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If You Give Me Nothing, You Get Nothing

, , , , , , , , | Right | November 19, 2023

I work in the customer service center for a large convention center. I get a call from someone trying to get to us from the airport. It is my last day before leaving and going to college, and my patience for stupid has run out.

Me: “Okay, sir, if you’re at the airport, I need you to follow the signs to the freeway and take the lane heading to [City].”

Caller: “I can’t see anything.”

Me: “You can’t see the signs to the freeway?”

Caller: “I can’t see anything! You need to tell me where to go!”

Me: “You’re at the airport, right? What can you see?”

Caller: “No, I left the airport already! I’m driving! I can’t see anything! You need to tell me where to go!”

Me: “What can you see? What signs are you seeing as you drive?”

Caller: “No! There’s nothing! I can’t see anything! I need directions!”

Me: “Sir, please just look for any road sign or street name and—”

Caller: “No! Why aren’t you listening!? There is nothing! I can’t see anything! I’m just driving, but there’s nothing here! Give me directions and get me out of here!” 

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but it sounds like you’ve left our dimension and are now driving through a void between realities. Please call back when you find yourself back in a recognizable manifold.” *Click*

You May Be “Almost There”, But I Am Come Hither To WIN

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | October 31, 2023

A few years ago for Halloween, I came up with the idea to go as Anne Boleyn — after she had been beheaded. My plan was to make a fake wound around my neck and use liquid latex and twine to appear as if my head had been stitched back on. I set about making a gown and French hood — admittedly not the best, as I’m not an experienced seamstress.

However, my two best guy friends heard about my idea, and they WANTED IN. Only two of King Henry VIII’s wives were beheaded — Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard — so [Friend #1] decided to go as the deposed Catherine of Aragon, who died after being cast aside and neglected.

So, more sewing, French and Gable hoods, and ta-da! Three of King Henry VIII’s wives were ready to go. [Friend #2] and I did the stitched-on-head makeup, and [Friend #1] made himself up to be very gaunt and wraith-like.

Our local civic center holds Halloween events with a wide variety of costume contests you can enter for $10 per applicant. We entered the Historical contest (as a group), the Young Adult (eighteen to twenty-three) contest, and the Overall contest. We considered the Royalty contest, but seeing as those contestants seemed to be mostly children between six and thirteen, we decided beheaded wives weren’t appropriate and left that one to the Disney princesses.

We took first place in the Historical category, and surprisingly, we also won the Young Adult contest. In the Overall contest, we were a runner-up.

The prizes for first place were phenomenal — giant baskets full of gift cards and candy, and other random items like autumn-themed candles, coffees, and teas — so we were thrilled. 

However, the runner-up in the Young Adult contest was a young lady dressed in an absolutely stunning Tiana dress (from Disney’s “The Princess And The Frog”), which must have taken a lot of time and skill to make. She was not thrilled that we’d taken first and she’d taken runner-up.

She approached us, pointed an accusing finger at [Friend #1] and [Friend #2], and announced:


Yes, [Friend #1] is male and [Friend #2] is masculine-presenting intersex. But who cares? Our costumes rocked, and if you can’t dress up as King Henry VIII’s dead wives with your best guy friends, what even is the point of Halloween?

Nobody was really paying Tiana any attention, so she said it louder. 


A few people looked, saw that, yes, my friends were in drag, rolled their eyes, and looked away. After all, it’s Halloween. Gender-bending is completely normal. 

Seeing that she wasn’t getting any attention, Tiana stomped off. 

We were hanging around, waiting to have our pictures taken for the civic center’s website, when we heard a commotion with the judges. I didn’t hear all of it, but the gist of it was that Tiana’s mother was complaining that our costumes “weren’t real” because men couldn’t be queens and that we shouldn’t have won because we weren’t “authentic”.

Trust me; we used historical sources for our dress and hood designs and based them on paintings of each of the wives. They weren’t hand-stitched or made of the same materials, but this isn’t the 1500s and we didn’t have infinite time or funds. 

Tiana’s mother got nowhere with the judges. But the next day, on Facebook, the civic center’s page with the photos and announcements had a ton of complaints from one person about how the contest was racist and sexist and how men had been allowed in women’s spaces. 

And if you went to the page of the woman complaining, guess what? Tons of photos of her daughter in the Tiana dress. 

I can understand being upset that she didn’t win first in either the Young Adult or Royalty categories — the dress was absolutely amazing and a lot of work must have gone into it — but there’s such a thing as losing gracefully and trying again next year.

