Last month, I wrote a column about all the good men and women working service industry jobs and suffering under the tired "jokes" of customers who don't have the vaguest conception of either comedy or things employees enjoy hearing while working. The column did pretty well, and I slept soundly that night, knowing hundreds of thousands of earnest workers had found a new hero.
Did I mention I dreamed hundreds of thousands of earnest workers called me a hero?
But some were not so pleased. Some said it is a small, bad man who takes offense to customers cracking harmless jokes. How could I suggest murdering such customers, they asked, and then they explained how they lived their lives like Zen masters, undeterred by the passing indignities of manual labor. In response, I did the only thing I could:
I had a dream where those mean commenters were processed into hamburger and eaten by an angry giant
Then I woke up and wrote this sequel. Here are five more horrible, cliched jokes that workers have to hear every day, and how I think those workers should be allowed to react in a just world.
#5. Saying "It's Good. I Printed It This Morning" to a Cashier Checking Large-Denomination Bills
Even in today's world of automatic debits and swiping money chips lodged in your urethra (I'm beta-testing that right now), people still pay for things in cash. And sometimes that cash comes in large denominations: $20s, $50s, and even $100s. Now, I'm not sure if you know this, but if you're a cashier and your drawer doesn't add up at the end of your shift, some employers take the difference out of your pay. Other employers fire you. That's why accepting a counterfeit $100 in place of a real one would be a bit problematic for cashiers. And beyond that, some businesses have trained their employees to always check for the various official markings of higher-denomination bills, so cashiers do it because, y'know, it's their job.
"Yes, a picture of Nicolas Cage giving Benjamin Franklin a reach-around ... this one's good!"
But don't let that stop you from making a great joke! If you're an exceptionally funny person, when this happens to you, you'll wait until the moment the cashier inspects your bill and say ...
"Don't worry. It's good. I printed it this morning!"
Get it? No, he's not saying he works for the United States Treasury Department; he means it's fake. It's a counterfeit bill. So actually when he's saying "don't worry," if it were true, the cashier should totally be worrying. So it's funny because it's true. Wait, I mean it's funny because it's not true. Wait a minute. It's not in any way funny, and if you do it, I hope that cashier drops the bill in alarm and instantly has security restrain you while she calls the police, advising that she caught the fake-$50 bandit and obtained a full confession.
#4. Telling Your Server, "Oh, That's Just What I Wanted!" After Being Informed What the Restaurant Is Out Of
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So have you ever gone to a restaurant and, instead of getting the specials, the server tells you what they actually don't have? Yeah, it's a bit of a drag, but I think that's a pretty stand-up policy. Better than letting you get your hopes up. But y'know, whether it's a good policy or not, your server sure as hell is not the one who made it. He or she just works for a place that says "Tell the customers up front when the kitchen has taken some things off the menu."
But again, a good consumer is always on the lookout for the perfect opportunity to deliver a top quality zinger out of a mundane situation. So once your server says, "Sorry, but we're not serving pork chops today," the perfect thing for you to say is ...
"Oh, great! That's just what I was gonna order!"
"Get it? You're a huge disappointment to me!"
This punchline is a little more subtle than our first one. See, the joke here is: "Feel like a dick, you shitty server. You've let me down!" Yeah, when you write it out, it kind of doesn't seem that hilarious, and yet that's the joke. This is not to be mistaken for when you actually were going to order an item they're out of and you mumble something like "Oh, that's what I was going to order, I think I need another minute." That's just a normal thing to say. This is just, man, I don't know, but it happens. So if your server replies, "Really? But I think you'd better order a sense of humor or, I don't know, functional genitalia," then you kind of had it coming.
#3. Ordering a "Tall Blonde" at Starbucks and Then Adding ... Anything
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Have you been to Starbucks? Of course you have. No one's strong enough to resist their subliminal advertising messages encoded into the Norah Jones and Arcade Fire CDs. So as you well know, Starbucks does this thing where they call a "small" a "tall." This shouldn't be too surprising to you because they also call a cup of "charred, burned axle grease" a cup of "coffee."
Starts your morning right and helps the gears in your industrial generator fire smoothly!
What you might not know about Starbucks, though, is that they make a coffee referred to as a "blonde." You can see where this is going. All over this great land of ours, there are men craving an overpriced and decidedly mellow small cup of coffee who can't wait to proclaim ...
"Give me a tall blonde!!!"
And then they wink or say "hubba hubba" or do absolutely anything to indicate they're talking about a sexy lady!
This isn't funny. It will never be funny. If you think this is funny, there's an excellent chance no woman will ever want to talk to you, tall, short, blonde, or otherwise. Say "tall blonde, please," and nothing else, or learn to drink a stronger coffee instead of one made from the tears of dewinged fairies.