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November 22, 2007
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Stupid people say stupid things.

The last link may or may not be completely factual, but it's still funny.
posted by flatluigi (128 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
If you like these, you may also like this.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:39 PM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


What if you don't like these?
posted by hal9k at 1:45 PM on November 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


From The Blank Top link:
"GUY: I'm. . . I'm kinda. . . uh. . . dressed in drag right now.
ME: . . . Hahahahahaha!!!!
GUY: No, I'm just going to this party, and the costume I'm wearing. . . it's. . . It's kinda racy.
ME: . . . HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
...
ME: And watch your cornhole."
The subtitle of the blog is "The world is full of crazy, stupid assholes", which I think might be true, but I think in this case the stupid asshole might not be the caller.
posted by kolophon at 1:47 PM on November 22, 2007 [13 favorites]


From Not Always Right

“Well, I was downloading some movies over the net, but the download got too slow. I called a friend of mine and he told me that some movies could’ve gotten stuck in the cable. So I cut the cable to see if I could yank it out of there. I didn’t find anything, so I taped the cable back together. Now, can you get it back to work?”

Oh man...
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 1:54 PM on November 22, 2007


There's some good stuff there, but as kolophon points out, a great deal of the "funny" is caused or at least exacerbated by really bad customer service / user support skill... or just bad attitude. (I'm sorry your poor-paying, unrewarding job causes you to do it so badly, pal.)

Then again, I hate that whole "the customer is an idiot" culture and the superior attitude that comes with it. I hate dealing with it on the phone (and most days, I am not an idiot, I don't think) and I especially hate working with people who have it.

A person who treats people like morons gets what they expect, and what they deserve*.

*six bucks an hour is too much, even.
posted by rokusan at 2:00 PM on November 22, 2007


Some of the examples from places other than phone support are pretty good, though: Don't let my narrow disgust scare you from a wider good. :)
posted by rokusan at 2:08 PM on November 22, 2007


If I post in this thread, won't computer hackers hack into my computer even if it's off and steal my electricity?
posted by stavrogin at 2:12 PM on November 22, 2007


If I post in this thread, won't computer hackers hack into my computer even if it's off and steal my electricity?

No.

Simply because modern, capable hackers have moved on from stealing electricity to stealing the very purity and essence of your soul.
posted by loquacious at 2:19 PM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Good stuff. The customer is always a jerk-off. The customer service culture has people thinking their $12.95 makes them some kind of royalty, and that anyone across the counter is a human vending machine.

I used to work commission selling electronics at Sears. You ever tried explaining how to make a VCR go beyond channel 13 to someone in their nineties? It'll drive you to drinking. Or spent a couple days talking someone into buying a full PC desktop set, only to see that it was returned over your days off because the customer "didn't know the internets cost extra"? Nothing like losing your commission to some feeb's short attention span.

Few Christmases back, I had to work graveyard at a Shari's. This one family came in with a stack of gift certificates, sent one burger back to the kitchen twice - once for being too pink, the next time for not being pink enough - and left 81 cents as a tip ... on a fucking eight top ... on Christmas

You're damn right there's an attitude problem out there.
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:25 PM on November 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


The "computer stupidities" page crashed my Firefox.

When I went back, I enjoyed this disclaimer:

Some are considered urban legends, but even most of these are more likely to have happened in some form or another than not. Skeptics look at such stories and doubt their truth. But reason, common sense, and experience tell me that if you sit someone who isn't computer literate (even a smart someone) down in front of a computer, you're bound to accrue anecdotes no less outrageous than these. You'd be surprised.


Reminds me of that exchange between Farley and Sandler in "Billy Madison:"

Bus Driver: That Veronica Vaughn is one hot piece of ace, I know from experience dude. If you know what I mean.
Billy Madison: No, you don't.
Bus Driver: Well, not me personally but a guy I know. Him and her *got it on*. Wooo-eee!
Billy Madison: No, they didn't.
Bus Driver: No, No, they didn't. But you could imagine what it'd be like if they did.

posted by drjimmy11 at 2:33 PM on November 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


I am the long-distance tech support for my sister, who is about as computer illiterate as you can get.

Me: "Ok, so go back to your desktop"

Her: [pause] "It's not on a desk, it's on the dining table"


A few months after she got it, I bought it off her, to save herself from herself really. Not the one I'd have chosen to upgrade to, but many times better than my 7-year-old thing. It'll do, now I've given it a bit more RAM.

She's just bought another computer, a quad core thing that's utterly wasted on someone who doesn't even know how to use the address bar in her browser (she finds websites by using Google, then adds everything to her 'favourites'). It's like someone who hasn't passed their driving test buying a Ferrari.

My response now? "Sorry, I don't know anything about Vista"
posted by essexjan at 2:36 PM on November 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


Tech Support: "What type of computer do you have?"
Customer: "A white one."
posted by nola at 2:42 PM on November 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Woman 1: “What is that little trash can on the screen?”

Woman 2: “My son says that is called the ‘recycle bin’. He tells me when I don’t want a Word document anymore and I delete it, it really goes in there.”

Woman 1: “Why in the recycle thingy? Can’t you just erase it?”

Woman 2: “Oh no, Word wouldn’t work for very long if I did that, I would run out of blank pages.”

Woman 1: “Why?”

Woman 2: “Because it cleans the words off the pages, then sends the blank sheets back to Word so they can be used again. That’s why it’s called the recycle bin.”

posted by Dasein at 2:42 PM on November 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Then again, I hate that whole "the customer is an idiot" culture and the superior attitude that comes with it.

I understand what you're saying, but most of the time the customer IS an idiot. I think what the problem is most of the time is that people don't pay attention or don't think about what they're saying before the words come out of their mouth. Here's a little conversation that went down at my bar the other week (this is word for word):

Me: What would you like to drink?
Guy: I'll take an iced tea (pauses) with ice.
(this kind of took me by surprise for a second, I couldn't believe what I just heard)
Me: With ice? Hence the name "iced tea?"

At this point the guy's friend starts hysterically laughing and I start to chuckle myself. When Mr. Iced Tea ordered his meal he asked for a "cheeseburger" and his friend turns to him and mockingly asks "with cheese??"
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:01 PM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Some people don't have photo drivers licenses.
posted by wfc123 at 3:03 PM on November 22, 2007


Also, I work at a bar that has a strip of ice that runs down the length of the bar about 2 and a half inches deep and about 4 or 5 inches wide. Multiple times EVERYDAY some idiot asks me "what's this for?" I don't even tell them anymore. With a deadpan stare I just respond with "it's for putting your face on" and I walk away. What the hell do they think it's for?
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:18 PM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Clientcopia has thousands of these.
posted by neuron at 3:20 PM on November 22, 2007


Also, I work at a bar that has a strip of ice that runs down the length of the bar about 2 and a half inches deep and about 4 or 5 inches wide. Multiple times EVERYDAY some idiot asks me "what's this for?" I don't even tell them anymore.

Sorry, what? A strip of ice running down a bar? Why the hell should someone know what that's for? What is it for?
posted by Dasein at 3:25 PM on November 22, 2007 [18 favorites]


What do people do at bars? Drink beer and other sorts of alcoholic beverages. You set your drink on the strip of ice to keep it cold...seriously, what else would it be there for?
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:29 PM on November 22, 2007


Mary, what is this a picture of? (don't cheat and look at the next slide, try honestly to decipher it)

The point is, once you've seen something and associated it in your mind, it's always obvious what it's for. That's why designers shouldn't be the ones to judge whether their design is user friendly.

