Admitting Defeat Was An Easy Thing Touché

, , , , , , | Right | November 29, 2012

(The owner of the bookstore where I work is very old and walks with a cane. Despite this, he always wanders the shelves and helps out patrons. Behind the counter, in a glass case, he keeps an assortment of trophies and medals he won in his youth. One night, someone decides to try to steal them.)

Owner: “I’m sorry, but you can’t be behind the counter.”

Robber: *smashing the glass* “F*** you, old man! Just stay away and don’t do anything stupid!”

(The robber sweeps the medals into his backpack and then tries to open the till.)

Owner: “Stop that, young man! You’re making a terrible mistake!”

Robber: *waves a large knife* “Yeah, well so are you! Back off! How do you open this f***ing thing?””

Owner: “Take a look at all those medals.”

Robber: “What? Just open the f***ing cash register!”

Owner: *very calmly* “Just take a look.”

Robber: *confused* “Uh, okay. Yeah, they’re gold. That’s why I took them, you a**hole. Gold fencing, gold fencing, silver fencing…”

(The owner gracefully draws the sword from his sword-cane.)

Robber: “Oh, please! Try that stuff in a real fight and you’ll just get kill—”

(With a flick of his weapon, the owner removes the robber’s glasses.)

Robber: *drops the knife* “Don’t hurt me!” *drops to his knees*

(I had called the police as soon as the knife came out. They arrive and identify the robber as a serial burglar who had stabbed a previous victim. Years later, at the owner’s retirement party, he recounts the story.)

Owner: “You know, hearing that story makes me think of two things. One, I wish a fencing judge had been there so I could have gotten the gold for that bout, and two, I missed the only time in my life when I could have asked someone if they called that a knife.”

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The Cake Is A Lie, Part 5

, , , , | Right | November 22, 2012

(My aunt and uncle own a small bakery, specializing in artisan breads, muffins, and bagels. They have never sold cakes, cupcakes, or doughnuts. They also bought this shop in 1989, and have owned it ever since. It is a busy week for them, as one of their bakers is out sick. I am filling in and helping them out while their baker is recovering. A customer walks in whom I have never seen before. She is carrying an arm load of wedding planning brochures and folders, and is speaking to me between text messages she is sending on her phone.)

Me: “Hi, welcome to [Bakery]! How can I help you today?”

Customer: “Yes, I need to place an order for a wedding cake. My daughter is getting married next week!” *she beams with pride*

Me: “Well, congratulations to your daughter! That’s wonderful news, but I’m afraid we don’t sell cakes. We do offer various types of bread, muffins, and bagels, however.”

Customer: “Good. I want it to be a three-tiered cake. On the top tier, I want carrot cake. The second tier should be dark chocolate. The bottom tier should be lemon. All of that with cream cheese icing. Doesn’t that sounds wonderful?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, it does. However, as I just said, we don’t sell cakes here. We only sell bread, muffins, and bagels.”

Customer: “Oh, and on the top tier, could you make sure the carrot cake has no raisins? My darling hates raisins!”

Me: “Again, ma’am, we don’t sell nor bake cakes here.”

Customer: “What kind of special designs can you put in the icing? Her colors are black and pink, and I would like the cake to have a very modern, contemporary look.”

Me: “Ma’am, we don’t sell cakes. I’m sure that a wedding cake specialist could make you what you want, but we can’t do that here. I do have the name of a great wedding cake designer that we refer customers to quite often, and you are free to make an appointment with her to discuss your daughter’s cake.”

(The customer is not paying attention; she doesn’t even look up from her latest text message.)

Customer: “Uh huh? Good.”

Me: “Ma’am, we don’t sell cake.”

Customer: *again, not looking up* “Okay, so the wedding is next week, Saturday. The wedding starts at 5:00, the reception at 7:00 at [Local Hotel ballroom]. I’ll need it delivered to the hotel no earlier than 6:00, and no later than 6:30.”

Me: “Ma’am, like I said, we don’t sell wedding cakes! I have the name of someone you can call, but with just over a week until the wedding I’m not sure she, or anyone, would have time to prepare what it is you are asking.”

Customer: “Oh, and just put it on my house account with you and send me a bill.”

Me: “Ma’am, we don’t do billing, and haven’t in the entire time I’ve been in this shop. Plus, we don’t sell wedding cakes!”

Customer: *suddenly looking up* “What do you mean, you don’t do billing?! I’ve been a loyal customer of this bakery for more than 20 years! I have never been told I couldn’t have a bill sent to my house! I am good friends with [Former Owner], I’ll have you know!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sure you and [Former Owner] are good friends. However, they sold this bakery to the current owners in 1989. She has not owned, nor been affiliated with, this bakery in 23 years.”

Customer: *goes back to her phone as a new text message comes in* “Yes, I thought you’d see things my way! Now, I have to run. Bill me; my name should be in your system!”

(As I try to protest and get her attention, she sweeps out the door while answering an incoming phone call. Since I did not know her name, or any way to reach her, I simply write off the experience as an oddity and continue about my day. I leave a note for my uncle, who is opening the next day, but he apparently doesn’t share the note about the customer with my aunt. The next week, on Friday afternoon, I get a frantic phone call from my aunt. She is upset and asking something about me taking an order for a wedding cake, and begging me to come down to the bakery to help her figure out what is going on. As I enter the bakery, the woman from earlier is back, having come in to check on the status of the cake order, and my heart sinks.)

Customer: *pointing to me* “Him! He is the one who took my order, guaranteed that it would be ready, and promised to bill me for it! Why would you hire such a worthless piece of trash?!”

Aunt: “Miss, that is my nephew. Please do not call him names.”

Customer: “Oh, I’ll call him whatever I want to call him! He screwed up and deserves to be held accountable here!”

