Category: Employees


And That’s How The Wrong Cookie Crumbles

| Germany | At The Checkout, Employees, Food & Drink, Ignoring & Inattentive

(After eating lunch at a popular fast food chain, I decide to go to their in-store coffee shop to order something to go before going back to school.)

Me: “Hi, can I have a small iced vanilla frappe and a chocolate cookie?”

(Both items together would come up to four euros/dollars, but the screen shows only 3 euros. I’m incredibly shy, so I don’t say anything even though I’m confused. The barista, after asking a coworker how to do a frappe, disappears to fetch ice. I watch him add it to the mixer, then pour a brown, chocolaty powder over it. I decide to intervene.)

Me: “Ex- excuse me? I ordered a vanilla frappe.”

(The barista wordlessly grabs a new container and makes my frappe. I relax, hoping I’ll get my order soon. Once finished, the barista turns to me.)

Barista: “So that was a vanilla frappe with chocolate over it, right?”

Me: “No, just vanilla, please. And a chocolate cookie.”

(The barista gives me my frappe, but doesn’t make a move to get a cookie. I try it again.)

Me: “I also ordered a cookie…”

Barista: “Excuse me?”

Me: “Chocolate cookie?”

(He continues to stare at me in confusion. Note that he has a strong accent, so I assume he has problems understanding me.)

Me: “Chocolate cookie?” *gestures to the cookie display*

Barista: *confused stare*

Me: *repeats myself in English* “Chocolate cookie.” *points at cookies again*

(Finally, after I and the other customers in line pointed at the cookie jars a few times more, he moved. He charged me a euro for the cookie and gave me a bag. It’s not until I’m back at school that I realise he didn’t give me a chocolate, but a pecan nut cookie. Even though I cannot eat it, being allergic to nuts, I don’t go back. I don’t think I could have made him understand anyway.)


Not Getting Your Subtext

| QLD, Australia | Employees, Extra Stupid, Technology

(I’m on the phone trying to deal with a three-year-old phone bill debt of my husband’s that was only so high because he didn’t know it had existed. I’m arguing that after my husband paid the initial debt he thought he’d finished with the company and didn’t need to do anything else.)

Representative: “We sent him plenty of communication.”

Me: “He didn’t receive any communication.”

Representative: “Well, we sent SMS notification.”

Me: “Wait, you sent him an SMS?”

Representative: “Multiple.”

Me: “You sent him SMS notifications… to his mobile phone?”

Representative: “Yes, that’s how we communicate that there is a new bill. All he had to do was read the SMS and then go online and access his bill.”

Me: “And how was he meant to do that?”

Representative: “By opening and reading the SMS we sent.”

Me: “The SMS you sent to the phone number that you disconnected due to non-payment.”

Representative: “YES!”

Me: “Do you not see a problem with this?”

Representative: “No. That is how we communicate that people have a bill due.”


(Imaginary) Bordering On Ridicule

| Vienna, Austria | Criminal/Illegal, Employees

(Restaurants and cafes can pay to have a portion of the sidewalk closed off so they can put chairs and tables there, to enable people to sit outside instead of inside. Of course, as people have fun and time gets later, they might be a noise concern since nobody wants to have people chat and laugh at night.)

Waiter: *to me* “Sir? Please take a step forward.”

(I do.)

Waiter: “Thank you, sir.”

Me: “What … was that about?”

Waiter: “You were outside the designated area of our ‘garden,’ where the distinct possibility exists that you might be a noise disturbance to the people who have their flats here. And of course we do not wish to be the source of any disturbance, sir.”

Me: “And… inside the line I’m not?”

Waiter: “No, sir, inside our ‘garden’ you are not a disturbance when you enjoy your time with us.”

Me: “But… I’m essentially half a foot from where I was before and there is no provision whatsoever that the noise I make would be muffled.”

Waiter: *with INCREDIBLE politeness in the voice* “Sir, I don’t make the law. I only get to ridicule it.”


Very Taxing Taxiing

| Chicago, IL, USA | Employees, Tourists & Travel, Transportation

(I’ve called a taxi three hours before a domestic flight. I live 20 minutes from the airport, so I figure this will be plenty of time to get there and through security. I get in the cab. A hellfire and brimstone sermon is playing loudly on the radio.)

Taxi Driver: *shouts over radio* “There’s construction, so I’m going to take a shortcut.”

Me: “Sure, cool. Your depot is a few blocks from my house, so you must know the routes to the airport best.”

Taxi Driver: “Yes, yes.”

(I start reading my book and look up to an unfamiliar residential area. I check my GPS and see we’re now 25 minutes in the opposite direction!)

Me: “Um, this is kind of a strange way to get to the airport…”

Taxi Driver: “No problem! No problem, miss! It’s a shortcut.”

Me: “Okay…” *that’s not what my phone says at all*

(A couple minutes pass, and the driver pulls over at a gas station.)

Taxi Driver: “I’m going to stop and ask for directions.”

Me: “I know how to get there, and I have GPS…”

Taxi Driver: *ignores me, gets out and goes to ask the cashier, and then comes back* “Okay! Easy, we’ll take a shortcut.”

(He turns out and goes the wrong way again. Now I’m a little scared.)

Me: “Really, I can set my GPS on the dash if that’s easiest. Or I can read you the directions. Turn north, take exit two—”

Taxi Driver: “No, no. I know how to get there. I don’t know how to use that.”

(He pulls over again by two men walking down the sidewalk.)


(The men look confused and shake their heads. This continues with the next person he passes as well. I seriously consider jumping out of the moving car.)

Me: “Please follow my directions! I know how to get there; I live here. My flight leaves in an hour and ten minutes and I’m going to miss it!”

Taxi Driver: “Oh, okay, fine, FINE! But that’s plenty of time! We can make it there in an hour!”

(Apparently the guy didn’t know that there’s a cutoff for check-in and baggage long before boarding, as well as TSA. I gave him step by step directions and made it to the airport with six minutes to spare for check-in. He still aggressively demanded a good tip.)


Slicing Salami But Talking Baloney

| Tallahassee, FL, USA | Employees, Extra Stupid, Math & Science

(I am getting some sliced meats and cheeses at the deli counter, and the woman working is pleasant enough but very slow. After a few minutes, she calls over another, just-off-break worker to take over my order, which was (at this point) slicing a quarter pound of salami. The following exchange ensued as part of the process:)

Second Worker: “A quarter-pound? I don’t know what that is!”

First Worker: “Zero-point-two-five.”

(Externally I remained The Thinker, but internally I was performing The Picard Facepalm.)