As an engineer who has taken heat transfer courses, that sounds like a pretty poor way of keeping your drink cold. Not only do you have the poor heat transfer from a solid block of ice to a solid block of glass, you have the thick glass to transfer heat through, and then you have a glass of beer where the coldest part of the beer will sink to the bottom (and thus be closer to the temperature of the ice). I wouldn't think it was obvious at all - until I had a drink in my hand and was looking for somewhere to put it down, I guess.
posted by anthill at 3:34 PM on November 22, 2007 [16 favorites]


Your sister sounds hot

wfc123, she's been divorced six times and is obsessed with SpongeBob Squarepants. Send me your number and I'll pass it on to her ...
posted by essexjan at 3:34 PM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sorry, what? A strip of ice running down a bar? Why the hell should someone know what that's for? What is it for?

It's to put your face on. duh.
posted by puke & cry at 3:44 PM on November 22, 2007 [6 favorites]


Anthill, it's more of a novelty than anything else, but can you imagine explaining what you just told me to someone who can't figure out what a strip of ice at a bar is for? Seriously, what else would it be for? It's not like anyone needs exceptional problem solving/critical thinking skills to pull clues from the environment to figure out the mystery of the strip of ice. I think that if you walked in and saw the strip of ice, you'd be able to decipher what it's for.

As for the picture, I knew it was a picture of the face of an animal turned upside down though I couldn't figure out what kind of animal. I had no frame of reference for the picture so I don't think the comparison is the same for the situation I brought up.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:46 PM on November 22, 2007


I think that if you walked in and saw the strip of ice, you'd be able to decipher what it's for.

Or failing that, they'd figure out what it's for when the order a drink and set it down. Unless they thought they weren't supposed to touch it, which is possible.
posted by puke & cry at 3:48 PM on November 22, 2007


Or failing that, they'd figure out what it's for when the order a drink and set it down.

A lot of people can't even do that. As my friend likes to say "most people don't know their ass from their elbow."
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:51 PM on November 22, 2007


Seriously, what else would it be for?

Decoration.
A source of ice to chip off as needed to mix drinks.
A source of cold, clean water as it melts.

Its use is not obvious. And I drink iced tea without ice all the time. The customer isn't an idiot. The bartender is often an asshole.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:52 PM on November 22, 2007 [21 favorites]


A source of ice to chip off as needed to mix drinks.
A source of cold, clean water as it melts.


That water is not clean. People are constantly touching it and getting things stuck in it all the time like food and paper (from the beer menu). Besides, it stays frozen, it does not melt. And if someone was chipping pieces of it for ice to use in mixed drinks, it wouldn't last very long.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:56 PM on November 22, 2007


If it wasn't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college.
posted by Clave at 3:56 PM on November 22, 2007 [9 favorites]


There is no such thing as a stupid question; only stupid people.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:05 PM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Customers are idiots. People are idiots in general. But smart ass employees should be fired. It's not their job to publicly judge the customers; they can do that in the privacy of their own heads, or, later, on their blogs. You open your mouth and smart off to a customer, it's time to think about looking for a new job.

Honestly, if people weren't idiots, robots could do your job. You're there because robots can't solve the problem of human idiocy, and so we need people to walk fools through the bookstore and to the fiction section because they've been trying to find The Davinci Code in the history section.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:09 PM on November 22, 2007 [6 favorites]


He ordered iced tea, with ice!
Hah, what a moran!
posted by Flashman at 4:23 PM on November 22, 2007 [4 favorites]




Guy: I'll take an iced tea (pauses) with ice.
Me: With ice? Hence the name "iced tea?"


You see, I'm right there with you until you actually SAY the smartass thing at the end. I'd think it. I know I'd say it to my buddy, if I heard him say that. Likewise the cheese comment.

But you, you're not his buddy, being clever, at least not at that moment, and so that's really not your place... in that context.

I know it's hard. That's the hard part of people-jobs, dealing with stupid (or rude, or smelly) people who are, by nature of the relationship at that moment, the ones in charge. I get that. But these guys who wear the pain on your sleeve during work, they annoy me even more than the stupid people do.

And yeah, I realize bartender's a gray area where you're sort of expected to be talkative and clever. So I'd probably forgive that one, especially if you pre-decided that this was a customer who might enjoy the joke. It depends why you said it, really. But when every person who's supposed to be doing "service" tries to complicate things by being hipster ironic guy, it's not pleasant getting service anywhere.

Serious tangent. Lots of the other categories in the links (ie notes from parents) were hilarious indeed.

Customers are no dumber than anyone else. People are dumb, I'll give you that.
posted by rokusan at 4:31 PM on November 22, 2007


And yeah, I realize bartender's a gray area where you're sort of expected to be talkative and clever. So I'd probably forgive that one, especially if you pre-decided that this was a customer who might enjoy the joke. It depends why you said it, really. But when every person who's supposed to be doing "service" tries to complicate things by being hipster ironic guy, it's not pleasant getting service anywhere.

The guy actually laughed at himself too. If I got the vibe that he would get pissed off at my comment, I wouldn't have said it. The situations I've mentioned are a few out of thousands. 99% of the time I bite my tongue and say nothing but I'm only human and everyone has a breaking point. So once in a blue moon I'll actually say what I'm thinking.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 4:35 PM on November 22, 2007


From the second link:

"You be amazed how big the gap is between people who claim they will tip big and people who actually do."

This is so true. And when you are a girl serving drinks in a college bar full of drunken raging fratboys sometimes you *have* to be an asshole.
posted by Brittanie at 4:47 PM on November 22, 2007


I don't really see the stupidity of the the baby-vomiting story so much as the stupidity of linkingto it under the aegis of it being stupid. But then as the stupidest movie of all time says, stupid is as stupid does.

Metafilter: your favorite stupid shout-out sucks.
posted by DenOfSizer at 4:48 PM on November 22, 2007


As long as we're trading stories, here's an absolutely true one: when my late father's firm finally got e-mail, and he finally started using it (around ten years ago), I sent him a piece of mail and told him to press the "reply" button to reply. He phoned me, saying there was no reply button. I said there had to be. He said there wasn't. I said "Are you looking at the email right now?" He said yes. I said "Tell me what you see on your screen." He said he didn't see anything. "What do you mean??" "The screen is black." "How can that be?" "I haven't turned it on." "Then how can you see the email???" "Oh, my secretary prints them out for me, I have it right here."
posted by ubiquity at 4:51 PM on November 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


talking to a biz buddy years ago after a tough day, i said to him "if i may borrow a page from lincoln, the lord must have loved stupid people, because he made so many of them."

buddy (astonished): "lincoln said that??"
posted by bruce at 5:14 PM on November 22, 2007


People who make little more than minimum wage are angry about their jobs. Film at 11.
posted by dhammond at 5:16 PM on November 22, 2007


Reminds me of overheard in NY, which must surely have been posted here before.
posted by A dead Quaker at 5:27 PM on November 22, 2007


The somethingawful.com forums had a great thread about strange customers. Some examples:

Working a bicycle store in Milwaukee a guy came in and did the usual dumbass thing which was look at a $700 bike and say "$700? You could buy a car for that much! Hur hur hur." After a few minutes he returned and said
Dumbguy: "Now is $700 what the store pays for them?"
Me: No
DG "Wait. You get them and pay a certain price and then raise the price?"
Me: Yes. That's how retail works.
DG: "Well, would you sell it to me for cost?"
Me: No.
DG: "I don't understand. You want me to pay more than you paid for it? This place is bullshit."
I didn't even know what to say to that.
--
"Good morning (company name), how can I help you?"
"Hi, this is Tanya from the Toronto office, I'd like to talk to Steve in accounting."
"I'm afraid the office isn't open yet, but if you would like to leave a message I can relay that for you."
"Not OPEN? It's nine o'clock in the morning!!"
(jesus christ) "Not in BC, ma'am. It's 6am."
"Oh, are you guys still three hours behind?"
--
Lady (walking up to counter with some DVD): Hey, I need to exchange this movie.
Me: Does it not work? (happens every day with DVDs)
Lady: No it works, it's because, well...I'm not racist or anything, but this movie only has black people in it.

