Lack Of Direction And Humanity

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 30, 2017

I am taking my four-year-old to the hospital as he has a high fever and seems to be in some respiratory distress. It’s not an ambulance case, but I still don’t want to waste any time. I find that I don’t remember the hospital’s location quite as well as I thought, so I pull into the parking lot of the nearest store, a hardware store, pulling right up to the door to run in and ask for directions. I notice a lady in the passenger seat of a parked car, so close to me that we’re looking at each other, so I decide to ask her.

I don’t tap on the window, but make a tentative gesture toward her, mouthing, “Can I talk to you?” and making a “talk” gesture with my hand. Her expression goes a little colder and she looks back down at whatever she’s reading.

I run into the store and ask the cashier, who gives me directions right away as several customers stare with interest. I run right back out and get in the car again. I wouldn’t have given the lady another thought, but I notice her watching me as I get back into my car, looking smug.

I shout, not looking at her as I close my door, “I wanted directions to the hospital!

Turned out my kid is all right, and everyone is great. Except the lady who was all pleased with herself for not helping a stranger with a sick kid whom she could see through the window.

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Screaming For Fuel Until You’re White In The Face

, , , , | Right | November 30, 2017

(While I’m filling my car I observe a man trying to work the pump across from me, and speaking out loud in a very noticeable accent.)

Customer: “Why won’t this work? Declined again!” *pushes intercom button for gas station attendant service* “It keeps saying my credit card is declined; I don’t know why it isn’t working!”

Attendant: “Please come inside the store, sir, and you can prepay your fuel in here.”

Customer: “I just don’t understand why it isn’t working!”

Attendant: “You will have to come into the store to pay if the machine isn’t working.”

(This repeats for about six minutes. As I walk towards him to go into the store, I ask him:)

Me: “How long have you been in Canada, now?”

Customer: “Only three days. This pump isn’t working right, and the employee isn’t coming to help me!”

(As I pass by I tap the, admittedly, poorly-phrased sign on the pump: “Foreigners, please pre-pay for fuel inside store.” He takes a second to read it, then hollers after me:)

Customer: “But I’m white!

(As I left he was still out there trying to argue with both the pump and the attendant, via intercom, that the card reader wasn’t working, and he still hadn’t made any attempt to enter the store. I tried one more time on my way by to explain to him that the pump didn’t care about his ethnicity; it just couldn’t read cards that weren’t issued in Canada. He was just going to have to go inside if he wanted gas! He was still standing outside when I drove off.)

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HIPSTER WATCH!

, , , , , | Right | November 30, 2017

Customer: “How old are you?”

Me: “Sorry?”

Customer: “How old are you? You couldn’t be more than 25.”

Me: “I’m 22; why?”

Customer: “If you are 22, then why are you wearing a watch?”

Me: “Because I like my watch.”

Customer: *rolls his eyes* “Oh, are you one of those stupid hipsters who thinks you’re too good to look at your phone, or something? Seriously, they shouldn’t hire hipsters.”

Me: “Sir, I wear this watch because it was given to me by somebody I care about. I don’t see how wearing a watch is an issue.”

Customer: “I’m sick of hipsters thinking they’re better than everybody else. If you’re not a hipster, then tell people.”

(After customer leaves.)

Customer #2: “Did you really just get in trouble for wearing a watch?”

Me: “I think so.”

Customer #2: “I wonder what he would say if he saw my brother’s pocket watch.”

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Getting Cagey About Buying A Pet

, , , , , | Right | November 29, 2017

(I am a manager at a pet store. One day when I come back from my lunch break, another manager approaches me.)

Manager: “Hey, we kind of have a situation. There’s a family here that came in looking for hamsters, but they’re not really listening to any of us. We told them that they can’t mix different species of hamsters together, and they can’t put a hamster in with a guinea pig, but they have these two boys that both want something different.”

Me: “Can’t they buy two different cages?”

Manager: “They don’t seem really interested in doing that. I told them that they might be able to put together two hamsters that grew up together, but I don’t know. Hamsters are territorial, so it’s just not a good idea. Plus, the boys keep changing their minds on what they want, and [Employee] is kind of uncomfortable selling to them. Could you go over there and back her up? I really need to do the fish count before my shift ends.”

(I find the family with [Employee]. The family consists of two young boys and three adults who I’m guessing are the mom, dad, and grandfather.)

Me: “Hi! What are you thinking of getting today?”

Grandfather: “Well, we aren’t really sure. We were kind of thinking maybe a guinea pig?”

Boy #1: “I want a hamster.”

Boy #2: “I want a guinea pig!”

Me: “Were you guys thinking of getting two different cages?”

Grandfather: “We don’t really know. What do you think?”

