Let Me Get This Straight…

, , , , | Friendly | September 13, 2017

(My mother is driving us to pick up my grandmother from a doctor’s appointment, then we we’re all going out for the afternoon. There’s a four-way stop just before the parking lot. We’re stopped and going straight, and the guy across from us is turning left. We start to go forward, and so does he. Despite being lead-footed, he hits the brakes, and so does Mom, and the bumpers don’t-quite-bang into each other. She hasn’t even gotten the car in park yet when the other driver is out of his car, around the back, and up to her window.)


Mom: “…I’m sorry, what?”


Me: *speechless and staring at him like a second head just sprang out*

Mom: “Please show me which way I’m supposed to flick the lever to make THAT happen!”

(By this point, the woman who was behind us is now up to the window as well.)


(The now three-way argument goes back and forth for about five minutes, all while Grandma is standing outside the doctor’s office, watching from a distance because she can’t walk very well. Finally, because there is no visible damage, the other guy “lets us go” and takes off, and we finally pull into the parking lot.)

Grandma: “What the f*** was all that about!?”

(And that’s where I learned where my mother got her colorful vocabulary. Twenty years later, I still haven’t figured out how to signal that I am going straight, either…)

The Bill Of Wrongs

, , , , , , | Right | September 13, 2017

(We’re a small 60 seat cafe with extremely high turnover; from eight am until midday we can seat and serve 300 guests.)

Customer: “Hi, I’ve got a booking for [Name].”

Me: “Right, your party of 17 is right over here.”

Customer: “Oh, what about the kids?”

Me: “Kids?”

Customer: “Yes, we booked for 17 adults, but we’ve got our kids. You’re going to need to find some seats.”

Me: “How many?”

Customer: “There will be 42 of us.”

Me: “Dude, that’s half the restaurant. We have bookings all day; if there are 42 of you, we can’t accommodate you.”

Customer: “That’s okay, the kids can just play and sit on their parents laps.”

Me: “Sure, fine, your table is right here.”

(This party trashes the cafe; the bathroom looks like a rugby team has been practicing in there. There is food from one end of the place to the other. The kids have drawn on the walls behind their parents’ table. Disaster. We lose 200 customers on this day, and we’re looking at a five-figure black hole of turnover, plus the repair bill. The worst part happens after they’ve finished.)

Customer: “Okay, so I had two poached eggs, toast, bacon, and two flat whites. Can you split that out of the bill please?”

(At this stage the bill is in four-digit territory, and I want these people out.)

Me: “Sorry, sir, we don’t split bills; here’s a calculator and a copy of your receipt.”

(The bill is 1.5 meters long.)

Customer: “Oh, no, we’re all going to pay separately. Otherwise, we’ll just leave; this is terrible service.”

Me: “You’re welcome to leave, sir. I’ll call the police now, and have them come down and arrest your party for theft of service, and vandalism for what your kids have done to my venue.”

Customer: “Maybe we’ll just pay.”

Me: “Thank you, sir.”

(It took this mob another 20 minutes of yelling and fighting with each other to sort out the bill. They tried to give it to me four times; each time it was short and got sent back. No tip. No apology.)

If They Hate You, It’s In Their DNA

, , , , | Working | September 13, 2017

(I take a job in a home for the developmentally disabled as a habilitation tech, someone who helps the residents with daily living. I am filling in a chart at the nurse’s station while my supervisor, with whom I don’t really get along, stands nearby. A resident bounds out of the TV room and goes up to my supervisor, who isn’t doing anything.)

Resident: “Hey, [Supervisor], would you tell me what DNA is? We just saw it on TV and none of us knew what it was.”

Supervisor: “I can’t tell you. You aren’t smart enough to understand.”

(I stare at my chart, appalled at the insulting response, until my supervisor leaves and goes into an office. When I look up, the resident is looking at me, much subdued.)

Resident: “[My Name], could you tell me what DNA is?”

Me: “Well, did you know that your body is made of tiny cells?”

Resident: “Yeah, I understand that.”

Me: “Inside each of those cells, there is something like a tiny book that has instructions about how to make you. It tells your body to make your eyes brown, your hair brown, and how tall you should be. Those instructions in every cell are called DNA.”

Resident: *now smiling* “Thanks for explaining it.”

(As the resident walks away, I look back to where my supervisor had gone. She is standing in the doorway glaring at me. I look back down at my chart without a word.)

Resident: *in a clear, bright voice to the others in the TV room* “[My Name] is much smarter than [Supervisor]! She told me what DNA is!”

(I know I cringed. My supervisor moved into openly hating me after that. I quit not long after. The home closed a few years later.)

We Live In The Information Rage

, , , , , | Right | September 13, 2017

(It is the days of landlines. I live in a small town that only has one telephone exchange: the three digits after the area code. Most people only give the last four digits of their phone number. I am a fan of unpublished numbers, to reduce the amount of solicitation calls. These are also the days before the Do-Not-Call List. For those who don’t know, an unpublished number costs more, because if someone calls information asking for John Doe’s phone number, all they will be told is “I have no listing”. An unlisted number is just not in “the book”, but information will still give it out. I’ve just paid to get an unpublished number, and what number do I get? 356-1411. To call information in this town, you dial JUST 1411. So, I immediately start getting calls like this.)

Me: “Hello.”

Caller: “I’d like [Name]’s number.”

Me: “Sorry, if you want information, don’t dial 356 first.”

Caller: “Oops, yeah. Sorry. Bye.”

(But I do get the occasional person who does this:)

Me: “Hello.”

Caller: “I’d like [Other Name]’s number.”

Me: “Sorry; if you want information, don’t dial 356 first.”

Caller: “I didn’t.”

Me: “Yes, you did, or you wouldn’t be talking to me; I’m NOT information.”

Caller: “I didn’t! Give me my d*** phone number!”

(I’d then hang up. This went on for several weeks before I contacted the phone company, asking for a different unpublished number; and without being charged for changing numbers again. They did so, and for free. But wow! Some people got rude so fast. It made me appreciate what those operators go through.)

Wrist Banned

, , , | Right | September 13, 2017

(I work at an arcade with batting cages, but we also have a play park. It is $2.75 for kids to go in and it is posted multiple places, including the door to the play park. People often go in without paying for a wristband, so we send staff in to check to see if anyone doesn’t have one. We happen to have an all-white staff this day, and the lady in the story is black.)

Boss: “Hey, [Coworker] can you go check wristbands?”

Coworker: “Yeah, sure.”

(About five minutes later, a lady comes up to my boss who is out fixing a game.)

Lady: “I want to know why your worker came up to MY kids first instead of everyone else’s?”

Boss: “Well, your kids were the ones in the play park without wristbands.”

Lady: “Well, I have come here thousands of times, and I have never paid before!”

Boss: “Oh, well then, I guess you owe me $2750. You can come see me at the register when you want to square up.”

(She cashed her tickets in and left. I haven’t seen her since.)

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