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Giving You A (Prison) Break

, , , , , | Right | January 8, 2015

Customer #1: “Thank God, this line is taking forever.”

(There is no line at all, although the tables are mostly occupied.)

Me: “Sorry about the wait, sir. May I take your order?”

(The customer proceeds to rattle off a long, confusing, and often contradictory order, including such things as a meatless ham sandwich.)

Me: “Sir, I’m a little confused by your order. Do you mean—”

Customer #1: “—oh, for God’s sake, I have to repeat myself now? Weren’t you paying attention the first time?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I don’t want to get anything wrong. You made a big order, and—”

Customer #1: *sighs* “I’ll repeat myself, but just this once. I hate dealing with lazy ignorant dropouts like you.”

(He repeats his order, but I understand it even less because I am trying not to cry. He finishes speaking and snaps his fingers at me.)

Customer #1: “Hello?! Punch it in, you dumb b****. I haven’t got all day, and—”

(Suddenly one of the other customers; a strongly-built man who has been quietly sitting at a nearby table, roars and leaps to his feet, flipping the table and spilling his coffee in the process.)

Customer #2: “GOD-D*** IT! ONE DAY OUT OF PRISON, AND ALREADY I HAVE TO MURDER AN IDIOT IN A COFFEE STORE!”

(The rude customer shrieks and flees from the store. I and the remaining customers stare at the man, who quietly picks up the table and comes over to the counter.)

Customer #2: “I’ll pay for any damage. If you could show me where the mops are, I’ll take care of the mess, too.”

Me: “I-I-I, um…”

Customer #2: “Don’t worry about it, sweetheart. There’s always gonna be an a** like that around.”

Me: “Uh, you, um…”

Customer #2: “Oh, the prison thing?” *laughs* “Never been in jail in my life. So, anyway, where’s that mop?”

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Shocking Mis-Apple-ications of History

, , , , , , | Related | March 12, 2013

(My sister and brother and I are doing homework together. My brother has been trying unsuccessfully for quite a while to remember who discovered gravity, with my sister and I refusing to help because his guesses have been so far from the target. It’s been a very long day, and we are all kind of out of it.)

Sister: “So, today we planned in history for a colonial town meeting simulation thing, and I got cast as John Adams!

Brother: “Oh, that’s who it is! John Adams discovered gravity!”

(My sister and I crack up.)

Sister: *not joking and completely serious* “No, of course it wasn’t John Adams, you dolt! Everyone knows it was Charles Darwin!”

Me: “Both of you are so off. It was Thomas Isaac— I mean Isaac Newton!”

Brother: “Thanks. But hey, at least I got their names right!”

Me: “Sorry, I was thinking about Thomas Edison at the same time.”

Sister: “You thought Thomas Edison discovered gravity?! Yeah, sure, he was out there flying his kite in the lightning storm and just thought of gravity.”

Me: *facepalm* “That was Benjamin Franklin who flew the kite.”

Brother: *deadpan, completely serious* “It doesn’t matter… they’re all presidents anyway!”


This story is part of our Presidents Day roundup!

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Suited To The Role

, , , , , , , , | Right | February 18, 2013

(I work the floor at an independently-owned menswear store. The owner, my boss, spends a lot of time at the shop, and tries to keep prices as low as possible to help our city’s large homeless population get good job interview clothes. A clearly homeless man is wandering around the store. The other patrons are giving him looks.)

Customer: “Excuse me, sir?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am?”

Customer: “I think you may want to call security. That… bum over there, he keeps feeling the suits and muttering to himself. I’m just sure he’s planning to steal one.”

Me: “Well, ma’am, I think that’s quite unlikely.”

Customer: “Oh, come on, you know how they are! I mean, I’d keep an eye on him even if he wasn’t homeless!”

(The homeless man in question happens to be Hispanic.)

Me: “We don’t discriminate here, ma’am.”

Customer: “Well, I’m sure the owner would want to hear about this!”

(I give in and call him over. The customer explains her concerns. As a black man, my boss isn’t happy with her racism, but agrees to talk to the homeless man.)

Owner: “Excuse me, sir, are you finding what you need?”

Homeless Man: “Well, not really. I’m hoping for something versatile in a dark or navy wool, but most of the options in my size are cut American style instead of European, which fits me a little better. Not to mention they’re all pinstriped, which I really don’t have the build for, you know?”

Owner: “I… yes, I understand. I think we may have some options over here, if you’ll follow me. How did you know all that?”

Homeless Man: “Back before I lost my job, I used to be really into this stuff. I’m not looking for anything fancy, just something I can use to look good for a job interview later today.”

(My boss helps him find something he likes, and comes to the counter with him. The suit is priced at $87.)

Homeless Man: *digging in his pockets* “Hang on, I think I’ve got enough.”

Owner: *to me* “Take my card. I’m buying it for him.” *to the homeless man* “Here. The suit’s yours, on one condition. After your interview today, you come back and apply for a job here, too. Got it?”

Homeless Man: “I… oh, my God, thank you. Thank you so much.”

(Two years later, that formerly-homeless man is my manager, and has a little girl with his new wife — the owner’s sister.)

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The Deaf-initive Guide To Parenting

, , , , | Right | May 24, 2011

(I work at the disability services office at a major university. We have an open house event.)

Parent: “What sorts of services you offer for students with hearing impairments?”

Me: “Oh, lots. We have real-time captioners–”

Parent: “Oh, like on TV.”

Me: “Yeah, sort of. The captioner attends the class and types the captions in real-time.”

Parent: “Oh, cool. Well, my son’s hearing impairment is pretty mild, so I doubt he’ll need any of that. But I told him it’ll be important to hook up with your office because of extra funding and stuff. These days it’s all about the money, baby.”

Me: “Yeah, it’s true. There’s a certain amount of money available for students with disabilities. It can’t hurt to have him come see us. Feel free to have him email or call, and we’ll set him up with an appointment.”

Parent: “Oh, he won’t be needing that for a while. He’s only five. I’m just trying to get a jump on things.”


This story is part of the College-Admission-Fails roundup!

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Blind-siding Stereotypes

, , , , , | Right | May 23, 2011

(I work at a start-up company in a very small office space that used to be a window shades store. We occasionally get people knocking on the door looking for the old business. A gentleman knocks on the door and I talk to him.)

Me: “Hi, how can I help you?”

Customer: “I bought these blinds, and they don’t fit my window.”

Me: “Oh, you’re at the wrong place. That was the last tenant. This isn’t a shade store anymore.”

Customer: “Oh, but in the phone book this is listed.”

Me: “I know. He hasn’t updated it. We’re not a shade shop. I hope you get help with your problem.”

Customer: “Well, you might be able to help. You’re a woman. Women put up blinds a lot.”

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