There Is Nothing Preferred About This Customer

, , , , , | Right | February 12, 2019

(I’m a customer in this story. There have been a series of storms that have caused some significant flight delays into the Northeast. I’ve arrived almost eight hours late after what was supposed to be two-hour flight. It’s 2:38 am when I get to [Car Rental Agency]. There is a long line of beleaguered travelers who just want their d*** cars. Several customers in line are so-called preferred members who can ordinarily skip the line when the express counter is open. It is closed between 1:00 and 4:00 am. There is obviously some displeasure at the continued wait, but none are more pointedly accusatory towards the staff than one middle-aged man who is about twelfth in line.)

Customer #1: “Why can’t I get my car now if my name is on the board?”

Desk Agent #1: “Because the express counter is closed.”

Customer #1: “But why can’t I get my car now if my name is on the board?!

Desk Agent #1: “I’m sorry, sir, but the express counter is closed until 4:00 am.”

(This repeats several times.)

Customer #1: “That’s great. That’s just f****** great.”

Customers #2 & #3: *to me, just loud enough for half the line to hear* “We’re on the board, too!”

([Customer #1] rants at various volumes for the next ten minutes, until finally, his inner seven-year-old comes out. In the warbling, modulated moaning whine that any parent or former child would instantly recognize, he starts repeating:)

Customer #1: “But I’m a preferred customer!”

(This went on for ten minutes. The staff was moving people through at the best rate that they could, but they now had to deal with this middle-aged man’s tantrum. Finally, they created a line just for him. Sadly, this was a year ago, and the voice of this forty-something child still haunts me.)

Not Banking On This Level Of Stupidity

, , , , , | Right | February 8, 2019

(I work in an airport.)

Me: “Okay, so, you declared that you have more than $10,000 dollars on your person.”

Passenger: “Yes. It’s for work; I’m a television producer.”

(After a few more questions and proof of the validity of the money, I decide to take him into a room to count it.)

Me: “I’m going to take you to a secure counting room to count it all.”

Passenger: “What? It’s just on my card.”

Me: “What?”

(The passenger takes out his credit card and waves it.)

Passenger: “I have more than $10,000 in the bank.”

The Lady Doth Declare Too Much

, , , | Related | January 24, 2019

(Back in the 80s, my mum’s cousin moves from the UK to America for a while. My mum goes to visit her and brings along a few home comforts because her cousin is feeling homesick and needs cheering up. My mum steps up to the counter for declaring customs with her bag, and takes out a few items.)

Customs Officer: “What is this?” *points at a bottle*

Mum: “Oh, that’s ‘Ribena,’ a type of concentrated blackcurrant juice.”

Customs Officer: “Ma’am, we have juice in the United States.”

Mum: “I know, but it’s a specific type you can’t get here, and my cousin has really been missing the taste of it.”

Customs Officer: *points at the next item* “What is this?”

Mum: “A cardigan. I guess you’d call it a jumper or sweater?”

Customs Officer: “Ma’am, we have these in the United States.”

Mum: “Yes, but it’s from a shop in the UK, and I thought it would make a nice gift because it’s lovely and soft.”

Customs Officer: *opens up a package to see a loaf of homemade bread* “What’s this, then?”

Mum: “That’s soda bread; my mother made it with our family recipe. It looks a little strange inside, but I promise it’s not a hash cake or anything! You’re welcome to try a piece. It tastes better with butter; I’m sorry I don’t have any.”

(She breaks off a chunk to reveal a bright green crumb and offers it to him, and he looks at it with a mixture of disgust and wariness.)

Customs Officer: “Ma’am, we don’t have anything like that in the United States.”

Spoon Fed That Bomb Joke

, , , , , , | Right | January 22, 2019

I was the stupid customer in this one. We were in the security line at the airport, waiting to get through. We had to fly across the country because my grandmother had just died, and we needed to be there.

We made it to the other side, but our stuff, including my backpack, hadn’t. So, we waited. And we waited. And waited. Finally, an airport worker walked over to us and asked if any of us might have brought a metal spoon. We shook our heads, and he walked away.

About two minutes after he walked away, I had a sudden realization. Two weeks before I had been on a youth retreat of sorts where we decorated spoon handles with clay. I had used the same backpack on that trip. I remembered putting the spoon in the side pocket, but not taking it out. Normally for a trip like this, I would have emptied out all of the pockets. However, because I was still reeling from the news of my grandmother’s death, I hadn’t been thinking clearly. Thus, emptying out my backpack had simply slipped my mind.

I flagged down the same airport worker and explained my theory. He took my backpack out and handed it off to his female coworker. She took it to the side to search through for the spoon. Along with the tangled mess of charging cords and headphones, she pulled out the clay-handled spoon. At the sight of the silly [Popular Cartoon Character] handle, she started to laugh. When she saw my confusion, she explained. Their software had detected metal surrounded by organic material surrounded by wires. They’d thought that the only thing that it could be was a bomb. I began to laugh, too, and she put everything back into my bag.

I’ve always heard horror stories about the TSA, but they didn’t act anything like I would’ve expected. While it did slow us down, I got a good laugh during a week where there hadn’t been much to laugh about.

South Of The Border

, , , , , | Working | January 15, 2019

(My best friend lives in Southeast Asia, and we try to meet up whenever possible. This year it’s my turn to fly to her. I have to fly to LAX airport in California, spend one night, then board a new flight the next morning. One thing I always like to do is bring her some of her favorite snacks that she can’t buy where she lives, so my carry-on backpack is stuffed with snacks that I’ve confirmed are allowed on the flight — no liquids, etc. One of these snacks is a particular brand of pork rinds that are made by a local company we’d always buy in college. Recently they came out with a new flavor — sea salt and vinegar — which I know she’ll love, so I bought her the biggest bag I could find. As I am going through security at LAX, my backpack gets pulled for a more thorough inspection. I have plenty of time to get to my flight, so I’m not worried. The TSA agent opens my bag and his eyes bug out at the amount of food I have Tetris-packed in there. It turns out, they need to check the seal on the can of mixed nuts I’ve packed and test the outside of it. I guess sealed cans like that are a good place for illegal items? Anyway, the TSA agent is putting the snacks back in my bag when he spots the pork rinds.)

TSA Agent: “What are these?”

Me: *thinking: “It says right there on the label.”* “Salt and vinegar pork rinds.”

TSA Agent: “What?”

Me: “They’re pork rinds, but salt and vinegar flavor. I’m taking them for a friend to try.”

TSA Agent: “Yeah, I’ve had pork rinds. I’ve just never seen anything like that.” *looks at me like I’ve committed some act of witchcraft*

Me: *out of explanations, I shrug* “I’m from the South?”

TSA Agent: “Oh! Well, that makes sense.”

(He seemed happy with my answer, put the pork rinds back in my bag, and handed it to me. The rest of the trip went smoothly, and my friend was delighted with her snack haul.)

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