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(Regrettably, our local university is the main reason that county STD rates are the second-highest in the state (the highest-ranking county is home to a naval base). Outbreaks are common and rather a grim joke with local healthcare providers. The county has purchased a new emergency radio system and one of their officers has arrived to train our staff on how to use the equipment.)

Instructor: “The great thing about this system is that it is linked to over two hundred towers, state-wide. This means that if you need to, you can communicate not only throughout the county, but with other jurisdictions as well. For example; let’s say you have to set up some kind of emergency clinic at the University for… I don’t know, what’s an epidemic that the students might experience there?”

Me: *without thinking* “Probably chlamydia.”

(My boss shushed me, but our director of nursing almost fell off her chair from laughing so hard.)

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    Who Prescribed Some Madness?

    England, Pharmacy, Reading, UK | Healthy | January 4, 2018


    (We have a new member of staff at the pharmacy and we’ve got a number of regulars who come in to get their weekly medications, often quite a few items. This employee somehow gets it into her head that anyone with a weekly prescription is a drug abuser. One of our regulars is on a lot of different pain medications.)

    Regular: “Good morning! I’m here to pick up my prescriptions. My name is [Regular].”

    (The new staff member goes out to the back of the store and comes back out a few minutes later.)

    New Staff: “No, there isn’t anything.”

    Regular: “I pick this up every week, and I know I have at least three months’ worth of repeats for all these from the doctor.”

    New Staff: “No. No, we have nothing.”

    Regular: *spotting our pharmacist who knows her very well* “Hi, [Pharmacist]! Got my weekly meds?”

    Pharmacist: “Oh, yeah. I did them yesterday—”

    New Staff: “No! No, you didn’t. We have nothing!” *to Regular* “You need to leave; we have nothing for you!”

    Pharmacist: “Don’t be daft. I’ll go fetch them.” *heads to the back and comes out with a large bag* “Can I just check your address and date of birth?”

    Regular: *gives details*

    Pharmacist: “Yup, here you go. See you next week!”

    New Staff: “I told her we had nothing! Why did you make me look like a liar?!”

    Pharmacist: “Because you were lying? [Regular] comes in every week and I always have her meds done.”

    New Staff: “I saw what she’s on. She’s a f****** druggie. You shouldn’t enable these people.”

    Regular: “I beg your pardon?”

    Pharmacist: “Okay, we do not treat customers like that. Whatever personal views you have on certain medications, you leave those views at home.”

    New Staff: “She’s a druggie. Why would anyone else need [strong pain medication]?”

    Regular: “Because half my lower spine was smashed in an accident and I live in constant, agonising pain?”

    New Staff: “Shut up, druggie.”

    Pharmacist: “Right. That’s it. Go home.”

    (She was fired that day, and officially cautioned by the police when for two weeks afterward she kept hanging around the pharmacy entrance waiting for our regular customer so she could yell at them some more. We know this because she told EVERY other customer entering our store. Luckily, our regular has a good sense of humour and just laughed off the whole episode
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    This Diagnosis Is Heading For A Fall

    Colorado, Medical Office, USA | Healthy | January 3, 2018


    (I am a below-the-knee amputee and have to visit my doctors quite frequently, so it gets a little funny when they ask their questions.)

    Nurse: “Do you have a fear of falling?”

    Me: *looks at her, looks at missing leg* “Um, yes.”

    Nurse: “Do you have trouble walking?”

    Me: “Um… That would also be a yes.”

    (Somehow it never occurs to them that I am missing my leg, yet the information is right in front of them.)
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    Should Give Them Paws For Thought

    Massachusetts, USA, Vet | Healthy | January 3, 2018


    (I work at the front desk of a veterinary hospital. The Saturday right before Thanksgiving, a man approaches me.)

    Me: “How can I help you today, sir?”

