People Explain Which Things The United States Does Better Than Most Countries
Some Americans have been known to wish they lived elsewhere in the world, owing to certain things appearing to be much better handled elsewhere.
Up to and including healthcare, free education, cost of living, or simply the way they make pizza or coffee.
However, sometimes we must stop and remind ourselves that the grass is always greener in someone else's yard.
As there are plenty of people all over the world who wish they were living in the USA, believing that some things are simply done better in America.
Redditor KyleB2131 was curious to hear what people thought America does better than anywhere else, leading them to ask:
"What does America do better than most other countries?"
The Versatility Of Corn!
"Turning corn into things that are not corn."- rlemon
"I was going to say cornbread but everyone said rest stops. Have y’all ever had cornbread?"- Admirable-Ad-2554
The Pause That Refreshes
"I love the Interstate Rest Areas on road trips."
"I'm a Canadian from the west coast, and was always VERY impressed with the 24/7 rest areas."
"Clean washrooms, nice grassy areas for dogs, picnic tables, and a lot of times people selling crafts, or offering free coffee!"
"I've only driven through the western states, (WA,OR,CA,NV,UT,AZ) but yeah, those rest areas were always reliable."
"Always well-marked signs when the next one was coming up."
"Just made everything about traveling easier!"
"Thanks neighbors!"- Ubba-GaGiphy
"Jazz, the Blues."- BretonVikander
...But Maybe Not The Airports...
"Aircraft carriers."- TheBladeRodenFlying Take Off GIF by U.S. NavyGiphy
A Breath Of Fresh Air
"National Parks."- Big-Win6220
"We have nearly every biome on Earth available in the lower 48 alone."
"Adding Alaska and Hawaii just completes the set."
"Is there any biome that doesn't exist in The US?"- Ursa_Mid
A Nice Cold Drink
"Make sure there's ice in your beverage."- HegemonHarbingerWater Day GIF by ZinZenGiphy
Very Logical Indeed
"Serious answer? "
"We're quite a large country and we've gotten very good at moving things around."- weirdoldhobo1978
America is what it is today all owing to the fact that people came here for a better life.
No question, America has its issues, hence why no one mentioned our political system or our electoral process.
But it's the things that are uniquely and unequivocally American which makes people feeling lucky to be living here.
There are situations in life that seem harmless to some but can be considered offensive or upsetting to others. If everyone involved is civil about it, an apology is issued, forgiveness is given and everyone moves on with their lives. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, as sometimes logic goes out the window and someone gets offended by, say, a toddler wearing a NASA shirt because they don’t actually work there. This situation, and countless others, were shared on Reddit by people who remain confused to this day with interactions they had where they would gladly apologize if they knew what to apologize for. Be prepared to be baffled and confused while reading the list down below!
Huffing And Puffinggrey canoe on calm body of water near tall trees at daytimePhoto by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
I work at a summer camp and on the first day, we always let the campers vote on a mascot that we use for the rest of the summer, as a sort of bonding thing. This year, the kids voted for a wolf as the mascot. It was almost unanimous, but one kid, probably about 9 or 10, threw a fit, because he believed that wolves were “bad guys.”
He also claimed they were predators and killers, so he didn’t want to be a wolf, he wanted to be a hero. He refused to participate in any team activities because he didn’t want to be on a team with the “bad guys.” We even brought in a guy one day in a full wolf mascot costume and the kid got upset and threw a massive tantrum.
I almost felt like we were going to learn at some point that his brother was taken away by wolves or some other tragic origin story. I did feel bad for the boy because I was fairly certain he had some kind of unaddressed emotional difficulties or something, but we weren’t going to change the mascot name that almost everyone voted for.
Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover
I was in a car accident a few years ago and it messed my leg up. Since then, I've been using a walking stick. One day, I was walking to the shop and an old bloke gave me the dirtiest look I've ever seen. What he said next was unbelievable. He told me: "What do you need a cane for? You're only a kid." He actually got quite irritated at just the sight of me using a stick.
Like, my dude, I'm just out trying to buy some milk. I don't need your judgement today. I didn't say that out loud though, I just said it to myself after I got home.
Around 22 years ago, I had a phone interview with a baking company. I didn’t care to have my peers know what I was up to so I took the call on my cell phone in my car. The call was crystal clear and no technical issues. At one point, he mentioned the weather and asked how it was there. I told him I was sitting in my car and could see it was snowing.
The interviewer asked me, “Are you taking this call on a cell phone?” I told him I was. He then asked me if I thought that was appropriate. I asked him what he meant by that. He said he thought it was kind of rude to take a formal call on a cell phone. I told him I would be more than happy to conclude the interview if talking on a cell phone was an issue.
