We’ve all had those moments in our jobs where we are left to just stare at the customer in disbelief over their dumb questions. Luckily, these make for the BEST stories.
1. Flight Path
I'm a private jet pilot. One early morning, we were headed east, and the rising sun was shining directly in our faces. I'm accustomed to this, but it seems not everyone aboard had the same tolerance. There was a fellow seated right behind us, occupying the jump seat. He leaned in and asked the silliest question I've ever heard.
He wondered: "Can we just ascend to get over the sun?" The answer, of course, was no.
2. Battery Powered
One day while working at a car battery shop, a customer approached me with a receipt from a purchase he made only a few weeks prior. He wanted a refund. I asked if he had bought the battery along so we could process the refund. But then he said, "Nope, I don't have it. I installed it in a car I sold recently".
A bit taken aback, I responded, "So, you're asking for a refund for a battery you no longer possess?" His reply mirrored my confusion, "Yes exactly, I no longer have the battery, so why should I pay for it? I demand a refund". Unsurprisingly, he didn't leave the store that day feeling particularly pleased.
That bewildering encounter still perplexes me even now.
3. Grin And Bear It
A few years ago, I found myself employed at REI—that's a big cooperative for outdoor sports gear, in case it doesn't ring a bell. Among other things, we stocked bear spray, essentially pepper spray but for bears.
One day, a mom and her two kids dropped by to pick up a canister for their upcoming camping trip. The incident that unfolded right after that left me completely taken aback. She reached the exit, then turned back and approached the counter seemingly with a second-thought. She asked if the correct usage would be to entirely douse her kids with it, from head to toe.
4. Dial Tone
I'm part of a prominent mobile service provider in the States. One time, I had this interaction with a client: They questioned, "How do I place a call?" To which I replied, "Simply tap on the app labeled 'phone'". They asked, "Where?" And I clarified, "On the smartphone".
They pointed, "This one here? The one that resembles a telephone?" I affirmed, "Yes". They responded, "Nothing's happening!"
Baffled, I looked at the client and explained, "Usually, to call someone when you haven't saved any contacts in your phone, you need to input the phone number". The client seemed let down, lamenting, "If I wanted to bother dialing numbers, I would've kept my landline!" It was a weird situation.
5. Swimming With The Fishes
Let me take you back ten years when I was a customer service representative at a Texas power company. As you'd expect, numerous calls were in regards to late payments and service disconnections.
You see, in Texas, the law isn't heartless. To avoid the hassle of disconnecting and reconnecting, people usually got at least three months grace period before their power was cut off. This is why I found it difficult to empathize with people whose power was disconnected due to non-payment. But there was one call I'll never forget.
It was from a man frantically shouting about his power outage. He was desperate to get it restored because, he explained, he'd just purchased a shipment of rare, temperature-sensitive saltwater fish. The kicker was, he was refusing to make any payment towards his overdue bill as he'd spent all his money on the fish instead.
I admit, I said exactly what you're probably thinking right now. Although, I couldn't help but feel sorry for the fish.
6. Debt Collector
Back in the mid-90s, I worked as a debt collector in Colorado, dealing with student loans, medical bills, and credit card debts. One day, I found myself in touch with a 22-year-old woman who had racked up about $7,000 in credit card debt, and her card had been canceled and was now in collections.
When I contacted her about the situation, she was quite pleasant and was adamant that she had made all the necessary payments for her purchases. At this point, as an experienced collector, I realized we were dealing with a contested debt. So, my task was to confirm the debt.
I requested the necessary papers from the credit card company, and a few weeks later, after sending her the documents, I contacted her again. However, she remained resolute, claiming she had paid all her dues. There was a profound sincerity in her words. Next, I asked her to provide proof of payment, which she promptly sent.
To my surprise, she submitted all the receipts from her credit card purchases. She was under the impression that buying items with a credit card wrapped up the entire transaction. Despite my efforts, I couldn't make her see otherwise. She was convinced that she had a foolproof grasp of the situation while I was trying to hoodwink her.
She retorted, "I've already paid for those boots, look at the proof I sent you! Are you illiterate?" To her, a credit card was a magic card for freebies! Shocking, considering she was a university graduate with a professional career.
7. Like A Fine Wine
I used to work at a restaurant and one evening after I served drinks to a dinner party, a man from the group asked, "Can you aerate this for me?" However, when I looked down at his drink—I almost laughed out loud. He was drinking apple juice.
Now, he wasn't totally wrong in his vocabulary. I suppose technically you can aerate juice, but really, mate? He even had a straw in his hand, perfectly capable of doing the job himself. It did take me a brief moment of sheer surprise as I looked at his earnest expression before I did as he wished.
I got hold of another straw, unwrapped it, and proceeded to swirl his drink while maintaining eye contact with him, which seemed to satisfy him. Funny thing is, every time I mix my chocolate drink to make it foamy now, I'm reminded of him.
