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You’re Making This R-I-E-lly Difficult

| USA | Language & Words

(An older man approaches my counter with two movie rental jackets in hand. If people don’t have their store card, we can look up by phone number or last name, but it only pulls up names if you spell them completely and correctly. It can’t bring up partial names.)

Customer: *loudly* “I haven’t rented in a long time. I’m in the system probably. My name’s [long, complicated surname], spelled R-I-E… *trails off and stares expectantly*

Me: *knowing I would butcher the spelling if I guessed* “What was the phone number on the account, please?”

Customer: “What?”

Me: *louder* “What’s your phone number?”

Customer: “R-I-E…” *trails off again and stares at me*

Me: “That’s not a phone number, okay.” *keys back up to the ‘last name’ option* “Can you spell out your last n—”

Customer: *talking over me* “What?”

Me: *even louder* “Can you please spell out your last name?”

Customer: “[Long, complicated name], spelled R-I-E…” *stares expectantly*

Me: “…and the rest of it?”

Customer: “What?”

Me: “Can you please spell out the last name for me?”

Customer: “R-I-E…” *stares*

Me: “No, the whole—”

Customer: “What?”

Me: “The whole name, please.”

Customer: *louder and slower* “R… I… E…” *stares expectantly again*

Me: *louder still* “Can you please spell out your ENTIRE last name?”

Customer: “Oh, you can’t spell [complicated last name]? It’s R… I… E…” *finally gives me the rest*

(I typed in the full name, and his account took a grand total of two seconds to pull up. It could have done that in the beginning, if he’d just given the full spelling the first time.)

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Conversational Weirdness Is Spiraling Upward

| NY, USA | Bizarre

(A customer is being served by a coworker at the deli at the grocery store where I work. My customer notices their transaction.)

Customer: “What was that ham that you sliced the other customer?”

Me: “That was the spiral ham.”

Customer: “Oooh, I usually associate the word “spiral” with a staircase… Can you imagine if you were sliding down a staircase banister and suddenly it turned into a straight razor?”

Me & Coworker: *exchange shocked looks*

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A Bad Sign About This One

, | Sacramento, CA, USA | Extra Stupid, Technology

(A customer approaches my print center counter.)

Customer: “Hi! I’d like to order a sign for my business’s door, but I want it to be in full color.”

Me: “Sure! What size did you need the sign to be?”

Customer: “It’s a sign for my door. But in full color.”

Me: “Yes, that’s no problem. I just need to know what size you’d like to order.”

Customer: “IT’S A SIGN FOR MY DOOR. BUT I WANT IT TO BE IN FULL COLOR!”

Me: “Ma’am, I need a measurement. I have to tell the sign company what size you want them to make your sign.”

Customer: *holds up her smartphone* “If I show you a picture of my old sign, will that help? It’s on my door. But I want the new one to be in full color.”

(She eventually had to call her husband over, and HE informed us that the sign they wanted was 2”x10” in size.)