, , , , | Right | February 3, 2021

I work part-time in a copy shop in a small shopping centre, and we frequently get some “interesting” customers. This one in particular sticks out in my mind, though the whole thing happened to my coworker.

An older man comes in, asking for twenty-five copies of a document he brought with him. He seems a bit strange, ranting to himself about something or other under his breath, but he gets his copies and leaves without complaint. Before leaving, however, he gives my coworker one of the copies he’s just purchased.

A few minutes later, an employee of the store across from ours comes over, laughing to herself, asking us if the man had his copies made in our shop. Apparently, he has been handing out these sheets of paper to everyone in the building.

Now curious, my coworker and I decide to read the man’s paper. I don’t recall exactly what he has written, but it is a two-page, near-incoherent rant about the government, society, and people who refuse to take him seriously. Somewhere in there, there is the sentence, “I have fallen on deaf ears with my friends, and so, now, I turn to my enemies,” and a declaration that he is planning to form a new political party.

We have a good laugh about this man’s paranoid rants, but the best part is when he returns about ten minutes later.

Customer: “Excuse me, I have a complaint!”

Coworker: “What seems to be the problem?”

He hands my coworker one of the copies he had made.

Customer: “You made a mistake with these copies! See here!

He points out a sentence in the first paragraph.

Customer: “There’s a spelling mistake here! You made a typo with my copies!”

Coworker: *After a short moment of shocked silence* “Sir, first of all, I copied a sheet of paper you gave me; there was no way I could have made a typo. Secondly, this sheet is handwritten.”

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Putting Up Posters Here Is Contraindicated

, , , , , | Working | February 1, 2021

For those who don’t know, contra dancing is a social folk dance for couples. It started in New England and has spread over the US in the past few decades.

In 1987, a group of us were trying to establish a contra dance club in a large sunbelt city. We needed to advertise and a local natural food store in town looked like an obvious choice. It had a bulletin board for community announcements and we put a flyer up.

The flyer disappeared within a few hours. We assumed someone had taken it for information; encouraged, we placed another one there. This, too, vanished quickly. Rinse and repeat: four flyers went up and were immediately removed.

Finally, we realized that the store itself must be taking them down, so we asked the manager why our flyers were not welcome.

Manager: “We don’t support the Contras!”

The Iran-Contra affair was a secret US arms deal that took place during Ronald Reagan’s presidency where they traded missiles and such to free American hostages in Lebanon. The US also used funds from this deal to support armed conflict in Nicaragua, where anti-communist Contras were fighting with the communist Sandinista government.

Obviously, it had nothing to do with our dance club!

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That Falls Under A Different Umbrella (Corporation)

, , , , , | Friendly | October 28, 2020

Two of my friends are talking about cinema. I don’t know much about cinema.

Friend #1: “Personally, I didn’t like Resident Evil: Extinction.

Me: “They made a film about an ecological movement?”

Friend #1: “What?”

Me: “But you weren’t talking about that? The thing with extinction.”

Friend #2: “Uh, were you thinking about the ‘extinction rebellion’ movement? The environmental movement that advocates civil disobedience?”

Me: “Oops, yes. I confused the two.”

Friend #1: “Oh, no, now I want to see this movement against zombies!”

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What Happens In Canada Stays In Canada

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | October 27, 2020

This happens a few years ago, before the US lifts its embargo on Cuba. My roommate has an American cousin who’s come up to Canada for the weekend. One of my other roommates is a bartender and has mixed up some drinks for us while we’re hanging out.

American Cousin: “Wow, that’s really good! What’s in it?”

[Bartender Roommate] reels off a list of ingredients, including rum.

American Cousin: “What kind of rum?”

Bartender Roommate: “Ah, my very favourite, [Brand].”

American Cousin: “Never heard of it. Is it Dominican?”

Bartender Roommate: “No, it’s Cuban.”

American Cousin: “Dude! You’ve got a hookup for Cuban rum?!”

