Category: Math & Science

Everyone needs basic math and science skills to survive. However, these customers were definitely sleeping their way through class!

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Immeasurable Confusion, Part 2

| Wales, UK | Crazy Requests, Math & Science

(A posh, seemingly well-educated older man comes into our shop. He’d been in several times before and was always very pleasant so I didn’t mind taking some extra time to help him out. He told me he’d broken his ruler and wanted a new one so I took him to the right aisle.)

Me: “What size were you after?”

Customer: *picking up a six inch ruler* “This is it. This is the size of the old one.”

Me: “Okay, no problem.”

Customer: “Only… my old one had metric on one side and imperial on the other.”

Me: *pointing it out to him* “Yes, this one has that too. That side’s centimetres; that’s inches.”

Customer: “No, no. That’s not like my old one.”

Me: “How was yours different?”

Customer: “Well, it was almost exactly like this only the lines on this side matched up with the lines on that side.”

Me: “Sorry, do you mean the first line on the metric side was level with the first line on the imperial side?”

Customer: “Yes, but they matched up all the way along.”

Me: “As in… no, I think I’ve misunderstood you here.”

Customer: “As in the one centimetre line was level with the one inch line, the two centimetre with the two inch line and so on.”

Me: “Ah, I think what you had there was centimetres on one side, millimetres on the other. They’re both metric, ten millimetres to every centimetre so the lines would match up on every centimetre.”

Customer: “No, I assure you; it’s centimetres one side, inches on the other and they match.”

Me: “I don’t see how that could be possible. They’re completely different units of measurement.”

(I point out the difference in size between the two but he’s very confident that he’s right. I start to think maybe I’ve missed something.)

Customer: “I’ve been using that ruler for years and I can absolutely assure you that it’s what I just described.”

Me: “Erm… the ruler wasn’t curved or something was it? Like a protractor?”

Customer: “No, no, no. I tell you what, I’ll buy this one now and I’ll send you the old one through the post so you can have a look at it and see what I mean.”

Me: *quite curious now* “Okay, I’d quite like to see this.”

(I make the sale and true to his word, a few days later an envelope arrives with a friendly note, suggesting that perhaps it’s an old fashioned style of ruler which is why I’ve never seen it before as he’d been using it in his office for many years. I take the broken ruler out of the envelope and discover that it’s metric both sides. I show my colleague and she tells me he’s been in charge of a large estate for years which by now he may well have turned into a tiny model village due to a miscalculation of scale.)

Related:
Immeasurable Confusion

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Should Have Cashed Out Early

| Indianapolis, IN, USA | At The Checkout, Math & Science, Money

(I’m a customer in line for an ice cream fundraiser. There are three teenage girls in front of me and one cashier. Ice cream is $3.)

Girl: *to friend* “Hey, do you have change for a five?”

Cashier: “You need change?”

Girl: “Yeah, do you have five ones for a five?”

Cashier: “You’re buying ice cream…?”

Girl: “Yeah, but I need five ones for a five.”

Cashier: “I can just… You want me to keep three of them?”

Girl: “No! I want five ones for a five.”

Cashier: “Okay… here you go.”

Girl: “Thanks. Ice cream is $3?”

(The girl takes three of the ones the cashier just gave her and hands them back to the cashier.)

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The Gift Card That Keeps On Taking

| Boulder, CO, USA | At The Checkout, Math & Science, Money

(I work in a grocery store as a cashier. I am ringing up a customer and we get to the end of the transaction.)

Me: “That’ll be $5.17 for you today.”

(The customer swipes his card and it gets declined. At this point I notice that it’s a Visa gift card.)

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry… It didn’t seem to accept that amount. Do you know the balance that’s left on the card? It’ll probably go through if I type in the specific amount.”

Customer: “I don’t know. You check.”

(He shoves the card at me.)

Me: “Oh, unfortunately our system is only set up to check the balance of our store gift cards. I don’t have a way to check the balance for you. Sorry about that!”

Customer: “You check. You should know the balance.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, like I said, our registers are only set up to check balances on store gift cards. That’s a Visa gift card, so I have no way of checking the balance on your gift card.”

Customer: “Why are you making this so difficult? It’s your job to know my balance, not mine.”

Me: “As I said before, I unfortunately have no way of checking your gift card balance on my register, since it’s not a store gift card.”

(Finally the customer takes out a crumpled receipt and tosses it on the counter along with the gift card, which has the original balance written on it.)

Customer: “You do the math and figure it out.”

(I type $3.15 into the register and hit the debit button.)

Me: “Okay, so $3.15 is going on the card and I just need you to swipe one more time.”

Customer: “I already swiped it before. I shouldn’t have to do it again.”

Me: “Oh, you just need to swipe it one more time since it didn’t go through the first time.”

(He finally swipes his card. I thank him and tell him to have a good night.)

Customer: “You should learn to relax.”