Unfiltered Story #121726

, , | Unfiltered | September 21, 2018

(I’m at a local festival event in a park. I approach a food stand, which is strangely devoid of customers even though surrounding stands have twenty-minute-long lines. They have no visible price list outside; I finally spot a menu list on a sheet of paper taped to the desk next to a sitting employee. I come close to look at it.)

Employee #1: *very casually* “Hi there.”

(Then he seems to notice my accessories and without giving me even half a second to turn to him from the list I’m looking at, he turns to the left and says much louder and pointedly to a coworker:)

Employee #1: “I don’t think she can hear me! I bet she can’t hear anything!”

(I realize he’s talking about the ear buds I left in my ears, since it’s a pain to take them in and out all the time and they get tangled up. I have no music or anything on, though, and can hear him in precise surround-sound. I’m put-off by being talked to as if I’m not right here, and turn towards him. I’m standing still and clearly staring right at his face now; he’s sitting barely a foot away from me.)

Employee #1: *still loudly and very pointedly* “Yeah, she probably can’t hear me! Uh-huh; I don’t think she can hear anything I say!”

(I stare at him for a few more seconds. He doesn’t quit his commentary. I decide a confrontation over this isn’t worth the risk of being labeled an entitled or problem customer (particularly as I’m white and he’s a person of color), and just walk off. As I’m heading away I hear the female employee (white & blonde) he was talking to go:)

Female Employee: *also loudly* “No: I’m pretty sure she could hear you!”

(I buy my lunch from one of the other stands – waiting in line for twenty minutes is worth not being insulted by the workers. Next afternoon I come back to the festival, and decide to give that place one more chance, so I head in their direction. Once again, there’s not a single other customer in sight despite long lines at surrounding stands. As soon as I get within twenty feet of their stand:)

Female Employee: *super loudly* “HEY! It’s ear buds lady again!”

(I’m really weirded out. It doesn’t appear she was addressing me directly though, so it doesn’t seem to make sense for me to say anything. I come closer and try to look at the menu again.)

Female Employee: *loudly & very pointedly* “Hey; weren’t you here yesterday?!”

Me: *thinking* “What is going on here? Why do you need to loudly make comments about it and ask me about it until I’m essentially forced to make a public acknowledgment that I remember your coworker’s extremely weird behavior towards me yesterday?”

Me: *super-neutral tone* “Yes, thank you. I was here yesterday.”

(I then finally look at the menu list and see there are no prices on it at all.)

Me: “Excuse me, do you have a price list?”

Female Employee: “Oh, pretty much everything on there is just $15.”

(That’s way on the high end for food at this event. I look back at the list to see if I want any of it enough to pay that much for lunch. [Employee #1] is sitting there too at the other end, seemingly silent for once. In a second, another male employee comes in from the back, glances at me and immediately goes:)

Employee #2: *loudly* “HEY! Can I have your umbrella?” *smirking like he’s the first person in the world to say this “joke”*

(Since it’s over 80 degrees and we’re under the open sky, I have an open umbrella for the sun.)

Me: *feeling that I’m really fed-up with the weird statements, I make sure to put extra cheer and friendliness into my tone to him so as not to sound upset or sarcastic* “Oh; you know? Actually lots of people have said that to me before! I’m not quite sure why though! I guess maybe they think it’s funny or something; but you know I personally have just never thought that that’s funny!”

Female Employee: *cuts me off towards the end and in a very loud and faux-concerned tone says* “Hey: are you OKAY?”

Me: *extremely confused now, I turn to her and put even more cheer in my voice and give her a big exaggerated smile* “Yes! I’m great! Thank you!”

(She keeps staring at me. I don’t even know what to think anymore, so just try to look back at the menu. Immediately she turns to her right, apparently to the sitting [Employee #1], whom I wasn’t even aware had said anything at all, and while standing in arms’ reach of me starts going:)

Female Employee: *in a pointed and loud tone* “No; she’s not going to talk to you. Yeah; she’s just not going to talk to you!”

(There is no other “she” besides me and her anywhere around, so there’s no question who she’s talking about. I turn back to stare at her.)

Female Employee: *still loudly* “Yeah, no; it looks like she’s just *not going to talk to you*! No – she *won’t* talk to you!”

