Being Very Frank About Spoilers

, , , , , | | Right | June 27, 2019

(I am a volunteer guide at Anne Frank’s Museum for Human Rights. The first room is a timeline with pictures and important events of both Anne Frank’s life and World War II. My job is to guide the visitors through the timeline, expanding on the historical context and Anne’s personal experience. We are almost at the end when a visitor interrupts my explanation.)

Visitor: “STOP! Stop, stop. Don’t go on. I haven’t finished the book yet; you were about to tell me how it ends!”

Me: *speechless*

Visitor: *noticing the pictures of the family, along with the descriptions of how each of them died* “OH, MY GOD, this place is full of spoilers!”

(I never saw him again. I want to believe he is already reading newspapers from the ‘60s, still complaining about spoilers on the course of history. SPOILER ALERT: Hitler lost the war.)

The Hidden Truth

, , , , , , , | | Related | May 7, 2019

Many years ago, my family lived in the Washington, DC area. We often went to visit the Smithsonian Institution museums which line the National Mall between the US Capitol and the Washington Monument.

I would usually pick my daughter — at the time of this story, four years old — from preschool and deliver her to my wife’s office. I would then go to my second job. This one afternoon, however, I got finished extra early, so I picked up my daughter and we went to the Air & Space Museum, which is one of my daughter’s favorites.

We spent a good hour in there during a very busy summer day. After we’d seen our fill, I told her we needed to get going to mommy’s office. As we were walking out, she walked to the right side of a display that was in the middle of the hallway, and I went on the left.  

However, at the other end — maybe 12 feet — she didn’t meet up with me. Panicked, I quickly ran around the right side, then to the left. I couldn’t see her. I started calling her name, but my voice was easily drowned out by the crowd present. I quickly found a security guard, and he called in a missing child. We kept looking around until he got a call that a young girl matching my daughter’s description had been found. We went to the security desk, and there was my daughter. Since there was nothing sinister about her disappearance, I didn’t file a report, and I also didn’t bother to tell my wife.

Twelve years later, my wife and daughter flew back to DC to visit old friends for my daughter’s 16th birthday. One day, they decided to go to the museums. When they went to the Air & Space Museum, they walked by where I’d lost her years before. That’s when my daughter told my wife, “I remember this spot. This is where I hid from Daddy when he wanted to leave, but I didn’t.”

So, the ugly truth came out: she had deliberately hidden from me; it hadn’t been an honest misplacement. And who got in trouble for not telling my wife about the incident? Not the little girl who hid from Daddy, but the husband who thought, “No harm, no foul.”

Throw You For A Group

, , , | Right | April 19, 2019

(I man the front reception desk of a medium-sized local museum, take bookings, greet visitors, man the gift shop, and so on. I’m in my late 20s, but I look younger, and I’m a lipstick-wearing girly-girl at work. On one quiet day, an elderly man walks in.)

Me: “Hello! How can I help you today?”

Customer: “I want to come here with a large group next Wednesday. We’ll be twenty or thirty people, so we want the group discount. We want to see [Exhibition] and we want [Male Colleague #1] or [Male Colleague #2] to show us.”

Me: “We’ll be very happy to welcome you! However, I’m sorry, sir, we do not give group discounts. Also, I can not guarantee which guide you will be given, as I don’t know who will be here on that day. Most likely, I will be your guide.”

Customer: “What? But I got a group discount last time! I only want to pay half price!”

Me: “I am sorry, but as I said, we do not give group discounts. When was the last time you were here?”

Customer: “Fifteen years ago! And they said I could have a group discount then!”

Me: “Well, we have new owners now, and no group discount.”

Customer: “This is an outrage! I’ve never been so offended in my life! I want to talk to the person responsible for bookings!”

Me: “That would be me.”

Customer: “No, you don’t understand. I want to talk to the person who is responsible for bookings!”

Me: “Sir, that is me. I am responsible for the bookings.”

Customer: “I want to talk to your manager!”

Me: “Do you mean my director? She is not here today, but you can call her.”

Customer: “I’ll make sure you never get to work here again! And you will not be guiding us, I want [Male Colleague #1] or [Male Colleague #2]!”

Me: “Would you not rather prefer [Female Colleague], who actually designed the exhibition?”

Customer: “You are so rude! I want to talk to the person in charge of this!”

Me: “As I said, sir, that is me. I am in charge of this. I am in charge of bookings. I am in charge of entrance prices. If you ask my director, that is what she will say, too. If you wish to bring your party somewhere else, you are of course free to do so. We will be happy to receive you, but at the standard price and with the available guide.”

Customer: “Well… why didn’t you just say that?! And you can’t expect people to take you seriously, not when you’re wearing that lipstick!”

(In the end, he came back with a party of thirteen. They paid the full price, I showed them the exhibition, and they were all really happy with their day out. One of the ladies even complimented me on my lipstick!)

Total Eclipse Of The Brain

, , , , , | Right | April 9, 2019

(I work at a science museum, and we have nearly 5,000 people come through the doors for the eclipse on August 21, 2017. We are vastly underprepared for this many people, and have provided 800 pairs of free eclipse glasses which sell out in fifteen minutes. A lot of guests are upset and take this out on the staff:)

Coworker: *working at the front gate* “We’re very sorry, but we do need to let everyone know that we have unfortunately run out of eclipse glasses—“

Guest #1: “This is unbelievable! You’re telling me I f****** stood in line for almost an hour and there are no more glasses? You’re a f****** piece of s***!”

Coworker: “I know it’s inconvenient and I do apologize, but if you head on in, there are plenty of staff who will be more than happy to share eclipse glasses and pinhole projectors—“

(The guest swears profusely at my coworker for several more minutes, then storms away, but not before grabbing the stanchions and flinging them angrily to the ground, just like an angry child.)

Next Guest In Line: “Wow, dude, way to act like an adult.”

Guest #2: *angrily* “Why didn’t you have enough glasses?! Doesn’t [Museum] care that all these people are going to go blind from looking at the eclipse without them?”

Me: *thinking* “Yes, because we are physically forcing you to stare directly at the sun.”

Guest #3: *while standing outside, in the sun, in the courtyard with 4000 other people* “Excuse me. Where can I go to see the eclipse?”

Me: “Um… anywhere you can see the sun, ma’am.”

(I personally answered this question about six times in two hours; my coworkers all reported the same.)

That Poor Boyfriend

, , , , , | Romantic | March 29, 2019

(My museum is hosting an event with representatives from several organizations given tables to talk with guests about their services. My male, married coworker is assigned to help one of the tables and is talking to a young lady running her organization’s activities.)

Coworker: “All right, looks like everything is ready. If you need anything else, let me know.”

Lady: “I have a boyfriend.”

Coworker: “Good for you? Let me know if you need… water or something.”