If he was interested, I’d be happy to continue it the next day when I’d be at a desk. He again repeated how rude he thought it was that I had called from a cell phone and that there was no need to continue the interview process. I disagreed with the first point but did agree with the second. To this day, I wonder what the big deal was.
I had a science teacher who refused to acknowledge page 666 in our textbook. He would refer to it as page 666-a. So when he counted pages he would say 664, 665, 666-a, 667, etc.
One time my friend got offended when I put on my seatbelt because she thought I was commenting on her driving ability.
Witch One?person holding black smartphonePhoto by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash
We use an app at work called Bonfyre. One employee refused to use it because they claimed that bonfires are for witchcraft and pagans.
Missed A Spot
I spent nine hours deep-cleaning the house for an inspection. I went above and beyond, clearing my work schedule and going the extra mile, but my roommate insisted on double-checking my work. He had a complete psychotic meltdown because I forgot to sweep underneath the couch. I moved out the next day and never spoke to him again.
More Catty Than A Cat
I was at the vet with my cat and he happened to sneeze. This act was apparently very offensive to an elderly woman who was there with her corgi. She started screaming at me for about 30 minutes about pet hygiene.
The Power Of Pink
There was this time at school when this guy didn’t have a calculator and asked the class if anyone had one he could borrow. Someone did and was kind enough to offer it to him. However, when it was revealed that the calculator was pink, the guy refused. He claimed he was offended that this person would try and give him something so girly.
I'm a nurse at a children's hospital and one day I was wearing Mickey Mouse Halloween scrubs that had little dancing skeletons on them. The intention was to get into the Halloween spirit and have some fun. Unfortunately, a visitor of one of my patients didn’t see it that way and complained that I was wearing "scary and inappropriate scrubs."
Stumpedwhite monitor on deskPhoto by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash
When I was a child, my mum paid for something with a check. The cashier remarked that my mum had nice handwriting. Out of nowhere, to the surprise of the cashier and myself, my mum flew off the handle and stormed out of the shop in an outrage. I didn’t know what happened then, and to this day, I still have no idea what happened.
It’s OK Not To Be OK
I remember I once got into an argument with someone on the internet because they stated it was offensive for me to not want to have my anxiety and I should be proud of it. No thanks, Becky, I completely disagree. I don’t know about you, but I'd prefer to live my life without the constant feeling that something's going to go wrong.
A Simple No Would Have Sufficed
One time when I was working the drive-thru at a fast-food restaurant, I had a customer get offended when I asked them, “Would you like to make the burger a meal?” as I do with every customer who doesn’t specify if they want a meal. They screamed about how they already knew what they wanted and couldn’t handle me trying to do my job and upsell them.
Honest To God
Back when I was in grade school, one of my teachers was discussing something, I don't exactly remember the context, and said, "God or a god" in order to be neutral to those with various religious beliefs. That wasn’t good enough for one girl in my class, who got so upset and offended about it that she started bawling and saying how he was being disrespectful towards her beliefs.
Brother From The Same Mother
I had someone get offended by me calling my brother "bro." They insisted that I was being inappropriate and that white people couldn’t be related to Mexicans. Like, seriously lady? That's not how genetics work. We are 100% related and are a mix of white and Native American. It’s not that unheard of for one biological sibling to come out lighter or darker than the other.
And even if we weren't related, again I ask, seriously? I'm inappropriate for calling someone close to me my bro despite being different skin tones? Seriously? Thank you for coming to my rant session. Have a good day.
It Means What It Meansgrayscale photo of woman covering her face with her handPhoto by Sherise Van Dyk on Unsplash
I was typing in someone's phone number to activate their rewards card. I finished typing it in, found her name, proceeded with the transaction, and said, "You're good to go." The woman replied, "What is that supposed to mean?" and proceeded to give me a fiery glare as if I just personally kicked her toddler across the store.
"It means I found your information. You'll get your points." The woman, "Oh. Okay then." I still can't figure out why she flipped out like that. It was a rewards card, she got her points and she got her discount.
There was this guy at a Halloween party I was at who was dressed in a giant bacon costume. Some girl started yelling at him for being so offensive toward Jews and Muslims…all while being neither Jewish nor Muslim herself. There was a guy at the party who was Muslim and asked her what she was talking about, but she didn't back down.
I have no idea why people feel the need to go out of their way to be offended on behalf of people who…aren’t offended.
