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Put That Racist Shovel Away, Lady

, , , , | Friendly | August 26, 2021

It is very common in blocks of flats in Zurich that the flats share laundry facilities. I am a Brit living in Switzerland, living in a flatshare that is very culturally diverse.

It is the morning after I have done the laundry and I am eating breakfast just before heading to work. It’s about eight when the doorbell rings. I think it is the postman, and I am trying to get an answer on the intercom downstairs when there is a knock on the door to the flat.

Standing outside is the crazy lady. Every block of flats will have one of these: too nosy for her own good and very controlling.

Neighbour: “Did you use the washing machine last night?”

Me: “Yes.”

Neighbour: “You left it in a mess! You need to clean up after yourself!”

She rants for a bit and I listen politely.

Me: “I will be more careful in the future.”

This is where it gets interesting.

She then starts going on about how the immigrants in the flat keep making a mess of things, including the “dirty Tamils” (by which she means the lovely Indian family on the floor below). Very uncomfortable at this stage, I try to extricate myself — I do need to leave soon for my train — but she keeps ranting on, and as she is standing in the doorway I can’t just close it. My boyfriend appears at this point wondering why I have been at the door for so long.

At some point, she notices my accent.

Neighbour: “Where are you from?”

Me: “The UK.”

She tries to backpedal.

Neighbour: “Oh, I am not talking about all immigrants, just the ones from outside Europe.”

She then notices my boyfriend.

Neighbour: “And where are you from?”

Boyfriend: “Brazil.”

She then goes on a rant about how dangerous Brazil is and how I must be glad the UK is so safe. My German flatmate pops his head round the door at this point to also ask what is going on. Suddenly, the lady realises she has insinuated that my boyfriend is one of these “bad immigrants” and backtracks further.

Neighbour: “Oh, I didn’t mean all non-European immigrants, just the ones from China.”

With perfect timing, my flatmate’s Chinese girlfriend appeared just as the lady finished her sentence. Looking at all these foreign faces, the lady realised the GIANT hole she had dug for herself. And without another word, she just turned on her heel and walked downstairs. I managed to close the door before everyone there burst out laughing at her stupidity and racism.

The punchline of the whole story? [Neighbour] isn’t even Swiss; she is a German immigrant. Sadly, she didn’t learn her lesson and later posted some quite racist remarks next to the lift. We reported her to the landlord and the police. From what I understand, she is on a warning, and if she pulls a stunt like this again, she will be chucked out for harassment with possible police involvement.

She Should Be Looking Up Time Machines First

, , | Right | August 17, 2021

Forty years ago, long before the Internet or Google, I used to work for international information in Bern, Switzerland. People could use our service to find phone numbers and addresses. We used to have hundreds of phone books from all over the world, and it was often the only way to ever find a phone number in a foreign country.

Caller: “I need a phone number for [Company], an organ builder and Royal purveyors in Munich, Germany.”

This already sounds weird to me since “official royalty” had been abandoned for quite a while in Germany, and of course, her request is nowhere to be found in our phone books. The lady becomes all agitated and insists that it is a “real, existing” address!

Me: “May I ask where you got the company details from?”

Caller: “Well, it’s stuck here on my organ! This company must exist!”

Me: “How old is your organ?”

Caller: *Proudly* “Oh, over two hundred years!”

Me: “Well, ever thought that this builder might be dead by now?”

Caller: “Oh… I haven’t thought of this! Who will repair it now? Just go look in your books and see if he had some children!”

The Magic Travelling Guitar

, , , | Working | August 10, 2021

My boyfriend is moving from Zurich back home to Brazil. As such, he is bringing everything he has bought in Switzerland back home which includes Ricardo, his bass guitar. This is a very valuable item that shouldn’t go into the hold as it will very likely get nicked at some point. It is very common for bass players, as the case is very slim, to ask for the guitar to be put into the crew’s wardrobe for long-haul flights. That way, the crew can keep an eye on it and give it to the right person at the end of the flight.

My boyfriend and I follow advice; we just carry the thing with us through two airports and it’s relatively easy as, due to an injury, I’ve bullied him into a wheelchair to travel through the airport. We get through the first flight with no issue; it’s a quick haul to Germany, the guitar just goes with the buggies, and we get it back no issue. The issue is the flight from Germany to Brazil.

As my boyfriend is on crutches, we get to board first with the elderly and families. We get into the queue carrying this case, which has been in plain sight for at least two hours, so the crew has had plenty of time to come up to us to ask what this is and what we are planning to do with it. Once we get our boarding passes scanned, we are asked to step to the side.

