Proof That Listening Is An Artform

, , , , | Right | May 3, 2020

These all happen within about three hours of each other when I greet customers on my shift. Each one is a different customer.

Me: “Hi, welcome to [Restaurant.]”

Customer #1: “Fine, thank you.”


Me: “How are you today?”

Customer #2: “There are three of us.”


Me: “How many?”

Customer #3: “Fine, thank you.”


Me: “Are you paying all together?”

Customer #4: “No, I am paying for everyone.”


Me: “How old are the kids?”

Three-year-olds and under eat free.

Customer #5: “They are both three.”

Kid: “Nuh-uh! I’m five and she is four, Mama!”

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Unfiltered Story #189650

, , | Unfiltered | March 15, 2020

I work evenings doing admissions and office work for a hospital outpatient testing facility. We aren’t busy; the only other staff working from 5:30 until closing at 9 is an MRI tech, as those are the only tests we schedule after 5:30. One of my jobs every afternoon is to get all my evening’s paperwork, forms, and each of my patient’s test orders prepared in case I have anything that requires additional insurance approval, updated patient information, etc.

One day I notice I have two patients scheduled for the same time that evening. At first I thought someone had double scheduled two patients, but then I realized both patients were having the exact same test done. Both had the same doctor, birthday, and records number. Yet completely different names, like Elizabeth White and Abbie Johnson. So I took the papers back to the medical records department. I asked the ladies working there if the two women were the same person, and if so which name was correct. I was surprised when they all starting laughing at me. One of the ladies said, “Oh we’ve been wondering that all day! It’s the same lady, but nobody knows which name to call her or put on her paperwork!” I said, “So which name do I use?” “If she wants her insurance to pay, she better use the name on the insurance card. Make sure to tell us tomorrow which one is right, we’re all curious!”

So I went about the rest of my work for the day. Later in the evening, a very strange woman came in to do her test. She was dressed in an outfit I can only describe as hippie. Bell bottoms, tunic, fringed vest, bead necklace and bracelets, bandanna holding her long hair back. The whole time I was doing her paperwork she stood at my desk singing quietly to herself. I finally asked, “Ma’am, I don’t mean to be rude, but what in the heck is your actual name?” She laughed and said, “Do you want the name I go by? The name my mama calls me? The name on my license? They’re all different!” I must have looked as confused as I felt because she kept laughing. She said, “My birth name is Elizabeth, but I hate that it sounds so pretentious so I go by Abbie. White is my legal last name, but it’s only because it’s my crappy excuse for a dad’s name. I use my mom’s maiden name instead.” I said, “Well okay then, that kind of makes things clearer. I know it’s not your preferred name, but I have to put you in the computer as your legal name since that’s what your insurance is under.” I finished up and as handed her paperwork to her I said, “Even if your paperwork has to say Elizabeth, we can call you by Abbie if that’s what you prefer.” She froze for a moment like she had been struck by a sudden idea, then she said, “You know, I’ve always really liked the name Phoebe. Do I look like a Phoebe to you?” I had no idea how to answer so I just said, “Sure, if that’s what you think! The tech will be right up to get you for your test, thanks!”

All Colors Of The Prejudice Rainbow

, , , | Right | March 13, 2020

(I’m a fan of children’s TV show and I wear a necklace with the “mark” of one of my favorite characters. For the most part, people believe that I just like rainbows or am pro-homosexuality, and I hear very little about it. This incident is when I am ringing up a woman and her little girl has been staring at me for a while.)

Me: *scanning items* “So, are you guys having a nice day?”

Woman: *not looking at me in the eyes* “Yes.”

Little Girl: *turns to the woman* “Mommy, look at her necklace!”

Me: “Oh? Do you like it? I’m quite the fan of Rainbow.”

Little Girl: “Yeah, I like—”

Woman: “[Little Girl], do not talk to people like her!”

Me: *taken aback* “E-excuse me?”

Little Girl: “Mommy, that’s—”

Woman: “It’s one thing to be like that in your own home on your own time, but to advertise such a thing in public in front of children?”

Me: *starting to catch on* “Oh, I think I might have confused you. I actually have a boyfriend.”

Woman: *not listening* “Then you are trying to brainwash children in liking a sin?”

Me: “Ma’am, this is a symbol from [Popular Children’s TV Show]. It shows which character I like the best.”

(There is an awkward pause.)

Woman: “Wait, what?”

Little Girl: “She has her cutie mark!”

Woman: “Cutie mark?”

Me: “It’s a symbol for a character’s special talent.”

Woman: “Oh… Why didn’t you say so?”

Me: “Love and Tolerance, ma’am. Your total is [amount].”

(The woman was much nicer for the rest of the transaction. Every time the woman and child comes back in, I have fun conversations with the little girl and the mother is almost overly nice. She even asked me if I wanted to babysit!)

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A Few Dollars Short Consciousness

, , , | Right | February 23, 2020

(I work in a gas station in a small community just off the interstate. I’m used to seeing groggy truckers and what not. It is 7:00 am and a young woman, maybe nineteen or twenty, comes shuffling in. She comes to the counter with two cappuccinos from our self-serve machine.)

Me: “How are you today, ma’am?”

Customer: *very soft, and rubbing her eyes* “I’m okay, and you?”

Me: “I’m good. Your total is $4.65.”

(She carefully and slowly counts out four dollars and hands it to me. I look at it for a second and before I can say anything, she shakes her head.)

Customer: “F***, I’m sorry. It’s early.”

(She handed me change from her other hand and grabbed the coffees. I could tell she really needed it!)

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There Will Be More Than Just A Dead Name At This Rate

, , , , , , | Related | December 17, 2019

(My husband and I have the same, gender-neutral, first name; however, mine is spelled in a more feminine way. His family is EXTREMELY traditional Southern while my husband and I are more progressive. We decided early on that we would not take each other’s last names as it would be too confusing, and if we have any children, their last name will be hyphenated. This story occurs while I am six months pregnant with our first child, visiting his extended family in Mississippi. His aunt is asking us about names for the baby and we tell her a few of our ideas.)

Aunt: “Hmm… [First Name] [Husband’s Last Name] sounds really good! I like that a lot!”

Husband: “Actually, it would be [My Last Name]-[His Last Name].”

Aunt: “Well, why would it be like that? That seems silly to have her dead name on the baby!”

Me: “Um, my dead name? You realize I didn’t change my last name, right? Also, I’m putting in over half of the work on this kid; there is no reason why he shouldn’t have my last name. And it is extremely rude to call my maiden name my ‘dead name.’”

Mother-In-Law: “YOU DIDN’T CHANGE YOUR LAST NAME?! DO YOU NOT LOVE YOUR HUSBAND? When we get back, I’ll find the paperwork to get your name changed.”

Me: “No, I didn’t, and yes, I clearly love him. However, logistically, it did not make sense for me to change my name. And no, you don’t need to do that, because I am not changing my name.”

Aunt: “Regardless of your ‘feelings,’ it is disrespectful to his family if you choose to completely disregard our name! It is the one thing we have keeping us together!”

Me: “If your name is the ‘only thing you have keeping you together,’ that is your problem, not mine. Besides, this is our decision, and it does not mean that we love each other any less.”

Aunt: “Well, fine. But I’ll have you know that kids with hyphenated last names grow up to be drug dealers and in jail! You should be arrested for child abuse for putting your child at risk like that!”

Husband: “Aaaand now we are leaving. Until you can get past whatever this is, you will not be seeing our child.”

(Three years later, the aunt has still never met our child and still refuses to speak to me or my husband. She sends my mother-in-law links on how to change a baby’s name about once a month.)

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