Something Is Out Of Places

| Wales, UK | Extra Stupid, Popular, Tourists/Travel, Transportation

(Our tourist information centre is located within a mainline train station. As such, we have timetables for the railway line that we can give out to patrons. Most people just take them away to browse at their leisure.)

Customer #1: “Hi!”

Me: “Bore da, good morning! How can I help you today?”

Customer #1: “Hi, yeah. We want to go on the train.”

Me: “Okay, well, you’re in luck as we sell tickets here! Were you wanting to travel today, or later in the week?”

Customer #1: “We don’t know. Can you tell us what times the trains are going?”

Me: “Well, trains run roughly every two hours. Northbound trains run at converse hours to southbound trains.”

Customer #2: “Slow down a minute. Opposite hours?”

Me: “Yeah, so if the trains run roughly two-hourly – give or take ten minutes. One way is on the odd hours, so 9, 11, 1, 3, and 5 – the other way it’s 8, 10, 12, 2, 4, and 6.”

Customer #1: “I don’t get it. Can you write it down?”

Me: “I’ve got a printed timetable. Would you like that?”

Customer #1: “Sure, that’d be great. Thanks!”

Me: *hands customer a timetable*

Customer: *squints at timetable for a minute* “What does all this stuff MEAN?”

Me: “Well, this page is northbound trains, we’re here at [Town], and this page is southbound trains, and [Town] is here. So you just pick where you want to go from there really.”

Customer #2: “Sorry, but how does this help us find the train times?”

Me: “Well, the rows running directly to the destinations have times printed, so if you see here –” *pointing at [Town] again and moving my finger along the row* “– you’ve got 08:50, 10:05, 12:00, 13:55, 15:57, and 17:59.”

Customer #1: “So those numbers are times when trains go?”

Me: “Yep! You got it!” *beams widely*

Customer #2: “But what are all the words?”

Me: “These? These are destinations at which the trains may stop on their way to their destinations.”

Customer #2: “So are those like… train stations?”

Me: “They certainly are, sir!”

Customer #2: “In, like, towns or something?”

Me: “Towns or villages, yes.”

Customer #2: “Whoah! So the trains can, like, STOP there?”

Me: “Yes indeedy!”

Customer #1: “So if we wanted to, we could go on the train from [Town where we are] to [Random Other Town]?”

Me: “Certainly you could! You’d just need to hop on the next southbound train and you’ll be there in 35 minutes!”

Customer #2: “But how do you know how long it will take to get there?”

Me: “Well, on the timetable, the rows designate stops, and the columns represent the journey, so from [Town] to [Next Station Down] is seven minutes. If you follow this column  then you can see the times for the journey. [Other Town] that you asked about is six stops after [Town] on here, and the arrival time on this row here is 35 minutes after the departure time on this row here.”

Customer #2: “We don’t really get it.”

Me: “It might be easier if you decide when and where you want to travel, and we can print you a sheet with just your personal journey details on. That way you won’t have to worry about other times or destinations.”

Customer #1: “But we want to know about those other places. They’re all, like, PLACES places?”

Me: *not even sure at this point what ‘places places’ might mean to them* “Yes, sure they are!”

Customer #2: “Well, we’ll take this and see if we can get to grips with it later.” *waves timetable at me*

Me: “Okay, then. Well, I hope you have a pleasant holiday, and remember you can always pop in and see us during [opening hours] if you need more assistance!”

(They left. I went into the back to make a STRONG cup of tea.)

Dairy, Dairy, Quite Contrary

| UK | Family & Kids, Food & Drink, Health & Body

(In the restaurant I work in the waiting staff make the desserts. We get an order for our children’s pancakes dessert which normally comes with ice cream, sauce, and marshmallows. The message says ‘just pancakes and marshmallows, no dairy.’ I check with my coworker who took the order.)

Me: “Our pancakes have dairy in them. Did you inform the customer?”

