Small Town, Big Country

, , , , | Friendly | July 1, 2020

Several years ago, we moved to a tiny town in Eastern Ontario very near the nation’s capital, Ottawa. Ottawa has huge celebrations for Canada Day, July 1. We’ve learned that areas surrounding Ottawa view themselves as detached from Ontario and Canada, but we didn’t realize by how much until this conversation.

The area is also very insular, not recognizing much of the world beyond its own boundaries. During our first summer in the area this conversation occurs.

Me: “Does [Small Town of about 75 residents] have any Canada Day celebrations?”

Local Official: “Yes, on [date in June rather than July 1].”

Me: *Puzzled* “Is that so the celebrations don’t conflict with those in the [Very Nearby Capital]?”

The official speaks in a tone as if I’d suggested a perversion.

Local Official: “No. Nobody goes to that! It’s so it doesn’t conflict with the big celebration in [Nearest ‘Town’ of a few hundred people].”

Me: “Okay, so we won’t miss that!”

We go to the June celebration in the tiny town, which is a picnic with very modest fireworks in the evening. On July 1st, we go to the festivities in the nearby “big town” which centres around a parade. The parade consists of locals driving their own undecorated cars around the main drag for an hour, followed by two horses. I speak to a local at the parade.

Me: “Have you ever been to the Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa?”

Local: “What?! There’s a parade there, too?!”

Me: *Internally* “We have soooooooo moved to the wrong place.”

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The Cat Isn’t The Only One That Needs Holding

, , , , | Right | May 25, 2020

This takes place on Memorial Day, so the clinic is closed. I’m the only one scheduled to work this day, coming in for an hour or so to feed and medicate any animals in the boarding facility or hospitalized patients.

One of my duties is to check any phone messages and reply to them, if possible. I’m a high school student who just works as a veterinary assistant after school, on weekends, and some holidays.

Me: “Hello, is this Mrs. [Client]? This is [My Name] calling from [Clinic]. I received your message about needing some assistance with your cat. Is this a medical emergency?”

Client: “Oh, thank you for calling! No, you see, I need to give my cat some fluids, but I can’t hold him still. I know you guys are closed today, so I can’t bring him in, but I was wondering if you could send someone to my house to help me?”

We do offer house call services, but it’s very rare and rather expensive.

Me: “Unfortunately, since we are closed, there are no technicians on staff today, so there is no one available to send to your house. However, you can bring your cat in any time tomorrow, when we are open, and we’ll be happy to administer his fluids. It would be about a ten-minute appointment.”

Client: *Suddenly angry* “I have to work tomorrow! I’m not working today! I’m off because it’s a holiday! Why can’t you come to my house today?” 

Me: “As I said, we are closed today. You are off today because it’s a holiday; so are we. You work tomorrow; we do, too.”

Client: “Well, if I could even bring him in tomorrow, it would have to be very late. At least 4:30.”

Me: “That’s great! We’re open until 5:00.”

Client: *Rudely* “Oh.”

Me: “Would you like me to put an appointment in the computer for 4:30 tomorrow?”

Client: “No. I have to be at work at 9:00 in the morning! Do you know how early that is?”

Me: “Well, if the afternoon is too inconvenient, we open at 8:00 am, and you can drop your cat off for the day as early as 7:30. You can pick him up after work, if that would be easier for you.”

Client: “No! I can’t do that! I need someone to come to my house right now and hold my cat.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but there is no one on staff today. Everyone is off for the holiday. We are closed.”

Client: *Demanding* “Wait a minute. You’re there! You come to my house.”

Me: “I’m afraid I can’t do that. I am not qualified to make house calls.”

Client: “But I only need you to hold my cat for a minute! I’m sure even you can handle that.”

Me: “It’s against policy. I’m just an assistant; house calls are technician appointments.” 

Client: “I don’t even live far! It’s easy! You’re just being lazy!”

Me: “Ma’am! I am just a high school student who was assigned to work the holidays. I don’t even have a car! I cannot come out to your house! The best I can do is schedule you an appointment for any time you wish tomorrow.”

