Always Room For Politeness

, , , | Legal | September 15, 2018

(I’m British but I have been living in Germany for the last three years. My German language skills are pretty basic, and occasionally this causes me problems. I drive a German car. I’m at home when there is a hammering on the door. It’s a pair of policemen who inform me that I don’t have valid insurance on my car. I’m genuinely surprised, having believed that my insurance was up to date. One of the policemen speaks very good English, and I explain that if there was a mistake it was probably due to a language misunderstanding. He’s fine with that and tells me that I just need to purchase new insurance and then go and re-register the car at the relevant office. During this whole exchange, he is polite but very firm. At the end of the conversation, as they turn to leave:)

Me: “Okay, goodbye. Thanks!”

(He turns back, looking surprised.)

Policeman: “What are you thanking me for?”

Me: “Well… I’m British. I’m polite!”

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You Better Beer-lieve It!

, , , , | Legal | September 14, 2018

(I am 17, and a cashier at a big pharmacy store. I work at the front registers, while the pharmacy and pharmacy registers are in the back of the store, out of view. If people are purchasing items in the store and also picking up a prescription, then the pharmacy is allowed to ring up their purchases, as well, with the exception of alcohol. A man walks from the back of the store carrying two large cases of beer. I start to move away from the door and head to a register to ring him up; however, before I even make it two steps, I stop, as the guy is still walking straight towards me. Without thinking, I put out my hand and stop him; it seems to surprise him that a small girl would physically stop him, especially as he is more than twice my size. Instead of faltering or backing down, I stand firm.)

Me: “Sir, I’m sorry, but I have to get you to go over to the register to check you out before I can allow you to leave with that.”

Man: “Oh, don’t worry, little lady; I already paid for this in the pharmacy.”

Me: “Sir, if that is the case, then I do apologize, but I will need to look at your receipt just to verify. I hope you understand.”

Man: “Well, I don’t have my receipt; I told them they could keep it.”

(I’ve already broken one rule by physically touching the man, but I’m not going to break another by outright accusing him of theft.)

Me: “In that case, please let me walk back there with you so that we can clear this up with them. You see, it’s against store policy to ever ring up alcohol back at the pharmacy, so I really need to know who rang you up so that they can be dealt with appropriately. If you are still unwilling to do this, then I am going to have to ask you to either let me ring you up for a second time, or you can leave the beer here, but without actual proof of purchase I cannot allow you to leave the store with the beer.”

(The man just kind of looks at me for about twenty seconds and then glances over to my supervisor, who is still standing next to the door. However, she is in her 60s, and I’m sure this man could probably overpower both of us. Luckily, things end rather well. The man looks back at me and sits both cases of beer on the floor.)

Man: “All right, here you go. I’ll go ahead and leave now.”

(With that, the man actually just walks out of the store. After he is gone, my supervisor turns to me with the most shocked expression on her face, and I can feel my heart about to explode out of my chest.)

Me: “Oh, no. Did I actually just physically stop a man and then keep him from shoplifting?! I can’t believe that just happened.”

Supervisor: “Yeah, I’ve never seen something like that before, but please, next time, just let him walk out of the store. It’s not worth your life trying to stop someone from getting a couple of cases of beer. You never know if someone is crazy, or drunk, or just doesn’t care.”

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Fine, But Not Fine

, , , , | Legal | September 13, 2018

I had a car that I was selling, and no longer had it insured. When my regular car had some issues, I took the for-sale car to pick up my then boyfriend for lunch, not thinking about the lack of insurance. While in the parking lot, a teen in a large truck hit the side of my car. The teen was charged with reckless driving and a few other things, but the policeman had to give me a ticket, as well, for not having insurance. He apologized and said he’d rather give me a warning, but they were required to write the ticket, and I was required to make a court appearance and not just mail in the fine.

Fast forward to the court date. The girl ahead of me was there for driving without insurance, as well. She got up and told her story, which involved driving while high, and crashing her car into someone’s fence and a tree. She then left the scene and didn’t go back until the police called her, because she was still too high to remember where she left the car. She also stated that she shouldn’t get in trouble for it since she was too out of it to really be in control; therefore, it wasn’t her fault. The judge handed down a fine for driving without insurance, completely ignoring the rest. Then, it came my turn; I apologized, explained the accident, and so forth. Without blinking, the judge handed me the exact same fine as he did to the girl that came before me. In fact, he handed down the exact same fine to everyone there, regardless of the situation.

