A Not Always Right customer is one that is 1. Trying to get something for nothing; 2. Abusing the employee for one reason or another (trying to get their own way, or for the fun of it); 3. Doesn't realize they're wrong.
Not Always Working now has its own trope page. Entries to NAR's other sister sites may be found below.Compare Acts of Gord, a site which has a similar premise except from the perspective of just one guy.
Accidentally Accurate: invokedThis couple starts mutating the phrase "hey, baby" until they find themselves chanting the word "Habibi," which they quickly realize is an actual Arabic word. Mortified, they rush to look it up make sure it doesn't mean anything horrible. It means "my beloved". Cue awws.
Consummate Liar: This lady has a serious problem. The sad thing is, she seems to know she has a problem, and while the submitter was well within his rights to dump her, you can't help but wonder if she might have benefited from a supportive boyfriend who stood by her and made her get professional help.
"No, wait! I never told you but I really have problems. I've been a mythomaniac for years. I'm a living wreck. But you're such a great person, and you can help me! I need you!"
What would be more sad: That she was lying about loving him; or that she was telling the truth but could not be believed?
For more sadness points, she will probably keep burning bridges this way, and probably losing jobs like the girl in this Not Always Working story, until she has nothing and no one left and is less than a living wreck.
Epic Fail: This man tries to hook up with a stranger, only to find that she's a lesbian. And his pick-up lines are terrible. And he's trying to cheat on his girlfriend. Who is nearby. And she later dumps him and dates the other girl.
Laser-Guided Karma: Happens occasionally, but rarely is it as satisfying as this story. A homophobic player in a shooter game keeps calling the submitter slurs, angering the players on both teams, who tell him to shut up. Instead, he turns the slurs on one of his own teammates, who is also gay. His teammates respond by completely abandoning him and permitting the submitter's team to repeatedly kill him in game which frustrates him to the point he quits the game. The homophobic player is banned from the team since he was only a replacement for his brother, and the gay teammate later dates the submitter.
Mugging the Monster: In this story, a girl starts badmouthing another at an audition over issues pertaining to a boy they both dated. The first girl had assumed the other was also auditioning, but it turns out that she was going to direct the play instead. As the cast would have to work closely and get along, the second girl immediately dismisses the first, as that obviously was not going to happen between them.
Pick a Card: A truly stunning bit of sleight of hand. In a strange twist, he has her sign her name on the card with a Sharpie. When the card revealed isn't her card, he apologizes and walks away, and she returns to her drink...only to find that her coaster is now the card she had picked, still with her signature but also with the man's phone number on it. Three years into their marriage, he refuses to tell her how he pulled that trick off.
Also here - a wife, having been reading earlier stories with the name, asks her husband what he would do if she became a zombie. He responds that, since she stays at home and thus close to the arsenal, is a better shot than he is, and is a black-belt, while he works at a hospital, is chubby, and has a bad back, he cannot think of any realistic zombie scenario in which she turns before he does.
Similarly done here, where a boyfriend asks his girlfriend the same question, and she tells him she would likely turn first, what with her working in a hospital while he lives in Texas, "where everyone already is in family clans, lives on farms, and is heavily armed". He tries to argue that this also means, if they were overrun, there would be nowhere for them to escape to - she counters, and wins the argument, by reminding him she works on the same floor as her hospital's morgue.
And here — the response is a straight "Zombies don't exist."
This couple are planning on buying a new toaster - and they both independently wonder whether they can bring a piece of bread to the store in order to see if it fits.
This couple independently give the exact same response to a selection of door handles the girlfriend's parents are considering.
That Came Out Wrong/Compliment Backfire: A number of comments made to one's partner that didn't sound half as positive or romantic the speaker imagined, such as this one: "But, I don't want to have my glasses on when I look at you."
Comically Missing the Point: This girl is chastised by her mother for saying "Missy has a shitty diaper!", and her mother suggests using the word "messy" instead. The girl corrects herself, saying "Messy has a shitty diaper!" instead.
