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Talk Until You K-Pop

, , , , , | Learning | March 10, 2020

(I am an admissions counselor for a university. I am working from home and get a call from a man interested in our business program. I talk to him about our degrees and tell him the next steps, and he doesn’t seem terrifically invested in the conversation. It comes to a natural stopping point and I am getting ready to end the call when he says this:)

Man: “I just want to make sure this isn’t a scam. I’ve been scammed before.”

Me: “Oh, I completely understand. It can be difficult to know if something is legitimate, especially with online school.”

(He then launches into a rant about how a school scammed him in the past. He doesn’t seem rude or violent, only justifiably frustrated as he recalls the experience. I tell him about a school I almost went to and then later found out was a scam, and we are having a pretty animated conversation. Then, suddenly, he turns to politics.)

Man: “Everyone wants free college these days. Bernie Sanders wants to give everyone free college. Everyone wants socialism; they think socialism is great. It’s not. I’m telling you it’s not. I’m not gonna ask you how you vote, but free college just wouldn’t work.”

(I am actually a socialist, but of course, I am at work so I just make some non-committal noises.)

Man: “I’m not gonna ask how you vote, but I’m an independent. I just think we need Republicans and Democrats to come together. We need a president who can bring everyone together. That’s why I love Tulsi. Have you heard of her?”

Me: “Yeah, I’ve seen some of her billboards around.”

Man: “She’s great. I love her. Man, I would kill to get her autograph. I bet you see a lot of presidential candidates up there in New Hampshire, huh? I tell ya, I would kill for Tulsi’s autograph. She spends most of her time in Hawaii, but I would love to meet her one day. If you see her in New Hampshire, get me her autograph, will ya?”

Me: *jokingly* “Sure thing! I also have family in Hawaii so I’ll give them a call and see if they can get her autograph for you.”

Man: *even more excited* “You’re Samoan?!”

Me: “Ah, no. My grandpa was in the military.”

Man: “Oh, I see. It’s a beautiful place. Beautiful. I’d love to go there someday. But really, I will pay you money for Tulsi’s autograph. I’m serious; I will pay you for it.”

Me: “I’ll keep that in mind.”

(He continues extolling the virtues of Tulsi for a while, and then he suddenly comes out with this gem.)

Man: “I’m really into K-Pop. I love following those girl groups. I’ve been learning a bit of Korean through that.”

(Students enter their date of birth when they inquire, so I know this man is in his late forties. Most K-Pop groups consist entirely of women in their late teens or early twenties. This comment, paired with his earlier excitement about the possibility of me being Samoan, instantly shoots up a couple of red flags for me.)

Me: “Oh, that’s so cool. I’ve heard it’s a great language…”

(He continued to expound on his love of K-Pop, with me getting increasingly uncomfortable. FINALLY, after nearly an hour of conversation — only 15 of which were spent talking about the university — he thanked me for being such a great listener and we said our goodbyes. This was almost a month ago and I have not been able to get back in touch with that student to follow up on his application. Probably for the best.)

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Zero For Effort

, , , , , | Learning | February 25, 2020

I am an admission counselor at an online university. I work in the graduate school, but I sometimes get calls from undergraduate students if there are no undergraduate counselors available.

I get one such call on a very slow afternoon. The student is transferring from another school and wants to know if we received his transcript from that school. We haven’t, so he says he will send in his unofficial transcript tonight. I inform his regular admission counselor that she should receive them soon and figure that’s that.

A few hours later, she comes over to my desk to let me know what happened. The student had sent in his unofficial transcript, but the form just listed six classes with all zeroes. When my colleague called the student to clarify it was the correct form, he said that he’d failed all his classes. She then informed him that it is impossible to transfer credits that you never actually earned.

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Bigotry Is Just One Form Of Bad Taste

, , , , | Related | February 25, 2020

I’m dating a guy who grew up in a rural area with pretty much exclusively western cuisines. There is a good Indian restaurant in town; we go and he likes it. A few months later, his parents come to visit, and he wants to take them to the lunch buffet at the restaurant. He and I explain what the dishes at the buffet are and he recommends ones he thinks they’ll like. He’s very excited to introduce his parents to this cuisine that he finds delicious.

Throughout the whole meal, he and I are happily eating, recommending different dishes, and commenting on how good everything is. His parents first try some naan bread and basmati rice; they don’t like the bread and declare that the cooks don’t know what they’re doing because there are whole spices left in the rice, and we could choke on them.

Then, we get to chicken tikka masala. His mom scrapes all the sauce off after tasting it and declaring “something isn’t right about the tomato sauce.” Then, she sees the pieces of chicken.

“What kind of meat is this?”

“I think it’s thighs.”

“No, chicken thighs don’t look like that. What is this?”

“Mom, it’s thighs. They just cut them into smaller pieces.”

*Shouting* “UGH! No. These are butts! They’re feeding us chicken butts! This is disgusting!”

My boyfriend and I are extremely embarrassed and decide to just finish what we’re eating, pay, and leave.

“Mom, try some of this; it’s rice pudding. It’s really good.”

His mom puts a spoonful in her mouth and then leans over to let it dribble all over her plate.

Mom:Ugh! This is disgusting! And there is mold on this! How could you take us here?”

There were crushed pistachios on the rice pudding.

Throughout this whole ordeal, his father was sitting silently, taking a bite of this or that and quietly taking it out of his mouth. He obviously didn’t like anything but wasn’t making a scene.

We apologized profusely and got out, and as far as I know, he never tried to take his parents to a non-American food restaurant again.

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I Come A Long Way To Work My Shifts  

, , , | Right | February 12, 2020

(I am a customer in a popular clothes shop. I do not work here and I am on holiday from the UK. I have a strong British accent.)

Customer #1: “Excuse me. Can you point me to the flip flops?”

Me: *shakes my head, smiling*

Customer #1: “Yes, you can! You work here!”

Me: “No, sorry, I don’t.”


Me: “Sorry, I don’t work here.”


Me: “Sorry, I don’t work here. In fact, I don’t even live here; I am on holiday from England.”

Customer #1: *by now it seems to have dawned on the lady that I have a very strong British accent* “Oh… I, uh… Erm… Sorry!” *scuttles off, very embarrassed*

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Sailed Past That Being An Issue

, , , , | Working | February 6, 2020

(I am on break at work and scrolling through social media. I see a post that says your sailor name is the color of your shirt and the name of your first pet. Note that I am white and my coworker is black.)

Me: “Hey, [Coworker]! What was the name of your first pet?”

Coworker: “It was a dog named Lady.”

Me: “Your sailor name is—”

(I pause as I realize that she is wearing a white shirt.)

Coworker: “What?”

(I don’t know her very well as she just joined the team, and I don’t want to make a joke she may find offensive, so I just show her the post.)

Coworker: “My sailor name is White Lady! I love it!”

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