Avid Readers Debate Which Books Are True Treasures That Everyone Should Read
There are few feelings I enjoy more than the one I experience when I lose myself in a good book.
The thing about reading is that you can never hope to get through everything you want to read. It's impossible.
But the journey you go on as you uncover good books? It's magical.
Naturally, there are some books out there that are quite praised and others that have managed to touch people very deeply.
These are the books no one should miss, according to the online community that gleefully answered Redditor 109r8w4ell, who asked:
"What book do you consider as a masterpiece and think that everyone should read?"
The Brothers Karamazov
"The Brothers Karamazov. It's about three brothers in Tsarist Russia with opposing viewpoints about life and its meaning. Aliosha is a quiet monk who has trouble justifying God or his religion to his atheist and educsted brother Ivan. Dimitri is a soldier who is a total hedonist but very violent when angry."
"Okay, it's really, really long, but the characters are fleshed out really well. It might take you a couple rereads (I know I had to read some paragraphs a few times in a row to understand what was going on)."
Definitely one of the more moving books I've read.
An uncle of mine was a huge fan of Russian literature and pushed it on me.
I was pleasantly surprised.
The Neverending Story
"The Neverending Story. So much more to this than the movie portrays. It is beautifully written fantasy that makes the movies almost unwatchable but remains little known."
Definitely a book that makes the film pale in comparison.
I remember watching the movie and wondering what the hell I was watching.
All Quiet on the Western Front
“All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. Such a tragic and beautifully written book on war, especially from the perspective of an 'enemy' of the United States (my country)."
A massively influential book.
It even has two film adaptations, of which the first, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture, is the most worth seeing.
East of Eden
"East of Eden. There are single chapters of that book that are more riveting and have a better story arc than most movies… Amazing book."
Steinbeck could craft prose like no one else.
East of Eden is indeed a treasure.
"Maus. It's a graphic novel about the holocaust with the Jews represented as mice and the Nazis as cats. It's so compelling and it just blew me away."
I read Maus while on a bit of a graphic novel kick and was simultaneously horrified and so, so moved.
Recommended reading for everyone, for sure.
The Art of Racing in the Rain
"The Art of Racing in the Rain. It's about an aging dog watching his owner's life get ripped away from him after being wrongly accused of a crime, and how the dog tries his hardest to do his part to get his owner's life back on track."
This is a book I have yet to pick up myself but I've heard great things about it over the years.
Definitely going to add this to my (admittedly very long) reading list.
A Confederacy of Dunces
"A Confederacy of Dunces.My English teacher in 10th grade would give us extra credit for reading this, I was one of the few people that did and it was one of the funniest books I have ever read."
"I liked it so much I read it in my other classes. One day my AP Anatomy teacher was telling a sad story about her friend dying from cancer and I was just cracking up in the back of the room reading the book and not listening to her talk at all."
"I look up to see the whole class looking at me like I just stomped a kitten to death."
This story is hilarious (though watch where you're reading this undoubtedly funny book next time around).
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
"Huckleberry Finn. On the surface it is a nice adventure book, but it was intelligently subversive and I think helped shape American culture against slavery."
The language can be a bit much for people.
I know that when I read this in school, many bristled at the use of the "n-word."
It's important to view Huckleberry Finn in context and for what it is, it definitely shaped public perceptions of a horrible American institution.
The God of Small Things
"Some of the most beautiful prose I've ever read. Arundhati Roy is a treasure. Jaw droppingly shocking moments in that book also."
This is indeed a magnificent book.
Roy is a master.
One of the world's finest writers.
In Cold Blood
"In Cold Blood. Sentence for sentence, maybe the single best-written book I’ve ever read. Absolutely airtight in terms of style. A supreme piece of reportage."
Anyone with an interest in journalism and literary non-fiction has to read this book.
It's highly influential—and for good reason!
Having trouble figuring what to gift someone for the holidays?
Well, if they happen to love reading (and you know they haven't read any of these) why not pick one or two off this list?
Spread the love of the written word! It's truly priceless.
Have some book recommendations of your own? Feel free to share them with us in the comments below!
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Reddit user opposeThem asked: 'What was meant for kids but adult consumers hijacked it and ruined it?'
It's not uncommon for certain products to end up being used for purposes different than their initial intention.
Cotton swabs, or Q-tips, are the prime example, as nearly all who buy them use them to clean earwax from their ears despite the box expressly warning customers not to.
Then there are the products made for specific customers but whose clientele proves to be quite different from their initial target market.
Specifically, things or experiences intended for children but primarily enjoyed by adults, ruining any excitement the young folk may have had about them.
Redditor opposeThem was curious to hear about all the things magic grown-ups stole away from children, leading them to ask:
"What was meant for kids but adult consumers hijacked it and ruined it?"
Who Doesn't Need Something Soft And Cuddly Every Now And Then...
"People trying to resell these literal stuffies 3x the price online."- sighcommagroan
Seems Like They Were Looking For The Wrong Kind Of Bears...
"Build A Bear."
"As a former employee I don't care if you came in and bought some stuff animals."
"Hell, there's some cool ones like Pokémon."
"HOWEVER, just cuz I worked there doesn't mean I have a whole collection myself and watch every show and movie that's partnered with the company."
"Yes I was an adult man working at a stuffed animal store."
"Yes I bought a couple Pokémon for myself."
"'No I don't wanna hear another grown man passionately talk to me about My Little Pony and PLEASE I DON'T WANT TO SEE A CUTIE MARK TATTOO YOU HAVE ON YOUR A** CHEEK EVEN IF THERE'S NO KIDS IN THE STORE CURRENTLY."- That_Guy_Pen
Fun Can't Be Forced
"After school hobbies!"
"Around the age of 47, I decided to pick up guitar again."
"So I went to a local school and enrolled as an adult."
"I would see parents harassing their kids and berating them for not being better."
"I think the majority of them have lost the idea that extracurricular activities are too help your child out of their shell and also to have fun."
"Not to make them a professional of any sort or the best of the best of the best."- BisquickNinja
I Mean, They Are Pretty Cute
"I remain baffled as to how and why minions, of all things, became the thing of choice for unfunny boomer memes."- moonbunnychan
Collect Them All... To Sell Them Later...
"Every card hobby."
"It’s literally just about prices now."- lol022
"Scalpers were so down horrendous they were raiding McDonald's during the pandemic."- Sol-Blackguyash ketchum pokemon GIFGiphy
"When I was a kid I felt so bad for that rabbit."
"I still don’t understand the idea behind that marketing campaign."
"Was it- being greedy and mean is hilarious."
"Buy our cereal?
"Just give the bunny some cereal you sadistic little sh*ts."
"They ran an ad for a little while that was a campaign that allowed you to vote on whether or not the rabbit would get some Trix."
"I think you had to mail in a box top with your vote or something."
"I voted 'share' with all of my sensitive little heart."
“'Greed' won by a landslide."
"That’s when I first became disillusioned with voting and people in general."- Iamtevya
You Can Keep The House, But You Can't Take My Babies...
"Beanie Baby collectors."- bigredthesnorer
" [A] photo of a divorcing couple dividing their beanie baby collection in court always makes me laugh."
"So ridiculous that people thought they were like stocks."- Delores_HerbigBeanie Babies GIF by HBO MaxGiphy
"Parents who film their kid’s lives for likes and subs are sh*tty."- da_predditor
The Edward Vs. Jacob Fued Will Never End...
"I'm an adult that reads them."
"But the characters are TEENAGERS."
"People get upset that teenagers act like teenagers, in books targeted at... you guessed it, teenagers."- PumpkinPieIsGreat
So Much For Love Of The Game...
"When I was a kid 30 years ago, you’d have a practice or 2 a week plus a game on Saturday."
"Then if you loved sports, you’d get together with buddies in your ample free time and mess around playing super fun pick up games."
"Now, many kids are having full weekend tournaments like every weekend."
"And tons of practices.'
"They rarely have the free time to just play with their friends for the fun of it."
'Sure they are better athletes than we were, but are they better off?"- omgphilgalfondhomer simpson pitcher GIFGiphy
Can You Say "Re-Sale?"...
