Best Of The Decade! 2013

| Right | December 17, 2019

Dear readers,

Welcome back to our walk through the last decade of Not Always Right! We had some fun with 2012 yesterday, today we tackle 2013, the year that Obama got four more years, Lance Armstrong got a lot fewer, and most of us discovered what twerking is.

It was also the year we published the following highest-voted stories of the year. Enjoy!

 

10. In Line And Out Of Line

Grocery Store | South Africa

(I’m in line to pay. Customer #1 in front of me is about in his 40s, and very well-dressed in a suit and tie. Customer #2 in front of him seems to be a single mother with her child. I’m 25, and pretty shabbily dressed; wearing only faded jeans, an old, novelty Star Wars shirt, and have my long hair almost covering my eyes.)

Customer #1: “Lady, can you hurry up! Some people are important and actually have places to be!”

(Customer #2 is fumbling with her money. In her cart she only has basic groceries and what appears to be a birthday cake for her child. She mumbles something about not having enough money, and decides to leave the cake behind.)

Customer #1: “Don’t waste everyone’s time if you can’t even pay for your s***! Or maybe you need another government handout that comes from my taxes?!”

(At this point, I feel like I’ve got to step in.)

Me: “Hey, man, that’s enough!”

Customer #1: “Who do you think you are? I’ll have you know I’m the [High Profile Position] at [Large Shipping Company], and no one ever talks to me like that.”

(Suddenly, I become much more respectful.)

Me: “I’m so sorry, sir. I had no idea you were so important. Would you mind if I asked you for your business card?”

(Customer #1 smugly hands me his card. I see he is, indeed, who he says he is.)

Me: “And here’s my business card.”

Customer #1: “Why the h*** would I want your—”

(Customer #1 suddenly goes pale, as he notices that I am co-owner of [Large Shipping Company].)

Me: “Now that I know your name, I’ll be sure to phone your supervisor to ensure you’re put on probation. One more act like this and you’re fired.”

(Customer #1 stammered for a bit, before practically running from the store. I ended up paying for the mother’s cake, and even gave them a bit extra to buy the kid any toy from the store.)

9. Judge A Sandwich On Its Filling

Coffee Shop | USA

(A young girl that is about 14 years old walks in. She gets some looks from our other patrons, as she has bright purple hair, multiple piercings, a leather jacket, and ripped jeans. It is freezing outside and she has a scowl on her face that makes me nervous.)

Me: “Hello, welcome to [Coffee Shop]. How may I help you?”

Young Girl: “I’ll take five of the largest black coffees you have, and ten of your ham and cheese sandwiches.”

Me: “Okay, will that be all?”

Young Girl: “Yeah.”

Me: “Your total is [price].”

(To my surprise, she pulls out a $100 bill. I am suspicious, and I check to make sure it’s real. It checks out, and I give her a bag with her sandwiches.)

Me: “Here is your change. Your coffee will be ready in a moment.”

(I keep an eye on her as she stands around glaring at anyone who looks at her. I see her looking at the tip jar. When I hand her the coffees, she asks me about it.)

Young Girl: “Your tip jar says that the money goes to you guys. Are any of you in college?”

Me: “Yes, I’m going to Rochester Institute of Technology. A few others are in college as well.”

Young Girl: “Good for you.”

(She pulls out the change I gave her and a few more $20 dollar bills. She crams then in the jar and salutes me jokingly before walking out. I am stunned, and chase after her. I find her on the street corner talking to some homeless people and handing out the sandwiches and coffee.)

Me: “Excuse me!”

Young Girl: “I’m sorry, did I forget something?”

Me: “No, but you just tipped us over $100 dollars. You’re also giving away a lot of food.”

Young Girl: “Yeah, my dad is crazy rich. I feel like I can do more if I actually interact with people instead of signing a check to a charity. Every Friday I gather anyone I see who needs a good meal, and buy it for them.” *she smiles brightly* “I may be young, but I can make a difference. I usually hand out flyers for homeless shelters or soup kitchens, too.”