8. The IT Guy
In my former role as an IT professional, one of my duties included providing support for our security software products to our customers. One of these products was a tool meant for safeguarding data transfers, and it was quite common for clients to call in for guidance on how to operate it.
Once, I was assisting a lady over a phone call, and for better assistance, I even had remote access to her computer to view her screen. My instruction to her was, "Now, look for your username in the list of users". Her response, "Got it! What's the next step?"
I replied, "Alright, right-click on your own username, then pick log in from the dropdown menu". She responded with, "Right-click, okay. But is it my right, or yours?"
9. Dino Dinner
At the museum I work at, the main attraction is the dinosaur display, and we primarily sell inexpensive memorabilia for kids. We sell lots of items, particularly "Dino Eggs". One day, a man, who I assumed was a grandpa, and a little girl (presumably his granddaughter), came into our always crowded and bustling shop and he chose a Dino Egg for her.
He quickly paid for it insisting, "No bag necessary". The entire interaction was sweet and straight-forward. Just as I shut the cash register and reached for his receipt, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. He had torn open the package of the "egg" and was crunching on a large piece of the plastic outer shell.
He turned towards me, chewing, and then casually asked, "Can I eat this?" "No!" I exclaimed, "Sir, that's not food. Please don't eat that". The child's excitement turned into disappointment as she watched her grandpa spit out chunks of plastic from her now ruined dino egg.
The egg was a toy meant to be soaked in water so that the embedded squishy dinosaur could "hatch". I handed over another egg. This time, I gave it directly to his granddaughter. It seemed safer to keep it out of his reach, given his apparent hunger.
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10. The Stomach Wants What The Stomach Wants
So, I'm working at this quaint outdoor eatery where we serve up wings and fries. That's it, just these two delights (speaking food-wise). Roughly a week back, this fellow comes up to my counter, picks up a menu, and gave it a good look, right in front of me. After perusing the menu, he looks me in the eye and asks, "Can I order a cheeseburger combo?"
Realizing my expression was worth a thousand words, I composed myself before informing him we only dish out wings and fries. His response? "What about a hot dog? I'd like a hot dog!" I was completely taken aback by this entire exchange.
11. Shift It
In my previous job as tech support, I got a call about an unusual keyboard issue from a user. This person had an issue with their shift key.
The problem was that when they pressed a letter while also holding down the shift key, they got the capital version of the letter. However, when they did the same thing with a number, no "capital" number appeared. This left the customer confused. I had to delicately explain the situation to them.
12. One Stop Shop
A person stepped into our small bicycle outlet crammed full of all kinds of bikes. Bicycles were dangling from the window, attached to the ceiling, leaning against the walls, practically occupying everywhere on the floor. It was like every inch of the shop was bursting with bikes and their random components. This set the stage for the most awkward conversation I've ever had in my life.
Him: "So, this is a bike shop, correct?"
Him: "Do you guys sell bikes or just repair them?"
Me: “We actually do both".
Him: "Would you be able to fix my canoe if I brought it here?"
Me: “Do you mean a bike named 'Canoe' or are we talking about an actual boat?"
Him: "It's a genuine canoe for lake use. Can you fix those?"
Me: “Um, no. We only handle bikes here".
Him: "Oh, I see".
13. Show Me The Door
Here's what went down last week. An elderly woman, possibly in her late sixties or early seventies, was parked on her Rascal scooter in front of a closed door at the garden center. She sat there for a couple of minutes, just looking at the door as around a dozen people walked right past her on their way to the actual entrance.
Eventually, she turned to me with a slightly annoyed expression and asked when they were going to open the garden center. I replied that it was already open and the entrance was just twenty feet to her left. It then took her another two minutes to figure out how to steer her scooter towards the entrance while another dozen shoppers walked in and out of the clearly open doors.
It's important to note there were around two hundred plant-filled carts positioned to guide people to the entrance. People were quickly passing by with carts full of plants, and yet, I've never seen anyone else get confused about the entrance. That's why this lady was unique among all the seniors I've ever run into.
14. Pasta Problems
I'm currently employed at an Italian restaurant. We give our Italian menu items their Italian names alongside English descriptions. I often field a lot of inquiries from our customers, but it's no trouble at all—I mean, I'm getting paid to chat about food, so I can't complain. However, not long ago, I found myself in a slightly comical situation.
The issue wasn't that the question was unintelligent, but that it was persistently asked over and over again:
Them: "Pollo e penne?"
Me: "Oh, that means chicken and pasta with-"
Them: "Does it contain any meat?"
Me: "The chicken pasta dish? Yes, pollo refers to chicken in Italian".
Them: "Could I have the chicken, but without the pollo?"
Me: "Pollo is simply the Italian term for chicken, if you enjoy chicken this dish would be a great choice".
Them: "No, I do enjoy chicken, but I don't fancy pollo".
I must admit, I nearly lost my cool for a moment there.
