People Share The Places They've Been Banned From For Life And Why

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Before starting this article, I was pretty sure that it was hard to get yourself banned from someplace ... but Quora now has me convinced that all it really takes is a misunderstanding or two before the ban-hammer comes crashing down.



The Quora question "What are you banned from and why?" racked up over 100 responses pretty quickly. It turns out people all around the world are just running around getting themselves banned from things.

Some people seemed almost proud of the things they got themselves banned from - taking it almost like sport. Others were justifiably upset. Personally, our favorites were the ones so ridiculous that they were embarrassing; like the time a drunken Burger King run almost caused an international incident. We'll let you read the rest on that one...

Here are people's stories about where or what they've managed to get themselves banned from.

Banned From Babysitters

My wife and I are banned from the website care(dot)com. That's right! Banned from a babysitting website! I guess they offer other services now too like elder care, etc but we'll never know because we're banned! There's a chance our ban no longer applies as this happened when my now 9 year old daughter was about 7 months old. I wouldn't use them anyway since I think they're a bunch of jerks!

We were living in a nice part of Queens, NY which was very expensive. Forrest Hills is a roughly 35 - 50 minute subway ride out of Manhattan on the E train or the F train. Our rent was about $1,800 and this was in 2009. The housing collapse was killing me. I had a house in Phoenix that was renting for roughly $450 less than my mortgage and the economy in general was horrible at that point. I was working and my wife was in residency in Far Rockaway but all of a sudden we had a baby to take care of.

We found a number of babysitters through care(dot)com but they would often be too far away or they would quit on us. We finally found a girl right up Queens Blvd who did a share babysitting plan at the other parents apartment. She was pleasant, great with the babies, and best of all she was super affordable due to the shared experience.

We started using her immediately and it was fantastic. No worries or stress about anything and it was a 10 minute walk for pickup and drop off. The only sign of anything goofy was that she asked us to sign a contract with her. Nothing legal, just a signed agreement between us. We told her we would rather not and she didn't object.

About a month into it, we lost my tenant in Phoenix. The market was horrible and I couldn't find another tenant so I had a vacant house sitting in Phoenix and I was paying a roughly $1,500 mortgage on. I finally rented it but in that time our rent in Forrest Hills had also gone up to almost $2,000 a month. We were going broke.

Like an idiot I pulled cash out of my IRA to pay the mortgage. That was dumb. Late on the rent a couple of times and the leasing company threatened to take us to court. This is a huge company with over 20,000 units spread throughout the 5 Burroughs - so we ask if we could simply move to a cheaper building. They agree and we find a place in Far Rockaway, which is quite far from Forrest Hills but right by the hospital my wife is working for.

At least a half hour drive back to Forrest Hills if there isn't much traffic. Far Rockaway is still in Queens but on opposite ends of the Burrough. To get between these two places on the subway is a real chore and parking is insane in Forrest Hills. Sometimes we would have to drive around for 45 minutes to find a spot.

Anyway

So we move to Far Rockaway and we tell the babysitter that we are going to continue to send our daughter to her because A) we said we would, and B) she's fantastic. It will be a total pain, but we promised this girl and we didn't want to let her down. At some point we would have to stop using her but we were going to stick with it for at least a few months. It's hard to find a good babysitter in NY!

Payday for her was the end of the week. I was broke from the move and from my mortgage in Phoenix but I had a check waiting for me in Manhattan from a recent job. So I woke up, drove my kid to the babysitter, went home to finish unpacking, took the subway into Manhattan (hour +), got my check, got back on the subway to Forrest Hills (45), put my check in the bank and went to pick up my daughter around 4:30.

At this point we had been sending our daughter to this babysitter for about 4 months or so. Always paid her with a check with maybe one or two exceptions. When she buzzed me into the apt she brought the 'contract' up again so I knew something was a brewing. I let her know that there's no way we can sign a contract with her but we will continue to send our daughter to her.