Computer Equals Monitor: This person has trouble explaining to his younger cousin why this isn't always the case, since said cousin has almost exclusively owned or used computers that were all-in-one.
Discriminate and Switch: A surprisingly large amount of parents react to their kids coming out of the closet by sighing in relief that they weren't something else (some of them nowhere near as dramatic as coming out usually is).
Eats Babies: When a pregnant mother tells her son she has a baby in her tummy here, the son thinks that she ate one.
Fridge Horror: invokedDefiedhere; After the submitter's aunt, who thought her pregnancy symptoms were constipation, does several things to relieve it that could harm the fetus, the submitter makes sure to note at the end that the baby was born perfectly healthy.
Is That Cute Kid Yours?: Invoked often, but not usually in such polite phrasing. For some reason, a lot of people seem to think that young women/teen girls who travel with small children must be unwed teen mothers. Honestly, have these people never heard of babysitting?
Stay in the Kitchen: This grandmother balks at her granddaughter dressing as Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, saying that girls should only dress as girls. Luckily, it only takes a removal of the gloves to fool the grandmother into thinking as much.
Actually Pretty Funny: This student got in the habit of drawing cartoons depicting his (generally disagreeable) biology teacher in humiliating situations, then throwing said cartoons in the trash after class. Said teacher revealed at the end of the year he'd actually rescued most of those drawings from the trash because he actually enjoyed them.
This kindergartener got bored reading Dick and Jane, so he convinced the class that Spot has rabies. According to the quip at the end, the teacher and the principal thought it was pretty amusing.
"I think I’m going to have to write that one in my last wishes."
Analogy Backfire: In this class, the teacher tries to get across the meaning of a tragic World War II poem by comparing it to bombs falling on their school. Unfortunately for the teacher, bombs falling on their school is something the students want.
This math teacher doesn't seem to realize the impossibility of driving from Japan to China. (Japan is a set of islands.)note It's technically possible to drive from Japan to China, but it would involve taking a car ferry to either Vladivostok in Russia or Busan in South Korea first in order to get around both the whole water thing and North Korea, with the latter involving a second car ferry from Incheon to get to China. Since you still have to ride boats across water, calling it "driving" from one to the other is something of a stretch.
This teacher went to Australia, thinking it was actually Austria and being confused when nobody he met there spoke German.
This receptionist tries to turn an exchange student from the UK away from an international dorm, reasoning that she can't be an international student because she's white.
This student. Her team was supposed to make a presentation about black women in South Africa during the 1960s... but she instead makes a biography about Oprah Winfrey. When her teammates point out that Oprah is African-American and not South African, her response is "You can't say South African! It's racist!It's African-American!." It gets worse once the rest of the class point this out.
Not one, but two university/college students do not understand how hemispheres work. Specifically, they confuse the east/west divide with the north/south divide and believe that it's winter in Germany when it's summer in North America.
Be Careful What You Wish For: "What exactly are you looking to get out of this class?" "Oh, a passing grade." Come end of semester, the smart-mouthed and class-cutting student gets exactly that: a passing grade... two letters below the one they'd actually earned.
Bowdlerization: According to the student (and the professor!) in this quote, they actually changed it from "My handwriting is like a drunk epileptic spider that fell in an inkpot and had a seizure on the page" to "My handwriting is like a drunk spider that fell in an inkpot and tried to walk on the page."
Brick Joke: A student asks their teacher about his habit of bringing a Wiffle bat to class, and the teacher will only say that it "comes in handy every now and then". Three months later, the student learns the answer firsthand.
This student apparently has a habit of copying the answers from other students. It backfires when said student copies the answers off a classmate who doesn't have the same copy of the test that the cheater does.
This student is accused of copying off another pair of students by a teacher that doesn't like him/her. Said student then, as part of an agreement with the teacher, deliberately fails the next test to catch the real cheaters. Sadly, the cheaters were never punished because they were the teacher's favorite students.
This student admits to attempting to cheat at a physics exam by writing down formulas on the desk. The teacher catches this and orders everyone to change seats for the exam.
