Underprivileged Understanding Is Underwhelming

, , , , | Right | February 10, 2019

(As a receptionist for a local government office, I get a wide variety of people in. I do my best to treat them all with respect, though sometimes it’s not easy. A man comes in who wants to know about funding for local buses. I show him the information, and he notices the funding is separate for regular school buses and for those that transport kids with special physical needs.)

Customer: “Uh… Ah, yes, those buses are for underprivileged kids.”

Me: “Yes, well, they’re for kids, like in wheelchairs. They need ramps and stuff like that.”

Customer: * gives me the most withering, pitying look I’ve ever received* “That’s what ‘underprivileged’ means, dear.”

(I didn’t have the heart to correct him. He was so sure.)

Unhealthy Priorities

, , , , , | Right | January 30, 2019

(I work as a receptionist at a city hall. We only take 30 numbers of applicants who are submitting their documents for passports. We are open from 8:30 to 3:30 and typically run out of numbers before 12:00 pm. When we do we put up our “NO MORE PASSPORTS” sign. It’s 1:00 pm when this lady and her daughter run in.)

Mom: *as she is reading the sign* “Hi, I would like to get passports.”

Me: “I’m sorry, we are currently not taking any applicants today; we’ve already reached the 30 applicants we can process for the day. If you like, I can give you alternative locations, or you can come back next week.”

Mom: *starts breathing heavily and looks like she just ran a mile* “Oh, my God. My husband is in the hospital because he just had a heart attack and I just took my daughter out of school.” *which is what almost every parent says when I tell them no* “Can’t you squeeze us in?

Me: “No, I’m sorry. We’ve already reached our maximum, but I can give you a list of other locations that can help you today.”

Mom: “Oh, my God, are you serious? I’m about to vomit right now. I can’t go to [Location #1] or [Location #2]. They are too far.”

(She is looking at the list and pointing and asking about locations that are 20 minutes further than the locations I suggested.)

Mom: “So, what location can I go to?”

Me: “[Location #3] or [Location #4] are the closest walk-ins.”

Mom: “No, I can’t do that.” *starts to walk away with her daughter*

Me: “I’m so sorry.”

Mom: *to her daughter, mumbling* “Sure, you’re sorry, blah blah blah.”

(All I could think of was, “Wow, your husband is having or had a heart attack, and you are here instead of with him. He could die right now, and you are being a snob because you think I’M a horrible person for doing my job. Okay, lady, you need to check your priorities.)

Unfiltered Story #137075

, , , | Unfiltered | January 21, 2019

(Suggested Title: Dead Men Tell No Tales But Still Fill Out the Long Form)

(As part of the 2000 Census, I was working on a team whose job was to handle Group Homes, Assisted Living, and similar places)

Census Taker: “Hello Ma’am. Our records show you didn’t send in your census form?”

Nice Elderly Lady: “My Husband sent ours in.”

(I politely not, wave over one of the Orderlies and ask)

Census Taker: “Is this lady’s husband also somewhere here, living somewhere else, or possibly deceased?”

Orderly: “Her Husband’s been dead for eight years.”

(I nod and go back into the room, pulling a short form from my folder, and putting a sticky on the long form assigned to her)

Census Taker: “My apologies, ma’am. It seems we had a clerical error and have lost the copy your husband sent in. Since he is away, could I please sit down with you and have you fill out this short form. It won’t take more then 5 minutes, and if you need, I can read the questions and you can just tell me the answers to fill in.”

Nice Elderly Lady: “Well, sure. That seems fine.”

Census Taker: “Thank you very much, ma’am.”

(Won’t bore you with the 5 minutes, but we filled her form out, I then confided with my supervisor and go permission to notate the husband was deceased on the form, and we then filed it. At the end of the day, I felt good that I had done my job, and not destroyed this nice lady’s happy world where her husband was still alive, filling out the long form, and promptly sending their census forms off. Not sure if this story really counts. She wasn’t right, but did it really matter that she wasn’t right? Plus her behavior wasn’t funny, nor outrageous, and sadly not even unusual.)

The Cat Sat On The Bat

, , , , , , | Working | January 7, 2019

(I work in a call center environment. We sit in cubes and I can hear everything around me, much to my coworkers’ dismay; I can catch them saying some pretty funny things, either to themselves or to clients. My coworker is trying to phonetically spell something over the phone to a client.)

Coworker: “That is C, like ‘cat,’ A, like ‘apple,’ N, like ‘knife’…”

Me: “That’s not how this works.”

Coworker: “Shut up with your bat hearing.”

Maybe You Should Belt It Out Louder

, , , , , , | Working | August 8, 2018

(The immigration office requires visitors to undergo a security screening of all bags and miscellaneous items like phones, wallets, etc., similar to an airport screening procedure. I enter the building first; my husband comes in to join me after having found a place to park.)

Security Worker #1: “Put your bags, keys, phone, wallet, and belt in the tray.”

Husband: *places his bag, keys, phone, and wallet in the tray*

Security Worker #1: “Make sure your belt is in the tray.”

Husband: “I don’t have a belt.”

Security Worker #1: “You need to put it in the tray.”

Husband: “There’s no belt.”

Security Worker #1: “No belt?”

Husband: “No belt.”

Security Worker #1: *confused, looks again in tray* “The belt needs to go in the tray.”

Husband: *lifting his sweater and displaying the drawstring* “I have this. I don’t need a belt.”

Security Worker #1: *stares* “No belt?”

Husband: “No belt.”

Security Worker #1: “Okay, go through.”

Husband: *continues to the metal detector, manned by [Security Worker #2]*

Security Worker #2: *looks in tray* “Did you make sure to take your belt off?”

Husband: “I have no belt.”

Security Worker #2: *somewhat incredulously* “No belt?”

Husband: “No belt.”

Security Worker #2: *to [Security Worker #1]* “No belt?”

Security Worker #1: “No belt.”

(As it turns out, we need some extra documents to process our request, so we go home to retrieve said documents. Upon our return, I have my husband wait outside and opt to leave almost everything with him in order to simplify the screening process. I enter the building carrying only my phone, wallet, and the requested paperwork. I place these three items in the tray.)

Security Worker #3: “Your keys, too, ma’am.”

Me: “I don’t have keys.”

Security Worker #3: “Your keys.”

Me: *thinking maybe I somehow misheard* “Did you say my keys, or…?”

Security Worker #3: “Your keys. Like your car keys? They need to go in the tray.”

Me: “I’m not carrying any keys.”

Security Worker #3: “No keys?”

Me: “I didn’t bring any with me today. I have no keys on me.” *patting down empty pockets for emphasis*

(Pause.)

Security Worker #3: “No keys?”

Me: *sigh*

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