"Pretty much any kids' toy."
"The scalpers are working harder than ever to f*ck it up."
"Pokémon/whatever is popular cards?"
"Check as f*ck."
"Fuzzy egg furby like critters?"
"If scalpers can leech money out of people with it, they'll do it."- chris14020
Car Salespeople Can Be Ruthless...
"Hot wheels."- Snow-Dog2121
"Worst memory I have of comic con."
"An exhibitor gave a kid what must’ve been an exclusive at their booth."
"Grown men rushing and crowding the kid pressuring him to sell his toy."
"His parents moved him away promptly but I imagine he was shaken up by the experience."
"Went from a cool moment of unexpectedly getting a toy to grown weirdos getting in his face."- Dwike2
Where To Even Begin?
"Harry Potter vibrating broomstick."- PursuitTravel
"I have one found at Goodwill about 11 years ago."
"I'm a big HP fan, and I was excited to buy it."
'I realized it turned on, and I was hoping for cool sound effects, I was disappointed it only vibrated."
"I remember looking it up online just to check out info on it and found out why it was discontinued shortly after its release, thought never occurred to me until then."- NecranissaHarry Potter Halloween GIFGiphy
One has to wonder how the manufacturers or marketing departments feel about these alternative uses?
Sadly, one can only guess that as long as they are turning a profit, they couldn't care less...
The stupidity and ignorance of some people can be flat-out flabbergasting. Do they live under a rock? Were they dropped on their head as a child? You’ll be asking these same questions after you read these stories. These are more than simple “push on the pull door” moments, as Redditors in the service industry tell stories of clueless customers who left them puzzled, perplexed and perturbed.
This Ship Has Sailedperson sitting front of laptopPhoto by Christin Hume on Unsplash
This is a conversation I had with one customer trying to buy something online. “Hello, I made an online order and I see that you've charged me the shipping cost twice.” “Hmm, that's weird, let me check. No, I see that it's the right amount, sir.” “You’re wrong, I've made two orders and I've already paid the shipping cost for the first one. I shouldn't have to pay twice.”
“Oh, I see! You've made two orders, sure, we can make it one package and only charge you once for the shipping, but can you tell me the order numbers for your orders, because the system shows me that you've only placed one today.” This is where it unraveled.“Yeah, the second one was not placed today.” “When was it placed, sir?”
“I don't know, like three or four months ago, but still, I've paid for the shipping cost before. Why would I have to pay again?”
The Price Of Ignorance
This is a dialogue I had to have with a grown adult. It was a man who was looking to purchase a shirt in our store. He pointed at the price tag on a shirt and said, "Excuse me, what do these numbers represent? I said, "The numbers right after the dollar sign?" He said, "Yes.” "That's the price of the shirt." "Oh, I see! Thank you!" At least he was friendly.
The Usual Suspects
During high school, I worked at a grocery store that also offered home delivery. Several times daily, I would have people calling in to ask for “the usual.” It was a fairly small store so we didn't have any systems to keep a history on customers, so we had to ask for their address as well. Half the time they would refuse to give it because "it's in the system."
Sense Of Entitlement
I worked at a college and had conversations with helicopter parents that went like this: The parent would ask, “Can you look up the transactions on my child’s account and send them to me?” “Nope.” “Why not?” “Because your child is an adult and we protect their privacy.” Their response was always unsettling. “I’m their parent. They don’t need privacy from me!”
“That’s between you and your child. The laws protect their privacy from everyone, including their parent.” “I’m their guardian and entitled to this information!” “Without a court order, 18-year-olds (or 22-year-olds for that matter) do not require guardians.” “I’m going to report this to the Dean!” “Please do, as it will let them know I’m doing my job.”
I had a woman one time use our computers to place a hold on a book that was on the shelf at another library, then come to the desk five minutes later to ask for it. I had to explain to her that the books don't just magically appear from other libraries, they get driven over after the holds get pulled. She seemed genuinely confused that someone wouldn't drive it over right away.
Idea Doesn’t Mixwoman wearing brown apronPhoto by Steven Cleghorn on Unsplash
I worked as a waitress for eight years. I had a patron order a salad with oil and vinegar as the dressing. I brought the salad to the table and asked if anyone needed anything else. Everyone was happy and I went on my way. A couple of minutes later, I got that hand signal “Please get over here” style. I come over and ask how everything is going. That's when I heard the dumbest question of my life.
No joke, my patron asked me why the oil and vinegar weren’t mixing. I did my best to explain the reason why oil and vinegar hate each other. But she wasn’t having it. She told me she’s had oil and vinegar dressing mix before at other restaurants. I explained that there was likely a bonding agent in the dressing and it was not just oil and vinegar at those other restaurants.
She just looked at me. I then asked if she wanted a different mixed dressing. She said she would be happy with the dressing she ordered, she just wanted to know why it wasn’t mixing.
Here are just a few examples I had to deal with while working at a hardware store customer service desk: If you wish to return an item you must present the item and your receipt. I cannot process a refund if you have neither. No, we do not sell asbestos. No, I cannot order some in for you. When water boils, it does indeed produce "bubbles."
So if the water is bubbling once it reaches temperature, your kettle is working properly. Zip ties are not simply "disposable handcuffs." They can be used for other purposes and it should not be concerning nor surprising that a hardware store sells them.
Burst Your Bubble
My first job at 16 was at Party City. One day, I'm blowing up balloons at the balloon counter and a lady comes up to buy some latex balloons. I asked if she wants us to fill them and she said no, she'd do it at home. Making small talk, I remarked that she must have one of the Party Time helium tanks at home. Her reply made my jaw drop to the floor.
She said, "No, I blow them up with my mouth. You just put the string on them and they float!" I do the multiple blinks, trying to work out in my head what she's just said. She fully believed she could blow up the balloons with her mouth and the magic was...attaching a string. I tried to give this woman an impromptu chemistry lesson. She insisted. I still think about that magic woman to this day.
A Cocktail Of Absurdity
Here are a few favorites as a bartender: A drink is a liquid, and it’s a bad idea to shake it around. Yes, the "This is a smoke-free area" sign also applies to people who are addicted. Yes, the people on the tables around you are inebriated. No, I'm not going to kick them out. Seriously, what were they expecting when entering a bar at 2:00 am?
You still have to pay for the entire meal even though you only ate half of it, especially if you asked us to pack the other half to take home. No, you're not allowed to test our beverage menu by taking a shot...unless you buy a shot. Exposure doesn’t pay my bills. Your kid is not going to get adult beverages from me, I don't care that it's his birthday.
No, we're not running a smuggling business in the back, you just watch too many movies. Also, did you believe that I'd tell you if it were the case? No, you can't pay in some weird cryptocurrency here. I don't know you are a "regular." You've been here twice, and one of those times I wasn't even working.
Clear your schedule, put on a pot of coffee, and make yourself comfortable—I am about to tell you the story of, hands down, the most idiotic customer I have ever seen in 10 years of working retail. A very grumpy high-society woman came to the store saying her brand new 3,000-dollar Microsoft surface bought by her husband was defective because she could not get internet when she was on the move. I quickly realized she was talking about Wi-Fi, so I tried explaining to her how Wi-Fi actually works. Boy, was that a mistake!
I told her that she could not use her Wi-Fi outside her house, but that she could share her smartphone internet connection. She would have none of it. She said I was lying to her and making fun of her. She even asked to speak to my manager, who then proceeded to tell her the exact same thing, almost to the word. She left screaming.
Moms Who Need To Changea baby laying on a bed with white sheetsPhoto by Pavlina Baudysova on Unsplash
I’ve had to tell a restaurant customer that you can’t change your baby on an unoccupied table. Would you take a dump on a restaurant's table? No, so why should it be any different for your baby? Poop is poop and that is a health code violation to be around food, not to mention people eating in a restaurant don't want to smell poop while they're eating.
Lady, that's what the bathroom is for! Why are some parents so disgusting and inconsiderate?