    Customer: “Yeah, I need new food for my cat.” *he hands me an old prescription diet card that looks to have expired months ago*

    Me: “Okay. Are you a client of ours or do you have an outside vet?”

    Customer: “Outside vet.”

    Me: “Did you bring a note from your vet to renew the prescription?”

    Customer: “No, I didn’t.”

    Me: *after a second, I look up his pet in our system* “Well, we have their phone number on file. Let me just give them a ring and confirm.”

    (After a minute or so, I get a message saying that the other hospital is closed for the day.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I can’t renew this prescription without authorization from your vet.”

    Customer: *visibly annoyed* “You seriously can’t help me with this?”

    Me: “I’m sorry.”

    Customer: “I guess my cat will just have to starve then.”

    Me: “I guess. Or you could feed it regular food.”
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    At A Hair-Loss For Words

    Finland, Health & Body, Pharmacy | Healthy | January 3, 2018


    (The men in my family tend to start suffering from hair loss in their mid-20s, and mine seems to have started, so I go to a nearby pharmacy to buy certain shampoo recommended by my stepfather. Note that I have grown my hair for a few years and it’s currently some 18 to 20 inches long.)

    Employee: “Hello, can I help you with anything?”

    Me: “Yes, I was looking for certain shampoo but don’t remember the name of the product.”

    Employee: “What kind of shampoo? For dry hair, or–”

    Me: “For hair loss.”

    Employee: *goes silent and stares at my long hair, then grabs a bottle off a shelf* “Well, we have this one.”

    Me: “That’s the product; thank you!”

    (I only realized what had happened after I got back home.)
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    Old 10-09-2019   #6
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    Students Learning A Hard Lesson In Patients

    Canada, Hospital, New Brunswick | Healthy | January 2, 2018


    (I am a student nurse doing a placement in a teaching hospital. As it is a teaching hospital, patients are told that they may have a student and an RN caring for them at some point in their stay, and usually they are okay with that as they get more attention. I go in to introduce myself at the start of my shift.)

    Me: “Hi, my name is [My Name] and I am a student nurse with [University]. I am working with [RN] today, so you’ll see us both in and out of your room tonight. Is there anything I can get you?”

    Patient: “You’re a student? That means you don’t know what you’re doing! You’re going to mess something up and I’m going to die!”

    Me: “Ma’am, I can assure you that I do know what I am doing; this is my fifth week on this unit and I have completed four other placements in different areas of the hospital already. I also have my instructor and [RN] to assist me if I am unsure of something.”

    Patient: “Get me [RN]! I don’t want a student! Get out of my room before you kill me!”

    (I went to find my instructor and explained the situation, and after speaking with the RN I was assigned a new patient. I later heard from another nurse on the floor that the first patient told the nurse that she was taking too long to get her a glass of water, and said they really needed to get the students to help out more!)
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    Old 10-09-2019   #7
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    Dancing Around The Subject

    Clinic, USA | Healthy | January 2, 2018


    (Our county health department is holding a special flu vaccination clinic at a local senior center. There are a number of other activities going on in different parts of the building, so I’m staffing the desk, checking in clients and giving directions. A very small, fragile-looking but smartly dressed gentleman walks in, leaning on a cane. He appears to be ninety if he’s a day.)

    Me: “Good afternoon, sir; are you here for the flu clinic?”

    Gentleman: “No, I’m here for the square dancing class
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    Making You Pregnant With Sarcasm

    Hospital, Sarcasm, USA | Healthy | January 2, 2018


    (For a quite number of days now, I’ve had terrible stomach pains with a fluctuating appetite. I go to the doctor. I’m a virgin.)

    Doctor: *after hearing me talk about my stomach problems* “So, it says here on your sheet that you’re not pregnant.”

    Me: “Yes.”

    Doctor: “Are you sure?”

    Me: “Yes.”

    Doctor: “Is there a possibility you could be pregnant?”

    Me: “No.”

