Independence Is Nice, But Being With Friends Is Better

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | July 4, 2020

I have moved into a small apartment in an old building in a “rough” part of town. As far as I can tell, my neighbors are very diverse, mostly immigrants, and all lovely.

The Fourth of July is coming up, and since money is tight, I’m not able to make it home for the holidays. I will be working a shift at the gas station I work at the night before, anyway, so I would be too tired to travel on the day.

I get home one day and see my neighbor’s door open; they’re an Iranian family. The mother is doing laundry and has the door and windows open to make a breeze on this hot and humid day. We get talking, and she asks me what I know about the Fourth of July, as she has heard it in conversation recently. I explain about Independence Day and what American families usually do — BBQ, fireworks, etc. She seems satisfied with the answer and goes back to doing laundry.

The next day another neighbor, this time a Chinese man, knocks on my door. He asks my help in translating a government form he has to complete, and he doesn’t understand certain words. We have spoken before so it didn’t come out of the blue, and I am happy to help. Funnily enough, afterward, he also asks about the Fourth of July and what it means. Again, I am happy to explain.

The day before the Fourth of July, I am heading out to my long night shift and bump into another neighbor coming into the building, a Ugandan woman. She doesn’t ask me about the Fourth of July, but asks if I am working all night, as I sometimes do. She is shocked, asking why I am not celebrating one of my holidays with my family, and I have to explain I have moved far away and money is tight. 

I go to my shift, which is 6:00 pm to 6:00 am, and it goes by without incident, just lots of people on the road traveling to see family and last-minute purchases of party supplies. I finish, head home, and get some sleep.

I wake up around midday on the Fourth of July and see a piece of paper at the bottom of my front door. Someone slid it under while I was sleeping.

It reads:

“Hi, [My Name]! We felt sorry that you couldn’t celebrate with your family today, so we’ve made some food for you. Come across whenever you’re hungry.”

It was sent by the Iranian mother across the hall. Very surprised, and more than a little touched, I freshen up and go over. I discover that their whole apartment has been turned into an international potluck! 

Their apartment is the only one with a terrace, and there I find most of my neighbors! Some are wearing tacky Fourth of July plastic glasses, some are drinking from red party cups, but all are having a good time. Without realizing, I had assisted or befriended most of my neighbors over the previous months, and I had been one of the few US citizens that had treated them nicely and with respect, so they wanted to say thank you.

That afternoon, I celebrate an All-American holiday with Iranians, Chinese, Ugandans, Filipinos, Uruguayans, and Vietnamese, who all contributed their cultural food for the occasion. It is the best Independence Day I have ever had! I miss living in that crappy old apartment!

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The Cost Of Popularity

, , , , , , , | Working | June 26, 2020

My mum visits her bank to exchange some English currency for Canadian. This is during a time when any Tom, Dick, or Harry can do transactions of this nature without having to sign in first. Unbeknownst to her, there is a $5 fee associated with currency exchange; however, the bank teller forgets to charge her. So, Mum gets her money exchanged, doesn’t get charged a fee, and goes on her merry way.

A couple of weeks later, Mum gets her bank statement in the mail and it plainly says that a “$5 Currency Exchange Fee” has been withdrawn from her account. She is very cross and calls the bank.

Bank: “Yes, that’s because our teller forgot to charge you. She remembered after you left, recognized you, and took the money out of your account.”

Mum: “Let me get this straight: if I’d been just somebody off the street, and you’d forgotten to charge me, you would have waived the $5 fee?”

Bank: “That’s correct.”

Mum: “So, because I’m a loyal customer, you thought it was okay to help yourself to my money without notifying me first?”

Bank: “Um… Well, when you put it that way…”

Mum got her $5 back.


This story has been included in our June 2020 roundup as one of that month’s most memorable stories!

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He Rolled A One On That Encounter

, , , , , , | Right | June 26, 2020

My parents ran a tabletop gaming store when I was in elementary school. My father hosted a “Dungeons and Dragons” campaign, which drew in a fair number of teenagers from the local high school. As I had to stay at the store after school, my mother brought in a “swear jar” and made sure everyone was aware of it beforehand.

In the middle of one session, one teen decides to ask before he uses one such word:

Teen: “Hey, [Mother], does ‘d*****bag’ count as a swear word?”

My mother looks him in the eye and says:

Mother: “No. But seeing as you’ve said that two feet away from my eight-year-old, you get to tell her what it means!”

The look on his face was priceless.

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The Misogyny Convention Is In Town!

, , , , , | Right | June 25, 2020

I work in a grocery store. One day, I got an influx of… I don’t know where they hailed from, but there must have been a convention of them in town. I am female, and this day our male-customer ratio was through the roof.

Several barked “Manager!” and each time, they demanded a man to ring them up. Since our cashiers are largely female, this means that the manager and our stock boys would have had to use the register all day — and the stock boys aren’t trained for, or responsible for the registers.

When the manager basically told them that they could be rung up by a woman, or they could leave without their products, they became insufferably rude.

All of them either threw their cash on the conveyor belt or slapped it on that little platform for filling out checks. When I greeted them, they glared. When I talked to them, they clamped their mouths closed and refused to so much as look me in the eye. When I tried to give them change, they leaped back like I had the plague and wordlessly jammed a finger at the check platform.

I would put their change down, and they wouldn’t touch it unless my hands were well away from their money, because they refused to touch it if I even vaguely made a motion in the change’s direction after I put it down.

And they just kept coming. A few hours in, the manager grabbed the PA system and made announcements at hourly intervals stating that all customers would be rung up by a woman and that if a customer was “uncomfortable” with it, then we regretfully wished to refer them to another store to make their purchase.

Thankfully, this nonsense only lasted a single day, though by closing, we were all thoroughly sick of it.

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It Really Isn’t The Next Best Thing

, , , , , | Right | June 22, 2020

This takes place at the meat counter.

Customer: “I’m looking for vegan pork.”

Employee: “Is that a tofu product? Check the first refrigerated aisle to your left.”

Customer: “No, no… I want pork, but pork that’s vegan.”

Employee: “Yeah, like tofu, but like pork? It’s that refrigerated aisle, over—”

Customer: “No! I’m not vegan. I want the pork to be vegan!”

Employee: “So… meat from a vegan pig?”

Customer: “Exactly! I can’t stand being vegan, but it seems like the next best thing!”

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