A poster on cgtalk.com:

During storms, the power goes out occasionally, powerlines get blown down etc, people actually have shown up to my boyfriends office, at the local power company, with guns demanding that the button be turned back on.
posted by martinrebas at 5:31 PM on November 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


MaryDellamorte
Guy: I'll take an iced tea (pauses) with ice.
(this kind of took me by surprise for a second, I couldn't believe what I just heard)
Me: With ice? Hence the name "iced tea?"


Because it is never possible to get iced tea without ice. Except for about 99.9 percent of cases where it is. What do you think they do, brew hot tea, pour it in a glass, and THEN put ice in the glass to cool it down? what an idiot YOU must be.

I've found that, except in the few cases where people have become too jaded and assume the "you are a customer, and are de facto an idiot" position, as long as I'm polite, I can usually any sort of "support/service position superiority" type thing. I mean, I have no doubt I've asked some incredibly boneheaded questions of service industry people, but as long as I'm not a jerk about it, other people rarely are either. Of course, I haven't worked on the service side, beyond some family tech support, so I have no idea how much it would take me to reach that jaded asshole stage.
posted by grandsham at 5:35 PM on November 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Okay, let's say the idea of iced tea without iced isn't nonsensical. I could understand the guy if he had ordered that--"hey, I'd like an iced tea, but no ice." Kinda makes sense.

But this guy ordered an iced tea (pause) "with ice." How did he expect it to come out?

I guess he could have used that strip on the bar to cool it down.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:08 PM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of when I was a kid and my father, wanting a snack, went to a drive-through fast-food place and to get a large order of French fries and a coke. No sooner had he said that than the guy working the drive-through says "Would you like fries with that?"

The really funny thing was watching my dad trying to figure out how to respond.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:12 PM on November 22, 2007 [8 favorites]


Oh, come on, and have a laugh, people.

I was printing T-shirts on a manual press, years back, while the customer was watching me push the ink through the screen onto her T-shirts. Low tech. A wooden frame, some clamps and hinges, a board for the T-shirt. I was printing the adult shirts, and was planning on later, switching to the smaller image I'd burned on another screen for the youth shirts in a little while, when I got done with the adult sizes. Out of the blue, she asked me "So, does the screen just 'see' the youth shirts and get smaller?"

Yeah, it just gets smaller.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:29 PM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've worked retail, and I know some people can be idiots.
But I usually end up dealing with staff who think their snap judgments of the customers are correct, all the while I'm watching them make it thinking they know what the fuck is going on.

For example:

sent one burger back to the kitchen twice - once for being too pink, the next time for not being pink enough - and left 81 cents as a tip

Went to a very upscale restaurant, and ordered two steaks, rare. Well, my girlfriend gets hers and it's not just rare, it's raw. And she likes it rare, borderline blue, but this is ridiculous. But you never know how a place will do a steak until you've gone there once, and this was our first time. Most overdo them. So whatever. So she sends it back, and she painstakingly explains "Just a touch more cooked, please. I still want it rare." And I can see the douchebag waiter thinking "Oh yeah, another customer who thinks they like rare steak but actually want it done medium." So off he goes to the kitchen, and what do we get back? By the by, tips are for good service and good food, not acting like you know what a customer really wants, with a side of dismissiveness.

OTOH, I enjoy getting on tech support lines during those twenty seconds it takes to figure out that I know what I'm talking about. Instant respect and things speed up 20x. That's nice.

You ever tried explaining how to make a VCR go beyond channel 13 to someone in their nineties? It'll drive you to drinking.

God, you'd think someone born before 1920 would be a touch more savvy with electronics, no? Jerkface.
posted by dreamsign at 6:39 PM on November 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


My worst tech support story is actually something stupid that I did. I was talking to this very nice guy who knew just enough about computers to be dangerous, so he kept thinking that he knew what I was going to tell him to do before I told him, and he was usually wrong. So I had to keep backtracking him and getting him to do the right thing.. anyway, long story short, after the call was over, I turned to the guy next to me and I said, 'that was the most exasperating fucking customer that i've ever had to deal with.'

Unfortunately, I had hit the speakerphone button instead of the end call button. I stared down in shock when I still heard his voice coming through the speaker. He cancelled his service a week later.
posted by empath at 6:49 PM on November 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Has observing the universe hastened its end? Stupid scientists. Stupid experiments. Stupid ass universe!
posted by stavrogin at 6:57 PM on November 22, 2007


I don't really see the stupidity of the the baby-vomiting story so much as the stupidity of linkingto it under the aegis of it being stupid. But then as the stupidest movie of all time says, stupid is as stupid does.

Metafilter: your favorite stupid shout-out sucks.


Try reading the actual blog, which is about a FFXI mod and all the stupid people he deals with. [example]

Metafilter: We read the links! (sometimes)
posted by flatluigi at 7:35 PM on November 22, 2007


The fact that iced tea MIGHT be prepared with ice LITERALLY does not mean that everybody want ice IN THE CUP. Is that so hard to understand?
posted by ethnomethodologist at 8:20 PM on November 22, 2007


The fact that iced tea MIGHT be prepared with ice LITERALLY does not mean that everybody want ice IN THE CUP. Is that so hard to understand?

If you go into any restaurant and ask for iced tea, you are going to get ice in your glass in addition to the tea. So to ask for ice with your iced tea is stupid, is that so hard to understand? Sure, there are people who don't like ice in their iced tea, and that's why they ask for it without ice...because if they didn't, it would come with ice.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:24 PM on November 22, 2007


I forget who said it, but..."You know how dumb the average person is? Well, by definition, half of 'em are even dumber than that."

The following story doesn't actually involve any stupidity, just a cross-cultural misunderstanding, but I bet the clerk involved sure thought it did. My ex-girlfriend was from Australia, where (at least in her neck of the woods) they call ketchup "sauce". This was her first experience in a McDonalds in Canada:

Clerk: What kind of sauce would you like with your McNuggets?
Girlfriend: Sauce, please.
Clerk: What kind of sauce?
Girlfriend: Sauce!
Clerk: I know you want sauce, but what flavour of sauce?
Girlfriend (growing increasingly nervous and embarrased): Uh, you know...sauce?
Clerk: *blinks*

This went on for another twenty seconds or so before I took pity on both of them and told the clerk she meant ketchup. I was pissing myself laughing the whole time.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:28 PM on November 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: We read the directions!
posted by wafaa at 8:44 PM on November 22, 2007


But this guy ordered an iced tea (pause) "with ice." How did he expect it to come out?

