The China Syndrome

, , , , , , | Right | July 2, 2019

(I work at a paint and sip bar. On Mondays and Tuesdays, I watch over the shop to answer phones, clean up, etc. I am not the owner but they trust me enough to be alone on these days, so I don’t have a set lunch break. Since they don’t take a lunch break out of my pay I usually eat at the desk and answer emails at the same time. I also sit there in case anyone comes in to ask a question. Most of the time when this happens they ask really quickly, notice my lunch, and then just take a pamphlet and leave me alone which is really nice. This happens when I am waiting for my lunch to cool off after just reheating it. Note, it is in a Tupperware container, not a take-out container.)

Customer: *as they are coming in the door* “What is it that you all do here exactly?”

Me: “Well, it’s a paint and sip bar, so we do public classes and private parties where people follow along step by step with an instructor, and there is a bar with wine and beer over there in the back.”

Customer: *eyeing my still-steaming lunch* “Uh-huh, uh-huh. Okay. Your lunch smells good. What Chinese place did you get that from?”

Me: “Oh, I made it last night; it’s leftovers from dinner.”

Customer: “You can’t just make Chinese food. You aren’t Chinese; you wouldn’t know how. You don’t have to tell me, but maybe I won’t come to your classes since you obviously aren’t helpful.” *leaves with a pamphlet still in hand*

Me: *to myself* “What? Okay.”

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Her Paranoia Is Cut From The Whole Cloth

, , , , , , | Friendly | June 6, 2019

(I am fourteen years old but look like I’m nine. My computer teacher at school puts a cloth over everyone’s hands to practice touch typing. I do this while typing up an assignment in the public library. A stranger pulls the cloth away.)

Stranger: “What are you doing?”

Me: “Homework.”

(She looks over at my screen, and I block it because it is not her business.)

Stranger: “That’s not homework. You’re covering up because you are doing something bad. Why else would you cover the screen and your hands?

(She chucks my cloth elsewhere.)

Me: “It is my homework, not yours, and the cloth is just how we were taught to touch type.”

Librarian: “Ma’am, please keep your voice down. Sweetie, is she bothering you? Where are your parents?”

(You have to be twelve to be here alone. I now see that the stranger is looking at my screen again.)

Me: “Hey!”

(The librarian turns off the monitor.)

Librarian: “Ma’am, please just go mind your business.”

Stranger: “She’s hiding something bad! A child doesn’t mean innocent.”

(A second librarian has arrived and is escorting her away. I turn back to the first librarian.)

Me: “I am fourteen, here alone, and I’m only doing homework. That stranger thought I was up to no good because I had that cloth over my hands, and it got worse when I covered my screen when she stared at it.”

Librarian: “I see. Let’s pick up that cloth she threw over there. Ignore that woman. We’ll keep an eye out.”

(I found out later that she has harassed others for various reasons.)

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Perm-anently Avoiding That Place

, , , , , | Working | April 20, 2019

(My boyfriend has very curly, brown, shoulder-length hair, and I have black, straight hair a couple of inches longer.)

Me: *pointing to boyfriend* “I’d like a perm with curls just like those.”

Hair Stylist: *glares at me like I have two heads* “No can do.”

Me: “Er… no?”

Hair Stylist: “You want hair just like his?”

Me: “The curls, yeah. Is it possible to perm my hair that way? His are natural.”

Hair Stylist: “If you want his curls, he’s got to cut his hair.”

Boyfriend: “Are you saying match my length, too? No, I don’t want a cut.”

Hair Stylist: “If she curls, her hair will be much shorter than yours! She just can’t have curly hair your length if you won’t cut yours!”

Me: “I meant only like his in the size of the curls.”

Hair Stylist: “Look… If you curl your hair, it will be much shorter than his!”

Me: “I know!”

Hair Stylist: *to boyfriend* “Are you getting that cut?”

Boyfriend: “No, I’m not.”

Hair Stylist: “Then she can’t have your curls.”

Boyfriend: “Forget the length already. She would like curls that match these.”

Hair Stylist: “I’ve already said, she can’t have your curls if you aren’t getting a cut yourself.”

Me: “I know my hair will be shorter! The whole point is to have curls that look like that.”

(Even a second hair stylist repeated the first one. Nothing was ever said about matching color. We left and went somewhere else where they gave me my shorter, curly perm with no problem.)

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Mexican’t Deal With Your Attitude

, , , , , | Learning | April 7, 2019

(I’m a high school Spanish teacher, but I’m not Hispanic; I learned Spanish as a second language. I have one particular student in my class who shows little interest in the subject. One day, I call on him to answer a question.)

Student: “I don’t know! I’m not Mexican!”

Me: “Neither am I.”

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I’m Only “Open” To The Idea Of You Going Away

, , , , | Right | March 21, 2019

(It is about twenty minutes before we open and I am vacuuming the front of the store. I hear a noise and look up to see a man peering into the door window and rapping on it with his keys. I turn off the vacuum and then unlock and crack the door open.)

Me: “Can I help you?”

Customer: “Are you open?”

Me: “We open at 11.”

(The sign with our hours is literally next to his face.)

Customer: “What time is it?”

Me: “10:40.”

Customer: “Oh! Okay. I guess I’ll come back.”

(I close and lock the door and go back to what I’m doing. Ten minutes later, one of the things I have to do before we open is to drag a bunch of furniture out front and “stage” it so it looks attractive. Since I’m alone, I do this ten or so minutes before open because it takes a while, but I don’t prop the door open and I leave all of the lights and music off inside. The man approaches again as I’m wrestling a picnic bench out the door.)

Customer: “OH, GOOD; you’re open.”

(He goes inside before I can say anything. I get the furniture outside as fast as I can and don’t bother staging it so I can be inside with this early customer. A few minutes before 11, I put the sandwich sign out and go about turning on the lights, music, and logging into the sales computer.)

Customer: “You forgot to turn on the lights! Must be having a frantic morning!”

Me: “Well, I usually don’t turn them on until we open.”

Customer: “I guess you didn’t expect a line of customers at the door this morning.”

Me: “I usually don’t expect customers in the store before open, true. It makes it difficult to finish opening the store properly.”

Customer: “Guess you’ll start earlier next time, eh?”

Me: “…so, was there anything specific you were looking for today?”

Customer: “Nah, I’m just browsing, thanks.”

(He left a few minutes later and, fortunately, it was slow enough to let me finish the rest of the opening duties between customers, before noon.)

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