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Coal Is The Stuff Santa Brings You When You Don’t PAY ATTENTION

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: nathan5660 | December 3, 2022

I used to work at a narrow gauge steam railway a few years ago. We had a decent collection of engines ranging from total rebuilds to World War II trench locomotives. There were three steam locomotives on the roster, with one that was too small to be used regularly.

At the time, I was training to be a fireman, stoking the fire, shoveling coal, and maintaining the boiler water level. It’s a fairly complicated job if you don’t know much about it already, and quite a responsible job, too. If you ain’t got enough coal on the fire, you have no steam to move.

I was on the footplate in the cab keeping an eye on the water level while the actual fireman was poking about up the shed trying to find some oil to refill our oil cans with. He left me to check the water level, and the driver wasn’t far away if anything went wrong. It’s not unusual for people to come up to the engine and want to have a look in the cab. If there are children, nine times out of ten, we open the fire hole doors to show them the fire.

Then, this guy turned up. He was asking how old the engine was, why it was built, where it worked, and all the normal stuff people ask. THEN, he asked where the petrol (gasoline) goes.

Me: “It’s not petrol-powered. It’s a steam locomotive, so it uses coal and water.”

Guy: “Water doesn’t burn! Where does the petrol go?”

Me: “It doesn’t use petrol. It uses coal and water.”

Guy: “What’s coal?”

I took a step back, asked him to clarify his question, and then showed him the coal in the coal bunker and the fire. I even threw a shovel full of coal on the fire, too.

Guy: “So, does the petrol go in these tank things on the side, then?”

Me: “I… It doesn’t use petrol, sir. It uses coal, that black stuff I just showed you. That heats the water in the boiler from the tanks. There is no petrol, diesel, or any form of liquid fuel on this locomotive. It’s coal-fired. Solid fuel.”

I was starting to get stressed out and pretty angry at this guy. The driver noticed, came back to me, and asked how the water was looking. It was fine, and the guy walked off.

I then looked at the driver, who looked at me. Both of us blank-faced.

HOW could someone not know what coal is? Actually, genuinely how?

At the end of the day, I was helping with loco disposal, shoveling clinker and ash out of the ashpan and ash from the smoke box to make it ready for the next day’s use. I also had to refill the coal bunker, which is hard work by yourself on a summer evening.

As I was finishing up running about with shovels and wheelbarrows, I overheard the guy from before talking to someone.

Guy: “So, where do you get the petrol from for the steam trains?”

I wanted to throw myself into the firebox and smash my head against the firebox wall until I passed out.

It Takes A Village (Priest)

, , , , | Friendly | December 1, 2022

I’m doing a study for which I need to interview residents of a few towns and villages who identify as [Nationality] and can speak [Language]. For that, I usually try to contact the local priest, since he usually knows best where to look for interviewees — and, since I’m of the same faith as them, it’s an additional icebreaker with the [Nationality]’s community if I meet them at church. 

I’m in [Town] and have been told that [Town Priest] will be at the church today. As I approach the church, I see a priest walking to his car and hurry toward him.

Me: “I’m so sorry. Are you the priest?”

Priest: *Flabbergasted* “Yes.”

I begin to explain about my research.

Priest: “I’m not [Town Priest]. I’m [Village Priest] from [Village].”

Just… my… luck…

With lots of awkward mumbling from me, the situation was cleared up, and he agreed when I asked him if I could visit [Village], too; it’s got many [Language] speakers, as well. Then, I finally went to the church and met with [Town Priest], too, who was there already. 

Only later did I realize how it must have looked like to [Village Priest]. With me running toward him in such a hurry and asking if he was a priest, he probably thought someone was in dire need of last rites!

You Can Tell Them Two Times Or Five Times, But It Makes No Difference

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: Read_lots | November 22, 2022

I work in a small store that specializes in pet supplies. There are three locations that all sell more or less the same items. One of the things we sell is birdseed. It comes in jugs or bags. The bag is more than double the volume of the jug but less than $5 more in price.

We receive eight jugs and two bags of birdseed today, and my colleague calls a customer who requested that we put some aside for her. He has to leave a voicemail, as the customer doesn’t answer her phone.