(Without another word, she walked off silently. I didn’t stop smiling for the rest of the week. It goes to show you that appearances aren’t everything!)

 

8. The Boss Gets More Than Just The Check

Restaurant | USA

(A young gay couple has become my favorite regulars at the small restaurant where I work. One day as I am talking with them, an older, more conservative-looking man walks past us to the To-Go pickup area. He stops short next to us, and in the same moment, I see one of the young guys look down with a panicked expression at where he is holding his boyfriend’s hand.)

Older Man: “James! I didn’t know you ate here!”

James: *uncomfortable* “Oh, yeah, um… it’s half way between work and my… boyfriend’s work, so.”

Older Man: *glances at James’ boyfriend* “Oh.”

(There is an awkward pause, where we all just stare at each other.)

Older Man: “I’m sorry, I’m being rude.” *offers his hand to James’ boyfriend* “I’m Mike, James’s boss. Very nice to meet you. We all love James in the office.”

James’ Boyfriend: “Oh! Nice to meet you, too! You know, James is always talking about how much he looks up to you.”

(James is so visibly relieved that he is near tears. The three makes some more small talk before the older man heads off to pick up his lunch. I end up taking his payment and he quietly asks me to pay for James and his boyfriend’s meal as well.)

Older Man: “You know… when I was growing up, I was taught that being gay was bad, a sin. But that young man is the brightest kid I’ve ever known, and I can’t see a d*** thing wrong with him…” *pauses* “…or his boyfriend.”

(He smiled at me and then walked away without another word. To this day, I can’t think about the look on James’s face when I told him that his boss paid for his nearly $100 meal without wanting to cry.)

 

7. Getting Owned By The Owner, Part 2

Coffee Shop | UK

(I’m standing in a fairly short queue when a businessman walks in, pushes straight to the front, and starts dictating his order to the 20-something-year-old cashier.)

Cashier: “I’m afraid you’re going to have to go to the back of the queue, sir.”

Businessman: “I have an important meeting shortly. You must serve me now!”

Cashier: “Yeah, the longer you stand there, the later you’re going to be. Back of the queue.”

Businessman: “Do you have any idea who I am?”

Cashier: “Nope. Now shut up and go to the back of the queue.”

Businessman: “How dare you talk to me like that?! Get me your manager now!”

(The cashier sighs heavily, walks into the back, comes out with an older woman in tow and nods her towards the businessman, then disappears back into the back.)

Manager: “What seems to be the problem, sir?”

Businessman: “That boy was incredibly rude to me! I demand you fire him immediately!”

Manager: “I’m afraid I don’t have the authority to do that, but if you want I can get the owner for you.”

Businessman: “Bah! Fine, but I expect to be compensated for having to go through all of this trouble!”

Manager: “I’m sure you can discuss that with him, sir.”

(She then walks into the back, then comes out again with the now grinning cashier.)

Cashier: “Yo.”

Businessman: “What’s the meaning of this? I said I wanted to talk to the owner!”

Cashier: “Like I said, yo.”

(The businessman silently gapes for a few seconds, then walks out, stammering threats about having his head and closing the shop down.)

Manager: “Why do you always have to involve me?”

Cashier: “I just love the look on their stupid little faces when they find out I own this joint.”

(The manager rolls her eyes and walks into the back.)

Cashier: “I love this job. What can I get you?”

 

6. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Powers

Kiosk | USA

(I’m half-Chinese, but with my sunglasses on, people usually can’t tell. I’m fluent in Mandarin. One day I get a text from my friend, a grade-school teacher.)

Friend: “You speak Chinese, right?”

Me: “Yeah, why?”

Friend: “Come down to [intersection] around noon and explain what the f*** is going on.”

(At my lunch break I head down there. On one side of the street is a crowd of school kids, while on the other side an elderly Chinese man with an ice cream cart.)

Kid #1: “I’m gonna do it.”

Kid #2: “No way.”

Kid #1: “Yeah way. I’m fast enough!”

Kid #2: “You’re not Chinese.”

Kid #1: “So?”

Kid #2: “Only [Chinese Name] can do it.”

