Dead Bird-Brained

| VA, USA | Right | May 6, 2016

(I work at an all species vet clinic. The receptionist pages back, in a worried tone, for a tech to come up to discuss issues with bird food with a client.)

Me: “I understand you have some questions about bird food?”

Client: “Yes! I keep this bag of chicken scratch in my barn and there’s a dead bird in it!”

Me: “Oh, my. That certainly isn’t right! I see the bag has a label from—”

Client: “Who put it there?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Client: “Who put it there? Who’s trying to poison my chickens?”

Me: “I’m sure no one’s trying to poison your chickens, sir. It’s possible a bird flew in—”

Client: “You sell tainted food to get chickens sick. That’s how you make money!”

Me: “Sir, I can assure you we would not risk an animal’s health to make money. I see the bag is from [Farming Supply Company]; we do not even sell that food. It may be a quality control issue on their end, so I would definitely contact the company to report it. Their number is right here on the bag. I would not use this bag to feed your chickens.”

Client: “So, you didn’t put the sea bird there?”

Me: “No.”

Client: “Okay, have a nice day.”

Need Some Ma’am Malm

| MD, USA | Right | April 30, 2016

(I’m a technician, going over discharge instructions for a dog with an eye injury. I have a reputation for getting more and more polite the more difficult or foolish the clients become.)

Me: “So you’ll need to put these drops in his eye three times a day for the next two weeks, and make sure he wears his E-collar.”

Client: “Will it make him not want to eat?”

Me: “You can take the collar off while he’s eating, but put it right back on afterwards and don’t let him scratch the eye.”

Client: “No, the drops. Will they make him sick to his stomach?”

Me: “No, ma’am. They don’t cause nausea.”

Client: “Do they taste bad? Can I mix them with peanut butter? That’s what I do for his other pills.”

Me: “NO! Ma’am, these are EYE drops. He shouldn’t eat them. They go in his eye. It’s a topical medication.”

Client: “Ohhh. Do I put them in both eyes or just the squinty one?”

Me: “Just the squinty one, ma’am.”

Client: “Are you sure? What if his other eye gets squinty?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, I’m sure. He has a scratch on his eye. Those aren’t contagious. I promise.”

Client: “Well, I’ll put them in both eyes anyway, just in case.”

Me: *gives up* “Sure, ma’am. Just make sure to keep up with the drops in the affected eye for the full two weeks. If you run out early just come in and we’ll get you some more.”

(The client leaves, and the practice manager comes out from behind the desk where she’d been sitting trying not to laugh.)

Manager: “I bet [Veterinarian] five bucks she would be a seven Ma’am-er, at least!”

A Very Specific Need(le)

| Austin, TX, USA | Right | April 27, 2016

(I’m at the front counter of a small veterinary clinic when a young couple that I’ve never seen before come in, followed by a regular client.)

Me: “Hi, how can I help you?”

Man: “Yeah, I need to give my dog some medicine, but I don’t have a syringe. Can I buy a syringe?”

Me: “Sure, what size do you need?”

Man: “I just need a syringe!”

Me: “I understand. How much medicine is it that your dog needs? We have syringes that measure in tenth ml increments, and in larger sizes up to 60mls.”

Man: “Just sell me a syringe!”

Me: “Give me just a minute.”

(I go to the back and return with syringes in a variety of sizes. None of them have a needle attached.)

Me: “These are what we have; which one would you like?”

Man: “NO! I need a SYRINGE!” *gestures with his finger as if giving himself an IV injection in the arm*

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, I can’t sell needles.”

(The man leaves in a huff, the woman trails behind. Before they are even through the door, my regular client walks up, slams his hand down on the counter and says loudly:)

Regular: “What does it take to get some heroin in this place?”

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A Mite-y Big Problem

| NY, USA | Right | April 8, 2016

(I work in an animal hospital as a receptionist, and answer a phone call.)

Me: “[Veterinary Hospital]. This is [My Name] speaking. How may I help you?”

Customer: “Yes. I came there a few years ago with my cat. I also have pet rats and I think I got mites from them. I have lots of bites on me and my skin is very itchy. My dermatologist told me to bring a sample of the bugs to a vet to have them looked at under a high powered microscope.”

(I really wish I could say no humans ever came to us or called us wanting to be treated, and that this man was the first, but I sadly cannot.)

Me: “Oh, umm… well, sir, firstly, we do not treat humans—”

Customer: “I know! I don’t want you to TREAT me. I just want you to look at the mites under a high powered microscope and tell me what kind they are so my dermatologist can treat me!”

Me: “I understand sir, but the veterinarian won’t—”

Customer: “Yes, I know. I just need you to look at them under—”

Me: “I know, sir. But the vet doesn’t treat or research for humans in any way.”

Customer: “But I got them from my pet rats.”

Me: “I understand. But regardless of where you believe they came from, the vet will not look at them. Animal mites do not remain on humans. And your dermatologist would not send you to a vet, because he or she knows vets do not see humans, and he or she should have the means to look at your mites or send them out to be looked at.”

(This goes on for several minutes, and to get him to hang up, I say I’ll give his name and number to the vet, but tell him not to expect a call because she doesn’t work with people. Fast forward to six hours later, when we’re half an hour past closing time, but cannot lock the doors yet because the last appointment is still in the building. A greasy looking man walks in, clothes dirty and disheveled, and he smells faintly of alcohol.)

Customer: “I called earlier to have the doctor look at my mites with a high powered microscope.”

Me: “Yes sir, you spoke to me. I told you not to come in, and that we won’t look at the mites. And we closed half an hour ago so there’s nothing else I can do for you right now.”

Customer: “Is there a school around here where I can use a high powered microscope? Or can you look at the mites for me?”

Me: “No, sir. I don’t know any schools that will allow that, and nor will I look at the mites. I have to ask you to leave, and contact a human doctor.”

(It took a while, but he FINALLY left, still muttering about his pet rats, mites and high powered microscopes.)

Take A Shot At Being Nice

| NY, USA | Right | April 8, 2016

(I answer the phone at the animal hospital I work at.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Location] Animal Hospital. This is [My Name] speaking. How may I help you?”

Customer: “Yes, this is [Customer]; I’m calling to find out what shots my cat needs to be up to date.”

Me: “Of course, let me pull up your account and check that for you.”

(I enter the information, pulling up the cat’s record and read off the shots the cat is due for, and it goes smoothly until we get to the FVRCP vaccine, which is also called distemper. Despite what the name may sound like, it is a vaccine for feline panleukopenia virus, an infection (there is also a canine version).)

Customer: “So the distemper shot… that will make my cat nicer?”

Me: “Ah, no, ma’am. The vaccine doesn’t affect behavior or temperament. It’s to prevent a type of virus.”

(Sadly we get asked that A LOT.)

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