(While it’s a bit noisy there what with the festival music, I’d swear the employee she’s saying this to isn’t actually talking at all. I stare some more in disbelief, then when she doesn’t quit it, I once again decide to cut my losses and walk away; it’s just too odd and off-putting for me to try to deal with, especially with all three workers being weird at once. Also, at this point I’m really unsurprised no one seems to be coming up to their stand.

I go wandering around; no other workers at any of the dozens of other stands I approach feel the need to make any strange comments to me or about me. Nobody else had the previous day either. I buy my food at one of these other stands with a polite normal seller.

After considering it for a day, I email the festival organizers about it, who in turn put me in touch with the business owner of that food stand. She seems to be a nice lady; I speak to her on the phone and relay everything I experienced with her crew both days, including mentioning the stand’s perpetual lack of customers (maybe coincidental, but I highly suspect not…). ‘course I don’t know if she’ll really do anything, but I feel it was worth trying.)

The Walking Dead Social Constructs

, , , , , | Friendly | August 26, 2018

(I have a table at a local festival where I am selling copies of the books I wrote. A male customer, probably between 45 and 50 years old, comes to my table. He asks how it’s going — the usual — and then picks up my newest book about a zombie world. I tell him a bit of what it’s about. I’m a girl.)

Customer: “Hmm… I’m just trying to think if a boy would like this.”

Me: *happily* “Of course a boy would like it!”

Customer: “Yeah, but the protagonist is a girl.”

Me: *not quite as nicely as my last answer to him* “So? Boys can read about girls.”

Customer: *shaking his head* “Nah. No they can’t.”

Me: “Why not?”

Customer: “They can’t relate.”

Me: *clearly annoyed at this point* “Of course they can! Girls read books about boys.”

Customer: “Yeah, but that’s different.”

Me: “How? How is that different?”

Customer: *long pause* “Girls are different.”

Me: “No, they’re not. A girl reading a book about a boy is the same as a boy reading a book about a girl.”

Customer: *still shaking his head* “No, I don’t think so.”

Me: “Why can a girl read a book about a boy, but a boy can’t read a book about a girl?”

Customer: “Well, my son is 17… and he likes to read… I don’t have any cash on me, though.”

Me: *smiling* “That’s okay; I take credit cards, too.”

Customer: “Oh…”

(He buys it, I think only because he realizes he is being a moron and feels bad for clearly offending me.)

Me: “Do you want a receipt emailed or texted to you?”

Customer: *rudely* “No, then I’ll have to give you my information.”

Me: “Okay, you don’t have to get one; I was just giving you the option.”

(It was so hard for me not to sign the book, “I hope you like it even though it’s about a GIRL!” But I was also giving away chapter samplers for my next book, and was able to finish the transaction off with, “Oh, and here’s a free chapter sampler for my book that’s coming out next year. Your son will definitely like it because it has girl AND boy protagonists.”)

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They’re A Crafty Bunch

, , , | Friendly | August 16, 2018

Friend #1: “I didn’t know there were this many white people in Durban!”

Me: “We’re at a craft beer festival.”

Friend #2: “It’s, like, their habitat.”

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A Festival Of Fools

, , , , , , | Right | July 31, 2018

(Every year I volunteer for one of the world’s busiest film festivals. The rules are known and pretty clear to film goers. If you buy tickets for a screening, you have to be there at least fifteen minutes before it starts; otherwise, if you are not in your seat by then, your seat is given away to people standing in the rush line. Most people are fine with this rule and understand it is festival policy. One day I am on ticket-taking duty for a new Samuel L. Jackson film in the IMAX cinema. As predicted, it is absolutely full, and the screen starts on time without a hitch. Thirty minutes into the film, I see a pair of trendy couples casually walking towards the theatre, all carrying armfuls of sacks from the concession stand. One of them hands me his ticket.)

Guy #1: “Okay, let us in.”

(My fellow volunteer and I look at each other nervously, as we know this is about to become difficult.)

Me: “I’m sorry… The screening is full.”

Guy #1: “Yeah, but we have tickets, so let us in, please!”

Volunteer: “The screening is totally full; you need to be here at least 15 minutes before it starts to get your seat!”

Girl #1: “Are you f****** kidding us? We have tickets!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we can’t let you in now.”

Guy #2: “Dude, we bought tickets and we want to go in! Just let us in.”

Me: “Let me just get the volunteer manager for you; maybe he can sort something else out.”