Double whammy here. Not only is a student about to get another student in trouble by taking money to write an essay for him, he isn't even competent in grammar. Bonus points for the submitter (who's a teacher) being asked to check the essay-writer's work — which allowed her to report both students.
What's the result of three students handing in the exact same essay? This.
Another student deliberately puts down wrong answers to trap a cheater - then surreptitiously changes them all to the proper answers afterwards before handing the test in.
In this story, a student's partner asks if Mexico's official language is Mexican. The student assumes that he's joking and says yes, since it's not like they're doing this in a Spanish class, to which the partner replies with surprise at being right.
After a teacher calls Ernest Hemingway a "lefty", referring to his political views, this student wonders what being left-handed has to do with anything.
This student wants his teacher to check a problem for him. Normally, this is good behavior... but he asks during an exam. He can't understand why the teacher can't just give him the answer.
In this story, a student teacher asks for a response, and after getting nothing, says that he'll start calling out names. He begins with "Bueller? Bueller?" and a girl replies "Is the answer Bueller?!"
This kid thinks he got in trouble for saying the word "gob" - as in, telling his teacher to "shut her f***ing gob".
Courtesy of the language barrier: this teacher scolds her Japanese student for his rudeness after he tells her to "go to hell." The student promptly looks horrified.
Student: "Sorry, sorry, sorry! Umm. Let's go to Hell together!"
This student apparently thinks the correct term to call a South African person is "African-American", despite them not being American. When the rest of the class points this out, the student calls them racist.
Crying Wolf: This kid falls afoul of it, but not for the usual reason—it wasn't so much that the teacher didn't believe him, but that the teacher was so sick and tired of him pulling that stunt that she looked the other way when it happened for real.
Deliberate Values Dissonance: To this teacher's surprise, both his male and female students agree that the male protagonist in a Chinese story they were studying was a jerk. Possibly due to different cultural values, the teacher expected some students to side with the protagonist.
Deus Angst Machina: This security guard was rendered homeless three times by the time he was 22 due to faulty wiring. So he teaches himself electrical work (very well)... and his house burns down due to a drunk driver when he is 23.
College Student: Our professor told us that [character]'s room being blue is a symbol of his loneliness and isolation. Is that what you meant? Author: No. I just like blue. You can tell your professor they’re full of s***.
Fawlty Towers Plot: This professor first chews out the student for using a cell phone in an empty classroom, claiming grounds for expulsion. Right on cue, the professor's own phone rings, and she answers it, talking in the classroom. When the student calls her out on the Double Standard, she claims the call was from her boss, the dean. Naturally, the dean happens to walk by the classroom, and having overheard that last comment, asks what he had allegedly done. The student reports exactly what just happened. While the professor wasn't fired, the student was compensated for a laptop the professor had damaged by spilling the student's coffee on it, and a different professor taught the course for the rest of the term.
Female Misogynist: This Sunday School teacher, who directs a sermon on certain on how periods are evil to a female student who dared to have one.
Hate Sink: This college professor. The anecdote even starts off with "We have a very important test coming up in two weeks for a class with a notoriously terrible, cruel, opinionated, self-centered, professor, who is on the verge of being kicked out of the university." You have to wonder why on Earth the professor won't let this test slide because a student needs to go in for kidney-transplant surgery. It's pretty damn hard to fake that.
I will not tolerate plagiarism! Now let's look at this PowerPoint presentation which has information I just copied from some other websites... (Apparently, the teacher got even worse as the year went on.)
This teacher, after teaching a class what rights they have as students, tries to force them to miss both lunch period and most of the class following that in favor of taking a mock test by arguing that, as students, they have no rights. Between this incident and generally being totally incompetent at what she does, the teacher is fired before the week is out, and the citizenship class she was teaching is scrapped after its first year.
I Am Spartacus: After this Bible teacher states that Methodists are going to Hell, an actual Methodist student objects. Eventually, the entire class claims to be Methodists and walks out.
Ignored Epiphany: This student believed he could flunk high school and still get by fine as a mechanic. His teacher, who was a mechanic for 20 years, easily demonstrates that he still needs an education to succeed at that job. The student's response? "F*** YOU OLD MAN!!!"
