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Ordered Some Whiskey With Some Tango Foxtrot

, , , | Right | May 1, 2020

I am having a drink with a friend when a woman comes in and orders pasta, a beer, and a whiskey. When she receives the bill, she begins arguing about it. I can’t catch everything, but among other complaints, she is saying she hasn’t had the whiskey, which is still in plain sight on the table. This goes on for five or ten minutes, during which the waitress also has to take care of other customers, and she ends up saying:

Waitress: “Please, be nice. Just pay and leave. I already didn’t charge you for your food.”

I go to the bathroom; when I come back, the woman is gone. My friend tells me she clearly had no money so they just let her go. When the waitress brings us our bill, I pay and add 5€; we normally don’t tip in Belgium.

Me: “That’s for keeping your cool and actually smiling to every single customer, despite that.”

I point to the table where the woman had been sitting.

Waitress: “Thank you very much! This is really helpful!”

My Friend: “But your boss is not going to take her bill from your paycheck, is he?”

Waitress: “Yes, he is. That’s why your tip is really appreciated! Thanks again!”

Later that day, I thought about what had happened and regretted that I didn’t give her 11€ or 12€ more to cover the woman’s bill, which was a bit more than 16€.

Without Not Always Right, I would probably have thought, “D***ed customer, it must be unbearable sometimes to do that job!” and that would have been all. I wouldn’t have done anything.

Kid’s Method To Get Copy Of The Game Was Super Effective

, , , , , | Right | April 18, 2019

(It’s the release day of a new set of Pokémon games, and there is a line of people to pick up reserved copies. We had so many reservations we have to turn away people who just try to pick them up, but so far it hasn’t caused any problems. Currently in line is a boy in a Charmander costume, probably about ten years old but maybe younger. A couple of older customers have been playfully telling him to use Pokémon moves like scratch and flamethrower.)

Customer #1: “Charmander, use fire fang!”

(The kid begins making chewing sounds until he decides to actually use fire fang and bites the customer in front of him in the queue on his leg. The customer yells and grabs his leg, jumping around.)

Customer #1: “S***, dude, is everything all right?”

Customer #2: “No, it’s not all right! I’m a grass type.” *in the games, grass is weak to fire*

(I don’t think my boss ever truly recovered. To this day, every time we get Charmander merchandise in, he breaks down laughing. [Customer #2] was perfectly all right by the way; he had a small mark but nothing terrible. He had reserved four copies of the games: a set of limited editions, which he got, and a set of normal ones in case the limited editions couldn’t be delivered. We sold the normal set to the kid, who had no copies reserved.)

Naughty History And Handsome Men = Microsoft Outlook

, , , , , | Learning | October 18, 2018

(It is the dawn of computer usage in the service industry, before 2000. Personal computers are not brand new, but new enough for the European Community to grant budgets for teaching “new technology” to workless young adults. With ten years experience in a technology nobody is taking seriously at the time, I become an IT teacher for evening courses and job-oriented trainings. I am currently in a training center for jobless women. Everybody but me is female, so I sometimes have problems with credibility. During an “IT communication” — Outlook and Internet — lecture, it takes me ten minutes flat to determine that they will not listen to a word from a course about configuration and parameters in a browser. Overhearing their babbling, an idea crosses my mind.)

Me: “Now, class, the part you have been waiting for!”

Class: *inattentive* “Huh, whatever.”

Me: “I have named it, ‘How to know that your boyfriend is watching p*rn on the Internet.’”

(Suddenly, the whole class looks at me as if I am a rockstar, drinking in every word, asking really smart technical questions. Two hours later, they know all about cookies, temp files, the erasing of bookmarks, and confronting timestamps. I have to take up the Client-Server architecture and DNS protocol to answer to some savvy questions. I can’t do the same trick twice, obviously, so the Outlook course promises to go sour. Once again, their babbling gives me the key to teach about Message Rules Strategy.)

Me: “Now that you have all the cards in hand, here is a little exercise.”

Class: “Sir, we don’t understand anything. Why do we have to bother at all?”

Me: “I am sure that you are brighter than you think. Let’s say you have met a handsome guy…”

(The class pays attention.)

