Babies: The Madness!

, , , , , | | Learning | May 27, 2019

(I’m a PhD student visiting a local high school with my professor. It’s Science Day, and it is not going well. A demonstration on the dangers of electricity shorted out, setting off the fire alarm and blowing the fuses. Several students’ science projects were knocked over or destroyed in the evacuation, and someone has been bitten by a goat. Everything’s out of control, but after the regular lights come back on, the principal has gotten on a mic and is trying to calm everyone down.)

Principal: “Okay, everyone, please settle down. We may be off track, but there’s still plenty of science day to get to! I think we’re going to skip ahead now. We have a nice treat for everyone: eight parents of [High School] students in scientific and medical fields are going to tell you all about what they do and their exciting and important careers in science!”

(She pulls out a stack of index cards, and I recognize them: we learned early on that the science teachers had been organizing everything, and the principal didn’t really know what the plan was, so she asked each presenter to jot down a few notes about their backgrounds and what they’d be talking about.)

Principal: “We’re going to hear from… Let’s see… Dr. [Doctor #1] at [Local University]! She’s an entomologist, which means she studies insects. Her work focuses on… uh…”

(The principal is holding the cards at arm’s length, and it becomes apparent that she’s used to using reading glasses but doesn’t have them with her.)

Principal: “On… the ecosystem… of…” *squinting* “…of… migratory beetles?”

(There’s applause and then silence. At the back of the room, I see an AV tech bring up the slides.)

Principal: “Is Dr. [Doctor #1] here?”

Parent: “Oh! No. She fell in the lake when the fire alarm went off. She and [School Nurse] went off to find her some dry clothes.”

Principal: “That’s fine. That’s fine! Let’s find someone nice and pleasant. How about [My Professor]. He’s going to be talking… about… ”

(Her eyes go wide, and she puts the index card in the back of the stack. I guess “Infection Control in Spinal Surgery” doesn’t count as nice and pleasant.)

Principal: “Oookay. Here we go. Dr. [Doctor #2]! Here we go. He’s a doctor and a scientist, and he spends his time working with babies!”

(She puts the cards back in her pocket. The AV tech in the back is violently shaking his head, giving a thumbs down, and crossing his arms in an X, but she doesn’t see him.)

Principal: “Caring for vulnerable people like babies is what makes science so important, you know? Dr. [Doctor #2], can you join us on stage? And can we please get the slides up?”

(Next to me, someone who seems about the right age to be another PhD student speaks up.)

PhD Student: “Oh, s***. Oh no.”

(A worried-looking man walks onto the stage. He tries to push the mic away for a moment – probably to whisper in the principal’s ear – but she interprets it differently and hands him the mic. He stands there for a second in silence, looking at it awkwardly. The principal leans into the mic one more time.)

Principal: “Can we get those slides, please?”

(The AV tech gives a shrug and hits a button while starting to laugh. An image of a snarling dog appears on the screen alongside the words, “RABIES: THE VIRUS OF MADNESS.” The students EXPLODE into applause and cheers, and the principal looks delighted until she sits down and notices the slides. She drops her head into her hands.)

Presenter: “The first thing you need to know about science is the importance of clearly communicating your findings, and the first thing you need to know about medicine is that every cliché about doctors’ handwriting is absolutely true.”

(The rest of the event goes off without a hitch, to the students’ delight and the principal’s mixed feelings. After the presentations, I meet the other PhD student and we’re talking about the mixup.)

PhD Student: “I’m disappointed that [Principal] stopped reading off the card when she did. As soon as I worked out she’d misread ‘rabies’ as ‘babies,’ I was really hoping to hear her read our goals of eradicating the scourge of babies from the globe.”

Unfiltered Story #151685

, , , | | Unfiltered | May 21, 2019

(A female customer walks in rapidly texting on her phone)

Me: “Hey welcome to [Sandwich Shop] what could I do for you?”

Customer: *Doesn’t respond and continues texting*

Me: “Ma’am?”

Customer: “Oh my god what do you want!”

Me: “I would like to know if I may help you, you walked into the store and you haven’t placed an order yet”

Customer: “Well sorry, I have a life and friends to text.”

(Another customer walks in and gets in line)

Customer: *Runs back into line* “Hey you can’t cut in line”

Me: “Ma’am you weren’t in line.”

