Unfiltered Story #177702

, , | Unfiltered | November 16, 2019

I was working on Reception when a family came in. Mum, Dad and two kids.

Mother: ‘Can we have four for ice skating please?’

Me: ‘It was Ice skating, it has now been converted to Roller Skating and unfortunately it is now shut for the winter as it is outside.’

Mother: ‘But we read on the website that it is open and it is my daughter’s birthday and that is all she wanted to do!’

Me: ‘I wouldn’t rely on the website as they don’t always update it. It is always better to give us a ring first just to check.’

I would point out that, it being outside and weather-dependent, this is what we always recommend to our customers.

Mother: ‘But the website said it was open! My children are going to be very upset and we have driven 40 miles!’

I could see that the children were disappointed but there was nothing I could do. The mother was extremely angry at this point so I backed off.

I checked on the website after they had gone and it clearly said that the rink was closed.

Today I got to work and found the Father had made a complaint about the ‘smug’ Receptionist and that he wanted financial compensation for the fact he had to find something else to do for his daughter’s birthday.

I e-mailed my boss and said if the Father had just phoned to check…

Literally Pointing Out The Elephant In The Room

, , , , | Working | November 14, 2019

I’m the idiot in this story. First off, I must apologise for the long setup for this, but to really appreciate how I managed to make such a massive faux pas, you do need to understand what happens in one of the magic tricks I perform.

I’m a magician, specialising in performing shows for children aged four to eight years old, and have been performing professionally for several years. This particular effect has been in my repertoire for a good few years and does not require any helpers. The effect is based on the classic nursery rhyme Two Little Dickie Birds. In this effect, I have a plastic board on a small base which shows a wall with two birds on it. I use my wand to point to the birds in turn, getting the kids to join in. 

I start off by saying, “Two little dickie birds, sitting on the wall. One named…”

I point to the first bird with my wand, and the kids shout out, “Peter!”

I then say, “…and one named…”

I point to the second one, and the kids shout out, “Paul!”

At this point, I take out a large hankie and cover the picture. I lift up the hankie and picture together and say, “Fly away, Peter.” I then lower it, and raise it again and say, “Fly away, Paul.” I put it back on the table, but as I do so, I quickly turn the picture around. I lift off the hankie to reveal the other side of the picture. This shows the same wall as before, but no birds. In full magician mode, I announce, “And they’ve gone!” and look a little grumpy when the kids start announcing loudly that I cheated. I throw in a quick aside, “Shhh!”

I continue. I cover up the picture again, lift it up whilst covered, and mime it coming in to land like the two birds whilst saying, “Come back, Peter! Come back, Paul!” When I place it back down on the table, I quickly turn it all round again and lift up the hankie to reveal the original picture. “TADAAAA!” I say, as I strike the traditional pose of magician having performed an amazing trick, whilst the kids perform the traditional act of sensible people who have caught you out and will happily and excitedly let you know. The parents sitting around the group of children will happily perform the traditional act of enjoying their children being clever.

As all good comedy works on the Rule of Three, I perform this a second time, but this time I start off by saying, “Now, some of you, for some reason, think that I was cheating, but I wasn’t. To prove it, I’ll do it one more time. Watch carefully and pay attention.”

The second time through is almost identical to the first, except this time I am throwing in more feedback — “No, I didn’t turn it round” — and generally playing up getting cross with the audience. I should point out here that I only feign getting cross, and the amount of “hammy crossness” is directly proportional to what I know the kids can take for their age; I won’t ever go full ham for the really young.

The last time I perform it, I am acting really cross, and the kids are now extremely vocal in their enjoyment of yelling that I am cheating. “RIGHT!” I say, as I thwack my table with my wand. “Two little dickie birds–*thwack* “–sitting on the wall.*thwack* “One named…”

I point to Paul, but the kids say, “Peter.”

“Uh-uh-uh! It’s Paul! You’ve got to pay attention!” I say, in an almost sing-song voice. I continue.

“And one named…” and I point to Peter. The kids shout out the correct name this time.

I go through the whole “Fly Away” bit almost as before, but as I am about to say, “Fly away, Paul,” I stop mid-sentence and point to the back wall of the room, saying something to get the kids to turn around. They look over their shoulders, and I do the final turn around and reveal the empty wall as before. The kids, by now, are apoplectic in their insistence that I am cheating, so I tell them that the birds really have gone. 

“And do you know why the birds have flown away?” I turn around to reveal that there is now a cat on the wall. “It’s because the cat has chased them away!” At this point, I usually have to remind the kids to applaud the cat, because the look of awe and bafflement also has the effect of silencing them. The parents, on the other hand, are usually in fits of giggles at the reactions of their kids. Their eyes and mouths will generally form perfect circles; it’s like being watched by a room full of young bowling balls.

