In Starch Contrast To Medical Advice

, , , , , , | Right | October 17, 2017

(I work as a receptionist at a hotel. The bar in our lobby serves food as well as drinks. I am working the night shift. It is around 3:00 am when I get this call:)

Me: “Front desk, how may I help you?”

Guest: “Hi, can you connect me through to the bar?”

Me: “Sorry, sir, the bar closes at 11:00 pm.”

Guest: “Well, my daughter is having an allergic reaction, so we’d like some French fries.”

Me: *baffled* “Your daughter is having an allergic reaction… and you want French fries?”

Guest: “Yes.”

Me: “I think you should get her an ambulance.”

Guest: “No, it’s fine. We just need some French fries.”

Me: “I really think you should get her an ambulance. Besides, there is no one at the bar at this hour. How would French fries even help?”

Guest: *somewhat condescendingly* “Well, French fries are made of starch, and starch will help fight the allergy.”

Me: “Well, the deep fryer requires special training to operate. I couldn’t get you fries even if I wanted to. Again, I implore you to call an ambulance.”

Guest: *talking to someone else in the room* “He wants us to call an ambulance.” *click*

(They didn’t call again after that. No ambulance arrived. I hope his daughter was okay. I never heard of starch helping with allergies, and I couldn’t find anything on Google to support this.)


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They Should Put In A Seat Warning To Not Sit Next To Them

, , | Right | August 31, 2017

(I am part of my travel agency’s back office team that processes customer requests for ticket changes and cancellations. Towards the end of the shift, we receive a very angrily-worded email demanding that we cancel a reservation made on our website.)

Me: “This is [My Name] from [Travel Agency]. I am calling regarding your request to cancel the tickets you booked with us last Friday.”

Customer: “Well, finally! You are thieves and scammers. You told me my card would not get charged! I was just checking availability on those flights, not booking them!”

Me: “Well, you have successfully completed the booking, which would require both putting in full credit card details AND checking the box that says that you have read the rules and you confirm the booking.”

Customer: “That is your representative’s fault! I was told that in order to see if there are seats available I had to put in full credit card details, but he said that if I didn’t want to actually book, I would just need to put in someone else’s card! I used my mother’s card! Why wasn’t the charge declined?!”

Me: “My apologies but that makes no sense. If you have put in full credit card details and the card owner’s ID number, why would the charge be declined? There was no inconsistency between payer details and card details. And why would anyone ever think that you need to put in full credit card details and ID number for ‘just checking’? You can see the search results without going through three additional screens to payment details.”

Customer: “I demand that you cancel the tickets RIGHT NOW and refund me in full TODAY or I will take it to the press! And just so you know, I am a lawyer!”

Me: “Well, as a lawyer, I am sure you are aware of the Consumer Protection Law under which…”

Customer: “Yes! Consumer Protection Law! It says I can cancel for free within 48 hours!”

Me: “…under which you will be charged a cancellation fee of 5% of the reservation’s total value so long as you cancel within 14 days from date of purchase.”

Customer: “But you can’t charge me cancellation fees! Your representative told me my card would not be charged!”

Me: “I can request the recording of that call if you insist, and we will call you back within 24 hours. Which phone number were you talking to that representative from?”

Customer: “Uh… You can’t charge me anyway. I am barred by court order from leaving the country!”

Me: “That has no bearing on your cancellation fees.”

Customer: “Did you hear me? Court order! It’s illegal for you to charge me fees!”

Me: “No, it’s not, but it just might make it illegal for you to purchase a ticket for yourself out of the country.”

Customer: “Okay, fine, I didn’t want to tell you because it’s personal but you’re forcing me. I have a medical reason. I’ll send you a letter from my doctor!”

Me: “I’m afraid consumer protection law fees are not waived for medical reasons. They are already a form of waiver as they are symbolic fees which, within the defined period of time, supersede the much higher fees of the products you purchase, like your non-refundable tickets.”

Customer: “I am serious. I have a valid medical reason! I had breast enlargement surgery!”

Me: “How is that relevant?”

Customer: “I can’t get the sutures wet! I can’t go into the sea! What would I fly to Cyprus for if I can’t go to the beach?!”

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Man, What A Woman!

, , | Friendly | June 7, 2017

(I am riding home in the car with my friend, who is driving. We’re both 18-year-old guys, and despite my friend being ugly as sin, he has long hair, moisturizes his skin, and has a few other “girly” traits we used to keep making fun of. At a bus stop popular with hitchhikers, we notice a guy trying to catch a lift to our home town, so we stop the car.)

Hitchhiker: “Are you going to [Town]?”

Friend: “Sure, hop in!”

(Just as we’re about to leave, there’s a knock on my window. It’s a woman who asks whether we can also take her to the town just before ours. We agree and she gets in the back near the first hitchhiker. The woman starts talking to my driver friend. In our language, you pronounce verbs differently when you speak to men or women, and she kept using female verbs while talking to him.)

Friend: *turns around* “I’m a guy, by the way.”

Woman: “Oh, my god, I’m so sorry! I just thought you were a girl who neglects her eyebrows!” *in her defence, he has HUGE eyebrows*

Me: “Don’t worry, you’re not the first nor the last to make that mistake.”

(We have a good laugh, and drop her off at the entrance to the town she was headed to. As we continue to drive, I look in the rear view mirror, and notice the first hitchhiker shifting VERY uncomfortably in his seat.)

Me: “Is anything wrong?”

Hitchhiker: “You know that was a man, right?”