This substitute teacher gives a student a low grade in their math test because she actually worked out and solved the problems, rather than memorizing a table with the answers on them, even though all of the student's answers were correct. She then tries to argue that memorizing the answers out of context is more productive than learning how to find them out on one's own.
Is That Cute Kid Yours?: It happens here, but the man helpfully points out that he and the woman he was with, along with the four kids they were supervising, were all from different countries, and they were wearing clothes that indicated that they were part of an international exchange project.
It's What I Do: In this story, after a physical fitness test, a teacher remarks that a class seems to have the condition of 12-year-old girls. One of the students points out that they are 12-year-old girls.
Many stories tagged with "bully", naturally, fall under this.
This teacher calls for a parent-teacher conference just to insult a completely different former student.
This teacher gives a student detention for being a few seconds late, which would be bad enough by itself - but it's made worse by the fact that the student's little brother had died the night before and the student been up all night. Fortunately another teacher and a counselor intervened, and when that failed the principal intervened personally.
While it's no excuse for the teacher's actions, perhaps the teacher had to deal with a few students like this in the past, and thought this student was pulling a similar stunt.
This teacher, after complimenting a student on their The Once and Future King project (calligraphy on a parchment scroll, having learned calligraphy just for this), gives them a B- because the lines weren't completely straight. For comparison, another student who just did the project on notebook paper and mistook a pair of kings for each other got a higher grade - when this is pointed out, the teacher tells the student "if you're going to do something, do it right!"
This teacher is apparently giving her students' Father's Day artwork to the wrong people just to be an asshole to them.
Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Much like doctors and nurses on Not Always Working, there are a sad number of stories where teachers seem to believe that they know more than their students simply by virtue of being a teacher, rather than having actually learned anything to do with their subject. Worse, these are usually the types who have also determined that their entire job is to be seen as the smartest person in the classroom, and as such will attempt to punish any student that proves to know better than they do.
Laser-Guided Karma: After this incident, where a teacher flips a student's desk because she knew the student wouldn't pass a neatness check, the student's mother shows up in the classroom to respond in kind, then pulls her child from that teacher's class. The teacher is later investigated and fired, and her teaching license revoked.
Literal Metaphor: An unintentional version here. A musical director describes the cast's less-than-energetic rehearsal as "anemic", not realizing that most of the students present had just donated to a blood drive, meaning they literally were a bit anemic at that point.
Literal-Minded: This university receptionist asks a student if he had a pencil ready to take down some information. The student takes it to mean that he literally needs a pencil, instead of the pen he had handy, and fumbles around for one, eventually hanging up after fruitless searching. The receptionist asks from then on if they have something to write with.
This student tries to get around a rule that says undergarments must not be visible. However, he tries this by wearing no undergarments at all.
This student apparently believes plagiarizing an entire paper for her essay is perfectly acceptable, because nobody actually said that cheating isn't allowed. Naturally, she doesn't win when she tries to appeal her grade.
This professor tries to force a military veteran to move forward from the back of the classroom, and won't brook any argument. After the veteran leaves in disgust, one of the students (also disgusted with the professor's behavior) mentions that the veteran's uncle is the dean. The professor "resigned for personal reasons" a week later.
In this story, a student fails to recognize his professor and insults him, earning him an extra homework assignment. To the student's credit, he actually does a half-decent job on the assignment. Lesson learned, we hope.
Name's the Same: invokedThis poor girl keeps getting called to the vice-principal's office because someone else with the exact same name is causing trouble. Thankfully, the people at the office generally realize their mistake when the first girl shows up.
This teacher took most of the semester to realize there were two girls named Sally in the class. By that time, she'd already marked the wrong Sally truant for an entire week.
This professor's students tell him of a death row inmate in another state who happens to share his name. The professor promptly wonders if he happens to be the same classmate from his high school days who also shared his name.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: This teacher gets annoyed at a student for staring at falling snow out the window instead of working, pointing out that nobody else in the class is doing so - turns out this is only because they didn't notice the snow, until the teacher very helpfully pointed it out to them.
