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You Just Can’t Count On Some People

, , , , , | Working | September 15, 2020

I’ve just returned home after three years of college, and I go back to the youth club I used to volunteer with. Things have changed a lot since I was here last, and since I used to be in charge of kitchen/sales, it’s only natural for me to step into that my first night back. Because we meet on Fridays, we sell, among other things, a large variety of candy.

It’s the end of the night and we’re packing up. I’m looking over the price list when the guy in charge of procurement — an old classmate and friend of mine — comes in. The real prices are in Norwegian Kroner, so the prices stated are just a rough estimate.

Friend: “You look puzzled, [My Name].”

Me: “What? Oh, no, I was just checking the price list.”

Friend: “Yeah, some of the prices are a little weird, I know.”

Me: “Yeah, why are we selling [candy bar #1] for $1.33? And [candy bar #2] for $1.56? Wouldn’t it be easier to keep it an even number? I mean, you’ve always complained about being left with so much small change at the end of the day.”

Friend: “I know, but I thought we should keep the prices close to the local stores’. I actually got the [candy bar #1]s on sale, two for a dollar.”

Me: “So, why not sell them for a dollar, then? And [candy bar #2] sells for over two dollars in some stores, so you could sell those for $1.90 or something to make up for the difference.”

Friend: “What?”

He seems really confused at this point, and I find myself actually talking slower.

Me: *Sighs* “If you paid one dollar for two bars, you essentially bought one bar for fifty cents, right? So, if you sell one bar for a dollar, you’ve made fifty cents. I can see why you’d want to try and price-match with the stores, and you could potentially make a few extra bucks a week, but if you’re offering the kids the same deal as the stores, what’s stopping them from buying in there instead of here?”

He didn’t have a good answer for that and seemed genuinely confused about the whole thing. He’s twenty-four and works at a grocery store, yet simple math still escapes him. He even suggested I use a calculator during sales, because counting is apparently difficult.

Turning Your Tears Into Wine

, | Learning | May 26, 2017

(I have just turned 70. We’re having a birthday celebration, and the kids have signed a card for me.)

Sixth-Grade Girl: “Happy birthday! You’re a whole year closer to meeting Jesus!”

Mark The Letter As Red

, | Related | November 28, 2016

(I co-lead a youth group at a local Chinese church. Two graduates of the group have finished college and are getting married. We (group members and helping dad) take an evening to write them notes of congratulations. The next week:)

Dad: “Don’t send the notes yet! I have to re-write mine!”

Me: “Why?”

Dad: “I have to! Do you have another page I can use?”

(I give him another paper and watch him carefully copy his original letter.)

Dad: “Here! Whew!”

Me: “Um… why did you have to copy it over?”

Dad: “I wrote it in red pen! And in Chinese culture, writing a letter in red ink means you want to sever relationship!”

Ho Boy…

, | Learning | July 27, 2015

(We’ve had some problems with the upper elementary kids’ language.)

Me: *to the youth group* “You are welcome to play that game, but you have to call it ‘Kings and Peasants.’ You may NOT call it ‘Pimps and Hos.'”

Child: “Okay… why?”

Me: “Do you know those words mean?”

Child: “Sure! Pimps are rich guys, and hoes work in the garden!”

The Fail Vultures Are Circling

| Learning | June 1, 2014

(I am invigilating an exam for some teenagers I have been teaching in my youth organisation. Although it is an internal exam, we teach them to fill in the papers as they would for an external exam because they’re very strict.)

Me: “Remember, when selecting your answer, write a horizontal line through the box. No circles, no diagonal lines. Just one horizontal line.”

Student: “Wait, so we do circles around our answers, right?”

Me: *trying not to get annoyed* “No. A horizontal line, as I said earlier.”

Student: “Oh, okay.”

Me: “Right, any other questions?” *silence* “Okay, you may begin.”

(Five minutes later.)

Student: “S***! I’ve been doing circles…”

Me: *head-desk*