A Penny For Your Thoughtlessness
I used to work at Aaron Brothers, and they had a famous buy a frame, get another for a penny sale. People would try to return one frame, which isn’t allowed because then you’re getting one frame for a penny. You have to return both frames. Seeing the blank stare of confusion as I explained that to people was always entertaining.
I had to explain that if you order ice cream for four people on a hot summer day, but the four people are still like 30 minutes away, said ice cream is going to melt before the four people get there. And no, that is not my fault.
Father Knows Best
Years ago, I worked in student housing at a university and had to explain to a father, for well over an hour, that I could not make sure that his daughter was in her room by 8:00 pm and ensure that she never spoke to boys.
I worked at a CVS in high school. Many weirdos shop at CVS, but the weirdest among them were the ones who bought diapers and then asked me if I knew how to put them on a baby. Maybe it’s just my personal opinion, but if you’re at the point in your life where you have to buy diapers and put them on a baby, you should’ve figured this out from someone other than the teenager at the cash register.
Doesn’t Have A Hot Clueperson holding white ceramic mugPhoto by Chad Madden on Unsplash
I worked at a coffee shop and a woman came in saying that the mug she bought is defective. I ask what is wrong and she goes, “It says it's microwave and dishwasher safe. I put it in the microwave to heat it and it got hot!” I explained that the text on the mug means it can be used in a microwave without breaking...but that anything placed in a microwave will still get hot.
She maintained, “Well, then it's not safe.”
As a pharmacist, this is a conversation I’ve had with a customer: “I’d like some OxyContin.” “Okay, sure. Who’s your prescribing physician?” “My what?” “Sorry, who’s the doctor that told you needed OxyContin?” “Oh, there wasn’t one.” “Uh. Okay. Do...do you have a prescription?” “No.” “So. You just want some OxyContin?” “Duh. Is there someone smarter than you working?” “Next!”
A client bought a car from our dealership and called two days later to say that the back doors were not opening from the inside. I knew exactly what the problem was. I asked him specifically if the child lock was on, but he denied it. He brought the vehicle back to us and one of our salespeople opened the door and deactivated the child lock while getting in.
He opened the door and the client’s mind was blown that the door was suddenly opening.
We sell organic skincare where I work. A client called saying the seal on her moisturizer she just bought came off too easily and she wanted to return it. I asked her to bring it in so we could exchange it for her. When I checked her product, there was a straight-up finger-shaped hole in the foam seal. When I asked her about it, she said it happened after the fact.
Sure. I told her I would happily exchange it. She didn't seem thrilled but didn't say anything. At this point, I figured it was a case of buyer's remorse and she wanted a refund but was blaming the seal. So I hand her a fresh product. She takes it out of the box in front of me, saying she just wants to check the seal. She proceeds to pull up on the edges of the seal hard enough until it pops off.
She stares at me, I stare at her. She tells me, "See, this one is unsealed too." I told her, "Nope, that one was sealed. That’s an acceptable seal so the product should be just fine for you. Enjoy your day!" She didn't come back, but I put notes on her account in case she called the head company to complain about the so-called "seal" problem.
Forgot Your Password?
As an IT guy, I once spent 56 minutes on a password reset call with a dude who just could not get it. The new password requirements were simply beyond the limits of his comprehension. Over and over, around and around, we went through the process. I must have reset him half a dozen times. I didn't think it could get worse, but it did.
Finally, after I had long since made peace with the idea of getting fired for simply hanging up on this dude, he exclaims, "Wait a minute! Is that number supposed to be a lowercase or an uppercase one?”
Weather Or Notbrown and black grilled meatPhoto by Fábio Alves on Unsplash
I worked as a server at a higher-end steakhouse that had a beautiful patio. I was working a lunch shift on a day that was completely overcast, and it looked like it could start pouring rain any minute. Because of this, we didn’t “open up” the patio. The patio always had tables and chairs, but we didn’t open any umbrellas or set any tables.
A lady came in and asked for a seat on the patio, weird due to the weather but whatever. I walked her out to the patio and set up a table for her, and as I was walking away she asked if she could sit in a sunnier spot. None of the umbrellas were open, and there were no sunny spots because the sun was not out. I just looked at her and told her she could have her pick of any of the tables.
She looked around and it finally dawned on her that this was not patio weather. Years later, and I’m still not sure if she thought I had some magical weather powers or if she thought if she just wanted it to be sunny strongly enough, it would be.
My co-worker and I work at a deli. One day, a customer came up to them asking why their meat smelled weird. My co-worker asked, “How long have you had it?” and then the customer said, “A few months, why?” The dude never even knew that expiration dates existed. He said that his ex-wife always prepared food for him and he has never cooked for himself.
He pointed at various other foods and asked if they had expiration dates too, so my co-worker had to explain that each food had a different lifespan.
A Cut Above
A customer in our store cut up a shirt because she couldn’t get it off. She pulled scissors out of her bag and cut up the sleeve and down the side, handed it back to me, and walked off. I called after her and said, “Ma’am, you have to pay for this.” What she said next blew my mind. She said she didn't want it because it was damaged.
I then explained to her that as she was the one who damaged it, and that we can’t sell it, that she has to pay. She just looked at me and said “Well, can’t you just sew it back up?” No, that’s not how it works, lady. In the end, I contacted security and a store manager and she ended up paying for the shirt, which was $160 (it was a rather pricey brand).
So many times I'll be at work preparing to open before we open, and a customer will walk up and yank on the door without even looking and then stand back in confusion. Then I watch them read the sign that says we're closed and then inspect the sign with our hours that clearly says we don't open for another half hour, and then they start rattling the door and waving at me.
If I have to open the door and tell them to their faces that we aren't open yet, they usually just say "Oh." What is the thought process? What is going on?
Please Be Specific
Back in the late 90s, I was working retail at a dollar store. One fellow came up to me and asked, and I kid you not, "Do you have the thing with the thing that comes out?" I gave him a second to see if he would realize what he had said and provide some detail. After a beat or two, I said, "I'm sorry, sir, you will have to be a bit more specific. What thing are you looking for?"
He made hand gestures, almost as if he were pulling open a door or something, and said, "You know...one of those things with the thing that comes out." Managing not to lose my temper, I said, "Sir...What does the thing do?" He said, "It makes coffee." I said, "Are you asking if we have coffee makers that have filter baskets that can be pulled completely out?"
"Yes," he said. I replied, "No, sir, we don't have the thing with the thing that comes out, we only have the thing with the thing that swivels out. Sorry." Later, he came up to me. He held up a box of 35-gallon trash bags. He asked me, "Will these fit in that?" and he pointed at a trash can that was marked, "50 Gallons." I said, "No, sir."
He asked, "Why not?" I said, "Because that is a fifty-gallon trash can, and those are thirty-five-gallon bags." He looked at me blankly for a moment. I added, "Thirty-five is less than fifty." "Ah," he said, nodding sagely.
Weak Signalsperson holding smartphonePhoto by Rodion Kutsaiev on Unsplash
I have had to explain to a shocking number of people that cellular signals can be blocked by structures and garages and that large buildings are well known for blocking cellular signals. I have also had to explain to a shocking number of people that battery life will vary based on usage. It will drain faster while you use it and slower while it's doing nothing.
And even more surprising is that I have to explain signal performance to people who lived through having to step outside to make a call because there was no signal inside.
Caught In A Jam
I used to work in a pancake restaurant. One day I was serving a customer, and he didn't even bother to read the menu. He asked for pancakes with some specific jam. I told him that we do not have that jam on the menu. His answer was eyebrow-raising. He said that I should go to the nearby shop and get some for him because he doesn't want to eat pancakes with anything else.
Yes, I needed to explain to an adult man that that's not how restaurants work.
I worked in a coffee-shop/bookstore. We specialized in manga and comic books, and you could either buy them or take a drink and read for as long as you wanted. Like, we didn't have any restrictions; you could read for eight hours by buying a coffee. However, I still had to explain multiple times a day that yes, you must order and pay for a drink if you want to sit and read.
There was a good library where you could go to read for free, but we were a business and needed to make money. I've had people insulting me because of this.
