Swan Lake It Isn’t…

, , , , , | Friendly | September 24, 2018

(I am fifteen. A friend’s dad gets free tickets to a ballet, and offers them to my friend and me. It is a production about Merlin, so we decide to dress up and go. We get handed programs, sit down, read them, and wait for the show to start. It starts with dancing and leaping and so many other amazing moves that I cannot begin to do justice to with words. According to that part of the program, the story goes that a beautiful woman comes to a clearing and dances with glee, then is accosted by a demon, is chased, and becomes pregnant with Merlin. We get to a point where Merlin’s mother is lying on the ground, while the demon keeps walking back and forth above her. I’m wondering if this is some kind of metaphorical thing, because he is stepping over her body the whole time, and lean over to my friend and whisper to ask her opinion.)

Me: “Do you think he’s already—”

(Right as I say this, the “demon” gets down on all fours, lies on top of her, and arches his back.)

Me: *pause* “Never mind.”

Stalls To The Walls Uncomfortable

, , , | Friendly | September 16, 2018

(I am working at a theater, which at one point was a different theater. Due to the owner refusing to put any money into the theater for twenty years, it closed down as soon as it was no longer the only theater in the town. Among other problems, there were recurring issues with the plumbing in the women’s restroom. It is now the grand opening of the current theater. The women’s bathroom has been redone, with new toilets, tiling, etc. We have over 300 people at the opening party, and while we have tested all of the women’s toilets, we have not tested them to that level of use. The ones on one side of the restroom, all sharing one pipe, are fine. The ones on the other side, sharing a different pipe, begin overflowing. ALL of them. In addition, water begins to come up through the drain in the floor. We end up calling an emergency plumber, and I spend an hour and a half mopping dirty water off of the floor before the plumber gets there, so that it doesn’t soak into the floor tiles and cause issues later. Because we are a small theater, we only have the one set of bathrooms. We end up rotating who is allowed into the men’s restroom, two guys and then two girls. This causes some minor grumbling, but for the most part people are very understanding… except for this guy:)

Upset Guy: “I just don’t understand why they can’t send the girls into the stalls and let us use the urinals!”

Coworker: “Some women are uncomfortable with that.”

Upset Guy: “That’s ridiculous! Why would they be so uncomfortable with that? They’re in the stalls; we’re at the walls! That should be fine! Come on, [Friend]! Tell them I’m right!”

Friend: *quietly but firmly* “If it was my daughter, I’d be uncomfortable with it, too.”

(The guy spluttered and protested a bit more, before either getting his turn, or giving up — I was still in the ladies’ room, so I didn’t see which. It made a night of mopping dirty bathroom water a little less monotonous, I guess, but I would rather have not had to listen to that guy.)

Reconstruction Of Your Sanity

, , , | Right | September 13, 2018

(We’re having some minor construction done in the box office, so the ticketing area is moved into the lobby. We have signs on every door stating, “THE BOX OFFICE IS TEMPORARILY IN THE LOBBY. DUE TO CONSTRUCTION, THE THEATRE IS CLOSED. THANK YOU.” But this keeps happening.)

Customer #1: “Oh, hi! Can we look in the theatre?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we can’t currently give any tours due to the construction.”

Customer #2: “Can I walk around the lobby?”

Me: “Sure thing! I only ask that you not go past these doors.”

Customer #1: “If people can’t go into the theatre, why are you still open?”

Me: “We’re still selling tickets for the upcoming events. The box office is always open during business hours; they just moved me over so customers wouldn’t have to walk through a construction zone to buy tickets.”

Customer #2: *stands right at the doors and leans as far out as she can* “Can I just peek in real quick?”

Me: “I’m sorry, with the construction–“

Customer #2: “I don’t see anyone. I’ll just run through real fast.”

Me: “Ma’am, I can’t allow that. It’s not safe right now. Would you like to buy any–“

Customer #1: “There’s a bathroom through here, right?” *begins to walk through the door*

Me: “Actually, there’s one right here, just past the bar.”

