A Pitiful Attempt To Be Understanding

, , , , , | Learning | May 14, 2021

I’m a college sophomore. I traveled abroad during the winter break. A couple of days into the new semester, I come down with a rather intense case of chickenpox. I never had it as a kid, so it knocks me out. I am basically stuck in bed with a head that feels like it’s going to explode and blisters everywhere, including inside my mouth and throat.

I call my department and fax them my doctor’s recommendation to stay away from the rest of humanity for a couple of weeks. They tell me not to worry; they will inform all my professors of my absence and I can make up any work as soon as I come back. I am incredibly grateful.

When I come back, I make sure to visit all my professors during office hours so I can catch up. All of them are incredibly gracious and helpful except my linguistics professor, who stands me up during his office hours.

Unable to find him anywhere, I go to his class. To my surprise, there is a test today. I very meekly go up to him and explain my situation.

Me: “I have been sick and absent for the past two weeks and had no idea there was a test. I don’t even know what material is covered on this test. The department assured me I could make up my absences as soon as I came back.”

The professor responds in the most condescending tone you can imagine.

Professor: “Oh, what a pity. Come to my office tomorrow and take the test.”

Me: “Professor, what material is being covered by the test?” 

Professor: “Oh. It’s chapter two and three.”

I go home, frantic, and spend all night devouring chapters two and three. I’m not a linguistics major, so this is not my cup of tea.

The next morning, I have barely slept, but I feel ready to at least pass the test. I walk to my professor’s office confidently. He hands me the test, and I sit down.

When I look at the paper in front of me, I recognize nothing. Absolutely nothing I studied is on this exam. I walk up to the professor.

Me: “Excuse me, sir. Is this the right test? The test you gave yesterday?”

Professor: “Oh, yes!”

Me: “I studied chapters two and three from the book, but they don’t have anything to do with what’s in the test.”

Professor: “Well, what I included in the test was all discussed in class and written on the board.”

Me: “But, sir, I was absent for two weeks due to illness, as I reminded you yesterday.”

He looks at me for a second.

Professor: “Oh, what a pity.”

He turned his glance away from me.

I went back to the desk, did what I could, and turned the test in, completely sure that I had failed. I had.

Knowing that I would probably fail the class, I decided to drop it and concentrate on catching up in the classes I know I could do well in. When I went back to my professor so he could sign the required form to allow me to do just that, he just looked at me and said, “Oh, what a pity,” as he signed.

I did retake the class and got a great grade. Linguistics is still not my cup of tea, but at least the second time around I got a professor that taught me more linguistics than “pity”.

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He Got Smashed And The Camera Followed

, , , | Right | June 1, 2020

I’m working as an assistant manager of sales in the photo department. A guest bought a camera yesterday; it was a water-, dust-, shock-, and freezeproof model, a very nice camera that I also own myself, being in the Caribbean and all.

The guest comes back the following day, as soon as we open the photo gallery. He shows me the camera, which looks like it was dragged behind the car for a few miles. It is badly scratched all over the body, with a broken LCD screen and lens, missing battery cover, etc. It wasn’t dropped; it was SMASHED.

Guest: “I bought this camera yesterday here and it doesn’t work anymore! I want a new one!”

Me: “Sir, let me inspect the camera.”

I go through the camera and see all the above-mentioned damage.

Me: “Sir, what happened? Did you drop the camera from somewhere? Did it fall under the car or something?”

Guest: “No! I just put it in my bag and this is what happened! I want a new one now!

Me: “Sorry, but I can’t accept that. This isn’t a factory damage, nor is it covered by the warranty. The camera is damaged quite extensively and I can’t accept it for replacement.”

Guest: “What?! You have to replace it right now! I paid for a working camera and this one isn’t working anymore!”

Me: “Sir, your camera was fine when we took it out of the box and set it up for you. Somehow, you managed to damage it quite extensively and no, we can’t replace it with a new one. Sorry.”

Guest: “I’ll complain! I’ll get you fired for this!”

Of course, the guest goes to the guest services desk, makes a big drama, and complains to officers. Some ten or fifteen minutes later, I get a call from — surprise, surprise — the hotel director.

Hotel Director: “[My Name], I have a guest here complaining that the camera he bought isn’t working and that you don’t want to replace it. He’s really upset. What’s happening?”

Me: “[Hotel Director], please ask the guest to show you his camera.”

Hotel Director: “Hold on.”

I hear the hotel director lowering the phone and talking with the guest. About a minute later, he picks up the phone again.

Hotel Director: “Hey, [My Name], I see what you mean. It’s all right; I’ll deal with him. Thanks and sorry.”

The guest got a free dinner for two in a specialty restaurant but no new camera. The hotel director and I always shared a good laugh when we talked about it afterward.

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Wibbly Wobbly, Rhymey Wimey

, , , , , | Learning | September 3, 2018

I am discussing poetry with my freshman Honors English class. We’re talking about how great poetry usually comes from deep, strong feelings. A student asks about the “happy poetry” from Doctor Who.

I am baffled.

I try to ask him if he remembers any of it, so he can give me a clue to what he means. He can’t. I ask him which Doctor he refers to.

He just says, “Who!”

A bit frustrated, I once again ask him which one of the Doctors he is referring to, specifying there has been more than one. I’m just trying to zero in on at least the season, so I can maybe Google what he means.

He stares at me for a few seconds. Then he hits his head and almost screams.

“Seuss! I meant Doctor Seuss!”

I have to bite my tongue to not laugh uncontrollably. The rest of the class has no such composure.

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Customers Are Going Gaga

, , , , , | Right | February 18, 2011

(I’m working the cash register. A male customer of about forty comes by and places their order. He proceeds to give me his credit card.)

Me: “May I see some ID, please?”

(He stares at me for a moment then breaks out into song as he hands me the ID.)

Customer: “Can’t read my, can’t read my, no, you can’t read my pooooookeer faaaaaaace!”


This story is part of our Musically Ignorant Customers roundup!

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Low IQ On The High Seas

, , , | Right | February 3, 2010

(A cruise ship passenger approaches me at the purser’s main guest services desk.)

Passenger: “This sure is a big boat. I’ve been lost three times already today. Do you have a map?”

Me: “Yes, sir, here you are. There are also maps and signs posted throughout the ship on the walls, and you can always ask our staff or crew for directions until you get the feel for the layout.”

Passenger: “Oh, you’ve got such a wonderful crew! I don’t ask directions. I don’t want to seem stupid. How many people fit on this boat?”

Me: “We can carry just about 5,000 passengers and have a crew of nearly 2,000 people.”

Passenger: “And do the crew stay on board with us?”


This story is part of our Clueless Tourists roundup!

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