Friday, January 06, 2012

Conversations You Can't Believe You're Actually Having: the Staples Edition

Staples, somewhere along Rockville Pike, 5 p.m.-ish today...

Me to Clerk: Hi, I need to exchange this 12 x 12 x 12 shipping box for this 18 x 12 x 12 one. I miscalculated my shipping needs just slightly.

Clerk to Me: Ma'am, these boxes are the same.

Me: Uh... no, they're not. One is 12 x 12 x 12. The other is 18 x 12 x 12.

Clerk: They're both marked "medium," ma'am. They're the same.

Me: Nooo. They're different sizes. One is bigger than the other.

Clerk: No, ma'am. They are the same. It's just that one is a square and one is a rectangle. They just are shaped differently, so it's an optical illusion. They are both medium boxes.

Me: Umm... that's not an optical illusion. One is bigger. The one with the EIGHTEEN in the dimensions is bigger than the one with all twelves in the dimensions.

Clerk: No. (Points at writing on both boxes.) See? They are both marked MEDIUM so they are the same size. You can just keep your first box, and it will fit the same.

Me: You're kidding, right? Look, I may have flunked out of honors math in high school, but even I know that these boxes have different volume. There are several box sizes and shapes you carry - some are in the small range, some are medium, and some are large.

Clerk: And these are both medium, so they hold the same amount, but can hold different shapes.

(At this point, I start to assemble both boxes. I was the only customer up front. Man, I wish there had been an audience for this.)

Me: See? This box (points to 18-incher) is bigger. It also costs fifty cents more than the other one.

Clerk: Oh, it's more expensive? Then it must be bigger.

Me: (smiles) Yes. It is.

(Not so much.)


Chuck said...

It's almost like they should have a post-transaction button at the cash register that says "Boy! He was stupid!"

Merujo said...

Chuck, I can only imagine what look I had on my face throughout this exchange. I probably could have turned people into stone...

Claire said...

I worry about the state of education in America.

"And these are both medium, so they hold the same amount, but can hold different shapes."

If I had made it this far in the exchange, I think I would've just said, "Yeah, I need to send a rectangle shaped thing instead of a square." Or demanded a manager. Or if I had time and patience to kill, the math major in me might've gotten out a sheet of paper and pen to show him/her the volume math.

Your hands-on visual approach was no doubt the best route.

Keith near Denver said...

Did you look for a hidden camera?

Keith near Denver said...

Did you look for a hidden camera?

Anonymous said...

Dude. Money talks!

Nikki Sørensen said...

Haha...thanks for the early morning smile you just put on my face! Priceless :-)

Merujo said...

I *so* wish there'd been a hidden camera!! I have to agree with Claire - I worry about the state of education here!!

Bill said...

You should have handed the clerk a single while asking him to make change for a twenty. It might have worked. In the U.S. all our paper money is the same size.

Robin said...

Well, maybe she learned something, and maybe someday she'll be qualified for something more. Just glad that you're still out there and shopping -- having blogged in a few years myself. Good luck to you.

Merujo said...

Yay, Robin!! Hope you are doing well! I feel horrible that I just kind of dropped off the face of the blogging world. Met so many cool people out here.

Cheers from North Bethesda!!