For some reason she starts grilling me on when will we stop using her. I understand she probably thinks we're going to bail on her but I'm trying to convince her it's not the case. She wants me to sign a year long 'contract' which I can't do. She escalates it by telling me I can't write her a check. All of a sudden she's cash only. She actually accused me of attempting to write a bad check and then went on to surmise that I would put a stop payment on the check. Obviously she is urging me to stop using her so I tell her she's talking herself out of a job. She keeps talking and I tell her we won't be back. I write her a check and we leave.

Anyway, we're done with this girl because obviously she's pissed and we can't have someone who's angry at us watching our child. We're actually glad to be out of that situation, although we are now out of a babysitter AGAIN! We're broke but We aren't horrible people so we send her a check for either a week or two weeks of babysitting as a severance. She cashed the check immediately.

A few days later we log onto care(dot)com to find a babysitter in Far Rockaway and we get an error message. We immediately receive an email from them that says that our membership has been terminated and our annual fee has been refunded. We are banned from using their service in the future!

A complaint was lodged against us as exhibiting violent and aggressive behavior in the presence of children and that an anonymous member has stated that they feared for their safety in our presence. In further communications with the website we found that we had absolutely no recourse to dispute this. I've just been accused of exhibiting violent and aggressive behavior in front of children and I have no way to dispute it. Genius!!!!!!

Nothing better than getting banned for something that didn't happen and not being able to challenge it. What a bunch of jerks!

- M.T.

A Disney Don't

When I was 14 years old I was standing in line for the Matterhorn ride with friends and there were two climbers beginning their climb up the Matterhorn. This was in the mid 70's when Disneyland climbers climbed the mountain every two hours. I climbed over the fence, and grabbed a hold of the rope and started to climb up the mountain, too.

Apparently, a visitor in a different part of the line went and told a security guard and security coordinated with the climbers to come down the rope and force me to move back down towards the ground.

They hauled me off to the Disneyland pokie, called the Anaheim police, and they in turn called my parents to come pick me up. No charges were filed, but they banned me from the park for life. ((Parenthetically, this was the first of two times I visited the Disneyland pokie;the other visit is a story for another day/question).

This is something I did in the stupidity of youth. So when my kids were of attendance age I went to Disneyland and spoke with security.

They lifted the ban, if it was even on file, to allow me to attend the park with my family. We've taken our kids when they were younger maybe a dozen times afterwards as a family. My wife and kids also had season passes for multiple years and they went many more times. I'd usually meet them for dinner on my way home from the office at the park or a local restaurant.

- C.T.

No Family Visits

I'm an Iranian who lives in the United States of America. Here is why I cannot visit my family in person:

  1. The president of the US recently issued an executive order that bans people who are born in Iran (and 6 other countries) to enter the United States. Although some Federal courts limited the executive order and excluded people with immediate family members in the US from the ban, the Supreme Court, however, allowed the ban to go fully into effect. This means that my family members cannot come to the US to visit me.
  2. In Iran, young males are mandated to serve the military for about 2 years right after their graduation. I had (and still do) strong personal beliefs against the policies and strategies taken by the Iranian government and its army. I left Iran when I was a student and if I go back to Iran I will be not allowed to leave the country until I serve in the military.
  3. My Visa to enter the United States was issued for a single entry only. If I leave the US, I will have to re-apply for the entrance Visa again, and will not be able to obtain that because of the ban I explained in point 1. When I am not allowed to come back to America, I will lose my job, home, all of my assets, and the entire life I have built in the past several years in my new home. This means that I am not even able to travel to a third country other than the US and Iran to visit my family. This is the case until I am able to obtain my permanent residency in the US which will let me to enter the US without having to apply for a Visa.

In conclusion; I am banned from visiting my family because the governments of the two countries I call home, hate each other.

- Anonymous

Skywalker Ranch

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I wish I had a cool story about how I was just too cool to be boxed in by The Man, but no, it's ignominious, and I still feel shame thinking back on it.

This was all around 1991/1992.

I was a meager audio technician there. I'd wanted to work in film since I was a teenager, and when I got the opportunity to work for George Freaking Lucas, I was sky high.

