Extra Sweet Resolution

, , , | Working | May 26, 2017

(My husband and I are shopping, and we see the cotton candy stand. As we walk up, the employee is just starting to bag up a fresh batch. He looks up when we get to the counter.)

Employee: “Can I help you?”

Me: “I’d like one bag, please.”

Employee: “Sure thing!” *reaches for a finished bag from the rack*

Me: “I’d rather have the bag you’re filling; I like it when the candy is warm.”

Employee: “Okay, just a sec.” *continues filling bag*

(The manager walks up while the employee is filling the bag, and Husband and I are chatting. He starts to do the head-tilt/hard stare thing, and then yells.)

Manager: “Earth to [Employee]! Hello! There are people here!”

(Once we explained what was going on, the manager apologized to the employee for yelling at him. And then apologized to me for yelling in front of me. And then told the guy to not tie off my bag, but just keep filling it. I got almost twice the normal amount!)

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Popular, This Music Is Not Popular

, , , | Working | November 6, 2015

(I work as a technician in avionics and I’m currently the only woman in the shop. People frequently choose to listen to music while they work, but because the machines are so loud, we usually have to turn the volume all the way up, which means that anybody nearby can also hear it. I’m listening to the soundtrack to the musical ‘Wicked,’ and it’s just a few songs in when…)

Coworker: “Hey, [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes?”

Coworker: “How about we make a compromise.” *pause* “You can listen to ANYTHING but this.”

Me: *trying not to laugh* “Not a fan of musical theatre?”

Coworker: *shaking his head* “Nope.”

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Finally Singing To The Same Tune

, , , | Right | October 14, 2013

(I’m a piano tuner in a sparsely populated area in the rural west. The phone rings.)

Me: “Hello, [My Name] piano service.”

Caller: “Do you tune pianos?”

Me: “Yes, I do. I also do all kinds of repairs, as well as complete restorations. The only thing I don’t do is moving.”

Caller: “Great! What’s the total cost for a tuning?”

Me: “I need some more information to give you a price. Do you know how long since it’s been tuned?”

Caller: “Well, we live on a ranch on long way from nowhere, and it’s been here since before 1900, so for sure at least that long. Our family has never spoken to a piano tuner before.”

Me: “Wow! That’s a really long time! I’m honored! So, do all the keys go up and down, and does each key make a sound?”

Caller: “Yes, we checked, and it actually doesn’t sound that bad. Out of tune, of course, but everything works.”

Me: “Great! You mentioned being on a ranch. How far from [City I’m in] are you?”

Caller: “We’re 25 miles outside of [Town of 500 people, 200 miles away], on a gravel road that goes through a mountain pass. Well, actually, you have to cross the entire mountain range to get here. We own an entire valley.”

(I look up their location on Google maps, calculate the driving fee, and give them a price for a service package.)

Caller: “That’s a very fair price! Sold! But you don’t do the moving? Is there a mover you usually recommend?”

Me: “Yes, I have a favorite mover. Wait. ‘The’ moving? I’m not sure I follow. Oh, you’re moving it somewhere else before I tune it? I could contact my mover, tell them your location, and get a price, and get back to you.”

Caller: “Wait, what? Now I’m confused. We like your price on the tuning, but now we need to add the costs of the moves to know the total price?”

Me: “Moves? You’re moving it more than once? Am I tuning it, then it gets moved, and I tune it again? Is this all at once, or separate jobs? Now I’m lost!”

Caller: “Do you actually do this very often? We’d think you’d have the procedures and costs all worked out by now.”

Me: “I’m so sorry, but I’m not following you at all. Let’s start over. Where is it getting moved TO?”

Caller: “How would we know that? Are you being a smart-a**?”

Me: “What?”

Caller: “Where do you live?”

Me: “Why would you need to know that? Are you threatening me?”

Caller: “We DON’T need to know! And of COURSE we’re not threatening you! But YOU asked where it was getting moved to. For Christ’s sake!”

