Immeasurable Confusion, Part 2

| Wales, UK | Crazy Requests, Math & Science

(A posh, seemingly well-educated older man comes into our shop. He’d been in several times before and was always very pleasant so I didn’t mind taking some extra time to help him out. He told me he’d broken his ruler and wanted a new one so I took him to the right aisle.)

Me: “What size were you after?”

Customer: *picking up a six inch ruler* “This is it. This is the size of the old one.”

Me: “Okay, no problem.”

Customer: “Only… my old one had metric on one side and imperial on the other.”

Me: *pointing it out to him* “Yes, this one has that too. That side’s centimetres; that’s inches.”

Customer: “No, no. That’s not like my old one.”

Me: “How was yours different?”

Customer: “Well, it was almost exactly like this only the lines on this side matched up with the lines on that side.”

Me: “Sorry, do you mean the first line on the metric side was level with the first line on the imperial side?”

Customer: “Yes, but they matched up all the way along.”

Me: “As in… no, I think I’ve misunderstood you here.”

Customer: “As in the one centimetre line was level with the one inch line, the two centimetre with the two inch line and so on.”

Me: “Ah, I think what you had there was centimetres on one side, millimetres on the other. They’re both metric, ten millimetres to every centimetre so the lines would match up on every centimetre.”

Customer: “No, I assure you; it’s centimetres one side, inches on the other and they match.”

Me: “I don’t see how that could be possible. They’re completely different units of measurement.”

(I point out the difference in size between the two but he’s very confident that he’s right. I start to think maybe I’ve missed something.)

Customer: “I’ve been using that ruler for years and I can absolutely assure you that it’s what I just described.”

Me: “Erm… the ruler wasn’t curved or something was it? Like a protractor?”

Customer: “No, no, no. I tell you what, I’ll buy this one now and I’ll send you the old one through the post so you can have a look at it and see what I mean.”

Me: *quite curious now* “Okay, I’d quite like to see this.”

(I make the sale and true to his word, a few days later an envelope arrives with a friendly note, suggesting that perhaps it’s an old fashioned style of ruler which is why I’ve never seen it before as he’d been using it in his office for many years. I take the broken ruler out of the envelope and discover that it’s metric both sides. I show my colleague and she tells me he’s been in charge of a large estate for years which by now he may well have turned into a tiny model village due to a miscalculation of scale.)

Immeasurable Confusion

A Stickler For Stickers

| London, UK | Money

(We are having a summer sale, and I am busy stickering a bunch of notebooks which are 50% off. Note: these stickers are merely to alert the customers of the discount; the items are automatically discounted when scanned at the till).

Customer: *picks up notebook* “Is this half off, too?”

Me: “Of course. All of these notebooks are.”

Customer: “What about these two?”

Me: “Yup, all of them!”

Customer: “Could you put a sticker on this one, then?”

Me: “It’s okay; it doesn’t need one. All our items are automatically reduced at the till. Is there anything else you need?”

Customer: *agitated* “Yeah, I want a sticker on this d*** notebook!”

Me: “Honestly, it’s an automatic system and it doesn’t need one.”

(The customer just stands there. I eventually lean over and place a sticker on the notebook. The customer’s attitude immediately improves.)

Customer: “Thank you very much!”