So glad that we all had to spend a day in court to get handed that fine, at the hands of that judge who took time to listen to everyone, instead of just mailing in a set fine. (Sarcasm here.)

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Never Feed Them (Hours) After Midnight

, , , , , , | Legal | September 12, 2018

(I am seventeen, working in a popular fast food place. Being a minor, there are restrictions on when we can work; we can work 28 hours a week, and not past midnight.)

Manager #1: “Hey, [My Name] can you work closing tonight?”

Me: “Well, I can work part of closing. But I need to leave at midnight.”

Manager #1: “Why?”

Me: “I’m a minor; I cannot work past midnight.”

Manager #1: “Oh. Well, what we can do is have you clock out at midnight, then, just keep working. Then I’ll make an adjustment to your time.”

Me: “Um… Well… It is a Friday and I have no school tomorrow, so… okay.”

(I happily work the extra hours. This repeats itself many times over the next couple of months; I have a ton of “adjustment” hours I get paid for and am happy with the money. Then, one day…)

Me: “Do you need me to work closing tonight? It’s a weekend.”

Manager #2: “You cannot work past midnight; you are a minor.”

Me: “Oh, [Manager] always has me work closing, then just puts the extra hours on my time card as an adjustment.”

Manager #2: “Um, they shouldn’t be doing that; it’s against the law. I need to look into it.”

(The manager who was doing that was demoted, and a very strongly-worded memo came out that stated very clearly that all minors must leave by midnight. Oops! I didn’t mean to get them in trouble; I was just happy to have the extra money!)

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Lawless In-Law

, , , , , , , | Legal | September 11, 2018

(A few years ago my brother had a child with a woman from a terrible family. Racist grandmother, drug-addicted mother, brother, sister, and brother-in-law, and a stepfather who claimed to once be a “Hell’s Angel.” Predictably, things went south in the relationship and custody of my niece was in contention in court. Months of court dates had left emotions frayed and everyone on edge. While shopping at a local hardware store I have the unfortunate luck to run into the meth-addict brother-in-law of the family. We happen to end up in the same aisle and he calls out loudly.)

Brother-In-Law: “HEY!”

(I look up and see him with his five-year-old son, say a quick, “nope,” and turn around to walk away. The meth-head brother-in-law starts following me down the aisles of the hardware store. Never one to blink at an opportunity, I pull out my phone and start filming him over my shoulder.)


(This is while his seemingly forgotten son chases to keep up with him. Thankfully there is no physical altercation, but the video is worth its weight in gold. Fast forward through police reports and applying for a restraining order, to the court date. Our case is the last on the docket, so I endure a few hours of meth-head brother-in-law giving his missing-tooth smile, thinking he’s going to get off scot-free. Finally our case is called, and I am asked to present my side of the story. After I explain that I did nothing but turn and walk away while being verbally harassed, the judge then asks for the meth-head brother-in-law’s side.)

Brother-In-Law: “Your Honor, he and his dad chased me down the aisles! And when I held my hand out to shake hands and say hi, he ‘spitted’ on me and yelled at me! I had my son with me, and they yelled at him, too! I would never act that way around my son! Never!”

(No, my dad was not with me that day; I was alone. And yes, he said “spitted.”)

Judge: *to me* “Do you have anything to say to refute Mr. [Brother-In-Law]’s story?”

Me: “Yes, Your Honor; I have video of the incident.”

(I now get to look over at my meth-head brother-in-law with my own smile and see his grin slip off his face. I hand my phone over to the judge and she watches while glancing up at the two of us.)

Judge: “Well, Mr. [Brother-In-Law], not only can I see you and your son in this video, I can see him struggling to keep up with you. I can also hear the threats you’re making to Mr. [My Name] and his family. I am awarding Mr. [My Name] his restraining order and would advise that the next time you end up in court, try not to lie to the judge.”

(Cue an expletive-laden rant from my brother-in-law and the judge suggesting an escort for me to my car.)

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