15. Using Your Noodle
A couple of years back when I was working as a server, I had a two-person party who requested for "two dishes of fettuccine penne". Puzzled, I inquired if they meant either fettuccine alfredo or penne alfredo. Their response was a determined "No, we want fettuccine penne".
Despite my efforts to clarify that these were two distinct pasta types, and asking what sauce they'd prefer, my words seemed to fall on deaf ears. In the end, I served them penne alfredo, and when I circled back to their table to check on them, they were full of gratitude. They praised my service, rejoicing over how the "fettuccine was off the charts".
The patron I was helping requested a burger. His question then made me pause. "Could you guys supply me with the same kind of burger buns they have at the supermarket over there? The ones with distinctive swan packaging?"
"I'm afraid not," I replied, "We receive our buns directly from our exclusive supplier, and they're a totally different brand". Just then, he asked a question that was so bewildering it has forever stuck with me. "Would you mind popping over to that supermarket and purchasing a bun for me? I specifically fancy that one for my burger".
The assumption that the restaurant would foot the bill for the bun was truly bewildering. What's more, he couldn't even recall the brand name of the buns—not that it was particularly important, but it just added to the absurdity.
17. What Time Is It?
Once you land a job at Disneyland, fellow Cast Members give you a heads up. You'll be asked, "When is the three o'clock parade?" At first, you might think they're pulling your leg, but when you're actually faced with that question, you'll have to kindly inform the guest, without a hint of sarcasm or frustration, that the parade indeed happens at three.
Disney's ethos is all about service and warmth, so any and all questions are answered earnestly and joyfully, no matter how odd they may seem. It's in moments like these that I surprise myself with my knack for keeping a sunny and helpful attitude, no matter what.
18. Know Your Geography
I used to work at the Space Needle in Seattle, where I met some of the most clueless individuals. These people were usually part of the group of tourists that used the elevator service, which we operated. Part of our job as operators involved pointing out famous landmarks and explaining the city's geography.
Let's refer to the elevator operator as EO and to the confused tourists as Misinformed Mike (MM).
EO: "Look over there, that's the Olympic Peninsula, known for its Olympic Mountain Range".
MM: "Is that Russia?"
EO: "I beg your pardon?"
MM: "Is that Peninsula, Russia?"
EO: "Absolutely not, Russia is not part of the United States. Now, let's move on. Over there we can see one of our most recognized mountains: Mount -"
MM: "Mount Everest?"
EO: "No, not Mount Everest. It's Mount Rainier".
MM: "Then, where's Mount Everest?"
EO: "Mount Everest is roughly seven thousand miles away from here".
You wouldn't believe how difficult it was to keep from teasing these folks.
19. Something Fishy
This story goes back to about three years ago and it still baffles me. I'm a restaurant worker and we routinely deal with customers' gripes—they're part and parcel of the job. But this particular one takes the cake. One day, a female customer approached me, enquiring why her husband's meal had a strong aroma of fish.
I was curious about what he'd ordered and, as it turns out, he had opted for a fisherman's platter—as the name suggests, it prominently features fish. I was silent for a bit as I processed this, half expecting it to be a joke. But no, the lady was utterly serious.
When I offered to fetch the manager to address her concern, she declined, confirming they were quite satisfied with their meals. Her qualm wasn't with the dish itself—her husband is actually a fan of fish—it was just the smell that bothered her. I assured her I would relay her feedback to the management team.
20. Pick A Side
I once held a job in a steakhouse famous for its curly fries (those unique spiral-shaped fries whose making method still baffles me). Every steak dish mentioned in the menu included these curly fries, and we even had pictures to showcase them.
Additionally, we'd give our patrons a choice between fries or mashed potatoes while taking their orders. But, despite all this, there was a common misunderstanding that occurred quite frequently:
Customer: “Err! Why doesn't my dish have calamari?"
Me (after verifying the order): "Oops, I see you didn't ask for it when ordering. Would you like me to add it on now?"
Customer: “No, I saw calamari in the picture on the menu".
Me: “Ah, you must be confusing the curly fries that are right there on your plate for calamari…”
There was also a curious bunch of customers who seemed to have something against these uniquely shaped fries. Their usual question was "I'm not a big fan of curly fries. Can I get regular, straight fries instead?"
21. Red And Green
I'm employed at Wholefoods Market where one time a shopper came to me with vine tomatoes. When I checked her out, she wasn't happy.
Shopper: "Those should cost less. $1 each".
I replied, "My colleague can verify that". So, my coworker went to confirm.
Coworker: "No, these tomatoes aren't for $1. It's the basil that's priced at $1. It's located beside it".
Shopper: "Yes! That's basil!"
Stunned, I said, "Um... actually, that's a tomato".
Confused, the shopper asked, "Really? How can you tell the difference?"
22. Weather Woes
This is a story I'll always remember fondly. Back when I worked at a Disneyland ticket booth, one of those off-and-on rainy days rolled in—not bad enough to totally spoil the day, but a bit of a downer all the same. This woman approached my window and asked, "Is it raining in the park too?" I leaned over in my booth for a better peek outside.