Warm.
posted by you at 8:53 PM on November 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


When my dad e-mailed me some pictures, he told me to make sure that I send them back because he wants to keep them. :-)
posted by giggleknickers at 8:53 PM on November 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


So to ask for ice with your iced tea is stupid, is that so hard to understand?

No, it's not hard to understand. Which means he probably just made a verbal or mental flub. Maybe he rattled off his usual order unconsciously and worried he had just said "tea" instead of "iced tea", so he throw out the "with ice." Maybe he's just not a smooth talker. Since he took your sarcasm in stride, I don't think it's likely he was trying to fuck with you.

Most of the customers in these links were assholes though.
posted by mullacc at 9:20 PM on November 22, 2007


Mary:

What kind of standard do you live up to in your life? How often do you do the equivalent of asking for ice in your iced tea, or wondering aloud what a strip of ice on the bar is for*? Never in your lifetime? Once a month?

What standard do you want to be held to? How do you want to be treated? How quickly do you want people to decide you are an idiot, based on one thing you say, perhaps slightly differently than you want to?

To be honest, you come off like a very unpleasant person, but I doubt you really are. Perhaps you present yourself wrong, or perhaps I'm misreading. Isn't it better for me to allow for those possibilities than to tell you what an unpleasant person you are?

* And for the record, I'm an intelligent, competent person, and I would be thrown by the strip of ice. I've never seen it in a bar. I would probably ask about it to be sure it was for my use and not the bartenders'. Does that make me a ridiculous, exasperating, worthless idiot?
posted by argybarg at 9:20 PM on November 22, 2007 [6 favorites]


*insert obligatory reference to overthinking a glass of iced tea here*
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:26 PM on November 22, 2007


Years ago, I was working at a high end snooty-tooty bookstore. A smartly dressed young guy walks in with a younger, very hot looking woman. He's obviously trying to impress her by leading her to the book she wants. He sidles over to me while she's browsing and asks, "Where do I find the books that are about stuff that really happened, but the stories aren't true?"
I say, "You mean Historical Fiction?"
He sighs with relief and I escort them over to the section and author he's looking for. The girl is duly impressed.

The guy sounded dumb, but he managed to communicate his situation and his reading preference to me quite clearly. And he probably got some romance too. And he brought a hot girl to a BOOKSTORE. Needless to say, he's my all time favorite retail "dummy."
posted by maryh at 9:33 PM on November 22, 2007 [12 favorites]


Argybarg,

I may be cynical and a little rough around the edges, but I'm not an unpleasant person. It's funny how I talk about a few instances of my impatience coming out at work and people jump down my throat. Everyone has had a stupid moment, just as everyone has had a moment in venting their frustration at someone's stupidity. As I stated earlier, people say stupid things to me at work all day, everyday...once in a blue moon I let my patience slip and I make a smart remark. Most of the time I will smile and pretend I didn't hear the stupid remark. My job can be very hard and very demanding and when the shit hits the fan, I handle myself very well and it's noticed by the people I work with as well as my customers. I'm complimented all the time on my demeanor and my ability to keep a calm head. It also shows in the money I make and the fact that most of my bar business is regulars that come in to only see and talk to me. Most people couldn't do my job, so if I slip a few times, people can suck it.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:08 PM on November 22, 2007


If you go into any restaurant and ask for iced tea, you are going to get ice in your glass in addition to the tea. So to ask for ice with your iced tea is stupid, is that so hard to understand? Sure, there are people who don't like ice in their iced tea, and that's why they ask for it without ice...because if they didn't, it would come with ice.

Well, when I buy iced tea at the store it doesn't come with ice. Does that make me a moron? If so, how?
posted by delmoi at 10:13 PM on November 22, 2007


Most people couldn't do my job, so if I slip a few times, people can suck it.

You sound like a genuinely understanding person.
posted by 517 at 10:30 PM on November 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


what else would it be there for?

To make the staff appear warm by comparison, is my guess.
Wakka-wakka.

Quick Guide To Customer Service:

i) Staff are sometimes idiots.
ii) Patrons are sometimes idiots.
iii) Intelligent staff/patrons and pleasant experiences make for sucky anecdotes.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:40 PM on November 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Also, I forgot to put in a title, but if I had put one in it'd be "WARNING: YOUR COMPUTER IS BROADCASTING AN IP ADDRESS."

I love that warning.
posted by flatluigi at 10:43 PM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


My ex-girlfriend was from Australia, where (at least in her neck of the woods) they call ketchup "sauce".
Marge: I'll just have a cup of coffee.
Bartender: Beer, it is.
Marge: No, I said "coffee".
Bartender: "Beer"?
Marge: [slowly] Coff-ee.
Bartender: Be-er?
Marge: C -- O --
Bartender: B -- E --
[2F13] Bart vs. Australia
posted by Sangermaine at 11:28 PM on November 22, 2007


empath: "
Unfortunately, I had hit the speakerphone button instead of the end call button. I stared down in shock when I still heard his voice coming through the speaker. He cancelled his service a week later.
"

Haha! That happened to me once but I was able to recover and make it sound like I was cussing out a fellow tech. At work I have the title of "Master of The Mute Button." I'm a mix master with that thing. I can hold a conversation with someone and mute in mid sentence, cuss and still stay on topic. It's awesome.

I can deal with ignorance. I don't expect a 30 year old sales rep to be able to know the ins and outs of our software. His job is to sell it and sell it well. When I get those calls (which comprises about 97% of my volume) I'm more than happy to oblige and they are grateful. However, there is the other three percent who are willfully ignorant serial callers. They are people who work with our software every day, doing implementations and training. They call constantly for every fucking thing and most of time for the exact same thing multiple times. They suck up mine and my fellow techs time like a vacuum. They are the black holes. Nine times out of ten these calls start with "Hi Kevin. I know you explained this to me last week...." That makes me want to drink and pull out my hair.

All that said, I think doing the best job I can does in fact grease the wheels of commerce and make life a little easier for people. Unfortunately people tend to focus on the negative aspects of their job. I've been doing this for 10 years and people have gotten smarter and have more access to help than just calling me. In light of that, I do try not to be a douchetard to a customer. When I hear people on the line actually "get it," its a great feeling and we all win.

I have the inventor of the mute button to thank for that.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:28 PM on November 22, 2007


If you go into any restaurant and ask for iced tea, you are going to get ice in your glass in addition to the tea. So to ask for ice with your iced tea is stupid, is that so hard to understand?

Given the number of people objecting to this, do you perhaps get the feeling that your opinion on this is, if not in the minority, at least on shakier ground than you thought?

It reminds me of temping in (many, many) offices. Everybody has a different way of doing things, and what gets me is that everybody seems to think that they do it the same as everybody else. So every time you need to ask "Is this the way you do it?" you get a hundred versions of "Well of course, this is the way EVERYONE does it." Uh-huh. Well sorry, but no. Try stepping out of your own shoes for just a minute and maybe things won't seem so obvious.

In your case, maybe your ice tea guy has been asked "do you want ice with that" the last few times he's ordered it, even if all from some other wonky chain. So he strolls into your place and suddenly he's in your idiot box. Frankly, that puts you in mine.
posted by dreamsign at 11:36 PM on November 22, 2007


In your case, maybe your ice tea guy has been asked "do you want ice with that" the last few times he's ordered it, even if all from some other wonky chain. So he strolls into your place and suddenly he's in your idiot box. Frankly, that puts you in mine.

