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 part of our Most Inspirational Of 2020 roundup!

Read the next Most Inspirational Of 2020 roundup story!

Read the Most Inspirational Of 2020 roundup!


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

Want to read the next story? Click here!

Want to see the roundup? Click here!

1 Thumbs
1,381

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.

1 Thumbs
236

Rudeness Doesn’t Know When To Quit

, , , | Right | January 15, 2020

(I’m talking to a nice customer. A woman approaches, stopping right at the register, next to — and quite close to — the man I’ve been helping, so I assume she’s with him, maybe his wife or something. A few minutes later, while I keep talking to the man, the woman starts pacing around us and eventually stops between us and looks at me.)

Woman Customer: *interrupting us* “I need your help.”

Me: *realizing she doesn’t know the man* “Well, sure, but I need to finish helping this man first.”

Woman Customer: “Well, you helped me yesterday, so you need to help me.”

(My assistant shop manager is the same build as me, and also male, so sometimes unperceptive customers mistake one of us for the other.)

Me: “I’m sorry, I wasn’t here yesterday.”

Woman Customer: “Well, he looked like you.”

Man Customer: *jokingly* “So, they’re both good-looking men?”

Woman Customer: “Nah, more normal-looking.”

Me: “…”

1 Thumbs
400

Has No Problem Espresso-ing Herself

, , , | Right | November 1, 2010

(I am working as a barista in a small coffee shop in a mall, located right next to the escalators. There’s a large window between the shop and the escalators, so I can see people going up and down. I’m having a very good day and making espresso when all of a sudden the escalators stop. A very stressed woman comes running around the corner, looking very angry.)

Customer: *waving with both hands* “Will you stop that!”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Customer: “Oh, my God! I have my shopping cart in the escalators and it’s my son’s birthday! Turn it back on!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I can’t fix the escalator. There will probably be a serviceman there any minute.”

Customer: “I saw you pressing the buttons on that machine!” *points to the espresso machine* “You were laughing and then the escalator stopped. And now my son is stuck. It’s his birthday!”

Me: “Ma’am, this is an espresso machine. It makes coffee. I laughed because I’m in a good mood. There will be someone here soon to–”

Customer: “Then make another coffee, and start it again! And wipe that smile off your face!”


This story is part of our customer conspiracy theorists roundup!

Read the next customer conspiracy theorists roundup story!

Read the customer conspiracy theorists roundup!

1 Thumbs
3,808

At Least It’s Hands-Free Now

, , , , | Right | September 7, 2010

Caller: “My phone isn’t working.”

Me: “No problem. I can help you with that.”

Caller: “Good. I hate these things.”

Me: “Sir, can you locate the power button on the top of your mobile, hold it in for ten seconds, and then release?”

(The customer is quiet, and then I hear a crash.)

Me: “What happened?”

Caller: “I did what you told me to do. Hold the button for ten seconds and then release the phone.”

Me: “No, I meant release the button, not the whole phone.”

Caller: “Well, if it wasn’t broken earlier, it sure is now!”

1 Thumbs
2,689