Not Just Grandma Is A Hack

, , , , | Related | April 12, 2019

(I am about 13 in this story. My family and I are at a family reunion. My grandparents, who recently moved to Oregon, will also be there. I went to a cybersecurity week camp a month ago.)

Step-Grandma: “So, what did you do this summer, [My Name]?”

Me: “Mostly stayed at home, but I did go to a cybersecurity week camp a month ago.”

Step-Grandma: “What did you do at the camp?”

Me: “We coded a site, went to the aquarium, and learned about cyber-principles, some basics of hacking, and how to do it legally.”

Step-Grandma: “Good! Now you can hack the Russians back!”

Me: “…”

A Scenic Package Trip

, , , , , | Working | April 9, 2019

I work in a store in a fairly small town, and I was recently promoted to department manager over the online pickup department. As this happened immediately before the Christmas season, and the department had gone without a direct manager for several months before this, training was sparse and there were few people to explain the management side of things, especially how to handle reports.

While most things worked themselves out and were pretty self-explanatory, the report labeled “To Be Received” was one thing that I couldn’t get much information on. Apparently, the report is for packages that should have arrived in our store already but hadn’t actually shown up. However, none of the old items in the report had cleared out, so several of them were from as far back as June. Eventually, I found out I could pull up detailed tracking history on our internal handheld system, and I decided to check out the order from June.

At first, things looked normal, with the package leaving Indiana and getting scanned a few times in Illinois on its way to Saint Paul, Minnesota. Eventually, it arrived, but instead of going to our store from there, it went to Saint Cloud, a city on the other side of the state, about a three-hour drive west, while the package should have gone almost straight north from Saint Paul. The next few scans were the same day, having the package leave Saint Cloud and return to Saint Paul.

The next leg of the trip was even stranger, with the package then leaving Minnesota and being scanned in at Kansas, and then in Texas, getting scanned a few times there before finally being delivered in a city in Texas.

I still have no idea why a package that got delivered in Texas showed up in our delivery system, or why such a package decided to take the scenic route and go from Indiana to Texas by going through Minnesota.

He’s Been Hood-Winked

, , , , | Right | April 9, 2019

(I’m stocking shelves at the high-end grocery store where I work. There’s a display of items for local high schools for back-to-school, topped with a bust form wearing a hooded sweatshirt. A well-dressed man in his 40s with a local, upper-class accent taps me on the shoulder and points at the bust form.)

Man: “Can you tell me what this is?”

Me: “That’s the mascot for the local high school on the front.”

Man: “No, not on the shirt. This! All this extra fabric!”

(He pinches the hood of the shirt.)

Me: “Oh, that’s the hood, sir.”

Man: “The what?”

Me: “The hood for the sweatshirt. A hood, like goes over your head.”

(I flip the hood up on the shirt to demonstrate. The man walks around the bust form, looking confused.)

Man: “But how would you see? You’d be blind.”

Me: “No, it’s open in the front, sir. It’s just droopy like that because the mannequin has no head. It just goes over your head.”

(The man still looks confused, so I grab a sweatshirt off the pile, pull it on, and put the hood up. He looks at me, confused, then pulls the hood down and back up on me several times.)

Man: “Why would I want this? I don’t understand. Explain this to me.”

Me: “Well, some people just like the way they look. They keep your head warm and they can keep you dry. Right now some people are wearing things with hoods because it is raining.”

(I gesture towards the checkout, where several customers are wearing hooded raincoats. The man looks at them with a look of shock, then shakes his head and walks away. I later see him standing in line at checkout, and he is staring with anger at a mother and child who both have hooded raincoats on. He sees me and steps out of line to come over to me.)

Man: “You can wear a hat.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Man: “You can wear a hat to keep warm or keep dry.”

Me: “Yes, sir, you can.”

Man: “You should.”

Me: “Okay, sir.”

Man: “Wear a hat, not a… er, ‘hood.’”

Me: “Okay, sir.”

(I have no idea how the man made it to his age without ever having experienced any garments with hoods. Especially during cold winters!)

Absolutely Zero Con-Text

, , , , , , | Friendly | April 9, 2019

I’m sitting at home on my computer when a text comes in from a random number. It just says, “Be A Man. Call me back.” I figure the spammers are trying out ways to get people to call them instead of vice versa, so I ignore it.

Fifteen minutes later, I get a call from a vaguely familiar number that turns out to be the same one that sent the text. A woman’s voice I don’t recognize, but which seems a bit antagonistic, asks, “Who is this?” Somewhat confused, I give my first name. She doesn’t seem to believe me and gets more agitated. She keeps asking who I am, and gets more and more upset as I tell her, basically, that I’m a middle-aged man who has no idea who she is or who her son is. Suspecting I’m talking with a crazy person due to how aggressive and upset she is, I don’t give out any specific details. She then segues into, “How do you think I got this number?” I have no idea and say so. “This showed up on my son’s phone. How did it get there?” Again, I have no idea.

She doesn’t believe me, starts ranting at me to leave her son alone, and gets quite worked up. I’m usually upset by confrontational situations, but I surprise myself by staying calm. She obviously made a mistake and is now yelling into the phone loud enough to make me pull it away from my ear, but this has nothing to do with me. My calm only makes her more agitated, since I’m not “taking her seriously.” Eventually, she slows down and ends with a short segment with the theme of, “I better not see your number on my son’s phone again!” I figure that is easy for me to agree to since I have no idea what her son’s phone number is. She then hangs up.

Five minutes later, a text from the same number: “I am SO SORRY! I mixed up your phone number with a punk kid my son has been hanging out with. I am only doing my best as a mom and sorry to bother you.”

Those two sentences explain more about the situation than all the ranting she did over the phone. To be polite, I reply, “That’s okay. Hope you can resolve your situation.” She replies, “Thank you. Sorry again,” and that is the last I hear from that phone number.  

I do hope she resolved the situation, but ten minutes of yelling and a lot of vocal cord stress could’ve been avoided if she’d double checked the number, or actually listened to me when I said I didn’t know who she or her son was.

We’ll Transfer You To Our Resurrection Hotline

, , , | Right | April 9, 2019

(This customer has had a nightmare signing up for services with the company we work for.)

Customer: “I can’t believe this. It’s been awful transferring to you. Everything has gone wrong! I really don’t need this at this time; my cousin has just died.”

Coworker: “I really am sorry to hear that, but don’t worry; I will try my best to get everything resolved!”

(Without missing a beat, and totally serious:)


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