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What A Lovely Parting Gift

, , , , , , , , | Working | December 20, 2022

This happened about thirty years ago. I worked at an IT Consulting company for about two years. In October, they lost their primary contract with a large state department that kept most of their 100-plus employees working and generating income.

Suddenly, there were a bunch of consultants out of billable work and on the bench, and the company scrambled to find new gigs for us. Some were able to be placed immediately, while they had more trouble finding work for others with more specialized skills, like me. The company kept us on at full salary and offered us training in other skills, which I took advantage of.

Come December, the holiday party season started. We had a nice lavish party on a weekend in a brand-new luxury hotel that had just opened recently. Obviously, the party had been paid for before the contract loss.

There were the usual drinks and dancing and food, and there were prize giveaways via random numbers. The grand prize was an all-expenses-paid weekend at the hotel. I was attending with my girlfriend, and I happened to have the winning ticket for the grand prize. Sweet!

I went up, and the woman from Human Resources giving out the prizes had a sour look on her face. I didn’t think much about it. My girlfriend and I were stoked about this opportunity for a mini stay-cation.

I came in for work the following Monday and was immediately called into the boss’s office. I was thinking they had finally found a new client for me, but no. They were letting me go due to no work. I wasn’t the only one let go that day. It sucked that it was right before the holidays, and I was slated to go back to California over the holidays to see family.

It looked to me like the Human Resources lady wanted to ask for the prize back since I was no longer going to be an employee, but she didn’t have the guts to ask. (I’d have politely declined.) But at least I knew why she had a sour look on her face at the party when I won.

I took the time off for the holidays, and when I got back, I found a new client on my own within a week. My girlfriend and I used the prize as a way of celebrating my new career as an independent IT consultant.

Do You Know Where You Are Right Now?

, , , , , , | Right | August 5, 2022

I am waiting in line at a brewpub that does not serve liquor but has an extensive selection of draft beer. The menu over the bar lists individual beer names and the wall is covered with hundreds of taps. There are no other drinking accouterments to be seen.

The person in front of me steps up to order.

Customer: “Yeah, what kind of tequila do you have? We want to do shots.”

Bartender: “We don’t sell tequila here.”

There is an earth-grinding pause.

Customer: “Why?”

I wish the written word did justice to the utterly baffled vocal fry in which this question was delivered.

Bartender: “We only serve beer.”

Customer: “Beer? Ew!”

I tipped the bartender an extra dollar when my turn finally came around.

But What If America Has A Peanut Allergy?!

, , , , , , | Working | June 8, 2022

I’m going through a TSA checkpoint at my local airport. 

TSA Agent #1: “Please remove any food, electronics, and liquids from your bag and place them directly into the bin.”

In an attempt to save money, I’d packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to eat at the airport.

Me: “Will my sandwich cause a problem?”

TSA Agent #1: “As long as it is outside of your backpack as it goes through the scanner, it will be fine.”

I follow the instructions and observe that other lines are moving much faster than mine. [TSA Agent #2], who is reviewing the screen, is pulling almost every bag for further review. By the time I get to her, she informs me that my peanut butter sandwich is causing the alarm (despite being removed from my luggage) and that my entire carry-on will need to be checked.

I offer to throw the sandwich away but she insists that now that I’ve entered the checkpoint it needs to be checked — for explosives, I presume?

[TSA Agent #3] is reviewing bags that have been pulled. Almost everyone that was in front of me in line one is now in front of him as he empties their bags and swabs their items to find the offending item (which, for many people, is nonexistent). I can tell he’s starting to get exasperated.

After several minutes, I finally get to him.

Me: “My bag got pulled because of this sandwich. I can just throw it away.”

My sandwich, which was made much earlier in the day, is admittedly looking kind of smooshed and sad. At this point, I’d rather throw it away and buy the overpriced airport food.

He looks at me, looks at my pitiful sandwich, and looks at [TSA Agent #2] who is still sending almost everyone in her line to him for further review. Other agents in nearby lines are not pulling nearly the same number of items for review. He hands me my items back without another glance.

TSA Agent #3: “I’m pretty sure your peanut butter and jelly sandwich is not a threat to national security.”

Their Brain’s Out Of Gas

, , , , , | Working | March 21, 2022

I’m learning Spanish, and as such, I’m one of the designated Spanish translators at my store. I’m with a customer at the print department and need to let him know that we can’t laminate government licenses.

Me: “Lo siento, no podemos imprimir de plástico las tarjetas de…” *I’m sorry, we can’t laminate cards of…*

My mind completely blanks on the word for “car”. After stammering for a while, my brain finally settles on:

Me: “Tarjetas de… VROOM-VROOM!”

We all had a good laugh over that, though I was beating myself up for a bit for not remembering “el carro”.

New Year, Same Old Customers

, , , , , | Right | December 31, 2021

It’s New Year’s Eve, and our store has just closed for the day. It’s two hours earlier than usual, as listed on our sign of holiday hours in front of the store. I’m tidying up and have just returned to the front of the store after cleaning the bathrooms in the back when I see a man standing in the front.

Me: “Sir? The store is closed.”

Customer: “No, it’s not; you close at [usual time].”

Me: “It’s New Year’s Eve. We’re closing early tonight.”

Customer: “Well, you should have a sign!”

Me: “We do!”

I escort the man outside, through the disabled automatic doors that he had forced open in order to get in, and show him the clearly visible sign of holiday hours, specifically the part that says, “December 31st — New Year’s Eve — [Holiday Hours]”.

Customer: “Well, it should’ve been bigger!”

I’ll never understand how the doors being off isn’t enough of a hint.