There was this guy at a Halloween party I was at who was dressed in a giant bacon costume. Some girl started yelling at him for being so offensive toward Jews and Muslims…all while being neither Jewish nor Muslim herself. There was a guy at the party who was Muslim and asked her what she was talking about, but she didn't back down.
I have no idea why people feel the need to go out of their way to be offended on behalf of people who…aren’t offended.
My friends told me about a virtual school board meeting they recently attended on how a return to school was going to work. The students and teachers who would be taking part in the return were jokingly labeled as being “guinea pigs” for the plan. As if the situation wasn’t difficult enough, someone got offended at the use of the term guinea pig, claiming it was inappropriate. That was a new one to me.
Don’t Be A Color-ist
Someone once got offended because I used the word black in conversation. Thinking about it still makes me laugh. I was talking about an article of clothing and how it was the color black. They tried to make it into something about race, and that I shouldn't use the term black anymore, and should say African-American. I said that makes no sense as I'm literally talking about the color black.
Am I supposed to say I'm wearing an African-American colored shirt? Maybe I'm crazy but I think that's actually offensive.
Context Is Important
I used to work in tech support back during the dot com boom and one of my customers got upset with me over the use of the word “icon.” According to him, the word icon had religious implications regardless of the context it was being used in. He insisted that instead of calling them Windows icons, I called them “little picture things.”
To Whom It May Concerngray and white long sleeve shirtPhoto by Markus Winkler on Unsplash
I was in a store once in Moab, UT when a woman started yelling directly at me that she'd never buy a shirt that says Moab on it because in the bible Moab was apparently a terrible, sinful place. I ended up just standing there blinking at her until she finally wandered away because I couldn't figure out why she was even there then. That wasn’t even the most ridiculous part.
For one, I wasn’t even an employee or had anything to do with the store we were in. Literally, no one had asked her if she wanted one, and I wanted nothing to do with the interaction that was occurring.
Eye Can’t Stand The Sight Of That
We have an organization-wide theme every year and all the PCs on our network have the same background and theme which can't be changed. This year's theme was, "Vision is 2020" and the background was a zoomed-in picture of an eye in really awesome colors. Two women on staff wrote letters to complain about the picture.
They claimed that the picture was "heathen" as it drew from "Illuminati" imagery and paid tribute to the "all-seeing eye of Eqyptian deities." They whined and complained to such an extent that the picture was eventually changed to shut them up and let the normal folks get back to our actual work. And that is why we can’t have nice things.
One And The Same
My ex-husband once got offended by a sandwich. I kid you not. He was given a sandwich by our then 13-year-old daughter and because she cut the sandwich in half he went off on a massive tangent about how his sandwiches should never be cut, etc. She was crushed. It still winds me up to no end every time I think about it.
An ex of mine once flew into a shrieking rage because while he was driving, someone swerved or did something surprising and I gasped out loud. Apparently, that meant that I didn't trust him and our entire relationship was in question. The amount of rage for the level of infraction was, well, upsetting, to say the least.
For those suggesting I was actually overreacting and being the annoying one, he was a terrible, aggressive driver, and we lived in Boston. I'm reminded of the time he reversed the car out of a spot by turning the wheel sharply and gunning the engine, smashing the entire side of the car into the concrete pillar next to the parking spot.
That was my fault too for not warning him that he was going to hit the pillar. I also gasped that time, despite being warned that gasping was a sign of distrust in the relationship.
Over His Head
I managed a small, new team that had no procedures or policies, so I set about instituting some. I jokingly told them, "I mean, you never know, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow, and then no one would know how to process these requests.” I then asked for their feedback and for them to write up how they did their tasks.
We would then come back together and decide the best practices moving forward in a future meeting. This little man filed a complaint to the manager for my use of "violent imagery" and said that he felt threatened. It was a whole thing—but it came back to bite him. Ultimately, he got fired. He was a horrible employee with real issues towards having a woman in charge.
Family Mattersthree people sitting in front of table laughing togetherPhoto by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
In my counseling program, we are currently going through assessments and revising them. One portion of the assessment asks about family members and what the client’s relationship with them is like. One of my classmates got upset and insisted we remove that section because having a family is a sign of privilege and it’s triggering.
Guess What’s For Dinner
At my wedding, we marked the vegetarian items as vegetarian. This made the one vegetarian at my wedding, who happened to be the sister-in-law who hates me, fly into a catatonic rage because we are singling out the vegetarian food as vegetarian and not treating it as normal food. How else are they supposed to know it's vegetarian?