    (He makes a face at this. I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m an idiot who can’t accept the fact I could be pregnant. Later on after he runs some tests.)

    Doctor: “Well, you’re not pregnant.”

    Me: *thinking* “No s***, Sherlock.”
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    You’re In Deep Heat Now

    Medical Office, Time, UK | Healthy | January 1, 2018


    (A woman waddles into the building.)

    Woman: “I need to see a doctor.”

    Me: “Do you have an appointment?”

    Woman: “No, I need to see one now.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, emergency appointments ended at 11. I can make you an appointment, however, for next week?”

    Woman: “NO! IT HAS TO BE NOW!”

    Me: “If it’s an emergency you need to go to A&E. Should i call an ambulance?”

    Woman: *jumping on the desk* “I RUBBED ‘DEEP HEAT’ ON MY GARDEN PATCH. IT F****** KILLS!”

    Me: “Oh, umm. Like I said, if it’s an emergency, you need to go to A&E.”

    (She huffed and waddled out, screaming about how incompetent we all were. I haven’t seen her personally since, but a letter came through from the local hospital for her, with a prescription for something which treats chemical burns. I’m fairly certain Deep Heat wasn’t involved in whatever she was doing.)
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    Might Need Brain Surgery, Too

    Medical Office, USA | Healthy | January 1, 2018


    (My mid-60s father was recently goofing off and pulled a stunt where he rode a luggage cart down a hill and wiped out hard. The injuries are mostly scrapes and bruises but he also has a small break in his wrist. There is lots of back-and-forth over whether he needs to do a re-aligning surgery. He is in the doctor’s office consulting with the surgeon, who he said was barely 30.)

    Doctor: “So how did this happen?”

    Dad: “You want the real story or a version that makes me look better?”

    Doctor: “…how about the real version?”

    Dad: *recounts story*

    Doctor: “I see. Well, to be honest with you, we don’t like to do these kinds of surgeries on patients over the age of 60 because [reasons].”

    Dad: “Well, yes, I’m over that age, but if you’ll recall the story, I was clearly thinking like a 16-year-old.”

    Doctor: “That’s a good point. We’ll schedule the surgery for tomorrow morning.”
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    Flipping Out Over This

    California, Hospital, Los Angeles, USA | Healthy | January 1, 2018


    (I accidentally remove most of the tip of my middle finger with a gardening tool and am getting fixed up in the ER.)

    Nurse: “There you go. Would you like me to tape your middle finger to the one next to it?”

    Me: “Um, no. Why would you?”

    Nurse: “Well, sometimes with a injury to the middle finger people ask us to tape an adjacent finger too so that they don’t inadvertently flip other people off.”

    Me: “Are you kidding? This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for!”
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    Old 10-09-2019   #12
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    Acerbic Allergic

    Alberta, Canada, Medical Office | Healthy | December 31, 2017


    (I am 15. In my family, most of the women on my mom’s side have a condition called Restless Leg Syndrome, which is a brutally frustrating tic where your muscles in your thigh and calf feel like they are in spasm, like a small electric shock. It comes randomly, and nothing seems to help it stop once an episode starts; you just have to ride it out. I’ve been dealing with this myself since I was a kid. What my mom thought were growing pains turned out to be RLS. I’ve been referred to a specialist to see what my options are. Part of the process is conducting a nerve path function test. I have small needles pointed into the tips of my fingers, with electrical simulation higher up my arms to track if the signal is flowing properly. The test is uncomfortable to say the least.)

    Specialist: “The results seem to be okay for your arms, which is a good indication that your legs would reveal the same.”

    Me: “No short circuit, then? Bonus!”

    (I am trying to lighten the mood as my mom is stressed at seeing me in such discomfort, and I am trying to take my mind off of it as well.)

    Specialist: *stares blankly at me* “Your RLS is likely caused by poor diet and lack of exercise and in many cases, alcohol.”

    Me: “Well, geeze, Mom, if you had just laid off the whiskey at bedtime, we wouldn’t be here now!”