With a touch of sarcasm in my voice, I replied, "I reckon it is, ma'am". But it didn't stop there. Immediately she shot back, "Well, when will it let up?" I stared at her, trying to make sense of our conversation. You can't imagine how much I was tempted to tell her, "No, it's not raining inside the park. Disney magic created an invisible shield".
23. Wacky Waves
I'm in the business of soundproofing. One day, a woman rang me, asking for assistance in blocking radio waves from her bedroom. I kindly clarified the difference between sound and electromagnetic waves and told her we didn't carry any products that could block the latter. Mistakes like this aren't unusual, and it's not everyone's job to understand physics, so it's cool.
She retorted, "You have to assist me! I'm your customer!" As delicately as possible, I reminded her that I couldn't be of much help since I don't deal with the products she needs. She was confused as to why I wasn't assisting her. Concluding that it was more efficient to handle her issue than explain a hang-up to my boss, I engaged further.
"Why specifically do you need to block radio waves from your bedroom?" I queried. She exclaimed, "Obviously, to save my LIFE!" Clearly, we had an issue at hand. A quick glance at her caller ID confirmed it was from Florida. Seems like I had an eccentric one. So, I devised a plan.
Cutting to the chase, I guided her in creating a homemade Faraday cage over her bed to keep out potential brain-controlling satellites. Reflecting on it, I'm not proud. There might be mental health professionals out there who would scold me for entertaining her belief. Nonetheless, by day end, she was ecstatic to have found someone who lent a hand.
She's likely sleeping peacefully now, and I managed to have a wild 45-minute diversion over an alternative scenario.
24. Mystery Meat
I'm employed at a mom-and-pop eatery. One time, a patron requested our buffalo chicken sandwich. I served him his order, which led to an absolutely puzzling conversation.
Patron: "Hmm, pardon me, this appears to be chicken".
Me: "Indeed, sir, it's chicken".
Patron: "But I asked for the buffalo chicken sandwich!"
Me: "Correct, sir, this is your buffalo chicken sandwich".
Patron: "But it's chicken! I asked for buffalo! That's clearly misleading and I demand a refund".
I called the manager over who then showed the patron a menu. The menu plainly outlined the "Buffalo Chicken Sandwich," detailing chicken slathered in buffalo sauce.
25. Roll It Up
At the Japanese quick-service restaurant where I worked, we had a menu item named the Volcano roll, priced at $7. In essence, this was a $4 California roll, reshaped into a triangle and finished off with a warm spicy mayo sauce, including a mere sprinkling of fish that cost around ten cents.
In reality, a smarter order would be a basic California roll with a side of spicy mayo for an extra fifty cents. That way, you could have it heated without the additional cost of the Volgado roll. One day, a couple approached the counter, and the guy, exuding confidence, asked for several rolls, including the time-consuming Volcano roll.
As they waited, I served the salmon and tuna rolls they'd also ordered. Whilst he barely acknowledged me and kept chatting with his girlfriend, I prepared the Volcano roll. Once it was ready, his girlfriend exclaimed, "Wow, it really does look like a volcano!" I simply smiled and returned to my post.
Suddenly, I heard him call out, "Hey! Look, I know this might be annoying, but the last time I had the Volcano roll, the sauce was served separately. I didn't realize you were going to put it on top. Can I get another one without the sauce? I don't really like it".
Suppressing my laughter, I agreed to his request. When I went back and explained the situation to the sushi chef, he laughed and promptly served up a sauce-less California roll. The customer was delighted, not realizing he'd just paid $7 for what essentially cost $4. As a bonus, the chef and I enjoyed a free Volcano roll.
26. Crazy Cat Lady
I'm employed at a shop that sells nutritious pet food. We have a particular cat food brand that has an image of a cougar on the can to symbolize your cat's innate predatory instincts.
A customer known for being a bit clueless came storming into the store, casually munching on a messy granola bar: "I need to discuss a problem. I purchased this can of food and didn't notice the mountain lion on the packaging until I returned home". I turned to give her my attention—and that's when she lost it.
"I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS!! HOW COULD A COMPANY BE SO HEARTLESS?! THIS IS ABSURD!! MAKING A CAT EAT ANOTHER CAT IS JUST WRONG AND I'M APPALLED THAT YOU OFFER SUCH A SHAMEFUL ITEM. CATS EATING CATs IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!" she ranted, all while granola bar crumbs tumbled out of her mouth and off her hand.
I was taken aback by her outburst, so I simply turned on my heel and headed to the back of the store, leaving my coworker to deal with her.
27. Crazy Coupon Lady
On this particular day, I was manning the cash registers at Kmart. Generally, we're pretty comfortable price matching items from other neighboring stores. However, on this day, a customer approached me and requested to price match an item.
