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I’m Glad Someone Here Knows What’s Going On

, , , , , , | Related | August 19, 2021

I manage support for mainframe computers and have done so for many years. My kids have grown up around a great deal of tech, but I’ve never taught them anything specifically related to mainframe.

I am out shopping with my oldest daughter, who is a teen, when I got a call. Since we are close to the office and it is a weekend, I just take her in with me. She can read a book and wait until the problem is fixed. It’s not uncommon when you’re the support lead, so she knows the drill.

As often is the case, one problem leads to another problem. We’ve been in the office about three hours by this point, and there are now three of us support staff in the office, plus my daughter.

All of a sudden, my daughter gets up and walks over to where my employee is working. Though he is the youngest of us three, he has at least a decade on my daughter.

Daughter: *Pointing to something on the screen* “That job is blocking up the queue. It’s sorting the records by time, but it’s trying to recalculate all the time to daylight saving and that takes longer. Just delete it and tell the Red team that they need to run job 8-B. Job 8-A only gets run on the night daylight saving switches over, and it’ll be replaced when [project] finishes, anyway. The problems on [system 1 and 2] are cascaded because job 8-A’s mucking up the times in the records in real time.”

All three of us turn to look at her.

Me: “[Daughter], why do you think that’s the problem?”

Daughter: “It’s the same problem you had on CICS4 last week.”

I may talk about my work in front of my kids more than I realised. Yes, she was right.


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

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Candy Wrapped In A Mystery Inside An Enigma

, , , , | Right | August 19, 2021

Customer: “Excuse me. Do you sell these anywhere?”

He holds up the most nondescript chocolate wrapper I’ve ever seen. It’s pink cellophane, clearly an individual wrapper from a tin or a box of chocolates. There is no branding on it, nor any kind of notable feature whatsoever. It’s just a small pink wrapper.

Me: “I’m not sure. Do you know what the brand was called?”

Customer: “No, sorry.”

Me: “Okay, that makes things trickier. Do you know what the packaging looked like?”

The customer just shows me the pink wrapper again.

Me: “Was it just this, though, or did it come in a tin or box or something?”

Customer: “There were more.”

Me: “Did they come in a tin or in a box?”

Customer: “I can’t remember.”

Me: “What kind of chocolate was it?”

Customer: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Like, was it regular chocolate, or did it have a filling?”

Customer: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Have you bought it here before?”

Customer: “I’m not sure.”

Me: “So, you don’t know what kind of chocolate it was, what kind of packaging it came in, what the brand was called, or even if you’ve bought it here before?”

Customer: “Yes. Can you find out if you have it here?”

One of my coworkers eventually walked him over to the chocolate aisle to look, but as he had no idea what he was after beyond there being a pink wrapper involved, they got nowhere fast. Add to this the fact that it was a week before Christmas, so the variety of tins and boxes of chocolates we carry multiplied by quite a lot, and it’s no surprise that he left empty-handed.

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I Don’t Math Good When I’m Tired, Either

, , , , , , | Working | August 18, 2021

I’m in a shop known for its alternative fashion. I approach the counter to ring up my item.

Cashier: “Is that all today? That’ll be $88.”

I hand over my cash and they hand me back $12 in change.

Cashier: “Oh! You’ve spent over $50, so feel free to pick out a gift from our mystery box.”

I pick out a beanie. They go to fold up my item and notice an old sale tag of $70.40 on it.

Cashier: “We can honour this price. Let me just ring it up for you again.”

I’m pleasantly surprised, and I wait for them to scan it again. And then I wait. And wait. They mumble something about a calculator being bad, and I realise they can’t figure out how much to give me in change. I mentally do the math and realise the amount of change I’m supposed to have, but I am too socially awkward to bring it up. Eventually, they call their coworker over.

Cashier: “How much change am I supposed to give them? The calculator’s broken.”

Coworker: “Uhhh… seventeen… sixty? I think? Do you have your phone calculator on you?”

Cashier: “That sounds right… but I want to make sure.”

Me: “Yeah, it’s $17.60.”

I open the calculator on my phone and show them the maths. The cashier finally hands me my change.

Cashier: “Sorry about that. It’s been a long day; I don’t trust my head.”

Me: “I get that. Have a nice day!”

I walked out of that shop with an extra beanie, three receipts, and $17.60 more than I expected, as well as a story to tell.

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Never Bready For This Much Stupid

, , , | Right | August 12, 2021

I work in my local supermarket in the bakery department. We employ bakers who bake fresh bread every morning before we open. I then slice, bag, and put the bread on the shelf once it is cooled. Near me is a rack of also fresh bread that won’t fit on the shelf.

Customer: “Hey, where is your fresh bread?”

Me: “Right here, sir. I just finished stocking.”

I point to the shelf.

Customer: “No, that’s yesterday’s bread. I want today’s bread.”

Me: “Which is right here, sir.”

The customer now notices my bread rack.

Customer: “Ah, there it is; that’s today’s fresh bread. See, I knew you had it. I don’t want yesterday’s bread.”

Me: *Thinking* “If you did, I could go get it before it gets thrown in the dumpster.”

I just love when these people who I’ve never met and have never worked here tell me the bread isn’t fresh. Sigh.

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The Bottom Rung Of Customer Service

, , , | Right | August 12, 2021

I need to change some signs at work so I have to get our tallest ladder out. The three-metre-high ladder is not tall enough for me to work safely on but, unfortunately, I am forced to do so by stretching as high as I can to reach the bar holding the sign without having to stand on the second rung. As I get the ladder into place, I see a customer at one of our displays.

Me: “Hi, is there anything I can help you with?”

Customer: “No, thanks. I am just looking.”

I start climbing the ladder, noticing that the customer is watching me from near the display. I get to the top and stretch up to get the bar holding the sign to incline it. I need to use both hands — a huge safety risk as you are supposed to always have three limbs in contact with the ladder. I have my legs braced against the ladder, trying and hoping not to fall, when I hear the customer calling out.

Customer: “Excuse me, I need some help.”

I am thinking, “You waited until I got all the way up the f****** ladder.” I step down to a safer rung.

Me: “Okay, is it just a question I can answer from here?”

She picks up the smallest thing on the display.

Customer: “How much is this?”

Me: “The price ticket is on the shelf; it should be right in front of where you got that from.”

Customer: “I can’t work out which one it is. I need you to help me.”

I have to get off the ladder, fully knowing she did this on purpose, and go to point out the price ticket that was directly in front of the product. She puts the item back then moves away but keeps an eye on me. I am positive she’ll do the same thing, so I wait until she finally leaves the store before going back to my task.

On a side note, management will do nothing about the ladders being too short. After coming close to falling, I refuse to use them, so they resort to having taller staff placing signs. I am only 158 cm — about 5’2” — tall. A few months later, all of our stores are given platform ladders that we can use safely due to being able to stand on a platform at the top that has a waist-high safety rail.

Manager: “Oh, [Corporate] must have finally listened to all of the complaints. There was a message to say that we were to stop using the other ladders immediately.”

Me: “You know that someone had to have fallen off a ladder for them to finally acknowledge there was a problem.”

Manager: “Yeah! I know, but I am trying to believe that someone somewhere in the head office actually has some brains.”

Me: “I bet not. I just hope that whoever fell didn’t get badly injured.”

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