Okay, lengthy setup over. Hopefully. you’ll find it was worth it when you hear how I went so very badly wrong one time.

I was performing this in a smallish community hall. There were about twenty kids sat on the floor in front of me and a number of parents sat around the outside. Normally, I would be looking around at everybody, adults included, to make sure everyone was happy, and adjusting my performance accordingly. But this time I wasn’t doing any of that. The kids were all having fun, and all was going well. 

I started performing the Dickie Birds routine, and everything was as it always was, with the kids getting more and more vocal at me for cheating and me getting more and more comically frustrated at them for accusing me of cheating. Then, it came to the point when I needed to do the distraction to get the kids to look to the back of the room. But, because I hadn’t been looking around at the adults, I hadn’t noticed where I was going to be pointing.

“Fly away, Peter. Fly away… Look over there! An elephant!” I looked at where I was pointing…  

…straight into the eyes of the largest woman I had ever seen.

Now, I’m a big bloke. Far too big — medically, I’m morbidly obese. But this woman was twice my size. I didn’t know what to do. I knew if I was sat where she was, I would be really upset. My brain went into overdrive. The kids didn’t make any comment about who I was pointing at, so I daren’t say anything; otherwise, I would effectively be making them aware of the incredibly rude thing I had just said. 

So, I decided to just draw the kids’ eyes back to the front and then not look at any adults for the rest of the show. 

Well, that trick ended all right, and the rest of the show was okay. I was bracing myself, trying to decide what to say to the poor lady at the end. What if she hadn’t taken it as an insult, and my apologising made things worse? What if she was distraught and in tears? But I never found out as, by the time the show had ended, she had left. I got paid by the parents of the birthday child all right, and they never said anything. I didn’t get any comebacks, but to this day — some ten years later — I still worry that I caused severe embarrassment to this poor lady.

I still perform that effect today, but the distraction line has changed. Now, instead of getting people to look for an elephant, I point out Superman. After all, no one could be embarrassed about being described as Superman, surely? 

Unless, I suppose, they’ve seen Justice League

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Parent-Teacher Conference In 3… 2… 

, , , , | Learning | November 14, 2019

(When I am in primary school, my mum works as a nurse and my dad as a police officer. So that one of them can be home as much as possible, they often work opposite each other. Mum quite often works nights when Dad works days and vice versa. One day at my parent-teacher evening, Mum goes to talk to the teacher:)

Teacher: *grinning* “I have to show you this. [My Name] was asked to write about what his parents do for a living, and he wrote this.”

My Writing: “My mummy stays out all night and stays in bed all day!”

Mum: “Oh, my!”

Teacher: *chuckling* “Don’t worry; I know what you actually do, so we’ll say no more about it!”

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Unfiltered Story #177166

, , | Unfiltered | November 13, 2019

American sweets are a bit of a novelty in England, a few shops and stalls have appeared in my city and I decide to take a look.

Customer: excuse me?

Shop staff: yes?

Customer: do you source all your stock from America?

(Typical American sweets fill the shelves there are American flags in the store and the shop is called American candy)

Staff: … yes miss.

Customer: do you just do sweets?

Staff: well yes, we do have some drinks aswell.

Customer: well that’s no good I need some savoury items.

Staff: well I’m sorry miss but as you can see…

Customer: (interrupting) I need some turkey, the barbecue one. Do you know the one I mean?

Staff: well no I only work the tills.

Customer: when can you have some in for me?

Staff: as I said I don’t actually decide what the shop sells.you would have to speak to the owner.

Customer: (clearly not listening) ok great, speak with him won’t you?! I will be in next week to pick it up.

Staff: but miss thats not how it works…

Customer: thank you (leaves).

Forever 21 Days

, , , , | Right | November 12, 2019

(I’ve been in retail for a long time and realise that most games console fault issues can be repaired simply by using the online troubleshooting guides, so each time I sell a console I politely tell the customer this. I’ve spent maybe 25 minutes with a male customer who is buying a birthday present for his son and he has been perfectly nice up to this point.)

Customer: “If there’s something wrong with it, can I bring it back?” 

Me: “We do offer a 21-day exchange policy, so if there’s a problem or you change your mind you can bring it back, providing it’s in a re-sellable condition. Then, we can give you a replacement, or an exchange for something different if you prefer.”

Customer: “What if it breaks after the 21 days, huh? What then?”

Me: “Well, you will be covered for the rest of the year through the console manufacturers. I find it’s much easier to contact them directly online or to search for [Console] troubleshooting. Generally, if there’s a problem or a fault with a console, it can be easily rectified online and it saves a lot of hassle of sending your console off for repair and waiting for a replacement.”

Customer: “No, if there’s a problem after 21 days, I’m bringing it back here for a full refund, you stupid c***!”

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