This wasn't unusual, but what surprised me was her request to price match with a Kmart branch in New Zealand. I should point out that the currency in New Zealand differs from Australia, which is where we're located. Despite this, she tried to argue her case.
In response, I decided the best course of action was to involve a manager and stepped back.
28. Tomato Troubles
Quite a while back, I found myself taking an order for a lady who wanted the soup and salad lunch special. Our conversation went something like this:
She asked, "Is there any chance the house salad has tomatoes? I have a serious allergy to them".
I reassured her, telling her, "Yes, it typically does, but we can certainly prepare it without them".
She emphasized, "Make absolutely certain there are no tomatoes in that salad".
I agreed, "Sure thing. What dressing would you prefer?"
She responded, "Balsamic, please".
Then I asked, "What about the soup?"
To that, she replied, "I'll take the tomato basil".
I was left speechless and decided the best thing to do was to leave and punch in her order. Even now, I struggle to come up with a proper reaction to that.
29. A Dangerous Mix
I found myself deep in an ambulance, working tirelessly on a patient in dire need of nitroglycerin to reduce their dangerously high blood pressure. This was our chat:
I told the gentleman, "Before I can administer this drug to you, I must make absolutely sure you've not consumed any ED medications such as Viagra or Cialis in the past 72 hours". I listed out all the possible variations.
"The danger lies in the fact that if you've taken an ED drug and take this nitroglycerin now, your blood pressure could plummet to perilously low levels. Are you sure you've taken none of these medications?"
To which he abruptly replied, "Absolutely not, never have". Alarm bells should have started ringing at that point... I double-checked, "Are you fully sure?" And he reiterated, "Absolutely, most certainly". I repeated the possible fatal side effects. Again, he confirmed, "No, never".
"Alright," I said, "Place this pill under your tongue". And then, he casually asked, "Does generic Viagra count?" Oh for heaven's sake!!! Why is it always like this?
Let me share a silly incident that most recently unfolded. For transmitting sensitive paperwork, we safeguard it with encryption and a password. Typically, we dispatch the document and its corresponding password in two distinct emails. Astonishingly, a fellow reaches out to me stating he was having an issue accessing the document that we sent.
Our exchange began like this:
Me: "Did you try with the password?"
Him: "Sure did. But it kept saying there was an error".
Me: "Could you tell me which password you used?" His answer was a bit surprising.
Him: "Oh, I just clicked OK and it said the password was incorrect".
Me: "Hold on, are you telling me you didn't input anything?"
His response, "Basically, no".
Me: "Why not attempt using the password we provided you?"
With a touch of disbelief, he admitted, "I thought it wouldn't function, so I discarded the email".
You could imagine my stunned reaction.
31. Measure Twice Cut Once
A lady was hoping to find cloth to dress her tables but hadn't bothered to take their measurements. I patiently explained that tables are a mixed bag; they come in all shapes and sizes. Still, she insisted the first table was a typical size. Progress, at last!
After some deduction, we figured out the needed fabric size for table one and I cut it accordingly. Onto table two it was. Next, I unrolled the fabric and was preparing it when she interjected, pulling at the cloth and unfolding it. She queried about the fabric's width.
I responded with the exact measure written on it. She stopped in her tracks, deep in thought. "That's not enough". But, her confusion didn't end there. She pondered once more then asked, "Would cutting it make it larger?" Gathering every ounce of my patience, in the most diplomatic tone, I replied, "I'm sorry, but trimming it down wouldn’t actually increase its size".
32. John Hancock
The question itself wasn't silly, but his reason for asking it was. You see, I was lending a hand at a second-hand bookstore in the library—it's not my usual gig but I'm there a fair bit. In walks this elderly gentleman who picked up a hefty pile of books for a mere ten bucks. He was a friendly chatterbox, although he seemed a little out of touch mentally.
No worries there, I just had to review the sales tax and book prices a couple of times before he grasped it. He paid by card and I walked him through the process of signing on the touchscreen for the transaction to be processed. That's when he asked me for my name. I gave it to him.
With the iPad in hand, he thanked me for my help, joyfully announcing that he'd use my name for the card signature so "they" would know to direct the funds to me. Before I could utter "hold up!", he'd sent off the signature. I wasn't privy to his receipt but his profuse praises and insistence that I keep the change pointed to his sincerity.
I wouldn't exactly label it as unintelligent; it was simply quirky. It got me thinking whether he'd been autographing cashiers' names ever since he got his credit card. It's a good thing credit card companies barely look into these things.
33. Open And Shut Case
I used to work in a shop dealing with computer sales and repairs. Once, a customer, who looked like she was in her early twenties, approached me because she was having issues opening something on her laptop. I removed the device from her hands and flipped it open.
Nonchalantly, I asked her, "So, what's this thing you're unable to open?" She stared at me, her eyes wide with shock, as I lifted the laptop's lid and exclaimed, "I'VE BEEN TRYING TO OPEN THIS FOR HOURS, HOW DID YOU DO THAT?”