About an hour after my colleague leaves for the day, I receive a call from the customer’s husband.

Me: “We received our shipment today, and we wanted to confirm that you wanted four jugs. Is that still the case? You’d save money by purchasing the bag, instead.”

Husband: “Can we get five jugs? I didn’t save my jug the last time; I recycled it. Can it be delivered tomorrow along with our food?”

Me: “I can certainly do that, but are you sure that’s what you want? If you buy two bags, you’re saving money and have roughly the same amount of birdseed. I can send you whatever you’d like. The food is ready to go—”

Husband: “I don’t have the jug anymore. What’s the price difference?”

I explain all the math — price savings as well as product volume. I state that I can send two bags tomorrow as that’s what I have to sell him.

Husband: “Oh! I’ll take five bags, then.”

Me: “Sir, I’m sorry. I have two bags physically here in the store that I can sell you if you want them all tomorrow.”

Husband: “Okay! I’ll take three bags, then! That and the dog food.”

I mentally hit my head on the counter.

Me: “Sure. I’ll send you three bags. Your total for the three bags and food comes to [amount]. If you’re all set, I’ll charge the card on file, and my driver will see you tomorrow sometime.”

Husband: “Oh, yes. The credit card. Do you have my wife’s card?”

Me: “Yes. It’s on file. I’ll charge it later today, and she will receive an email receipt.”

Husband: “Wonderful! We’ll see you tomorrow.”

Me: “Have a great day!”

I called the location closest to the customer’s address. Luckily, they had a couple of bags come in, so they were able to supply the missing bag.

Why is it so hard for people to actually listen to what you tell them?!

Two-For-One Plus Four Years Of School Equals Zero Clue

, , , , , , , | Related | November 5, 2022

My son just graduated college and is living and working at home. I’m working from home when my son comes into my office.

Son: “Hi, Dad! I have a question for you.”

Me: “Okay, what can I do for you?”

Son: “[Girlfriend] and I are going mini-golfing tonight. We have two options: there’s an online deal for two players for the price of one, which is $12. Or we can just go and pay the regular price, which is $7 each. What’s the better deal?”

Me: “Okay, let’s do some math here. What’s seven times two?”

Son: “Fourteen.”

Me: “Right. And what’s twelve times one?”

Son: “Twelve.”

Me: “Good. And what’s larger, twelve or fourteen?”

Son: “Fourteen.”

Me: “Okay. So, what’s your goal here, to save some money or to give them more money?”

Son: “Save my money.”

Me: “Okay. So, since we know twelve is smaller than fourteen, what’s the best option to save money?”

Son: “The two-for-one deal.”

Me: “Yes.”

Son: “Well, thanks, Dad. I appreciate your help.”

Me: “Serious question, was this a troll attempt?”

Son: “No.”

He shows me a text thread where he and his girlfriend are struggling to figure out which is cheaper.

Me: “You’re never living this one down.”

Son: “Living what down?”

Me: “That after four years of college, you still have to ask your dad for help with elementary-school-level math.”

Son: “Oh.”

Should Be Paying Half As Much For Schooling

, , , , , , , | Right | October 24, 2022

I am checking out a young man who seems to be with his parents.

Young Man: “That item rang up wrong. It’s 50% off.”

Me: “Yes, sir. The normal price is $4, and they’re ringing up for $2.”

Young Man: “No, 50% off would be $1.50. Someone screwed up.”

Me: “Sorry, sir, but half of four is two.”

Young Man: “Who said anything about half?! It’s 50%! You half it and then take off fifty!”

Me: “That’s… not how it works at all. 50% is half. You halve the price and that’s it.”

Young Man: “You can’t do math.”

I hold up four fingers.

Me: “Here is four. Half of this is…”

I drop two fingers.

Me: “Therefore, the price is correct.”

Young Man: “Well, then you should just say half off! None of this percentage crap.”

Finally, the young man’s father speaks up.

Father: “Why did we spend all that money on private school when this girl just schooled you for free?!”

They accepted the correct price for their items.

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