True enough, I said hello to George once as he walked by into a mix room. And I said hello to David Lynch. And I was chewed out by James Cameron once because I didn't rack-focus deeply enough during a dailies screening (which does not put me in a terribly exclusive club, really).

Most of the time however, I just took raw audio tapes from the film production, or SFX, or whatever, and transferred them to magstripe film for the mixing process.

As time went by, I 'graduated' to running the "machine room" for certain mixes (a large floor space filled with refrigerator sized 35mm audio playback dubbers, which spooled relentlessly back and forth by remote control from the mix room, day after day after day). And later I got to work as a 'recordist' - managing a small number of similarly sized dubbing machines - but in this case, actual recorders - right outside the mix room. Still all rather mundane, but working for Oscar winning Sound Mixers, I was still a pretty happy guy, and I was moving up in the world! Someday, I'd be one of those Sound Mixers too!

Unfortunately, I was also terribly immature. I've been a late/slow bloomer my whole damned life. I was about 30 at the time.

When I'd started at The Ranch, there was no manager for the audio techs. It was a gap that simply hadn't been filled for several months after the previous manager left. Yet we (the techs) managed the department surprisingly well on an ad hoc basis. It worked really smoothly - exceptional work was rewarded with more time on 'bigger' mixes, very few conflicts, etc.

Then they hired a new manager. He was from LA, and had a music audio post-production background, rather than film audio. He divied up the most desireable work seemingly to those he liked - those who shmoozed with him best, rather than those who merited it. I wasn't alone in this assessment - but my fellow techs, being more mature, rolled with it. Working there was still too cool for school, so nobody wanted to rock the boat.

A side-story to this - the relevance of which will become clear - is that I've long been a computer nerd. I first joined The WELL in 1986. I was familiar with UNIX systems. I know my way around a command line, and I love exploring systems.

The Ranch - all of Lucasfilm, in fact - had a computer network, and there were terminals scattered all about the place. You logged into a terminal, and you could send email, and read/post on the internal Lucasfilm general messages board. All of this purely text driven on a stark TTY screen.

Every user had a 'home' directory of course. In UNIX, access is controlled by permissions, so typically while a user can log into their home directory, and browse around various parts of the main system, they could not poke around in other user's 'home' directories. It's a fundamental part of UNIX - fine-grained access control.

Well, it may begin to become apparent where this is going....

The divisional VP for the audio tech services department had a 'home' directory like everyone else. And that directory was fully open. All of the documents in it were readable by *anyone* on the system. So, at the most basic, technical level, I didn't "hack" or break into anything when I looked around in that home directory. No, I merely violated the VP's fundamental expectation of privacy, that's all!

I found a document detailing a few things about our manager which pissed me off. He was getting a substantial raise, and in my immature view of things, I felt he was getting a raise while doing a really crappy job, and that it was unjust, and that my coworkers would agree!

So I printed out the document.

Then I showed it to a few of my most trusted coworker confidants.

The road to Skywalker Ranch is a long, winding mountain road. I had a little Subaru back then, and driving that road in 4-wheel drive was a blast.

A few days after I'd shown the document around, I got a visit from Ranch Security. They'd gotten a complaint that I was driving too fast on the road to the Ranch. A lot of people bristled at such enforcement - Ranch security had no jurisdiction outside - but when you pass George's executive assistant on the road to the Ranch, well, you get a visit. A lot of it was that they just didn't want neighbors out there to have reason to complain about Ranch employees.

A few hours after that visit, I got a call to visit the aforementioned VP's office. Shoot, now I'm going to get a dressing down from the VP, too? I was all prepared to be apologetic about driving too fast on the road, promise to slow it down, back to work.

When I was confronted with the accusation that I'd broken into the VP's account, my heart was in my throat in an instant, and I tried my best to deny it. But the 'blind side' from my expectation of what I was called in for, my shame for what I'd done, and the fact that I knew right then that I'd lost my job - well, I soon confessed, apologized, and was ushered out the door. Ranch security escorted me out. They'd already razored-off my parking sticker, and followed along behind my car as I drove out of the The Ranch, and on to my home in San Rafael. Which I shared with my girlfriend at the time, whom I'd met at The Ranch.