Candy Cane And Abel
I had a pastor that insisted we call candy canes "Jesus sticks" because Christmas is all about Jesus. Well, when I was seven, I accidentally referred to the Holy Jesus Stick as a candy cane in his presence. I swear to you, he rushed over to my dad to tell on me and carry on about how offensive it is to see the world trying to remove Christ from Christmas.
My dad asked him if he was serious and then told him to grow up. Then, to rub it in, my dad took it one hilarious step further. He dressed up as Santa a couple of weeks later, and came into the church yelling "Ho! Ho! Ho! Candy canes for everyone!" and passed the satanic candy canes to all the little children during the service. The pettiness runs deep in our family.
Take A Step Back
My ex and I were looking at houses and brought his dad—let's call him Dave—to see some of them. At one of the houses, apparently, the real estate agent didn't spend enough time agreeing with Dave about how the bottom step was too tall. Later that night, I got an hour-long lecture from Dave about how the agent was a terrible person that was trying to take advantage of us.
I'm single now…and Dave here was definitely a contributing factor.
Fanning The Flames
At my job, we often move around from desk to desk. One guy left his desk with a small fan, and my desk neighbor would point the fan at his desk. One day, a new employee came and sat at the desk with the fan, and rearranged everything to her liking. After she went home that night, my neighbor pointed the fan back at his desk.
When she came in the following day, she saw the fan was pointed away from her chair. She loudly asked the room if someone had been interfering with her workspace. My desk neighbor apologized and took responsibility for it, but reminded her that it was not her fan as it belonged to the former desk occupant. She went ballistic.
My desk neighbor was disrespecting her and her space and creating a hostile environment. She went immediately to the floor supervisor and demanded a new seating assignment. When she packed up her desk she took the fan with her. She eventually got a seat alone in a quiet private space, so that worked out nicely for her.
Not All Men’s Best Friendperson walking beside Golden retriever on the streetPhoto by Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash
An old man got deeply offended when my friend and I were walking her dog off-leash…in an off-leash dog park. He was riding his bike, which isn't even allowed, and was screaming at us about how disrespectful we were being. Another time, we got yelled at by a different old man for "not cleaning up after that dog." She had peed on the grass.
Old boomer men get offended constantly by her and her dog just existing near them. She moved away but sends me stories every now and then because it happens all the time. Her dog is a well-behaved golden retriever straight from a family movie from the 90s, and she is a young professional adult who keeps to herself. I don't understand it.
Mind Your Manners
I used to work at a buffet pizza place years ago. One time, after checking out a lady who was probably in her 40s, I said: "Thank you ma’am." She lost her mind and said I was calling her old. I tried to explain that I was born and raised in the Deep South—Louisiana—and that is how we talk there, but she wasn't having it.
She asked for the manager. When he came out, she explained the situation to him, to which he replied by telling her to GTFO and never come back.
Help Not Wanted
I want to start this off by saying that when this situation occurred I was going blind. So I had some vision but required the use of a white-tipped cane. Anyway, I am on campus one day and leaving a building when I spot a man in a wheelchair coming up behind me. He had a squeaky wheel so I noticed the noise and looked back.
This man had a backpack and some stuff in his lap, so when I went through the door I held it open for him. I was just being a nice guy and helping out a random person. That is where I screwed up. He stopped, looked at me, and started yelling that he didn't need my help or my pity, and that I was only holding the door because he is disabled.
I waggled my cane at him and said, "I am disabled as well. I was only trying to be nice and open the door for you like I would for anybody. It’s not because you are disabled. I’m not going to slam the door in your face because you’re disabled either, I’m going to because you’re a jerk,” and I did. I never thought someone would get upset with me opening the door for them.
Ewe Got to Be Kidding?
A customer used to get extremely riled up if we asked, "How are you?" or "Would you like a bag with that?" Really anything with the word "you". The alternative was mind-blowingly ridiculous. Instead, we had to say, "How is yourself today?" or "Would yourself like a bag with that?" Otherwise, she'd get super offended and scream, "I’m not a female sheep!" Referring to "ewe" as opposed to "you".
Out Of Left Field
My dad and stepmom got offended for some reason when I said, "Online school makes my behind hurt from sitting for six hours straight. This is worse than when I was working 70 hours a week." I was pretty confused when a few minutes later my stepmom said, "You should appreciate what your dad does to pay the bills." I never said anything about their jobs.
Bargain Hunterperson using MacBook ProPhoto by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash
I was at my mom's apartment one morning and my mom and little brother were asking me if the laptop on the floor was mine. All I said was, "No, mine's a little bigger." My mom proceeded to lecture me on being rude and all that good stuff. She was all like, " You didn't have to say that. That was mean. You don't have to brag about having a better laptop.”
