Caught In The Middle (Name)

| Toronto, ON, Canada | Employees, Funny Names

(I’m renewing my passport at the passport office. I have a bit of an unusual middle name that is more like a last name.)

Worker: “Okay, I just need your old passport and three pieces of photo ID.”

Me: *hands her the documents*

Worker: “Oh, honey, you’re going to have to re-order all of your IDs! They’ve spelled your name wrong on everything! How have you even been able to use this old passport?!”

Me: “Excuse me? I’m pretty sure that they’re all correct.”

Worker: “No, they’re all wrong! Look!” *points out my middle name* “See? They didn’t hyphenate your two last names!”

Me: “No, those are correct. That’s my middle name.”

Worker: “No, it’s not! No one has that for a middle name! You obviously don’t have a middle name and they’ve messed up all your documents!”

(By this point she has raised her voice significantly and is drawing the attention of almost everyone in the office.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’m serious. That is my middle name and there is nothing wrong with any of my IDs!”

Worker: “NO, NO, NO! I need to fix all of this right now!”

Me: “Please do not enter any different information than what’s already there! That IS my middle name and I need my passport to show that!”

Worker: “NO! You’re wrong! No one has a middle name like that! You’ve been lied to!”

Me: “Okay, this is getting crazy! Can I please talk to your supervisor about this?”

Worker: “No, you can’t! You don’t need to! You just need to let me fix this!”

(Luckily another worker has gone to get the supervisor while this is happening.)

Supervisor: “[Worker], what are you doing?!”

Worker: “They’ve messed up all of this poor girls IDs!! Her name isn’t correct on any of them and I need to FIX THIS!”

(She is basically screaming by this point and everyone has stopped what they’re doing and started to stare.)

Supervisor: “Lower your voice right now! You never talk to a customer this way. What honestly makes you think that a 24 year old woman doesn’t know her own name?”

Worker: “Because no one has that for a middle name!”

Me: “I do! It was my grandmother’s maiden name. It may be an unconventional middle name but it is still my middle name nonetheless.”

Supervisor: “[Worker], go take your break now. I’ll handle this and we can have a chat about this later.”

Worker: *starts yelling as she is walking away* “You’re wrong! You’ve been lied to! No one has that for a middle name! It’s a last name!”

Supervisor: “I am so sorry about this! I can honestly say I don’t think that she will be working here after today. She always has something to say if someone has even the slightest different spelling or an unconventional name.”

Me: “Thanks for intervening. I didn’t know how else to explain it!”

Supervisor: “No need. Now let’s get you a new, CORRECT passport.”


A Really City Counsellor

| Edmonton, AB, Canada | Employees, Geography, Ignoring & Inattentive

(Our entire department has just been downsized and our employer has been trying to help us find other jobs. This includes helping us transfer to other Federal government positions. I am speaking with one of the counsellors hired to help us.)

Counsellor: “So, have you decided whether to take the severance package or try to transfer to another position?”

Me: “I’d like to try for a transfer, if I can find one in a smaller town in Alberta or British Columbia.”

Counsellor: “Well, you can forget about that. Everyone wants to transfer to Vancouver or Victoria.”

Me: “…”

(For everyone’s information, Vancouver and Victoria are large cities. Not sure how that translates to “a smaller town.” I took the severance package, have lived in a small town on the BC coast ever since, and have owned my own business for several years. Take that, counsellor lady.)



| Devon, England, UK | Employees, Health & Body, Ignoring & Inattentive

(There is currently a nationwide outbreak of norovirus which is in the news a lot. My husband has been ill with it, which I then catch from him. I think I am better so we go into town together before I feel ill again later, and we start walking home. I stop for a rest outside a church after being sick. We’re about ten minutes from home but I’m running out of energy, so I sit down and rest my head in my hands. A couple of minutes later, a police car pulls up and two officers get out and approach us. I feel I should note my husband and I are both 21.)

Police Officer #1: “What’s going on here, then? We got a call saying someone was collapsed drunk.” *accusatory tone* “How much have you been drinking?”

Me: “Nothing. Neither of us drink. I’m just ill right now. We’ve been trying to get home but I needed a rest.”

Police Officer #1: *to her colleague* “I don’t think they’re telling us everything.”

Husband: *visibly annoyed* “If you’re so sure my wife is drunk, why don’t you breathalyse her? She’s ill and we want to go home, if you don’t mind.”

Police Officer #1: “Well, how do you know she’s ‘ill’?”

Me: “Because you can’t go five minutes without hearing about the norovirus outbreak? Because my husband was ill with it a few days ago? Because I haven’t had anything alcoholic to drink since we got married two years ago?”

(Police Officer #1 storms off, talking into her radio.)

Police Officer #2: “Why are you getting upset?”

Me: “Because I don’t appreciate being judged, presumably because I’m in my early 20s, and I don’t feel like I’m being listened to. I feel like crap and I just want to rest at home until I’m feeling better.”

Police Officer #2: “Okay. Can I take your name and address, please?” *notes down details* “So, you don’t live too far away. Good. We actually have an ambulance on standby if you want to get checked over?”

Me: “No, I just want to go home.”

Police Officer #2: “Please promise me you’ll call an ambulance if you get any worse.”

Me: *feeling a wave of nausea coming on* “Yes! Can I go home now, please?”

Police Officer #2: “I can give you a lift if you like?”

Me: “No! I mean, no, that’s fine. I get carsick.”

(We eventually made it home. I’m still unimpressed with how judgmental the police are here. It’s so noticeable.)


The Cashier Must Have Been Born Yesterday

| Glen Burnie, MD, USA | Crazy Requests, Employees, Popular

(I am at the Motor Vehicles Administration to obtain a replacement driver’s license and have brought all of the appropriate documentation, including my birth certificate.)

Me: “I’m here to get a replacement license.” *hands over documents*

Cashier: *looking at birth certificate* “This is expired?”

Me: “How can my birth certificate be expired when I haven’t expired yet?”

Cashier: “It’s expired. This is in the old format. You will have to get a new one.”

Me: “I don’t understand how a birth certificate can expire. It doesn’t have an expiration date on it and the person it’s issued to is still living.”

Cashier: “Doesn’t matter. You’ll have to get a new one. I’ll accept it this time but remember that for the future.”

(It’s been about six years and I have yet to get a new one. I’ve also never encountered anyone else who had a problem with my “expired” birth certificate.)


Giving You Some Glovely Advice

| MN, USA | Bizarre/Silly, Criminal/Illegal, Popular

(I have gone to get fingerprinted for a background check at the sheriff’s office in the county courthouse. The fingerprints are taken electronically by a machine that rates how clear they are on a numerical scale.)

Fingerprinting Officer: “You got a 90 on your thumbprints. That’s extremely good. Almost no one gets a 90. You have very distinct thumbprints, so if you’re going to commit a crime, be sure to wear gloves.”

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