The Biology Of Growing Up

, , , , | Related | November 7, 2017

(I’m a student worker in a university biology department, and I’m fairly close to my boss. One night she asks me if I’d be willing to babysit her five-year-old, since the regular sitter cancelled. I agree. The little girl is very sweet, and is mostly interested in playing with her new toy, a set of plastic dinosaurs with a little printed cardboard backdrop. I’ve finished cleaning up from dinner, and she’s telling me about the picnic adventure her dinosaurs are having.)

Little Girl: “This one is a meat eater, but he’s not eating meat so that he doesn’t scare his friend, who is an herbivore, and this one likes the cupcakes best, and this one is mad at the herbivore dinosaur because he wanted the salad…”

(Out of nowhere, the little girl suddenly sweeps her arm across the table, sending the dinosaurs and their backdrop and their “picnic” flying.)

Little Girl: “And none of that matters, because then the meteor hits, and dust covers the sun, and all the plants die, and ice squishes them all!”

(She looks up at me, perfectly placid.)

Little Girl: “And they all die. And that’s what happens.”

(I was completely aghast. Five years old, and this little girl had a better grasp of mass extinction than most adults I’ve met. Don’t mess with a biologist-trained kid, I guess! This child is going places.)

Will Weather Through That Bad Grade

, , , , , , | Learning | November 3, 2017

(I am a graduate student at [University #1]. As part of my graduate coursework, I have to take a departmental seminar on how to make presentations of your research. I choose to present about a project I did as an undergraduate at [University #2]. For the project, I collected storm water runoff from roads, so I could only collect water when it was raining exceptionally hard. Because of this, I was only able to collect water on three days. I know that the project isn’t perfect, since I only had one summer to do it and $500 to spend on it. For reference, most graduate projects get tens of thousands of dollars in funding. But it is all I have to present on, because my graduate work isn’t done yet. It’s useful to note that the professor who moderates the presentation class has a reputation for being unreasonable and a bit of a show-off, and I don’t stand for it. At the end of my presentation, he goes on a rant that culminates in this exchange.)

Professor: “I just can’t believe you thought this was science. I mean, I’ve never seen a study with only three data points. Why didn’t you collect more data?”

Me: “Sorry, but the magic weather machine that makes it rain was booked up by a different department for the summer.”

(I got a C.)

What The Function?!

, , , , , , , | Related | October 29, 2017

(I’m in grade 11 and am talking about school with my older sister, who has graduated high school and is in college. My sister got… not ideal grades in high school, while I have done quite well.)

Sister: “High school is useless.”

Me: “No, it’s not!”

Sister: “It’s completely useless.”

Me: “Grades are important!”

Sister: “No, they aren’t.”

Me: “They are for getting into college.”

Sister: “I had terrible grades, and I wasn’t rejected from anywhere I applied to.”

Me: “Yeah, well, what if I go into a math field? Then my math grades will matter.”

Sister: “Eww, why would you want to subject yourself to that?”

Me: “I don’t know. Math can be fun.”

Sister: *dramatic gasp* “Ah!” *holds out her fingers like a cross* “Get away from me, you demon!”

Me: “What the—”

Sister: *runs into our grandparents’ apartment*

Me: *follows her* “[Sister], what are you doing?”

Sister: “Ah!” *hides behind grandma* “[My Name] said math was the F-word!”

Grandma: “What!?”

Me: “I said fun. I said math can be fun.”

Their Understanding Is Not In The Top One Per Cent

, , , , , , | Right | October 26, 2017

(A customer calls to inquire about changing his deductible to a percentage deductible.)

Customer: “I heard a thing on a commercial about getting a deductible that’s just 1%. I want that. It’s less than I have now.”  

Me: “It looks like right now you’ve got a $500 deductible. Changing to a 1% deductible would actually increase the deductible quite a bit.”

Customer: “You don’t seem to understand; 1% sounds like less than $500.”

Me: “A 1% deductible is 1% of your entire dwelling coverage. So, in your case, your dwelling coverage is $350,000. A 1% deducible on that would be $3500. It’s only $500 right now.”  

Customer: “No, but see, it sounds like less.”

Me: “But it’s not less.”

Customer: “But it sounds like it is.”

Me: “The only way it would be less than $500 is if your house was insured for less than $50,000.”

Customer: “But it really sounds like it’s a lot less.”

(This went on for about ten minutes. I even walked him through using a calculator to figure 1% of 350,000. I finally told the customer I would be happy to change him to a 1% deductible as long as he was willing to come into the office and sign a letter I typed out stating that he understood that just because 1% SOUNDS like less than $500, it was not, in fact, less. It was quite a bit more.  He ended up coming in and signing it, all the while looking like he just pulled one over on us. He saved less than $20 per year changing his deductible to be 1%.)

He Wasn’t In The Upper Sixtieth Percentile Of His Math Class

, , , , | Right | October 14, 2017

(I work as a cashier at a national arts and crafts retailer with an expansive framing department. Because of this, frame sales are run by individual collection, not style. A man and his wife approach the register with a pair of frames.)

Customer: “Now, the sign back there said, ‘Buy one, get one free.’”

(I ring them both, and they come up as on sale, but not BOGO.)

Me: “Actually, sir, these aren’t the collection we’re running buy-one-get-one on. They are on sale, though.”

Customer: “What? Can you double-check?”

(I do a quick price check, and they actually come up at 60% off each.)

Me: “Well, you’re in luck, sir; you’re actually going to get more off this way than if they were BOGO.”

Customer: “But they’re not buy-one-get-one?”

Me: “Well, no, sir, but they’re 60% off.”

Customer: “But that’s not what the sign says.”

Me: “I know, sir, but buy-one-get-one comes out to 50% off each, and these are on sale for 60% off each.”

Customer: “The sign says buy one get one free.”

(The customer’s wife starts to snicker.)

Me: “I don’t know what to tell you, sir.”

Customer: “I just want to pay what the sign says.”

Me: “Sir, you’ll pay more that way. Two 60%-off totals is more off than one full price and one free. There’s a 20% difference—”

Customer: “But the signs says—”

Customer’s Wife: *laughing* “[Customer], just pay for them.”

(The man grudgingly paid. His wife, now tearing up from laughing, winked and waved at me on the way out the door. He proceeded to rant loudly about “what the sign said” the whole way to the parking lot. I’m sorry you saved $4?)

Page 15/21First...1314151617...Last