This English teacher was brought in to teach literature so the students would understand references that will be used in college. Unfortunately, the rest of the staff, including the superintendent, suffer from this so badly that they want to spend four years focusing on "the four classics", which doesn't include Animal Farm, The Catcher in the Rye or 1984. The district's resident Only Sane Man basically tells the English teacher to run for her sanity.
This student wrote a review of The Princess Bride for an English assignment, and was apparently forced to redo it with a different movie because the teacher had never heard of it.
"Rashomon"-Style: This maths teacher remembers an incident where a student went up to him for help with questions on an exam. The student, however, remembers it differently; she was asking why those questions were marked wrong when they were actually correct. Given the teacher's replies (and that the teacher was using the incident to justify writing that the student "struggles at math" on a reference to university), it's strongly implied that the student is in the right.
Sheltered Aristocrat: In a school situated in an affluent county, these students are absolutely shocked that their teacher didn't like iPads, and didn't have a laptop until college. They wonder what the teacher did to survive, and she of course replies that she played outside.
Skewed Priorities: This teacher, panicked by an unannounced fire drill, runs outside with her cosmetics... but not her class register or the students themselves, so she couldn't be sure which of the students had made it out.
In this story, a criminal law class holds an exercise where a student will state two facts and one lie about themselves, to see how well the other students can spot a lie. One of said students inevitably counters what is actually true because the student claiming it is a girl.
ThisDumb Jock assumes his female math teacher doesn't know anything about football. She surprises him.
A rather troubling example here, where an old substitute teacher actively refuses to let the only girl in a class even enter the classroom, because he thinks it's a boys-only class. The entire rest of the class decides to sit out the class with that girl for the entire two weeks that the substitute is there, and when the normal teacher returns said substitute was forced to retire early by the superintendent and school board.
Stealth Insult: This student apologizes to an Indian classmate for stereotyping against Indian people. They say that they shouldn't have assumed that all Indians were so smart. The classmate eventually gets what the student was getting at.
Sustained Misunderstanding: In a library, one student asks another for her copy of a book, thinking it's actually a library copy. When the second student replies that the book is her own personal copy, the first student seems to think (from that point) that the library gave her that book, or at least that the second student thinks that. The misunderstanding only gets worse from there.
Take That: This one, against the petty arguments that occur a lot in the Star Wars fandom. Also proof that a true fan can take on the petty fans any day.
Talk About That Thing: This teacher uses the (false) excuse of a student not doing work to take said student to the principal's office...to discuss the bullying he's been subject to, without letting the bullies know he's telling on them.
Tempting Fate: After this student complains to mom about the ridiculous number of fire alarms in the dorm (as no one seems to know how to use an oven), she replies, "Maybe it will be better this time." Cue three fire trucks, sirens wailing, headed toward the dorm.
True Art Is Incomprehensible: invoked No matter what this art student does, whether it involves painstaking effort or just throwing together random junk, it gets a 'C' grade from the professor (with the "random junk" effort apparently falling into this trope). The student eventually changes majors.
Twin Telepathy: These students, apparently. Their teacher requests that they be moved into separate classes so they can't cheat off each other.
Ungrateful Bastard: This 2nd-grade student asks the submitter for an answer on a test, and upon receiving it, then asks for the submitter's phone number so he can call his mother and tell her he cheated.
This teacher unfortunately goes beyond the assumption that students are ignorant, and seems to operate under the assumption that students are stupid.
This teacher seems to operate under the same logic, having assumed that none of the students (Germans who are learning English) have ever heard an English word before entering his classroom, and as such throwing a fit when a student turns out to know most of the words in a poem without having to have looked them up as they were reading it.
Oh boy. A student breaks his arm, and the first thing three people do is physically test it to see how badly it's actually injured. Thankfully not repeated by the nurse, but seriously—a suspected broken arm should not be tested in that manner; doing so can make the injury far worse.