Making A Case
I worked at an electronics store, and some lady came in to buy a charging case for her iPhone. The case has a battery that can charge your phone a couple of times. Well, she was asking what the cable inside the box was for, which was a micro USB cable. I explained that it's to charge the battery in the case. She didn't understand.
I explained that the case has a battery in it and that you need to charge up that battery. Then, your phone goes in the case and if your phone battery is low and you are out and about, you can turn on the case and it'll recharge your phone. It has enough battery capacity to charge your phone usually once. There was a long pause as I anticipated what she would say next.
She goes, "Wait so you have to charge up the case?" I say, "Yeah." She responds "Oh well, that's stupid.” So I ask, "What's stupid about that?" She says, "Well that's stupid that you have to charge it, you shouldn't need to do that." So I say: "Ma'am, if the manufacturer figured out the global solution for unlimited electricity I don't think they'd be selling phone cases."
She gave me a super-angry expression, you know the one where she thinks she's still right and stormed off.
A Server’s Regret
I’ll always regret that I made my manager do this because I honestly didn’t know what to do. An old woman came in, she didn’t look too old, probably in her early 70s, and she comes in with her daughter and grandkids. I seat them at the only open section with the only waitress who is on at the moment. That waitress happens to be Black.
After I seat them with her a few minutes later, the old lady comes up to me and asks for a non-Black waitress. As a teen, I had no clue what to do and just got my manager. Now I wish I told her how awful she was.
Smoke Signalswhite toilet paper roll on brown wooden tablePhoto by Erik Mclean on Unsplash
I had to explain to a customer that toilet paper rolls shouldn't be returned to a store because it was not a decent thing to do. Oh, but it got grosser. She had used them all. I also had to explain to this same woman that the disabled staff member who couldn't talk didn't intend to scare or offend her by making noises at her and smiling.
I live in France. Here we use AZERTY keyboards instead of QWERTY. That's just how it is and it's been like that for decades. I had to explain to some foreign dude that no, unfortunately, we did not have any QWERTY keyboards in stock, but he could order one online and that no, it wasn't a conspiracy. He started shouting in the store that this was an attack on human rights and brainwashing.
That’s A Stretch
I had to explain to an adult woman that the rubber bands that were accidentally left on her lobster's claws were indeed not edible. I had assured her that they were safe for the food, you just couldn’t eat them. Not a minute later, I was called back after she attempted to eat said bands. Her teenage child just stared at her like she had three heads.
I worked furniture retail over 20 years ago before we had a name for "Karen," but they certainly existed. I had to explain, slowly like I was talking to a child, to a grown woman that she could not return her glass-top patio table that she left out all winter. The glass top was smashed, swept up, and put into a box that was now in front of me.
She couldn't fathom why I was saying no. She had kids with her watching this behavior. Future Karens.
On Thin Ice
I teach kids to ice skate. Parents are asked out of the rink once the kids are ready. A parent of a two-year-old insists that they cannot leave their child alone. I explained that the coaches are here to help and look after the child, but the parent just kept repeating, “I will not be leaving him, he is unable to walk.”
Come on! Why do you sign up your two-year-old for skating if your child is unable to walk on normal land, let alone with skates on? I didn’t think I’d have to have this conversation with an adult. Multiple times.
Loonies, No Greenbackswaving Canada flagPhoto by sebastiaan stam on Unsplash
That this is Canada and we do not take US cash in exchange for goods at our store, despite being a US-based multinational brand. I never thought someone would scream so hard and so close to my face that my hair blew back. It was a surprising exchange that I still think about 15 years later. Ma'am, we are a different country entirely.
“Don’t Throw A Fit”
That when I tell you we are out of stock, it means there is zero inventory. There isn’t some magical special inventory we keep for special customers who complain and dance around the subject. No matter how much you try to weasel it out of me, we don’t have it! So tired of having to explain to adults, you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.
While I worked at Wal-Mart, a middle-aged couple danced around me in the aisle I was stocking for a good five minutes before the guy just straight-up asked me where he could find the batteries for his vibrator. His wife was hiding around the corner. I calmly asked, well what kind of batteries does it take? He looked at me with shame and told me he didn't know.
I then asked if they had brought the vibrator with them so we could take the batteries out to see. For my sake, they hadn't brought it in with them. I suggested they go home and open it and find out what kind it needed. I also suggested maybe a hearing aid battery or watch battery because I had never used a vibrator before and didn't know what they needed.
They went away yelling at each other for not opening it up to see what it needed.
Too many times I need to explain the basics of business to grown adults. For example, to process a return, you need either the receipt or the physical product with you. Realistically, you should have both. If it’s just the receipt, you could have just kept the “defective” item. If it’s just the item, you could have stolen it or bought an identical thing at a cheaper retailer.
Most stores are fairly lenient with this because they don’t want trouble, and most customers are at least 60% honest. You can’t just go up to a register and say, “I bought some produce here and they went bad too fast. I don’t know what they’re called or how much I paid, I want a refund.” Beyond that, people think that the absolute basics of a business are a “scam” when they first start figuring out that what we charge for items is more than what we pay the farmer or factory or artist.
When customers at stores or restaurants “do the math” themselves, they are constantly thinking things like, “I can make this dish for $5 at home if I also use my existing pantry staples, why is it $22 at the fancy gastropub?” or “I can get yarn at JoAnn’s for $7, why does this sweater cost $40?” They usually come to the extremely wrong conclusion “You just want to make money!”
Yeah, we do. In addition to the 900 other things that create higher costs for consumer goods other than raw materials, yes, businesses want to make a profit. And it’s impossible to explain that to an infuriated customer in a polite way. Once a customer starts saying that “big businesses only want to make money,” the only way to answer their questions is both involved and extremely condescending. Turns out the response is not to answer their concerns at all.
Taking The Temperature
I never thought anybody would need to be told “Yes, the ice cream cake, made only of ice cream, has to be kept in the freezer. No, the refrigerator won’t suffice. It will melt.” This has happened many times over the years.
When Pigs, And Buffalo, Flyfried chicken and with green vegetablesPhoto by Alexander Kovacs on Unsplash
No madam, the buffalo wings are not real buffalo.
In A Puddle
A customer once stood in a puddle that was outside our store and asked me what I was going to do about it. I had to explain to him that I do not control the weather and I can’t make it stop raining or get rid of the puddle.
Here are my top three retail experiences: 1) Yes, the can of Crisco has a picture of crispy fried chicken on it. No, the can does not contain crispy fried chicken. 2) No, birth control pills are not 100% effective. This was explained to a woman quite near her delivery. And 3) No, we don't have fans that only blow cold air. I'm sure I could come up with lots more, but these are the first three that come to mind.
In a couple of different lines of business, I've had women start to give me the "I'm a single mom" sob story. I have the perfect response. I say enthusiastically "I am, too!" and you can see the wind go right out of their sails. Yeah, I'm not going to cut them a deal out of pity.
Tough To Swallow
I once picked up my prescription for an anti-emetic and the pharmacist gave me suppositories. My prescription was for pills. The pharmacist insisted that's what my doctor ordered. I pointed to the label that specified to take one by mouth every four hours as needed. She still insisted she was correct and my doctor intended for me to swallow a suppository every four hours.
Any Port In A Stormman in brown jacket beside carPhoto by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash
Customer: "The package carrier says they delayed my package due to a hurricane! I paid for overnight shipping! Your company is trash." Me: “Sir, we didn't delay your package. The carrier is a different company. And there is a literal hurricane over the distribution center.”
A Pain In The Rear
As a pharmacist, I had to explain to a man that you need to take the suppositories out of their foil packaging before you use them. He complained that they didn't work and were uncomfortable. I bet they were.
No Book Smarts
No, the library does not stock every book in existence.
I worked at the airport and someone wanted to go through TSA with a two-liter bottle of Coca-Cola. I calmly explained that liquids weren’t allowed through security. The man gave the most genuine chuckle I’ve ever heard, and revealed the bizarre truth. He said, “This isn’t Coca-Cola! It’s gasoline!” My coworker beat me to a reaction when he very loudly exclaimed, “What the HECK?”