Coworker: “Yes. They just said they wanted them anyway, so I put the order through as they asked.”

(I decide to go check with the customer, who ordered the pancakes for her sons. Just in case there was any confusion.)

Me: “Sorry to disturb, but is this the table that ordered the pancakes with no dairy, just marshmallows?”

Customer: “Yes. Is there a problem?”

Me: “Are your children lactose-intolerant at all?”

Customer: “Yes, actually.”

Me: “Well, the pancakes we sell aren’t lactose-free. And I’m sorry, but we have no dairy-free alternative. I wouldn’t want your boys to get sick.”

Customer: “Oh, don’t worry. I know. But I already promised my boys the dessert. With all the extra stuff on they will get sick, but just the pancakes will make them only a little sick, so that’s fine.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

(I walk away to explain to my coworker making desserts not to worry about anything. The boys enjoyed their desserts but didn’t look to great afterwards.)

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Customer

| CA, USA | Crazy Requests, Money

(This all takes place over the phone.)

Customer: “Hi, I would like to know how much the Montblanc rollerball and ballpoint pens are?”

Me: “Okay, which ones?”

Customer: “There are only two kinds, rollerball and ballpoint.”

Me: “Right, I understood that, but we also carry fountain pens. I meant which specific design?”

Customer: “The black ones.”

Me: “Sir, they’re all black.”

Customer: “Oh. The nice ones then.”

Me: *face-palming, because they’re ALL expensive nice pens* “One moment.”

Me: “Okay, the Classique ballpoint is $575 and the Classique rollerball is $595.”

Customer: “Are you sure?”

Me: *sighs inwardly* “Yes, sir, I am holding them in front of me right now.”

Customer: “Oh. Do you have other brands that would be $200 or less?”

Me: *glances at the hundreds of pens in the case* “Yes, sir, but there are literally hundreds of pens.”

Customer: “Well, what do they look like?”

Me: “Sir, like I said, there are literally hundreds of pens. You’d need to come into the store to narrow it down.”

Customer: “Oh.” *click*

Overflowing With Problems

| Appleton, WI, USA | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Health & Body, Popular, Rude & Risque

(I’m bagging groceries, and in the middle of an order I notice that the cashier has paused, and is delicately holding up an item she has grabbed out of the shopping cart. She turns to the customer, and the following exchange happens.)

Coworker: “Ma’am, there appears to be something on this. Did you want a new one? Or…”

Customer: “Oh, that, yeah. My daughter had diarrhea, and it overflowed her diaper.”

(At this, my coworker and I take a closer look at the contents of the cart. It’s everywhere. My poor coworker just makes a horrified face, as she realizes she just got a handful of feces.)

Customer: “Yeah, you’re gonna clean that all up, right?”

(We are nowhere near capable of properly cleaning up what turned out to be a few dozen items coated in fecal matter (including a serious need for gloves) at the register, but she was “in a hurry” so we had to clean it up with just paper towels and the glass cleaner we use to wipe down the registers, all the while holding back the urge to vomit. Of course the customer didn’t say another word, but at least my coworker and I got relieved to go sanitize ourselves!)

Carting Around Your Assumptions

| Appleton, WI, USA | Awesome Customers, Popular

(I’m working out in the parking lot one day, bringing carts in with a cart caddy. I’m bringing a line of carts to an entrance, and I stop to let a few customers in ahead of me. I’m female.)

Customer #1: “Honey, we were just talking about you!”

(I just give her a puzzled look.)

Customer #2: *points to the other end of the parking lot, where you can see three of my male coworkers walking together with the other cart caddy, not pushing any carts* “Look at that! It takes three of those guys to escort that empty thing, and yet here you are, getting all these carts all by yourself!”

Customer #1: “You go, girl!”

(I couldn’t bring myself to tell them that one of those guys was done, one was going on his lunch break, and the third had just gotten in, and had gone out to relieve the others. It sure felt nice being appreciated though!)