Select Your 2018 Favorite Story!

, | Friendly General Healthy Hopeless Learning Legal Related Right Romantic Working | January 2, 2019

Dear Readers!

Welcome to 2019!  We’ll be making a whole bunch of posts highlighting the NotAlwaysRight year in review.

We’d like the help of you, our dedicated readers, to pick out the Reader Favorites of 2018.

Please leave suggestions and recommendations in the comments to this post. If you can’t remember the title or can’t find the link, a brief description of the story will do. Don’t worry, we will find it and consider it for the review of our readers’ favorites of 2018.

We look forward to seeing what you choose!

Happy New Year!

The Editors

The Holiday Season Is For Everyone Except Bigots

, , , , , | Hopeless | December 30, 2018

On the first night of Chanukah 2018, my home was vandalized with a swastika and paint stripper was dumped on my car. My car was totaled out because the unknown substance etched itself into the glass, and metal and spray paint would not stick.

I was in shock when, the night after the attack, a candle-light vigil was organized for us to show hate crimes were not tolerated here. Someone even set up a GoFundMe to help cover the costs to replace my car.

Even though the vandals haven’t yet been caught, my neighborhood has rallied around us to ensure that we feel safe and protected. I never thought so many strangers would be so willing to make us feel safe and welcome after someone would attack us just because of our religious beliefs, but seeing all those people rally around us give me hope that the world really is moving towards the right direction.

Crossing The Road Paved With Good Intentions

, , , , | Hopeless | December 28, 2018

Having grown up in a well-developed country, crossing the road is probably the least of our worries due to the abundance of traffic lights, zebra crossings, and pedestrian bridges. Recently, my family went for a vacation to Bangkok, Thailand as a group of eight people. Being a dense city area, the traffic is pretty nightmarish there. Around our hotel, to get to the other side of the main road will require you to either jaywalk or to walk a long distance to the overhead transit system and cross its bridge.

We saw what appeared to be a traffic light for pedestrians, and crossed the first half normally. The main road was quite wide and crossing it would require us to pass through two traffic lights, with each stopping cars flowing from a certain direction. Reaching the other half, we realized that the traffic light was either broken or disused, as it remained red — or didn’t even turn on at all; I can’t remember the details. So, we were stuck in the middle of the road, and it was difficult for us to cross as a large group and with all the cars moving at a pretty fast speed. I recalled us getting stuck there for at least a solid two minutes.

A motorcyclist saw eight of us, looking like lost tourists wanting to cross the road, and stopped for us in the middle lane — it was a three-lane road — and motioned for the cars to stop, as well. Surprisingly, the cars at the other lanes stopped, and he gestured for us to cross, which we did quickly and gratefully.

While this might seem like a small gesture, the kindness of the Thais did impress me significantly. While I had seen roads in other countries which were as “messy” as this one, this is definitely the first time I had seen someone stopping just to allow us jaywalkers to cross, even though they did not have to.

Good Customer Service Doesn’t Grow On Trees

, , , , | Hopeless Right | December 26, 2018

(I work in a garden centre. Due to being the on-site horticulturist and having a very even temper, I end up getting the complaints and difficult customers, even though on paper I am not officially responsible for complaints or refunds. It is close to Christmas, and we are working flat out, hauling real Christmas trees about when my radio phone rings.)

Coworker: “[My Name], sorry about this, but I’ve got a really angry customer who wants to speak to someone about a tree. She’s shouting really loudly. Can I put them through?”

Me: “Go ahead; I’ll do my best.”

(Click.)

Me: “Hello. This is the plant department. I’ve been told you’ve got a problem with a tree?”

Customer: “IT’S FULL OF BEETLES!”

(I realise from her tone of voice that she isn’t angry; she’s really, really upset.)

Me: “Oh, dear! What kind of tree is it, please?”

Customer: “I bought a Christmas tree from you, and I brought it inside, into my living room. A few hours later, all these beetles crawled out of it, and now my house is now full of them!”

Me: “Wow. That sounds… absolutely horrible. I’m so sorry! We definitely need to sort this out for you.”

Customer: *much calmer now* “Yes, so I was wondering… do you have any artificial trees? I’d like to buy one. Could you reserve one for me?”

(I pause to process what she just asked. Yes, she doesn’t want a refund. She isn’t threatening to get us fired. She wants to buy a replacement. Buy.)

Me: “Madam, I can assure you that you are well-deserving of a refund in a situation like this. This absolutely should not have happened at all, and I’m horrified that it did. We need to get that tree back here to examine it, and also a sample of the beetles. If you can’t bear to touch it, I’ll arrange to have our delivery driver pick it up for you, free of charge.”

Customer: “So… you’ll give me an artificial tree in exchange? I’ll have to get a smaller one, since they’re much more expensive.”