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Keep Digging A Bigger Hole For Themselves

, , , , | Right | July 7, 2016

(I am working as an archaeology student at an excavation on the Israeli coast. Our site is located on a kibbutz — something like a small village/self-sustaining community where tourists often stay to get a more ‘genuine’ Israeli vacation experience — just a few yards up on a hill near a popular beach, so we get a lot of tourists coming up to see what’s going on, and are typically happy to explain the process to them. Because the site is located on a steep cliff overlooking the Mediterranean, however, it is quite easy to fall and get badly wounded on the rocks below. In addition to the fact that the site itself is very sensitive and should not be disrupted, most of the area is ‘roped-off’ from the public during the summer. This happens during lunchtime while most of the archaeologists and volunteers, my supervisor included, have gone down to the kibbutz for a bite to eat. Only about three of us have stayed behind to work on a cluster of pottery and animal bones that we have been meticulously unearthing for the better part of a week. A British tourist and her three young children approach the site.)

Colleague: “Hi there! How are you folks doing today?”

Tourist: “Fine. What are you doing up here, anyway?”

Colleague: “We’re excavating an archaeological site. Right now we’re working on a layer of Persian artifacts. If you’d like, I’d be happy to give you a-”

(At that moment, two of her children duck under the ropes and come ambling down excitedly into the pit.)

Me: “Oh, no! I’m sorry, but I have to ask that you stay up behind the ropes. It’s very dangerous down here.”

Kid #1: “I just wanna see what you’re digging!”

Me: “I’m sorry, it’s just very dangerous. Please go back up to your mom, and we’ll be happy to explain everything about the site.”

Kid #1: “But we’re just looking!”

Tourist: “Let them look! It’s educational!”

Colleague: “Ma’am, please, it’s dangerous…”

Tourist: “They just want to learn!”

(At that moment, Kid #1 suddenly reaches down, grabs the handle of a piece of pottery we’re working on, and yanks it out of the soil. The handle breaks, of course, and he holds it up to show his mom. My colleagues and I are too shocked for a moment to speak. The mom is grinning.)

Kid #2: “Mum! Look what I found!”

Tourist: “Oh, hold it up so I can take a photo!”

Me: “Excuse me! Please, give that back! We’ve been working on that piece for a WEEK and you just broke it!”

Kid #1: “Does this mean I get to keep it?”

Colleague: “Absolutely not!”

Tourist: *angrily* “Oh? Why not? He found it; he should get to keep it! You don’t even sound Israeli. What makes you think that any of this is YOURS?”

Me: “The site belongs to the State of Israel. It is a protected site, and your child just destroyed an artifact after entering a dangerous, roped-off excavation site. He DOES NOT get to keep it.”

Colleague: *bluffing, but absolutely incensed at this point* “You’re lucky we don’t have you arrested for looting!”

(My colleague takes the broken pottery away from the kid, but as our attention is diverted, Kid #2 pulls a dog skull out of the soil a few yards away and holds that up, too.)

Kid #1: “Mum! I think I found a human skull!”

Tourist: “Oh, my! You two are naturals at this!” *to us* “Aren’t they naturals at this?”

(My colleague and I grab the dog skull and the piece of pottery, put them aside, and grab the kids to haul them back up out of the pit.)

Tourist: “Hey! Don’t you DARE touch my children!”

Colleague: “They’re trespassing, defacing an archaeological site, looting, and putting themselves in danger. If you don’t want to wrangle them, WE will.”

(As we haul the kids back up and move them under the ropes, another colleague, an Israeli ex-marine who works for the university, happens to come up the hill. She sees us arguing with the tourist and asks what happened. As soon as she realizes that the site has been damaged, she goes into a frenzy.)

Israeli Colleague: “They did WHAT?!” *to us* “And you LET them?!”

Me: “I’m sorry. We did try, but she refused to call them back.”

Israeli Colleague: *to the tourist* “Ma’am, do you realize how dangerous and irresponsible it is to let your children down there? Especially after you were TOLD to call them back? They could have fallen and been hurt, or worse. And they have damaged our site!”

Tourist: “They were just learning! And they found a pot handle and a skull! I think they’re better archaeologists than YOU lot!”

(At this point, the Israeli colleague, barely controlling her outrage, demanded that the woman and her children leave the site and not return. She warned them that if she saw them again, she would have them detained for looting an archaeological site. We explained the situation to our supervisor when she returned from lunch and got thoroughly chewed out for not responding more aggressively – which, arguably, we could have. As some small comfort, to those who do not know, many pieces of pottery found at excavations are already broken into many pieces and it’s possible that the pot handle would’ve broken anyway – which is likely the only reason that our supervisor didn’t skin us alive for letting it happen in the first place.)

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Back To The Future

, , , | Related | December 31, 2013

(It is near New Year’s Eve 1985. I am eight years old.)

Me: “Dad, when the year changes from 1999 to 2000, will you let me stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve?”

Dad: “You’ll be 25 then; you won’t need my permission.”

(I’m stunned; it’s the first time I really face the fact that I’ll actually be an adult one day, so I remember the incident well. Fast forward to near New Year’s Eve 2000, and I am 25 and living with my girlfriend. I am chatting with my dad over the phone.)

Me: “Hey, do you remember when I was a child, and asked you about staying up late on New Year’s Eve 2000?”

(I proceed to remind him, and he laughs.)

Me: “…well?”

Dad: “Well what?”

Me: “Well, can I stay up until midnight?”

Dad: “Okay, just since you asked, then NO! I want you in bed and ready for story-time by 8:30!”

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