Christmas: A Time For Logistical Nightmares

, , , , | Related | June 13, 2018

(The following unfolds over several years of my family trying to “organize” Christmas. Three aunts have somehow become the ones who lead the “vote” with all the aunts and uncles on how to plan things, a vote which somehow usually happens after my parents — who live four hours away — have had to leave. One year:)

Aunt #1: “So, I don’t want to do the ‘draw a name from a hat’ exchange this year. It’s not fair!”

Aunt #2: “Why? Everyone buys one gift under $20. You don’t have to draw a name if you don’t put yours in. The kids have a separate name draw, and your son is an adult so you don’t have to buy for any kids, anyway.”

Aunt #1: “Because my son and his wife are poor, and with the new baby, everyone gave them extra presents last year and they felt bad! They can’t buy presents for everyone in return, so people shouldn’t give them anything!”

Aunt #3: “But… those were because it’s the first baby in ten years and we wanted to spoil her. They don’t have to buy anything in return.”

Aunt #1: “It made them feel bad. It was rude. If everyone wants to give them presents, everyone should give everybody else presents. But not so expensive…”

(Which is how the next year we ended up with a system where every family member had to buy EVERYONE a gift, under $5. Since it’s a big family, that put each of us — kids included — on the hook for over $50. And we each ended up with piles of cheap junk nobody wanted. The next year:)

Aunt #1: “We need to figure out something better for Christmas. My son can’t afford to buy gifts for everyone again!”

Aunt #2: “Why don’t we go back to the old system? If he doesn’t want to, he doesn’t have to participate. Then he won’t have to buy anything!”

Aunt #1: “NO. That would make him look cheap! I have a better idea…”

(The next year, the adults don’t exchange names, but instead pick a child’s name from the hat. Since there are more kids than adults, some adults are randomly picked to have to buy for multiple kids. [Aunt #1]’s son gets stuck buying three gifts for other kids while only getting one for his own daughter. The next year:)

Aunt #1: “Christmas was so unfair! My son was so upset that he had to buy three toys and only got one back. He couldn’t afford to get anything for his own daughter!”

Aunt #3: “We would all love to buy things for her! She’s still the only little one and I love shopping for little girl clothes and toys.”

Aunt #1: “NO, that makes them feel like you’re saying they can’t afford nice things and aren’t raising her right! We just need to limit who is in the gift exchange more so there aren’t as many kids to buy for.”

Aunt #2: “How? We could put the age cut-off at 18, or high school graduation.”

Aunt #1: “I’ve been thinking about this, and I have a plan…”

(I live far away, and my parents later told me that the aunts had decreed that only kids would exchange names, with each other, so every family would only buy as many gifts as they get. But they limited the pool of kids by decreeing that anyone not in school was not allowed to exchange presents. As the only one of the “kids” who had just finished college — I know, pretty old, but I was the oldest of that generation of grandchildren — that only cut me out. I was sad to be excluded, but figured it was fair, as my next youngest cousin was only a year behind and soon we would both be out. But no, [Aunt #1] decreed that since she was thinking of going to grad school, she would still be in the exchange until she graduated again. She went to nursing school for six years, so was allowed in the “kids” exchange until she was 28. The next cousin after her was taking a class through the community college, so he got to stay in, too. For seven years, I was the only one of the grandchildren not allowed in the “kids” drawing. And [Aunt #1]’s son continued to get piles of presents every year from then on for his daughter, since he complained constantly and loudly about not being able to afford anything for her. And that’s the story about how I got voted out of Christmas because my adult male cousin felt bad that his daughter was getting too many presents.)

Accents Aren’t Horrible, People Are

, , , , | Right | June 13, 2018

(Due to family issues, I moved around every few years when I was younger so I don’t really sound like I’m from anywhere. Over the years, I’ve watched a lot of American and Canadian shows and I have a fair few American friends, so sometimes I can unintentionally talk with an American twang. Customers often ask where I’m from and are very surprised when I tell them the UK. I try my best to smile about it but I can often get very self-conscious about how I’m talking.)

Me: “Hello there. How can I help?”

Customer: *looking at me suspiciously* “Yeah… Can I have a popcorn combo?”

