The World’s Strangest Parking Lot Attendant

, , , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: Internal_Use8954 | May 15, 2021

I’m a woman, and I was twenty-four when this happened about two years ago. I was working as a construction and design engineer for hospitals doing plumbing and air conditioning. I worked for a company that was hired by the hospital, not for the hospital itself.

My company had been hired to do an ER renovation on an old hospital, and the plans for the existing building were really old or damaged or just didn’t exist anymore. As low man on the totem pole, I got the fun job of going out to the hospital to document and investigate the existing building — lots of going up on ladders and looking above the ceiling to track down pipes and ducts and such. Because this was an ER and therefore working twenty-four hours a day, we had to time our investigation for non-busy times — namely three to seven am in the middle of the week. I was also working my normal office hours because I needed the overtime pay, so for all of these interactions, I was exhausted and just didn’t care anymore.

I had to park in the hospital parking garage, on the top floor, to be out of the way of patients and visitors. I had finished early because an emergency had come into the ER and I had to get out of the way. I had some extra time, so I decided to close my eyes for a bit before driving to the office.

I was woken up by a tapping on my window. A man was peering in the window. I waved at him, thinking he was just making sure I was all right; I was sleeping in a hospital parking lot, after all. The man gestured for me to roll down my window, so I cracked it to hear him better.

Man: *Gruffly* “Employees are to park in the back lot, or on the street if that’s full. Next time, I’ll have you towed.”

He then turned and marched back to his golf cart, which he had blocked me in with.

Me: “I don’t work here!”

He left. Then I left and went to work thinking it was a one-time deal. Little did I know…

Over the next few visits, I came back to my car to find increasingly angry “parking tickets” about parking in employee parking from now on! They were printed on standard printer paper and were very obviously homemade, with a blurry hospital logo and word art “Parking Enforcement” across the top. The notes threatened booting and towing and had demands for my supervisor’s name so I could be reported. My coworkers and I had quite a laugh over them. I even left a note on my dash saying I wasn’t an employee, and the next “ticket” had a rant about lying and a threat: “You will be written up for lying once I get your supervisor’s name!”

Then, one morning I came out to find the guy waiting for me. He had blocked my car with his golf cart and was grinning at me like a cat who got the cream.

Man: “Employees have to park in the back lot! You are in so much trouble. I demand to speak to your manager! Give me their name and number and the department you work for! I won’t let you leave until you give me your manager’s name!”

He did have my car blocked in. I tried to explain that I wasn’t an employee. I pointed out my outfit — work boots, jeans, safety glasses, and a toolbelt with flashlights, tape measures, lasers, and a clipboard with my drawn plans — and told him that this is where hospital admin had told us to park. But he insisted that my disguise wasn’t going to trick him and demanded to speak to my manager. I was so exhausted and wasn’t really up to arguing, so I just pulled out my business card and my boss’s card and handed them over. I had told my boss about this, and he just told me to ignore it, as he had confirmed with the hospital that that was where I was supposed to park.

This dude pulled out his phone and called my boss and reported me. My boss — an older gentleman, president of the company — told the guy that he had to let me leave or he was calling the police. When the dude hung up, he told me:

Man: “I’m letting you leave this time, but next time you park here, I’ll boot your car and find your real manager’s number and report you! Some trick with your friend won’t work!”

He got in his golf cart and zoomed away. Luckily, my boss found this whole thing hilarious.

It was about a week before I went back and I was almost done with my task. I had finished for the day once again and headed out to my car to find that the man had — sort of — done what he had threatened.

There was a thick chain looped through the handle of my driver’s side rear door and around a cinderblock, all tied together with a large padlock. I knew this guy was a bit nutty, but I also had figured out that he didn’t have any real authority, so to find this half-clever, half-poorly-thought-out ball and chain attached to my car was a bit of a surprise.

I got into engineering because I like solving problems and this wasn’t a particularly complex problem. I simply rolled my back window down, lifted the cinderblock and excess chain into my car, and then drove away. I passed the man on my way out. To say he was shocked was an understatement, and I gave him a jaunty wave as I drove by. It was a cold drive back to my office with the window open, but it was worth the look on his face.

When I got to the office, I had to go in and sign out the bolt cutters, and I was followed out by a parade of my coworkers to see it for themselves.

