Retire That Definition

| Victoria, BC, Canada | Right | January 15, 2017

(Our store owner is well-known in the community and has just retired after owning the business for over 50 years. On his last day he had a huge send-off, which was featured in newspapers, TV, etc. A woman phones in a few days later.)

Customer: “Is [Owner] in today?”

Me: *cheerily* “Oh, actually, ma’am, [Owner] retired last week!

Customer: *annoyed sigh* “Well, yes, I KNOW he retired, but I want to know if he’s in the store right now!”

(I guess she and I had different interpretations of ‘retired’!)

Keeps On Turning Up A Bad Penny

| Galveston, TX, USA | Right | January 14, 2017

Me: “Your total is XX.34.”

(The customer hands me bills and coins. I count out a quarter, a dime, one penny, two, three . . .)

Me: “I’m sorry; this last one is a Euro penny.”

Customer: “I don’t know how that got in there. Here’s another penny.”

Me: “Sorry, but this one’s a Canadian penny.”

Customer’s Friend: “Even Canadians don’t take those any more.”

Customer’s Other Friend: “How did you end up with all those?”

Customer: “I don’t know! I just did!”

The Christmas Gift Card That Keeps On Giving

| Jacksonville, FL, USA | Right | December 29, 2016

(I work in a bookstore. It is Christmas Eve, an hour before we close. The most important part of our customer service policy is fast cashiering. We have a huge line and only three cashiers, including myself, when an elderly couple comes to my register.)

Woman: *puts a pile of magazines down, and hands me two of our membership cards and a printout slip for a gift card saying it has 23 dollars on it* “We’d like to get these, please, and we want to pay with the gift card.”

Me: *rings up the magazines* “Okay, ma’am, you have two membership cards here… Do you know which one you want to use?”

Woman: “What? No. Those are gift cards!”

Me: “No, ma’am, those are membership cards. They give you ten percent off your purchase.”

(I ring in one card and find that it’s expired. I don’t know why they had two, as we could have just renewed it, but I use the second and give them both back to her anyway. I show her on the screen where she got ten percent off)

Woman: “Fine. Pay with this.” *she hands me the slip for the gift card, which only tells me the last four digits of the card, and the amount; it is worthless as payment*

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, I can’t use this. Do you have the actual card with you?”

Woman: “No. I don’t understand! The manager last time slid the card in the machine and gave me the slip and then kept the card. He said I could use this instead!”

Me: “I’m sorry… You say our manager took your card? Do you know which manager this was?”

Woman: “It’s the younger man.”

Me: *knowing who she’s talking about, and knowing that there’s no way he would take a card away and tell her to use the slip* “I’m sorry, ma’am, he’s not in right now. Let me call another manager over.”

(I call another manager over, who is equally confused. She then calls a second manager over. At this point all three of us are trying to calm the woman down.)

Woman: “So you can’t use that slip? Why would we even get a gift card anyway, if you’re just going to tell me I can’t use it? That’s just stupid!”

Man: “Just leave them; I don’t want them anymore if we can’t use the card.”


(The managers calm her down and run to the back office, leaving me there at the register with them. Using the two membership cards, they eventually find out what happened.)

Manager: *showing her the receipt they found on file* “Okay, ma’am, according to our system, you used that gift card over two months ago, on a cookbook. You completely used it up, which is why the other manager took it. When a gift card is used up, we throw it away to avoid exactly this confusion.”

Woman: “Well, I’m glad we figured this out. Pay them, honey.” *she then walks away, leaving her husband and the rest of us, guffawing*

Man: *pays and takes the bag from me* “Merry Christmas!”

(The whole ordeal took a half an hour; definitely not fast.)

Bought It For Thirty Silver Pieces

| WA, USA | Romantic | December 29, 2016

(I am shopping with my girlfriend and see a selection of candles similar to saint candles, but with secular figures. I remember something that happened in her bathroom last time I was there. She lives with three other women.)

Me: “That reminds me, what was with the saint candle in the bathroom last time I visited? It really creeped me out but I didn’t want to be invasive or disrespectful about one of your roommates’ religious beliefs.”

Girlfriend: “Didn’t you see who it was?”

Me: “No, I tried to ignore it.”

Girlfriend: “It was Judas. [Roommate] bought it as a joke.”

(I should have figured, given there isn’t a Catholic in the apartment.)

Cannibal Hitler Strikes Without Warning

| Salt Lake City, UT, USA | Friendly | December 29, 2016

(Knowing my fascination with the music of Shostakovich, a friend recommended a new biography of him to me. I was deeply moved by the book. After I’ve read it, I’m in a favorite bookstore.)

Random Man: “I really liked his interpretation of the Leningrad Symphony.”

Me: “Are you talking about the Anderson biography?”

Random Man: “Yes! Did you like it?”

Me: “Yes, but it has ruined me for normal interaction. Someone was wondering the other day if it was okay to feed chicken to her chickens and I started citing the punishments for cannibalism of live people versus corpses because of the book. But I agree. It’s a great book. And he does a great job of giving different opinions. Like the invasion theme…”

(The man immediately starts tapping the drumbeat for that theme on the counter. I sing the melody for a while…)

Me: “If you listen to the first six minutes, you can hear music from the invasion theme, so it’s plausible that it was inspired by pre-Hitler totalitarianism.”

Random Man: “I’ll listen to it with that in mind.”

(I now realize I’ve been talking about cannibalism and dictatorship for several minutes with a complete stranger.)

Me: “Yeah, I’m no longer capable of normal conversation.”

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