Kid #1: “I’m gonna do it.”

(Kid #1 dashes across the street, yanks back the cover of the cart, and grabs a handful of ice cream. He takes off, but the vendor catches him, pinning both arms behind his back.)

Vendor: “Ah, three bars? Your total is $9.28.”

Kid #1: “Lemme go!”

(The vendor removes some money from the kid’s pocket with his free hand.)

Vendor: “Cash paid is $20.”

Kid #1: “Yeah, yeah, I know the drill.”

(While still holding the struggling kid, the vendor deposits the $20 in his till and takes out change.)

Vendor: “Your change is $10.72.”

(The vendor puts the change and ice creams in a bag and hands them to the kid, who takes off.)

Vendor: “Have a nice day!”

Kid #2: “Told you.”

Kid #1: “Fine! Okay, [Chinese Name], you do it!”

(A short Chinese boy steps forward. His clothes are patched and despite the weather, he’s not wearing a coat.)

Chinese Kid: “Let us meditate… on the way of the wind.”

(He strikes a ridiculous pose and exhales loudly. The other kids jump back.)

Chinese Kid: “…on the way of the snake…”

(New pose, hissing loudly. The others back away even more.)

Chinese Kid: “…on the way of the hawk.”

(He flaps his arms and jumps in a circle. The kids are a good twenty feet away now.)

Chinese Kid: “The meditation is done.”

(He runs up to the ice cream vendor and grabs a handful of bars. The vendor strikes him with an exaggerated karate chop which the kid easily blocks.)

Chinese Kid: *flees, speaking Chinese* “Thank you, Mr. [Vendor]!”

Vendor: *shakes his fist angrily, also in Chinese* “Sorry we are out of lime today!”

(The Chinese kid kicks towards the vendor from across the street.)

Chinese Kid: “My mother says she hopes your leg feels better!”

Vendor: *red-faced with rage* “It does! Tell her thank you for the tea!”

(The kids are enthralled. As they eat the ice cream, I approach the vendor.)

Me: *in Chinese* “What just happened?”

Vendor: “Oh… you understood. That little boy is a new immigrant, and all the other children mocked him because he is small and weak. He told them Chinese people have special powers, and they beat him up and told him to prove it. But I overheard and whispered to him to rob me. Now we have a deal.”

Me: “How wonderful!” *pointing behind him* “Hey, can you tell what that is?”

(As he turns around, I drop some money on the cart and grab a bar of ice cream, fleeing.)

Vendor: “You forgot your change!”

Me: *shakes my fist* “It’s a tip!”

Kids: “Whoa! How did you do that?”

(I slip off my sunglasses. The Chinese kid bows to me and I bow back.)

Kid #2: “Told you they have special powers. Never bully a Chinese kid, man. Never!”

 

5. Setting Mother Straight

Grocery Store | USA

(I’m working the cash register when a mom comes through with a teenage daughter in a private school uniform. I’m pretty flamboyantly gay.)

Me: “Hello today, ladies. Did you find everything you need?”

Mom: “Just shut up and finish this, f**.”

(I’m used to this kind of abuse, so I continue ringing her up. I notice the daughter roll her eyes at her mother, but doesn’t comment.)

Me: “And if you could just sign that receipt right there, ma’am.”

Mom: *snatches receipt* “You should be ashamed of yourself! Acting that way in front of my daughter! Homosexuals are ruining this country! Look at those two over there making out in the middle of the store!”

(Her rant continues as she points to a young couple walking through the store holding hands. She then goes on to attack the ‘biker chick’ with the tattoo in the next line. I can see her daughter getting angrier, and finally she snaps.)

Daughter: “Can you please just stop? This guy’s been pretty d*** helpful and probably has better taste in men than you! And those two are freakin’ adorable so leave them alone. You want to hear something really good? I have a boyfriend. We’ve had sex. Oh, and I got a tattoo.”

(She proceeds to rip up the back of her shirt to reveal a tattoo on her lower back before turning back around to face her mother.)

