ATMs Are Not Always Working

, , , , , , | Working | July 1, 2017

(There are only a few businesses open 24 hours in Japan, but there is one thing that really surprised me my first year there and still boggles my mind. It came up in my second year when I and some other teachers were answering some questions to some of the local residents in our area.)

Question: “What surprised you most when you came to Japan?”

Me: “Oh, that’s easy: ATMs close.”

(I proceeded to explain that ATMs in the States operate 24 hours a day, which they found strange. When I first got here, most ATMs closed at six pm; three pm on Sundays. Now they mostly stay open to nine pm except at the post office where they close at seven pm or so. On New Year’s the ATMs and banks are closed for about three days so you have be ready for it. Still confuses me as to why.)

The Taxing Nature Of Geography

, , , , , | Right | June 29, 2017

(I work at a rather well known mall in my city. A woman comes up to the counter with an item. She’s very pleasant while I ring up her one lone item. I tell her the price and she stares at me confused.)

Customer: “No, the price is [price].”

(This happens a lot at our mall because in many foreign countries the tax is included on the price tag so I explain.)

Me: “Yes, ma’am. But there’s tax on this item. So it’s actually [price].”

Customer: “But I’m from Nigeria!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. And I hope you’re having a lovely visit . But it’s still [price]”

Customer: “No. How much is it because I’m from Nigeria?”

Me: “In this store, it’s the same price wherever a person is from. Will you paying with cash or credit today?”

(The customer grumpily hands me her credit card. The card is unsigned and company policy dictates I request photo ID. I confirm her identity, return her license, and swipe the card.)

Customer: “But I’m from Nigeria!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. Please sign here. Thank you very much. Enjoy the rest of your evening.”

(According to her driver’s license, Ms. Nigeria lived closer to the building than I did.)

The Commonwealth Is Making You Poor

, , , | Right | June 29, 2017

(The store I work at sells a particular European brand that is sold in several countries. The brand prints their own price tag with the prices for each country, in that country’s currency, listed beside a small picture of the country’s flag. I regularly have to show customers which price is accurate to Canada, but this one was my favourite.)

Customer: “Excuse me, I can’t find a price on here.”

Me: “Oh, yes, I know it’s confusing. It’s the price beside the Canadian flag, here at the bottom.”

Customer: “Oh, I don’t think that’s right. See, this price here is cheaper. I think it should be this one.” *points to the British price, which is the lowest number on the tag*

Me: “I’m afraid that isn’t how it works, ma’am. This brand sells internationally, so they print the prices in different currencies. That price is in British pounds, so the cost is actually roughly the same.”

Customer: *stares blankly* “But this price is lower.”

Me: “Well, the British Pound is actually worth almost twice what the Canadian Dollar is, so while it looks like it costs less, the rate of exchange would put the prices almost equal. Regardless, the Canadian price is the one listed beside the Canadian flag, and we can’t sell it for anything else.”

Customer: “But this price is cheaper. I want this price.”

Me: *internal sigh*

(Eventually I just directed her to a similar shirt from a different brand that only had one price on it, which she bought. That shirt happened to cost $10 more than the Canadian price on the other shirt.)

The Price Is Timely

, , , , | Right | June 29, 2017

(I work in the deli of a supermarket, and I have just headed out on my 15 minute break. I stop by one of the registers so I can buy a snack for my break. The woman getting checked out in front of me has only a few items, including a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken.)

Customer: *watching her items being listed on the screen to see the total* “What? Isn’t the chicken five dollars?”

Cashier: “Oh, no, the chickens are almost always $11.49, ma’am.”

Customer: “No, I know this one is five dollars.”

Cashier: “Ma’am, I know that these are never that inexpensive.”

Customer: “Look at it; you didn’t even look at it.”

(The customer is starting to grow even more impatient and rude with the poor girl behind the register. The cashier opens the bag and looks at the chicken, spotting her mistake.)

Customer: “See? It says five right there on the tag.”

Cashier: “Oh, no, I see where your mistake was. This tag shows the time that the chicken was put out, which was five o’clock.”


(The customer continued with this line of insults and complaints while the rest of her items were being rung up.)

Customer: “I don’t even want half of this s*** anymore; it’s too expensive now that I got ripped off on this chicken by you guys.”

Me: “Oh, wow, you’re right. It’s such a rip off when you can’t read the label right. You should bring it to the Supreme Court.”

(After that, the customer shot me a long glare, but decided not to complain anymore. The cashier thanked me for shutting the woman up and making her day a little better!)

Trade Sharing Is Caring

, , | Right | June 29, 2017

(This particular event was rarely repeated during my career where I worked. A customer calls in requesting a particular service and is not happy when I inform them that they will not be receiving what they are requesting.)

Customer: “I’ll have you know that [Company] is owned by the government and you work for me.”

Me: “And I’ll have you know that [Company] is publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange and I own shares in the company.”

Customer: “…”

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