And I spent the next two and a half years in a deep, depressive funk, unable to work, ashamed every waking hour, regretting my actions every hour, and cycling through the events that led up to it over and over and over, wishing I'd done this little thing, or more importantly NOT that little thing, and wishing I hadn't thrown away the coolest job I'd ever had.

I spent a significant amount of time trying to justify to myself what I did. Really hollow shit. 'But I didn't really break into anything! This is IT's fault, they left the permissions wide open!'. Plus 'They had no actual evidence of it! Nobody could prove I printed out that info, it was just their word against mine!' But that kind of thinking just worsened the depression - trying to convince yourself that the unethical thing you did wasn't really unethical is a road to hell.

Eventually, I saw a psychiatrist, and went on anti-depressants. Which, in hindsight, I should have been on for fifteen years *before* I ever started working at The Ranch, as it's a severe familial problem. I've been on them ever since, and while occasionally I have relapses of depression, they are more dips in the stream rather than falling into that bottomless pool.

I lead a productive life, I'm still with my girlfriend, now my wife, who was later let go from The Ranch under genuinely unjust circumstances (later exonerated, but it was too far behind us by then).

Just the act of writing this gives me those pangs of regret, still, twenty years on. My closest buddy from Skywalker - whom I'd worked with before The Ranch and who was the one who brought me in - still works there. We see each other every few years. He's a Sound Designer, and has been nominated for an Oscar once, and I'm sure he'll be a winner in time. I tell myself that had I not made that incredibly stupid, immature, self-destructive mistake, I might still be at Skywalker too, and I might have been nominated for an Oscar by now too, or might even be a winner.

But I'm not a winner. Oh, I have a happy marriage, the one good thing that remains from my time at The Ranch. But I don't work in film. I'm still, at age 53, a 'wannabe'. I enjoy what I do for a living, for the most part (UNIX/Linux Systems Administrator, the irony!), but it's not a job that's too cool for school. I'm not a Sound Designer. I'm not a Director. That life that I wanted slipped through my hands thanks to one childish, self-destructive act.

Great. Now I'm depressed again.

- P.T.

The Multiple Amazon Ban

I'm banned from Amazon as a seller.

First, I made an account that sold movies, soundtracks, and other media. I imported heavily from Malaysia and other countries. Everything was fine for about a year until they decided to ban my account when someone claimed I sold a fake DVD.

Thing is, it was an official and legal release. It just wasn't the US version. It was a perfectly legal import edition printed in Malaysia. I had the factory information and legal import forms to prove it.

What the customer wanted was the US version even though my page explained exactly what they were getting, along with pictures. Amazon took the customers side and refused to discuss it further even though I could prove what I was selling was perfectly legal.

I started a new account and sold adult films. I had a distributor that would sell me bulk cheap and I would sell single discs or sets on Amazon. I then expanded into adult toys. I was banned from Amazon again for "selling adult material".

Thing is, all Amazon did was ban me personally from selling the products, those same pages still exist and are now "supplied by Amazon". That's a dirty little secret of Amazon. If they can find a supplier for the products you are offering they will either immediately undercut all other sellers on the site. Or if they can't beat your prices they will ban you and be the only ones providing that product.

I made a third account and then sold pre-order copies of Star Wars: The Old Republic Collectors Edition.

Amazon had run out of stock on their own supply. I purchased many copies from other retailers that had the pre order codes in stock. Amazon had a button right on the store page of the product "sell yours here". So I did, I sold mine there - just like they suggested.

Was all good for about a week.

Then Amazon got more pre-order codes in stock. They banned everyone who had sold pre-orders over the past week. Then supplied the product to those sales so they keep the sale.

This is sneaky tactics that Amazon did to independent sellers all the time. If they are out of stock and couldn't get more in they would have been more than happy to scoop up the commission from our pre-order sales. But the moment they found out they could get more in stock, they shifted their business model to no longer allow anyone to sell pre-orders but them; and decided that our violation of a rule they just made up warranted a ban so they could keep the presale money.