Client: “Well, if you can find anyone there who is willing to help me, then you call me back. I know that someone will!”

Me: “All right. If I can find any staff who is willing to come to your house to hold your cat, I will certainly let you know–“

Client: “Finally!”

Me: “–but I must warn you that that is very improbable, because we are closed today and there is no one here! If you would like to schedule an appointment for tomorrow, please leave a message for the receptionist, and do enjoy your holiday. Goodbye!”

I hung up.

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Jesus Died For Your Shopping Spree

, , , , , | Right | May 21, 2020

I work at a supermarket as a baker. Currently, due to the disease outbreak that’s gripping pretty much everywhere, we’re in lockdown and time has lost meaning. I get to work and there’s a massive queue of customers waiting to get in. It’s 6:00 am.

Customer: *To me* “Why isn’t the store open? Shouldn’t it open at 6:00 am?”

Me: “It’s Good Friday. We open at eight.”

There was a cry of various swear words, laughing, and then a mass of people leaving cause they weren’t gonna hang around for two hours.

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The Mother Of All Guesses

, , , , | Right | May 10, 2020

I’m working in a major retailer just before Mother’s Day. A customer approaches me carrying two watches.

Customer: “Which of these watches would my mother like best?”

Me: “Um… Sir? I’m sorry, but I don’t know your mother, so I wouldn’t have a clue.”

Customer: “Well, make your best guess!”

Me: “Um… sure.” *Points to a watch* “That one.”

With that, the customer smiled and went on his way. I do hope his mother liked the gift I picked out.

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Hunting For Kindness — And Finding It!

, , , , , , , , | Learning | April 26, 2020

I’m in my final year of high school. Partly because it’s an optional subject, there are only nine people in my chemistry class, and as a result, we’re quite a tight-knit class who get on well with the teacher. I’m sat between two friends, talking as we work.

Friend #1: “So, what are you both doing for Easter?”

Friend #2: “We might organise an Easter egg hunt for our cousins.”

Friend #1: “Ooh, that sounds fun. I wonder if I can convince my brother that we should do an Easter egg hunt. I haven’t done one for ages. How about you, [My Name]? Are you also going to do an Easter egg hunt?”

Me: “I don’t think I’ve ever done one, so probably not.”

There is silence as my friends stare at me.

Me: “What?”

Friend #1: “You’ve never done an Easter egg hunt?”

Me: “No?”

Friend #2: “But not even in primary school?”

Me: “Don’t think so.”

The teacher comes over to us.

Teacher: “Girls, I hope you’re talking about chemistry.”

Friend #1: “Miss, [My Name] has never done an Easter egg hunt before.”

Teacher: “Okay?”

Friend #1: “I really think this should be rectified.”

Teacher: “Do you want to do an Easter egg hunt, [My Name]?”

Me: “Uh. I mean, I wouldn’t say no to one but I don’t think my life has been worse off for it.”

Friend #2: “Miss, maybe [Friend #1] and I could set one up for her next lesson!”

Me: “What? Send me to hunt one egg? We could do that outside.”

Teacher: “All right, girls. Focus on your work. You can make plans later.”

We focus on our work and the topic is forgotten. Fast forward a few days to our next chemistry lesson.

Teacher: “Okay, everyone. We’re going to end the lesson a little early today. I’ll explain more later.”

We’re all curious but she won’t explain. We get our work done in the shorter timeframe and then put our books away, as requested.

Teacher: “All right. Now, I understand [My Name] has never done an Easter egg hunt. [Friends #1 and #2] feel strongly about this, so, in the spirit of Easter, I have hidden nine mini crème eggs around the room. You have until the bell rings to find them. Enjoy!”

We proceeded to spend the next ten minutes looking for the crème eggs, with a few lower school kids who had been sent in for bad behaviour even helping out. I asked my friends later but they said they had nothing to do with it. It’s been eleven years but I’m still a little touched that the teacher decided to do that for us, and I’ve never forgotten my first ever Easter egg hunt.

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