I've been in the service industry for 9 years and NEVER have I ever had anyone ask for ice with their iced tea, ever. I like iced tea and get it all the time and never in my 27 years of dining out (which I do at least 4 times a week) have I ever had anyone ask me if I wanted ice in my iced tea. I actually chatted up with the guy (like i previously said, he was a good sport) and he admitted that he didn't know why the hell he said it and admitted that it was a dumb thing to say.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 11:47 PM on November 22, 2007


This thread needed more of the funny and less of the other. You think you bastards are getting a tip, you're sorely mistaken.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:55 PM on November 22, 2007


My first idea upon seeing the ice in the bar would be that, yes, it's there to help keep drinks cold. But I would want there to be a better reason for it, since keeping drinks cold with a strip of ice down the center of the bar seems an idiotic gimmick with very little real benefit. I have never looked around in vain at a bar for a system to maintain the coldness of my drink—I'm pretty content with the standard flow of energy in the glass-drink-hand-mouth-and-sometimes-ice system. So I might ask, in the hopes that there was a different explanation.

Ice in the bar is not like a magnetic soap holder, which people intuitively understand the benefit of (and which everyone should have in their bathrooms!).
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:55 PM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I actually chatted up with the guy (like i previously said, he was a good sport) and he admitted that he didn't know why the hell he said it and admitted that it was a dumb thing to say.

Fair enough. For my part, on several occasions wonky service at one place has led me to change my order/instructions at another, sometimes to some confusion. Actually I think this happens quite often. It would only take one or two times being asked something bizarre (and who knows why -- strange management, a new worker, whatever) to end up insisting on it the next time I make that order. Like: "Fries. With salt." or some damn thing. My point is: you don't know what experiences, perhaps recent ones, the customer is walking in with. Even he or she may think their order is dumb, but be reacting to something you're not aware of.

And yeah, others are just daydreaming or having a thoughtless moment. Anyway, good on you for chatting him up and not being a jerk about it.
posted by dreamsign at 12:20 AM on November 23, 2007


Line of ice on a bar? Obviously, this is for sliding drinks down the bar to the customer, amiright? I've seen it done in old movies! hyuk hyuk hyuk

Funny how so much is about customers being stupid and support being smart. My experience of late has tended to be the opposite. Support know how to read from their manual, and anything that departs from the manual is beyond their comprehension. They are ill-equipped to handle customers that actually know what they're talking about.
posted by Goofyy at 12:22 AM on November 23, 2007


Is confusing stupidity and ignorance stupid or ignorant?
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:33 AM on November 23, 2007 [4 favorites]


If it weren't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:05 AM on November 23, 2007


Actually I think this happens quite often. It would only take one or two times being asked something bizarre (and who knows why -- strange management, a new worker, whatever) to end up insisting on it the next time I make that order.

This also reminds me of another "iced tea" story, ha. At this restaurant I worked at years ago, we had a new hire who was *very* sheltered. She was of legal drinking age, though I can't remember how old she was...maybe 21 or 22. Anyway, she didn't know the difference between beer, wine, or liquor. Fair enough, and we tried explaining it all to her. Well, she approaches a table to get a drink order and the guest orders a "long island iced tea." She then proceeds to ask him if he would like it "sweet" or "unsweet." The table laughs her to the point of complete and utter humiliation and the staff upon hearing the story, joked her so much about it that she quit a few days later.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 1:17 AM on November 23, 2007


That's mean and not very funny. Do you feel smug for knowing everything straight out of the womb? It's quite unattractive, frankly.
posted by goo at 1:56 AM on November 23, 2007


That's mean and not very funny. Do you feel smug for knowing everything straight out of the womb? It's quite unattractive, frankly.

Yeah it is mean, and I never said I partook in the humiliation of the girl. But I do find it mildly funny now.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 2:24 AM on November 23, 2007


Previously.
posted by ryanrs at 2:26 AM on November 23, 2007


That's pretty shitty, MaryDellamorte. Who were you hoping to impress with that anecdote?
posted by maryh at 2:28 AM on November 23, 2007


I was convinced the ice on the bar was going to be for sliding drinks down. (Now I have a mental image of all the regulars with their drinks neatly lined up on the ice, then some yoyo whips a highball down from one end of the bar, scattering shards of glass and liquor).
posted by primer_dimer at 2:29 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's sad. Again I see the same problem: people being quick to laugh at others when they don't seem to understand something. I'm not much of an ageist but this has got to be one of the prime characteristics of youth. As you get older, you find out how many things you thought everyone knew but didn't, how many things others assume you knew, but you did not, and how a bit of grace can be lent to both situations.

I used to get embarrassed (in the transitive use of the verb) by others when I was younger for things I didn't know, and I always replied with something goo just referred to: you aren't born with that knowledge. Everyone learns sooner or later. And the thing about laughing over the "later" is that you're later on some things, too. You maybe just don't have the ill fortune to find out in front of an unsympathetic audience.

K, that's as touchy-feely as I get.
posted by dreamsign at 2:48 AM on November 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


I make ice tea by chilling tea in the fridge, so it never has ice.

When I was little, my friend and I loved powdered instant ice tea, also without ice.

And since you don't always get ice in a restaurant, especially outside of the US, it makes sense to ask for ice if you would like some.

In fact, the only place I ever knew that made an iced drink by actually pouring a hot drink over ice was a Polish bakery selling iced coffees when they were still chilled coffee and not some gross over creamed, over sugared confectionary. Those were good iced coffees. Of course, they didn't have that much ice in them, what with the melting and everything.
posted by jb at 3:37 AM on November 23, 2007


Yeah, but if it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.
posted by klausness at 3:46 AM on November 23, 2007


It's amusing how every time, on every website or forum, that this kind of thread appears, how there's some hilarity, some gentle ribbing of the dimwitted, some self-reflective (or waitstaff furious) abuse of the Greater Doofi, but also inevitably there are self-outings from a few people who apparently just like to be mean, and are certain that their jejune tales of unnecessary unpleasantness to people they feel superior to are just as thigh-slappingly funny. But they seem somehow emotionally tone-deaf, and can't seem to tell the difference between the laughing and the loathing.

It always amuses me, by which it means it makes me sad. So many folks apparently think that funny is the same thing as cruel.

That said, you know: fuck the stupid†. I'm all for involuntary sterilization of anybody who can't [perform intellectual task X]. Fucking hammerhead meatpuppets.

†if they'll let you.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:35 AM on November 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Can we please see a picture of this strip of ice down the middle of the bar? If I were ever to drink in there (anyone want to suggest a meet-up? Ha!) I'd be sure to forget about it during a hilarious bantering session with the staff and end up getting my elbow all wet.
posted by Myeral at 4:36 AM on November 23, 2007


I LIKE THAT COMMENT SO MUCH I CAN'T FUCKING BELIEVE IT.

Sorry, I dunno what happened there.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:37 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've been in the service industry for 9 years and NEVER have I ever had anyone ask for ice with their iced tea, ever.

i'd like some pork in my plate of pork and beans, please
posted by pyramid termite at 5:09 AM on November 23, 2007


I LIKE THAT COMMENT SO MUCH I CAN'T FUCKING BELIEVE IT.