I've also discussed this issue with many other small operations which tried to sell on Amazon. Basically, their marketplace is a scam. They allow small companies to make all of the product pages (I'm personally responsible for making over 1,500 product pages on Amazon that are all still products being sold).

Then Amazon either begins to supply that product at a lower price, or bans the person who made the page so that Amazon can sell it at a higher price without competition.

Amazon is the biggest scam of the last 20 years sitting right in front of everyone's eyes and there's nothing we can do about it.

They are so good to their customers that even I'm still a customer. I hate myself for it, and they've killed my small business and stolen thousands of dollars from me and yet, they've strangled the world so tight that I still end up buying from them.

If you search for it you'll find complaints out there, and there's a reason things like Amazon Ghost exist. They did the same thing to large companies too.

At least Toys R Us was big enough to sue Amazon over that kind of behavior. The rest of us don't have the time or money to cope with such a thing. We just go out of business when Amazon decides to keep your money "indefinitely" or ban you.

Of course, the damage had already been done.

Side note: Amazon for many years was also the payment method for Kickstarter. Which mean that I was banned from using Kickstarter. I missed out on many years of possible growth through Kickstarter when it's peak growth was happening.

Now, most of my ideas are out of date and the Kickstarter market is saturated with failed games and products driving users away from the platform. Though at least they have moved beyond using Amazon so I suppose I'm no longer banned from it.

I just don't know that after all these years I still have the innovation or the drive to care.

Amazon, the biggest business block of all.

- V. Beers

Burger King Got Him Banned From The USA

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Okay, I am not really banned from anything worth mentioning, but my Dad has a good one. He is banned from the United States of America.

That's right, he got told by a CIA operative that he was never to return to the United States.

I only know some of the story, but he was with the SAS at the time and they were in Texas, near the Mexican border. He and his fellow soldiers got rather inebriated, and he got hungry and wandered off. The others panicked and believed he had been kidnapped. They called it in, and a search helicopter arrived to look for him.

The Mexican authorities responded to this by sending armed officers towards the border. The Americans were never going to accept this sort of threat so pretty soon there were British and American soldiers in a standoff with Mexican police, across the border. They had to shut a major road. The situation was defused when my dad was found... In Burger King.

I wouldn't believe this story myself if I hadn't heard it from the horse's mouth.

So the reason we never went on holiday to the good old USA is because my dad got drunk, went to Burger King, and got a lifetime ban from the land of the free.

- J. Williams

"No Cards!" 

I am banned from the Town Square Diner, Norwood, Ma.

I moved to Norwood in 1990 and one of the first things I found was the town diner. I love diners, bacon and eggs in the morning with the newspaper and a bunch of other early risers. This place was the real deal, an old train-car style diner. I dated one of the waitresses. I was known by name. Then one day the owner died. The diner shut down and was abandoned for a year.

Then a pair of lesbians purchased it, remodeled it, re-opened it and turned it into one happening place. I always brought my family and friends there. We would play Crazy 8s and get breakfast and pass the time. I would wait for a booth or take the stool at the bar. I loved the diner, it felt like home. But then, after a couple of years, the lesbians sold the diner to family of Greeks. The food was still good but the waitresses were gone, replaced by daughters or family members. I didn't care -- it was still The Diner.

Then one busy Sunday I showed up at the diner with a friend and we took our booth, placed our order, started drinking our tea and coffee, and then I broke out the cards, shuffled and dealt a hand of Crazy 8s, my favorite card game. After dealing a hand, the waitress arrived to top off the coffee. Not long after, her mother showed up. "No cards! No cards!" she cried, wringing her hands.

I thought she was making a joke and I started laughing and drew a card from the deck. She started muttering and went away. We continued playing. A few minutes later, the old woman re-appeared. This time she had her white-aproned cook/husband, the daughter cowering behind him. "Get out," the man said. I swear he had a cleaver in his hand, "Get out and don't come back."


"I've been coming here frequently for more than fifteen years."
I said.

"I don't care," he said, "Get out and don't come back." You could have heard a pin drop in the already overcrowded diner. I got up and threw a five on the table.

