to bristle and protest, but my manager shushes me and points to the customer’s pants. Or rather, to the price tag sticking out of the pocket. The woman looks down at it and then bolts for the door. I start after her, but my manager calls me back.)

    Manager: “Ah, let her go. She’s only wearing about $6 worth of merchandise anyway.”

    The Honesty Of The Thievery Pants

    | Portland, OR, USA | Bad Behavior, Criminal/Illegal, Theme Of The Month

    (A man comes in and starts looking through the clothes. He grabs a pair of pants, and starts fast-walking towards the door.)

    Coworker: “Sir, are you going to pay for those?”

    Man: “No.”

    Coworker: “Sir, we really need you to pay for those.”

    Man: “NO!”

    Me: “Please, sir! We need those back!”

    Man: “I need them more!”

    (The man bolts out the door. We look at each other for a moment dumbfounded, then burst out laughing.)

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