Daughter: “And you can’t say anything because I’m an adult just like every other person in this store. So you can take your prejudiced opinions and shove them up your a**. If you want me, I’ll be at Dad’s!” *storms out*

 

4. Need To Press Paws

Pet Store | USA

(I am cashier at a pet store. I see a man walk into the store, pick up a large and expensive coffee table book on show dogs, and get in my line. My manager has warned me, and shown me a picture of, this man. He tries to convince cashiers to give him a refund for items he has just stolen. I immediately page my manager, who, unbeknownst to me, is tied up with a minor medical emergency in the back of the store.)

Thief: “I want to return this item.”

Me: “Do you have a receipt?”

Thief: “No.”

Me: “I’m very sorry, sir. Without a receipt, I cannot give you a refund.”

Thief: “Give me a refund.”

Me: “Sir, I watched you pick that book up when you came in. I know you did not buy it.”

Thief: “Give me the f****** money, or I’ll kick your a**.”

(Most of the customers in my line start backing away.)

Me: “Sir, I cannot give you any money, and if you leave with that item I will call the police. Please leave the store.”

Thief: “You little a**-hole!”

(The thief grabs the front of my shirt, and rears his arm back to punch me. I throw my arms up to shield my face. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a flash of movement. The next thing I see is a spatter of blood on my counter, and the man out cold on the floor with a bloody nose. My manager, with a paramedic from the earlier emergency, walks up.)

Manager: “What just happened?”

(As I tell my story, an assistant manager calls the police, opens another line, and checks out the waiting customers. The paramedic starts checking on the man, who has a clearly broken nose. The man slowly regains consciousness, and points to me.)

Thief: “She assaulted me! I’m going to sue!”

(I talk to the police.)

Me: “He grabbed me, but I never hit him. I don’t know how he got hurt!”

(The man, a known criminal, is handcuffed and put in the police car. The officers and my manager go to review the security cameras. About ten minutes later, I get called to come back to the office.)

Manager: “You have got to watch this!”

(The camera footage clearly showed the man getting the book, getting in line, arguing with me, and then grabbing my shirt. At that moment, the customer in line after him, a tiny, middle-aged Asian woman, leaped up, grabbed the hair on the back of his head, slammed his face into my counter, and then calmly stepped back to where she had been standing. She did it so quickly that we have to run the footage back on slow to see exactly what she had done. After the thief was out cold, she walked over to the new line that the assistant manager opened, bought her bag of cat food with cash, and left without a word. Apparently, the other customers either didn’t see what she did, or decided to keep their mouths shut. We have no idea who she was, and we never saw her again. The thief was charged with assault on me, and arrested. Wherever you are, lady, thanks! You’re my personal superhero!)

 

3. The First And True Language Of America

Grocery Store | USA

(I’m waiting in line behind a woman who is speaking on her cellphone in another language. Ahead of her is a white man. After the woman hangs up, he speaks up.)

Man: “I didn’t want to say anything while you were on the phone, but you’re in America now. You need to speak English.”

Woman: “Excuse me?”

Man: *very slow* “If you want to speak Mexican, go back to Mexico. In America, we speak English.”

Woman: “Sir, I was speaking Navajo. If you want to speak English, go back to England.”

 

2. UK is OK

Restaurant | USA

(I’m British, white-skinned, blue/green-eyed, red-haired, Celtic. I’m studying in the U.S. and work at a restaurant part-time. It’s a small-ish town and most people there seem to be quite sweet and any comments on my accent have always been ones of surprise or complimentary.)

Me: “Good afternoon, sir and madam, are you ready to order?”

Customer #1: *confused* “I’m sorry, what?”

Me: “Are you ready to order?”

Customer #1: *looks at her husband, confused* “What did she say?”

Customer #2: “Must be a foreigner not bothering to learn English.” *slowly and loudly* “I CAN’T UNDERSTAND YOU. DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?”

Me: *slowly and loudly* “YES, I DO, SIR. I ASKED IF YOU WERE READY TO ORDER.”

Customer #2: “Oh, this is ridiculous! She doesn’t speak a word of English! Tell you what, all these foreigners are coming into America, taking American jobs from real Americans!”

