A Good Sign(s) Of The Times

, , , , , , , , , | Working | April 19, 2016

(I am deaf, and so I communicate mostly by reading lips and using BSL (British Sign Language). I frequent a coffee shop every day on my way to work, but since the place is always busy and in a rush I usually have my order written down to speed things along. This time however, was different.)

Me: *hands barista my order on paper*

Barista: *looks down at the paper, and then up at me, and then beams a huge smile*

(All of a sudden, the barista starts talking to me in fluent BSL!)

Barista: *in BSL* “Hi, I was hoping I’d catch you today!”

Me: *replying in BSL* “You know BSL?”

Barista: “Just a little. Ever since you’ve been coming in and felt like you had to write your order down on paper, I didn’t feel comfortable with it. I think you should be able to order just like everyone else, so I started learning BSL. How am I doing?”

(At this point I start tearing up, and am so emotional I can barely sign.)

Me: “I think… that’s one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me.”

Barista: “It is absolutely my pleasure. Now, shall I get you your regular?”

(It has been years since that encounter, and every day the barista was there we would have a small chat in BSL. She has since left but we remain in touch and I always thank her for that day when someone learnt a whole language just to make me fit in.)

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Thou Shalt Not Pick And Choose

, , , , , | Right | January 28, 2015

(I and my girlfriend work at the same restaurant; I’m the head chef and she’s the manager. We’re both women and although we don’t hide our relationship, we don’t flaunt it either. My girlfriend has finished for the day and the owner has come in to cover her. She comes into the kitchen to say goodbye to everyone and kisses me (a very brief kiss on the lips) then leaves. Five minutes later the owner comes in to me to say a complaint has been made by a customer regarding a ‘lesbionic’ relationship.)

Owner: “This woman’s being a right b**** about it, saying she won’t pay for her meal, it ruined her night, it’s blasphemous, and everyone’s going to Hell.”

Me: “She’s one of those. I’ll go deal with her.”

(I go to the customer and introduce myself as the head chef. She’s about 30, expensively dressed (her dress looks silk but the belt, collar, & cuffs are sequined), lots of jewellery, and a tattoo on her ankle of rosary beads. She’s with a man a little older that her, clean shaven, short back and sides hair cut.)

Customer: “The food was delicious. Are you in charge? Do you know you have lesbians in your kitchen? Maybe you should tell them not everyone wants to see that sort of thing. It’s terribly upsetting and offensive to my religious beliefs.”

(I have done my fair share of reading on the subject of homosexuality and the Bible, so I have an answer well prepared for people like her.)

Me: “Have you read the Bible? Timothy 2:9 says ‘I want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not adorning themselves with gold or pearls or expensive clothes.’ That’s some nice jewellery you’re wearing. It also says, Leviticus 19:19 ‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.’ Your silk dress is beautiful, as are the collar and cuffs. In a different material. It also says Leviticus 19:28 ‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves.’ I like your rosary tattoo. It also says Leviticus 19:27 ‘Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.’ Your husband looks very smart tonight. It also says Leviticus 11:8 ‘You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.’ And Leviticus 11:10 ‘And all that have not fins and scales in the seas and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you.” I believe they refer to pork and shellfish. How was your ‘surf & turf’? We only use the best pork sausages and finest lobster.”

(The man sits there with his head bowed but the woman stares at me with pure hatred.)

Me: “Now, I don’t know about you but it seems silly that you are willing to overlook all those sins about yourself and focus on one thing that isn’t even mentioned in the Bible. If I was as judgemental as you I would say you only kicked up a fuss to get out of paying for you meal. But that’s like stealing. I’ll send a waitress over with your bill.”

(I went back to cooking. I could hear a couple of other customers laughing at the woman. The husband paid, leaving a big tip. I could see them outside having what looked like a pretty good argument!)

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Fixing For A Fixing

, , , , , , , | Right | December 31, 2014

(In my local supermarket, there’s a very nice chap who usually works behind the tobacco counter. I have no idea what his preference is, but he’s obviously flamboyant and camp. He’s also always very friendly and helpful to everyone.)

Angry Customer: “God, that f****** [homophobic slur] is so slow!”

(Everyone else in the queue turns in astonishment, not sure that they just heard that. The angry customer continues ranting:)

Angry Customer: “Those d*** gays; they’re everywhere! I don’t know what’s wrong with—OW! OW!”

(We all look down to see a five year old standing there, kicking the ranting guy hard in the shins, repeatedly.)

Child: “You’re—” *kick* “—not—” *kick* “—a—” *kick* “—nice—” *kick* “—man—” *kick*

(The angry customer grabs the child, to the complete shock of everyone watching, at which point he is tackled by several people.)

Angry Customer: “I have my rights! I have been assaulted!”

(The police arrive very quickly, and calm the situation.)

Policeman: *to angry customer* “Well, we’ve heard from all these people that you grabbed and then tried to hit that little girl. Is that true?”

Angry Customer: “I demand you arrest her! She attacked me! She’s guilty of assault!”

Policeman: “She’s five! She can’t legally commit any crime. You, on the other hand, have assaulted a small child and are now under arrest.”

(The best bit of the entire story? Various people offered to buy the little girl some sweets.)

Little Girl: “No! I don’t want sweets. I want this!”

(She has a cheap 50-piece toolset with screwdrivers, pliers, and so-on. We confirm with her mum that it is okay to buy that for her at that age.)

Mum: “Sure, why not? You’ve already seen that she likes fixing things.”

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A Healthy Uptake In Coupons

, , , | Right | December 18, 2014

(Customer hands over £12 worth of healthy living vouchers which can only be used on milk and fruit & vegetables when she has only purchased crisps and other ‘junk’ food.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but we’re unable to accept these coupons as you haven’t bought any of the products listed.”

Customer: “But I need to feed my child.”

Me: “Yes, but you’ve not bought £12 worth of fruit and veg or milk.”

Customer: “But my child doesn’t eat fruit and vegetables. He prefers to eat crisps.”

Me: “Yes, but the coupons are specifically provided by the government to promote healthy eating.”

Customer: “Well, how am I supposed to use the coupons, then? My child is a toddler now and doesn’t eat fruit or vegetables any more. I want to speak to a manager!”

(The manager basically reiterated what I had said and she threatened to contact Head Office. We never heard anything from Head Office.)


This story is part of our Junk Food Day roundup!

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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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