Life Is A Box Of Chocolates
This conversation ended with a customer throwing a large bag of Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion potato chips at my head. It was a woman who came into the store looking to buy a box of chocolates. But there was one huge problem. She didn’t have any money. So this customer proposed that she take the chocolates now and come back later to pay when she had money.
“Do you expect me to go all the way home and bring back the money?” she asked. I said, “Yes, because other than that it’s called shoplifting and we will call security.” “But I need these,” she pleaded. I just said no. That’s when the chips started flying.
There are some great mysteries in this world that will most likely never be solved in our lifetime.
What happens after we die? Who really built Stonehenge? Are there other lifeforms in outer space?
The fact that these not only will, but as of now, CAN never be solved is what fascinates us most.
There are other unsolved mysteries, however, which we view with far more sadness than we do fascination.
Owing to the fact that these mysteries could have, or even still can, be solved but for whatever reason, remain unsolved.
Redditor Shafiq09 was curious to hear the most disturbing and unsettling unsolved mysteries that may never be solved, leading them to ask:
"What is the most unsettling unsolved mystery that you're aware of?"
"This guy broke into a house, killed the single mom, mom's friend, the son, the family dog, and kidnapped the teenage daughter."
"Dismembered the bodies and hid them."
"The girl didn't need to testify in his trial (he pled guilty), but read a letter during his sentencing saying that she knows he had help disposing of the bodies of her family because while she was still tied up in their house, she heard him making phone calls and heard at least one other person show up."
"She heard this person(s) talking, walking around and helping him with the bodies."
"Local pd & prosectutor just wanted a quick & easy trial and conviction, so they swept a lot of details under the rug & the girl's claim in court that this guy had help was very quickly forgotten."- ZormkidFrobozz
9 Mysterious Years...
"The disappearance (and short-lived reappearance) of Johnny Gosch."
"He disappeared one day while delivering newspapers."
"Police did very little to try to solve the crime."
"Nine years later his mother reports that Johnny showed up on her doorstep and explains that he had been held in slavery for the last 9 years."
"Authorities basically say she's making it up and have done no investigating."- in-a-microbus
"Someone keep sh*tting in the holes at the local golf course."
"Been going on for the last twenty years bastard has never been caught."- Odd_Associate8272
Never Came Home
"Old neighbours of ours had their 18-year-old daughter disappear."
"She left work one evening and never made it home."
"No body was ever found either."
"I heard the police have a suspect but not enough evidence to do anything more."- AmigaBob
Long Day At The Beach
"The Beamont children, three young siblings that disappeared in 1966 from Glenelg Beach."- homlessoverland
In The Middle Of The Night...
"Another one is of the Springfield three."
"A woman, her daughter and daughter's friend went missing from their home in the middle of the night with no signs of struggle or major evidence left behind."
"It's been so long since it happened so the chances of this case ever being solved is meager."- epilogueteen
So many Questions...
"One night my husband and I woke up hearing a woman screaming, 'Help me!' "
"He rushed to the window (we’re on the second floor) and saw a car drive past with a woman in a dress hanging on the hood."
"The car sped through the intersection by our place and careened off with her screaming on it."
"We called the police and told them which way it was going and then jumped on our bicycles and rode around the neighborhood to see if she’d fallen off."
"Never found her."
"Never found any news of her."
"I’ve always wondered what happened to her."
"That was over a decade ago."- 2manybirds23
Mysteries of Biology...
"At what point did the brain realize its own consciousness?"
"I find it fascinating."- KinOuttaHer
Paying For Religious Freedom...
"How Scientology still has tax-free status in the USA."- sqoo-5900
And, For That Matter, What Made Them Start?
"Why did the Zodiac Killer and Jack the Ripper stop killing?"
"They were never caught. They could have kept at it."
"So what made them stop?"- AggressiveOkra
"I can't remember exactly what star it was, but there was a star deep in space that astrophysicists saw as relatively unremarkable."
"Just another star they were monitoring."
"Anyway, one day, all was normal, it was in the correct position."
"The next day, they were monitoring all the stars, and this one star had just disappeared."
"No one could figure out why. It could have been that it went supernova, but if it had, they would have seen the residue and the massive explosion, plus all the gaseous residue."
"So it can't have gone bang."
"They also hypothesized that maybe a civilisation had constructed a Dyson sphere (a large construction made to harvest all of a stars potential energy), but if so, it would have been more than likely that we would have seen the star slowly disappear, the light fading as the civilization constructed the Dyson sphere."
"Now, of course, according to the Kardashev scale, there could well be a civilization so advanced that they could have just constructed the entire sphere in a matter of seconds, but we'll never know."
"On that subject, that same civilization could have just absorbed the star instantly to use its power."
"They thought that maybe, other extrasolar objects were just blocking its view somehow, so they continued to monitor its location."
"It never came back."
"Somewhere, out there, a star just miraculously disappeared without a trace."
"And we will never know how or why."
"That's what's so disturbing to me."
"We have such amazing technology to monitor objects millions of light years away, yet we cannot figure out why a star just disappeared without a trace."
"And we may never know."- TheoCross3
No Justice For Their Families
"I have three I'm very invested in."
"One, who murdered Joseph Zarelli (aka the Philadelphia boy formerly known as the 'Boy in the Box')."
"Two, what happened to missing Oklahoma teenagers Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible and who murdered the rest of the Freeman family."
"And three, who murdered the Short family of Henry County, Virginia."- arcana07
The truth behind these mysteries is out there somewhere.
Whether anyone will find it, however, is also a mystery that may never be solved.
Rules are stupid. Okay, maybe not always—plenty of rules exist for a good reason. However, everybody knows that there is nothing worse than a dumb rule, especially when it's at school or work. From the cringe-worthy to the downright creepy, here are the most idiotic rules people on Reddit have experienced.
We Jammina white and black printer sitting on top of a counterPhoto by engin akyurt on Unsplash
We are not allowed to refer to the Xerox Machine as "Bob Marley" anymore even though it still jams way more than it Xeroxes. This is because apparently, the CEO had a tween daughter come one day and she got very upset when she thought the staff was keeping her from seeing Bob Marley in real life. She did not know that Bob Marley is not alive. This stressed out the CEO and he yelled at us about the nickname, no now, the Xerox machine is just "the Xerox machine."
Trees Have Feelings Too
At my elementary school, we had a very strict no snowball policy. This doesn't mean “no throwing snowballs at people”; this means picking up snow and forming a ball is not allowed. So anyway, in Grade 6, my friends and I were throwing snowballs at a tree for fun one day. We got caught in the act and had to write a letter apologizing and explaining why it was wrong and whose feelings we hurt. I wrote the tree.
The Importance Of Shorts
I went to a catholic school from first to eighth grade and I think the worst was when we got a male principal and he made a rule that we were no longer allowed to wear shorts under our skirts. At the time I was only upset about it because it made no sense to me since no one could even see the shorts but once I got older, I realized just how sick it was.
Take A Seat
I was on vacation with my girlfriend at the time, and her dad had a no peeing standing up rule. Literally, I was not allowed to pee standing up in his house. He said this to me at the beginning of the vacation, and I thought he meant to make sure the toilet seat was down after I used it since he only had daughters and wanted to protect them or something. But no—it was so much weirder than I thought.
So, one time when I was peeing standing up, as any man would, my girlfriend's mom says from outside the door that she can hear someone peeing while standing up. Still taking this as a joke, I admitted that it was me. I then got a 30-minute lecture on how I should obey his rules and not pee standing up. Still one of my biggest WTF moments in a relationship.
Don’t Stop To Smell The Flowers
My very first job at 15 was at a florist. I was paid under the table, and as a result, didn't really have any rights as a worker. The hours were normal full-time hours, 8 per day, but I wasn't allowed to take any breaks. I could only use the restroom once during my entire shift. I wasn't allowed to speak to anyone besides the owner, and I couldn't look at the flowers.
Breaking one of these rules would result in $15 taken off my "paycheck" (per incident) at the end of the week. I was making $5/hour at the time, so the penalties were huge. Sometimes I'd get paid for the week and would only get around $50. When I asked why, she'd say she caught me looking at the flowers for too long while I was sweeping or cleaning.
