Category: Geography

You may call them “lost”, but we prefer the name “geographically disadvantaged.”


Throw The Google Book At Them

| PA, USA | Geography, Technology, Wild & Unruly

(I’m working the Reference Desk at my local library. We often get questions from people asking for local phone numbers, addresses, etc., along with the general library questions. Calls like this one, where an elderly patron can’t find a number in their phone book, are very common.)

Me: “[Library], Information Services. This is [My Name].”

Patron: “Uh, I couldn’t find a local business in the phone book. Do you by chance have it in your Google book?”

(The patron is audible, but is slightly hard to hear because her television is so loud that I can clearly hear everything and identify the game show she is watching.)

Me: “I can definitely see if I can find it online for you. What business are you looking for?”

Patron: “Oh, dear… Uh… It was a local discount store…” *incoherent mumbling while [Game Show] is coming through more clearly than she is* “Oh! It’s [Dollar Store #1]! I want the one on [Boulevard I’m unfamiliar with].”

Me: “Sure thing! Let me check if it’s listed.” *pulls up all the listings for [Dollar Store #1]* “Ma’am, I don’t see one on [Boulevard], and I’m also not too familiar with it. Do any of these locations sound nearby?” *lists the locations*

Patron: *suddenly turns mean* “YOU’RE NOT DOING IT RIGHT! It’s on [Boulevard]! You’re supposed to know it and have it in your Google!” *continues ranting*

Me: *trying to avoid just hanging up on her, I suddenly realize there are two different dollar store chains in the city* “Uh, ma’am? Ma’am? Did you by chance mean [Dollar Store #2]? I just looked it up and there’s one on [Boulevard].”

Patron: *another mood flip* “Oh? Maybe. I forgot there were two of them. I’m sorry… Is it by [Department Store]?” *clearly very embarrassed*

Me: “Yes. That’s coming up on the map. Is this what you needed the phone number for?”

Patron: “Yes, and would you mind speaking up? I can’t hear you over my television. What’s the phone number?”

Me: *can’t really speak up, or else I would be shouting* “The number is…” *starts slowly giving the phone number*

(I end up having to repeat the phone number at least ten times. She keeps making up numbers and thinking that some are doubled up. Eventually:)

Me: “Ma’am? I’m just going to start over and give you the number slowly. That way we know that no one is losing their place. All right?”

Patron: “All right. What is it?”

(I slowly give the number, pausing a second between numbers. Right after the area code and first three digits…)

Patron: “Oh, hold on, honey. Would you mind waiting while I go find a pen and paper? I’m not going to remember this whole thing. That’s why I kept getting mixed up!”


Ireland Is A Cottage Industry

| USA | Extra Stupid, Geography, Popular

(I’m working as a hostess in a busy city restaurant that deals with large volumes of tourists. One afternoon a middle-aged couple comes in for lunch. It’s also important to note that I am Irish.)

Me: “Hi, welcome to [Restaurant]! How are you today?”

Woman: *turning to husband* “Honey! Wow, don’t you just love her accent?”

Man: “Yeah!” *to me* “You’ve got a nice accent there. Where’s it from?”

Me: “Thank you! I’m from Dublin, Ireland. I’m just over here for the summer.”

Woman: *in a strong southern accent* “Ireland? How lovely! You know, I’m Irish, too!”

Me: “Oh, really? That’s great. What part are you from?”

Woman: “Well, my great-great-grandmother originally came from Cork!”

(I hear this a lot – how Irish-American descendants consider themselves 100% Irish.)

Me: “Oh, wow! So have you ever been to Ireland yourselves?”

Man: “Nah, but we would like to go sometime!”

Woman: “Yeah, we would go if only you guys had electricity there!”

Me: “…?”

Man: *laughing* “Yeah, we couldn’t manage without bathrooms and TVs and stuff!”

Me: *unsure if they are joking* “Haha, actually we do have running water and electricity now… We’ve had it for a number of years, in fact…”

Woman: “Oh, honey, there’s no need to be embarrassed! We think it’s cute how you live in cottages. We’ve seen the pictures of those cute straw roofs you guys have.”

Me: *stunned silence*

Man: “So, tell me… how are you adjusting to city life?”

(It only went downhill from there! I don’t know where they got their ideas about Ireland, but I ushered them into their seats as quickly as possible so that I couldn’t hear more!)


Doesn’t Know What State His Mind Is In

| Baton Rouge, LA, USA | Geography

(The customer approaches my register, looking dazed:)

Customer: “Um, what city is this?”

Me: “Baton Rouge.”

Customer: “So… Louisiana?”


Those Are Some Pretty Long Pipes

| Scottsdale, AZ, USA | Crazy Requests, Geography, Popular

(There is a plumbing company in Maryland that shares the same company name as the one I work for in Scottsdale, Arizona. Due to the same name we occasionally get calls for them. I receive one such call from an restaurant in Westminster, MD.)

Her: “Hello. I work for [Restaurant] in Westminster, and we need a plumber.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we are in Scottsdale, Arizona. Not Maryland. We are about 2000 miles away from you.”

Her: “So, can you come out this afternoon?”

Me: “I’m sorry; We are 2000 miles away in Arizona. You have the wrong Apple plumbing.”

Her: “Wait, so, you guys can’t help us?”

Me: “Not unless you wish to pay a huge gas bill for us to drive out there and back…”

Her: “So, I guess you can’t be here this afternoon?”

Me: *sighing heavily* “No, not really…”


Dishing The Dirt

| Jupiter, FL, USA | Geography, Tourists/Travel

(I’m walking outside for my lunch break when I see a lady on her knees feeling the ground in front of our steps.)

Me: “Can I help you, ma’am?”

Customer: “Yes, hi, I noticed you have this nice black volcanic sand here and I was wondering if there are any nearby beaches with it?”

Me: *trying to contain my laughter* “No, ma’am, that’s dirt.”

(She turned bright red, stood up, brushed off her hands, and walked away.)

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