I had to go back one more time. I was eager to see what the man might do after his last plan failed. I came out to find that he had tried the chain and cinderblock bit again. This time, he had wrapped the chain around the bottom of the wheel a few times and had the cinderblock tied pretty close to the wheel and the chain through the handle again. It was definitely chained in a way that would take a lot more ingenuity to get out of… or a pair of bolt cutters that I hadn’t returned to the office — you know, just in case.

I cut through the chain, unchained the car, and then loaded the whole lot into my trunk. The man must have been harassing some other person, because he only pulled up as I was backing out of the spot. He blocked my car — again! — with his cart and jumped out. He came to my window and I did roll it down just to see what he had to say.

Man: “Hey, hey! Where are the chains?! How did you get loose?! This is stealing! I will have your job for this!”

I never did hear the rest of the rant, as I yelled during a pause for breath:

Me: “Magic, and I’m not an employee!”

And I drove around his cart and away. It was the most dramatic exit of my life and will probably never be topped.

It was my last day there for now, and I’ve since gotten a new car, so I’m not sure if I’ll run into that man again. I’d like to think he is still puzzled over how I managed to unchain my car. My boss did lodge a complaint, but I don’t think anything came of it.

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If You Can Leave A Toxic Environment, DO IT

, , , , , , | Working | May 14, 2021

This was a job I shouldn’t have taken, but I was desperate. It started showing red flags when I was told to come in and interview when the girl I was replacing was off so she wouldn’t know. Normally, I would just say no and move on, but the job I was currently at was absolutely toxic, so I was desperate.

This new job was with a small company that had about eight employees. After I had been there for about two months, I noticed that my paycheck was wrong. It turns out that the owner’s wife did the paychecks and she miscalculated. Thankfully, they got it fixed, but then I started seeing other problems.

They offered paid holidays, which sounds great, except for the fact that they were also closed around those holidays but wouldn’t pay you for them, so you had to use four of your five Paid Time Off days so you weren’t out so much money. And speaking of payday, they only paid us once a month, and the boss would conveniently “forget” to pay us — no direct deposit — until after five, so our check wouldn’t go in until the next day, or sometimes until Monday.

The boss’s wife would come in several times per week and tell me that I should be exceedingly grateful that they even thought of hiring me.

After I was there a year, the supervisor decided she was going to move back to Texas, and I thought that they were going to offer me her position. No. Instead, they expected me to do her job without any extra pay. I started looking for another job, right before 2020 became what 2020 did.

Then, in March of 2020, I was working seventy-plus hours a week, at least till the boss’s wife decided we shouldn’t be paid overtime. That is when I conveniently decided that I wasn’t going to work over my forty hours if they were going to pull that.

The boss’s son — who was a piece of work and treated me like I was stupid — was getting ready to take over the business but his dad wasn’t ready to let go. So, I would get told different things each time I spoke to one of them and then get yelled at for not doing what the other wanted first.

During this time, we hired a friend of the son’s to help out, and while I was trying to help train him, the boss’s son screamed at me for trying to take his position of training. The boss stood idly by and let him scream at me.

After they left for the day, I went into the bathroom and cried for forty-five minutes and decided I was getting out of this job. I also found out that day that the guy who had just been hired was making $2 more than I was an hour.

I ended up finding a much better job and I gave a short notice because they were notorious for not letting people work out their notices. They had me train the new guy for my last three days, but he kept telling me, “I already know this,” and didn’t look at so many of the training examples that I printed out and made special for him.

So, on my last day, after I tried to train him and he went back to his desk, I shredded all of that and all of the pertinent information that I had obtained during that time.

I’ve been at my current job for nine months, making almost triple what I was making there, and I just got a promotion. My former employers called me last week to see if I would be interested in coming back because the guy they hired just wasn’t working out. I took great pleasure in hanging up on them after telling them I was very happy in my current position.

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Your First Dance Will Be Your Last

, , , , , | Romantic | May 14, 2021

I was asked to be the best man at a friend’s wedding a good twelve or so years ago. He was an ex-serviceman and she was his childhood sweetheart.

I’d been friends with the groom for upwards of twenty years and known the bride for close to ten. They’d been together the better part of a decade and they always got on, so no one was surprised when they announced their wedding, and everyone expected things to go off without a hitch.