We too, that's why we ordered three of them.
posted by ersatz at 5:14 AM on November 23, 2007


With ice, please.
posted by ersatz at 5:14 AM on November 23, 2007 [5 favorites]


ZOMG Lewis Black has this great skit about overhearing stupid shit, dammit if only I could remember the punchline!

Also, I love these stories. Especially the ones where the customer is so obviously, indisputably braindead that other customers join in. It's probably a sign of some moral failure on my part but seeing the willfully ignorant get their due makes my day.
posted by Skorgu at 5:35 AM on November 23, 2007


I LIKE THAT COMMENT SO MUCH I CAN'T FUCKING BELIEVE IT.

That's what happens when you use the word "jejune" on Metafilter.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 5:44 AM on November 23, 2007


So we have a waitress, who thinks that 'iced tea with ice' is semantically redundant and stupid thing to say. For customer it was not necessarily semantically redundant: just a well-formed thought that came out with some noticeable surface level redundancy.

Noun compounds are interesting, as the relationship between head and modifier is not given and it really varies a lot. The stupid-customer -interpretation presumes that 'iced tea' means basically 'tea that has ice in it' +some extra knowledge about ice teas. In this case 'iced tea with ice' is stupid thing to say.

The other interpretation is that 'iced tea' is based on process how it initially became cold. Much like ice cream doesn't have noticeable ice in it, or ice beer. With products, these original sources of names tend to disappear and we don't generally have never think about them to use names correctly, so we can live believing that of course 'iced tea' has ice, it is logically contained in the name, for heavens sake. And similarly Coca Cola has coca leaves in it. And horse shoes horses. For customer's point of view, most iced tea comes in bottles and you manually add ice, like with any other products that you buy in bottles. If the name would mean 'tea with ice in it' then, where is the ice when you buy that bottle? Name has to have other explanation. The knowledge that in bars iced tea is a product where you always add ice is special knowledge for restaurant people. It is perfectly reasonable thing to say, but when you say it, there are two 'ice'-modifiers around the head and it sounds funny.
posted by Free word order! at 5:48 AM on November 23, 2007 [4 favorites]


I think the cup holder on my computer is broken, it doesn't come out anymore.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:49 AM on November 23, 2007


Jejune? No she went of her own accord.
Ba-doom, tish!
posted by Jofus at 6:25 AM on November 23, 2007


My favorite coffee drink of the moment is a macchiato. A macchiato is a shot of espresso with a tiny bit of milk foam on top. You don't actually pour milk into the coffee- if you pour milk into it, it becomes a cappuccino. Instead, you just take a spoon and scoop a little bit of foam onto the top of the espresso. Easy.

But every time I order a macchiato without offering an explanation of what I mean by "macchiato," I get a cappuccino. A shot of espresso, and the rest of the cup filled all the way to the top with milk. So I have found that I fare better if I ask for a macchiato, foam only.

About one out of ten times I'll get a barista who says, "um... that's what a macchiato is. Foam only." Once or twice I have explained why I say "foam only," but I'm afraid I sound like one of those people who orders a half-caf double two-percent latte with 1.5 equals and half a sugar mixed in. Or maybe I am one of those people, I don't know. But anyway, now when they say "um... that's what a macchiato is. Foam only." I say, "Oh. Heh. Sorry." And they probably write in their blog about the idiot who came into the store that day.

Regarding the baristas who make the macchiato by filling it up with milk, I have a theory: I think they probably have to deal with people all day who ask for a machhiato, and when they get it, say, "Hey. You didn't fill it up all the way. I paid for a cup of coffee, I want it all the way full."

I figure at the last place where Iced Tea Man ate, they gave him a glass of iceless tea. Or they asked him if he wanted ice with that.

I've been on the other side as well- dealing with an 80 year old outside salesman trying to use Outlook. He used to drive me crazy.

I would say, "Are you looking at your inbox now?"
"Yes."
"Do you see the list of messages?"
"No."
"But you see your inbox?"
"Yes."
"Click 'Send and Receive.'"
"Well, the screen is black."

To him, the monitor was the "inbox," and yes, he could see it. It was off, but he could see it. Or he calls me and says:

"Every time I move the mouse up, the pointer goes down. When I move it down, the pointer goes up. When I move it left, the pointer goes right. When I move it right, the pointer goes left. And I can't click anymore."
Hmm. "Are you holding the mouse upside down?"
"No."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, goddamit! I can't get this goddamned thing to work!"
"Look at the mouse in your hand. Is the wire coming out the top or the bottom."
Pause. "Wait. I had it upside down."

Or he presses down on the "return" key for a full minute, and then complains that when he prints his one-page letter, eighty blank pages would come out of the printer along with it. I still haven't figured out what he thought he was doing with that return key.

Once or twice he drove me to the point where I thought I might be forced to actually plan out his murder, but most of the time we got along fine. It seems to me that if you're doing a job like tech support, you have to take on the attitude of an elementary school teacher- you're dealing with a bunch of people who don't know anything, and most of whom aren't going to give you any respect or listen to what you have to say, but here and there you'll meet someone you can actually help. And if you can't do that, you have to find other work. That sort of stress will take years off your life.
posted by jiiota at 6:45 AM on November 23, 2007 [5 favorites]


Jejune? No she went of her own accord.

Dude, it's N-November and it's c-cold here in Chicago.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:46 AM on November 23, 2007


Okay, here's one -- I know a guy who works for a big computer company hereabouts. His job at the time, was technically "support," because he supported the COBOL mainframes between the website and the factory floor, which validated the sales orders.

A new woman started in his department one day, and as she has a problem with her computer, and saw "support" in amongst the descriptors by his name in her group, called and left him a voice mail. "Hi, this is XXXX, and I need to have this left-handed mouse replaced as soon as possible." He didn't get the message until the next day, and as he wasn't generic help-desk anyway, he ignored it, figuring it'd get sorted by the people whose job it was to sort such things.

She called back later that afternoon, and caught him at his desk, audibly irritated:
She: "I asked for you to come change this left-handed mouse yesterday!"
He: "It's not really my department -- you don't want me to come down there."
She: "Oh yes, I DO!"

He hung up the phone without another word, walked down the hall to her cube, and as he walked up., she started to say "It's about time..." but he held up a hand and said "Not another word." He then slowly, and gently, lifted her generic mouse up from the left-hand side of the keyboard, and deliberately set it down on the right-hand side of her keyboard. She said "Oh," to which he replied "I'm MAINFRAME support -- read my job description. This little jaunt down to your office just cost the company $60.00. Don't EVER all me again."

Yeah, he was kind of an ass, but he did try to give her an opportunity to sort it out otherwise.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:09 AM on November 23, 2007 [6 favorites]


Hello! Are U a girl? U sound hot!
posted by doctorschlock at 7:27 AM on November 23, 2007


Mary, you do seem pretty uptight. And sorry, a lot of people can do your job and do. Bartending is not rocket science and a lot of people have done it while in college.

Anyway, the strip of ice thing wasn't obvious. When you first mentioned it, I thought it was one of those dumb things where people can do shots through a divot in a block of ice or something.