She continued by saying how some people don't have enough money for a laptop like mine. I just looked at her, then told her that I got my large, touchscreen, 17-inch Dell laptop for under 20 bucks.
Anything Is Better Than Nothing
A cashier once got offended that my child called me by my first name. Actually, it happened a few times when he was growing up but this cashier stands out the most. My son is autistic and was delayed in his speech but he started calling me by my first name instead of mom around the age of 4 or 5. I think it's because he heard everyone else call me by my first name.
I honestly didn't care if he used my first name, a nickname, mom, mommy or whatever, as long as he talked, and that's what I told the cashier.
There’s Always Another Option
My name and contact details went on the cover letter for a newsletter that went to 19,000 tenants. A sight-impaired lady, who I'd met a few weeks before, complained that the copy she was sent did not take her visual impairment into consideration and that I was breaking the law. She had some special requirements, a specific font, and size, no italics, etc.
I offered her the choice of me sending her the newsletter as it is, pics and all, but blown up to A3 size to make it easier, or I could copy the text into her specific requirements, but without the pictures. I could not do both. I specifically told her if she chose option A, I could not guarantee that the text would meet her needs.
She chose the first option, so I managed to get our print guys to do one copy at A3 size. I delivered it by hand the same day she asked for the copy. The very next day, at 9:02 am, she made an official complaint against me, claiming the text in the version I'd posted did not meet her needs and she was unable to read it.
Get It Yourself
I used to work at a bookstore. One of my coworkers was helping a customer who wanted a book from the top shelf of a very high section. The co-worker is 4'11" tall, the customer is maybe 5'2" tall, and the nearest stepstool is God knows where. I'm 5'10" tall and was nearby, so my coworker waved me over for help and pointed out the book.
I plucked it off the shelf and handed it to the customer with a polite and casual "Here you are ma'am" type of smile. No big deal, right? Wrong. The customer exploded. Apparently, it was completely unfair that I was so tall and could reach the book easily, and clearly, I was mocking her. She went to my manager to complain and left quickly after that.
For the final project in my high school art class, we had to do a report on an artist and then make a piece based on their work. I can't remember who I chose, but my project was Minecraft Pixel Art. I spent a long time working on it at home and at school. The teacher and nearly everyone loved my work, except for one student.
She was angry that I was using a computer in class because it insults the artist I am working off of. She tried to delete my world when I went to the bathroom, but a friend of mine stopped her and she got in trouble. Her mom later complained to our principal that I started it, because art is meant to be canvas and paint, not computers.
ETA Is Not OKwoman in black headphones holding black and silver headphonesPhoto by Charanjeet Dhiman on Unsplash
I work in customer service and have dealt with a number of people who got super offended for very little reason. I help with roadside assistance, service calls for equipment repair, product Q&A, placing orders, and minor tech support, all for different brands. One roadside assistance call was from this guy who was on the side of the expressway with a flat tire.
He had a spare tire but no jack, so I dispatched the call and told him help would be there as soon as possible. He asked for the time they'd arrive, which is a common question. I can't provide an exact time, only an estimate, and most of the time when I tell people that, they accept that information, and thank me for the help.
Not this guy. He demanded an exact time as to when help would arrive. Insert story here on how he's an important person with things to do, followed by how we're "not a real company" if we don't give him an exact time of arrival to change his tire. I verbally slapped him out of his story, which I’m allowed to do thanks to my job protocols.
I told him I've done this work for a decade and can't tell him anything like, "They'll be there in 4 minutes and 13 seconds" because it will be wrong. I reiterated that help will be there as soon as possible, then released the call. There’s no sense in me entertaining this offended guy, who's already got help on the way, when I've got other people still waiting to call for help.
Gimme, Gimme Sometimes Gets
I went to Walmart the other day and had to wait in line for a cart because there were none available. As I waited, a line formed behind me, with most notably a 6’5” tall man near the back. Eventually, some carts came out but you have to wait for them to be cleaned before you can get one. Apparently, the tall man didn’t get the memo.
He pushed past myself and a woman to grab the first cart. He got stopped by a worker who politely asked him to hold on a second so he can sanitize the cart. The tall man got in the worker’s face and started cussing him out. He snatched the cart, pushed past us, and started screaming, "You don't know who you're talking to little man," as he walked down an aisle.
The worker handled the situation very well, but he was scared just as much as we were. I never knew a couple of extra seconds for your own benefit could annoy someone so much.
