The best of our most recent stories!

With A Good Reputation, Nothing Can Stop You!

, , , , , | Legal | August 3, 2021

I have worked at a well-known gas station in my small town for nearly ten years. One evening, I take a coworker home and take the back route home. At one point, there is a set of train tracks with a stop sign, and then about twenty yards away is another stop sign for the main road I need to be on. At this time, the stop sign for the train tracks cannot be seen at night because of a rubble pile, but I know it’s there and I always stop anyway.

Tonight, as I roll to a stop, I see police cars where my current street merges with the one I need to take. I think, “Oh. They have a drunk driver pulled over,” but when I pull up to the next stop sign, a female officer motions for me to stop and I realize it’s a sobriety checkpoint.

Me: “Sorry about popping my door open; my window doesn’t roll down.”

Officer: “No, that’s fine. Hey, why did you stop back at the tracks?”

Me: “Uh… there’s a stop sign there. I thought I was supposed to.”

Officer: “That is the best answer I have heard all night! Okay, so, do you have your license and insurance on you?”

Me: “Oh, sure! Just got my new insurance card today, actually!”

I unbuckle and begin to dig for my purse in the backseat of the car. I’ve barely turned in my seat when she speaks again.

Officer: “Hold on. I know you.”

Me: “You do?”

Officer: “Yeah! You’re the girl from [Gas Station] — the one who tells all those great jokes! We love you at the station! Sweetie, you head on. Drive carefully and have a nice night!”

Me: “Oh! Okay, thanks!”

I waved goodbye, got home, and walked into my bedroom… where I saw my wallet containing both my license and my new insurance card sitting on my desk.

1 Thumbs

Getting Rid Of The More Colorful Customers

, , , , , | Right | August 3, 2021

A customer is trying to demand we accept a coupon for alcohol that we cannot legally take in my state. She’s spent nearly ten minutes berating my cashier before I’m made aware of the situation, so I head up to the registers as quickly as I can.

While I’m approaching, I hear:

Customer: “You can’t even do a decent job ringing things up! No wonder you’re working at [Store]! I bet you’ll never move past cashier with that hair color and those tattoos!

My cashier in question has brown hair but has two stripes of peek-a-boo rainbow hair that’s hidden when she wears her hair down (though it’s worn up at this time and it’s visible), and one or two small visible tattoos.

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, I’m the manager, and I had heard that you had a problem? Maybe I can help fix it?”

The customer whirls around, an already smug grin on her face, and she gets a good look at me in all of my green-haired, tattooed, pierced glory.

Me: “You asked to speak to the manager, right? How can I help you?”

She left without another word, but I’ve never seen someone as red in the face in person as she was!

1 Thumbs

You Did It! You’re A Hero!

, , , , | Working | August 3, 2021

It’s an average post-holiday weekday afternoon at my work, which means that I am mostly hanging out, answering various questions from our first line of contact, clarifying department rules, and updating procedures. I am also checking up on various ancient work orders gathering dust in our queue, usually for lack of customer or management response, and indiscriminately nuking the ones that I can close due to lack of customer response while auto-repeating a stage in an ongoing mobile game event. Just your usual Tier III slow day help desk stuff.

An email chime rings.

My emails normally don’t have audio alerts, except for a select group of very high-ranked people who need urgent Tier-III attention to address their pressing problems, such as plugging in a monitor.

Among the team, I’m the one on actual emails and calls that afternoon, so I pop it open. Huh, it looks like our CEO is trying to join a conference via a specific app, but it’s just not working. Oh, and the conference started half an hour ago and they need someone to come up “in the next two minutes.” Call me crazy, but if I have an important conference coming up using a program that I have not tested before, I might call IT out BEFORE the conference starts.

As I enter the CEO’s office one walk up the stairs later, I discover that he’s got a whole setup going with a smartphone clamped in with actual proper hardware, good lighting, the whole thing. Frankly, I am impressed and relieved. This specific conferencing software doesn’t play well with our firewall sometimes, but if it goes out over the smartphone Wi-Fi, that’s way easier; they have their own, much laxer rules.

Me: “So can you tell me exactly what is wrong?”

He is in a hurry, and I figure we both have things we’d rather be doing that don’t involve making polite small talk for half an hour.

CEO: “My conference app is not working.”

He waves at the phone, which does indeed appear blank. The app is up, but other than the meeting name, it’s just basically blank. I can hear people on the other end, but no matter if I click camera or mic buttons, nothing happens. A suspicion forms in my head.

Me: “Okay, drop the session and start it again with me looking over your shoulder. Let’s go step by step.”

Everything goes perfectly fine, the app joins a meeting, he types out a name and — why the ever-loving f*** is he clicking “Don’t Allow” to every prompt that comes up?

Me: *Very diplomatically* “Why are you clicking ‘Don’t Allow’ to every prompt that comes up?”

CEO: “Oh, I was told I shouldn’t let apps access stuff on my phone.”

Me: “If you don’t let this conferencing app access your microphone or camera, it will not be able able to transmit anything using your microphone or camera.”

CEO: “Oh, is that how it works?”

