Category: Math & Science

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

Don’t Count On It

| ON, Canada | Crazy Requests, Food & Drink, Math & Science

(We have school contracts at our restaurant that allows schools to buy pizza at a reduced price for resale. One such school has been calling every single order to complain, and giving us trouble every week, usually about them missing pizza. Finally, our district manager decides to deliver the pizzas personally, to make sure everything is right this time. Soon, we get this call.)

School: “Hi, I was calling because your driver left the pizza bags here. Were you going to pick them up?”

(Curious about why our manager would leave the expensive bags there, we wait for her to come back to ask.)

District Manager: “Oh, that? They asked me if I had an hour to wait for them to count the pizzas. I said ‘nope’ and walked out.”

Assistant Manager: “Why would it take them an hour to count 40 pizzas?”

District Manager: “Honestly? I don’t think they can count…”

Give Them An Inch And They’ll Take A While

| New Zealand | Extra Stupid, Home Improvement, Math & Science

(I am serving a customer with curtain fabric.)

Me: “Do you know how much you need?”

Customer: “Yes, I measured it.” *peers at our set into the counter ruler* “But I didn’t use one like that; mine was different. That’s hard; mine was soft.”

Me: “You would have used a t—”

Customer: *talking over the top of me* “Yes, mine was different. It was longer, too. Will there be a difference because yours is shorter than mine? I’m sure it was longer. I think it was longer. Do you think it will make difference?”

Me: “Did you use a tape measure?”

Customer: “A what? I’m not sure what you mean”

Me: *holding up a tape measure* “Did you use something like this?”

Customer: “Yes, that was it, but mine was longer than this ruler. I’m sure it was longer”

Me: “Tape measures are a metre and a half long. Our ruler is only a metre.”

Customer: “Oh, that’s why. I was worried.”

Me: “So what was the measurement?”

Customer: “It was [measurement].”

Me: “Is that in centimetres or inches?”

Customer: “Is there a difference?”

Me: *mental face palm, holding tape measure* “This side is centimetres and the other is inches. Which side did you use?”

Customer: “Oh, the smaller one. I am sure I used the smaller one…”

Doesn’t Understand Your Conversion Metric

| Home Improvement, Math & Science

(Our store usually prints dimensions on the packaging in centimetres and so the staff are used to older customers having trouble converting to inches. A customer approaches myself and another staff member.)

Customer: “Excuse me, could you help me work out this curtain size?”

Me: “Sure, what do you need?”

Customer: “Well, I need a length 2.28 metres but this one says 228 centimetres. How do I convert that?”

Causing An Infraction

| Nashville, TN, USA | Food & Drink, Math & Science

(As at many restaurants in the South, we have extremely sweet iced tea. It is common for guests to order “1/2 & 1/2 tea.”)

Me: “What would you like to drink?”

Guest: “I want some 1/2 & 1/2 tea, but I want more sweet than unsweet.”

Me: “That’s not how fractions work…”

They Ended Up Having A Triffid Conversation

| USA | Bizarre, Math & Science

(I am an undergrad researcher to a microbial genetics lab. As such, we have a lot of plants along one wall for experiments. These are pure-bred alfalfa plants, some of them genetically modified, so we are a little protective of them. We don’t want any of their seeds escaping the lab, both because they’re expensive, and because we don’t want them cross-breeding with the wild-type alfalfa outside. We have a net below to catch their seed pods, but some seed pods escape. Because of this, we’ve asked the janitors to not sweep underneath the plants so that we can gather up any escaped seed pods and they don’t make it out into the wild. I’m in the lab late working on a project that needs the bacteria fed every hour. So, I’m staying the night, but am currently surfing the Internet and watching shows while waiting for the next feed. A janitor comes in to clean and goes white in the face when she sees me.)

Janitor: “I’m sorry. I didn’t know anyone was in here.”

Me: “Sorry. Go ahead. You’re fine.”

Janitor: “I’ll just come back later.”

Me: “The bacteria need to be fed every hour for this experiment, so I’m here all night. Just do what you need to do.”

Janitor: *looking at me like she’s seen a ghost* “Really… I’ll just…”

Me: “Do you need me to leave?”

Janitor: “No… I…”

(She starts cleaning the lab, and I notice that not only is she not sweeping under the plants, but she is leaving a good five feet between her and the plants whenever she goes near them. She seems really overly cautious about it and seems like she’s going to a lot of trouble to not go near them.)

Me: “It’s okay; you can go near the plants. We just don’t want to lose their seed pods, is all.”

Janitor: *suddenly less afraid* “They won’t eat me?”

Me: “What? The alfalfa?”

Janitor: “Yeah. That’s what my manager told me. You guys were making a plant army for the government and we had to leave the plants alone, or we’d get bitten or even eaten.”

Me: *pauses* “They are just alfalfa plants. We’re being paid by the Department of Agriculture to make alfalfa plants that need less nitrogen fertilizer.”

Janitor: “Oh!”

(She spent the rest of the time cleaning the lab having a great conversation with me. It turned out she was a really nice girl, a French major, and we both spoke French and it helped pass the time. I kind of understand now why she was afraid of our lab, but I don’t understand why she thought the government was building a plant army.)

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