The New iNfect

, , , , , | Right | September 18, 2020

In an effort to avoid the spread of anything contagious, my cell phone store doesn’t allow customers to touch any of the phones we have on display. This is printed on numerous signs around the phones, and the screensaver on each phone even has, “Please don’t touch,” running on each and every one of them. Even still, people grab the phones to try them or play with them all day long. We’ve had to tell adults to please stop touching them.

A woman picks up a display model.

Coworker: “Ma’am, please don’t touch the phones. We’re trying to avoid the spread of disease.”

Customer: “Oh, of course. I won’t.”

She put the phone down, and literally four seconds later, she picked up the next one. This is why we have to clean everything with disinfectant all day long.

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Boy, What A Charmer!

, , , , | Right | August 30, 2020

I work at a rather small dry cleaning place. A man comes in to pick up a suit with his young son. Usually, our customers’ children are too shy to talk to us.

Son: “Do you know how old I am?”

Me: *Taken aback* “No! How old are you?”

Son: “I’m four and a half years old.”

Me: “Wow. I’m twenty-one. I’m old!”

Son: *Thinking hard* “Yes.

I continue the transaction with the customer. 

Son: *To his father* “Dad, can I press the green button?”

Customer: “Of course you can!”

The customer puts in his card into the machine, and I go to type in the price, pressing the green button when I do.

Son: “But I wanted to press the green button!”

Me: “Oh, I am so sorry. You can do it now.”

He presses the green button, and two receipts come out, one for the customer and one for me. 

Me: *To the customer* “Would you like your receipt?”

Customer: “Yes, please!”

Son: “Daddy, can I have that piece of paper?”

Customer: “No, sorry, Daddy needs this one.”

Son: *To me* “Can I have that piece of paper?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I need this one. But I can print out another one for you.”

Son: “Yes, please!”

I print out another receipt for the little boy. This one is wider and longer than the one I gave his father. 

Me: “You’re getting a big one!”

I hand him the receipt. 

Son: “Ooooh! That is big!”

The customer thanks me and says goodbye as he leaves. They turn the corner when I hear:

Son: “Bye-bye!”

Me: “Bye!”

The boy comes running into the store again.

Son: “Bye! I’ll—” *starts thinking* “—see you tomorrow?”

Me: “No, you won’t, sweetie.”

Son: “No… I’ll see you some other day, then!”

Me: “Yes, you will! Definitely!”

Son: “See you then! Bye!”

After he left, I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day. That little boy made my entire week!

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You Never Know What You Might Find On These Hiking Trails

, , , , , , | Right | June 10, 2020

My dad was born in Norway but lived in Tennessee from the age of three. In the 1970s, at seventeen, he spends a summer in Norway and gets a summer job at a hiking and camping equipment store. Despite Dad being more fluent in English than Norwegian, his boss always wants to take care of the foreign customers, as he speaks German, Spanish, English, and Russian, in addition to Norwegian. One day, he comes up to Dad, slightly panicked.

Boss: “Can you help that family? I could swear they’re speaking English, but I can’t understand a single word they’re saying!”

As Dad approaches, he hears the couple speaking to their kids in one of the most backwoods Appalachian accents he’s ever heard. He decides to have fun with it.

Dad: “Well, hey, y’all! How’s everything goin’? What can I help y’all find this evenin’?”

The family looks overjoyed.

Man: “Lawdamercy, son, it sure is a blessin’ to find someone who can understand us! We been here a week and can’t nobody understand a blessed thing we say! Where you from?”

They talk, and Dad learns that the couple has won the lottery and always wanted to visit the Land of the Vikings. They’re from a city not too far from where Dad grew up.

Man: “We ain’t got any stores like this round [Town], do we?”

Dad: “Naw, the closest one is in [City four hours away]. Their prices are about twice what ours is here, and their stuff don’t hold a candle to ours, quality-wise. What all are y’all lookin’ to get?”

They end up spending the equivalent of over $1,000 in clothes, shoes, backpacking gear, climbing gear, and rafting gear, and Dad tells them where around Oslo would be best to hike with their ten- and fourteen-year-old kids. He also tells them about some fun trails back home to try.

After they’ve left, the boss comes up to Dad.