"Fine," I said, "But you just lost a good customer forever."

He glared at me and said nothing. My friend and I had to push our way through the crowd. Every eye was on us. The only sound came from the fan in the ceiling. I pushed the door and walked out, furious. I've never been back. It's been more than ten years. We never figured out what we did or what they thought we were doing.

- J. Bazzinotti

This Mega Ban List

I am banned from:

  • All San Jose Sharks games for screaming "kill the f-ing frog, you f-ing weak piece of sh*t" (only without the censorship) in 2000 in a game between the Sharks and the Leafs. It didn't help that I was hanging 8ft up on the top of the plexiglass barrier.
  • All KFC in the country for calling KFC "the disease ridden whore of fast food after a night of shagging a pile of chicken feces" and demanding to see the rotting carcass of "the Colonel" to compare its edibility with that of a six piece all white bucket - during a panel discussion about food at a food service show. I got the letter three weeks later.

  • All "Twin Peaks" locations in the greater Dallas area for making hand motions simulating oral intercourse in front of a camera that live-streamed into the main dining hall. When challenged on the frivolity of my actions I responded that a place that uses every sexist trope under the sun to attract frat boys and idiot bankers trying to fill their wank bank has no standing in this debate - and got banned.
  • Two Megachurches in Dallas for wearing a Gay Pride t-shirt and entering their merchandise and sermon-on-DVD store inquiring about incense and myrrh flavored condoms.
  • Calling the Rush Limbaugh show for telling him that draft dodgers and drug addicts have no standing in criticizing our Commander in Chief.
  • A few bars and restaurants in San Jose and around for starting fights or being involved in them.

Yes, I am a rude, undesirable, morally depraved and pretty ugly human being. I enjoy it. I also don't ever want to eat at KFC or Twin Peaks, I don't live in San Jose anymore, and I am not usually calling Rush Limbaugh nor do I go to church, so none of those bans really affect me other than cementing my reputation.

- M. Luster

No More Shakespeare For Iggy

My husband and I and our dog were banned from any further performances of Shakespeare in the Park.

The place was Centennial Park in Nashville, one of our favorites. The grounds are beautiful and well kept. There is a lovely pond in the center, always occupied with ducks and gorgeous, graceful swans. Beautiful trees and flowers everywhere. But the centerpiece of this park is a full-scale exact replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. Inside is a statue of Athena that stands 41 ft. 10 in. tall. She's the largest piece of indoor sculpture in the Western World. Centennial Park is a must-see if you ever visit Nashville.

The first performance of Shakespeare (and, as it turned out, the only one) that we attended was The Tempest. This production featured many children in long, flowing costumes who came out into the audience, looping throughout the people sitting on the lawn. They periodically sat down while something else was happening onstage.

Most parks in Nashville allow you to bring your dog as long as they're on a leash. We took our Boston Terrier to see Shakespeare in the Park. And why not? They're known as the "gentleman" breed. And hey, what's wrong with a little extra culture? Be a nice break from things like licking himself or rolling around in dirt.

Iggy Pup was not impressed. He was confused. And a little freaked out. Who were these menacing little beings floating around in their robes? And what did they want? What the hell were they doing . . . ? Eventually one of the child actors sat down right next to us. Our conversation was simple:

Kid - "What's your dog's name?"

Us - "His name's Iggy"

Kid - "Can I pet him?"

Us - "Sure, you can pet him; he's nice. But don't get in his face, okay? He doesn't like people getting in his face."

So what does the kid do? Yeah, gets right in his face like we specifically just told him not to do. And what does Iggy Pup do? He nipped at the kid. HE DID NOT BITE HIM! HE NIPPED AT HIM AS A WARNING! I SWEAR!

After the play was over, we got up to leave and were confronted by an official looking gentleman, with the little Tempest Dude at his side. The little kid had told this guy that our dog bit him. We assured him that he had done no such thing, he merely nipped at him when he got in his face .. after we specifically asked him not to!