Girl #2: “F****** ridiculous.”

(I can hear them loudly arguing and complaining among themselves as I grab the manager. He’s a very short guy, so people just assume they can intimidate him, but he has nerves of steel and doesn’t back down from a fight. Immediately one the guys stands over him threateningly.)

Manager: “Hi, sir, I understand you arrived late for the screening.”

Guy #1: “Listen, buddy, let us on into our movie that we paid for and there won’t be a problem.”

Manager: “Sir, this isn’t the regular cinema. This is a festival, and if you read the back of your ticket, it clearly states that you have to be here on time or your seat becomes forfeit.”

Guy #2: “Who reads that s***?”

(The manager gives a look that suggests he should behave himself, and the other guy immediately recoils.)

Manager: “It’s also on our website, brochures, and every other festival material you will find! Sorry you cannot get into that film, but…”

Girl #1: “OH! SO, YOU’RE HAPPY TO TAKE OUR MONEY, BUT YOU WON’T LET US IN? THIS IS BULLS***!”

Manager: “Okay, calm down! Can I ask first what made you late for the screening?”

Guy #1: “There was a load of traffic coming in, OBVIOUSLY! The game was finishing and the f****** festival is on!”

Guy #2: “Yeah, we were watching the Jays game first!”

(The whole group agrees loudly to this.)

Manager: “Firstly, watch your language! Secondly, have you been to other films this festival?”

Guy #2: “Yeah, but there were biga** queues! We couldn’t be bothered standing in those. Who the h*** stands in a queue for over an hour to see a movie? We just thought we would skip them.”

Manager: “Right, so even though you knew there would be traffic due to the festival, and you actively knew there was a baseball game on today… you still decided to arrive late?”

Guy #1: “We thought our seats would be held for us!”

Manager: “Did you see the people standing in the rush line outside?”

Guy #2: *laughs* “Yeah, what suckers.”

Manager: “Well, if you are not on time for the film, then they get your seats, because they want to see the films just as much as you do. If you are not here on time, then I am sorry, but you will miss out!”

(Following this is another few minutes of the couples begging, pleading, and threatening to get into their movie. The manager doesn’t relent, and basically tells them are no seats to accommodate them, and refuses their request to throw out other people due them holding tickets. Finally at the end of his tether, the manager tells them:)

Manager: “Right, if you will follow me, we can look at other films I can get you a ticket for. Sorry, but you will not be seeing this picture tonight.”

(Angrily, three out of the four follow him to the box- office. The other girl turns around to us and gives a disgusted look.)

Girl #2: “WE HAD TICKETS!”

(With that, she storms away with the others. The other volunteer and I look at each other and try not to laugh.)

Me: “If they’re that bothered about seeing their movie, why did they get snacks for the already busy concession stand and waste more time?”

Volunteer: “People are strange.”

(Thankfully, that was the only time I had to deal with something like that… roll on next year.)

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He’s Going Down

, , , , | Friendly | July 6, 2018

(I’m at a local festival with a coworker, but I barely know anyone and I am not that good at making contacts. My coworker spots a guy she knows and introduces me to him.)

Coworker: “[My Name], this is [Guy].”

Me: “Hi. We’re coworkers.”

Guy: “Oh, really?”

Me: “For now at least. I have a degree, but it’s tough to find a decent job nowadays.”

Guy: “What kind of degree?”

Me: “History.”

Guy: “Then you should have known.”

Me: *surprised by this sudden harshness* “Oh?”

Guy: “Yeah, the statistics, you know…”

(Not a good start. After that it doesn’t get better. The guy tells me he is a software developer, and from that goes to politics. According to him, the government is stealing money through taxes. He also thinks local governments should be abolished since they “never did anything for him.” But the last straw is when the discussion moves to the subject of useful science.)

Me: “Well, it depends on what you call ‘useful.’ I mean, take Darwin for instance. He is always praised for the evolution theory. And no matter how interesting or even right it is, what’s the use in daily life?”

Guy: “It teaches us that one person has better genes than the other.”

Me: “Uh… What?”

Guy: “Yeah. I mean, think of an entire society full of Down Syndrome people; we wouldn’t want that, right?”

(Lucky, my coworker noticed me getting uncomfortable and saved me from the conversation. Turned out she didn’t really like him, either.)

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