You Are Not Alone: The basis of this story. A transwoman ducks into the girl's locker room to evade some bullies. The gym teacher fends the bullies off, and says that she considers the student one of them, a sentiment shared by the girls in the locker room. Furthermore, she allows her to hide in the room as a refuge should more troubles occur.
Inverted here, where a teacher is "corrected" on grammar—well, it is the common usage in the Southern U.S., but the teacher's use of "you" instead of "y'all" (for addressing multiple people) is not incorrect.
Enough so tointentionally endanger three lives to prove that God would save them, apparently forgetting about the part in the Bible where is says "thou shalt not put the Lord thy God to the test", and then chewing out and threatening the good Samaritans that saved their lives. If the husband's comment that he wants the police to lock her up for it is any indication, this is just the tipping point in a long list of events like this - the story ends with the reveal that he divorced her at some point around the same time she went to jail over this incident.
Will somebody please explain what "bearing false witness against thy neighbor" is to this lady? She grills people in her church on seemingly random questions based on her warped view on who a "real" Christian is, and if they didn't fit, she'd make up a ridiculous excuse to get them thrown out.
Disproportionate Retribution: This person's roommate moves out without a word (potentially causing money issues) because the writer of the story changed the wifi password in response to her refusing to do the dishes to the point they were growing moldy.
This little girl wants to give the car of a housemate who Really Gets Around a name, and says that it should be named "Puta" (Spanish for Whore), and her friend quotes the trope name verbatim in response.
One roommate tells another, "You shouldn't drink so much coffee. That s***'s like poison, it'll kill you." She then drinks straight out of the bottle of vodka she's holding.
A person who thinks roller coasters are dangerous wants to chase tornadoes when they're older.
This elderly lady refuses to accept a subway ticket as a gift from a total stranger because she thinks that would be "stealing" from them. She is instead intent on sneaking into the subway train behind that stranger, which actually is a crime. As the submitter actually has to point out to her, "You're a Christian and you don't want me to make(sic) a good deed?"
This girl suggests that her boyfriend should let his friend kill herself over a divorce, because she personally does not get why it's such a big deal and as such is assuming said friend is an attention whore. Her boyfriend is not at all amused, and dumps her on the spot.
This whole family thinks it's "rude" that the only thing their friend could afford to give them for Christmas was a huge basket of sweets. The fact that they have never once given that friend a gift in return, though, even after telling him of the many, many expensive things they got themselves? Nah, that's okay.
Laser-Guided Karma: This woman assumed a caller was a telemarketer, yelled at them to be taken off the list... and then wondered why she wasn't invited to her best friend's party.
"Sorry, I took you off my list."
Let Me Get This Straight: Used here by the submitter questioning how a friend could think that a cocktail which has the word vodka in its name is non-alcoholic. Even worse, this friend is now a practicing lawyer.
Woman: People need to realize that celebrities are regular people. They put their pants on one leg at a time like everyone else. Man: (wearing a kilt, just passing by) I don’t know what you’re talking about. I haven’t put pants on in years.
Reflexive Response: This woman, who is apparently so used to negative commentary about her multiple tattoos and piercings that she responds negatively to a compliment before realizing what the other person said.
This guyreally doesn't want to accept the fact that there are female Batman fans out there. Even when she proves she knows more about the series than he does, and even after his friend calls him an asshole over it, he still continues insisting that the submitter is a "fake" geek. Somehow.
This guy refuses to accept that a woman is not having any trouble carrying a ten-gallon fish tank and, even after she repeatedly tells him it's fine, forcibly takes it from her - only to immediately drop and shatter it because it's too heavy for him. When said woman and her boyfriend find him and force him to pay for a replacement, he only gets her a five-gallon one, saying "maybe you won't drop it this time".
Worst Aid: This friend attempts to help the choking narrator by punching her in the back. Despite having been recently taught the proper way to assist a choking victim.
You Are Not Alone: The above story about phobias — the woman is ashamed of her reaction to the puppeteer on TV, until her husband's friends relate their own phobias to her and reassure her that she's not weird.