Airport

Boston, MA

(My brother and I (who travel by plane frequently) are flying home from a trip. We are going through security:)

TSA Agent: “Get in one of the two lines”

(We do. My brother begins taking off his shoes and getting his toiletries out of his bag, as per standard security rules)

TSA Agent: “SIR. Do NOT take off your shoes here!!”

Brother: “Oh okay, I’m sorry, we always had to bef-“

TSA: “NO! You do NOT take off your shoes in security! And get your hands OFF that bag!”

Brother: “Oh, but aren’t we supposed to take out our liquids and stuff?”

TSA: “Have you ever flown before? NO YOU DO NOT. Now get in line and leave your bag here before I call security”

(At this point, my brother is noticeably flustered but tries to stay calm and asks for a plastic bin for his cell phone, wallet, keys, and spare change)

TSA: “NO! JUST GET THROUGH THE GATE NOW!”

(Finally, I’ve had enough)

Me: “Look lady, just because your security is different from every other airport we have EVER flown in (including O’Hare, LAX, LaGuardia, Paris, and Narita), does NOT mean you need to be this way. He was only trying to make it easier on you. Shut up and lay off, you b****!”

(The TSA Agent gets ready to fire back a retort but before she can, airport security lets us through. The security guy tells us this is normal behavior for her and this report will be her last. Hopefully we never have to deal with her again!)

Fast food restaurant

USA

(A fast food restaurant is holding a job fair so I go. A blonde, ditzy looking teen girl smiles at me.)

Ditzy Girl: “Hi, can I help you?”

Me: “Yes, can I have an application?”

Ditzy Girl: “A what?”

Me: “An application?”

Ditzy Girl: “Huh?”

Me: “A JOB application?”

Ditzy Girl: “Oh!”

(What other kind of applications are there?!)

nursing home

Ohio, USA

(I’m a housekeeping at a nursing home. I am cleaning the dining area of our dementia unit. One of our physical therapists is working nearby with a resident with a broken wrist.)

Therapist: [Resident], I’m going to go get some ice to put on your wrist for a while, ok?

(The therapist grabs a plastic glove and leaves to go to the ice machine to fill it. I have done that same things plenty of times at other jobs so I think nothing of it. She returns with the glove full of crushed ice and tied off at the end. It’s all puffed up, including the fingers. She pauses by me and looks at the glove.)

Therapist: You know, I did this, but I didn’t think about how creepy it might look to someone with dementia…

(She quickly grabs some paper towels to disguise the look of a disembodied hand before giving it to the poor resident.)

Electronics store

Osaka, Japan

(I am out with two of my friends; we are all white, native English speakers but they speak basic Japanese and I am fluent. My friend is buying a cover for her Nexus, her husband is next to her, and I am standing a few feet away, not really listening to the conversation.)

Cashier: Point?

Friend: What?

Cashier: …point?

(I notice the transaction is taking longer than normal and start paying attention. I am considering whether or not to step in when my friend’s husband speaks up.) Friend’s husband: I think he’s asking if you want to use your point card?

Cashier: Yes, use point?

Friend: Oh, yes.

Me (in fluent, polite Japanese): Um, you know that it would have been faster to just have asked her in Japanese? Just because we’re foreigners doesn’t mean we don’t speak the language.

Cashier (laughing, clearly surprised and embarrassed): Oh… Sorry, I didn’t know.

(I feel a bit bad for making him uncomfortable, but it’s ridiculous how often employees don’t even bother to see if the customer can speak/understand Japanese before trying to communicate in a language they don’t know!)

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