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This Is How Democracy Dies

| Farmington, UT, USA | Right | November 12, 2013

(I work in an election office. It’s the afternoon on Election Day, and we’ve been in a call center since 6 am, telling citizens where their designated polling place is and explaining how closed primaries work. The phone rings.)

Me: “Hello, county elections, how may I help you?”

Citizen: “I’ve been to three different polling places today, and they all say I’m in the wrong place!”

Me: “Can I have your name? I’ll look up your polling place for you.”

(The citizen gives their name.)

Me: “It looks like your polling place is [Elementary School].”

Citizen: “I’ve already been to three other places! How was I supposed to know that’s where my polling place was?”

Me: “Well, we sent you a card a few weeks ago with your polling place on it. It should also be on the voter card that was mailed when you registered to vote at your address.”

Citizen: “I have three kids! I don’t have time to read my mail!”

Me: “In addition, we’ve listed all the polling places in the local paper for the last two weeks, and you could look up your polling place online at [website]. We’ve also had pamphlets at the local library. Or you could have called this number before you went to three different polling places.”

Citizen: “That’s unacceptable! I want someone to come to my house on the morning of election day with a van and say, ‘Mrs. [Name], this is where you vote!'”

Me: “Uh…”

(And that’s how democracy dies.)

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Mom Should Move To England

| MI, USA | Working | November 12, 2013

(My mom and I are ordering in a popular burger chain at a mall food court.)

Mom: “…and a hot tea.”

(The worker prepares our order. I get a cold drink as usual, but mom gets curious when she sees that the worker is holding two cold drink cups.)

Mom: “Excuse me, that was supposed to be a hot tea.”

Worker: “It is.”

(She looks into the cup. It’s hot tea, but since he put it in a cold drink cup, the heat of the tea is causing the wax to melt off the cup and float in the drink. Later, my mom tries her luck again at another branch of the same burger chain, in another town.)

Mom: “…and a hot tea.”

(Once again, a meal for each of us. Mom’s drink is in the proper Styrofoam cup for hot drinks this time, but she notices there’s no tea bag in it.)

Mom: “You don’t use teabags?”

Worker: “Oh, this is just iced tea that we put in the microwave.”

(She then has to explain to the worker how to make a proper hot tea. My mom’s third attempt is at a Mexican chain in our hometown.)

Mom: “…and a hot tea.”

Worker: “I don’t think we have hot tea, but we have these little bags that you can open up and make tea with. Will that do?”

Mom: “…yes?”

(Seriously, what is it about the concept of hot tea that’s so hard to understand?)

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