"If it weren't for my horse I never would have spent that year in college." As soon as I heard that in Lewis Black's standup, I thought, "the girl had an equestrian scholarship." See, things can make sense that don't seem like they do.
posted by fructose at 7:37 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


jiiota: That reminds me of another computer support story I read:

It seems that his grandson tried to install 'a game called red hats' and now the machine won't work. Aha. I explained that his little darling had actually deleted everything from the machine, and that we'd have to use the restore pack.
He's perfectly happy with this (first one EVER!) and even has the thing right there. So, we boot up to the CD, and hit '3' to go to a DOS prompt. I checked that his windows partition really was gone, and as we weren't allowed fdisk on our restore packs, started on helping him use our partition remover app.
All he had to do was type 'zap_hdd'. Piece of cake, eh?
This call took me three and a half hours. The man couldn't type. He didn't know where any of the keys were. He couldn't cope with the idea of the lowest thing on the screen being the newest. He couldn't just tap a key, so he got multiple copies of every letter.
The conversation went something like this:

ME: Alright, Sir, what's the very bottom thing on your screen?
OAP: There's a big foot thing...
ME: On the actual display part, Sir...does it have a c:\?
OAP: Oh, yes.
ME: OK, can you tap the z key for me?
OAP: Done that.
ME: And what does it say on the screen now, Sir?
OAP: It's still got the c:\
ME: Is there anything after that?
OAP: Aye, five Zs.
ME: Alright, Sir, do you know where the backspace key is?
OAP: Erm...
ME: OK do you know where the enter key is?
OAP: Oh aye.
I hear a click.
ME: Did you just press the enter key, Sir?
OAP: Which one's that?
ME: What's the very bottom thing on the screen now?
OAP: Bad command or filename.

As things went on, it became very difficult to stop him pressing enter after every key. Eventually I called this the 'bad command or filename key' and he stopped.
I could not get him to press the backspace key, ever. He just couldn't find it. I had a photo of his keyboard in front of it, and described it in terms of what was to the right left of it, below it, what was written on it, no chance. Always he got the enter key.
By this point my team leader is waving madly at me to put him on hold, so I told him I needed to double check that I was looking at the right model of laptop, and he goes into piped classical land.
My TL said it had gone on long enough, and to send him an engineer. This would have spoiled my perfect record of no chargeables - engineers sent for the wrong hardware error, or a software error - so I wasn't going to do it. I knew I could do it, and anyway, there were no calls in the queue.
So, I carried on. I didn't manage to get him to use del or backspace, but I eventually managed to get a line with zap on it.
By this point, all the team leaders were listening in, and several techs were listening at their sides. A huge challenge - two keys at once. It took half an hour to get him to type in a _ rather than a - or a 0.
It took another 20 minutes to get another zap ready to get the _ after it.
After three hours, we evenually had zap_hdd at his c: prompt. I asked him to press enter - it said Bad Command or Filename. I asked him to start at what he typed and read out exactly what he'd typed. He'd managed to catch another key at the same time as pressing enter.
The next go, he got it right. In under a second, his partitions were removed. I had him restart the machine and this time select 1 to reinstall the OS, which I left going. Three and a half hours. My average call time was under 10 minutes.
He never called back.
posted by martinrebas at 7:37 AM on November 23, 2007 [18 favorites]


That's excellent, martinrebas. Wow.
posted by jiiota at 7:46 AM on November 23, 2007


What's That? Sadly, the education of the youth of amerika is declining in more than one way. The other day I was at the grocery store and the checker was unable to identify a portabello mushroom. And no, she wasn't new...and to make matters worse the checker next to her didn't know either.
posted by Floydd at 7:57 AM on November 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


This one time, it was raining, and me and my friend went outside, and my friend was like, "It's raining," and I was like, "Duh!"
posted by effwerd at 8:29 AM on November 23, 2007


Last month I was in a 7-11 and the clerks didn't know what a brownie was. I had to describe it to them.
posted by doctorschlock at 9:15 AM on November 23, 2007


Well, in all fairness, in some parts of the country, they're not called brownies. They're called "Oh my God, the last time I ate one of those, it got me so high I was retarded."
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:22 AM on November 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


For my part, on several occasions wonky service at one place has led me to change my order/instructions at another, sometimes to some confusion.

My consistent experience at one Tim Horton's has caused me to shift my order at all the other Timmy's. I would like a bagel, with the butter spread on the cut side. Not glopped into the central hole and smeared across the paper. Oh, and toast my bagel three times please, because your toaster is set on "lukewarm." Ugh.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:38 AM on November 23, 2007


jiiota writes "Pause. 'Wait. I had it upside down.'"

I work tech support for a small ISP in a rural area. Lots of retired people and dialup customers. I got this same exact situation about a week ago. Very drunk older woman (about 10am), couldn't get her dialup to work. Her mouse was upside down.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:40 AM on November 23, 2007


fructose writes "'If it weren't for my horse I never would have spent that year in college.' As soon as I heard that in Lewis Black's standup, I thought, 'the girl had an equestrian scholarship.' See, things can make sense that don't seem like they do."

Hey, you sound like a hoot at parties!
posted by krinklyfig at 9:46 AM on November 23, 2007


You're there because robots can't solve the problem of human idiocy, and so we need people to walk fools through the bookstore and to the fiction section because they've been trying to find The Davinci Code in the history section.

And we need someone to explain to intelligent customers why the idiotic store planners decided to put all gay themed books (all three of them) on the top shelf of the "Christianity" secton.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:54 AM on November 23, 2007


I've noticed that Todd Haynes's movie Poison used to be located in the foreign film section. "Gay" and "arty" is not a foreign nationality, you morons. Haynes was born in Encino!
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:24 AM on November 23, 2007


Late, but I'll just weigh in with my favorite customer comment. It wasn't really stupid, but it's more in the way she said it. I was working in a bookstore when the movie National Treasure came out. It was a conspiracy-thriller type film with Nicholas Cage (IIRC).

The woman came in and asked for the book that the movie was based on. I said I wasn't sure if there was a book, but that I would check on the computer, to which she replied, "Oh, it had to be based on a book. There's no way they could come up with all that by themselves."
posted by Kronoss at 10:29 AM on November 23, 2007


Some of the entries from the taxi dispatcher's blog (the "people" link) are pretty good. This one's my favorite.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:17 AM on November 23, 2007


On a trip to rural Ireland once, I went into a fish and chip takeaway shop one evening with the friend I was with. Both of us were ordinary sized women.

The shop was empty of other customers, and we approached the affable, old owner/ cook at the counter, read the menu board, and I said "Two fish and chip suppers, please."

The affable, old guy nodded, then said to me: "And what'll your friend be having then?"

I thought he must be joking. But he just smiled patiently and waited.

So I thought for a second, then I said: "It's okay, we'll share my order."

(End of true story).
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:04 PM on November 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Especially in service industries, there's a problem of treating different customers as if they were the same person, The Customer. Newsflash: even though you've explained it to customers five times a day, every day, for the last 14 years, this is the first time you've explained it to ME.