[Bartender Roommate] laughs because she thinks he’s joking.

Bartender Roommate: “Yeah, my super-secret connection, the [Provincial Government-Run Liquor Store].”

American Cousin: “No way! Can I get in on this?”

I cut in because I can see he’s actually serious.

Me: “You can pick it up at most liquor stores here.”

American Cousin: *With a wink* “Sure, sure. So, you’ll hook me up, yeah?”

No matter how hard we tried to persuade him that it was completely legal to buy Cuban products in Canada, he kept thinking we were pulling his leg because “Cuban stuff is illegal.” Even taking him to multiple obviously legitimate liquor stores and a specialty tobacconist didn’t convince him. However, he seemed happy to go home with two or three bottles of rum and some cigars, so all’s well, I suppose.

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And We Let These People Vote…

, , , | Right | October 13, 2020

I work in a town department that handles elections. Due to the current global health situation, our offices have been closed to the public. Our dropbox has been getting a lot more use lately. A customer calls one day nearing an election.

Me: “[Department], can I help you?”

Customer: “I still didn’t get my ballot!”

Me: “Okay, I can look that up for you. What is your name and address?”

The customer answers and I look up his information.

Me: “Hmm… Okay, we don’t seem to have an application on file. Did you apply for a ballot to get mailed to you?”

Customer: “Of course I did! That’s why I’m calling!”

I check the computer again. I check the folder with completed vote-by-mail applications, the folder with uncompleted vote-by-mail applications — anywhere I can think of.

Me: “Okay, well, I don’t see anything here. The deadline to request a ballot was two days ago. Unfortunately, if I don’t have an application, I can’t send you a ballot. We still have early voting in person on [list of dates and times], or you could come on election day from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm.”

Customer: “I don’t want to vote in person! That’s why I applied to vote by mail! I put the application in the dropbox!”

Me: “I’m sorry. I don’t know what happened to it. We check the box multiple times a day, and I don’t have your application here.”

Customer: “Well, that’s a bit surprising, wouldn’t you think? I dropped it off in person, and you don’t have it? Who’s to say if I drop it off again you won’t just throw it away?”

Me: “I assure you, we do not throw applications away. If we got it, we would have processed it the day we received it.”

Customer: “Fine. I guess I’ll fill it out again. You better not lose it this time! I want to vote in the next election by mail, too!”

Me: “Okay. The deadline for those applications is [date and time].”

Customer: “I’M DOING IT NOW!” *click*

I don’t think anything of it. Cut to a week and a half later. I’m processing vote-by-mail applications and voter registrations that came in the mail and through the dropbox. I notice the name on one of the voter registrations sounds familiar. I go to register the voter and find out he is already registered. Everything on the form is the same as what’s in the computer. No biggie. Sometimes people forget they are already registered or want to double-check. I mark it as a duplicate and put it in the folder for completed voter registrations.

About ten minutes later, my mind comes back to that name. I take out the folder for completed voter registrations, start flipping through, and find his registration not once, but twice, the earlier date being around the time that he called before. I give him a call.

Customer: “Hello?”

Me: “Hi, is this [Customer]?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “Hi, this is [My Name] with the [Town] [Department]. I think we spoke not too long ago about a vote-by-mail application?”

Customer: “Yeah! You lost it! Did you lose my other one, too?”

Me: “No, but I found the problem. You keep filling out voter registrations. These forms ensure you are a voter in town. You need to fill out a vote-by-mail application.”

Customer: “I filled out the form twice! I want you to mail me my ballot!”

Me: “Right, but you are filling out the wrong form. You are filling out the application that registers you as a voter. You need to fill out the application that requests a ballot be mailed to you.”

Customer: “I did that already! Twice!”

Me: “I have the forms here, and they are not the correct ones.”

Customer: “Fine! Send it to me!”

I want to get off the phone quickly.

Me: “Okay, I’ll do that.”

Customer: “YOU’D BETTER NOT LOSE THIS ONE!” *click*

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