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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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Making A Monumental Mistake

| Right | January 27, 2014

(The Washington Monument is currently under construction due to an earthquake in 2011. It’s covered from top to bottom in scaffolding as workers make repairs. The ticket booth where you would normally buy tickets to ride the elevator to the top is, obviously, closed. I am walking by one day, and I notice a woman with three children standing at the booth, carrying a lot of tourist merchandise, and looking around in a semi-panic. She sees a park maintenance employee, and waves him over.)

Tourist: “Sir! Sir!”

Employee: “Can I help you, ma’am?”

Tourist: “I’m trying to buy tickets for the Washington Monument, but there’s no one here.”

Employee: “Well, ma’am, the Monument is closed right now.”

Tourist: “No, no. The ticket booth is closed, but I want to buy tickets.”

Employee: “Sorry, I think you misunderstood. The monument is closed to the public for repairs. I don’t know when it will re-open, but it won’t be for a very long time.”

Tourist: “I can see the booth is closed, and I resent your condescending tone!”

Employee: “I meant no tone, ma’am. But the booth is closed because the Monument is closed.”

Tourist: “I’ll make this easy on you. I… want to go… up… there!”

(At this point, I have to step in and help this poor fellow who’s working outside in the heat and humidity and getting harassed by this crazy tourist and her now-crying children.)

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am, but maybe I can help here. The monument…” *I point at it* “…is closed and under construction. No one is allowed to go inside because it’s unsafe.”

Tourist: “What are you talking about? I see people up there right now!”

Me: “Those are construction workers.”

Tourist: “I don’t care who they are. I just want to buy some tickets. We traveled a long way to get here and I promised my children they could go up there!”

Me: “Well, maybe you should have checked before you got here.”

(She pulls out an old, beaten-up tourist map from her purse and waves it in my face.)

Tourist: “This said I could buy tickets!”

Me: “Right. Well, this map is from 2005. See? It has a picture of President Bush on it.”

Tourist: “Don’t you dare blame him! This is all Obama’s fault!”

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Bemusement Park

| Working | October 18, 2013

(My family and I are on vacation and visiting the national park, where my step-grandmother works at the ticket booth. Apparently, a lot of people think that the tour tickets you can purchase before entering will get you into the park for free. My step-grandmother is off work, and is in the back seat of the car. She decides to pull a little prank on her coworker and hands my dad the tour tickets.)

Step-Grandmother: “Hey, give these to the lady at the booth and say, ‘These will get us in for free, right?'”

(My dad decides to go along with the joke as we approach the booth.)

Dad: “Oh, we have tour tickets. They get us in for free.”

Coworker: *already irritated* “No they do not, sir.”

Dad: “What? Yes they do!”

Coworker: “No they do NOT!”

Dad: “Well I can’t believe this! They’re supposed to get us in for free! She said they’d get us in for free!”

Coworker: “Oh yeah? Who said?”

Dad: “[Step-Grandmother].”

Coworker: “[Step-Grandmother]… oh!”

(We roll down the back window to reveal my step-grandmother. The coworker sees her and cracks up, followed by everyone in the car as well as a coworker in the other ticket booth.)

Coworker: “[Step-Grandmother], that was mean! I was getting really mad!”

Dad: “I’m sorry! I hope I didn’t ruin your day!”

Coworker: “That’s alright; you just keep an eye on this one!”

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Has No Propensity For History

, , , , , | Right | August 16, 2013

(I’m working behind the register counter that has glass display cases of knives, wallets, etc. Some are engraved with CSA—Confederate States of America, and USA—for the Union.)

Customer: *running up to the counter* “Oooh! Knives! Wait, what does ‘CSA’ mean?”

Me: “It stands for ‘Confederate States of America.’ Did you want to have a look?”

Customer: “No, I don’t want to buy. But, the Confederate states are the North, right?!”

Me: “No, not at all… ”

Customer: “Oh, oh well. But you know what’s strange? All these battles happened in national parks!”

Me: “Uh…”

Customer: “I guess that just made it easier to hide behind the monuments!”

Me: “I have to get back to work; have a nice day.”

(I get back to folding and stocking while the customer walks out with the smuggest look on their face, like they just gave me a history lesson.)


This story is part of the National Parks-themed roundup!

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