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    Never Listened In Or Outside Church

    | London, England, UK | History, Tourists/Travel

    (I work as a tour guide on an open top bus tour around London. My job is to tell tourists about the history of the city, and the landmarks that we pass.)

    Me: “… and as we continue along Fleet Street we’ll see one of the great landmarks of London coming into view, the wonderful dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral. St. Paul’s Cathedral is our next stop. St. Paul’s Cathedral was built after the great fire of London of 1666. St. Paul’s Cathedral stands 365 feet from the ground to the tip of the golden cross at the top of the dome, one foot for every day of the year.”

    Lady On The Bus: “What’s this building here?”

    Me: *pointing at St. Paul’s Cathedral* “This one?”

    Lady On The Bus: “Yes.”

    Me: *sighing* “The Sealife Aquarium.”

    Lady On The Bus: “The Sealife Aquarium?”

    Me: *shrugging* “Yeah, why not?”

    Lady On The Bus: “Thank you.”

    (She writes ‘Sealife Aquarium’ carefully on the bus tour map, next to the little picture of ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL, underneath the words ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL that are printed next to it.)

    Me: “Pleasure. Welcome aboard those joining us here at St. Paul’s Cathedral…”

    A Minor Problem

    | Boston, MA, USA | Family & Kids, School, Transportation

    (I am a chaperone on a preschool field trip. We have six chaperones including me. All the other seats on the bus are filled with our two-year-olds. About 40 people can fit on each bus. It is near the end of the day, and the driver is clearly exhausted. A woman approaches the driver, who is outside on the ground with her.)

    Woman: “I’d like to get on this bus.”

    Driver: “Sorry. You can’t get on this one.”

    Woman: “Well, why not?”

    Driver: “Because it’s full!”

    (It’s important to realize that the bus is open-air, so there are no tinted windows. However, the walls are fairly high, and the bus is high up. The woman, from her vantage point on the ground, cannot see all the small children.)

    Woman: “No, it’s not. You only have 6 people in there.”

    Driver: “No. You see—”

    (The woman starts complaining loudly about how lazy and incompetent the driver is. The driver tries to explain that the bus is full of small children, but the woman keeps cutting her off. Having had enough, I pick up the two-year-old beside me, and walk up to the bus entrance.)

    Me: “There are over 30 of these in here!”

    (The woman promptly shuts up and, red-faced, walks away.)

    Got Her Cables Crossed

    , | New York, NY, USA | Bizarre, Movies & TV, Theme Of The Month

    (I am an assistant manager in the box office of an exhibition space in Times Square. This exhibition space has many investors. One is a popular cable television network from which the space took its name. A relatively normal-looking customer approaches my window.)

    Me: “Hello! How can I help you?”

    (The customer pauses, looking nervous.)

    Me: “Did you have any questions about the exhibit?”

    Customer: “Um, yes.”

    Me: “Okay… go ahead.”

    Customer: “YES! I was wondering why you took away my [aforementioned cable network] channel. I can’t understand why you would do that. My children and I really enjoyed learning about the things that we saw. It was good!”

    Me: “Ah, I see. Well, even though [cable network] is our namesake, we’re not at all affiliated with their programming. I’m sorry. I would recommend calling your cable provider to see if there were any changes in your service.”

    Customer: “No, but yes, but NO. I can’t understand why you would do this! Because you see it’s my CHILDREN. It was something that we enjoyed TOGETHER.”

    Me: “Yeah. I hear ya. Unfortunately, that’s not us. We’re a museum space.”

    Customer: “Is this because of Oprah?”

    Me: “So, I… what?”

    Customer: “OPRAH. I know she was changing some things around.”

    Me: “Uh…”

    Customer: “I can’t believe you took this away from my children just because Oprah told you to.”

    Me: “Ma’am, I can assure you that we have nothing whatsoever to do with Oprah.”

    Customer: *turning to leave* “I just can’t believe Oprah would do this to her black brothers and sisters. They were LEARNING.”

    Me: “Um, right. You have a great night.”

    Customer: *turning and yelling from across the lobby* “So this wasn’t the place?”

    Me: “This was not the place.”

    Seen One, You’ve Seen A Mall

    | Washington, DC, USA | Extra Stupid, Family & Kids, History, Theme Of The Month

    (I live near DC, so I am used to hearing tourists and tour groups ask very stupid questions. A group of out-of-state high-school kids are walking near me between two museums.)

    Teenage Girl: “So… where are we right now, anyway?”

    Teenage Boy: “In DC.”

    Teenage Girl: “No, I mean, like, where in DC are we?”

    Teenage Boy: “Oh, we’re on the National Mall.”

    Teenage Girl: “Nuh-uh!”

    Teenage Boy: “Yeah we are. Look at your map, right here.”

    Teenage Girl: “No way! Are you SERIOUS?”

    Teenage Boy: “Yeeeah…”

    Teenage Girl: “That doesn’t make ANY sense!”

    Teenage Boy: *silence*

    Teenage Girl: “So, wait… you mean the National Mall isn’t, like, you know… an actual MALL?”

    Teenage Boy: “Nope, but all the grass is 20% off!”

    Suffering Some Confucian About Where He Is

    | Beijing, China | Extra Stupid, Theme Of The Month, Tourists/Travel

    (My coworker is a tour guide for American groups in Beijing.)

    Tourist: “Is there a Chinatown here?”

    Coworker: “…I’m sorry?”

    Tourist: “Well, most major cities have a Chinatown. I just wanted to see if I could visit the one in this city.”

    Coworker: “You do know what country you’re in right?”


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