The best of our most recent stories!

Customer Service Is Going Downhill

, , , , , , | Working | March 30, 2021

I am at University in the 1980s, living in a shared house at the top of a long hill. Although money is tight, I am just about able to afford to own and run an old car. I even manage to get enough money together to get basic car breakdown coverage.

One morning, I find my car will not start, so I call the breakdown service. After giving my membership number and current location, there is a pause, and then the telephone representative comes back to me, very apologetic.

Representative #1: “I’m sorry, sir, but it seems your car is currently located at your home address and you do not have the optional ‘home start’ coverage.”

Me: “So, how far from home do I need to be for my basic coverage to kick in?”

Representative #1: “At least a mile, sir.”

Me: “Thank you.”

I hung up, went back into the house, and rounded up my housemates, who helped me push the car onto the road and face it down the hill.

Ten minutes later, I phoned the breakdown service again.

Representative #2: “And where is your car currently located, sir?”

Me: “At the bottom of [Road], about one and a quarter miles from my home.”

The breakdown service arrived fifteen minutes later and my car was started.

This story is part of our Best Of March 2021 roundup!

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Turning Being Bored Of Art Into An Art Form

, , , , | Right | April 14, 2021

I work at a multiple-story art museum as a gallery attendant. We do not allow food or drink on the upper floors, just in the lobby. It’s Saturday, the museum’s busiest day of the week, and there’s a baseball game happening down the road later in the day, meaning the museum is extra busy.

I am alone on this particular floor, walking back and forth between the two rooms, which are separated by a small hallway with an elevator. I spy a family: Mom, Dad, and two boys aged maybe thirteen and eight, with a red wagon, right in front of the elevator. The older boy takes a water bottle from the wagon, cracks it open, and takes a sip right in front of me.

I make eye contact with the dad and approach.

Me: “Excuse me. I’m sorry, but if he wants to take a drink right here, that’s fine, but we don’t allow food or drink up here on the floor, so it’ll have to stay put away near the artwork.”

Yes, this is totally against the rules. I should have asked them to take it back down to the lobby for storage, but I decide to try to be nice today.

Dad: “Oh, right, sure.” 

They put the bottle away. Dad maneuvers the wagon and the younger boy to the corner near the elevator. The mom and the older boy go off to explore the floor.

All is well and fine for the next few minutes. What appears to be Grandma and another teenage boy go over to the elevator, where Dad and the younger boy are still in the corner. I overhear Grandma ask what they’re doing.

Dad: *Loud enough that I can hear* “We’re leaving because that b**** told [Older Boy] he couldn’t drink water.”

I keep walking, though I definitely blush in anger. Grandma leaves and reappears shortly with Mom and the older boy, while Dad is still going off with “that b****” comments, obviously loud enough for me to hear as I walk back and forth.

When the family is reunited, Dad is still going off about me. I’m still walking back and forth, just about ready to intervene, when Grandma starts.

Grandma: “Well, [Older Boy] should’ve known better! You’re the ones who snuck it up here! It’s no surprise ‘that b****’ said something if he drank it in front of her!”

The elevator thankfully opened and the family departed. I talked to a coworker later; the family never went to the floor below or any other floor. Dad made the whole family leave because they decided to break the rules and got caught for it.

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No Allowance For Such Nonsense

, , , , , | Working | April 7, 2021

Earlier this summer, I temporarily took a job as a roofing salesperson for a construction company. The job description said I was managing a book of insurance agents and realtors, working referrals. In the interview, the boss was adamant that there was no door-knocking —just working relationships and referrals. I took the job and came to learn about week into my hire that they expected five or more hours a day of door-knocking. I could’ve quit right away but I figured I’d give it a go for a bit and just see how things went.

The job was full commission with a small weekly vehicle allowance, and I wasn’t responsible for working a regular schedule. But eventually, my boss started expecting everyone to work a regular schedule and report “at least forty hours” on our timecard app.

I fought with him about it because, as a non-hourly or non-salary employee, there was nothing to report. I got paid only for the work I brought in. Whether I worked eighty or five hours, the pay was the same and there was no contractual obligation to my time.

He got upset that I didn’t just give in and he told me that, because I hadn’t filled out a timecard, they wouldn’t give me my weekly vehicle allowance. It wasn’t a huge amount of money, but it was a matter of principle; I don’t get paid for time worked, so why do they need to know my hours?

My best friend is a labor attorney, and I asked him what I could do. He said I should just threaten to call the department of labor for withholding wages. So, I told my boss I’d call the department of labor. At this point, I was already in the process of getting hired for a job I really wanted, so I was planning on quitting soon anyway; I figured the company had it coming for all their lies and deceitful nature.

They agreed to give me the allowance. But then, later that day, Human Resources rolled out a policy that said that they would now be paying out the allowance based on hours logged on our timecard app. It was the expectation that we’d log forty hours, and if you didn’t meet forty hours, they would deduct a prorated amount from the vehicle allowance. The policy also said it was retroactive for the previous week. Therefore, I didn’t get my allowance for that week’s pay, as I continued to not log everything. I was a little pissed off about it.

That week, our boss made us work a great many more hours than usual, commuting several hours a day, each way, to a town he wanted us to get some work in. I went into our timecard app and logged my hours for the week — *a lot* more than forty. When the pay came that week, I only got the regular allowance — for “forty” hours. I asked my boss where the rest was, and he said it was a flat rate. I cited the new policy and said he owed me based on the “hours worked” and that I’d be calling the department of labor if I didn’t get it.

They ended up giving me the allowance based on my full logged hours. Later that week, Human Resources emailed the department saying that full commission people were exempt from logging hours and would be receiving the flat pay.

I won. I ended up quitting a short time later, followed by pretty much the whole sales staff.

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Childish Mistakes

, , , | Healthy | April 11, 2021

A few weeks ago, I had to have a hysterectomy. I have no children, never wanted children, and am almost too old to have them. Also, if I can now live my life free of period pains, I’m all for it. But I know that it is a sensitive issue for many women.

While wheeling me along to the operation, the male nurse asks:

Nurse #1: “Do you have kids?”

Me: “No.”

Nurse #1: “Me, neither. It is really sad. A life without children isn’t really worthwhile.”

Dude, don’t tell this to a woman about to have her womb taken out.

Later, when they take me for a scan, a nurse says:

Nurse #2: “So, you’ve just given birth, right?”

Me: “No. No, I haven’t.”

When I talked to my gynecologist, she was flabbergasted. And rightly so. I mean, it wasn’t a big deal for me. But really, maybe be more sensitive next time.

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Gosh, Is There Anything That Isn’t Fraud Anymore?

, , , , | Legal | April 13, 2021

I work for a construction-related carded system in the inbound call centre that sells the cards. All cards have qualification requirements; some are one-day courses and others are full university degrees and multi-year NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications). We have access to a database of individuals that work within the construction industry or have taken construction-related courses.

I’ve informed this caller that he doesn’t have any of the qualifications on his file needed to get a gold bricklaying card, and I ask if he’s done anything more than his carpentry NVQ 1 qualification.

Caller: “No. I’ve only done the carpentry one. But I need the gold brikkie card.”

Me: “I wouldn’t be able to do the gold card, then, sir, just the green carpentry one. The system doesn’t allow overrides; it has to be in the file to produce the card.”

Caller: “Can’t you just… add one in? One of them NVQs, level 3?”

Me: “No, sir.”

Caller: “Why the h*** not?!”

Me: “That’s fraud, sir.”

Caller: “I won’t tell anyone, sweetheart.”

Me: “The calls are recorded, sir.”

Caller: “Oh.”

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