This Takes “Taking The Cake” To A Different Level

, , , , , , | Friendly | February 23, 2021

I have a friend who’s the kindest person in the world but not always the smartest.

I invite her, her husband, and a couple of other friends over to celebrate my birthday with me and my husband and daughters. My daughters are vegan. My invitation, which I send out via email, says:

Me: “Don’t bring anything! No presents except your presence, and we have the food all taken care of. There’ll be pizza, appetizers, and two kinds of cake: one vegan for our daughters, and one non-vegan for everyone else.”

[Friend] replies to the email.

Friend: “Sounds great! See you then.”

On the day of the party, [Friend] arrives with her husband and hands me an enormous, very heavy container.

Me: “What’s this?”

Friend: “It’s homemade cheesecake! Remember how you said that you wanted me to bring dessert?”

She then looks behind me and sees the two cakes, and her face falls.

Friend: “Oh… you have dessert?”

I try to respond as kindly as I can.

Me: “Well, yes, but that’s okay. More dessert is always good, and I love cheesecake.”

Friend: “And the best part is that your daughters will be able to eat it.”

Me: “Um, no, I’m afraid they won’t.”

Friend: “Sure, they will!”

Me: “Oh, is it a vegan cheesecake?”

Friend: “Yes! Nothing but pure, natural ingredients: butter, cream cheese, and sour cream.”

Me: “I’m really sorry, but they won’t be able to eat it. Those ingredients aren’t vegan.”

Friend: “They’re not?”

The icing on the cake, so to speak, was that she hadn’t given the cheesecake enough time to bake. It was raw and gooey in the middle. Turns out that she’d woken up that morning, somehow got it into her head that I’d asked her to bring dessert, and frantically threw a cheesecake together as quickly as possible.

She meant well.

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This Party Is Just Getting Started

, , , , , | Right | February 20, 2021

To book a kid’s party room in our indoor soft play venue, a customer has to pay a non-refundable deposit. We have a kind of script memorised — since we take face and phone bookings — which mentions it being non-refundable on three occasions, and the customers have to sign a place on the paperwork to say they acknowledge it.

The law is on our side, too, since non-refundable deposits are legal as long as our policies are clear and the amount is reasonable to cover our costs. In our case, it is set in place to secure a room in a time slot, a character costume, equipment, and so on. If a customer cancels, there is no guarantee that the time slot will be filled, etc. We aren’t totally unfair to the customers, though, as the customers can spend the deposit amounts in other ways in the playland.

A couple comes in on a Sunday morning and cancels their party. They’ve booked the biggest package, invited all their guests, and only a few kids can make it. They then demand a refund.

I politely explain the policy and tell them that they can transfer the balance to a card they can use for other services in the playland — entry tickets, food and drinks, a different type of party more suitable for the number of guests they have, a character visit, and so on.

I spend a good five minutes outlining all the options. Apparently, all they hear is, “We’re keeping your money.”

Customer: “That’s not legal! We come all the time!”

I work five-day weeks on rotating days and have never seen them before.

Customer: “We want to speak to the manager!”

Me: “I’m the manager on duty.”

Customer: “The owner, then!”

Me: “The owner isn’t here on Sundays.”

Customer: “What’s their phone number?!”

Obviously, that isn’t going to happen. I know the owner won’t answer anyway because she is away with her family for a large birthday weekend camping, so she has no reception.

It really escalates quickly, with me repeating our policies and their options and the two of them ignoring me.

Customer: “We’re going to stand in the foyer until the owner comes!”

I do explain the days that the owners will be there and suggest that they can call or visit at any of those times, but they just ignore everything I say. While they are cranky and ignoring me, they are mostly just annoying. They aren’t otherwise aggressive or abusive. I don’t want to escalate it by calling the police or creating additional drama for other customers unless necessary, and they are separated from the children playing by security walls, so I try another tactic.

I remind them of their options and that they are only hearing what they want to hear, so there is no more I can do. I cheerfully offer them each a chair, I tell them our closing time, and I walk away to do my other duties.

They sit for a bit, arms folded.

Then, they sit for a bit, arms in their laps.

They pace a bit.

They leave. 

On Monday, I am scheduled off. On Tuesday, I speak to the owner.

Owner: “They came in and asked for a refund. I explained their options. They said you never told them they could spend the money on other things here.”

They happily booked in a smaller party that I had tried to suggest. Any time I saw them in the future, they looked at me cautiously for half a second and then were super nice.

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Who Doesn’t Love Unsolicited Advice?

