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Drastic Plastic

| UK | Crazy Requests

(It is my first day as a sales assistant in a video game store. I’m tidying the store when a woman walks over to me holding a Disney Infinity figure.)

Customer: “Excuse me, what is this made of?”

Me: “Um… I think it’s plastic?”

(The customer stares at me as if waiting for a different answer.)

Me: “You know what? I’ll check with my manager.”

(I walk over to my manager and, obviously looking completely bewildered, tell him what the customer just asked. He looks just as confused as I am.)

Manager: “Yeah… It’s plastic.”

Me: “That’s what I said.”

(I head back to the customer and give her the same answer as last time. She looks absolutely devastated.)

Customer: “Oh… I’m sorry…”

(She puts the figure back. And hurriedly leaves. My manager comes over looking bamboozled.)

Manager: “What was she hoping for?”

Me: “I don’t know. Hand carved from the finest ivory by tiny woodland pixies?”

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Can’t Do Anything To Sweeten This Up

, | AK, USA | Crazy Requests, Food & Drink, Time

(I work as the cake decorator in the bakery of a well known supermarket. This incident happens on a Tuesday — not one of our busy days — and I’m just working on making back-up cakes for the freezer. A lady comes up and says she has a question.)

Customer: “Can I order a cake and have it done today?”

Me: “It depends on the cake, but it shouldn’t be a problem.”

Customer: “Okay, well, I want this one.” *points to a two-tier detailed cake in the book*

Me: “Okay, not a problem. When would you like it by?”

Customer: “Noon.” *note, it’s currently 11:30 in the morning*

Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t have it done that soon, but I can do it by 12:30 at the earliest.”

Customer: “Really? Why can’t you have it done by noon? I NEED it by noon!”

Me: “I’m really sorry, ma’am. It takes a little time for a cake like that but I’d you’d like I can have it done by—”

Customer: “Jesus Christ! What good are you? Fine! I’ll just get a different one.”

(She proceeded to order a smaller much simpler cake, that could have been done in the half hour she gave me, to be picked up by four…)

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You’re Getting Warmer

| MI, USA | Crazy Requests, Food & Drink, Technology

(In the time leading up to Thanksgiving each fall, our store carries supplies to cook a turkey: the fryer itself, peanut oil, etc. Last season a gentleman came in looking for a ‘cooker’ and I assumed this is what he wanted. I took him over to the shelf and this is how that conversation went:)

Me: “Here we are sir, turkey fryers!”

Customer: “No, no, this isn’t it. I mean, these are nice but the ones you had last year are what I’m looking for.”

Me: “These are the same style we carry every year. How was the other one different?”

Customer: “Well it didn’t use oil at all. Just two sticks.”

Me: “Two sticks?”

Customer: “Yeah, it was just a plate with two vertical sticks.”

Me: “Umm… I have to admit I’m a bit lost on this one. I’ve worked here for five years and the oil-type is the only turkey fryer we’ve had.”

Customer: “No, no. I’d like the style you had last year.”

Me: “Well, if you’d like to leave your information I’d be happy to check into special ordering you something. So it’s a flat plate and…?”

Customer: “Okay. So, it’s a flat plate with a cord sticking out of it, and two round tubes that stick straight up. I’m sorry, but this isn’t a pretty subject…”

Me: “Go ahead…”

Customer: *lowered voice* “Well, you can do two turkeys at once on it. You stick the tube up the turkey’s a**, plug it in, and it cooks it.”

Me: “…”

(After a few more moments of awkward conversation, I came to the conclusion the customer had made Thanksgiving dinner last year with a boot warmer.)

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Ignorant Of Your Ignoring

| Louisville, KY, USA | Bad Behavior

(Part of my job involves greeting customers and touching back with them to make sure they’re able to find what they were looking for. I also have to ask them about opening store charge card which is as awkward for me as it is for them. Most of the customers are polite and good-natured about it.)

Me: “Oh, good afternoon, ma’am! What brings you in today?”