Aunt: “Miss, as I already told you, we have never sold wedding cakes. I don’t know what you are talking about!” *then, to me* “Did you promise her a wedding cake, to be delivered tomorrow to [Local Hotel ballroom]?”

Me: “No, I didn’t. In fact, that is opposite of what I told her. I told her, several times, that we do not sell wedding cakes, and never have. I tried to give her [Wedding Cake Designer]’s name, but she didn’t listen to me.”

Customer: “Like h*** you did! You promised me a cake for my daughter’s wedding! Her wedding is tomorrow and I demand you make sure her cake is there!”

Me: “There is nothing we can do. I told you, several times, that all we sell are breads, muffins, and bagels. We don’t sell cakes. We don’t deliver. And we don’t bill people. I’m sorry if you didn’t understand that earlier. I’d be happy to offer you a couple loaves of bread if it would help smooth things over here. But, I’m sorry; there is nothing I can do about a wedding cake.”

Customer: “I don’t want your disgusting breads! I want the cake you promised me!”

(She starts swearing up a storm and threatening me bodily harm.)

Aunt: “That’s it! Ma’am, my nephew explained to you when you first came in that we don’t sell cake. He offered to put you in contact with a wedding cake designer. You didn’t listen to him, so this mistake is all yours. Now you are threatening him. Please leave, before I call the police.”

Customer: “You haven’t heard the last of this! You will all be sorry for what you have done here!”

(Sure enough, she stayed true to her promise. Over the next six months we heard from her four different attorneys she hired, her daughter, and her new son-in-law. Each time we explained to a family member what had happened, and they apologized profusely for her behavior once they realized what kind of bakery we were. Each attorney we sat down with who represented her apologized for wasting our time, and then dropped her case. Two of those attorneys are now regular customers of the bakery and love the breads!)

 

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Foot In Mouth 101

, , , | Virginia, USA | Learning | November 16, 2012

(Note: I am a criminal justice major at a college in rural Virginia. The head of our department is notoriously sexist and racist but nothing has even been done about various claims filed against him. I see him walking by with a family, giving a tour.)

Department Head: “Oh, and as you can see, we also promote diversity on our campus by giving scholarships to a few less privileged students. Most of them, like these ladies, are in the nursing program because it’s fairly easy and there is a thriving work force.”

(He gestures at two female African-American students. Both are wearing business attire. One of the women, obviously having overheard him, calmly walks over.)

Female Student: “Hello, [Head of Department], I see you are leading a tour around campus. My name is Jessica [Last Name of Major University Benefactor], granddaughter of [Major University Benefactor]. I am a criminal justice major and have been in your classes the past two terms. I used to think you ignored me because the classes were so large and I am still only in my second year, but now I realize you are a racist, sexist chauvinist. I wish you the best of luck in your future job because once I speak with [Major University Benefactor], you will be needing a new one.”

(She then walked away with her friend. Sure enough, the next term we had a new department head — a former US Congresswoman!)

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Blowing Things Out (And Up) Of Proportion

, , , , , | CA, USA | Right | September 13, 2012

(When I was in 7th grade, I volunteered at a local library. My main job was to gather books for pull lists. One day when I’m checking in some books and filling out sending forms, a man and his daughter walk up to my computer. Note: the scanner I am using beeps every time I scan a book.)

Daughter: “Why is it making that beeping sound, Daddy?”

Father: “I don’t know. Maybe she’s checking them in.”

Daughter: “Really?”

Father: “No. I think she’s going to steal them.”

(I look up, confused, and I’m about to interject when the father walks over to the head librarian’s door.)

Me: “Um, sir?”

Father: “Quiet, thief!” *knocks on the librarian’s door*

Head Librarian: “What seems to be the problem, sir?”

Father: “That girl over there, who is clearly not authorized to run those machines, was stealing your books!”

Me: “I was checking them out to put them into the send boxes.”

Father: “No! I clearly saw you stuff books into your pockets!”

Coworker: “Sir, she doesn’t have any pockets.”

Father: “I meant down her shirt!”

(Note: I am wearing a tight fitting shirt. If so much as a piece of paper had been under my shirt, it would have been very visible. Needless to say, there are clearly no books under my shirt.)

Father: “Fine! If you don’t believe me, I’m calling the cops!”

Head Librarian: “Sir, she was not stealing books! Please do not call the police!”

(The father ignores the head librarian and proceeds to dial the police anyway. The operator on the other end of the phone is speaking loud enough for us to hear.)

Father: “Excuse me, I’d like to report a girl stealing books at the [Library].”

Operator: “Sir, are you a member of the library staff?”

Father: “No, but I saw it happen!”

Operator: “Well, I’m sorry, sir, but—”

Father: “…and she planted a bomb!”

Me: “What?!”

Operator: *sighs audibly* “Right. We’ll send a bomb squad…”

(Five minutes later, there is indeed a bomb squad outside the library doors. They end up having to clear out the library, search me, and go through the entire library with bomb-dogs.)

Daughter: *to her father* “How come you said she planted a bomb? She didn’t!”

(When the police heard that, they arrested the father. I got a week off.)

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Some Days Start Off With A Bang

, , , | Right | September 3, 2012

(A man walks into our police department and approaches the dispatch counter.)

Me: “Hello, how can I help you?”

Man: “I was just at a yard sale and brought a nice wood trunk, but when I got it home I looked inside and it was full of dynamite. It looks old and unstable.”

Me: “And where is it now?”

Man: “It’s in the back of my truck.”

Me: “Okay, and where is your truck?”

Man: “Outside in your parking lot!”

(And that was how our police department ended up getting evacuated for three hours. He parked, of all places, next to the supervisor’s brand new personal truck. Thankfully, it was found to be dummy training dynamite!)

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