Lions And Tigers And Donkeys, Oh My

| Working | December 26, 2014

(Our Santa’s Grotto opened at the beginning of November and as such we have very few visitors to start with. One day we decide to play I-spy to kill time.)

Elf #1: “I spy with my little eye something beginning with ‘H.'”

Elf #2: “Hat?”

Elf #1: “No.”

Me: “Holly?”

Elf #1: “No.”

(This goes on for several minutes with no success.)

Elf #1: “Oh, my God, guys, you were looking right at it. It’s that horse!”

(She points to the model of a donkey.)

Me: “That’s a donkey!”

Elf #1: “Yeah? Donkeys are baby horses.”

Me: “…”

(The next day Elf #1 is talking about when she was in a show of The Lion King.)

Elf #1: “We couldn’t find lion onesies to use so we wore tiger ones instead.”

Elf #2: “How would that work?”

Elf #1: “Because tigers are female lions. Duh?”

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Sell It To Me Straight

, | Working | December 22, 2014

(For the record, my hair is as straight as can possibly come and past my waist, and so is my sister’s. We are currently wandering the local mall trying desperately to finish Christmas shopping amid throngs of insane Christmas shoppers. Also of note, we have dodged this guy’s over aggressive sales pitch at least three times before this happens…)

Kiosk Guy: *literally LEAPS in front of us brandishing a straightening iron* “LADIES! I have exactly what you need!” *waves the straightening iron like a wand*

Me: “Uh… no.” *attempts to keep walking*

Kiosk Guy: “No seriously.” *steps in the way again* “This [Model] is exactly what you need to tame curls and get the sleek, smooth, straightness you’ve been looking for.” *grabs my sister’s arm and attempts to drag her to his makeover chair* “You’ll see, once I’ve shown you what it can do.”

Me: *grabs his wrist to stop him and in a very loud voice I say* “LOOK at her hair!”

Kiosk Guy: *doesn’t look at her hair* “But once you see what this does to unruly curls with little to no damage!”

Sister: *looks at him like he’s insane and tries to dislodge him*

Me: “No, really, look at her hair.”

Kiosk Guy: *turns very slowly toward her as I flip my hair over my shoulder to emphasize my point* “But once I show you what it can do, you’ll know you need…”

Me: “What can this thing possibly do for us?”

Kiosk Guy: “But it could be straighter!”

Me: “Seriously, dude, get help.”

Kiosk Guy: *jumps in front of us again and tries to get back into his spiel*

Me: *as loud as I possibly can without screaming* “I DON’T WANT YOUR MAGIC HAIR STRAIGHTENER! NOW, BACK OFF!”

(He finally did back off, staring at us like we might bite him as he noticed a crowd of Christmas shoppers had formed. They applauded wildly as we made our escape. Evidently we weren’t the only ones that had had enough of the guy.)

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Sweet Holiday Bonus

, | Right | December 22, 2014

(I’ve just finished junior college, and a couple of friends and I get temp jobs as sales staff manning a small patisserie’s stall at a Christmas food fair. Everything they sell is made by hand by the co-owner’s mother and absolutely delicious. I’m rushing about the stall as usual, on my own. A customer gives me the usual ‘just looking’ brush-off and so I step back to leave them to it when two hands grab me about the arms. I jump and turn; behind me there is a tall, positively Amazonian lady. She’s in yoga pants and a tank top and flip flops, but she is unmistakably well-groomed.)

Me: “I’m so sorry, ma’am.”

Customer: “I’d just gotten my nails done and it would have spoiled my pedicure.”

(I thought I was in for a world of pain; but we both look down and admire her nails for a bit and the conversation turns to the wares. I offer her samples and give my spiel, and we chat while her husband, an older long-haired man just as casually dressed, stands around staring into space, occasionally munching the samples when offered. In the end she leaves with four massive shopping bags filled to the brim with cookies, gift boxes, and various other seasonal confectioneries. It is the largest sale I’ve ever made (not that I get a commission, but I am awed just keying that amount of money into my till as it was more money than I’ve ever seen in one place. They leave as my boss approaches, and they greet each other, chat for a bit, and move off. He comes to me.)