Me: *lightbulb goes off* “You want to move the piano to where I am?”

Caller: “Of course! How else are you going to tune it?”

(I am in stunned silence. In my entire career, no one has ever thought they had to deliver the piano to ME to have it tuned, and then have it moved back to their house.)

Caller: “Hello? Are you there?”

Me: “Yes. I’m here. I see the misunderstanding now. Piano tuners always drive to where the piano is, no matter how far away, and tune the piano where it is. The piano does not have to be brought to me. Pianos are NEVER brought TO the tuner. Tuners always go TO the piano. The price I gave you includes me driving all the way out there to your ranch and back home, staying at a motel if I have to, gas, tax, and the work I’ll do; everything is included. There’s no need for a mover at all.”

(There is a prolonged silence before they continue.)

Caller: “We’re really not as stupid as you probably think we are right now. Really. No one here has the slightest idea what a piano tuner does, or how they do it, or what it costs. We’ve just been raising cattle for five generations out here, see, and… Oh, Christ.”

(I hear several people in the background start to laugh. I can’t help it and start laughing, too. We’re all choking on laughter over the phone for at least a minute.)

Caller: “That’s a h*** of a long drive, so how about we get the guesthouse ready so you can stay overnight? Is cash okay? Do you like steak? What would you like for breakfast? If you like fishing we have miles of private streams. Bring a friend if you want; nothing but room up here!”

(I ended up with more value in free-range gourmet steaks and wild trout packed in a huge ice chest, than my entire tuning package fee!)

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The First And True Language Of America

, , , , , | Right | September 23, 2013

(I’m waiting in line behind a woman who is speaking on her cellphone in another language. Ahead of her is a white man. After the woman hangs up, he speaks up.)

Man: “I didn’t want to say anything while you were on the phone, but you’re in America now. You need to speak English.”

Woman: “Excuse me?”

Man: *very slow* “If you want to speak Mexican, go back to Mexico. In America, we speak English.”

Woman: “Sir, I was speaking Navajo. If you want to speak English, go back to England.”

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Man’s Best Friend, From Beginning To End

, , , , , | Right | April 1, 2013

(A family has just had their old golden retriever euthanized, due to a mix of a bad heart and bone cancer. The whole family is pretty despondent, but the youngest, a little boy, is taking it the worst. While the family is waiting for the paperwork to get finished, one of our regulars — a young Air Force lieutenant — walks in. He quickly notices the group, and approaches the desk.)

Lieutenant: “Did they just have to put someone down?”

(I nod. The lieutenant sits down right next to the boy, who is near tears.)

Lieutenant: “You okay, little guy?”

(The boy nods.)

Lieutenant: “Did you lose someone you care about?”

Boy: “Uh huh…”

Lieutenant: “Do you miss him?”

Boy: “Uh huh…”

Lieutenant: “Did you make every day of his life worth living?”

Boy: “Huh?”

Lieutenant: “I lost my little brother to cancer a few years back, and it tore me up. Had I done everything I could? What if I had done this or that differently? I just didn’t know, and it ate me up inside. Then they read us his will. It said, ‘I thank you, all of you, for making what borrowed time on Earth I had worth it, down to the second. That is all I could have asked for; know that should this cancer take me before I pen this will again, I loved each of you like no other family can, and going out with a smile worth smiling is the best way to go.'”

(The whole family is listening at this point, and the boy is completely enraptured. The lieutenant, lost in his recounting for a moment, looks back at the child.)

Lieutenant: “So, if you did your best — your VERY BEST — to make every day of his life worth living, I’m sure from wherever he is now, he’s looking back on your time together and smiling.”

(The boy runs out of his chair, up to the lieutenant, and gives him a hug. He lets loose all the tears he was fighting back. The father tries to remove the child from his iron-gripped hug, but the lieutenant stops him.)

Lieutenant: *to the father* “It really is no trouble at all…”

(As for the boy, he eventually he cried himself to sleep in the lieutenant’s lap.)

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