Me: “Regular or large?”

Customer: “I want someone else to serve me.”

Me: *panicking that I’ve accidentally insulted him in some way* “I’m sorry; is there a problem?”

Customer: “Your voice is too weird. I don’t want you serving me.”

Me: “Too weird?”

Customer: “I want someone else to serve me.”

Me: “Are you having trouble understanding me? I’m sorry. I’ve been told I can be hard to understand sometimes.”

Customer: “Just get someone over here who talks normal so I can get my d*** popcorn.”

(I am the only person on this area, so there is no one else to serve him, and we’ve got a popular film about to go in so we’re expecting a rush any minute.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. The only other place you can be served by someone else is over there.” *pointing to nearby area that also serves everything I do*

Customer: *angrily* “F***’s sake! Just get me my food, and don’t talk to me while you do it!”

(I’ve had enough and honestly don’t feel like talking anymore at this point, so I just finish the transaction as quickly as I can and in silence.)

Customer: *having paid* “Get yourself one of those d*** speech therapists!” *storms off*

They’re Ignoring The Biggest Extra-Life That The World Can Give Them

, , , , , , | Related | June 12, 2018

Back when I worked at a gaming company as in-game support, one parent in a divorce filed a complaint with us about the other parent harassing them.

This is pretty common: lots of people meet in-game, fall in love, marry, and then fall out of love after finding out what living with this person’s like, or that moving across the country and getting a new job was a bigger problem than anticipated.

I quickly discovered this wasn’t the case here; these were two parents whose relationship predated the game. I knew this, because chat logs between the two parents were primarily angry discussions about their eight-year-old son and who’d get custody rights.

It turns out, neither parent wanted custody, since raising the child would detract from their game time. Interspersed with these awful parents trying to disown their son was the occasional message from said son, who would ask one parent or the other for help with homework or if he could help with dinner. Both parents would dismiss the child regularly.

I got this petition at three am. It took me half an hour to find the specific comment that my petitioner found worthy of complaint. I filed the petition as quickly as I could, then called my girlfriend to tell her how much I loved her.

You Barely Occupied Their Thoughts

, , , , , , | Friendly | June 12, 2018

(My husband and I stop at a gas station on a trip to the beach. We both decide to use the restrooms. The doors on the individual stalls have unusually large — to me — gaps at the bottom, at least a foot high. While I am in one of the stalls, a woman comes up and tries to open the door.)

Me: “Occupied.”

Woman #1: *bangs on the door* “Somebody in there?”

Me: “Yes.”

Woman #1: *bangs again* “Helloooo?”


(The woman bends down and peers under the door, not just looking at my feet, but she actually makes eye contact with me!)

Woman #1: “Oh. There’s someone in this one.” *to someone else* “This one’s being used.”

(She walks away and goes to the stall beside me. Another woman comes up and looks under again, this time without knocking or anything.)

Woman #2: “Oh, yeah. This one, too.”

Woman #1: “No, that’s the one I just told you about!”

Woman #2: “Oh.”

(When I left the stall, the second woman was still waiting. As I passed her, she huffed and said, “Finally,” under her breath. I wasn’t in there for more than five minutes! When I told my husband about my encounter, he said I should have winked at the women since they were so intent on seeing me.)

Not Feline Your Sense Of Humor

, , , , , , | Working | June 12, 2018

(My husband and I have a guy in the house repairing our air conditioner. We also have a cat who is deaf, has little vision, and is probably a little senile at over 20 years old. According to the vet he’s arthritic — treated with daily meds — but happy. He spends his days toddling around the house after us and purring in sunbeams. As the repairman is finishing up, after I’ve paid and he’s talking about what to keep an eye out for, the cat wanders by the room. After observing how slowly he moves, the repairman asks me if he’s sick.)

Me: “Nah, just really old and arthritic.”

Repairman: “Oh, you know, my dad had a home remedy for that.”

Me: “Oh, yeah?”

Repairman: “Yeah.”

(He laughed and made a gun out of his hand and pointed it at my cat, making a shooting sound. He did not seem to get why I didn’t find that funny and told him to get the f*** out of my house.)

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