Me: “Yeah. Let me reset your permissions in the settings… Here you go. Camera and audio feed. You are live.”

CEO: “Wow, you are great! I think they’ve been trying to solve my issue for over a year now with this phone app, and you fixed it in two minutes!”

Me: *Laughs* “No problem, you have a good day.”

Another horrible suspicion formed in my head.

Back at my desk, after restarting my mobile game stage — you have to have priorities — I started digging in the call logging system. Sure enough, there was a work order sent directly to our networking team, bypassing all normal channels — me — from fourteen months before, highest priority, with four different techs all going back and forth about how our CEO’s phone did not permit video and audio traffic from this conferencing app over our Wi-Fi network. Vendors were contacted, entire network closets were torn apart and put back together, and multiple Wi-Fi modems and APs were replaced. There were thousands of dollars and close to a thousand man-hours put in by people with six-digit salaries trying to fix this elusive issue.

All because none of these Senior Network Engineers had ever heard of Rule Zero: Don’t Trust The Customer.

As a Tier III tech, I have the ability to hijack assignments and make sure that everybody involved gets a message when I close the work order. This one was particularly satisfying to close, with a solution description saying, “Customer was denying permission to access phone resources to the app. No actual network issue is apparent. See Work Order [Number].”

1 Thumbs

Doctors Don’t Know Everything

, , , | Healthy | August 4, 2021

A routine blood test shows that my levels of TSH — thyroid-stimulating hormone — are high, 4.2 mg/l. Basically, it means that my thyroid isn’t working properly: the normal value ought to be under 4.5. I start seeing an endocrinologist. At 5…

Endocrinologist: “Yes, yes. Nothing to worry about. Let’s just keep it monitored. See you next year.”

Next year, at 6…

Endocrinologist: “Well, well. There’s clearly something going on here, but I’d rather not start medicating as you’re still young. See you next year.”

Next year, at 8…

Endocrinologist: “I don’t like the look of this. If it keeps rising, we’ll have to put you on something. See you next year.”

I get in the family way, and eight months into my pregnancy, I’m examined by an obstetric, an old guard doctor with the manners of a constipated bear. He takes a look at my blood tests.

Obstetric: “Just what are you waiting for before you do something for that thyroid, lady? Your TSH is through the roof!”

Thyroid medication, of course, is prescription-only. I would have so liked to give him my endocrinologist’s number and watch the discussion.

1 Thumbs

A Tale Worthy Of A Book

, , , , , , , | Right | August 3, 2021

My father has taken me to public libraries every weekend since I was almost three. It used to be a long walk, but I enjoyed looking at books. My schooling was in English and the books were in my first language, so I could not read much until about eight. The public libraries did not carry a lot of English books.

When I was about ten, we moved to a neighborhood where the public library was less than five minutes’ walk from my home. It was open for three hours in the morning and evening. Every evening, I would rush to the library soon after school. Usually, I would be there within five minutes of opening. Their usual practice was to set up periodicals first as evening newspaper readers would start coming in. Instead of waiting for them, I would just start dusting the kids’ section seats and turn on the lights and start my reading.

The librarian was the kind of man who just did not look approachable. I used to hear him being hard on people who had late returns or spoiled the books, and he used to be curt with my father when he joined me on Sunday mornings, so ten-year-old me was scared of this man.

Every day, fifteen minutes before the actual closing time, they would start announcements and ask people to vacate. The first few days, I just did not understand why someone would make me leave fifteen minutes early. And since I did not have a library card, I could not take my half-read books with me. I would simply put the book back and go back home. After a few days, the librarian must have silently observed my long face, because he started making announcements about closure only in other sections.

The housekeeper lady would just smile at me and leave the lights on just enough for me to read while they tidied up the rest of the place and did their closing activities. This gave me another ten minutes to read. Five minutes before closing, I would straighten the books in the kids’ section and join them in locking up. Very soon, in my head, I had become a part of their opening and closing team! Every Sunday, I would proudly walk in with my father as if I were taking him to my own place.

We lived in that house for about five years and I had read most of the books in the kids’, young adult, and basic science sections. The librarian, still curt and limited on words, had started to smile at me. He would simply point at new books and smile at my brightened eyes. If I missed going to the library, the housekeeper lady would be worried and ask why I had missed my routine. When we were moving, the librarian gave an additional borrower’s card to my father’s account and asked me to use it. We did not move far off and my aunt lived near the library, so I went back there at least twice a week.

The next year, when I turned sixteen, the librarian asked me to get my documents and registered me for my own borrower’s account and penned my name on my first-ever library card. That day was pure joy for me and him. During my college days, I would go there if I wanted some quiet place to study. He’d simply give me reading room keys and let me be. I knew the library layout very well and sometimes helped other patrons, too. When they closed for maintenance activities, I would join them for housekeeping tasks. They both knew they just couldn’t get rid of me!

Then, life happened. I moved places and lost touch with that library. The last time I was in that neighborhood, I saw a new librarian and heard that the old man had retired and they have smart cards now.

I still love books, all thanks to my dad, that silent librarian, and the sweet housekeeper lady. I still have that card with the librarian’s handwriting!

1 Thumbs