Mind Read The Room Next Time
I told a really cheesy joke at work once. Something along the lines of, "this kid was a pirate for Halloween, and some lady who answered the door said where are your buccaneers, and the kid said under my buckin' hat, lady.” Well, this perpetually angry woman at work told me it was offensive to her, because her mother had deformed ears.
She was legitimately serious, acting like I should have known that about her mom. On top of that, my dumb joke had nothing to do with ear deformities. She also got offended that some older guy that everyone loved called women, "Tootsie" or "Toots" sometimes. It doesn’t end there. She was also offended by the image on the box of Skinny Cow Ice Cream.
Look It Up
Last week at work, one of my co-workers made a slight mistake that affected another area of the department. The girl who found the mistake came to me demanding that I fix it and complained that she always had to fix mistakes from our area and she was sick of it. I listened to her badger on while I fixed the error, until I couldn’t take it anymore.
I sighed and said, rather level-headedly, "Thank you, I'll get to the bottom of it. I appreciate your diligence." She literally screamed at me and went to go get our manager, insisting that I was "mocking her with words she did not understand." I later found out that she thought that diligence was a fancy word for smarty pants.
I used to work at a drive-thru and lost count of the number of people who got super angry at me when I didn't hear what they said. All I would say was, "I'm so sorry, could you repeat that one more time? I didn't quite catch that" and the next thing you know they are blowing up about how "you never understand what I'm saying every time I'm here! I'm never coming here again!"
I don’t know, maybe just repeat it once more so I can punch it in? Why do you have to get so mad?
Too Many Wordsgroup of people walking near body of water and building under blue sky at daytimePhoto by Ilnur Kalimullin on Unsplash
In French, we have a way to address a man—Monsieur—a married woman—Madame—an unmarried woman—Mademoiselle—and we use to have one for an unmarried man—Mondamoiseau—which disappeared from official paperwork ages and ages ago. In the name of gender equality, mademoiselle was also removed a few years ago from official paperwork.
Also in the name of gender equality, some employees were told to not call young women mademoiselle anymore and to go with madame instead. So the trick is that some women will get offended when called madame, because it makes them feel old…and some women will get offended when called mademoiselle, because it is considered inappropriate.
Don’t Be Greedy
I worked in a clothing store that would occasionally send out $10 and $25 coupons to people. For obvious reasons, you can only use them once, so we were told to rip them up and throw them away after scanning them. The anger that would fill the old ladies’ faces when I ripped that coupon in half and threw it in the garbage after scanning it was scary.
Once, a customer angrily demanded that I give her the coupon back so she could use it again, so I scribbled on it with a black sharpie and gave it to her with a “have a nice day.” I really shouldn’t be in customer service.
No Shirt, Sherlock!
I was at the shop with my seven-month-old and he was wearing an adorable shirt that had a rocket ship and the NASA logo on it. We were minding our own business when some middle-aged woman in the shop came up to me out of nowhere and said, “He shouldn’t be wearing that because he’s clearly not an astronaut.” I was dumbfounded.
There’s A Time And A Place
I had a coworker who got mad at me because I asked her not to tickle me. The coworker was very young and immature. This was her first job, her first time in a professional environment, and she really had no clue about professional workplace behavior. I wasn't upset, because she truly thought she was being friendly.
However, I pointed out that we were not children, we were not in a relationship, we were not family, it was very inappropriate to do that at work, and most importantly, I don’t like being tickled! I know she was young, but I couldn’t believe her reaction. She flipped out and said everyone likes being tickled and I was being mean to her. Thankfully, my boss had my back. I should also mention that I’m a woman, too.
Do You Have Any Grey Poupon?
My sister's marriage began its demise over mustard. She was offended that French's Yellow Mustard was in the fridge instead of something organic. She didn't want their infant son growing up with yellow mustard in the house. That argument was the beginning of the end. My poor brother-in-law couldn't even eat a sandwich without getting blasted from her.
We can all agree that, while it's supposed to be fun, navigating the dating scene is hard.
But since the world has never before seen the technological tools it has at its disposal now, never before will we have seen how this technology could impact our relationships.
But it goes much deeper than people sitting in the same room with each other while only engaging with their screens.
Seeming to be getting fed up with the dating scene, Redditor princeflare asked:
"What do you think is the true killer of modern dating?"
No Third Places Left
"A lot of commenters are saying "dating apps" but I think that misses the mark. The true culprit is the loss of community and, as someone else mentioned, the Third Place. We wouldn't need dating apps if people were still able to meet organically as much as we used to."
