The best of our most recent stories!

“Oof” Isn’t A Strong Enough Word

, , , , , | Learning | March 18, 2021

I am an American teaching English in China and my current class is a small group of preteens. One of my students is an eleven-year-old boy who is legally blind. He sits at the front of the class, I reverse the colors of the digital whiteboard to white writing on a black background, and he can more or less make it out.

I’m playing a game where I quickly ask the class questions on something we just read and call on students to answer them. When they answer correctly, I toss them a piece of candy.

Me: “What was Moe’s secret ingredient? [Blind Student].”

Blind Student: “Salt!”

Me: “Very good!”

I toss him a wrapped candy and he makes no attempt to catch it. It bounces off his face and lands on the floor. He fumbles around for a few seconds until he finds it while I stand there frozen, contemplating what I have just done.

Me: “Perhaps I should not throw things at blind children.”

1 Thumbs

Our Great Dumbocracy, Part 4

, , , | Right | April 1, 2021

I work at a café that’s running a promotion on Election Day: show your “I Voted!” sticker and get a free drink with purchase. Nine out of ten transactions go like this.

Customer: “Hi, I’d like a sandwich with a coffee. Here’s my sticker!”

Me: “Great! Coming right up!”

But then, there’s always the few.

Customer: “Give me a sandwich and a [Soda] and it had better be free!

Manners are free, and yet…

Our Great Dumbocracy, Part 3
Our Great Dumbocracy, Part 2
Our Great Dumbocracy

1 Thumbs

Math Is Your Friend, Part 8

, , , , | Right | March 27, 2021

A customer is buying two small boxes, totaling $2.14 with tax. She has a discount card, so I apply that, as well, bringing her total down to $1.84.

Customer: “How much did my discount save me?”

Me: “It looks like it saved you thirty cents.”

Customer: “But what did it save me?”

Me: “It saved you 15% off the boxes, today.”

Customer: “So if I bought more, my total would have been less?”

Me: *Pauses* “No.”

Customer: “Yes!”

Me: “Okay, how?”

Customer: “Because 15% off three, or even four, boxes is more than 15% off only two boxes.”

She gives me a smug look.

Me: “That’s… That’s not how that works. It seems like more of a discount, but only because the dollar amount is also higher.”

Customer: “No! I need four boxes.”

Me: “Okay. With the discount, that’s going to be $3.68.”

Customer: “Wait, no. Why is it more?”

Me: “Because you’re buying more boxes, so you’re spending more money.”

Customer: “Fine. Then I only want two boxes. You just lost a four-box sale!”

Math Is Your Friend, Part 7
Math Is Your Friend, Part 6
Math Is Your Friend, Part 5
Math Is Your Friend, Part 4
Math Is Your Friend, Part 3

1 Thumbs

The Sushi’s Quite Nice; The Coworkers Are Less So

, , , , | Working | March 22, 2021

We have a rude, entitled coworker in our office. She gives her opinion on everything, even though no one asks.

I’m eating my lunch; it happens to be a prepared sushi pack.

Coworker: “Ugh, what’s that?”

I sigh internally, as I know what’s coming.

Me: “It’s sushi. It’s quite nice.”

Coworker: “You would never catch me eating that. Isn’t it slimy?”

Me: “No, it’s… quite nice, actually.”

Coworker: “No, no, no. You wouldn’t catch me eating raw fish.”

Me: “Oh, this isn’t raw, actually.”

Coworker: “Of course, it is; sushi means raw fish.”

Me: “Not these ones. If you check the packet… Yes, there it is. ‘Does not contain raw fish.’”

Coworker: “Why don’t you just have a sandwich or something?”

Me: “Because I like sushi, it’s… quite nice.”

Coworker: “Okay.” *Laughing* “No accounting for taste, I suppose.”

She toddled off. I started taking my lunch a little later just to avoid her and her opinions. I feel much better for it.

1 Thumbs

Go Back To The Backwards-A** Century You Came From

, , | Right | March 18, 2021

I’m mixed race but am light enough that I pass for white. One of our regulars comes in, and I chat with him about this and that while I process his transaction.

Regular: “I went to one of your locations in [City] over the weekend.”

Me: “Oh, did you? Which one?”

Regular: “I believe it’s off [Major Road].”

Me: “Great choice. I have a few friends who work there.”

Regular: “There was a Negro girl working. I didn’t know they could. Know what I mean?”

He’s chuckling like it’s some great joke. I stare at him for several seconds with a shocked expression on my face.

Me: “No, [Regular], I don’t know what you mean.”

He attempted to explain, but I shut down my station, calmly walked into the back office, closed the door, and stayed back there until he left, grumbling.

1 Thumbs