Me: “You don’t want to show him that you are interested in him. So, when you are receiving an email from him, your Outlook will send an auto-reply stating to not bother you and kick his message to the garbage. You don’t wish someone to find his message on your PC, do you? But you want the advice of your best friend, so you transfer all his messages automatically to her. I’ll let you try until the break.”

(Most of them jumped on their mouses and clicked frantically. Some ran from screen to screen to see who had a good solution, screaming clues and advice at each other. One even ran to the library to borrow a Microsoft book. They didn’t stop at the break, and hushed me when I tried to give hints. All the solutions that they found by themselves were far more sophisticated than anything I could have hoped to show them. Years after, I met some of them. They had been hired as secretaries but became IT specialists, webmasters, or network technicians.)

It Is An Ex-Diner, Bereft Of Life!

, , , , , , | Working | September 14, 2018

(I just got out of an examination center where I have done fine on a badly-organized test for a down-and-dirty month-long tax law training. I have to mark the end of this nightmare. The sun is shining; I am free. Today, nothing is important. There are some establishments around, but I choose my old crash-place, a national chain diner in a big station. From the entrance, I can tell something is wrong. The diner is empty, but tables are dirty and there are wrapping papers on the floor. Behind the till is a waitress — a youngster I have never seen before. None of the pastries I came for are on display. But I see a promotion: “CHOUQUETTE. FIVE FOR [tiny price]!”)

Waitress: “Hi! What can I bring for you?”

Me: “I’ll take a coffee.”

Waitress: “To take away?”

Me: “I’ll drink it here. Could you tell me what a chouquette is?

(The waitress freezes with a blank stare.)

Me: “Let’s start with a coffee.”

Waitress: “To take away?”

Me: “I’ll drink it here.”

(Another unknown youngster wearing the manager attire comes out of the kitchen. The waitress jumps at this providential life belt.)

Waitress: “What is a chouquette?”

Manager: *not paying attention* “It’s [tiny price].”

Me: “This is the ‘how much.’ I want to know the ‘what.’”

(The manager freezes as if a statue has just asked him the sphinx enigma, and walks away without a word.)

Me: *to the waitress* “Never mind. What is this tart?”

Waitress: *fighting to not freeze again* “I don’t know. Banana, maybe.”

Me: *with a friendly smile* “You don’t know your products, do you? Are you sure you work here?”

Waitress: “I am new. Customers don’t ask, usually.”

Me: “New, like… today?”

Waitress: “Three days.”

Manager: *getting out of the kitchen* “It is a cookie with sugar pearls!”

Me: “The chouquette? I’ll pass. What is in this tart?”

Waitress: “Banana!”

Manager: *unsure* “Rice cream?”

Me: *to relieve their pain* “I’ll take this.”

Waitress: “I’ll prepare your coffee.”

Manager: “To take away?”

Me: “No.”

(Stunned, the manager went away silently again. I paid with a smile, took my tray to the only clean table I could find, and started to meditate on this comedy show. Monty Python’s Flying Circus would have a sketch like this one. Another waitress — without a uniform — came out of the kitchen. She crossed the room, stepping on the paper wraps, searching in vain for a clean table, and sat with her drink on the least dirty table, texting on her mobile. They didn’t start to clean the room before midday, when customers rushed. That is when they started another comedy show, involving a key and a till cabinet containing one of their cash drawers. As far as I know, the key is still stuck in the cabinet door, on the customer side of the till. When I left, the wrapping papers were still littering the floor. Warning, diner workers: not all customers are exhilarated Monty Python fans.)

Mass Extinction Can Wait For After Lunch

, , , , , , | Learning | November 27, 2017

(I volunteer as a tour guide for a group of six- and seven-year-olds in a natural history museum that has a famous dinosaur collection. Before lunch, the kids visit a temporary exhibition, and after lunch it’s time for the dinosaurs. During lunch, one of the kids is impatient and wolfs down his lunch so fast that his teacher needs to remind him several times to take smaller bites. At the same table, there’s a girl that’s eating very calmly, and she’s one of the last to finish. The boy insists that she eats faster.)

Teacher: “[Boy], give [Girl] the time to eat. There will be time enough to visit the dinosaurs.”

Me: *jokingly* “Yeah, don’t worry; the dinos won’t run away.”

Girl: *in an “I can’t believe I need to explain this” voice* “That’s because they’re dead.”