The lady at the boarding gate then starts asking us what this is and keeps reiterating that there is no way this thing will be allowed on the plane, being stern to the point of aggressiveness, and not bending her thinking an inch.

Employee: “This guitar is too big for hand luggage and has to go into the hold. If you wanted to bring it with you, you should have bought an extra seat for it.”

Me: “This is what we were advised to do by another musician, as the case is not, for example, a cello, which is too fat to go anywhere else in the plane that is not the hold, and we don’t want it in the hold due to the risk of theft.”

This argument lasts for about fifteen minutes, which normally wouldn’t be too bad, but remember, my boyfriend is on crutches, and being made to stand around for all this is the last thing he needs. He starts getting pale during this conversation.

In the end, we convince the woman to just ask the crew of the plane, and if they say no, then we will have to risk it going in the hold. Within three seconds of spotting us with the guitar case, a lovely crew member turns to us and asks:

Crew Member: “Oh, do you need to put that in the wardrobe?”

We went through fifteen minutes of argument and aggressiveness from that staff member for a two-second question. I wish gate staff would communicate with the cabin crew sometimes.

Her Demeanor Shatters Like Glass

, , | Right | June 11, 2021

It’s the first day I’m covering a shift on my own at my first job ever in a bakery. I work at a takeaway stall which is outside and right in front of the main entrance of the bakery. Right next to me are also tables for customers, so I get that a lot of people are a bit confused about whether they have to order their food from me or if there is waitstaff for the tables, which there is.

At my stall, I sell ice cream and sandwiches. It’s a hot summer’s day, so a lot of people want ice cream and there’s a long queue. A couple comes up to me and the woman asks for three scoops of ice cream.

Me: “Sure, would you like it in a cup or in a cone?”

Since I’m takeaway, I only carry paper cups.

Customer: “In a glass.”

Me: *A bit unsure* “So, you mean in a cup?”

Customer: “Yes.”

I then fill the cup with three different flavoured scoops of ice cream and start to hand it over to her. That’s when the screaming starts.

Customer: “WHAT IS THIS?!”

Me: *Startled* “Umm, your ice cream?”

Customer: “NO, WHAT IS THIS?! I ordered ice cream in a glass! I have never been treated like this in a restaurant before. Who gives cups made of cardboard? WHAT IS THIS?!”

Her husband looks quite embarrassed. I realise that she wanted to sit at a table and have an ice cream made by the kitchen.

Me: “I’m very sorry I misunderstood you, but since I’m only takeaway, I can’t give you a glass. Would you like to take this one and still sit at a table or order a new one from the waitstaff?”


She then walked off to a nearby table and her husband only had an apologetic look for me before following her. I had to throw away three perfectly fine scoops of ice cream.

Detective Snuffles And The Case Of The Secret Salad

, , , , , | Right | June 11, 2021

My coworker today happens to be a good friend of mine, so we always have a blast when working together. I’m refilling the drinks machine when I overhear this conversation.

Customer: “Do you sell salad?”

Friend: “Yes, we do. We have four different kinds—”

Customer: “No, I don’t want salad. I hate salad. Do you sell sandwiches?”

Friend: “Yes, right here we have a lot of options for you.”

Customer: “But they have salad inside I see, so are you trying to sell me salad?”

He says it in a rather joking tone, not an angry one. I start to chuckle a bit. 

Friend: “Yes, they do have salad inside them, but only one leaf. You can either take it out or I can ask the kitchen to make you a sandwich without salad.” 

Customer: *Still jokingly* “No, I know you want to sell me salad.”

I have to go inside to get some more bottles for the machine, and when I get back outside, the customer is still there. The conversation has obviously been going on for the past several minutes. I proceed to refill the machine, not really listening to the conversation anymore, when I suddenly hear: 

Customer: “You know, I know you’re trying to sell me salad because I’m a secret detective! I’m detective Snuffles!”

I completely lose it and start laughing, trying not to make any noise. Since I’m still behind the customer, he doesn’t see me, but my friend does and has to keep herself together while still talking to the man. 

Friend: “But if you are a secret detective, maybe you shouldn’t tell me that?”

Customer: “Well, I wanted you to know.”

He then walked away happily without buying anything and my friend burst into laughter with me. To this day, I’m still very impressed by how she held herself together during the conversation. I couldn’t have done it. Detective Snuffles really made our day!