Me: “Honestly, I think your best bet would be to get some of our care guides and take them home. They are free brochures that list how to take care of our different animals, so you could look over them and compare the different pets you like. That way, you’ll have time to think about it and really make sure you know which animal you want. You really don’t want to buy a pet on impulse, you know? Guinea pigs live for seven years.”

Boy #2: “Wow! That’s a long time!”

Me: “Yep! So, it’s a really big commitment.”

Dad: “We’re not going to abandon it! We take good care of our pets! We keep them until they die, and then we bury them in our yard!”

Mom: “Okay, it sounds like we need to take you boys home and really think about what animal you want, okay?”

(I figure the situation is resolved and go track down the other manager, who is visibly relieved when I tell her that I talked them out of getting a pet today. Other than the weird defensive outburst from the dad, I personally didn’t really see any red flags from the family myself, but I definitely trust my coworkers’ judgment. The family hangs around for a while. I later see them talking with [Employee] again, and they eventually leave the store empty-handed. Ten minutes later, I get paged to the front, where the mother is waiting.)

Mom: “I want to talk to a manager!”

Me: “I’m the manager. How can I help you?”

Mom: “My family came in to get a guinea pig, and everything was going fine. We had all kinds of employees coming and talking to us, and it was really good customer service. But then your employee told us that we have to buy the cage first and get the guinea pig tomorrow! Now my boy is crying in the parking lot! How are you supposed to tell a seven-year-old that he has to wait until tomorrow?”

(Right on cue, the two boys come back into the store, both dry-faced. They try to give me the puppy eyes, but it has no effect.)

Me: “Did [Employee] give you a reason why you have to get the cage first and the guinea pig tomorrow?”

Mom: “Yes! She said it was less stressful for the guinea pig to do it that way!”

Me: “She’s right! We like to recommend that people get the cage first. That way you have plenty of time to set it up and have it ready, so the pet isn’t stuck in a box for a long time–“

Mom: “I’ve never heard of that! You know what? We’ll just take our business elsewhere!”

(She ushers out her two boys, looking furious that I sided with my employee over her. Another ten minutes later, the dad comes in.)

Dad: “Where’s the other manager? The one who was counting fish?”

Me: “She went home half an hour ago. I’m the only manager left today.”

(He walks out, and the family finally leaves our parking lot. My dog trainer, who overheard my conversation with the mom, later approaches me.)

Dog Trainer: “You know the answer to her question? The one about how to tell a seven-year-old that he can’t have a guinea pig today?” *squats down until she’s eye-level with an imaginary child* “NO!”


This story is part of our Hamsters Roundup!

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Their Leaving Is A Blessing

, , , , , | Right | November 29, 2017

(I’m showing one of my rental properties to a prospective tenant. She has looked over the apartment and everything seems to be going well. After I give her the run-down on the lease terms and whatnot, she suddenly turns.)

Prospective Tenant: “And have you had this place blessed for good fortune?”

Me: “Um, well, not really. Any religious ceremony you’d want to conduct for yourself is okay, so long as it is within the rules of the building. Bringing a religious priest, pastor, or elder in for a blessing would be fine, but things like burning incense or sage would be problematic since they might disturb the other residents of the building with the smell.”

Prospective Tenant: “Oh, no, I don’t believe in any of that voodoo stuff. I was just curious if you had a priest bless this place for your good fortune.”

Me: “I’m not particularly religious myself, so if this place has been ‘blessed,’ it was only by the occupants. Again, if you want to do a blessing, that’s fine, so long as it isn’t disruptive to other residents in some way.”

Prospective Tenant: “Well, that’s not ideal, but I suppose I can arrange for a pastor from my church to come bless this place and talk to you about accepting Jesus.”

(At that moment, she’s walking out the door to the apartment and spots the mezuzah my current tenants have hung at the door.)

Prospective Tenant: “AND WHAT IS THAT?”

Me: “I’m not entirely sure of its meaning, but as far as I understand, it’s a custom for Jewish people to hang that near the door. Don’t worry; they will remove it and patch the small holes from hanging it when they leave. They asked about hanging it, and since it’s no different, damage-wise, than a picture or whatnot, I said it was fine. Again, the holes will be patched and painted before you move in.”

Prospective Tenant: “I can’t walk under that mark of the devil! Take it off the wall! NOW!”

Me: “Um, you walked under it to come in the door, and it’s a simple piece of wood. If you don’t believe in its ‘power,’ walking past it shouldn’t do any harm. I am not going to yank that off the wall without proper tools, as I’d likely do a lot of damage to the wall trying to do so. So, let me see you out…”

Prospective Tenant: “NO! I am not going to knowingly pass through a door marked by the devil. I didn’t know when I walked in, but now I know, and I can’t walk through that door until you remove it!”

(Long story short, after I continued to refuse to pull it off the wall without any tools, she called her pastor and he told her it was okay to exit so long as she prayed to Jesus while she was “passing under that unholy mark.” Needless to say, her application wasn’t approved.)

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