Customer #2: “I’ve always wanted to see this theatre, and we’re just visiting the city. I’ll be quick–“

Customer #1: “No harm, right?”

Me: “I can’t allow that. Now, please, is there anything I can help you with?”

(They leave eventually, and my manager comes back to find me banging my head on my temporary desk.)

Manager: “Again?”

Me: “Apparently being able to see me from the street means, ‘just walk right on in and wander around.’”

Manager: “You’d think the signs–“

New Customer: “Hi! Can I go into the theatre?”

Manager: “Sorry, we have construction going on right now–“

New Customer: “I’ll be quick!”

(I really hope the construction is over soon. I’m starting to dent my desk.)

An Orchestra Of Confusion

, , , , , | Right | August 9, 2018

(Our theatre has one auditorium, [Hall], with two levels: orchestra and balcony. When taking tickets, I routinely have these conversations with patrons:)

Me: “Okay, you’re upstairs in the balcony, nearest—”


Me: *politely* “Yes, the balcony section of [Hall].”

Patron: *snatches ticket back and storms up the stairs*

(Another example:)

Patron: *rushing up in a panic* “The sign says ‘orchestra’ above the door to the theatre! We don’t want to watch the orchestra; we want to see the play! We paid to see the play!”

Me: *politely* “Yes, you will be able to see the play. Your seats are simply on the first level of the auditorium.”

Patron: “Oh. But if the orchestra blocks our view, can we get a refund?”

Me: *picking my battles* “This play doesn’t have an orchestra. I’m sure you’ll be fine, but please let the staff know if there are any problems.”

(Another example: seeing, “ORCH,” short for “orchestra,” on their ticket, a patron asks, completely serious:)

Patron: “Does ‘orch’ mean there’s an orchard in there?”

This Transaction Took 48 Hours

, , , | Right | August 8, 2018

(I work at a box office where we usually accept reservations over the phone. I frequently get scolded for how quickly I talk and have to apply extra effort to keep my voice at a normal human speed. Some customers are understanding and just tease me for it; others seem to think I’m doing it on purpose and get prickly. This is one such person.)

Me: “So, if you give us 48 hours advance notice prior to the show date, we can move your seats to a different night or give you a six-month credit.”

Customer: “I’m sorry; I’m not understanding you. Forty-eight hours, then what?”

Me: *repeats myself*

Customer: “I still can’t understand you. Forty-eight hours, then what?

Me: *repeats myself more slowly*

Customer: “I can’t hear a word you’re saying. I caught, ‘48 hours,’ and, ‘different date,’ but that was it.”

Me: *repeats myself a third time, taking care to enunciate each word clearly*

Customer:There we go! Now I can understand you. Okay, here’s my credit card number, and we’ll see if you can understand me when I talk that fast.”

(The customer then proceeds to rattle off his 16-digit credit card number at the speed of light and seems quite satisfied with himself. Our system is programmed to automatically detect if we haven’t entered correct numbers, or if we’ve put in the wrong amount, as per the credit card company’s algorithms. I am extremely chuffed when the system provides no such error message.)

Customer: “There! Did you get all that?”

Me: *cheerily* “Yep! And the expiry date?”

Customer: “You got all those numbers?”

Me: “Yep!”

Customer: “Oh. Um…” *gives the rest of his information*

Me: “Perfect! So, we charged [amount] onto your credit card and, as I said before, it’s non-refundable, but so long as you give us forty-eight hours advance notice prior to the show date, we can move you to a different night of the show or give you a six-month credit.”

Customer: “Okay, now, you want to read all those numbers back to me so I can make sure they’re right?”

Me: “Oh, it already processed and the system approved it, so it looks like all the information was correct!”

Customer: “Oh. So, you understood me even when I was talking that fast?”

Me: “Yep, I understood you just fine!”

Customer: “Oh.”

Me: “Will there be anything else, sir?”

Customer: “No, that’s okay. Thank you.” *click*

(I don’t mind when people ask me to speak more slowly when they have trouble hearing, but there’s no need to be rude. I’m not doing this on purpose; it’s just how I talk!)

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