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Back Off Or Become The Butt Of My Joke

, , , , | Right | September 20, 2021

Social distancing in supermarkets is strictly enforced here. One of the rules is that each customer must use a cart, both to limit the number of customers allowed in at the same time and to ensure distance — keeping a cart length away from the nearest customer.

I’m queuing up at the counter when I feel a touch on my butt. I turn around: it’s a middle-aged woman leading her cart by grabbing its front. She has gotten so close that her hand and the cart bump me from behind.

Me: “Please keep your distance.”

Customer: “Oh, don’t worry. It’s all right.”

She comes another step closer, again bumping me from behind. I don’t know what possesses me — I’m usually very non-confrontational — but I answer her quite loudly.

Me: “As long as you’ve got your hand on my butt, you’re standing too close!”

She turned a wonderful shade of red and scurried off!

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Bending Your Knowledge Of Medicine Until It Breaks

, , , | Healthy | June 22, 2021

I went on a winter holiday in Austria. It was my second time snowboarding after finishing my lessons the year before. On the afternoon of our third day there, I was exhausted and I tried to push myself up from a sitting position but fell right away. I felt a small snapping sensation in my right ring finger, but I didn’t think much about it.

Thirty minutes and two ski lifts later, I realized that my finger was swollen. I decided to go back to our hotel. I asked my cousin — a med student — about what I needed to use to reduce the pain. She tried to feel the bone but couldn’t because the finger was very thick already.

Cousin: “Can you bend your finger?”

Me: “Only like a third of the way.”

Cousin: “How painful is it out of ten?”

Me: “I think six.”

Cousin: “I think you just sprained it. Just use the ointment to reduce bruising, wrap it with elastic sport tape to keep it still, and you should be okay in a few days.”

Me: “You don’t think it’s broken?”

Cousin: “You would know it if it was broken. You would feel more pain.”

Me: “I don’t have to go to the emergency clinic here, then?”

Cousin: “Nah. It’s too expensive here. You can wait until we’re back in Amsterdam.”

Me: “Okay.”

A few days after we were back, almost a week after the accident, I had to go to Indonesia. By then, the swelling was gone, but the finger was still crooked and couldn’t bend. I decided to go to a clinic there.

From the x-ray picture, they saw that I had a hairline fracture close to the second joint of my right ring finger. Unfortunately, it had already been too long, so the bone already started healing itself, in the wrong position. Now the finger is forever crooked.

When I told my family about it, [Cousin] received a lot of teasing, and the story is retold every winter holiday. She did not choose orthopedics as her specialty.

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Not In Line And Out Of Line, Part 5

, , , , | Right | June 14, 2021

We’re on holiday in Austria, and as the weather is grey and rainy, we decide to hit a mall and do some shopping. My fiancé and I are in a clothing store, waiting to check out. In this store, there is only one queue, zigzagging through some impulse-item shelves, and whenever a register becomes available, the first person in line is called ahead.

The store is quite busy, and we’re standing just outside of the shelves with some people already forming a line between the regular aisles. Some middle-aged woman huffs at the younger woman with her.

Middle-Aged Woman: “I’m not going to wait in line!”

And she swiftly moves to the register near the exit of the row. She even calls the younger woman over.

Middle-Aged Woman: “This way, we’ll be able to leave here sooner and go on to the next store!”

Slightly embarrassed, the younger woman stays in the line.

Younger Woman: “I’m fine with waiting here.”

My fiancé, who is not one to speak out quickly and also doesn’t speak German very well, gets extremely irritated and keeps an eye on the lady. As I’m not a fan of confrontation either, I decide to wait until the cashier notices what the woman is trying to do.

As soon as the cashier finishes up her customer, the woman jumps up to the register and throws down some clothing to check out. Luckily, the cashier is very firm.

Cashier: “You will have to get in line if you want to buy these clothes.”

She turned around to rejoin the line, which had grown by four more people by now. The people around us were snickering when she sheepishly got behind the last person and waited her turn.

Not In Line And Out Of Line, Part 4
Not In Line And Out Of Line, Part 3
Not In Line And Out Of Line, Part 2
Not In Line And Out Of Line

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Breakfast Time Is Hammer Time

, , , | Right | May 11, 2021

I work at the office of a small company that produces handmade muesli. They are baked and make a popular breakfast food in a bowl with milk or, since the clusters are a little bigger than average, are commonly snacked on during the day. Those bigger clusters are really popular; people love them and compliment us on them.

I’m typing in orders when I stumble upon one with a customer note. Nothing unusual. It says, “Please include a hammer for the crunchies.” Obviously, someone with good humour, I think. I even show the note to my boss and we have a good laugh. We send the order on its way — minus the hammer, of course.

A few days later, the phone rings.

Me: “Hello, [Company], this is [My Name].”

Customer: “This is [Customer]. I have a complaint.”

I’m panicking inside because he sounds grumpy and irritated, and I’m bracing myself for a good shouting over a damaged package or something. 

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that, sir. Can you tell me what happened?”

Customer: “I have placed an order and wrote specifically that I want a hammer.”

I’m relieved because, clearly, this is that customer with the good humor.

Me: “Oh, yes. We saw it. I even showed it to our boss. Thank you for brightening up our day.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “Sir? Are you still there?”

Customer: *Suddenly explodes* “If I request a hammer, I expect a hammer! You always make those darn clusters so big! How am I expected to eat that stuff? If you sell crap like this, the least you could do is send me a f****** tool to make them smaller! What kind of f****** customer service is this? F*** you!”

He hung up on me. 

I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that he expected us — a company that sells breakfast muesli — to send him an actual hammer so he could break the five-centimetre clusters that fall apart in milk into smaller pieces?

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Well, That Didn’t Take Long

, , , , | Right | April 29, 2021

We can only allow one customer at a time into the shop. We have opened another door and set up a one-way system so customers who are leaving do not have to squeeze past those waiting to enter.

The one-person limit is clearly posted at the door, and the one-way system is marked with numerous arrows, and yet I have to explain and remind customers all day long. I am checking out [Customer #1] while keeping an eye on the door.

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am, could you please wait outside for a moment? We are only allowed to have one customer in here at a time.”

[Customer #2] steps back outside. I finish with [Customer #1], direct them to the exit, and beckon to [Customer #2] to come in.

Customer #2: “I am so sorry, I should have checked! I really should know; I work at the pharmacy and we are constantly reminding people, as well.”

We commiserate a bit as I’m helping her, and I help her carry her items to the exit.

Customer #2: “Thank you so much, and have a nice day, and… I’m trying to think of what exactly to wish you.”

Me: “Pleasant and attentive customers?”

Customer #2: “Yes, may you have many of those!”

Then, I called in [Customer #3], an elderly man, quickly helped him, cashed him out, and finished with, “Have a nice day, and please leave through the other door over there.”

[Customer #3] took a step back and tripped over a display, knocking several vases to the floor and almost falling himself, and then left the shop… through the entrance.

So much for “attentive customers.”

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