    Specialist: *blank stare* “In the event we have to do a minor surgery to explore nerve function, is there anything you’re allergic to in terms of medication?”

    Me: “Penicillin.”

    Specialist: “And what happens when you take it?”

    Me: “I get a terrible rash over my stomach and chest and become very sick to my stomach.”

    Specialist: “So you’re not allergic to it.”

    Me: “Excuse me?”

    Specialist: “You’re not allergic to it. You wouldn’t die if it was given to you.”

    Me: “Well, no, I guess not but—”

    Specialist: “That’s an intolerance. You shouldn’t say you are allergic to penicillin. What if it was required to save your life from an infection?”

    Mom: “Well, there are plenty of alternatives out there, I think it’s a semi-common allergy? She’s had to have antibiotics for various infections, and they always seem to find something else.”

    Specialist: *to my mom* “Do you have allergies?”

    Mom: “Yes, I’m allergic to strawberries.”

    Specialist: “And what happens if you eat them?”

    Mom: “Well I go into anaphylactic shock very fast.”

    Specialist: “THAT, is an allergy. I’m not writing on your chart that you’re allergic to penicillin. See the front reception to re-book when you’re ready.”

    (He promptly leaves, with my mom and I sitting in stunned silence. I suppose he was right — I wouldn’t die if I was given penicillin in an emergency, but the marvel’s of modern medicine mean I don’t have to when there are so many alternatives. I am careful to tell other doctors now, that it’s not a life threatening allergy, but to avoid it if possible!)
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    Old 10-09-2019   #13
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    It Takes More Than Money To Clear A Bill, Part 2

    Insurance, Nebraska, Non-Dialogue, Omaha, USA | Healthy | December 30, 2017


    Several years ago, I started to receive bills at my home in Nebraska, from an insurance agency on a policy that I no longer had, denying payment for psychiatric care/services. When I got the first bill, I called the number listed for the practice — in North Carolina. It turns out that they had a patient with the same name, down to the middle initial, and the same birthday. The doctor’s office agreed that I was not their patient, but said that it was up to the insurance carrier to sort out.

    Three weeks after I contacted the insurance company letting them know I was not the right person, I got a letter in the mail telling me that according to their records, I *was* the right person, and could I please pay the bill. So I contacted them again. I was assured that it would be straightened out.

    Sure enough, I got another letter in the mail from the insurance company telling me that their “investigation” is complete, and that I am the “right” person after all, in spite of living half-way across the country.

    This back and forth with the insurance company went on for SIX MONTHS, each time the insurance people coming back telling me that I had made these appointments for psychiatric care, and increasingly nasty demands for payment.

    Finally, I contacted a college buddy who was a lawyer for [Insurance Company], where upon he taught me the magic words: Violation of HIPAA.

    Finally after nearly seven months, the magic words did the trick. I later found out that the insurance billing department was looking up patient information by name and birth date instead of social security number, and that my name was apparently the first one listed, in spite of the fact that my policy had been cancelled over four years prior due to a job change.
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    Old 10-09-2019   #14
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    The Solution Is As Clear As Glass

    England, Manchester, Optometrist/Optician, UK | Healthy | December 29, 2017


    (I need to get new spectacles, so I get assessed. During the sight test, the optometrist notices I have the start of macular degeneration in one eye, tells me it isn’t serious at the moment, but warns me to watch out for lines appearing wavy when they should be straight. She gives me a leaflet to put on my fridge door, so that I’ll look at it several times a day and be aware of the need to check. She also instructs me to come straight back for another test if anything changes. This all freaks me out a bit because I’ve never heard of macular degeneration, so I dutifully put the leaflet on my fridge door and inspect that thing every time I go in the fridge, for about a month. I start noticing the sight in my left eye is quite blurry. So, off I trot back to the optometrist. I explain everything to the receptionist, then the optometrist, a different one to my first visit. He sight-checks me then leaves the room for a few minutes. He comes back in and asks if I mind him checking again. I don’t mind, but by now I’m sweating and my imagination’s working overtime. He does the same tests and asks me to explain again what the problem is.)