Caught off-guard, I didn't know what to say. I simply closed and reopened the laptop. Silently, she took her laptop, thanked me, and exited the shop. As she left, I sat there, staring at my computer screen. It was at that moment; I decided it was time for me to resign from that job.
Once upon a time, during my stint at a restaurant, a woman came in who seemed convinced that every menu item was some sort of omelet. When she ordered, it was always something like "I'll have the skirt steak omelet". I’d gently correct her and say, "Actually, that's just a piece of skirt steak. Would you like me to replace the fries with eggs?"
She would respond to my confusion with her own, "Oh, it's not an omelet? Well, what about this Greek salad omelet?" I had to patiently explain to her, "Dearest, it's just a Greek salad. We do have egg-based dishes, and they're listed on this particular part of the menu. Anything that's an omelet is distinctly labeled 'omelet'".
After a bit of back-and-forth, she finally chose an omelet that she thoroughly enjoyed. However, her male companion ended up sending back his croque monsieur, BECAUSE HE MISUNDERSTOOD IT AS AN OMELET. It beats me why they were under the impression we were an exclusively omelet-serving eatery.
35. What A Gem
I once worked at a high-end jewelry stand located in a shopping center. We sold a variety of items, such as bracelets and necklaces made of gold bonded with sterling silver, sterling silver rings adorned with cubic zirconia jewels, and even gold engagement rings with small diamonds gathered together, as opposed to a single large diamond, and so much more.
Among my numerous regular customers, this one lady was especially memorable. She was a frequent visitor who would often browse through our collection, pointing at each piece that caught her eye and inquiring, "Is this genuine?"
I patiently explained to her what "bonded" signified, and kindly stressed that we would never sell diamond rings at a steeply discounted price of $25. However, I assured her that our rings were officially certified and crafted from sterling silver adorned with man-made jewels.
Nonetheless, day after day, she would persistently ask the same question after every explanation I offered, repeating, "Okay, but...is this genuine?" All I wanted to do was give her a simple "yes" answer and move on.
36. Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em
I'm employed at a local pet shop. Our main focus is on dog supplies, but we also carry a limited variety of cat toys and catnip. Recently, we introduced a trendy new product—a range of catnip presented like medicinal weed. The product range includes "prescription" bottles and catnip cleverly packaged as pre-rolled "joints".
Now, while it's clear to customers that these are actually catnip items, I've often found myself responding to amusing questions. People regularly ponder over these nifty packages of catnip "joints" and ask, "How on earth does a cat use this?" or even, "How are cats supposed to use a lighter with their paws?"
Often stumped for a response, I'm only left to laugh heartily.
37. Combo Deal
When I was in high school and a bit into college, I used to work at Wendy's. One day, a guy in his 50s strolls in wearing an eye-catching, bright magenta suit. He placed an order for a burger. So, I asked him, "Would you like to get a combo, or only the burger?" He looked at me, confused, and asked, "What's a combo?"
I clarified that it's simply your burger served alongside fries and a drink, but he didn't get it somehow. With a blank expression, he says, "I want fries and a drink, but what's this combo thing?" This same question-answer session kept on repeating for nearly FIVE LONG MINUTES.
Honestly, I can't recall whether he ever understood what a combo meal is or if he eventually got one. However, what I won't ever forget is spotting him two weeks later in a different city while I was training some political campaigners at my other job. And, guess what? He was in his signature magenta suit again.
I was so taken aback that I just stood there, staring at him in silence, thinking to myself, "Wow, it's the combo dude!"
38. Heavy Duty
During my time at Best Buy, I once had this rather puzzling conversation.
Customer: "Could you show me your heavy-duty TVs?"
Me: "Are you planning to use it in a commercial setting?" (My assumption being perhaps he wanted something that could withstand constant use like in a bar).
Customer: "No, it's for my living room".
Me: "May I ask what you intend to use it for?"
Customer: "Watching, of course! What else?"
Me: "Apologies for the confusion; I was just wondering why you specifically wanted a 'heavy-duty' TV?"
Customer: “Well, I'm not really sure, you tell me! After all, aren't you the ones selling these HDTVs?!"
39. Wi-Fi Weirdo
I'm employed at an electronics shop, and a peculiar conversation recently unfolded. A customer asked me, "Where can I find a large-sized TV that's not a smart TV?" I replied, "Well, most manufacturers nowadays produce large TVs that come with smart features".
The customer insisted that the TV mustn't have Wi-Fi. I further explained, "It's not really about the cost, you can buy a smart TV and simply choose not to use those features". They retorted, "No, it still emits signals. I’m allergic to Wi-Fi". Puzzled, I asked, "Are you joking?"
They stressed their seriousness, "No, I'll get critically sick around anything wireless". Checking for inconsistencies, I asked, "Do you use a mobile phone?" Their answer was affirmative. "A laptop?" Again, they answered in the affirmative. I expressed my confusion, "But you seem absolutely fine right now?"