Fear of Being Approached
"A lot of women nowadays freak out if asked out even organically. A friend and I were at the bar a bit before the pandemic and we were having a good time and started talking with a mixed group near us. Eventually, groups merged and we were all having fun."
"We ended up having a lot of conversations with two of the girls in that group. One went to the bathroom and the other right after she left was all like, 'You should totally ask out my friend,' and all that."
"Fast forward through the night, and eventually, we are playing pool, and that girl and I are kinda in the corner by ourselves, so I asked her for her number."
"She just freaked out, like, 'I gotta get out of here' style freakout."
"We hung out for like two hours, laughed together multiple times, we're were in public place near people she knows, we had a small bit of physical contact initiated by her, her friend thought I should ask her out, I didn't do it within earshot of everyone to not put her on the spot, etc. I very much can't imagine a scenario where I could make someone more comfortable beforehand."
"I'm married now to a great woman but when you try off dating apps and it's looking like the stars aligned and you get that response, it's just like, what the h**l is wrong with people."
"Wow, just when you think the signs couldn’t be any clearer, she pulled a complete 180."
"Glad you ended up finding someone good, though."
What (True Crime Podcasts) Heck?
"Is it crazy to link the explosion to true crime content and it largely being consumed by women to their fear of an organic dating scene in the last 20 years?"
"I’ve heard some crazy stats about women EATING up true crime content which can induce paranoia, I listened to that s**t for a summer and couldn’t look behind myself at night as a 6’2 male, lol (laughing out loud). Terrible and anxiety-causing stuff."
"Dude, not at all crazy to link it all together. I actually had to have a small intervention with my ex-girlfriend a couple years ago because all she listened to was podcasts about murder... etc. and she was becoming so insecure and anxious, and it absolutely was changing her personality and sense of safety."
"We even had a similar talk about following nothing but Instagram models… things like that will completely warp your view of the world."
"Not crazy at all. Studies have shown that watching crime dramas, the news, and true crime type stuff can all lead to unrealistic perceptions on how dangerous the world actually is."
Too Many Options
"The true killer of modern dating is the paradox of choice, where endless options often lead to indecision and commitment issues."
"It's amusingly called a frictionless market. There's no cost in continuing to look for the 'perfect' partner, so people skip over the good matches they could build a happy life with."
"I wanted to add: There seems to be some confusion about what the costs are, and what the side-effects of this scenario are. In a non-frictionless market, there's a cost in time and effort to continue looking."
"For example, if you're looking for a perfect apple, and you can't find it in your store, you drive to store after store. That costs time, gas, etc., costs that you don't have in online dating, because to continue looking is just another swipe on the dating app. So there's no deterrent to continue looking because to continue looking is 'free.'"
"The side-effects are around failure to have successful relationships, emotional costs due to frustrated expectations and relationships."
Lack of Shared Experiences
"Call me old-fashioned, but it’s the complete lack of mystique, in my opinion. Part of the fun of dating pre-internet was learning about a person and getting to know them through conversation and shared experience."
"We are more connected than ever before but there is a loneliness epidemic happening. It all seems so cheap and seedy nowadays."
"I'd add getting to know them by actually talking to them instead of sleuthing around to find stuff about their life."
"Totally agreed. Shared experiences are such a huge factor, and nobody wants to give anyone time anymore."
Level Up: Dating Gamification
"The gamification of swiping left or right on hundreds of profiles based off of two-second first impressions, typing one-word messages, and then ghosting them or unmatching because you’re bored. Not treating them like actual humans. There’s always a new profile to move onto."
"I say this as someone who literally met their current spouse on Tinder, but online dating apps are (for the most part) very demoralizing. I couldn’t wait to get off the app and meet up in person to have a real human connection."
"This really rings true to me. I was already with my husband when dating apps took off. I vividly remember watching some friends check their apps and just saying, 'Nope, nope, ew, doesn’t make enough money, too short, nope.' It was all based on their immediate impression of the photo and bio."
"Then they’d start messaging someone and obsessing over exactly what to say, how quickly to reply, what did the other person mean by that. There was so much analysis and decision-making before they ever met someone in person."
"I know several couples who met online and have great relationships, so it can work for some people, but I know many more who have struggled with online dating."
"I think this is definitely it. My husband and I met on Tinder, but he doesn't even have social media, and I only use it to post big things like our wedding and literally nothing else. So not avidly. Our first date was like five days after we matched and moving off the app to meeting in person definitely changes the dynamic and trust and should be done as soon as possible."
"Social media is a killer of interpersonal connections and has created a shallow society."
Getting Paid to Date... or... Paying... to Date... Wait, What?