The Tardy Tableman and woman sitting on chairsPhoto by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash
At my high school, when someone was late, they would just have the teacher mark "tardy" on their computer. Most students were never more than a minute late. They just couldn't get to class fast enough and would walk in 30 seconds late or so. Our principal had the brilliant idea of instead having a "Tardy Table" all the way across the school where students would go, line up, and register as being tardy.
If you were late to class, the teacher would send you to the tardy table instead of just marking you late themselves. Instead of having a teacher mark the one or two people who showed up tardy to their class, you had late students from ALL classes lining up to register as tardy with only one person to process them at the tardy table.
The result was students ending up 15-30 minutes late to class because they were waiting in line to register as tardy. The parents were not pleased, but the principal insisted that it would reduce the number of students who were late overall. I'm not sure if they kept it or not. The tardy table was started just a few months before I quit school.
The Company That Aims For Less Efficiency
I was temping for a company in a data entry role. They had some standardized input on their website for inquiries and it got parsed into an excel spreadsheet for some reason. I wrote a macro that sucked all of the data out, which meant you could zip through about ninety forms a minute. What a relief it was.
The people the company employed FULL TIME to deal with these forms complained to the IT manager (one of them was married to the IT manager), and I was lectured about how my efficiency would cost people their jobs and had my internet access restricted for six weeks. A little bit too backward for my taste.
The Dangers Of Circles
In my elementary school in Canada, we were not allowed to form circles. During recess and such as you get older, you kind of get into that whole "oh look at me I’m getting older and cooler and I just stand around and talk with people instead of messing around in the snow" type of thing, and apparently, us forming circles was a safety hazard because supervising teachers couldn’t see anything going on in the middle of the circle
I mean, god forbid, what if we were making a circle inside of THAT circle?
That’s Just Plain Dangerous
I am an EMS helicopter pilot. I fly with Night Vision Goggles. Problem: The FAA rules for using NVG's state that the aircraft must also be equipped with a working radar altimeter. So, if I am flying over the Sierra Nevada mountains on a pitch-black night and the radar altimeter fails…I have to remove the night vision goggles.
Attack Of The Colors
In my sophomore year of high school, our old principal got a promotion to the district office. He was replaced by someone who had literally just moved to the area and knew next to nothing of the well-established culture of our small town. After a few weeks, he noticed a "problem" around the campus. This is where the fun starts.
He saw many people wearing purple and gold in copious amounts, often in ridiculous ways every Friday, and he was sure it had to be related to gang involvement. Rather than ask anyone about it, he called an "emergency assembly" in which he lectured us all about the seriousness of this issue.
He informed us that, from that point on, if anyone were to wear either of these colors at school, they would be put in detention for the remainder of the day, and their parent or guardian would have to come to pick them up. People laughed and rebelled, wearing more purple and gold on more days, and the detention room was overflowing almost every day.
Two months later, he found out that purple and gold were our school colors. People were dressing up like that on Fridays to show support and pride for whatever sports team had a game that day, as was the tradition of our town for the past 60 years or so. To show how stupid he felt, he called another emergency assembly to apologize, to which he wore a purple and gold clown suit and a dunce cap.
In The Name Of Securitythree people sitting in front of table laughing togetherPhoto by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
At my former company, much of my work depended on being able to send and receive email; yet no one except management level was allowed to have their own email address, or even access the outside internet through the company LAN. I was inside an office and had to surreptitiously filch a phone line and get on my own personal dialup account to do my job. Protests to management, of course, proved fruitless; it was all in the name of "security."
When I was about 10, my stepfather's mother would babysit us for several days or sometimes even weeks at a time because my mother wasn't in the picture and my step-father had many business trips. Alright, that’s life. It wouldn’t have been so bad...if she wasn’t completely crazy. She had a rule that if we weren't eating a meal or sleeping, we weren't allowed to be in the house.
This was normally fine, but we were living in Virginia at the time. There was a bad snow storm one winter, and we were out of school for three weeks. This rule still applied then, even with several feet of snow on the ground. Luckily, my best friend's mother was really awesome and would let us come down to her house every day. She fed us lunch and let us watch movies.
Pushing Their Employees To Breakdown
I worked for an inbound call center dealing with the mental health benefits of a certain health insurance company. They had these things called alerts on various accounts, which would give us important instructions like "this group has NO inpatient benefits!" or "this employer does not want us using the word 'eligibility' under ANY circumstances!"
You didn't have to work there very long to familiarize yourself with the alerts for most of the regular accounts that called in. The crazy rule was that you still had to READ the alerts FOR EVERY CALL. Not just click the link and immediately click away–they actually monitored your screen and counted how long you stayed on that page, whether you scrolled down, etc. and expected you to actually re-read every single alert for every single account on every single call.
When upwards of 10 calls every day are coming from the same account, this gets to be EXTREMELY ANNOYING AND STUPID. Of course, this place had a THIRTY-SEVEN step call flow process (as in, 37 things that you had to do for every call), so every call was full of superfluous bureaucratic stuff like this, but the alerts thing was the worst.
I ended up having to go on short-term disability from stress because of all the stuff they made us go through, and eventually I quit after a few months of passive-aggressively refusing to do the parts of the call process that I found pointless/redundant/stupid, and simply taking the hits on my audit scores.
Chinese No Take-Out
Once I worked at a Chinese restaurant where if you forgot to put rice on each customer's table–white or brown rice that was free–the owner expected you to buy the entire table's meal. He implemented this rule by taking the money out of your paycheck. It happened to me once in the six months I was there.
The one time that it actually happened to me, they told me to pay the $50 tab for the table. Yeah, that’s not going to happen. That’s a crazy amount of money when you consider the job I was working. I told them if they enforce that rule, I'd walk out in the middle of service. They didn't enforce the rule. I continued my shift.
In my high school, students would link arms and sway side to side to show school support when the school song was played. One year, we got a new principal who immediately banned swaying due to its suggestive nature. “Any student caught swaying will be suspended.” And we WERE! This was 1972. He was fired in 1973.
Fast Forward to 2002, and my oldest child had this "weird substitute" teacher in one of her high school classes. She thought he was peculiar, commenting about how strange his rules were and that he had a bad attitude. When she said his name, all I could do was laugh. I couldn’t believe it. It was my old principal!
NO TOAST!brown and black bread on white ceramic platePhoto by مشعل زاهد on Unsplash
Working for a 600+ employee marcomms group in the UK: They did free breakfasts for all employees but absolutely no toast was allowed (including toasters) because the CEO hated the smell of toast and thought it made people look unprofessional. This has since been relaxed, I believe, but it was that way for years.
Watch Your Step
In our student handbook at my high school, I found this gem: “Any step measuring longer than 2 feet is to be considered running indoors and to be punished appropriately.” As a 6-foot-tall person with knee problems, basically every step I take is more like 3 feet. The school gave me an in-school suspension for 2 days. Logically, I then organized a 'long step' protest and got about 70 people to take large, exaggerated steps down the main hallway.
It Was A State-Sponsored Cult
I was in Katimavik, which is a Canadian program that is basically a government-sanctioned cult, where youth 17-22 get to travel to three places in Canada doing volunteer work. They cover your transportation, housing, and activities, and you get an "allowance" of $3 a day. It sounds great if you want to travel and have no savings.
However! They have some bizarre rules, which make it sort of like a hippie commune where everyone is supposed to love everyone else equally. You are not allowed to have close friends, OR love partners. At all. So here we were, a bunch of 17-22-year olds, stuck in rural Manitoba in -45 degree winter, no TV or recreation at the house, except lots of snow. And cows. What do you think happened?
Out of 11 people, 8 of them hooked up. We had to meet each other in secret because we would get disciplined if it was found out. On our "weekend off" a bunch of us decided to get hotel rooms, and GASP!, couples shared rooms. Our group leader disciplined us, and gave us "strikes." I already had two strikes for insignificant things, so I was told to leave the program.
I was also disciplined because I spent too much time hanging out with a female friend, instead of like, six people at once singing in a circle like they wanted us to do. It was a pretty bizarre social experiment, kind of like Big Brother. Except nobody wins.