Customer #1: “Let’s find one who can understand us!”

Me: “I can find someone else to take your order from you, if you’d prefer.”

Customer #2: “Oh, she does speak English now!”

Customer #1: “She was screwing with us the whole time! This is unacceptable! We don’t come here to be made fools of!”

Customer #2: “Stupid foreigners coming in stealing our jobs and screwing up the American way of life!”

Me: “If you’re worried about foreigners coming to America and stealing your livelihood and culture, you can take your complaints down to the nearest Native American reserve, where they will be more than happy to sympathise.”

Customer #2: “How dare you?! You think you can come over here and disrespect the American people like that!”

Customer #1: “We want the manager here now! I’ll have you fired and deported back to your own dirty country!”

Me: “I’ll fetch him now for you.”

Manager: “What seems to be the problem?”

(Customer #1 & #2 rant excessively at him for employing foreigners who don’t speak English and disrespect Americans.)

Manager: “Well, sorry to burst your bubble there, guys.” *gestures to me* “[My Name] here is from the United Kingdom and arguably speaks better English than all of us. And she’s a valued employee so if it comes down to a choice between your custom and her working here, I’m a have to choose her over you two. Now get out of here!”

(At this point, Customer #3, an old man with a thick southern accent, beckons me over.)

Customer #3: “Hey, you, girlie.”

Me: “Can I help you, sir?”

Customer #3: “On behalf of the United States Of America, I just wanna apologise for the way those two morons just treated you. I been a citizen here for 78 years, an’ I ain’t never let nobody tell me howta treat people. I served alongside a British guy in a the last war and I never had a problem wi’ him. Far from it.”

Me: “That’s so nice! Thank you!”

Customer #3: “Woulda married him, too, if people like that wouldn’t make such a fuss about it.”

 

1. Suited To The Role

Clothing Store | USA

(I work the floor at an independently-owned menswear store. The owner, my boss, spends a lot of time at the shop, and tries to keep prices as low as possible to help our city’s large homeless population get good job interview clothes. A clearly homeless man is wandering around the store. The other patrons are giving him looks.)

Customer: “Excuse me, sir?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am?”

Customer: “I think you may want to call security. That… bum over there, he keeps feeling the suits and muttering to himself. I’m just sure he’s planning to steal one.”

Me: “Well, ma’am, I think that’s quite unlikely.”

Customer: “Oh, come on, you know how they are! I mean, I’d keep an eye on him even if he wasn’t homeless!”

(The homeless man in question happens to be Hispanic.)

Me: “We don’t discriminate here, ma’am.”

Customer: “Well, I’m sure the owner would want to hear about this!”

(I give in and call him over. The customer explains her concerns. As a Black man, my boss isn’t happy with her racism, but agrees to talk to the homeless man.)

Owner: “Excuse me, sir, are you finding what you need?”

Homeless Man: “Well, not really. I’m hoping for something versatile in a dark or navy wool, but most of the options in my size are cut American style instead of European, which fits me a little better. Not to mention they’re all pinstriped, which I really don’t have the build for, you know?”

Owner: “I… yes, I understand. I think we may have some options over here, if you’ll follow me. How did you know all that?”

Homeless Man: “Back before I lost my job, I used to be really into this stuff. I’m not looking for anything fancy, just something I can use to look good for a job interview later today.”

(My boss helps him find something he likes, and comes to the counter with him. The suit is priced at $87.)

Homeless Man: *digging in his pockets* “Hang on, I think I’ve got enough.”

Owner: *to me* “Take my card. I’m buying it for him.” *to the homeless man* “Here. The suit’s yours, on one condition. After your interview today, you come back and apply for a job here, too. Got it?”

Homeless Man: “I… oh, my God, thank you. Thank you so much.”

(Two years later, that formerly-homeless man is my manager, and has a little girl with his new wife — the owner’s sister.)

 

Previous ‘Best Of The Decade’ roundups can be found here!

2012
2011
2010

Check back tomorrow, for our 2014 roundup!

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