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It’s Not Just The Thermos Providing The Warmth

, , , , , | Right | December 3, 2022

My parents have decided to have a yard sale to downsize in preparation for some house renovations, and I’ve popped over to help out. Amongst the stuff they’re trying to get rid of is a bunch of my old stuff from when I was a kid, including a Thermos themed around a popular and long-running cartoon franchise.

A couple of hours in, a woman comes by with her daughter who looks to be about six years old or so. The girl immediately zeros in on the Thermos and picks it up.

Girl: “Mom! Mom! Can I please get the [Cartoon] cup?! Please?!”

Woman: “No, we really need clothes right now, [Girl]. I’m sorry.”

The girl puts it back but pouts for a while until she gets distracted by our dog.

Soon enough, the woman eventually comes up with nothing but a bunch of clothes to buy from us. While she’s trying to figure out how she’s paying, my dad quietly slips the Thermos into the bag we’ve folded the clothes into — getting a nodding approval from the mom! — and the two of them head out.

Not even two minutes later, the girl sprints back, overjoyed, and shouts at the very top of her lungs:

Girl: “THANK YOU FOR THE [CARTOON] CUP! PLEASE HAVE A VERY NICE DAY!”

Easily the cutest customer we had all day.

There’s A Hole In The Hardware

, , , , , , , | Right | December 3, 2022

It’s my first day on the floor in a tech support call center, and my trainer is showing me the ropes. He’s also a supervisor, so our training keeps getting interrupted by escalated calls.

Trainer: “So, those are the basics. I think you should be good to go as most of the calls we get can be answered using the scripts.”

Another worker calls over to us.

Worker: “Hey, [Trainer]! I need you on this one! The caller is threatening to sue us because he shot his laptop when it was freezing as he thought he could — and I quote — ‘shock it back into working again.’”

My trainer and I just stare at each other.

Trainer: “I said most of the calls we get can be answered using the scripts. I never said all.”

Tamp-On, Back Off, Mom!

, , , | Related | December 3, 2022

I’m fifteen years old, shopping with my mom. I quietly place a box of tampons on the counter amongst my mom’s groceries.

Mom: *Loudly* “I only bought some of those for you last month. What on earth are you doing with them?”

Me: “Do you really want me to tell you?!”

The checkout girl cracked up laughing. I was so embarrassed!

You Can’t Have Our Cake And Eat It, Too

, , , , , , , | Friendly | December 3, 2022

I’m thirty-one so this story is a tad bit old, but it still makes my family laugh to this day. It’s good enough that, despite my memory loss from having had grand mal seizures during the first twelve years of my life, I still remember it like it was yesterday. It takes place on my ninth birthday.

We’re at a public park with my family and friends. We’ve got the cake and candy and pizza and snacks. Don’t forget party favors!

We’re having fun and hanging out and having a blast, and there are these kids slowly eyeing us from the park. Now, mind you, my mom isn’t dumb. She grew up poor, so she knows what it’s like being a kid and watching kids around you get stuff while you get nothing. We give people food and goodie bags. We aren’t a**holes. We share with the public. We can’t give the whole world things, but we share.

Some parents come up with their group of kids not long after we’ve given some skateboarders goodie bags.

Man: “Nice party you have here.”

Dad: “Thanks. How can we help you?”

Woman #1: “It’s my daughter’s birthday today.”

Mom: “Well, happy birthday. Would you like some cake?”

The little girl looks like she simply wants cake, and so do her friends. My sisters and friends are more than willing to welcome them to join us, but this woman and her friends aren’t going to let that happen until they put my mom in her place.

Woman #1: “She won’t be having cake. Not until you understand how disrespectful it is to come to a public park and eat like this in front of others.”

My grandmother gets up.

Grandmother: “Excuse me?”

Woman #2: “Well, my daughter is hungry.”

Sister: “Didn’t we literally just offer cake?”

Woman #1: “That doesn’t matter. You can’t just come here and eat like cretins while my children starve!”

The group of parents mumbles in the background about how we didn’t offer them food or drink.

Mom: “Then bring food. It’s a public park. I’m here having a birthday party for my daughter. I’ve given plenty of food to children already. I can’t be held responsible for the fact that you aren’t trying to feed your children. Look. I offered your starving daughter cake, and you continued to let her starve. So, who’s the disrespectful one now?”

The woman made this face like my mom had just smacked her. Mom handed the little girl some cake, and her mom grabbed her by the arm and stormed off angrily.

The other people kind of hung around and my mom eyed them, telling them that they should either leave or stay. They pretty much apologized and grabbed some cake, and it became a bigger party than expected.

Two years later, the same woman tried doing this to us again over chicken nuggets. Only, when she realized it was us, she panicked and started laughing, literally trying to make it into a joke. My mom just gave her the finger and slowly devoured a nugget as the lady backed away. I swear, she has no life.

Coal Is The Stuff Santa Brings You When You Don’t PAY ATTENTION

, , , , | Right | December 3, 2022

I used to work at a narrow gauge steam railway a few years ago. We had a decent collection of engines ranging from total rebuilds to World War II trench locomotives. There were three steam locomotives on the roster, with one that was too small to be used regularly.

At the time, I was training to be a fireman, stoking the fire, shoveling coal, and maintaining the boiler water level. It’s a fairly complicated job if you don’t know much about it already, and quite a responsible job, too. If you ain’t got enough coal on the fire, you have no steam to move.

I was on the footplate in the cab keeping an eye on the water level while the actual fireman was poking about up the shed trying to find some oil to refill our oil cans with. He left me to check the water level, and the driver wasn’t far away if anything went wrong. It’s not unusual for people to come up to the engine and want to have a look in the cab. If there are children, nine times out of ten, we open the fire hole doors to show them the fire.

Then, this guy turned up. He was asking how old the engine was, why it was built, where it worked, and all the normal stuff people ask. THEN, he asked where the petrol (gasoline) goes.

Me: “It’s not petrol-powered. It’s a steam locomotive, so it uses coal and water.”

Guy: “Water doesn’t burn! Where does the petrol go?”

Me: “It doesn’t use petrol. It uses coal and water.”

Guy: “What’s coal?”

I took a step back, asked him to clarify his question, and then showed him the coal in the coal bunker and the fire. I even threw a shovel full of coal on the fire, too.

Guy: “So, does the petrol go in these tank things on the side, then?”

Me: “I… It doesn’t use petrol, sir. It uses coal, that black stuff I just showed you. That heats the water in the boiler from the tanks. There is no petrol, diesel, or any form of liquid fuel on this locomotive. It’s coal-fired. Solid fuel.”

I was starting to get stressed out and pretty angry at this guy. The driver noticed, came back to me, and asked how the water was looking. It was fine, and the guy walked off.

I then looked at the driver, who looked at me. Both of us blank-faced.

HOW could someone not know what coal is? Actually, genuinely how?

At the end of the day, I was helping with loco disposal, shoveling clinker and ash out of the ashpan and ash from the smoke box to make it ready for the next day’s use. I also had to refill the coal bunker, which is hard work by yourself on a summer evening.

As I was finishing up running about with shovels and wheelbarrows, I overheard the guy from before talking to someone.

Guy: “So, where do you get the petrol from for the steam trains?”

I wanted to throw myself into the firebox and smash my head against the firebox wall until I passed out.