I elaborated further, "I doubt you're allergic to Wi-Fi. Every product here is connected to Wi-Fi, and we could potentially have hundreds of people around us carrying mobile phones. Yet, you appear perfectly healthy". Perplexed and somewhat miffed, the customer concluded, "It seems you don't want my business, this is why [xx] is failing".
40. Take The Hint
Once upon a time, while both attending college and managing a GameStop store, a situation sprung up. A man reached out, upset because his son's preowned Wii U, which he had bought from our store, wasn't functioning. His little boy had accidentally dropped it. The problem?
He hadn't opted for insurance when buying it, so we could only replace it on the grounds of it being inherently defective. So, I offered him a subtle solution, playfully suggesting, "Perhaps it was already faulty before your little one dropped it. Why don't you bring it back to our store and we'll replace it for you?"
In my heart, I just wanted to help, but it went haywire. Desperate to assist, I tried to sway him towards a replacement Wii U, at no additional cost. I essentially conveyed, "Things happen, don't worry. I'm here to help". The man, however, started insisting it quit working only after the drop.
He was adamant, "I witnessed him dropping it and it stopped working right after. I'm sure about it". To keep the exchange going, I gently reiterated, "Well, are we absolutely certain that the drop is the culprit? Maybe it was already malfunctioning and would have stopped working regardless".
My hands were tied at this point, I couldn't replace a console broken due to an accidental drop, only if it was intrinsically defective. So, I latched onto the belief that it was, in fact, flawed, and steered him to bring it in for a no-cost exchange. Yet again, he rejected it, vehemently affirming, "No, it surely stopped because of the drop".
Eventually, he arrived an hour later to buy a brand-new Wii U at full price. The ironic part? Our District Manager was present in the store throughout this dialogue. I couldn't overtly prompt, but internally, I was stunned by this man's failure to grasp my attempt to help him. It was, indeed, a situation of me trying to ‘spell it out’ for him.
41. Geometry Class
A grown lady once asked me for the size of our pizzas. I stretched out my hand, showing about a foot, and said, "About a foot, this much". She looked puzzled for a bit before finally saying, "Oh, you mean length-wise?" It's a little funny, because our pizzas are round, so any line across the pizza is technically "length-wise".
I guess maybe she didn't realize our pizzas were round, but it was a bit of a silly moment. I recounted this story to a coworker. But when I got to the punchline—"Any point across is length-wise"—she just gave me a puzzled look. Breaking into a smile, she finally responded with, "All right, we can't all be aspiring engineers like you!"
I simply walked off at this point. It felt weird, as it's not like I'm some sort of genius for understanding the basic properties of a circle.
42. Houston, We Have A Problem
While screening the movie Apollo 13 for my astronomy students, a question was posed that truly astounded me. Just as the iconic "Houston, we have a problem" line was delivered, a hand shot up from the back of the room. The student's friend urged them to retract their question, deeming it "silly".
Ignoring the whispering, I walked back and inquired about their query. They then asked: "Are all the guys present there named Houston?"
Consider this: How many people named Houston have you encountered in your life? What's the probability that there would be 30 individuals named Houston in the same space?
After almost a decade in teaching, the memory of this question still brings a smile to my face.
43. Black Belt
So, I'm a karate instructor and one day, this woman popped in, hoping to purchase some black belts from us. She wanted to use them for a birthday party she was planning at home for her child and some friends. Normally, selling belts for non-class uses wouldn't bother me in the slightest, but unfortunately, we only stock those belts when necessary, like for tests and promotions and such.
So, I politely explained that we weren't selling any at the moment, but suggested she could find some via an online search, perhaps on xyz website. I clarified that most martial arts schools typically don't sell belts due to the immense effort and commitment that earning one usually entails.
But then she gestured towards my own belt, which is well-worn, grubby and torn from years of hard graft, and asked, "Well, how about yours? Can I simply purchase that one?" ...Uh-huh, sure ma'am, let me just hand over something that has been a part of my daily life for the past decade...
44. Water Worries
In a previous job, I worked at a restaurant that was a hit for folks who were all about organic and health-conscious eating. One day, a woman asked me outright if we ensured our water was free from ionizing radiation. She made it clear that not doing so would be a dealbreaker for her.
Curiosity, with a dash of mischief, got the better of me and I assured her, "Absolutely, we do! In fact, watch, I'll test it right here for you. Let me just grab my Geiger counter from behind". I quickly downloaded a fake Geiger counter app and "tested" a glass of tap water in front of her.
She was entirely convinced by my charade and went ahead to order a fruit salad and a bottle of water. Honestly, the blocky look of my phone cover at that time probably lent credibility to my act. I couldn't help but share the prank with the manager and we both had a hearty chuckle about it.
Even now, I shake my head in amusement that I pulled it off.