Nevertheless, it was requested by the official looking gentleman that we leave the park and refrain from attending any further performances of Shakespeare in the Park. We were humiliated, embarrassed, … and pissed.

Did we ever go back to Centennial Park? Yes, many times, albeit not for Shakespeare. But when we did, we left Iggy Pup at home.

- D. Weissend

Mad Cow Bad Blood

From the time I was 17, I started giving blood to the Red Cross. It was important to me and something I enjoyed doing on a regular basis.

Then I studied abroad in London in 2000 for 3 months. When I came back to the States, I wanted to go back to donating blood. One of the questions on the survey you take before donating is:

"Have you lived outside of the United States?"

So I mentioned that I had just returned from London.

Nurse: "Were you there for at least 12 weeks?"


Me: "Technically, I was there for 11 weeks."

Nurse: "Well, because you lived in England, you could potentially have Mad Cow Disease and we don't have anything to test for that. Our cutoff is 12 weeks."

Me: "But I wasn't there for a full 12 weeks."

Nurse: "Close enough. I would like to sleep at night. You are banned indefinitely from donating blood."

Wait, what? I can't donate blood because I lived in Europe SEVERAL YEARS after the Mad Cow epidemic?

I was pissed. So I found another organization that had limits on what years you were living in England (up through like 1996). This was over a decade ago, so I believe they have changed their rules by now - at least I hope.

- E. Baldwin

Dementia-Related Behavior Bans

My great aunt and uncle are banned from a long list of places such as Walmart, McDonald's, our local grocery store, etc. I'll list the places that I'm aware of and the reasons why

  1. Walmart: Dumping out the quarts of strawberries and putting the best in a quart-sized plastic container and buying them.
  2. McDonald's: going from table to table asking the customers if they'd like to buy a hamburger bun. They figured out if you buy a double cheeseburger and you bring your own bun then you can get two cheeseburgers for the price of one.
  3. Local grocery store: trying to get the community to boycott the store because they quit selling their favorite brand of canned chili.
  4. Chinese buffet: taking plastic bags and taking their leftovers home.
  5. McDonald's number 2: Getting limb trimmers and trimming the bushes by the parking lot exit because they couldn't see.

All of these are 100% true. My great aunt and uncle have dementia as well as other issues. Any time I went somewhere with them we couldn't eat where I wanted to eat because they were most likely banned from the establishment. I know I technically wasn't banned but I wasn't allowed entry if I went with them.

- N. Alan

The Library Ban Loophole

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I was banned from my local library. For life. This is my story.

I put four books into the drive thru mailbox-like book return bin outside the library. The librarian called me 2 weeks later telling me that the books were covered in mold and soaking wet. She said I would have to pay for them.

I explained that I had returned them exactly as I checked them out. In perfect condition. I would no more deface a book than I would slash the tires on my mother's car. I refused to pay for the books. She told me if I didn't pay I'd be banned for life from the library.

I didn't ruin those books, but the librarian refused to believe me. So I was banned for life. The evil book destroyer who had poured water in the book return bin, and the library aide who perhaps forgot to retrieve the books in a timely fashion, got away scot free!

I found a way around the 'banned for life' status. I got married and changed my name. Now when I go to the library, I am always worried that I've been found out. Maybe there is a Library's 10 Most Wanted List and the Library Police will be called to arrest me. But, since I read voraciously, it's a risk I'm willing to take.

However, I have never returned my books in the book return bin again. I go inside the library and put them on the desk. If possible I hand them to the person behind the desk. I'm not taking any chances.

- L. Appino

Show Tunes And Flooding

I am banned from the Intercontinental in Sydney for flooding the $6000 per night presidential suite. I was trying to fill the spa and left both taps on full and then got distracted banging out show tunes on some enormous piano in a separate wing whilst drinking cocktails. In the middle of a particularly hearty rendition of "Do you hear the people sing" I remembered that I had turned the taps on - a couple of hours earlier.

Several rooms were flooded and the main bedroom had at least and inch and half of water all over the carpet, more of which was gushing out the door of the bathroom.