, , , , | Related | February 18, 2021

Our daughter is less than a year old. We have gotten through some difficult spots but feel pretty in control; the baby is in routine, sleeping and feeding well.

I’m at a family house party with most of my wife’s family. My wife’s grandmother is there; she’s a lovely woman but has an opinion on everything and goes out of her way to share it. Before even a hello, [Grandmother] starts in:

Grandmother: “Are you feeding that baby enough?”

Me: “Yes, we’ve been feeding her as we should. Thank you.”

Grandmother: “You need to support the head more; let me show you.”

Me: “No, thank you. She has just fallen asleep. Hello, by the way.”

Grandmother: “She looks cold.”

Wife: “Grandmother, please! The baby is fine; we are fine. Leave [My Name] alone.”

Grandmother: “I’m just saying.”

She quietens down but keeps sniping at me throughout the night. I ignore most of it, but it is getting tiring. To my surprise, my wife’s father — [Grandmother]’s son — pulls me to one side.

Father-In-Law: “Hey, you’re doing a great job. I don’t like to say this, but [Grandmother] — bless her — didn’t know what she was doing half the time she was raising us. It’s a wonder we survived.” *Laughs* “Some people just can’t help themselves but open their mouths when they think they know better.”

The grandmother never did stop giving us “advice,” but after that, it was easier to ignore.

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How Were They A Tease?! HOW?!

, , , , , | Romantic | February 14, 2021

I’m about eighteen. An old friend is moving away and is having a going-away party. A lot of friends I haven’t seen in a long time show up, so we’re all having a great time catching up. A few of us decide to go to dinner afterward. I don’t have a car, so a male friend, [Friend #3] offers to drive me and his sister, [Friend #2], as we all live near each other. He gets pulled aside, and I continue talking with my group.

Another guy approaches and just stares at me for several minutes. He looks vaguely familiar, but I can’t place him.

Friend #1: “Hey, [My Name], you need a ride to dinner? You can drive with me.”

Me: “Nope, I have a ride. Thanks, though!”

Friend #1: “Anytime!”

The unknown guy mentioned above has now slid into the seat next to me and is in my personal space.

Me: *To the guy* “Oh, excuse me.”

I move over to give myself more room.

Guy: “[My Name]?”

Me: “Yes?”

Guy: *At full volume* “[My Full Name]?”

Everyone stops talking and stares at him.

Me: “Have we met?”

Guy: “Seriously? We went to church together back in the day! [Church]?”

Me: “I did go there when I was a kid, but I can’t place you.”

Guy: “You really don’t remember me?”

Me: “No, sorry!”

Guy: “C’mon, I’m [Guy]!”

I recognize the name. I was friends with his sister when we were all kids. I didn’t really talk to him back then, as he was older than me and kind of annoying.

Me: “Are you [Old Friend]’s brother?”

Guy: “That’s me!”

Me: “Is she here?”

Guy: “Couldn’t make it.”

Me: “Oh, that’s a shame. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other.”

Guy: “Sure has. You’re all grown up now.”

He scoots closer. I move over as far as I can. [Friend #2] approaches on the other side.

Friend #2: “[My Name], we’re ready when you are.”

I shoot her a relieved look.

Me: “Well, [Guy], I gotta run.”

Guy: “I heard you need a ride. I can drive you home if you want.”

Me: “No, thank you. I have a ride.”

I head for the door, but he follows me.

Guy: “Really, it’s no problem. I’d love to talk more! Where do you live? You’re in college now, right?”

Me: “I have a ride, and he’s waiting for me. [Friend #3]! Are we still going to dinner?”

Friend #3: “Obviously! Didn’t we discuss this a few minutes ago?”

Guy: “Of course, a boyfriend!”

Friend #3: “Wait, what?”

Guy: “Ugh, never mind.”

He gives me a death glare, grumbles something about me being a tease, and walks away.

Friend #3: “I was only gone for ten minutes! What did I miss?!”

Friend #2: “Bro, you just saved [My Name] from a creeper.”

Friend #3: “Ah. Next time, text me a warning. I can play it up way more.”

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Language Is Fun!

, , , , , , | Friendly | December 26, 2020

Fact #1: There is a town called Temple in Texas. Fact #2: I have a very Jewish surname but was raised Catholic. I know very little about Judaism and rarely even consider the fact that most people assume I’m Jewish when they meet me.

My wife and I are at a party in Houston and mention to someone that we’ve just moved to Austin.

Acquaintance: “Have you been to temple yet?”

They meant, of course, a synagogue.

Me: “We drove through one time, but we didn’t stop.”

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