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No Aptitude For Latitude, Part 3

, , , , , , , | Related | October 16, 2013

(My dad’s aunt is visiting from Texas, and she wants to visit NYC, about two and a half hours away. My aunt, my grandmother, my mom, and I take a day trip up there. After walking a lot, my aunt stops and leans against a building with her hands on her knees, breathing heavily.)

Mom: “Are you okay?”

Great-Aunt: “Oh, I’m fine, just a little winded because of the altitude. I’m not used to being this far above sea level.”

(Another sister of theirs lives in Colorado, so I assume that’s how she got it in her head that being out of breath in another state is the same as thinner air.)

Me: “But we’re at sea level, on an island. The ocean is right over there.”

Great-Aunt: “Oh, no, honey; we’re much higher up here than at home.”

Grandmother: *totally serious* “Right, because if you look at a map, Texas is down here, and New York is way up here!”

(When we get home, I look up the actual altitudes just for kicks. According to Google, New York City is 33 feet above sea level. Houston? 43 feet.)


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Purchasing Identity Crysis

, , , , , , | Right | February 1, 2013

(Usually, Black Friday at our store is organized and lined up, but it usually leads to people getting impatient and loud with us. If one person holds up the line, the rest get extremely upset. It’s the worst when customers trade a whole bunch of games to us when there’s a huge line behind them.)

Coworker: “Okay, so the total amount of these trades that you’ll be getting back would be $54.46 in store credit, or $23 in cash.”

Customer: “Are you serious?! I paid over hundreds of dollars for these games and they cost only $20 in cash? You guys are thieves! Just give me my d*** cash, then!”

Coworker: “Well, I don’t control the prices here, sir. All right, so, I’d like to see your state ID, please, so we can continue to process these trades.”

Customer: *getting paranoid* “Why do you want to see my ID? Obviously, I look old enough to trade games, don’t I? I’m not giving you my ID. Thieving my identity!”

Coworker: “I can’t process the trade without seeing some state ID, sir.”

(I overhear the issue and notice that people are getting edgy in line because this man is holding it up. I approach my coworker.)

Me: “What’s going on here?”

Customer: *rudely interrupts my coworker before he can reply* “Your employee here is trying to steal my identification and give me a BS amount on my games so he can sell it back on the wall for twice of what it’s worth!”

Me: “Sir, we don’t control the trade amounts and that’s how the prices are processed. Business is business, but we’re not trying to swindle or steal anything from you, I can assure you.”

Customer: “Then why do you need to see my ID for the games? Just take them and give me my f****** cash!”

Me: “It’s store policy and for authority purposes only. We would have no reason to take your ID but we cannot go through with the transaction if we can’t see your ID, so that means you won’t be getting your cash at all unless we just see the ID for a minute and we’ll hand it right back to you.”

Customer: *huffs and holds out driver’s license* “Here, but don’t touch it!”

(My coworker strains to see the information to type in, because the customer refuses to stand any closer with it, and completes the process.)

Customer: “Can you put the cash on my credit card?”

Coworker: “Sure, just swipe your card here and I’ll see the last four digits of your credit card.”

Customer: “Why do you need to see all this personal information!? You guys are stealing from me, you a**holes! Not only my games but from me, too!”

Me: “Sir, you’re holding up the line. If you plan to make a scene, please speak with my manager so he can explain it to you.”

Manager: *already hearing the outburst* “Honestly, we’re not trying to steal anything from you and these games aren’t even worth it. Somehow, you’re making it worse for yourself by shouting because you’re raising suspicion on yourself. I would greatly appreciate it if you would just realize the fifty-something people behind you and get this over with because most of them here have done a trade themselves and not once have they complained about any thievery. Now, please, restrain yourself because there are children here, or I’ll ask you to leave the store and keep your games with you.”

(The customer grumbled obscenities under his breath and held out his card in an annoyingly far distance yet again, then proceeded to sign and storm out.)


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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Powers

, , , , , , , | Right | January 14, 2013

(I’m half-Chinese, but with my sunglasses on, people usually can’t tell. I’m fluent in Mandarin. One day I get a text from my friend, a grade-school teacher.)

Friend: “You speak Chinese, right?”

Me: “Yeah, why?”

Friend: “Come down to [intersection] around noon and explain what the f*** is going on.”

(At my lunch break I head down there. On one side of the street is a crowd of school kids, while on the other side an elderly Chinese man with an ice cream cart.)

Kid #1: “I’m gonna do it.”

Kid #2: “No way.”

Kid #1: “Yeah way. I’m fast enough!”

Kid #2: “You’re not Chinese.”

Kid #1: “So?”

Kid #2: “Only [Chinese Name] can do it.”

Kid #1: “I’m gonna do it.”

(Kid #1 dashes across the street, yanks back the cover of the cart, and grabs a handful of ice cream. He takes off, but the vendor catches him, pinning both arms behind his back.)

Vendor: “Ah, three bars? Your total is $9.28.”