Me: “Well, this is an exceptional situation, so I’m going to stretch a point and say that as long as we get your tree back, we will do a straight swap: the same size artificial tree for the real one.”

Customer: “You’d do that? That would be great! I’ll get my husband to bring the tree back.”

Me: “Okay, I’ll make sure a similar artificial tree is put on one side for you. Could I take some details, please?”

(I take the details, and put a nice artificial tree on one side. It’s twice the price of the real tree she bought. I also plant up a small pot of primroses as a complimentary gift for her, and quickly wrap a red bow around it. The husband brings the tree in, and it is infested with Cinara piceae, a kind of big, ugly aphid. The warmth in her home had no doubt made them wake up and become active. I’ve never seen this happen before in Christmas trees, but her story all checks out. I give the go-ahead for her to get her refund and replacement tree. Unfortunately, I am with another customer when she comes in, but apparently, she bursts into tears when she is handed the complimentary pot of flowers. Slight overreaction, I think, but okay. Some people are just made that way. Fast forward to a little after Christmas. We have a visit from one of the directors. She is known for being strict but fair, and also a stickler for rules.)

Director: “[My Name], I had a letter about you from a customer. I wanted to discuss it with you.”

Me: “Really? What was it about?”

Director: “A lady said she had a tree full of beetles…”

Me: “Oh, the beetle tree! Yes, I remember all about it. I realise I went against refund policy by giving her goods worth twice the amount of the diseased tree, but I felt it was a very unusual situation and could have become a complete PR disaster.”

Director: “So… Do you think you made the right decision?”

(Okay, I’m in trouble. “What the heck?” I decide. “I might as well stand up for myself.”)

Me: “Yes, I do.”

(The director suddenly smiles and hands over an envelope.)

Director: “She sent you a Christmas card. There was a letter in it that told me about the tree. Her son had a bad motorbike accident earlier this year and is spending his first Christmas in a wheelchair at [Customer]’s house. They wanted to give him the best Christmas he could have. She said that you saved the day.”

(I can feel my eyes tearing up.)

Me: “Oh, right.”

Director: “So, well done. You did the right thing and saved us from a seriously embarrassing situation!”

(And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I got promoted: by breaking the rules! I’m very happy to add that I have handled tens of thousands more Christmas trees since then, and have never seen a “beetle tree” again.)

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A Christmas Gift Of Having A Christmas

, , , , | Hopeless | December 25, 2018

(At the end of last year, I left my job. I was suffering with severe anxiety and depression and that, along with a hostile work environment, was affecting my mental health and my work to the point I was having breakdowns every week and I just couldn’t take it any longer. I got a monthly allowance from my mother but it wasn’t a lot, and in November I accidentally went into my overdraft by a few pounds. Unfortunately, my bank charges £8 per day that the overdraft isn’t paid, and I was unable to pay for nearly ten days. When my dad gives me £100 as an early Christmas present at the start of December, nearly £80 is taken out immediately to pay my debt. I call up the bank and this happens.)

Customer Service Representative: “[Bank], how can I help?”

Me: “I’m very sorry to do this, but I just checked my bank account and all my overdraft fees were charged at once, leaving me with less than £30 for the next month. Would I be able to get it back, and pay in increments instead over the next few months?”

Customer Service Representative: “Well, we don’t usually do that, but I’ll see how I can help. Do you need the money urgently for something?”

Me: “My dad gave me £100 as an early Christmas present and I was planning to use it to buy some presents for my family. I’ve been struggling financially in recent months and–”

(To my embarrassment, I start to cry. I’m trying to hide it, but the rep must have heard me, because his voice gets a lot gentler and kinder.)

Customer Service Representative: “Let’s go through your monthly spending and see what we can figure out, okay?”

(He asks me questions like how much my rent is, do I go out drinking, do I order takeaway or eat out often, and so on. I answer no to all of them, because I’m spending all my money on rent, travel, and medication, with barely enough left over to buy food.)

Customer Service Representative: “I’ve spoken with my supervisor, and I’m going to wipe your debt.”

Me: “What? No, you don’t need to do that! I can pay it, I promise; I just need until next month…”

Customer Service Representative: “According to your records, you’ve been with us for four years now. You’ve only gone into overdraft once before, and you paid it off immediately. You’re clearly having a hard time right now, and everyone should be able to spend time with their family at Christmas. Think of it as a present from us.”

Me: “Thank you so much! You have no idea how much this means to me;I’m so grateful. Could I have your name, and your supervisor’s name so I can send in some good reports?”

Customer Service Representative: “Of course. It’s [Representative] and [Supervisor]. I’ve disabled overdraft on your account so you won’t get charged again by going into it accidentally. Is there anything else I can do for you today?”

Me: “You’ve done more than enough. Thank you so much!”

(I sent the reports in as soon as we got off the phone, and although I never got a reply, I really hope that they helped the two get a bonus, or some other reward. CSR, if you see this, thank you again.)

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