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If Only They Had Seen This Coming!

, , | Legal | April 11, 2022

I am the sender of this story. We stopped receiving the fortune teller scam call, but of course, that doesn’t mean we stopped receiving scam calls altogether.

This particular morning, I was at my workplace and it was slowly but surely starting to get busy. I was at the reception of the building, sorting the packages, when the phone rang.

Me: “[Workplace], good morning!”

Scammer: “Hello, this is Windows. Ma’am, please listen: your computer has malware.”

I smile, just as my coworker arrives.

Me: “Malware, reeeeaaaally now?”

Scammer: “Yes, ma’am, I can help—”

Me: *Interrupting* “Oh, please humor me. Please tell me exactly which one of the sixty computers in the building has malware. Pinpoint it for me, will you?”

Coworker: “What do you mean, malware?”

Me: *Loud enough for the scammer to hear* “Nah, don’t worry; it’s a scam call.”

Scammer: *After a pause* “What makes you think it’s a scam call, ma’am?”

Me: “Oh, I know your kind. So, which one of the sixty computers is it?”

Coworker: “[My Name], come on, we have stuff to do.”

Me: *sighing* “Too bad…” *To the scammer* “Sorry, pal, I don’t have as much time on my hands as you do, and I actually have some work to do. However, since you are happy to spend your day on the phone to scam and steal from people, why don’t you just go work in a call center like 911 or other emergency services? You would make money, actually save lives, and be useful for once. Anyway, bye, go bother someone else.”

And I hung up. That’s a shame; I really wanted to hear him try to come up with an answer to which of the non-existent computers it could be.

What, You Didn’t See That Coming?

Ah, The Patriarchy

, , , | Legal | March 21, 2022

I was reading a thread about how technical questions often are directed to the male, and how salespeople will wait for the husband’s decision, and I was reminded of my old religion teacher.

This was the late eighties and the ink on her diploma was barely dry. We were in our last year of high school, so we were seventeen or eighteen and still close enough in age to relate.

One day, our teacher was so indignant she just had to share with the class. Her husband was still studying, so he was a dependent just as their newborn son. In Belgium, you receive a small stipend for children, until they are no longer studying or have their twenty-fifth birthday, whichever comes first.

Apparently, this is also the case when your spouse is still a student, albeit an adult. One day, a summons came for the head of the household to come to the police station; I forgot what for but that is not important for the story. Being the breadwinner, having two dependents, our teacher felt very much the head of the household and she went. According to the law, all that didn’t matter. Her husband was the official head of the household and it was him the police needed to see.

Getting A Grilling About The Huts

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: Lale Wallbaum | February 10, 2022

In Germany, we have these things called “grill huts” in some places. They are very simple little houses somewhere out in nature, and you can have barbecue parties there. They are public and can be rented from the town for a small fee and with a deposit.

Three years ago, I worked at the front desk in a holiday resort in Belgium, and we had little holiday houses that we rented out. There was a maximum of eight people, and you had to pay extra for more than six people. You could NOT rent them for just one night because we had to have the whole little house cleaned before the next guests came anyway, and that just doesn’t work. We had rooms and a camping site open to people who only wanted to stay for a night, but not those holiday houses.

Because we spoke German, many people didn’t understand that this site was in Belgium and assumed that everything worked the same as in Germany.

One day, I took a call from a German woman.

Customer: “How much would it be to rent one of those grill huts for one night?”

Me: “Do you mean the holiday houses? We don’t rent those out for single nights.”

Customer: “But I just want to have my barbecue party there one evening! How is it fair that I have to rent it for two days?”

Me: “Excuse me. What do you mean by ‘barbecue party’?”

Customer: “I want to have a barbecue with my friends. We wouldn’t even sleep there! Can’t you make an exception?”

Me: “I am very sorry, but no, you have to rent it for two days if you would like to have your barbecue here. Also, how many friends are you bringing? Because we do have an eight-person limit per house.”

Customer: “Just eight people? But I want to bring twenty! What kind of a grill hut is that?”

Me: “Ma’am, they’re not grill huts. They are holiday homes. And we can’t have twenty people in one holiday home. I am very sorry.”

Customer: “But we don’t even want to use it as a holiday home! They are not even sleeping there! This will be way less effort for you. Why can’t we have it for just one night?”

Me: “Because we don’t rent them out for one night and because they aren’t grill huts. I’m sorry but this won’t work that way.”

She continued on and on, and at some point, thankfully, my colleague took over.

We had to explain to her several times that they were not grill huts and she still did not get it. She also had the audacity to be upset about our rates. Yes, obviously, a fully furnished holiday home with bedrooms, bathrooms, and a real kitchen would be more expensive than a grill hut. And also, why would we make an exception and rent it to you for one night, if we know you are going to bring at least twenty people when only eight are allowed, it is probably going to be loud and other guests will complain, there will be alcohol, and you don’t want to use our restaurant OR hire our cook who can prepare sides and barbecue for you in our paved area (where it is SAFE to barbecue) because you are cheap? We know people probably WILL sleep there, even if you say they won’t, and even if they don’t, we will still have a lot of cleaning to do with twenty people walking in and out of the house to use the fridge or bathroom, so NO, it would not be less effort for us.

It was the middle of a very hot summer, and it would be a fire hazard to have twenty probably drunk people just barbecuing probably somewhere in the middle of our area. IT WAS JUST NOT A FREAKING GRILL HUT!

I just don’t know what some people are thinking.

Isn’t That Against The Geneva Convention?

, , , , | Healthy | January 20, 2022

My mother was pregnant and about to give birth at the hospital. It was early in July and my mother was sweating profusely due to the effort of labor and the heatwave. A nurse gave my father a wet washcloth, assuming my father would wipe my mother’s face with it. Instead, he pressed it on her mouth and nose and started screaming:

Father: “Breathe! Breathe!”

A few minutes later, my brother was born safely. The nurses were still laughing. To this day, my father claims he doesn’t remember.

We’ll Also Gloss Over What Happened In His Thirties

, , , , , | Related | December 24, 2021

It is Christmas and my five-year-old niece just learned about baby Jesus. She is the only kid at the table; the rest are tweens or adults. Although my niece is mostly very well-behaved, she doesn’t always feel the need to sit and be quiet when it is required.

Aunt: “[Niece], you need to be good now, just like baby Jesus.”

I mutter very quietly to my dad so the little one doesn’t hear.

Me: “Didn’t he go missing at the age of twelve so that his parents had to look for him?”

Dad almost choked on his food.