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They Thought You Were Kitten About The Fee

, , , , , , , | Friendly | December 9, 2022

I recently trapped a pregnant cat and brought her inside. I posted about her online for weeks, asking if anyone was missing her or thought she might belong to someone they knew.

Nobody came forward, and she gave birth in my bathroom. I started posting pictures of the kittens online, saying I would have to figure out adoption fees based on how much the vets charged.

My neighbor reached out, asking about the kittens.

Neighbor: “I have a friend who will adopt all of the kittens once they’re fixed.”

Me: “Great! They should be ready to go by [date]. I’m thinking everything will cost about $200 per kitten. I’ll have a better idea once they go to the vet.”

Neighbor: “I’ll tell my friend she can get them around [date], then.”

Me: “Okay, sure.”

Now, the kittens are old enough to be adopted. I get them vaccinated, fixed, and microchipped through a program my vet suggested. I reach out to [Neighbor] again.

Me: “Hi, the kittens are ready. They’re $150 per kitten, so whenever your friend is ready, I can meet her.”

Neighbor: “What? I told her you weren’t charging anything.”

Me: “As I said when you reached out before, there is a fee to cover their vet bills.”

Though I don’t say it, the fee is also to weed out people who are not willing to seek appropriate care for an animal.

Neighbor: “I can’t believe you’re being so greedy.”

Me: “I’m not, actually.”

Neighbor: “She’s not going to pay that. She can get a free kitten anywhere on the Internet.”

Me: “Okay, go ahead. Just remember, that free kitten is going to end up costing more in the long run.”

Neighbor: “I just can’t believe you would charge money for a cat you basically stole.”

Me: *Laughing* “Okay, [Neighbor]. Good luck with this free kitten search.”

All four kittens were later adopted for $150 each, and some of the families threw in extra money when they saw that I was charging less than the vet fees. I have no idea if my neighbor’s friend ever found their completely free kitten.

You. Provoked. The. Fish.

, , , , , | Right | December 8, 2022

I work in a science center/museum/zoo. We have an indoor open-water exhibit that features a raised basin with live fish. Reaching into the water and/or petting the fish is strictly prohibited. Visitors learn about this and the reasons for it — potentially aggressive fish, not introducing cosmetics, disinfectant, or bacteria into the water on the visitors’ part, etc. — before they enter the exhibition. The basin itself also features a large and visible sign asking people to not touch the water; plus, there is a staffer present for supervision. At the moment, that’s me.

Living behind the sign by the basin’s edge is a pair of large African cichlids. They are fairly territorial, especially if they have fry to protect, which these two do.

It’s a quiet day, so I’m taking my time chatting to a patron, telling them about the river landscape we’re depicting while facing toward the entrance of the room and the “Don’t touch the water” sign. A man wearing a T-shirt walks in, stops in front of the sign, and visibly reads it. He walks up to the water’s edge and dunks his arm in up to the elbow; the water doesn’t go much deeper than this. There’s a big splash, and he yanks his arm back out, screaming wordless bloody murder. His shirt is wet. 

For added humor, our crocodile, in a glass enclosure behind the man, decides to surface and snap her jaw in the water at that moment, probably in response to the noise.

The man jumps when he spots the crocodile. Then, he spots me and rushes up, sounding almost comically hysterical.

Man: “The fish attacked me! The fish attacked me!”

Me: *Trying not to laugh* “Sir, I’m very sorry, but I very clearly saw you reading the sign that says not to touch the water. This is why.”

Man: “But the fish attacked me!”

I’m still stifling laughter but trying to stay calm and polite.

Me: “Sir, you were told not to touch the water before entering the exhibition, and I just saw you reading the sign. These fish will defend their territory against intruders, especially now that they have babies. We make these rules for a reason. It’s also possible that you will accidentally endanger them because—”

Man: “But! The! Fish! Attacked! Me!”

I pause for a moment.

Me: “Yes, I understand; I saw the incident. If you are hurt, I can take you down to the first aid room. We also sell shirts at our souvenir shop if you would like a dry one.”

Man: “No, thank you… but the fish attacked me.”

He walks past me and out of the room without a look back.

The other patron I was talking to turns to me, we hold eye contact for a moment, and we burst out laughing simultaneously. 

Other Patron: *Still chuckling* “He’s lucky that the crocodile is behind glass; I wouldn’t have wanted to hear him screaming if he’d lost a hand.”

At Least It Wasn’t A Parrot

, , , , , | Healthy | December 8, 2022



A woman comes into the vet with a cat carrier.

Woman: “My cat is very lethargic.”

She then pulls forth from the carrier a deceased cat and stares expectantly at me.

Um… yep, that’s pretty lethargic, all right!