I've spent the last two years employed part time in a game store. This odd encounter happened last summer when a frazzled soccer mom and her rowdy kid walked in, demanding a particular Sonic game. Here's how it went:
Me: "Hello, and welcome to our humble video game shop".
Lady: "Hello, I want to grab the Sonic game".
Me: “I apologize for any confusion, but could you specify which Sonic game you’re after?"
Lady: “The super speed one! My kid has been begging for it, make sure you do not let him down".
Me: “Well, we are offering pre-orders for Sonic Forces that hasn’t been launched yet. Could that be the one you’re talking about? You can book a copy now, and collect it once it comes out”.
Lady: “But he wants it right now. Look, I’ll quietly give you an extra ten if you can sort it out for me, no one has to know”.
Me: “I'm really sorry but we don't possess any copies of this game at present. Also, I’m obliged to adhere to the official release date. If your son is so keen on this game, you can pre-order it right now. It will be available to you as soon as it is officially released”.
This didn't sit well with her and she demanded to be put through to my manager, persistently trying to convince him to disrespect the official release date for the game we didn't even have on hand.
46. The Do-Gooder
I remember when I was a receptionist at a local UNICEF office, I would often get phone calls like this. Someone would ask, "Hey, how can I volunteer for UNICEF in Africa?" I would respond, "Well, you should reach out to UNICEF International in New York City. Our office doesn't handle field volunteer positions".
They'd then say something like, "Oh, but I need to leave next week. How do I arrange that?" I'd have to let them down gently, saying, "The application process takes longer than a week because they have to ensure you have the necessary skills they're looking for".
Puzzled, the caller would usually ask, "What qualifications?" Keeping patience, I would explain, "Typically, they need skilled professionals like medical workers or experienced educators. Sometimes translators or international lawyers, though normally those positions aren't taken overseas".
The disappointment when they replied, "But I'm currently unemployed and don't really have any relevant experience, they can't just send me to Africa next week? Because I can leave right now..." was palpable. But I had to be truthful, my reply was simply, "No".
47. An Eye For An Eye
One day, as I worked in an optometrist's office, a woman became annoyed. She was bothered about being billed for new lenses due to her updated prescription. She was losing patience and perplexed, she asked, "Why do you need to make new lenses? Couldn't you just add some more medicine in the ones I currently have?" It was a real struggle to keep a straight face.
48. Bathroom Rules
There I was, leaning next to a massive sign for the restroom, busily replenishing our utensils, when a woman in her mid-thirties walked into the place. The woman asked me, "Excuse me, could you tell me where the restroom is?" I pointed down the corridor, towards the direction that the sign was indicating.
Her reply left me baffled, "No, that's not right". Then she dropped a real surprise. "That's a restroom for couples, isn't it? It has a picture of a man and a woman!" I couldn't help but chuckle as I corrected her, "No, that symbolizes a restroom that can be used by both men and women, it's unisex".
Her response was even more surprising, "I'm not unisexual, I'll swing by the Applebee's!" And just like that, she was gone.
49. Leggo My Eggo
I used to work at a grocery store in the dairy section. There I was one day, arranging eggs on the shelves when a shopper inquired, "Where can I find the Eggos?" "They're located in the freezer section," I replied. To which she responded, "No, I usually get them right here".
I clarified, "We don't keep waffles in the dairy aisle". She clarified in return, "I'm not referring to the waffles, but liquid eggs". "I've been employed here for a while, we don't offer Eggo branded liquid eggs," I responded. "Then, what do you call these?" She gestured towards EggBeater brand liquid eggs.
"Those are EggBeaters," I acknowledged. "Well, that's exactly what I need," she affirmed. "But you were asking for Eggos," I countered. "That's what I usually call them," she shared. My question was, "How should I have known your unique nickname for liquid eggs?" She wasn't pleased with this.
I ended up being sent home early due to our dispute.
50. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
While working at a fast-food chicken joint, I had an amusing phone call. The initial call was from a woman who told me her preschool-aged daughter wanted to place the order. To my surprise, her daughter requested a whopping 500 pieces of chicken.
I chuckled and agreed, but when her mom came back on the line and asked how long, I had to let her know that her daughter's wish list was going to cost a hefty $1,000. I lightly asked her if she was sure about the order. This seemed to set the mother off, as she began berating me, implying that I was questioning her daughter's intelligence.
I tried to clarify, "Just confirming, you'd like 500 pieces of chicken?" She insisted her daughter gets what she wants and commanded me to stop picking on her and get the order ready. I warned her, "It'll take at least an hour and total $1,000".
Her response was somewhat muddled about being degrading toward her and her child, hinting that I felt superior to them. Regardless, she sternly asked me to prepare the order. She showed up a mere ten minutes later seeking her pile of chicken.
I had already filled my manager in on the odd order and ensuing argument, so chaos ensued when the cashier announced the total of over $1,000. Throughout all this, the woman refused to specify a more reasonable order quantity, while her little girl kept insisting on her original request of 500 chickens.