Boss: “Do you know who they are?”

Me: “Um… no?”

Boss: “He owns [Large Business] and she’s the lady boss of [Car Dealership that is the exclusive distributor of a particular luxury car brand]. They’re very impressed with your service. She told me to pay you more.”

(I’m stunned and it takes a while before it sinks in. On the last day of the fair our boss comes with our paychecks and pulls me aside to give me mine.)

Boss: “Don’t show the others your pay-slip. You got more than them.”

Me: “They know I put in more hours and overtime.”

Boss: “No, your bonus is a higher percentage than theirs and it’s reflected there. [Customer] and [Husband] made sure to remind me, and [Hidden Partner] posed as a customer yesterday and he was really impressed with you, too.”

(This was seven years ago, but as an awkward and really quite off-kilter seventeen year old, being told that my hard work paid was an insane boost to my self esteem. I still look for the stall every year at that food fair and make sure to say hi and buy something.)

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The Currency Of Understanding

, | Right | October 24, 2014

(The year is 2010. The euro has been introduced as a common currency throughout Europe in 2002. An elderly lady approaches me, picks some items, and wants to pay.)

Me: “That is 28.50.”

Elderly Lady: “Oh, so little? Are you sure?”

(I notice her picking out some old Austrian schillings from her purse.)

Me: “I’m sorry. ma’am. You can’t pay with those here; this is outdated currency.”

Elderly Lady: “No, no! I have always paid with them!” *picks out some more* “Look, I have money!”

Me: “Lady, I’m sure you have enough, but… I simply cannot accept Austrian schillings. We have the EURO.”

Elderly Lady: “Yes, yes, I understand. You want deutschmarks? I don’t have any deutschmarks. Schillings, you take?”

Me: *suddenly understanding* “Yes, ma’am. That would be… 280 schillings, please.”

(I pack her things, she hands me 250 old Austrian schillings, but I go with it. She seems to have disappeared with her travel group, when a younger lady, also speaking Austrian dialect, turns up.)

Younger Lady: “Hey, there. Did my grandmother bother you?”

Me: “What grandmother? Do you mean…”

Younger Lady: “Yeah, my granny. Did she try to pay with schillings?”

Me: “In fact, she did. And I sold her something.”

Younger Lady: “Well, you shouldn’t have sold her anything. What’s her bill?”

Me: “28.50; but as I said, she already paid. I took her schillings. Maybe I can exchange them for something.”

Younger Lady: “No! Give them back to me. She’ll be mad about not having them! How much did you say?”

Me: “€28.50.”

Younger Lady: *hands me over two 20 Euro bills* “Keep it, for goodness’ sake!”

Me: “No way, ma’am. That’s far too much.”

Younger Lady: “Well, then give me 10 back.”

Me: “Fair enough; thank you.”

(The rest of the day, I wondered why my supply of ‘free’ coffee and food worked so fine. Later on, I realized that the young lady had left some money at every booth near mine because I was so friendly to her grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, which I didn’t realize immediately. Thank you, ladies, you were amazing!)

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Driving Up Prices And Driving Down Business

, , , , , , , | Working | October 12, 2014

(I’m a native Londoner. Several years ago I had friends visiting from overseas, and took them sightseeing at the Tower of London. I went up to one of the many kiosks to get a drink. At this time, a can of soda was typically around 50p, but I was prepared to pay a bit more due to the location at a major tourist attraction.)

Vendor: “Yes?”

Me: “Coke, please.”

Vendor: “One pound fifty.”

Me: “What?!”

Vendor: *speaking loudly and slowly* “One. Pound. And. Fifty. Pence.”

Me: *with a very obvious London accent* “One fifty for a coke? You gotta be bloody joking.”

Vendor: “Oh, sorry, love. Sixty pence, please. Thought you were a tourist.”

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