A Bit Of Light Reading And Heavy Pronouncements

, , , , | Right | January 11, 2021

Due to the iffy public transport where I live, I usually have to wait about half an hour after my shift ends before I can catch the bus home. Therefore, I usually bring a book or two, and after my shift is done I read at one of the tables by the window.

One day, I’m done with my shift, so I sit at the table. I’ve got two books, one that I’m just finishing and one that I’m about to start. About five minutes later, two young men come in.

Customer #1: “I’m telling you, man, the only people who work in stores like these are kids or idiots! Or special needs weirdos.”

Customer #2: “Dude, you’re being an a**hole. Not everyone can afford Uni on their own. Most people need jobs like these.”

Customer #1: “Uni? Nah, no way any of these losers is at Uni. I’ll prove it.”

Sure enough, [Customer #1] walks up to me. I mentally sigh.

Customer #1: *Ridiculously loud and slow* “What are you reading?”

Me: *In a normal voice* “It’s an analysis of the opioids problem in the United States.”

He suddenly speaks in a normal voice, sounding a little put-off.

Customer #1: “Oh. But what about this one?”

Me: “My other book? An exploration of the use of submarine warfare during the Cold War and how it affected the evolution of submarines.”

Customer #2: “Wait, what kind of history degree are you doing?”

Me: “None? I’m doing primary teaching. This is just fun reading.”

Customer #1: “No way. No one reads these sorts of books for fun.”

My coworker, who is on the front register, decides to speak up.

Coworker: “Oh, this is nothing. Last week she was reading up on medieval torture devices.”

Oddly enough, the guys decided to leave me alone after that.

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It’s Hard To Stay Chip-per At Work

, , , | Right | January 7, 2021

I’m working in a bakery, serving [Customer #1], who has just bought some hot chips [fries] in an open container from another store and set them down on the counter in front of herself while she is ordering. I notice [Customer #2] approach, take one of the chips, and eat it. [Customer #1] and I stare at [Customer #2].

Customer #2: “I didn’t expect that sample to be hot.”

Customer #1: “Actually, that’s my lunch.”

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Inadvertent Biological Warfare

, , , , , , , | Legal | January 1, 2021

A few weeks ago, I was in the city’s largest (and arguably best) bookstore

I was wandering down a somewhat tight aisle of freestanding bookshelves about shoulder-high, with my messenger bag over my shoulder and a book open in my hands. My attention was firmly on the book, as I was reading the first few pages to get a sense of the writing style, which would help me decide whether to buy it or not.

I didn’t take much notice as a young guy walked down the aisle towards me. It is important to note that my bag closes with a zip along the top and that this zip was half-open.

The guy brushed me as he walked past me in the small space, and had I been paying more attention to my surroundings, I would have felt him reach into my bag for my wallet. Unfortunately for the thief, I had a runny nose at the time and had been using the travel packet of tissues I kept in my bag throughout the day. Even more unfortunately for him, I had yet to find a bin and had been casually stuffing the sopping used tissues in my bag, hence the half-open zip.

I did feel him yank his hand out with a cry of disgust, and as I spun on him, I saw him run off with an expression of horror on his face, holding his left hand like it was contaminated with something foul — which, in fairness, it was. 

I checked my bag and everything was there, so I finished my browsing and bought the books I had decided on with a satisfied smile on my face.


This story is part of our Best Of January 2021 roundup!

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Get That Holiday Mango Home!

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | December 24, 2020

It’s Christmas Eve, so everyone and their dog is at the shops getting food and last-minute presents, etc. I am there with two small children. I’ve been to a couple of shops already and my EFTPOS card has been working fine, but now, at the checkout, with $100 worth of groceries and kids who are losing their patience, my card keeps getting declined for some reason. The cashier has run it a few times now, and I have explained that it was previously working, but the machine just keeps saying “declined.”

There is a line of about ten people behind me. I’m about to cry in frustration while my one-year-old tries to climb out of the trolley seat for a cuddle and my three-year-old has found the mangoes and is starting to eat one, skin and all, when the woman behind me speaks up.

Woman: “Here, let me just pay for it. Merry Christmas.”

Before I could even protest or anything, she handed over her card and the cashier put it through. I thanked her profusely, wished her and everyone else a Merry Christmas, and got my kids out of there. I went to an ATM, got $100 out, and gave it to one of the charity collectors, and then I got us all home.

I’m still not sure if the woman’s primary objective was to do something nice or to just get the line moving so she could get home herself, but either way, she was kind, gracious, and generous and I will never forget that, and it’s certainly made me more aware of trying to help other people around me.


This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for December 2020!

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A Fold In Her New Reality

, , , , , | Right | December 2, 2020

I work in an arts and craft store that does not sell cards. We do sell thick paper that you can make into cards yourself, though.

A day before Father’s Day, these papers are popular with people looking to make their own personalized cards. Everything is going smoothly until one woman enters the store. She clearly speaks English, is middle-aged, and was clearly not born yesterday, so this still perplexes me.

Customer: “Do you sell cards?”

Me: “Not really, but we do sell paper you can fold and make into your own card.”

Customer: “Can you show me?”

I bring her over to all the selections of paper.

Me: “So, if you just fold these in half, you get your own card you can personalize in any way.”

Customer: *Pause* “How do you fold a piece of paper in half?”

Me: “You… fold in it in half?”

I then demonstrated how to fold a paper in half, thinking maybe she didn’t know how to cleanly fold a paper to get a clean edge. But no… this woman is still confused and amazed that I could do this.

I had to show her again how to do this, and when I unfolded it, she just looked so lost and unsure how this card had then turned back into an A4 piece of paper.

Somehow, this woman had gone her entire life never folding any form of paper in half or realizing that a card, unfolded, is just a piece of paper.

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