Customer 2: *Sighs and exits the store to try to avoid the drama I guess”

Customer: “Finally!” *Goes back to where she was to sit down*

Employee: “Ma’am, leave.”

Customer: *Confused* “Why?”

Me: “Ma’am you caused a customer to leave and are not even buying anything or placing an order”

Customer: “I?, how did I make him leave?!”

Customer: *Throws phone to ground in anger and then let’s out a loud shreik as she sees her broken phone on the floor* “Oh.My.God I’m calling the f*cking cops for f*cking breaking my f*cking phone you f*cker!”

Employee: “Oh good we already called them for you!”

(The customer then got on the ground and starting throwing the biggest tantrum I think I’ve ever seen and she had to be dragged out by the police)

Wrong About Tax Rights

, , , , , , | | Right | May 20, 2019

(I am ringing up a customer.)

Me: “Your total is… [total].”

Customer: “Hmm. I did the math; that seems high. Aren’t these items $[price #1] and $[price #2]?”

Me: “Well, yes, but then another $[amount] was added for sales tax.”

Customer: “Oh, well, I don’t have to pay sales tax.”

Me: “All right, then. If I can just see the state-issued document that includes your tax-exempt number, I’d be more than happy to remove the tax from the transaction.”

Customer: “I need a form?”

Me: “Yes. Otherwise, how would I know you are actually tax-exempt?”

Customer: “That would impede my rights to have to go to the government in order to not have to pay tax. That’s illegal!”

(My manager approaches, mainly because the man is talking rather loudly.)

Customer: *looks at manager* “So, can you take the tax off of my purchase?”

Manager: “Sure! I just need to see the tax-exempt form.”

Customer: “I just told your employee I don’t have that because that would impede my rights.”

Manager: “Unfortunately, I cannot prove that, and I cannot authorize a tax-exempt sale without that form, which includes the tax-exempt number.”

Customer: “Well, I will be reporting both of you to the police for breaking the law!”

Manager: “Okay!”

Me: “Sounds good.”

(The customer left, and we just started laughing at the craziness.)

You Die A Hero, Or Work Retail Long Enough To Become The Villain

, , , , | | Right | May 17, 2019

(My mother is the bad customer in this story. We have left our car at a hotel near the airport when we go on vacation. When we come back, one of the tires is flat. We know that a nearby superstore has a tire service and we want [Roadside Assistance Service] to tow us there before it closes. Normally, they give an estimate of forty-five minutes to get to us, but this time it is an hour and a half, which won’t give us enough time to get there before closing. My mom is told that since we aren’t in an emergency situation, they can’t get to us faster.)

Mom: “This is an emergency situation. We just came back from vacation and need to get home.”

(That doesn’t do anything, but we manage to take the flat tire in a friend’s car to the store and have it fixed. As my dad is putting the tire back on, my mom calls [Roadside Assistance Service] back. This is her side of the conversation. Her tone of voice is very harsh through the call.)

Mom: “I want to speak to a supervisor. Transfer me to a supervisor right now.”

(A pause…)

Mom: “I am very disappointed with this service. I have had it for many years, and you couldn’t get to me in less than an hour? I want to cancel my service and get my money back, and I want to lodge a complaint against whoever I talked to earlier. I’m sure that’s on my file. I’m done with your company.”


Mom: “Fine, yeah, whatever.” *hangs up, and then, in a cheerier voice* “Guess we still have [Roadside Assistance Service]. The guy said that I couldn’t cancel since it’s billed yearly and we paid last month.” *laughing a bit* “And I wasn’t really that upset, anyway.”

(I could only stare in shock about how poorly she acted if she wasn’t upset. This is a woman who used to work phones and complained about people like herself!)

The Gift Card That Keeps On Giving: The Movie

, , , , | | Right | May 6, 2019

(A line is building up at the box office, so I go in and open up a second drawer which, due to a broken credit card reader, has to be cash only. I put up a sign and make sure to let customers know.)

Me: “What can I do for you, ma’am?”

Customer: “One senior for [Movie], please.”

Me: “Okay, that’ll be [price].”

(She proceeds to pull out a gift card, which is treated like a credit card.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I can’t take cards in this line.”

Customer: “But why not?”

Me: “The reader is broken, so this line is cash only.”

Customer: “But I have cash on it.”

Me: *facepalm*

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