(The customer is already walking in the other direction. This happens sometimes since sometimes my voice can be kind of soft, especially when we have several customers coming in over a short period of time, so I just assume she didn’t hear me and think nothing of it. Later, I find her browsing in my zone while I’m touching back with customers.)

Me: “Hi, ma’am, are you finding everything all right?”

Customer: “Hm.”

Me: “Will you be shopping with our store charge—”

Customer: “I don’t like this kind of service. I thought I made that clear when I ignored you at the door!”

(I’m so stunned that I can’t say anything as she walks out the door. I turn to see one of my coworkers and another customer staring after her in surprise.)

Coworker: “Woah.”

Customer: “But… you were just doing your job, weren’t you?”

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Not Aiming For A Photo Finish

| IN, USA | Crazy Requests, Money

(I am a clerk in a small-town newspaper office.)

Customer: *on phone* “Hello, I’d like to purchase the photos of my daughter [Name] that ran on June 13, 14, and—”

Me: “Sir, I can’t place an order for you over the phone, but I can give you directions to order the photos through our website.”

Customer: “Well, that won’t work for me. I’m computer illiterate. And I can’t come in to your office because I’m in [Town more than an hour away]. Can’t I just give you my credit card and you can do it for me?”

Me: “I apologize, but the only way to order copies of our photos is through a third party on our website. Do you have an email address? I can email you directions for using the website. They’re very simple.”

(The customer grudgingly agrees to this and gives me his email address. He promises to call me back if he can’t understand the directions, and I tell him that as long as he is in front of a computer I will be happy to walk him through the process. Sure enough, a couple hours later, he calls back.)

Customer: “Well, all right, I’m at [University] library in front of a computer.”

Me: “All right. Did you receive the directions I emailed to you?”

Customer: “Yes, but they didn’t make sense. I told you, I’m computer illiterate.”

Me: “Can you open the Internet?”

Customer: “Well, now the computer’s restarting. The screen’s gone black. I’m pressing buttons.”

Me: “It might be best to get a librarian to help you.”

Customer: “There’s no one here! It’s just me!”

(I sit on the phone for almost ten minutes while he gets the computer to restart. Eventually he gets a browser open, and it becomes clear to me that he doesn’t understand how to enter a URL into the address bar, but he does recognize Google and knows how to enter search terms. I get him to google our website and walk him through the photo-ordering process. Everything is actually going smoothly until we hit a dead-end on our search for the pictures.)

Me: “Sir, it’s possible the pictures were submitted photos. We only have the right to sell photos that were taken by our staff photographers.”

Customer: “Well, can’t you just make a copy of it for me from your files?”

Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t. If you send us a check to cover postage, I would be happy to send you some copies of the newspapers.”

Customer: “I don’t understand why you can’t just copy it and blow it up to an 8×10. I know you have the printing capabilities to do that at a newspaper!”

(We actually don’t have the capacity to print anything on photo-quality paper in my office, which is one of the reasons we contract with a third party to print and sell our photos online.)

Me: “Sir, I don’t feel comfortable identifying which photos you want if we aren’t able to look at them together. I would hate to send you the wrong photo or the wrong size. Like I said, I would be happy to send you some copies of the newspaper, and you can take them to Kinko’s and make whatever copy you would like.”

Customer: “Well, I’ll send you an envelope, but I don’t understand why I have so much trouble with your newspaper! I’ve left several messages over the last week trying to order these photos and everyone has been too cowardly to call me back! I don’t understand why I can’t just give you my credit card number and you can do this for me! I run a business, you know! I always pay people to do things for me! I demand retribution for the service I’ve received!”

(Yes, he did say “retribution.” I’ve always wondered how someone who runs a business in this day and age can be quite so computer illiterate. I also wonder why someone who runs a business was so eager to give his credit card information to someone who doesn’t work for the company that sells the photos and therefore isn’t authorized to handle credit card information for them.)

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