All you city folk might think that this is idiotic, but I think it's pretty sweet. At my redneck high school out in the sticks, there were three categories on the attendance sheet. Present, absent, and hunting. For a month in the fall, students would not get in trouble for being absent if they were out hunting!
Cornering The Cashiers
I worked at a grocery store in Missouri where we got a new front-end manager who was an absolute tyrant. We had to stand in front of our registers with our hands crossed and were not allowed to speak to any of the other cashiers (whether there were customers or not) and if we spoke to the baggers we were written up.
After about 5 write-ups (I treated the baggers like they were actually humans) I contacted the union and she was torn apart.
Desks Need Loving Toobooks and pencil on wooden tablePhoto by ROBIN WORRALL on Unsplash
As a public school teacher, we have what is referred to as "desk warming" where we have to come into school during vacation time to literally sit at our desks. The students are gone, nothing is going on. Our contracts only give a limited amount of vacation time so when our vacation time is up, we must be back in school...students or not.
There Is Time For Juice
My dad had some insane rules but my favorite one is regarding juice. He goes crazy on me whenever I drink fresh fruit juice after midday because according to him “fresh juice is for breakfast.” I’ve never really gotten that one, but now that I've moved out, I can enjoy orange juice whenever I want. Oh yeahhhh!
Taking Clapping Seriously
I went to a private Baptist school during my freshman year of high school. Whenever we had an assembly and it was time to clap our hands for someone who had just spoken or performed, we would have to all clap our hands in unison. It would be led by the insane pastor's wife. She felt normal clapping was too chaotic. It was the weirdest thing I've ever witnessed.
Not Appreciating Pidgin
I worked in an international organization for a few years and spoke to people from pretty much every European country, generally in English. Afterward, I was in the UK and got hired by a company there to help them expand their European business. When I started to call people in other European countries from the new job my new bosses started to look oddly at me, then afterward took me aside and told me I had to stop talking to people in a patronizing way.
I was pretty confused but I worked out after a bit that, like most people that have worked in multinational situations, I spoke "International English" when with non-natives. That is to say, speaking a little more clearly, with more obvious gaps between words, a tiny bit slower, and with a slightly smaller vocabulary.
By slowing things down and speaking this way, it makes it much easier for people to understand than if speaking rapid English as I would down the pub. Having been told off for it, I tried to explain, but my bosses were adamant it was a bad thing to do. Apparently, they believed that people were being made to feel dumb.
I accidentally slipped into it several times and got told off each time until I trained myself back out of it, after which many clients asked me to speak more slowly because they couldn't understand me anymore.
Look At Our Shiny Signatures
I used to work as a developer for a web content firm. Our marketing manager was obsessed with two things–awards and email signatures. She managed to combine the two into a hideous mess. We had won a few big awards at a national level. We had also won lots of magazine "Best Of" type awards for garnering lots of positive reviews from blogs and personal websites.
Every time we got a new award or positive review, we had to add that to our email signatures, along with the award or blog logo. 25 images later I told the marketing manager it was getting out of hand and that big email signatures were the internet equivalent of pooping into the mouth of your friends firstborn whilst suffering from dysentery and nasty gut parasites.
She didn't care. Her response was, "We have to blow our own trumpet and let people know how great we are." To enforce the email signature rule, we had to send her two emails each day proving that our signature was correct and to her satisfaction.
Redefining Lunch Timetwo children sitting beside dining tablePhoto by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Our school messed up the periods so the students who were assigned fourth-period lunch had to eat at 9.40 am. Apparently, the school is not allowed to serve lunch before 10. So, the genius administration decided to ban eating during the period until it hit 10. This included the students who packed their own lunch.
It was extra stupid because they allowed eating during study halls, so if I had a third-period study hall and wanted to have part of my lunch, it was no problem. However, as soon as I moved to the lunchroom the very next period…NO EATING. Talk about dumb!
Fear The Ghost
I work for a very superstitious man. He has quite a crazy set of rules. They go like this: No red pens, no shaking your legs, and no whistling after the sun goes down. These rules are not “official” but he gets stern and incredibly serious about these things. Oh yeah, and he also doesn't allow any joking about ghosts or the supernatural.
Not Believing In The Power Of Women
Women aren't allowed to lift anything at my job. Literally, anything. I was going to dump a trash can full of shredded paper in the dumpster last week and my boss caught me, made me put the trash can down, and go find someone to dump it for me. I was lifting the thing with one hand. It was all so ridiculous and patronizing.
As my job requires a lot of lifting and I hate asking for help constantly, I have mastered the art of picking up 50-plus pound boxes and running with them so no one catches me.
Please Be Warned
I work construction. We're not allowed to tell the new guys how many newbies tragically lost their lives in their first week. I hate it. Young guys don't naturally think about safety, many of them think that they'll live forever. Yeah, gravity doesn't care what you think, please stay away from the ledges, and open elevator shafts.
How Many Nurses Does It Take To Screw In A Lightbulb?
I'm entrusted with the care of mentally handicapped clients, including being trained in first aid, CPR, and the Heimlich Maneuver. Yet, apparently changing a light bulb or adjusting the thermostat in the group home where I work is too big of a responsibility for me to be allowed to do. Instead, I have to call someone else in for the simple task.
The Consequences Of A Napwoman in blue dress shirt and blue denim jeans standing beside brown wooden chairPhoto by Daria Pimkina on Unsplash
We weren't allowed to sit at my old job. That is ridiculous enough, but even more when you understand that our job didn't require us to walk, or stand for any particular reason. We weren't allowed to sit because a worker in the past once pushed two chairs together and took a nap. Luckily for him it was a glorious nap.
Winter Wonder Classroom
We couldn’t wear winter clothing in class—whether it was coats, gloves, hats. All the same. The thing was, even with the heat on, it got cold inside the school during the winter because we lived in a farm town in Wisconsin. So, we just had to freeze. They said it was because winter clothing was gang clothing. Again, this was a farm town in Wisconsin.
Dr. Pepper Takes On A New Meaning
No one was allowed to have nor say the word "Dr. Pepper" because it was the password to a shared Brazzers account that the administration found out about.
My Crazy Dad
If I was in the house, I had to be in the same room as my dad. This continued until high school. I couldn't be downstairs when he was upstairs. If he was downstairs, I had to be downstairs. If he was in the back room, I couldn't be in the front room for too long. I couldn't even nap for years (unless I was sick).
When I got a dog, I started going outside more (she was my best friend). We went everywhere together and I taught her lots of tricks and talked to her regularly. So, he also made a rule that I couldn't teach her any "tricks" if she wasn't going to listen to him when he "ordered her to do them." I also wasn't allowed to greet the dog before greeting him when I came back from school.
Still Using Floppy Discs
In the English class of my Junior year of high school, we had a paper that we needed to make look nice and spiffy, with pictures and such. Floppy disks were the only "school-approved" type of storage. My paper with the pictures didn't fit on the floppy disk. I didn't even have a floppy drive in my desktop at home at the time, so a USB flash drive or email were my only options.
Accessing your personal email from school is a bad idea, so I picked up a 128mb flash drive for about $50, and started using that. The school wasn't happy at all about me installing software on the heavily restricted computers, so I was suspended for three days—at least I scored well on the stupid paper.
Then I got mentioned during an assembly a few weeks later about how people are constantly trying to install software on the school computers to benefit them. The next year, USB flash drives were necessary, and the school made that very clear.
Word Traumaa stack of three towels sitting on top of a tablePhoto by Rinku Shemar on Unsplash
I used to work at a Frisch’s, and the manager there was a total witch. She would nitpick every little thing, but one thing in specific comes to mind. She would not allow anyone to call a hand towel a rag. She policed the usage of the term religiously and if you called a towel a rag, you better be ready to get chewed out.
Taking Video Games Seriously
We were told we could not place stuffed dolls (video game characters mostly) on top of our cubicles because it looks "unprofessional" and "people might be able to see them through the windows from outside." You would imagine that I work in a professional, corporate office. Nope. I work at a video game company.
