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The One Ingredient You Definitely Don’t Want In Your Coffee

, , , | Legal | March 24, 2023

The owner of the coffee cart outside our office building used to always have someone helping him out. It was always beautiful young women — a new one every month or so. We never figured out why he needed an extra pair of hands at such a small cart, or why they wouldn’t last, but he was always very pleasant, and the coffee was great so it never really bothered us.

A couple of years later, I got relocated to the main office. After trying out the coffee at the cafe at the new location, I was pleasantly surprised that it was exactly the same blend and made exactly the same way as at the coffee cart I was used to. I commented to the owner about it.

Owner: “Sure. That’s because I own that cart, too.”

Me: “Wait, what? I thought the barista there was the owner?”

Owner: “No, he just works for us there. He’s really good — very reliable. He just runs it on his own; he never asks for any help.”

Me: “Oh. What about the girls?”

Owner: “What girls?”

I explained about the young women working with the barista. The owner got very quiet for a moment.

Owner: “Thanks for telling me.”

And that’s how I inadvertently helped bust a human trafficking ring. It turned out the barista used his position as a manager to organise work visas for women who were then “sold” into a different kind of work.

The barista got twelve years in prison. The cafe owner sold up and retired. The cafe is under new management but the coffee is still really good.

You Can’t Tell Me What To Do With The Drink You Forced Me To Take!

, , , , , | Working | March 23, 2023

I’m lined up at a fast food place right after I’ve knocked off work at the nearby supermarket. It’s the middle of the day, and I’ve got a hankering for a specific burger and some fries. I see above the cashier’s head that the particular burger I want is on a lunchtime special for $5. I’ve just cracked a can of energy drink, which is in my hand, so I’m pondering whether I can get away with no drink.

The teenager behind the counter taking orders is obviously blaming me and the other customers personally for her bad day. She’s snippy and rude, and she actually yells at a little kid in front of me for asking for a spoon. Whatever, we all have bad days. It’s my turn to order.

Me: “Hi! Can I please have a [$5 lunchtime special]? But I don’t want a drink, thanks.”

Cashier: *Glaring* “It comes with a drink.”

Me: “I know. I just don’t need one. I’ve already got one.”

I wave around my very distinctive, large red can of energy drink.

Cashier: *Still glaring* “You have to have the drink. I can’t remove it.”

I think she thinks I’m trying to get it cheaper.

Me: “Oh! No, I know that, but could you put it through and just not pour the drink? I don’t need it; it’ll go to waste.”

Cashier: “No. It comes with a drink.”

I can see I’m not getting anywhere with her, so I finally just ask for their most popular drink, pay, and step off to the side to wait for my food. She stomps around a bit getting my order and then hands it to me, smugly adding, “And here’s your drink,” as she hands it over.

Me: “Thanks.”

I turn to a group of teenagers sitting at the table behind me.

Me: “You guys want a free drink?”

I set my drink on their table and they thank me while the cashier goes ballistic behind me.


I just walked out. When I looked through the window getting into my car, a very exasperated manager was talking to her. Good luck, buddy.

Thigh-sing Up The Situation

, , , , , , , , | Working | March 22, 2023

My boss (a middle-aged woman) and our younger coworker (late teens or early twenties) are filling the meat fridges. Our range of chicken includes chicken thighs in small and large packets. The small packet is out of stock on the shelf.

Customer: *To my boss* “Excuse me. Do you have small thighs?”

Boss: *Taking a second* “Well, I used to when I was younger.”

Coworker: *Dying of laughter*

To this day, it is one of several inside jokes that we regularly use.

Isn’t It Literally Your Job To “Figure It Out”?

, , , , , , , | Working | March 18, 2023

I had issues with [Phone Provider] after moving house which culminated in replacing much of our ten-year-old home equipment with upgraded versions. The issue was escalated to a case manager who provided close to $1,000 in credits once resolved.

Once the bill is issued, I try to view it to work out whether I need to pay anything this month, but I can’t see it on the app or a browser.

I contact tech support and they have me do the usual troubleshooting: uninstall the app and reinstall it. (That doesn’t explain the browser issues, but okay.) After several different steps, they escalate it to their IT team.

After ten days and still no action, the person I dealt with suggests raising a complaint to have a case manager assigned — it worked last time? — so we do.

The case manager is pleasant enough and contacts me several times over a period of weeks, each time to let me know there isn’t an update but that he will follow up with the tech team.

Twenty-five days in, the case manager calls me and tries the same troubleshooting steps we did on day one. (I’ve been doing this regularly just to check.)

I mention that we’ve uninstalled the app a couple of times already and ask how to do another step on my phone. (It turns out it’s a PC step, not meant for phone troubleshooting.)

Case Manager: “You’re smart; you figure it out.”

After several rounds of him giving a similar attitude, I reluctantly ask for his manager.

Case Manager: “You can call the ombudsman. I will not connect you with a supervisor.”

Me: “Can I have the number for the ombudsman, then?”

Case Manager: “You’re smart; figure it out.”

So I did.

Lodging a complaint with the ombudsman took less than five minutes, and they assured me someone would call soon.

A day later, someone did. They apologised for the experience and asked me to try logging in online and tell them if I could see my services. I explained that I could see my services, and it was only when I tried to view my bill that the services disappeared.

The employee immediately figured out the issue and checked my profile to see that my account had been linked to another account with no services or billing and all online services were showing me the other account, which is why I couldn’t see my bill. She showed me how to change the account and I could again see my bill!

From beginning to end, this person listened to my issue, confirmed what had been tried, and walked me through trying other steps. The entire call lasted less than twenty minutes, and after twenty-six days, the issue was resolved by a non-tech person — meaning this could have been resolved on day one if the original person had taken a little more time to understand the issue.

She finished up by saying they’d go back and listen to the call from the day prior, and she applied another $200 credit to my bill!

Orders Of Future Past

, , , , , , , | Right | March 14, 2023

I answer a phone call from a customer who has ordered a computer online and wants an update on when it will arrive.

Me: “Did you have your order number so I can look it up?”

Customer: “I don’t have that at the moment, but the order is under [Customer].”

Our system tends to crash when searching by name only, as it then searches through every order ever placed, so when we do that, we try to narrow down the search by the date, as well, to prevent the crash.

Me: “Okay, I can try looking it up that way. I’ll just also need to know when you placed the order.”

Customer: “Just a moment while I check my account… I ordered it on September 7th.”

The current date is August 15th.

Me: “That was September 7th?”

Customer: “Yes, September 7th.”

Me: “Of last year?”

Customer: “No, this year.”

Me: “It’s still August; we aren’t in September yet. Do you mean August 7th?”

Customer: “Let me double-check… Oh, I see. I ordered it on August 23rd.”

Me: “That’s next week; it’s only August 15th today.”

Customer: “Oh, then I don’t know when I ordered it.”