I was just kind of flabbergasted that at no point while shoving the poor animal into the carrier, driving it over, pulling it out, etc., did it ever occur to her that maybe this was no longer a living creature. While she was sad upon learning the truth, she wasn’t distraught to the extent that I could chalk it up to severe denial.

She just didn’t… notice.

Just This Once, Everybody Wins!

, , , , | Right | December 7, 2022

I supervise a dealership repair shop and teach automotive vocational classes part-time, as well. In the automotive industry, we joke about the “Ever Since Club”: people who claim some new issue has arisen from their car only ‘“ever since” we worked on something totally unrelated. But I caution my coworkers and students to keep an open mind; you never know what you might end up finding. Then, I tell them this story from the first shop I ever worked.

A customer’s car came in with an atypical concern: instead of his car not starting, it wouldn’t stop. The culprit was a faulty ignition switch; even if the driver took the key out of the ignition, the car would stay on and the engine would keep running as though he hadn’t done anything. He ended up disabling it from under the hood so it wouldn’t drink up all his gas and then towing it to us. We diagnosed and repaired it, he paid us, we all agreed it was a fun story, and he left happy.

A week later, he brought it back.

Customer: “You must have messed something up! Ever since I got my car back, it dies overnight. I have to jump-start it every morning! What kind of messy operation are you running, anyway?”

We checked the car back in so we could get to the bottom of it.

Me: “Sir, I want to remind you that the car never did stay with us overnight, so if the problem was preexisting, it could easily have been missed. Also, given the nature of the repair we did, it seems unlikely to be related. But of course, we want to be certain because we absolutely stand by our work.”

We had him authorize a diagnosis fee, but he would, of course, not be charged if the issue was our fault — standard operating procedure.

He was right: his car was dying overnight every night since he picked it up from us, and it didn’t do that before. But we were also right: we didn’t do anything wrong.

The mechanic found the culprit pretty quickly. We had given the customer his copy of the completed repair order when he picked up his car; he’d tossed it in his glove box, closed it, and driven off. But he hadn’t quite tossed it all the way in; the corner of the paper was sticking right into the latch mechanism, jamming the switch and keeping it from seeing that the compartment was shut. The light inside the glove box stayed on constantly, draining the car’s battery every night.

Fortunately, the customer had a sense of humor about his mistake. We waived the diagnosis charge for him, joking that it was a fair trade for two good stories from one car in the same month. He became a loyal customer and even referred us a couple more.

Parking Your Foot Right In Your Mouth

, , , , , , , | Right | December 6, 2022

There’s a supermarket located in a strip mall that has eight other stores in it. My wife and I shop there frequently since it’s on our route home after work. About ten years ago, the supermarket expanded, adding on to the right side of their building, which expanded its footprint by about 30% but also took away some parking spots that were located between it and a fast food place next door.

About a month or so before they completed construction, the mall owner redid the parking lot. They slightly reconfigured it, adding some more spaces to make up for the ones that were lost from the expansion of the supermarket. They completely repaved it, repainted all the lines that defined the parking spots and lanes, etc. Most importantly for this story, they removed all the shopping cart return cages that had been there for decades.

This story takes place a little more than five years after all of that. I have to grab a few things in the supermarket one day when my wife is off work, so she isn’t with me. As is now the custom, since there are no cart return cages anymore, I leave my empty shopping cart in an empty parking spot. That’s when this guy, who apparently thinks he is the “cart police”, aggressively approaches me.

Guy: “Hey, you! A**hole! Please have the d*** courtesy to put your cart away properly. What the h*** is wrong with you?!”

Me: *Incredulously* “Excuse me?”

Guy: “Oh, Christ, another idiot. Put your cart in the return slots like you’re supposed to! Don’t leave them in the middle of the parking lot for someone to run into!”

Me: “Okay, certainly. Would you kindly point me in the direction of the cart return slots?”

Guy: “Oh, for Christ’s sake. Everyone knows they’re over—” *points to where one used to be* “—there…” *Turns to his left* “Um, no, over th— Um…” *Points to another section of the lot* “Over there. Ah, no.”

He finally realizes that there ARE NO cart returns.

Me: “Yeah, Mr. Know-It-All, the mall owner removed all the cart return cages over five years ago when they redid the parking lot.”

Now with his foot firmly shoved in his mouth, as it were, the guy attempts to mumble out a half-hearted apology of sorts.

Guy: “Oh, yeah, well, um… I, uh, don’t know… Uh, when… Why did they… Um…”

Me: “I believe the words you are looking for are, ‘I apologize for being such a rude a**hat.’”

Guy: “Yeah. I, um, yeah… Sorry, buddy.”

He quickly scooted off to his car, leaving me standing there shaking my head at his abject cluelessness. Way to pay attention to your surroundings there, “buddy”.