Boss: “How— What— When— How did you do that? That was more than we usually sell in a week! What language was that?”

Dad: “It was good old East Tennessean American English. The accent is one that more rural folks have in the area where I live. They’re avid hikers and just won the lottery, and it was like a breath of fresh air to have someone speak to them who could understand them and knew exactly what equipment they needed.”

Boss: “Well! I know you’ve been saving up to get that new exterior frame backpacking backpack. You’ve got, what, half saved up?”

Dad: “About that, yeah.”

Boss: “How about you give me half of what you’ve saved and we will call it even? I can’t believe you just did that!”

About thirty years later, Dad, Mom, my sister, and I are hiking at a state park in Tennessee. Dad is using that same backpack, as he still does today. We see another backpacking family taking a break, and Dad stops in shock.

Dad: “Excuse me, sir, but does that pack happen to be from [Store in Norway]?”

Hiker: “Well, yeah! My dad got it there about thirty years ago when we went there on vacation! My daughter’s using the one he got for me then! Why do you ask?”

Dad: *Long pause* “Did… Did you happen to go there ’cause your dad won the lottery?”

Hiker: *Surprised* “Uh, yeah! How’d you know?”

Dad: “I believe I am the one that sold y’all those packs! Y’all got so much stuff, my boss let me have this pack 75% off as a thank you!”

Hiker: “Oh, wow! I do remember that! That’s crazy! Hah! And you sure weren’t kidding about the quality, were you? It’s been, what, thirty years or so?”

Dad: “About that, yeah.”

The hiker told Dad about how the rest of the Norway trip went and shared some fun tales of the adventures they went on in Tennessee using the equipment Dad had sold them. They exchanged numbers, and Dad has since taught the hiker and his kids how to mountain bike. The hiker is a boat repairman and always gives Dad a good deal on servicing his boat. It’s crazy what a little serendipity and customer service will bring your way!


This story is included in our Feel-Good roundup for June 2020!

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Skewering Your Hopes Of Staying Contactless

, , , , , | Working | May 23, 2020

Due to the regulations in Norway surrounding the recent disease outbreak, most restaurants are closed except for takeout. I head over to surprise my husband with some of his favorite döner kebab to cheer him up. 

As I am waiting — patiently, one meter apart from all the other patrons — to order, I see advertisements everywhere in the restaurant asking people to pay with contactless payment methods to avoid unnecessary touching. They’re on the digital menu screens, on signs,  everywhere, asking people to pay with contactless methods.

I almost always try to use contactless anyway, so I’m pleased. There should be no reason to touch the PIN pad, as it is a transaction under the currency requirement that makes you enter your PIN code using your bank card. 

I eventually make my way to the front, place my order, and go to pay using contactless payment, only for the screen to prompt for me to enter a tip into the keypad and hit “OKAY” to acknowledge the total. The gentleman working there has no ability to enter it in himself, so I am forced to touch the PIN pad regardless.

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Unfiltered Story #184558

, , | Unfiltered | February 3, 2020

(I work in a taxi company that serves Oslo and most of the municipalities surrounding Oslo. Note that each municipality has many large-ish cities, and therefore, many major bus and train stations. Our prices are obviously calculated based on the exact address customers are traveling from and the exact address they are travelling to. A woman, living in Oslo, calls.)
Customer: Hi, I’d like to know the price from here to [Municipality].
Me: Alright… And where is here?
Customer: [Area in Oslo]
Me: Okey-dokey. And where in [Municipality] are you travelling to?
Customer, getting angry: [Muncipality]!!
Me: I understand, but I need to know where in [Municipality] you’re travelling to.
Customer: The busstation!
Me: Which one?
Customer: The one in [Municipality]!
Me: Ma’am. There are about 20 major busstations in [Municipality]. I can’t tell you the price unless you tell me which one you need to get to.
Customer, getting very angry: So you don’t know the price?!
Me: I can’t tell you the price unless you can tell me exactly where you’re going. [Municipality] is a very large place. Even just travelling inside it can cost you several 100 kroner.
Customer: Ugh, fine. I’ll ask my friend for the address, and I’ll call you back.

(She never called me back. The real kicker? Our taxi company has a price calculator on the website. She could have checked the price herself.)