The Mother Of All Bad Parents

| Adelaide, SA, Australia | Right | November 18, 2013

(My coworker, who is manning the registers, has been approached by a small girl, no more than three years old. The girl is crying and has lost her mother.)

Coworker: *to me* “Can you please make an announcement over the PA? I’ll look after her.”

(My coworker takes the little girl to the colouring-in table and sits with her, which leaves us one short at the registers. I jump on to cover her and continue to make PA announcements every few minutes, describing the child and asking for her parent to make themselves known to staff. Perhaps 15 or more minutes pass.)

Coworker: “It’s been at least 15 minutes, and the girl is getting more and more frightened. I can’t distract her with colouring forever. I don’t think the mother is in the store.”

Manager: “You’re right; it’s been too long, and not one staff member knows who the mother is. I’ve done the rounds and asked everyone. I’ll call the police.”

(At this moment, a woman wanders over to the colouring-in table and grabs the child by the arm, completely ignoring the fact the girl is sobbing.)

Manager: “Are you this girl’s mother?”

Woman: “Yeah.”

Manager: “We’ve been paging you for near 20 minutes. Have you been in the store this whole time?”

Woman: “Yeah.”

Manager: “Surely you heard the pages? All we asked was that you make yourself known to staff! Your daughter has been frightened half to death! We were just about to call the police! Why didn’t you come to the counter?”

Woman: “And risk losing the service of the guy who was selling me a computer? F*** that. I ain’t risking having to wait for someone else to serve me. What if he served someone else while I was talking to you lot? It was pretty f***ing clear where my daughter was thanks to the PA system, wasn’t it? Not like I f***ing lost her or anything!”

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A Streetcar Named Cheshire

| Toronto, ON, Canada | Right | November 18, 2013

(I’m taking my cat in a carrier to the vet. I don’t have a car, so I’m taking the streetcar; it’s mostly empty except for an older woman.)

Older Woman: “You go to vet?”

Me: “Yeah, it’s time for my girl’s checkup.”

Older Woman: “May I see?”

Me: “Sure.”

Older Woman: *pets my cat* “Oh, such soft fur. What dog?”

Me: “Oh, she’s not a dog. She’s a cat.”

Older Woman: “Rare to see such soft dog. Good brushing!”

Me: “Again, thank you, but she’s a cat.”

Older Woman: “And well behaved! Dogs bark!”

Cat: “Meow!”

Older Woman: “You and dog have good day!”

Me: *to my cat* “Sorry girl, but you’re a dog today.”

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The Internot

| Online | Right | November 18, 2013

(I work for a internet retailer so all of our sales come via a website. We don’t operate any physical store locations.)

Me: “Thanks for calling [store name]. How may I help you?”

Caller: “I need to place an order.”

(I take the caller’s order, and get to the part where I need her personal information.)

Me: “…and may I have your email address, please?”

Caller: “No.”

Me: “Well, that’s how your receipt and shipping information will be given to you.”

Caller: “I don’t like giving it out. I don’t understand why you need it. Why can’t you just mail it to me?”

Me: “The receipt and shipping information are emailed to you through our store’s sales system. It’s something that happens automatically. We will not sell it or abuse it in any way.”

Caller: “Well, that’s stupid! What if I don’t have an email address? What do you do for your customers who don’t have a computer?”

Me: “Being an internet retailer, we haven’t had much of a problem with that.”

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Totally Bugging Out

| VA, USA | Right | November 17, 2013

(It is a hot and buggy day, and a guest enters with her friend. They are talking loudly, and make a beeline for the elevators. With their backs turned to me, I see a large spider hanging on the back of the guest. The guest is oblivious because she keeps talking to her friend, who doesn’t notice.)

Me: “Excuse me! Excuse me, ma’am!”

(The guest ignores me and disappears in the elevator.)

(I don’t think anything of it until a few minutes later; I get a call from her room.)

Me: “Hello, guest services. How may I help you?”

Guest: “Yes, you can help me by giving me a refund RIGHT NOW!”

Me: “What’s the problem, ma’am?”

Guest: “I’ll tell you what’s the problem! I didn’t pay $200 for a room that has BUGS! I just came back and laid down and then found a BUG on my pillow!”

Me: “Oh, I’m very sorry about that, ma’am.”

Guest: “You better be! This is outrageous! You all are THEIVES!”

Me: “Well, I’ll just send the manager up to help you.”

Guest: “Fine! I’m not lying!”

(I send the manager up and he comes back later to say that there was a spider on the guest’s pillow. He described it and sure enough, it was the exact same spider the guest had brought in with her from outside. It had crawled into her hair, and got smashed on her pillow! The manager explained this to her, but the guest didn’t believe it, and called us all liars and con artists.)

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To Term A Contradiction

| Nashville, TN, USA | Right | November 17, 2013

(My coworker and I are discussing our avid distaste for the ‘Twilight’ books.)

Me: “I mean… even if you look past the story line, the syntax is poor, and the vocabulary redundant. I don’t understand how it even qualifies as literature.”

Coworker: “I know. What’s to gain from even reading it?”

(A customer approaches, and I take her order. As I’m loading a box of plain glazed donuts for her, I suddenly notice a teenage girl standing at the other end of the counter. She looks quite shy as she waits for assistance. She’s wearing a shirt that I can’t help but admire aloud.)

Me: “‘…and then Buffy staked Edward. The end.’ I love your shirt!”

Teenage Girl: *shyly* “…thank you!”

Me: “My coworker and I were just making fun of that series… what a coincidence!”

Teenage Girl: *nodding enthusiastically* “I know! I like, totally love Buffy! But I like, totally love Twilight, too!”

(I feel my smile freeze in place, and politely refrain from commenting further. The girl continues to chatter on about the vastly different vampire series.)

Teenage Girl: “And I like, totally have this Cullen jacket and some jewelry… and I wore them with this shirt last week and I was, like… all… opposite-y…”

Me: *smile still frozen in place* “I see…”

(I finish the other customer’s donut order and ring her up. The teenager doesn’t take the hint and continues to wax poetic about her conflicting interests, trying to hold my attention. My coworker, who has been present for the whole exchange, assists the teenage girl with her order for cookies. After both customers leave, I turn to my coworker.)

Coworker: “‘Opposite-y?'”

Me: “I think the word she was looking for was ‘contradiction.'”

Coworker: “Let’s blame Meyers for that.”

Me: “Case in point. Not much of a lexicon.”

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