    Me: “Look. I cover up my right eye…” *demonstrates* “… and you’re blurry. I cover up my left eye instead…” *demonstrates* “… and you’re not blurry.”

    Optometrist: “Well, Mrs [My Name], both sight tests we’ve conducted today show no changes to the other test we did recently.”

    Me: “Seriously? But I’ve definitely got strange vision in my left eye? How is that, if the test results are the same? Look, doctor, if it’s psychosomatic, tell me. If you think I’m dreaming it up because I’m so worried about losing my sight and I need a psychiatrist, just tell me straight. I really can handle it.”

    (By this time, I’m near tears. I don’t know whether I’m losing my sight or my marbles.)

    Optometrist: “Show me again.”

    (Demonstrates covering up the eyes, etc.)

    Optometrist: “I… might be a bit off course here but… did we provide your glasses?”

    Me: “Of course, yes.”

    Optometrist: “It looks like the common denominator is your glasses. Let’s get them realigned and see.”

    (Aaaand I felt a fool. Mind you, so should they, too. My ‘demonstrations’ of blurry vs normal sight were done wearing my specs. The sight tests had been done WITHOUT my specs. It turned out there was a minuscule adjustment needed for the left lens. He brought my specs back and the blurred vision was gone. At least I know I haven’t lost my marbles yet. Not about that, at least
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    Old 10-09-2019   #15
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    Your Blood Or Your Wallet

    Hospital, USA | Healthy | December 29, 2017


    (The phlebotomists in our blood draw station are completely tired of the vampire jokes. They’re just overused. But not wanting to be jerks, and also realizing that the joke is a way for some people to deal with their discomfort over blood draws, our phlebotomists mostly politely laugh. One of our phlebotomists found a way to do one better.)

    Patient: “Is this where the vampires are?”

    Phlebotomist: “Nah. They’re all down in billing. You here for a blood draw?”
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    Old 10-09-2019   #16
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    Taking Regular Checkups To The Next Level

    Family & Kids, Medical Office, Pennsylvania, USA | Healthy | December 29, 2017


    (We’ve had a horrific week. My toddler came down with chicken pox, then an ear infection. My husband had an accident, causing first, second, and third degree burns all over one hand. I am also seven-months pregnant, and joke that the only thing that HASN’T gone wrong is my going into premature labor.)

    Monday Morning: Trip to doctor’s office to confirm chicken pox.

    Monday Afternoon: Trip to doctor’s office. We went there instead of the ER for the burn.

    Tuesday Morning: Recheck on nasty burn.

    Tuesday Afternoon: ‘Well Baby’ check for me.

    Thursday Morning: Toddler earache visit.

    (We walk into the examination room. A few minutes later, our doctor walks in.)

    Doctor: “It’s the [Our Last Name]s! My favorite family!”
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    Old 10-09-2019   #17
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    There’s A Slight Baby Bump In That Diagnosis

    Medical Office, UK | Healthy | December 28, 2017


    (I am a female in my late 20s. I was in a serious car accident after which some of my organs were damaged and some had to be removed. As a result I am on a cocktail of drugs to keep me functioning. I’ve gone to the doctor’s office as I have been suffering from dizzy spells and sickness, which could be problems with my current medication. I don’t get my usual doctor but this doctor — who is male — seems fairly friendly. He’s asking me questions about what I’m experiencing and is making notes. He has asked about my medication as well, which I’ve told him about, including my hormone replacement ones, but doesn’t ask me why and I don’t volunteer that information.)

    Me: “Will I need to come back for tests?”

