Thank You For Your Custom Custom

, , , , , | Right | October 14, 2018

(I am at a Renaissance Faire. I have created a custom piece of artwork for a customer. He ordered it a month ago, and it features his, his wife’s, and his children’s names. As he is coming to pick it up today, I have it visible behind my counter. A woman is looking at the piece and complimenting me on it. She seems a little drunk.)

Customer: “Gah, that’s so beautiful. How much is it?”

Me: “Well, that’s a custom order; he paid [total] for it. If you are interested, I can create something custom for you.”

Customer: “Nah, I want that one!”

Me: “I’m afraid that one is paid for; it was custom made and it has his family’s names on it. I can create one for your family, or if you want to take something home today, I have a similar piece for sale over here.”

Customer: “Why can’t I have that one?”

Me: *more firmly* “It’s not for sale. It belongs to someone else.”

(The drunk woman starts crying, but goes quiet, and sits down outside my booth. Five minutes later, I am talking to another customer and hear shouting. The woman has snatched the piece from behind the counter and is trying to run away with it! She makes it around the corner with me in tow yelling, when a man steps up and blocks her way with outstretched arms. Too drunk to figure out how to get around him, she sits down and starts crying. I take the piece from her, then realize the man who blocked her path is the customer who ordered the custom piece! I hand it to him, laughing.)

Me: “I guess you had to earn this one!”

(We sent the drunken woman to first aid to get her water and help her sober up. This year, she came back to the faire far more sober, and was browsing my shop. I don’t think she remembered the previous adventure, and she ended up buying a piece that was legitimately for sale.)

Magical Whimsical

, , , , , | Related | September 18, 2018

(My cousin likes to force her five-year-old son to conform to some high standard of a perfect little boy like you’d see in a magazine and doesn’t allow him to actually act like a small child. We like to instill a little whimsy in him whenever she’s not around. We’re currently taking him to a street fair, and my sister finds a dandelion that’s turned to puff.)

Sister: “Look! If you see a dandelion that looks like that, you can make a wish and blow on it, and it’ll carry your wish into the sky!”

(He excitedly blows on it ,and we continue walking. He sees the prettiest fall leaf — the first of the season — on the sidewalk, and excitedly picks it up.)

Cousin: “My wish came true!”

(He had a smile on his face for the rest of the day.)

Unfair Thing To Do At A Fair

, , , , , , | Related | September 13, 2018

(I am seven years old, and a traveling carnival is in town. At this carnival, they give matching stickers to children and parents with their names on them, usually including a simple unique drawing on each in case of repeat names. As a reward for good grades, I am able to go. My mother takes me, but there are conditions she doesn’t mention beforehand. We are exiting the car and approaching the ticket stand.)

Mom: *grabs both of my shoulders and forces me to look at her face* “Remember, you have to say to the nice people that you’re five, or else we are going home.”

Me: *disappointed* “Dad says lying is bad.”

Mom: “Well, I divorced him, and he isn’t here, so do as I say!”

(We arrive at the ticket stand.)

Cashier: *cheery* “Hello, how are you today?”

Mom: *flat and tensely* “One adult, and one child under six.”

Cashier: *somewhat surprised by my mother’s tone, turns to face me* “And how old are you, sweetie?”

Me: *awkward and afraid, totally uncomfortable, or “shy” as some people call it* “Five.”

Cashier: “Great! What’s your name so I can write it on your tag?”

Me: *so nervous I can only hear my heart pounding in my ears, and I regret wanting to come here in the first place* “Five.”

Cashier: *blinks* “Well, all right, then. One moment!”

(She wrote up the parent and child tags, each saying that “Five” was my name, and a quick drawing of a pine tree. Probably because I was scared stiff? I didn’t end up having much fun because I was so scared I was going to get arrested for lying about my age.)

A Long(House) Tale

, , , , , | Friendly | September 11, 2018

(Because my family is Native American, during the State Fair we spend most of our time in the Indian Village. It’s very common for parents and grandparents to simply stay and rest in the village while children form groups together and go off on their own to enjoy the fair, coming back every so often to check in and rest. My family does so this year, and during one of our stops, sitting with friends and family outside one of the replica longhouses on a bench, we hear these two gems.)

Native Man: *over microphone* “And you guys can check out one of our longhouses here in the village. Longhouses have stopped being used since the late 17th century, though some of us still live in them… only now, they’re made out of metal, and we call them trailers.”

(Cue several people around us laughing hysterically. A while later, a slightly drunk couple approaches the longhouse my group is sitting at.)

Woman: *very excited* “Oh, my God! This is a real life longhouse! People used to live here! Can you believe this?!”

Man: *a lot calmer* “Ah, yes, the very first casino.”

(They walk into the replica, leaving my group to look at each other and burst into giggles.)

Freebies Aren’t Free

, , , | Right | September 10, 2018

(I annually volunteer to run a shop for a charity when they have a stall at a country and outdoor fair. This isn’t by any means a ‘professional’ shop; the charity corporate sends items and prices and I set up the shop and basically watch that nothing gets stolen. The bulk of our stock is promotional leaflets and informative things, but also free badges, lanyards, magazines, and kid’s activity books. Most of the items we sell are also promotional or charity endorsed, such as bronze badges and DVDs. All of the funds go back to the charity. A family are milling around my table: a couple of kids, their mother, and their grandfather.)

Me: “Please feel free to help yourself to the things on that table. Would your kids like a badge each, perhaps?”

Guest: “Oh, great!”

(They gather round the table and help themselves, mostly to badges and kid’s activity books. I don’t mind the badges — corporate sent hundreds — but we don’t have that many kid’s activity books and I’m watching a good chunk of them disappear when I’ve still got a good two days of running the stall. But, I realise that I can’t really fault them because I told them to help themselves!)

Guest: *holding up lanyard* “Is this free, too?”

Me: *smiling, not knowing what else to say* “Yep!”

Guest: “Great.” *proceeds to pass one out to all her family members*

Daughter: *looking at the gilt lapel badges for sale* “Can I get one of these?”

Guest: “A pin!” *to me* “Oh, she wants to be like her granddad; he’s a [Charity] member!” *calling* “Grandad come look at this!”

Grandad: “Ah, I’ve got one like that!” *to Daughter* “Tell her that your granddad’s a member, and you get a discount!” *laughs*

Me: *smiling, knowing most of our customers are also members and HQ would have my skin if the money-box came back short* “That’ll be £4.60 for you today, please.”

Daughter: *gets the money out of her own pocket and is very polite* “Thanks!”

Me: “Thank you! Enjoy your day!”

(They leave, I restock my very depleted freebie table and think that’s that. They weren’t exactly the worst possible customers. Then, an hour or so later, the whole troupe spills back into the stall.)

Grandad: “She’s lost her badge. We were up at the archery.”

Me: “Oh… I’m sorry to hear that.”

Grandad: *tugging at the one I have pinned down on the table* “Yes, she wants another one.”

Me: “We still have several here under the table, I’ll just get you a new one.” *I do* “£4.60 please.”

Guest: “Didn’t you hear? She lost it.”

Me: “I understand; that’s very unfortunate. I’m really sorry, but I can’t give you a replacement for free.”

Grandad: *irate* “But she lost—”

Older Volunteer: “Is everything okay here?”

Grandad: *quickly thrusting a five pound note in my direction* “Fine, fine. The wee lassie here was just seeing if you’d any more badges in stock!”

Me: “And here’s your change. Thanks again!”

(They did leave for good after that, but not before taking another handful of lanyards and buttons!)

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