A Fight Between Black-Felts

| Right | June 4, 2013

(I am a 17-year-old male. I’ve recently become interested in learning how to make stuffed animals. I decide to make a stuffed animal for my sister, and go to the local fabric store for some felt and materials.)

Me: “Hi, can I get black, white, orange, and yellow felt please?”

Cashier: “Of course! What for, if I may ask?”

Me: “I’m going to attempt to make a stuffed animal for my sister; wish me luck!”

Cashier: “Aw, that’s so sweet!”

(The cashier hands me the black, white, and orange felt.)

Cashier: “You’ve got the last black felt, but let me check to see if we have any more yellow.”

(The cashier goes to the back. An elderly customer comes in, and snatches the black felt out of my hands.)

Me: “Hey! I need that!”

Elderly Customer: “No, you don’t. What would a stupid kid like you need this for?”

Me: “I have my reasons. Can I please get that back?”

Elderly Customer: “I need this more than you do. I bet you don’t even know how to sew; you’re a boy.”

(The cashier comes back.)

Cashier: “We’re all out of yellow, but we have—hey, why does she have the black felt?”

Elderly Customer: “I need it more than this brat!”

Me: “She grabbed it from me. Theoretically I could just cut up an old T-shirt or someth—”

(The cashier snatches the felt from the woman.)

Cashier: “Give me this.”

Elderly Customer: “WHAT WOULD SOME TEENAGER NEED THAT FOR?!”

Cashier: “He’s making a stuffed animal for his sister; now get out before I throw you out.”

(The elderly customer grumbles and leaves.)

Me: “Thank you so much.”

Cashier: “Honestly, I don’t know why that woman keeps coming back. Good luck on your stuffed animal; come back and show it to me!”

Me: “I’ll be sure to!”

(The stuffed animal came out great; I hope my sister loves it!)

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Finally Singing To The Same Tune

, , , | Right | October 14, 2013

(I’m a piano tuner in a sparsely populated area in the rural west. The phone rings.)

Me: “Hello, [My Name] piano service.”

Caller: “Do you tune pianos?”

Me: “Yes, I do. I also do all kinds of repairs, as well as complete restorations. The only thing I don’t do is moving.”

Caller: “Great! What’s the total cost for a tuning?”

Me: “I need some more information to give you a price. Do you know how long since it’s been tuned?”

Caller: “Well, we live on a ranch on long way from nowhere, and it’s been here since before 1900, so for sure at least that long. Our family has never spoken to a piano tuner before.”

Me: “Wow! That’s a really long time! I’m honored! So, do all the keys go up and down, and does each key make a sound?”

Caller: “Yes, we checked, and it actually doesn’t sound that bad. Out of tune, of course, but everything works.”

Me: “Great! You mentioned being on a ranch. How far from [City I’m in] are you?”

Caller: “We’re 25 miles outside of [Town of 500 people, 200 miles away], on a gravel road that goes through a mountain pass. Well, actually, you have to cross the entire mountain range to get here. We own an entire valley.”

(I look up their location on Google maps, calculate the driving fee, and give them a price for a service package.)

Caller: “That’s a very fair price! Sold! But you don’t do the moving? Is there a mover you usually recommend?”

Me: “Yes, I have a favorite mover. Wait. ‘The’ moving? I’m not sure I follow. Oh, you’re moving it somewhere else before I tune it? I could contact my mover, tell them your location, and get a price, and get back to you.”

Caller: “Wait, what? Now I’m confused. We like your price on the tuning, but now we need to add the costs of the moves to know the total price?”

Me: “Moves? You’re moving it more than once? Am I tuning it, then it gets moved, and I tune it again? Is this all at once, or separate jobs? Now I’m lost!”

Caller: “Do you actually do this very often? We’d think you’d have the procedures and costs all worked out by now.”

Me: “I’m so sorry, but I’m not following you at all. Let’s start over. Where is it getting moved TO?”

Caller: “How would we know that? Are you being a smart-a**?”

Me: “What?”

Caller: “Where do you live?”

Me: “Why would you need to know that? Are you threatening me?”

Caller: “We DON’T need to know! And of COURSE we’re not threatening you! But YOU asked where it was getting moved to. For Christ’s sake!”

Me: *lightbulb goes off* “You want to move the piano to where I am?”

Caller: “Of course! How else are you going to tune it?”

(I am in stunned silence. In my entire career, no one has ever thought they had to deliver the piano to ME to have it tuned, and then have it moved back to their house.)

Caller: “Hello? Are you there?”

Me: “Yes. I’m here. I see the misunderstanding now. Piano tuners always drive to where the piano is, no matter how far away, and tune the piano where it is. The piano does not have to be brought to me. Pianos are NEVER brought TO the tuner. Tuners always go TO the piano. The price I gave you includes me driving all the way out there to your ranch and back home, staying at a motel if I have to, gas, tax, and the work I’ll do; everything is included. There’s no need for a mover at all.”

(There is a prolonged silence before they continue.)

Caller: “We’re really not as stupid as you probably think we are right now. Really. No one here has the slightest idea what a piano tuner does, or how they do it, or what it costs. We’ve just been raising cattle for five generations out here, see, and… Oh, Christ.”

(I hear several people in the background start to laugh. I can’t help it and start laughing, too. We’re all choking on laughter over the phone for at least a minute.)

Caller: “That’s a h*** of a long drive, so how about we get the guesthouse ready so you can stay overnight? Is cash okay? Do you like steak? What would you like for breakfast? If you like fishing we have miles of private streams. Bring a friend if you want; nothing but room up here!”

(I ended up with more value in free-range gourmet steaks and wild trout packed in a huge ice chest, than my entire tuning package fee!)

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