    Doctor: “You won’t. I know what’s wrong”

    Me: *somewhat glad* “Oh, really? Is it [Medication Brand]? I was warned—”

    Doctor: *shaking his head but smiling warmly* “Oh, no, no, no. Nothing serious. In fact quite a happy diagnosis! You’re pregnant!”

    (There’s a pause, whilst he grins at me and I feel myself getting irritated.)

    Me: “That’s impossible.”

    (He gives me a funny look and gets snappy.)

    Doctor: “You’re using something that boosts probability to get pregnant, and you’re shocked. Birth control methods like condoms aren’t 100%, and if you didn’t want to get pregnant I’d suggest you got a coil, which is a bit late now.”

    Me: “Did you even look at my notes?”

    Doctor: “I don’t need to look to know what this is. Dizziness and sickness are common during early pregnancy.”

    Me: “If you did, you’ll see the hormone therapy is because I no longer have my reproductive system.”

    (He goes very quiet and turns to his computer.)

    Doctor: “There’s a slot open in a fortnight for blood draw. Same time but on Wednesday. Is that okay?”

    Me: “Fine.”

    (I didn’t get an apology from him. The tests did show that one of my medications is thinning my blood, so with a few tweaks I was feeling okay again. I didn’t get, though, why doctors have full notes but don’t consult them before making a diagnosis. I never wanted kids so I was more annoyed than anything but some would have been devastated with that gaff.)
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    Old 10-09-2019   #18
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    Building A Wall Between Them And Common Sense

    Insurance, Minnesota, Politics, USA | Healthy | December 28, 2017


    (I work for an insurance nurse-line helping people with injury and illness questions. We are required by HIPAA to fully verify a member before discussing any specific issues or giving specific information on their health plan. There have been a number of people who object to HIPAA law, but this one takes the cake. The member in question doesn’t have her ID card on her and doesn’t want to use alternative methods to verify who she is.)

    Member: “But I didn’t know I’d need to identify myself. Why can’t you just give me the information I need?”

    Me: “Federal privacy law, called HIPAA, does not allow us to discuss or give out information to unauthorized people.”

    Member: “But that’s a dumb law and President Trump doesn’t allow dumb laws, so you need to give me the information I asked for!”
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    Old 10-09-2019   #19
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    Have A Bad Feeling About This

    Maryland, Medical Office, Non-Dialogue, USA | Healthy | December 28, 2017


    I have a regular gynecologist who I’ve been seeing for several years. Usually before she begins the exam, she’ll touch the speculum to my thigh, and move it up my leg, saying ‘Feel this, feel this,’ to get me used to the feel and temperature before she begins the exam. Today, she’s asked me if it’s all right if an intern does my exam while she supervises, and I agree.

    The intern is super nervous, and admits to me that I’m the first patient today that’s agreed to it. When she begins the exam, she picks up the speculum and starts tapping it to the side of my knee. “Um, so… You’ll feel this…”

    My doctor and I both burst out laughing, and my doctor had to correct her. I hope I didn’t break her confidence!
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    Old 10-09-2019   #20
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    Addicted To This Routine

    Scotland, Supermarket, UK | Healthy | December 27, 2017


    (Our supermarket has a resident addict. Somewhere in there is a nice guy who made some very bad decisions some time ago. He is permanently off his face on whatever he can get his hands on. Some variant on this conversation takes place at least daily

    Member Of Staff: “Right, [Addict], you’ll need to go. You’re barred, remember?”

    Addict: “Am I? Why?”

    Member Of Staff: “Because you keep trying to nick stuff.”

    Addict: “Well, yes, I do, but I don’t remember being barred for it.”

    Member Of Staff: “You were off your face at the time, so you probably wouldn’t, but you are. Trust me.”

    Addict: “Well, if you say so. Will I remember this conversation tomorrow?”

    Member Of Staff: “Probably not.”

    Addict: “Right, well. I’ll see you tomorrow, then.” *leaves*
    florida80_is_offline   Reply With Quote
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