Gorillas In The Blacklist

| CA, USA | Learning | November 28, 2016

(We are on a field trip to the San Diego Zoo with a class and a couple of others. We approach the gorilla exhibit with a sign reading: “Please do not make direct eye contact with the gorillas.” So what does our teacher do? Exactly that.)

Teacher: “Oh, I gotta try this. But if I do this, I’m gonna do it right!”

(He searches the exhibit and finds the alpha male, a very, very large gorilla who is idly eating his food, and the teacher just mad dogs him. He stares directly at him, doesn’t look away for a second, doesn’t move, rarely even blinks.)

Gorilla: *starts noticing Teacher staring, gets up, and starts grunting and pounding his chest and generally makes a lot of noise*

(This begins to freak out all of the other gorillas and they do the same thing.)

Zookeeper: *quickly approaches the exhibit and looks at Teacher* “Sir? I need you to leave immediately. Where are you from?”

Teacher: “I’m from [High School].”

Zookeeper: “Okay. [High School] is banned. Please leave.”

(He didn’t make a huge fuss, but he was escorted out along with the rest of the students and chaperones on the field trip. He was lucky no one told the principal, but he’s still not sure if he and the school are still banned.)

Caught Red-Cupped

| Portland, OR, USA | Right | October 10, 2016

(I’m a food cart cashier on my last day of work, and have just returned from my lunch break with my helper. Our zoo had stopped all sales of a popular souvenir cup several days earlier, but returning visitors can bring the cups back with them to take advantage of our $1.00 refill deal for all souvenir cups, continued or discontinued. Almost ten minutes after returning, a group of five people cuts in front, and one of them angrily points at me.)

Customer: “We bought seven different drinks, and four of them were in the [Popular Souvenir Cup], twenty minutes ago! We left them at our table for just a minute, and they all got stolen! We want new cups for everything, for free! Or give us our money back!”

Me: “I’m sorry sir, but I can’t refund you on those cups.”

Customer: “This is bull-s***! Why can’t you do your job and give us our money’s worth?!”

Me: “Well, considering we haven’t sold these cups in days, I doubt you bought them from here in the last twenty minutes.”

Customer: “Oh, uh, I just forgot; we bought them over at the food cart near the—”

Me: “No location in the zoo is selling these cups anymore. We discontinued them last week while we wait for the new souvenir cup design to be shipped in.”

(The customer and their whole gaggle of a family then try to stutter out new drink orders, but my helper sharply tells them they’ve cut in the line and that they’ll need to wait, and they leave looking incredibly embarrassed. Apparently, according to the workers who covered for me and my helper, they’d been waiting for us to come back from lunch break, and had been watching other people carry cups around. Before they were out of earshot, I called out to them.)

Me: “Next time you want to scam someone, at least be smart about it!”

My Little Monkey

| MI, USA | Friendly | August 26, 2016

(I’ve taken my children to the zoo. We’re standing in front of the ring-tailed lemur exhibit. My four-year-old daughter is very familiar with this animal thanks to the TV show “Wild Kratts,” which dedicated several episodes to lemurs. Another family approaches.)

Mom: *from other family* “Look, Tyler, it’s a monkey.”

Four-Year-Old: “Actually, it’s a lemur.”

Mom: “No, sweetie, it’s a monkey. Just look at it.”

Four-Year-Old: “It’s a ring tailed lemur, and it’s not a monkey. It’s from Madagascar.”

Mom: *to me* “Kids are so cute when they think they know everything.”

Me: “So are adults. You should read the sign.”

Mom: “Hm? Oh, it’s a… ring tailed… Look over there, a parrot!”

Four-Year-Old: “That’s a cockatoo.”

(I love my little know-it-all.)

Preparing Meals That Are Works Of Art

| Wales, UK | Working | April 27, 2016

(I and two other keepers are in our keeper kitchen preparing feeds ready to go, and get started on our morning routines. I’m chopping some vegetables quickly and a piece of cabbage falls on the floor. Keeper #1 walks passed me.)

Keeper #1: “There’s cabbage on the floor.”

Keeper #2: “A poem, by [Keeper #1].”

(At this point, we all start laughing. Keeper #1 is laughing so hard that she’s just standing there in tears, unable to do anything except hold a pot of mealworms she’d made up earlier. After a few minutes we manage to stop, but Keeper #1 is still laughing.)

Me: “I think this is still part of the poem.”

Keeper #2: “It’s performance art. I don’t know what the mealworms are meant to represent though.”

Reading: What Separates Us From The Animals

| Seattle, WA, USA | Friendly | December 29, 2015

(I am visiting the zoo with my family when we decide to visit the Nocturnal House, a building that is kept fairly dark to encourage nocturnal animals to be active. Each exhibit has a picture of the animals in it along with a description of their native habitat. I’m looking at one such exhibit with fairly active animals when a woman and her daughter comes into the corridor where I’m standing. She turns to her daughter with a haughty tone of voice and describes the animals incorrectly. The daughter had noticed the descriptions and tries to correct her mom and is shot down. I don’t care if adults are ignorant but to be rude to her child and incorrect to boot…)

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am, but your child is correct. These are actually [Correct Animal].”

Mother: *snidely* “So who are you, a zoo expert?”

Me: “No, I can read.”

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