Parenting Is A Vicious Merry-Go-Round

| MI, USA | Right | May 27, 2017

(My local museum has a refurbished antique carousel patrons can ride on, which is manned by volunteers. Before admitting any riders, the volunteer has a small speech they have to give — a short summary of the carousel’s history, followed by a warning that, because it’s an antique, there are several horses that no longer “jump,” and then moving on to the rules and whatnot. My friends and I are there and decide to take a ride, so we go to the carousel pavilion. The volunteer begins to speak, and it is obvious she is on the verge of losing her voice. My friends, and several other museum patrons, are trying to listen to her talking about the history of the carousel when a four-to-five-year-old boy runs over, grabs at the rope divider, and begins shaking it while loudly jabbering about the horse he is going to ride. I get his attention, put my finger to my lips, and point to the volunteer, who has started to explain the safety procedures as loud as she can, which, again, isn’t very loud at all. All of a sudden I feel a hand grab my arm. I turn and there is an irate woman glaring daggers at me.)

Mother: “Did you just tell my son to shut up? How dare you try to parent my child!”

Me: “I’m sorry; I just figured that letting this poor girl tell us the carousel rules, so that we can ride the carousel, was really important, and I didn’t want her to have to strain her voice doing it.”

(The operator thanked me afterwards; I gave her a couple of throat lozenges and told her to hang in there.)

Adulting At The Movies

| WI, USA | Working | May 3, 2017

(My partner and I go with a friend of ours to the museum. We are both college students, but our friend just graduated from college. She is 24 years old but is often mistaken for a child because she is very small and petite.)

Partner: “Tickets for three adults, please.”

Clerk: *looking around in confusion* “Where’s the third adult?”

Friend: “Right here.” *raises her hand so she can be seen over the counter*

Clerk: “Oh! Really? Okay…”

Me: “Do you do student discounts?”

Clerk: “Yes, we do!”

(My partner and I pull out our college ID cards and hand them to her.)

Clerk: *to friend* “And yours, dear?”

Friend: “Oh, I’m not a student. I graduated.”

Clerk: “Oh, when did you graduate?”

Friend: “In May.”

Clerk: “Oh, well, that’s close enough! Three tickets at college discount. Here you go!”

(As we walked away, we realized that she probably thought our friend had graduated from high school in May and hadn’t started college yet, not that she’d graduated from college…)

Tepid Kinda Rhymes With Rapid

| Alphen a/d Rijn, The Netherlands | Working | April 30, 2017

(Preparing for a big event the next day makes us all work overtime until late hours. Therefore we all have supper in the working place. Our boss is there, too.)

Boss: “You know, I just think it should become legally mandatory: everyone having tepid coffee, tepid tea, and tepid soup. That way, eating and drinking would take much less time and everyone could go back to work a lot faster!”

(Everyone cracked up. But knowing the guy I’m still not sure if he was joking or not.)

The Age Of Innocence

| WA, USA | Right | April 22, 2017

(The museum I work at has five price brackets: Senior (65+), Adult (16-64), Youth (age 6-15), and Child (age 3-5), with under 3 being free admission. These are listed on the sign above the cashier’s heads at the admission desk, but it’s confusing enough that to save time I usually just ask guests for the ages of their kids instead of listing them all. The following happens about once a day.)

Me: “Okay, so that’s one adult for general admission, and how old is the kiddo?”

Guest: “She’s—” *stops and peers at price list* “Uh… five.”

Daughter: *looking outraged* “NO! Mommy, I’m SIX and a HALF.”

Guest: *refuses to meet my eyes* “Oh, sorry, honey. Right. She’s six.”

Daughter: “—and a HALF!”

Me: “Great! So one adult and a youth will be [amount]!” *smiles sweetly*

What A Waste

| Alphen a/d Rijn, The Netherlands | Working | April 21, 2017

(My first day in the history park is not like I imagined. The weather is very bad and it’s the first day of the opening season, so there are virtually no visitors. Also, no historical clothing has been arranged for me and two other new colleagues yet. Since there isn’t much to do and we look “normal,” the three of us get some odd jobs to do. As the day progresses, I start to notice that the park’s director/owner is not a normal boss. He gives orders all around. Some of them are even countered by our team leader, who tells us to wait, while he is going to have “that discussion.” In the afternoon we’re doing some raking in the playground with a veteran colleague. He starts telling stories.)

Colleague: “One time he even fired almost everyone. We had thrown a party in one of the buildings, but apparently that wasn’t allowed. Then he realised that he needed people for the park, so he came running after us, like: ‘Stop! Stop! You can keep working here!'”

(Then the boss comes up and starts talking to me.)

Boss: “I have something for you to do. Come.”

(Without waiting for me, he starts walking towards the office building. I’m following quickly. He opens a door. Behind it is a pile of old wooden poles and dirty rope.)

Boss: “This can be taken out.”

(He already starts walking away before he’s finished his sentence. No explanation what do with the stuff. I assume that it’s garbage, so I and another new guy get a wheelbarrow. With that, we move all the stuff to the back. We don’t know where to put it, so we ask some coworker walking by.)

Me: “Do you know where to put this?”

Coworker #1: “Erm… Dunno… I’d put it in the waste container.”

(So we do. Later in the afternoon, still doing odd jobs, the boss even compliments us.)

Boss: “Really good that you guys are so devout and fanatic! Take one advice from me; always stay on your own level.”

(To me it’s unclear what he means with that. The compliment is nice, but very exaggerated. Finally, I and the other new guy prepare to leave. In the hallway, we meet two coworkers.)

Coworker #2: *almost whispering* “Get out! Out! Quickly!”

New Guy: “What’s wrong?”

Coworker #2: “You put the old wood in the waste container? It wasn’t supposed to go there. He’s enraged. If he finds you he will start scolding and stuff.”

(Hearing this, we try to leave quietly. But then the boss comes running after us. Since he is over two metres tall, this is quite an intimidating sight.)

Boss: “Come back! You two! Come back! Sort it out! Now, please! Only household garbage is supposed to go in the container! Come on, take it out!”

(With leaden feet we walk back to the waste container. Our team members of the day are standing around it, while the team leader is getting the wood out of it. The scene is like that of an entire class being berated by an enraged teacher. The boss seems to be totally mad. He singles out another new coworker.)

Boss: “I have a question! I’ll ask you! Can I just throw away stuff in your home?!”

New Girl: “No.”

Boss: “See, that’s what I mean? You throw away the obvious garbage from the waste baskets. Apart from that you discuss EVERTHING before throwing it away! The rope is good, so don’t do that! The wood goes over there on the pile! Come on, make it happen! And fast!”

(We make it happen. The boss runs off to be somewhere else, much to our relief.)

Me: “He didn’t tell me what to do with the stuff or where to put it. He also wasn’t clear on the point that I only had to throw away the wood. He didn’t say anything about the rope.”

New Guy: “Oh, weren’t we supposed to throw away the rope? I just put it back in the waste container.”

Me: *pause* “Good. It’s his own fault for not being nice.”

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