In 2nd grade circa 1990, I had a teacher that looked like Tammy Faye Baker ask the class to raise their hands if they watched The Simpsons. I raised my hand because my parents were "with it" and I noticed about half did the same. What happened next still blows my mind to this day. She gave the declaration that those with your hands down receive extra credit and will for each week they don't watch that show.
She then went further, extending the extra credit to us watchers if we stopped watching. I told my mother and we didn't abide by it, but I'm sure a few kids did. No idea how she could prove this though to award the credit. But it was pretty much the most prime example in my life of anyone having a cow, man.
Painting The Unpaintable
For a brief point in my life, I was an apprentice in the union of operating engineers in Chicago. I had a temp job in an office building where I was supposed to repaint the equipment in the boiler room. Pipes and such, and even the concrete walls thereof. The building management wanted this and even had butt-ugly colors picked out.
The building engineers thought this was ridiculous, especially when I was told to paint even though there weren't any painting supplies or paint! To make it even worse, the corner of the ceiling had water leaking in, and apparently this happened long enough to erode the concrete and make it look like coral reef. How do you paint that when the water keeps flowing over it?
Walk This Way
I went to a junior high school with all the lockers in a big circular hallway that branched out to the rest of the school. There was a rule that you could only walk around the hallway counterclockwise. This was supposed to promote order and prevent bumping and jostling, or something like that. Good idea, right?
My locker was about 5 feet to the left of the hallway that led to my homeroom (clockwise direction). Nominally, I had to walk a full circuit of the center of the school each time I went to my locker, which I could have spat on from the first pass. I got busted for walking clockwise several times by the VP–the final straw was when I walked to my locker, backward, while holding eye contact with him.
I received a punishment and I had a meeting with the principal and my parents. The principal had a fun time explaining to my parents the rule that I had broken and even harder time convincing them of the need for further punishment. They asked me if I wanted to go to another school. Easy decision.
Not A Strong Enough Punishmenta person with a colorful dressPhoto by Iwaria Inc. on Unsplash
At my high school, a female assistant principal was literally pulling girls aside before they entered a dance in order to check what kind of underwear they were wearing. Apparently, she didn't want students wearing thongs. I don't know if it was an official rule or not, but I have to assume it wasn't. It made national news and the principal only got demoted to a teaching position.
Creeping The Facebook
I went to a private Christian school and they just recently introduced a new rule after I graduated. Now, everyone in 7th grade to 12th grade is required to "friend" at least two staff members on Facebook so they can basically keep tabs on you and whether or not you're bad-mouthing the school or any teachers.
If You’re Late, Don’t Come At All
In one of my college courses we are only allowed to be late three times without our grade being docked but allowed to miss class 6 times without our grade being docked. I'm notorious for being late, so I surpassed my 3 tardies quickly when my professor pulled me aside and told me that if I'm late again my grade will be docked—but I hadn't missed any classes yet.
So now, whenever I'm running late, I go and get a coffee instead, hang out, skip class, because overall that's better for my grade.
One In The Bush
I was in 2nd grade and when it came time for recess, we were all let out onto the playground field area. Well, being a dumb little kid, I didn’t realize that while on an hour-plus recess period I would have to pee. The school didn’t allow students back into the building at ALL while recess was going on. All the doors were locked and there wasn't a supervising teacher around.
Being the enterprising kid I went to the far edge of the field, found a bush, and urinated on it. Well some little witch told the teachers that I had peed on the playground (Technically true because the whole frigging field was the playground.) I was immediately marched to the principal’s office and she convened the school leadership to begin expulsion proceedings immediately.
That would have been the end of it except one little detail that they required my parents to be notified. My mom stormed into the room 10 minutes later and proceeded to yell at them about how stupid it was to not provide bathroom access to a child and then punish the child for finding a solution to the problem that wouldn't hurt anybody.
She took me home that day and we stopped for ice cream So I was happy. Shortly after this the no bathroom rule was rescinded and the principal was fired, presumably from stupidity.
Playing It Safe Against The Rules
In high school I drove a truck, a 4-door F-250. A big truck, but it wasn't raised or anything. So, one day apparently some students were hanging out in the parking lot during break (which is verboten, apparently) and they were hiding behind my truck. Now, I always back into spaces, it makes it much safer leaving the space so I don't accidentally crush someone in a little car who cannot seem to see reverse lights.
It was one of the rules that if I drove the truck to school, I had to back in. Now, the vice principal assumed that I did this so other students could hide behind my truck during break. He brought me into the office and forbade me from backing into parking spaces at school. I explained to him why I did it, and he dismissed it, telling me "I'd have to learn how to back out of spaces someday." Actual quote. He dismissed the idea that I was actually being safer to other students and cars by backing in.
Lunch Silencewoman in gray dress resting her hands on white tablePhoto by sean Kong on Unsplash
In middle school, we were allowed to talk for the first twenty minutes of our half-hour lunch, and then required to sit in absolute silence for the last ten minutes. I'm an adult now, and able to think logistically and objectively about rules that middle schoolers may get indignant about but may also be completely necessary…and I still can't figure out why that rule was in place.
During my junior year of high school, we had an assistant principal come into my math class to lecture the students on their behavior. I'll admit that the class did have behavioral issues, but myself and a handful of others weren't being problematic students. The assistant principal decided to ask everyone in the room to sign a piece of paper with a list of new rules that this class will be enforcing.
A great many of these rules were pretty ridiculous and threatening suspension for any rule violators. A few that I can still recall were: No leaving your seat under any circumstances without permission; No turning your head or breaking eye contact with the teacher; No talking to another student at any time without permission; Absolutely no speaking out in class without permission.
The entire time the assistant principal is reading off this list, I can't help but feel like I'm being unfairly punished because of the conduct problems of others. It felt to me like I was being drilled by a staff sergeant for something that I didn't do, forced to follow a ridiculously strict set of rules. Even though I really wanted to criticize this new regimen, I continued to hold my tongue.
Finally, the AP asks if anyone in the class disagrees with the new rules or feels as if they are overly harsh. Well, what do you say? Just as I had been hoping. Naturally, my hand shoots straight into the air, and I'm called on by the assistant principal. It's my time to shine—and it was amazing. I dramatically clear my throat and proceed to say:
"Please Mrs. _____, tell me if I'm reading all of this correctly...So, in the event that I needed to borrow a pencil from another student, I would first have to raise my hand to get the teacher's attention, then ask the teacher for permission to turn my head and speak with another student, and again that student would have to raise his hand and ask for permission to turn his head, next I would have to ask that student for permission to borrow his pencil, and after I would have to raise my hand and ask for the teacher's permission to sharpen said pencil…does that sound about right to you?"
The class, which had earlier been pretty somber, bursts into laughter. I'm told to immediately report to the principal's office for my statement, and I'm later suspended for two days because of it for "undermining authority."
Too Small A Slice!
Only use one square of toilet paper. You read that right! I always spent the summer with my dad and step-mom, and one year she decided I was using too much toilet paper when I peed. Her solution was to inform me to only use one square of toilet paper, and hung post-it notes in each bathroom directly in front of the toilet so I couldn't miss it.
I don’t know about most of you ladies, but one square just doesn't cut it. I prefer to be reasonably dry down there!
I was asked to always use the word "mustn't" instead of the word "no" around a friend's child. Their reasoning? They thought it would lessen the chances of their child defiantly asserting "no!" when she got older–the age of 2 seemed to foreshadow doom in their family. I was a teenager at the time and the couple were friends of my parents.
They admonished us if we used the word "no" while they were frequently objecting "mustn't!" when the child did something they didn't like. It looked as ridiculous as it sounds but my parents didn't say anything so I just tried to keep my distance. I still think about it to this day and can’t really believe it.
I used to work at Plato's Closet (which is a used clothing store for teens) and they treated us pretty badly. I always felt like I was being treated like a child who is bound to misbehave at any moment. It was the first job I managed to get after graduating from college, which made it so much worse when our manager tried to make us do homework.
One day our manager comes in and tells us that our sales have been lower than usual lately, and tells us to write a two-page essay about why, what our part in it is, and what we can do to fix it. (Note—this is for a job where we were all making minimum wage, no benefits, etc.) I was livid.