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Tablets And Wi-Fi and Money, Oh My!

, , , , , | Right | January 28, 2020

(I get out of the underground train chatting with my brother on my ten-inch tablet; we are in the middle of some exciting banter. Since it is kind of awkward, walking while chatting on a tablet, I sit down on the station bench next to a young lady who is busy with her own iPhone. Some five minutes later, I hear someone clear their throat and turn around to face the lady who has been looking at me expectantly since who-knows-when. I am confused but try to be polite and ask her what is wrong.)

Random Lady: “You must go away.”

Me: *taken aback* “I’m sorry?”

Random Lady: “You must go away; I want you to go.”

Me: “Why?”

Random Lady: “I don’t feel safe talking with you near me; you can eavesdrop.”

(I think, “Why would I want to eavesdrop on a stranger’s phone call?”)

Me: “I’ll be off in a minute.”

(My brother just told me he would be off soon.)

Random Lady: “No, you are not allowed to sit next to me with that.” *pointing to my tablet* “I’ve worked there and I can sue you.”

(I’m now even more bewildered, as I honestly have no idea what she’s talking about. She then points to my tablet’s brand, one of the big and well-known electronics brands.)

Random Lady: *holding out her phone* “This is [Famous, Well-Known Phone Brand which is my brand’s competitor]. You are not allowed to bring [My Tablet’s Brand] near [Her Brand]. You have to go unless you have cash.”

Me: *starting to get annoyed, also wondering if I heard the last part right* “This is a public place. I have the right to be here.”

Random Lady: *angry* “NO! I am here because I need a safe place to make a call without someone overhearing! You owe me money; you have to pay me cash or go away!”

(I am thinking, “You didn’t want anybody to listen to your call and you chose one of the biggest and busiest underground train stations in Berlin?! And what the h*** with suddenly demanding I pay her?”)

Me: “I just need the Wi-Fi for a moment longer.”

Random Lady: *even more ticked off* “You can’t use the Wi-Fi for free.”

(The public Wi-Fi in the station has been provided by the government for free since 2016; I’ve checked their website again just in case.)

Random Lady: “You have to pay! You owe me money or I’ll sue you. That is the law; you have to pay me cash!”

Me: *getting fed up and packing my tablet* “Even if the Wi-Fi is not free, I am sure I do not owe you anything.”

(I left at that point, still bewildered and not really sure what had just happened. The lady was still rambling about lawsuits, money, my tablet brand versus hers, etc.)

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