"If we consider that modern dating is largely just online dating at this point."
"Then the clearcut killer of modern dating to me is monetization. A decade ago Tinder was AWESOME. It was very easy to match with people, land dates, and participate in hook-up culture if you wanted to. OKCupid was fun and based on personality, lifestyle, and chemistry. Bumble was a decent alternative to Tinder."
"Then they all I think got bought out by one company and all started to care more about profit than purpose."
"Bumble, you get like ten likes a day max. Sometimes five. It’s inconsistent."
"Tinder you have a ton of bots and ads and spam accounts. You have to pay money to access the same features that you got for free before."
"OkCupid went away with their great formula and went for a swipe feature instead and now it sucks."
"Hinge could be good but it locks away the most essential, basic filters for finding suitable dates behind a paywall."
"Work-life balance. People are too tired or too broke to go out and do things. Any spare time and you are just too tired to want to do anything. This is how dating apps took off and led to objectification and judging people in five seconds."
"Yeah. It’s so exhausting to do anything after work. Friday is just recovering Saturday is the day to do everything and Sunday is for preparation for the week. How can you get the time to get to know new people?"
"Oh gosh, I thought I was alone in this! The couple of times I have started seeing someone I end up completely overwhelmed because I never get a day to just do nothing. I’m too tired during the week, so would have to cram seeing family, and friends, and going on a date on a weekend. I feel much more relaxed single."
"I wish I could’ve met someone in school where it seems like it was much easier to see them during the week."
The Search for Perfection
"The fact that, thanks to a steady diet of social media and brain-dead entertainment, everybody seems to think that they deserve a partner that checks all the items in their cartoonishly unrealistic list of requisites while at the same time they, at their best, would have basically f**k all to offer their fantastical ideal partner in return. And odds are they're not at their best anyway, so they have even less than f**k all to offer."
"And to top it off, everybody seems to think that this imaginary ideal partner should put in all the work and effort in the relationship, including pursuing them before the relationship even starts, while they sit back and do, well, f**k all."
"'You’re not perfect, sport, and let me save you the suspense, this girl you met isn’t, either. The question is, whether or not you’re perfect for each other...' I think that quote is what people miss."
The Need to Share
"Social media and dating apps. How on earth is not broadcasting your life a red flag? To me, that is a neon green flag."
"The last place I would look for love is on an app. Maybe I am old-fashioned... the instant filtering is just plain weird."
Increased Opportunities to Cheat
"I've been cheated on in every relationship I’ve ever been in because of Instagram and Snapchat, obviously not 'because,' but they make cheating a lot easier and seemingly less 'painful,' which it’s not."
"I’m sick and tired of this s**t, man. I just want a loyal woman in my life, I’m tired of being f**king hurt. All my friends have been cheated on at least once, some physically and most on social media. Mine all of the above. So tired of it, for real, man."
"Where the f**k did true, loyal, adorable love go?"
Knowing Your Worth
"I would say egos, and people that think they have a high perceived value to the point they feel like others should bend over backwards to be in their presence."
"I've been saying this for years. The phrase 'know your worth' is ingrained into everybody nowadays, but nobody is willing to have a frank conversation with themselves about what they are worth."
Too Many Main Characters for One Story
"Main Character Syndrome."
"I came here to say this, you know, one NPC (Non-Player Character) to another."
One Word: Escapism
"I mean, life in general. But getting more specific, I'd say escapism. Social media, gaming, drugs and alcohol. It's all a way to escape reality and while it feels good in the moment, it takes you away from the process of growing as a person and growing with another person."
"It causes resentment, contempt, f**ks with insecurities, and has shifted the point of partnership from PARTNERSHIP to access. We're all traumatized and we're all running from something."
We Just Need a Nap
"We're tired, boss. Just plain worn out, burnt out, run down tired. Work-life balance is dead, society is mentally draining, and literally everything worth doing costs money. When the h**l are you supposed to meet that person when you get home from work and immediately go to bed so you can be up at 4:30 A.M. to do it again tomorrow?"
"This is everything, buddy. I feel this and I don't see my self getting married and for sure not having kids. I don't want to introduce a new life into a decaying world that refuses to fix its older generations' mistakes. This whole attitude of 'I will be dead before it effects me' f**king sucks."
It's totally understandable that each generation, with its own priorities and relationship with technology, will see a shift in how their social lives look.
All of that being said, it's still surprising how extensive of a reach technology and social media now have in our dating lives, going from people not really knowing how someone looks until seeing their in-person... to hardly ever have the opportunity to see them in-person anyway.
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.