I called reception, said there was 'a problem with the carpet' and ordered another round of long island ice teas. They sent a guy up who took one look at the place and ran down the hall returning with 9 other guys. One took photos, two started moving furniture into the kitchen, 3 operated these giant industrial turbo water vacuums that look like barrels, 2 took notes, a bunch of them just stood around one began the process of arguing with us about whose fault it was (???)

Apparently it costs, like, thousands and thousands of dollars to replace the carpet in the presidential suite. My boyfriend was yelling about some engineering flaw in the spa. They said they would sue us, the drinks arrived, he threatened to sue the Intercontinental and yelled some sh*t about how he would take them all down, I belted out a beautiful rendition of "A whole new world" and about an hour later everyone left us in our damp suite for the night (there were no other rooms at the hotel. That's why we were in the presidential suite in the first place).

In the morning my partner's picture was plastered all over the front page of the Sunday papers because he was going through a messy high profile divorce at the time. They asked us never to come back.

- M. Bower

A Passionate Art Debate

This was...let's call it a large art museum, one of the most famous in the United States. It has an affiliated school. When I was an undergraduate, my art history professor was doing graduate work herself at this art school, so on class days we would take the train into the city and meet up with her there. (You haven't lived until you've hauled Gardner's Art Through the Ages on a train and through a busy metropolitan area.) We got very used to showing up at this museum a couple of times a week and spending four or five hours there. We probably got a bit too comfortable there, truth be told.

I became fast friends with a classmate, and we were an odd-looking pair. I was petite, very pale, redheaded. She was a very large African-American woman. I was very nerdy, before being nerdy was a good thing, quiet and non-confrontational. She worked as a prison guard, had a very burly persona, and was very loud and outspoken. We were great friends. Before long, we noticed the double-takes and started using our appearance for comedic advantage. She would try to pay my admission with her family pass and I would say "I'm the one they don't talk about." That sort of thing. We thought we were like a walking comedy routine (as I said, we were young and stupid and this was 20 years ago).

Anyway, this was an intensive class, and we had to read a lot of interpretive stuff and write long papers about it. People would see us discussing this, sitting in front of paintings, and mistakenly think we knew what we were talking about. Out of the corners of our eyes, we would see them edging closer and writing down things we said. We found this hilarious. We were never overtly disruptive or made claims of being anyone important, but we never exactly discouraged people from thinking we were art critics, either. Soon we had large crowds following us from gallery to gallery, scribbling down whatever regurgitated nonsense we threw out there. There was some Gardner, there was some Baxandall, and a lot of stuff we remembered from National Geographic and whatnot, and people eagerly copied it down for their own papers. The more followers, the more encouraged we got, and that's what ended up being our downfall.

There was one painting that was a large, abstract work...mainly a black canvas, with drips of red. My friend got carried away. She began on how it symbolized racial tension, and even after I'd gotten uncomfortable and stopped, she kept going, building up to a loud diatribe complete with racial epithets and slamming her fist into an open hand. I was standing there watching her shake her fist in the air when I felt a firm grip on my shoulder and turned to see a museum guard. We were escorted out of the gallery, through the halls, down the stairs, and out the front doors, with something stern that I was too upset to absorb about not being welcome back.

We sat on the steps, shellshocked. Our class work depended on our access to the museum. Would we fail the class now? What would our instructor say? She told me that she hadn't really meant to have a meltdown in there; it just sort of happened. We had never really told anyone we were art critics, we just sort of didn't correct them when they eavesdropped and copied down what we said. We did a lot of retroactive minimizing as we sat there, although the guilt was unavoidable.

In the end, we didn't say a thing to anyone. This had been our last class of the week, and four days would pass before we had another one. We never told our instructor. We took the train in together, but went into the museum quietly and separately thereafter, just waiting to be caught and ejected again. My heart was in my throat every time I set foot in the door. She stopped using her family pass and paid her admission in cash. We were quiet and meek as mice. Nothing more was ever said to us, and we finished up the class without event.

Even now, though, 20 years later, even living hundreds of miles away, I still feel a little fluttery and queasy when I set foot in an art museum.

- A. Dye

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