Kid #1: “Lemme go!”

(The vendor removes some money from the kid’s pocket with his free hand.)

Vendor: “Cash paid is $20.”

Kid #1: “Yeah, yeah, I know the drill.”

(While still holding the struggling kid, the vendor deposits the $20 in his till and takes out change.)

Vendor: “Your change is $10.72.”

(The vendor puts the change and ice creams in a bag and hands them to the kid, who takes off.)

Vendor: “Have a nice day!”

Kid #2: “Told you.”

Kid #1: “Fine! Okay, [Chinese Name], you do it!”

(A short Chinese boy steps forward. His clothes are patched and despite the weather, he’s not wearing a coat.)

Chinese Kid: “Let us meditate… on the way of the wind.”

(He strikes a ridiculous pose and exhales loudly. The other kids jump back.)

Chinese Kid: “…on the way of the snake…”

(New pose, hissing loudly. The others back away even more.)

Chinese Kid: “…on the way of the hawk.”

(He flaps his arms and jumps in a circle. The kids are a good twenty feet away now.)

Chinese Kid: “The meditation is done.”

(He runs up to the ice cream vendor and grabs a handful of bars. The vendor strikes him with an exaggerated karate chop which the kid easily blocks.)

Chinese Kid: *flees, speaking Chinese* “Thank you, Mr. [Vendor]!”

Vendor: *shakes his fist angrily, also in Chinese* “Sorry we are out of lime today!”

(The Chinese kid kicks towards the vendor from across the street.)

Chinese Kid: “My mother says she hopes your leg feels better!”

Vendor: *red-faced with rage* “It does! Tell her thank you for the tea!”

(The kids are enthralled. As they eat the ice cream, I approach the vendor.)

Me: *in Chinese* “What just happened?”

Vendor: “Oh… you understood. That little boy is a new immigrant, and all the other children mocked him because he is small and weak. He told them Chinese people have special powers, and they beat him up and told him to prove it. But I overheard and whispered to him to rob me. Now we have a deal.”

Me: “How wonderful!” *pointing behind him* “Hey, can you tell what that is?”

(As he turns around, I drop some money on the cart and grab a bar of ice cream, fleeing.)

Vendor: “You forgot your change!”

Me: *shakes my fist* “It’s a tip!”

Kids: “Whoa! How did you do that?”

(I slip off my sunglasses. The Chinese kid bows to me and I bow back.)

Kid #2: “Told you they have special powers. Never bully a Chinese kid, man. Never!”


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There’s Something In Those Poppy Seeds

, , , , , | Right | October 16, 2012

(My boss is known for being very strict, and demanding ‘good customer relations.’ He reprimands us if we say things that he thinks are ‘unprofessional,’ which has forced us to be very formal with everyone who comes into the shop. Today, he’s running late.)

Customer: “Can I get a toasted everything bagel, and–” *turns to [Daughter]* “What do you want?”

Daughter: *about eight years old* “Poppy seeds and cream cheese!”

Customer: “…and a poppy seed bagel with cream cheese.”

Co-worker: “Sure, here’s your poppy seed. Just give me a minute to toast the everything.”

Daughter: *after a few seconds* “Mommy…”

Customer: “We’re almost ready to go, dear, mommy just needs her bagel, too.”

Daughter: “Mommy… I  dropped my bagel and the cream cheese is dirty.”

Co-worker: “Don’t worry about it. Here’s a new one for free.”

Daughter: *very excited* “BAGEL BAGEL BAGEL BAGEL BAGEL!”

Customer: “Bagel bagel bagel bagel!”

Me: *handing the customer her bagel* “Here’s your BAGEL BAGEL BAGEL BAGEL!”

Coworker: *joining in* “BAGEL BAGEL BAGEL BAGEL!”

(Suddenly, my boss walks in the door. My coworker, the customer, and I all shut up and look embarrassed. The daughter doesn’t stop.)

Daughter: “BAGEL BAGEL BAGEL BAGEL!”

Boss: “When in Rome. BAGEL BAGEL BAGEL BAGEL!”

All three of us: “BAGEL BAGEL BAGEL BAGEL!”

(My boss is still serious, but whenever that customer comes in, he starts screaming ‘BAGEL BAGEL BAGEL BAGEL’ over and over again!)

One Good Takeout Deserves Another

, , , , , | Right | December 25, 2011

(A few years ago, around noon on Christmas day, several dozen Chinese people walked into our Kosher deli-style restaurant, apparently in a group. One walked up to the front desk.)

Man: *softly* “Is it okay if we’re here?”

Hostess: “Yes, we serve everyone, but are you sure you’re in the right place?”

Man: “This is [Restaurant], right?”

Hostess: “Yes, sir, it is.”

Man: “Well, we figured since you Jews are all coming to our restaurants tonight, we’d return the favor.”

Hostess: *slightly shocked* “Thanks. Right this way… We’ll seat you!”

(…and they’ve been back every year since!)


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