Roll forward a couple of months. The groom showed up at my place unannounced.

Groom: “[Bride] and I just had a huge argument!”

The guy was upset, but a couple of drinks later, he laid out what had happened. He’d been happy to go along with the bride’s plans with one exception: he didn’t want to do the first dance. Why, you ask? He’d been discharged from the service due to losing a lower leg to an IED in the Middle East. He wasn’t exactly fire on the dance floor to start with, and he was as graceful as a hippo now. He also hates doing things that draw attention to his disability, which is understandable. He was going along with a lot of other things that he definitely didn’t really want to do and this was his line in the sand.

He stayed the night at my place, and the day after, we went back to his place as a duo and, with me as mediator, we managed to work it out after a lengthy back and forth with a fair amount of shouting and tears. His bride finally agreed to no dance for his sake and things moved on.

Months later, the big day arrived and it went off great. The weather was flawless, everything came together great, we got through the ceremony, the meals, and the speeches, and it was on to the reception.

It was 7:50 pm and the cake cutting was down for 8:00 pm, so I was gathering outliers back to the main room for that when I heard the DJ get on the mic.

DJ: *Loudly* “Okay, everybody, it’s time for the newlyweds’ first dance!”

I hurried into the room to find the bride centre stage on the dance floor, staring down the groom, who was just the most enraged I’d ever seen him.

Bride: “Come here, [Groom]. It’s dance time!”

He walked over to her, pulled his wedding ring off, and threw it in her face. Then, he walked out, making the “cut it off” gesture to the DJ. He left everyone in shocked silence, and a few seconds later, I got my jaw up off the floor and followed him as the bride went into a meltdown where she stood.

I found the groom stalking through the car park outside and had to physically grip him to get him to calm down. I’d got him at least calm enough to be lucid again when the bride’s mother stomped round the corner and began screaming at the groom, which prompted him to go off again.

Me: “Hey! [Bride] promised him she wouldn’t do this and embarrass him, and yet here we are!”

This shouting match went on for quite some time, until, eventually:

Groom: “[My Name], get me out of here.”

I got a taxi down and we bailed out back to my house so he could cool off.

Early afternoon the day after, the bride knocked on my door.

Bride: “I know [Groom] is in there!”

Groom: “F*** OFF!”

She tried to push past me and I blocked her.

Me: “Just to remind you, this is my house.”

She settled for screaming round me at him. He eventually got fed up and came and stood behind me and spelled it out in the kind of voice you can only manage when you’re restraining unbearable rage.

Groom: “You lied to me, put me on the spot, and shattered my trust in you. How can I continue after that? If you’re willing to lie about something like that, how can I trust you to do anything?”

She tried to counter him but ran out of steam as he kept going, and he ended by saying that he wanted the marriage annulled. She burst into tears and left.

The marriage was annulled not long after. Unsurprisingly, they don’t keep in touch. The groom remarried three years ago with the same request, this time respectfully held by his new wife. The bride moved out of the area shortly after the marriage collapsed and I’ve heard no news of her since.

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This Problem Is No Small Potatoes

, , , , , | Friendly | CREDIT: Thedepressionoftrees | May 14, 2021

I am really allergic to potatoes. They give me blisters all over my mouth and make me violently ill for about two days after eating them.

When I was about eight years old, I was having a sleepover with my best friend. My mom dropped me off at about noon, so I was going to have dinner at their house. My mother specifically told my friend’s mother that I was allergic to potatoes, so she could make something without them.

When dinner came around, my friend and I went to eat. His mother had made us a casserole, but little did I know, the main ingredient was potatoes. We ate dinner, then went and played until we went to bed.

At around midnight, I woke up with my mouth full of bleeding blisters. I ran to the toilet and started violently throwing up. Let me tell you, stomach acid does not feel good on open blisters.

I was crying on the floor, blood and puke leaking from my mouth, when my friend’s mother walked into the bathroom.

Friend’s Mother: “You need to stop being so dramatic if you want to go anywhere in life! Allergies aren’t real unless you let them be.”

Just a reminder, she was saying this to a crying eight-year-old child who was dry-heaving over the toilet, bleeding from the mouth.

She went back to bed, leaving me in the bathroom for the rest of the night.

