Archive for 2012

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Sound And Fury, Signifying Policing

| Ontario, Canada | Bizarre, Wild & Unruly

(I volunteer at a rather unusual renaissance faire that showcases a number of home-built medieval weapons for competition. Prizes are awarded for authenticity, construction, and most importantly, use. My job at this point is to keep guests from wandering into anywhere dangerous. Currently, I’m stationed at the edge of a crossbow and arquebus live-fire zone.)

Guest #1: “What’s going on here?”

Me: “Stay back, please. This is the crossbow and arquebus live fire zone. The contestants are going to be shooting homemade weapons in the next few minutes.”

Guest #1: “At people?”

Me: “No sir, at targets. These are real weapons that shoot real arrows and bullets.”

Guest #1: “That sounds awesome! I’m going to stick around for that.”

Guest #2: *overhearing us talk* “Do they let visitors shoot?”

Me: “No sir, sorry. The weapons are extremely dangerous and all our participants are licensed and trained.”

Guest #1: “Aw man, I hunt all the time. Can’t I?”

Guest #2: “I’m also experienced with firearms.”

Me: “Sorry guys, no one’s allowed in without a competitor badge. What you can do is talk to the competitors after the event about getting a guests pass. They’re allowed to bring people with them, and I know they’ve invited people they’ve met at shows in the past who’ve demonstrated interest. But the show’s about to start, so I recommend trying to get some good seats.”

(The show begins, and many of the competitors are wearing period dress. When the arquebus presentation begins, my supervisor calls out the codeword for missing weapon on the radio. Before I can even start to call the police, there’s a sudden explosion, and a man awkwardly wearing a page’s shirt and a plate helmet falls over backwards. He removes his helmet, revealing Guest #1’s face. Before he can get far, Guest #2 tackles him.)

Guest #1: *to Guest #2* “Hey! You can’t do that! You don’t even work here!”

Guest #2: “The lady said you need a badge to enter the field. Well, buddy, I’ve got one of those!”

(Sure enough, Guest #2 did have a badge—a police badge!)

You’re Just Ants-ing For Trouble

| Minneapolis, MN, USA | Extra Stupid, Pets & Animals

(Note: when people start our service, they sometimes see more bugs in the first week because the chemicals agitate them before they die. We usually get a lot of calls from first time customers freaking out about this, so we have recently asked the techs to explain this to customers so we get less calls.)

Me: “Pest control, how can I help you?”

Customer: “Yes, I’m very concerned. I just started with you and I don’t have any ants.”

Me: “Well, that’s a good thing. That means its working.”

Customer: “But I was told I would see more ants after the treatment! I don’t see any! This is horrible!”

Me: “Ma’am, we have our techs tell all our customers that because sometimes they do. If you don’t, that’s okay, too. Actually, that’s a REALLY good thing.”

Customer: “But I don’t see any ants! I don’t know what to do!”

Me: “I’m not sure that I can help, because you don’t seem to have a problem.”

Customer: “I DO have a problem! NO ANTS!”

Self-Fooling Prophecy

| Oslo, Norway | Extra Stupid, Money

(I am a customer consultant. We sometimes get people on the phone who have been called by the debt collection company due to unpaid invoices.)

Me: “This is [company]. How may I help you?”

Customer: “How dare you send my invoice to the debt collection company!”

Me: “That is unfortunate. May I have your invoice number, please? Perhaps we have the wrong address on file.”

Customer: “It’s [invoice number]. After you sent me three reminders, you have suddenly sent it to the debt collection company! I want to cancel my services immediately!”

Me: “Wait, you HAVE received the reminders we’ve sent you?”

Customer: “Yes, I did. I threw them away.”

Me: “And why did you never call us when you received the reminders?”

Customer: “I thought you would stop sending me reminders.”

Me: “You thought the unpaid invoice would just magically disappear if you threw away the invoice reminders?”

Customer: “Yes, Of course!”

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Self-Discarding Prophecy