Unconventional Harassment

, , , , | Right | December 5, 2022

My company has a stand at a conference centre. We are running a competition for anyone who signs up for the mailing list to win an electric cooler full of beer.

I’m quickly walking the hall before the next talk to drum up interest. So far, everyone I have spoken to has been interested, and most went straight to the stand to sign up.

I approach a couple and begin my spiel.

Me: “Hi there. I work for [Company], and we are running a—”

Woman: “Ugh, I’m not interested.”

Me: “Okay, fair enough.”

Man: “She said she isn’t interested, pal!”

Woman: “What is it with men thinking everything is a dating event?!”

Me: “I’m not trying to ‘date’ you. We are running a competition—”

Woman: “Who do you work for?”

Me: “I work for [Company].”

Woman: “I’m going straight there and putting in a complaint right now!”

Me: “Fine, you do that.”

Luckily, my boss is a pretty reasonable guy, and having met my girlfriend, he knows I certainly wouldn’t be interested in this woman.

I speak to a few more people and then make my way back to the stand.

It looks like my drumming up business has worked better than expected; there is a large crowd. I quickly let my boss know about the woman and then get stuck taking names.

It’s not long before the woman shows up with her friend and tries to push through but gets stuck at the back of the crowd. Eventually, we get through everyone.

Woman: “Are you his boss?”

Manager: “I am the owner.”

Woman: “Well, how do you feel about your employees harassing women?”

Manager: “That didn’t happen.”

Woman: “How dare you?! I am the victim here!”

Man: “That’s right. I saw the whole thing.”

Manager: “And what did you see? Because this young man has never stepped a foot out of line.”

Woman: “Well, he harassed me, followed me around, and wouldn’t leave me alone. Made some stupid excuse to talk to me!”

Manager: “The only time he left my side was for twenty minutes and to hand out flyers. I doubt he had more than a few seconds to even talk to you.”

Woman: “Well, I’m going to talk to the event coordinator about this!”

Manager: “[Coordinator]? Tell him [Manager] said hi.”

She stomped off. My boss told me later that she did manage to find the event coordinator, who had to spend the next two hours chasing video footage, only to prove she was lying. He was furious, apparently.

The woman and her friend were invited to leave the convention, and a letter went to their employer detailing why they were not to attend in future.

Oh, She’s A Speaker All Right!

, , , , | Right | April 14, 2022

I am working security for a big show. It is simple work: check the tickets and deal with anyone acting up. We deal with most of the visitors, and as it gets closer to the start time, the majority of the crowd is dealt with and only a few latecomers are left.

Out of nowhere, a smart-looking woman makes a beeline to the door.

Me: “Ticket, please.”

Woman: “Gah! Don’t you know who I am?”

Me: “I don’t, but I do know you need a ticket.”

Woman: “I can’t believe this! I’m the guest speaker!”

I have no way to confirm this. We expect speakers to get here early, and she’s coming through the main entrance, not the big guest entrance.

Me: “Then we need to see your ID, please.”

Woman: “This is stupid. Just let me in!”

Me: “I need to see a ticket or an ID pass for speakers.”

Woman: “If you don’t let me in, there won’t be a show!”

I don’t flinch. She eventually calls someone, and it sounds like she has forgotten her ID. From what I can make out, it sounds like the person is telling her to go to the main entrance, which she is now arguing about. Eventually…

Woman: “They said you have to let me in.”

Me: “I’m sure they will call me on my radio if that’s the case.”

She tries to push past.

Woman: “This is stupid. I’m going to get you fired!”

She ranted and raved and then made another phone call. Eventually, someone from the main entrance came and got her. It turns out she wasn’t even a speaker; the organisers had asked her to join a panel but she didn’t tell anyone she was going to be there!

Better yet, the panel was about dealing with conflict in stressful situations. Sounds like she could have been better in the audience for that one!

Biggers Can’t Be Choosers?

, , , , , | Friendly | June 5, 2021

I am Australian, and I’m at a company-wide meeting with colleagues from all over. I find myself explaining to an American the difference between Kiwi and Aussie accents; they are similar but there has been a vowel shift in New Zealand.

A few minutes later, we join another group who are asking a new colleague what he thinks of the city so far.

Colleague: “Before I got to London, I’d never seen a bigger.”

Everyone But Me: “What’s a bigger?”

[Colleague] holds his cupped hands toward us.

Colleague: “A person who asks for money.”

Everyone But Me: “Oh, a beggar!

My American colleague leans towards me and speaks with the pride of a student finding a practical application of a recent lesson.

American Colleague: “He’s from New Zealand, isn’t he?”