Closed Off From Literally Understanding

, , , , | Right | February 4, 2020

(I clean washroom buildings in a campground. While cleaning the buildings, we put out signs so people don’t come in while we’re cleaning. The signs stand upright on the ground; they’re about half as wide as the doorway and about waist-height. The text of these signs, verbatim, reads, “This bathroom is closed for cleaning. Sorry for the inconvenience,” which then repeats in French. One day, I’m cleaning one such building when a pair of women approaches the door, and I overhear this:)

Woman #1: “See, here’s a washroom.”

Woman #2: “Mom, this one’s closed. Look at the sign.”

Woman #1: “No, that doesn’t literally mean it’s closed.”

([Woman #1] steps around the sign and opens the door. I’m standing right in the middle of the half-soaking-wet floor with a mop and bucket.)

Woman #1: *seeing me* “Oh, is this bathroom closed?”

Me: “Yes, it is. I’m almost done; it should be just a few more minutes.”

Woman #2: *as they both leave* “I told you, Mom!”

Woman #1: “Well, how was I supposed to know?”

(Did she think the sign was a piece of performance art or something?)

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His Crowning Stupidity

, , , , | Legal | January 28, 2019

(I work for a small business that does horse trails through an area of public forest that is technically “Crown Land” — i.e. belongs to the Queen by default — and has some conservation rules. We have been having difficulty with a man owning a neighbouring property who wants to use the crown land as his own. He has gone as far as shooting at our rides from a distance, and police have been involved several times at this stage. After a long day of work, in which we dismantled some obstacles he left on the land, he pulls up at our worksite to yell out of his car. It is just me, a teenage girl, and my boss, a short, middle-aged lady.)

Neighbour: “You cut my fences!”

Boss: “No, we haven’t. We don’t go on your property.”

Neighbour: “You cut the fence by the river!”

Boss: “The river isn’t on your land. It’s crown land. It’s illegal to fence off public land for your own use.”

Neighbour: *now shouting* “I own up to the river edge—“

Boss: “No, you don’t. Your property line is 30m from the river.”

Neighbour: “I have permission from the owner to use it!”

Boss: “No, you don’t. Crown land has no owner.”

Me: *mostly to myself* “Well, it does have an owner.”

Boss: “What?”

Me: “The Queen?”

Boss: “Oh, my God.” *to the neighbour* “Are you trying to say the Queen was like, ‘Oh, sure, no problem’? How dumb are you?” *loudly, to me* “Hang on while I call the police.”

(The neighbour left immediately. We continued to destroy every fence he built illegally to block our rides.)

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Ranger Danger!

, , , , , | Working | May 23, 2018

(I am working as a park ranger in a state park when one day another new ranger and I are tasked with cleaning up a section of a river. A great deal of trash has washed down the river and has collected on the banks. We are sent down with a truck and trash bags to clean everything up. About an hour into the project, my coworker starts loudly sighing and moving at a snail’s pace.)

Coworker: “Is this good?”

Me: “Huh?”

Coworker: “Is this good enough? Can we stop?”

(I look around. There is still a great deal of trash around us. This is a popular hiking area and the public is often in this area. Things still look awful.)

Me: “Uh, no. We can’t stop until all the trash in the water is picked up.”

Coworker: “But won’t it just get washed down?”

Me: “What? What do you mean?”

Coworker: “If we leave it, won’t it just get washed away? What’s the point of picking it up?”

(I am shocked by what this park ranger has just said.)

Me: “God, no! If this washes down, it will spread to other parts of the river and eventually get into the bay! Why would that be a good idea?”

Coworker: “Then it wouldn’t be our problem!”

(I have no idea how this person got hired with ideas like that floating around in their head.)

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Kayyakking On About The Forms

, , , , | Right | May 22, 2018

(I am hired at the local state park to rent out boats to customers to use to paddle around the river. I am approached by a man and his two kids, a young girl and a younger boy.)

Man: “May we have a kayak?”

Me: “Uh, yeah. Just go up to the front of the boathouse there and they’ll help you.”

(That’s literally what we need to say, because customers have to fill out a bit of paperwork in order to get in a boat in case they get lost. The man and his kids walk up to the front and they leave my sight. They come back a few minutes later.)

Me: “Hey, did you get everything filled out?”

Man: *long pause* “Yes.”

Me: “All right! Go ahead and get your life jackets, and I’ll get you in the water.”

(They did so, I let them in, and all that. They paddled around in the kayaks for an hour and got back out, and I was bewildered to find they just wanted to leave instead of actually paying. What I didn’t know is that the man and his kids went to the front of the boathouse, saw the huge line they had, and decided they didn’t want to wait! If any park ranger had found out about that, we’d be in huge trouble! But the real frosting on the cake? He expected the kayak rentals to be free. I made him fill out the paperwork and pay like all the other customers, and he left looking pretty sad he had to do that.)

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Didn’t Study The Bear Necessities

| Right | February 19, 2014

(A tourist runs into the ranger station looking really scared.)

Tourist: “Help! There’s a grizzly bear in the parking lot. A grizzly bear! He chased my kids!”

(The rest of the rangers and I grab our guns and run out to the parking lot to chase off the bear and make sure no one is hurt. When we get outside, we look around but don’t see the bear.)

Rangers: *yelling* “Where is it?! Where is the bear?”

Tourist: *pointing frantically* “It’s right there! Right there between those cars! Shoot it!”

(We continue to look around but don’t see the bear while the tourist continues to point and scream. Finally, one of the rangers notices a marmot running between two cars.)

Ranger: *pointing at the marmot* “Wait. Is that what you mean? That little brown animal right there?”

Tourist: “Yes! That’s it! Shoot it, quick!”

Ranger: “Sir, that is a marmot, not a grizzly. Marmots are just really big ground squirrels.”

Tourist: “That’s not a grizzly? But it looked just like the picture I saw in the magazine. Are you sure?”

Ranger: “Yes, sir. Grizzlies are much much bigger. They are taller than a person when they stand up and they weigh 500 lbs or more.”

Tourist: *embarrassed* “It didn’t look that big in the picture.”

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