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A Beautiful Blonde Moment

, , , , , | Friendly | April 27, 2019

(I’m in a convenience store perusing the aisles when a couple of middle-aged blonde women walk down the aisle I’m on. I’m pretty sure they are tipsy, and they’re talking really loudly in thick southern accents… but I am in a good mood and they are all smiles and giggles, so I can’t bring myself to be annoyed. I see them staring at coffee brands before I walk to the next aisle over, and I can hear them on the other side of the aisle trying to sort out what coffee brand they should buy.)

Lady #1: *after a couple of minutes of loudly discussing it with her friend* “We should call someone over here to help. I can’t decide.”

Me: *snickers to myself as her friend starts bellowing*

Lady #2: “Blondes in aisle twelve need service! Blondes in aisle twelve need service, over!”

Me: *from opposite the rack on the adjacent aisle, in my best official mock-intercom voice* “Customer service suggests that the blondes on aisle twelve chose the [Brand], over.”

(They burst into laughter asking one another who the heck had said that. Meanwhile, I walked down the aisle with a grin on my face, and one of the employees told me that they ought to hire me for customer service. Made my day, and the women’s day, too.)

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Making You Work ½ As Hard

, , , | Right | April 3, 2019

I work at a fish processing plant. People come to us with fish, both privately caught and commercial, and we cut them up and put the parts in vacuum bags. We work on a three-part assembly line: two people cut the fish, four people pack them into bags, and one packs them with two industrial packers. We usually deal with halibut, salmon, and rockfish.

The typical order is around fifty pounds of fish, and we pack them into bags of varying sizes: #½, #1, #1½, and #2, with filets going in larger custom-size bags. The vast majority of orders are #1, and although we can do multi-size orders, it is uncommon. #½ is almost never heard of, and we only ever stock fifty or so bags. Sometimes the customer orders us to clean off the fish with rags, but that slows down the line to a crawl.

One customer comes in with a hundred pounds of salmon, fifty pounds of rockfish, and a full hundred-and-forty-pound halibut.

They want half of the salmon in filets — cleaned with a rag —  twenty-five #1 bags and twenty-five #2 bags, they wanted the rockfish in #2 bags — inconvenient for such a small fish — and they wanted us to filet a hundred-and-forty-pound, six-foot freaking halibut, and put it in two-hundred-eighty #½ bags.

It took us three hours to process one order. The average is thirty minutes.

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Anchorage, Alaska: A Thousand Thank-Yous

, , , , , , | Hopeless | December 14, 2018

Anchorage, Alaska experienced a 7.0-magnitude earthquake on the morning of November 30th, 2018. There was significant damage to infrastructure, roads, and buildings, but no collapses, and only a few older buildings have been deemed unsafe. No deaths reported! 72 hours after the major destruction of some of our main highways, they are back in commission, paved and striped. All the recovery efforts are simply amazing.

Stories have poured in thanking our amazing engineers and workers of the Alaska Department of Transportation getting our roads safe and fixed, the utility workers for going 24 hours a day to get us back on the grid and get us safe drinking water, and our first responders for a quick and calm emergency response.

But I’d like to take a minute to thank the gas station attendants who stayed at their jobs right after the quake to service the hundreds of panicked people filling up on gas before attempting the four- to five-hour trip home — a normal commute of 30 to 45 minutes — to Eagle River and the Mat-Su Valley. I would like to heartily thank the hundreds of grocery store clerks who stayed that day to keep the stores open, and who put in countless hours to clean up warehouses of glass and spills so that we could go in and get bread, water, and necessities — like deli sandwiches and any wine that survived the shake-up. And I want to thank the baristas who showed up at five am the day after, who held down the shaking syrup bottles through the many, many, many aftershocks and kept smiles on their faces. I just cannot even.

I would like to extend my enormous gratitude to the store clerks at our local True Value Hardware who swept most of the mess into a roped-off corner and opened early the next day because, “People are going to need to fix stuff up, and they need us open, not picture perfect.” At the same store, my husband witnessed a clerk scolding a fellow for trying to buy more than one set of water heater hoses saying, “Do you have multiple water heaters?” The fellow responded by shaking his head. The clerk asked, “Are you helping your neighbors?” The fellow sullenly shook his head in the negative again. The clerk said firmly, “Then I’ll only be selling you the one set; there are going to be a lot of people needing those today.”

To the cheerful diner waitress who kept our coffee topped up the day after this crazy event, to the artisans who forged ahead with a holiday craft show because people needed to have some cheer, to the musicians and actors who said that the show must go on… thank you a thousand times. THANK YOU.

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I Got 192 Billion Problems And You’re All Of Them

, , , , | Working | October 9, 2018

(I work in the help desk for a fairly large corporation, and it’s routine that we get people’s IP addresses from them so we can log in to their machines and troubleshoot the issue. The IP addresses come out as four three-digit numbers [192.168.172.X] and I already know the first three numbers because all of our IP addresses start with the same three number groups [octets].)

Me: *mid-call* “…so click start, then run.”

Coworker: “Okay.”

Me: “Press enter, then type in IPCONFIG.”

Coworker: “Okay.”

Me: “That will show you an IP address of 192 dot 168 dot 100 dot something. I need the last part.”

Coworker: *silence*

Me: “Still there?”

Coworker: “Hold on.”

Me: “I just need the last part.”

Coworker: “Hold on.”

Me: “Okay.”

Coworker: *sighs* “One hundred and ninety-two billion, one hundred and sixty-eight million, one hundred and seventy-two thousand, two hundred and thirteen.”

Me: “Um, I just needed the last part.”

Coworker: “Then why didn’t you say that?”

Me: “I did. Also, those are periods, not commas.”

Coworker: “Oh.”

(The call went smoothly after that.)

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Not So Heavy On Paper

, , , , | Working | July 19, 2018

(At my work, I do the processing for orders in the backroom, and we have these 80-pound rolls of paper to fill space. My space is the closest, and I have just replaced mine with the help of [Coworker #1] who does the lifting while I guide the bar, since it’s a two-person job. The space next to mine also runs out, so I go to get the paper ready.)

Coworker #2: “No, it’s okay. I can do it myself; I’m a guy.”

Me: “You think that just because I’m a girl I can’t do it?”

(I flip over the roll to take out the plastic ends.)

Coworker #2: “See? You’re struggling.”

Me: “Me being a girl does not mean I can’t lift something of a decent weight. You would know this if you weren’t assuming, so go get your pole ready for the paper.”

(I slid the paper on with a little difficulty, but the power of somebody telling me I couldn’t do something powered me through it.)

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