Morning came around and my mom came to pick me up. Through my blistered mouth, I told her what happened. She went ballistic and told me to go to the car. I could hear her screaming at the other mother from outside.

Sufficient to say, that was the last time I ever hung out with my friend at his house.

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Harass Not Lest Ye Be Judged

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: Tom_Marvolo_Tomato | May 13, 2021

Back in the late 1980s, I was invited to help judge the vegetable contest in a neighboring county for their 4H Fair. Each crop had different score sheets, and different points were awarded for different attributes. Were the tomatoes ripe? Were the beets trimmed? Were they all uniformly sized? And so on. The total points determined which ribbon the vegetables earned.

We didn’t meet the kids who submitted the vegetables and nobody was supposed to be in the building with us while we judged.

I got started. I was looking at green beans first. There had to be twenty on each plate, the beans had to be uniform — all straight or all curved — their stems had to be trimmed to less than half an inch. Lots and lots of rules. And I had maybe forty or fifty plates of beans to look at.

I was working along, minding my own business. I did notice several people walking through the building — fair officials, most likely. Most of them ignored me, so I returned the favor. But one woman stopped and watched me work for a while. She asked me what the points meant, and I, being a good educator, explained that each attribute was rated one to ten, and that this plate got an eight for uniform shape, a six for stem trimming, a nine for cleanliness, and so on. She seemed okay with my explanation and left.

Next, I was working on sweet peppers. Again, I had forty or fifty plates to examine, and I was now rating them for uniform size, uniform shape, uniform color, same number of bumps on the bottom, etc. The woman stopped by again and watched me for a bit. She then pointed to a plate I had already finished and asked why it got only forty points. I explained the points I had given for that plate — seven for not-quite-uniform size, four for different colors, etc. She “hmphed” and left.

I moved on to other veggies, scoring and grading as I went. And every so often, the woman would come back and question what I was doing and why I was scoring how I was scoring. I tried to remain polite and explain what I was doing, but I was beginning to notice that she was asking about specific plates. All of the names and personal identification were hidden from the judges, so I didn’t know whose plate was whose… but apparently, she did.

I was beginning to get a little annoyed with her constant questions and became more annoyed when she suggested I was being too tough on my judging.

Woman: “That cucumber is trimmed just fine! Why are you picking on that poor kid?”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m supposed to be here by myself; I shouldn’t be talking to anyone. I don’t want you to get in trouble for disrupting a judge.”

Woman: *Sniffing at me* “Don’t worry about me. I’m the wife of the fair board secretary. Nobody will dare to say anything to me.”

Fine. I continued on with my judging.

After a long while, I was doing my last crop: tomatoes. I was nearly done when the woman swooped in again, this time with a young boy in tow. The kid was looking around and picking his nose and altogether didn’t seem to care about anything being judged. The woman looked over the plates and then screeched at me.

Woman: “Why did that plate get a red ribbon?! What is wrong with those tomatoes?! Those are excellent looking tomatoes to me!”

Now, don’t get me wrong; these were perfectly fine tomatoes, if I was going to slice them up and eat them. But compared to the other tomato entries, they weren’t quite up to snuff — certainly not what anyone would call a “blue-ribbon tomato.”

She continued screeching at me about how unfair I was being. And I finally had enough.

Me: “Let me understand. You don’t think these are red-ribbon tomatoes?”

Woman: *Snarling* “No!”

Me: “You want me to change the ribbon?”

Woman: *Smugly* “OF COURSE, I do!”

Me: “Fine! I will.”

And I did. I took off the red second-place ribbon… and put on a green “Thank you for showing up and participating” ribbon. Then, I turned to her son.

Me: “Young man, 4H is meant to be an educational association, and you are supposed to learn something. I hope you learn to leave your mother home next year.”

And with that, I gathered up my scorecards and walked out. As I was leaving the garden crops building, I looked back. The boy was still looking around aimlessly, not caring about anything going on, but the woman looked like a catfish someone had hooked and left on the side of the creek, her mouth opening and closing and her throat puffing up like she was gasping for water. I don’t think anyone in her entire entitled life had ever talked back to her before.

I turned my scorecards in, collected my judge’s fee, and never heard a word from anyone at that county fair about taking that woman down a peg or three.

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