I get this exasperated tone all the time, say the first time at a new doctor's office: "FIRST you fill out Form 3A, THEN you give it to Mary, THEN you fill out Form 16C, HOLD onto it, WAIT for us to call you, THEN WE'LL SEE YOU! (Geeze...) Huh? You don't know who Mary is?? (Christ... )"
posted by LordSludge at 2:42 PM on November 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


I just went and walked down Valencia, betwwen 24th and 16th streets, and asked about their iced tea. At least 4 places, out of 19, will serve bottled iced tea in the bottle. Of this, 2 will provide a glass full of ice cubes. There are at least 2 places where asking for "iced tea with ice" does make a lot of sense. The $1 sushi at WeBe was great.
posted by Dr. Curare at 4:53 PM on November 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


Wow, Dr. Curare. Polling 19 restaurants.
I don't know whether to be impressed by your commitment or just concerned.
posted by Floydd at 5:58 PM on November 23, 2007


I just went and walked down Valencia, betwwen 24th and 16th streets, and asked about their iced tea. At least 4 places, out of 19, will serve bottled iced tea in the bottle. Of this, 2 will provide a glass full of ice cubes. There are at least 2 places where asking for "iced tea with ice" does make a lot of sense. The $1 sushi at WeBe was great.

That's great, but this guy had been to our establishment many times and ordered iced tea so he knew how it came. And he also admitted he didn't know why he asked for iced tea with ice when we talked about it afterward.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:40 PM on November 23, 2007


Jesus, the guy misspoke, he had a brainfart. And he sounds like he's one of your regulars. Can you please stop defending your decision to hold him up as the epitomy of public idiocy already? Sheesh.
posted by maryh at 7:34 PM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


MaryDellamorte, please take a deep breath. And consider getting out of the service industry.

Any rational human being would have just ignored Dr. Curare's wildly unscientific experiment, no matter what it was supposed to prove. Yet you simply had to respond.

Add that to your earlier, gleeful account of humiliating a young woman simply because of her lack of knowledge, and it's very difficult to avoid the conclusion that you, and all your prospective co-workers and customers, would be better served if you found another line of work.
posted by dogrose at 8:02 PM on November 23, 2007


Add that to your earlier, gleeful account of humiliating a young woman simply because of her lack of knowledge, and it's very difficult to avoid the conclusion that you, and all your prospective co-workers and customers, would be better served if you found another line of work.

I didn't say anything to that girl.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:26 PM on November 23, 2007


because he supported the COBOL mainframes between the website and the factory floor, which validated the sales orders.
This little jaunt down to your office just cost the company $60.00. Don't EVER all me again."


There is no COBOL.
posted by ersatz at 5:05 AM on November 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


It think it's technically ignorant rather than stupid to think that everyone knows what you know about the things which take up the biggest part of your perspective. It's like a less-extreme version of those people who refer to "Jane" or "Bob" in conversation without any further elaboration, when there's no way you could know who Jane or Bob are. I would definitely ask first before interacting with a mysterious ice strip if I had the impression that the bartender was tetchy.

Computer support people can be bad at distinguishing between what is common knowledge and what is specialized knowledge. When you know nothing about computers, they're as obscure as anything can be that doesn't require a license to operate. A lot of these kinds of BOFH stories come off as pompous and whiny to me, I guess because as a developer, I've met a number of admins and support folks who had superiority complexes which defied the evidence at hand. But I love the one about the printed out email (and secretly wished I could make someone do that for me).

iii) Intelligent staff/patrons and pleasant experiences make for sucky anecdotes.

When I was a kid, I worked for a company which maintained a giant database of CD liner note/credits information and rented kiosks to record stores for customer search purposes (god this sounds prehistoric). Since the commercial internet was still a couple of years in the future, their big clientele hadn't quite appeared yet, so they had decided to augment cash flow by having us also take phone orders for concert tickets on behalf of a major credit card. You'd enter a few CDs into the database and then the phone would ring and you were suddenly a salesperson for a completely unrelated product that was being sold via local radio to customers on the other end of the country. Anyway, one day this guy calls and he asks for Dwight Yoakam tickets and they were sold out in his town. So he asked where else Dwight was playing in Texas and I started to read the list, until I got to the name of This One Town.

"And, uhhhhh...there's a show in...uh. Nack. Cog. Uh. Doashz?

"What?"

"Um. Nah. Um, cog? Do---"

(customer cracks up) "Nacogdoches?"

"Is that how you say it?"

"Yes ma'am, you aren't in Texas, are you?"

"No sir."

"That's all right, where are you?"

"Brooklyn."

(Delightedly) "Brooklyn! I thought y'all were supposed to sound like those mafia guys! Is it freezing and snowing up there? What is Brooklyn doing today to celebrate Elvis' birthday?"

And then we had a great chat about Elvis and Brooklyn and Texas and Nacogdoches and freezing snow, which is my big fond memory of an otherwise-hellish job.

OK, not as zingy as if he had put me down with aplomb.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 11:37 AM on November 24, 2007 [4 favorites]


Not long ago I ordered a veggie burger at a restaurant and the waitress asked, "How do you want that cooked?"

I stared at her for a minute, assuming it was an automatic response that she'd correct when she saw my hesitation, but she just waited, so I said, "Medium?"
posted by nev at 1:38 PM on November 24, 2007


I don't think I would have fully understood the strip of ice, the first thing I thought when I read it was that it was a low friction `drink superhighway'. I must be an idiot!
posted by tomble at 5:01 PM on November 24, 2007


Customers suck. I have to admit, I read this now and then if I'm in a bad mood. It helps.

Also, I only heard of an ice bar a few weeks ago for the first time; here's the one in Seattle called Kurrent, if anyone wants to see what it looks like.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 6:14 PM on November 24, 2007


When I lived in Seattle, I used to put my face on that ice bar all the time.
posted by jiiota at 7:16 PM on November 24, 2007


Noun compound ambiguity strikes again. 'Ice bar' is a bar with strip of ice in it, or 'ice bar' is a bar made of ice.
posted by Free word order! at 2:45 AM on November 25, 2007


I think it's interesting how many people are lambasting MaryDellamorte for her one-time, snarky comment description, berating her for not being a nice person...pot meet kettle, everyone. It's not like this place isn't snarky as hell, and in this very thread too.

I personally didn't find the remark so damaging as to impugne her very character. Sheesh. Y'all are harsh.
posted by agregoli at 7:58 AM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Not to pile on, but I read this: What do you think they do, brew hot tea, pour it in a glass, and THEN put ice in the glass to cool it down?, and, you know, when I worked in restaurants (not for a long time now), that's exactly how it was done. Not glass by glass, but by brewing double-strong hot tea in a coffeepot, and then pouring the hot tea into the big silver tea dispenser and adding piles and piles and piles of ice. Customers who knew the tea was sitting there slowly warming up to room temp (not in a refrigerated thing like the pop was) often specified extra ice for their tea.

It is interesting to me how many of these things are ignorance--like people are supposed to know everything from the beginning. My partner is a computer programmer, and when I ask him for help with a problem I'm having with my computer, he often gives me an answer that still uses jargon I'm not familiar with, or references a process he does all the time but that I've never had to do before.

And then there are the category of verbal typos. Like the original "iced tea, with ice." The person who ordered fries and a drink and got asked "Do you want fries with that?" didn't encounter stupidity, but someone who had been speaking a script all day long for who knows how long, and whose brain just followed the script even when it wasn't necessary. When I worked the drive-thru in fast food as a young person, I regularly answered the phone at home, "Welcome to Burger King, may I take your order?" Not because I'm stupid, but because I'd been trained to respond that way to a bell ringing and a subsequent interface with a communications device.

It's like when you say, "Have a nice trip!" to a friend who is leaving on vacation, and they say, "You too!" Their brain just got hijacked to a different script. Not scorn-worthy.
posted by not that girl at 10:22 PM on November 26, 2007 [4 favorites]


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