You’ll Hurt The Table’s Feelings 

, , , , | Right | November 21, 2019

(I work in a well-known coffee shop. One day, a woman approaches me and asks to speak to my manager. I call the shift supervisor over, since she’s in charge in the manager’s absence. The shift and the customer go out into the café. I can’t hear their conversation, as I am busy making a line of drinks and tending to customers. I can see the look on the shift’s face, though, and she looks bewildered. After their exchange, the customer exits the store and the shift returns behind the line.)

Me: “What was that about?”

Shift: “You’re not going to believe this! That woman called me over there to tell me that the table was too ugly for her to sit at.”

Me: “Seriously?! What the h*** did she want you to do about it?”

Shift: “I don’t know, but from the way she was speaking to me it was as though she expected me to get on the phone right now to order a new table. Or maybe she wanted me to just make a new one appear, because, you know, we’ve got extra tables hanging around and we just keep the good ones in the back.”

Me: “Wow… just… wow.”

Shift: “I know, right? It’s not as though I can just pull one out of my butt and set it up for her.” 

Me: “Maybe she’s the one that needs to pull something out of her butt.”

Shift: “Yeah, like her head.”

(The “ugly” table was a bit weathered and someone had carved a name into it, but other than that there was nothing wrong with it. No other customer had ever complained about it, and dozens of people happily sat there every day.)

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A Broad Definition Of Fraud

, , , , , , | Working | November 18, 2019

(On a Saturday afternoon, I spend my time online shopping for Christmas presents. The card I use is issued by my bank. Come Monday, I attempt to make another purchase, this time at the mall, only to be told my card is declined. As it’s after my bank’s closing time, I can’t do anything to fix this right away, so instead, I double-check the Saturday purchases to ensure the payments went through, which they did. During the check, I also notice my checking account is frozen, so I dig into that, as well, to see if a check I wrote Monday morning cleared, which it did. So, on Tuesday while I’m running errands, I visit my bank to sort this out. Courtesy of what I later deem good fortune, the branch manager handles this personally from the beginning.)

Manager: “We noticed several fraudulent charges on your card, so we cancelled it. And since the card accessed your checking account, we froze it, too.”

(That’s an immediate alarm bell, since there wasn’t even a record of a fraudulent attempt when I reviewed my purchases.)

Me: “Did you? And what were the charges for?”

(The manager proceeds to list all of my purchases from Saturday afternoon, with me interjecting after every one to state I made that purchase. Then, there’s total silence.)

Me: “Was that everything?”

Manager: “Yes.”

Me: “So, there was no fraud.”

Manager: “Yes, there was. See?”

(He proceeds to spin the monitor and show me that every previously-mentioned purchase was labeled as fraud.)

Me: “But I just confirmed these were my purchases.”

Manager: “Right.”

Me: “So, there was no fraud.”

Manager: “Yes, there was. Someone bought…” *and lists the purchases again*

Me: “But those were from me.”

Manager: “Right.”

Me: “So, how is me spending my own money ‘fraud’?”

Manager: “It’s not.”

Me: “…”

Manager: “…”

Me: “Then there were no fraudulent purchases on my card.”

Manager: “Yes, there were!” *aaaand he lists my purchases again*

Me: “So, let’s be clear. There was suspicious activity on my card Saturday.”

Manager: “Right.”

Me: “Rather than reach out to inform me and confirm the charges actually were fraud, you made the decision yourselves, froze my accounts, and cancelled the card while leaving me completely in the dark.”

Manager: “Right.”

Me: “However, you put the holds on only after confirming payment on the suspicious charges; meaning had they actually not been me, you would have allowed a fraudster to obtain those goods on my dime.”

Manager: “R-Right.”

Me: “Then, when I wrote a check on Monday, it cleared with no trouble, despite the freeze on my account.”

Manager: “…”

Me: “I’m going to need you to close my accounts. I no longer believe that my money is safe here.”

(Despite his many pleas, I followed through. Luckily for the bank staff, they were just stupid, not malicious; I don’t know what their superiors did when my complaint made it to their desks, but there were no legal consequences for them to face. The next closest bank I could deposit my money into was about five more minutes away, took me off of my regular route when I ran errands, and didn’t offer rates that were as generous. However, when I made an unusual purchase most systems would flag as suspicious, I was emailed and texted almost instantly to clarify it was me and had no trouble keeping the accounts and cards active.)

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Not A Good Argument Against Video Games Rotting Your Brains

, , , , , | Right | November 17, 2019

(I’m a producer for a video game publishing company, attending a well-known gaming convention on behalf of my company. We have a few upcoming games on display, and we like to chat with and answer questions for players. A lot of the time, you get questions that might seem sort of silly or naive because people don’t understand the nuts and bolts of what’s actually involved in making a game, but I never mind answering. I’m talking to a guy who is a fan of one of our older games.)

Guy: “I just don’t get why you guys haven’t made a sequel.”

Me: “Well, it would be nice to consider one day if we had a good plan for it! Right now all our resources are tied up in these games, plus a few other projects we haven’t announced yet, but maybe one day!”

Guy: *scoffs* “So, just make it free.”

Me: “The… game you’re talking about?”

Guy: “No, make a free sequel. Free to play.”

Me: “Well, I mean… like I said, we’re committed to other projects right now, so it’ll be some time before we could even consider additional work.”

Guy: *staring at me as if I’m an idiot* “But it would be free.”

Bystander: “Games that are free-to-play still cost money and take time and people and other resources to make, dude.”

Guy: *still looking at me* “But it would be a free game.”

(We went back and forth like this a bit, and being that I was there representing our brand and trying to be professional I couldn’t say what I wanted to which was, “Is this a f****** joke? Are you deliberately messing with me?” To this day, I’m still not sure if he legitimately thought a game being free to play would somehow negate all the human and financial cost required to create it, as if it would be farted out of the ether, but he eventually just walked off looking annoyed. I still love conventions and interacting with fans, but some of them definitely really make you earn that round of drinks at the end of the day.)

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They Were Hoping You Couldn’t Tell Time

, , , , , | Working | November 7, 2019

(Not long after I move into the city, my family drives over to see how I’ve settled in and take me out to dinner. My dad drives, dropping us off at the restaurant before going to find a parking spot. When he joins us, he tells us he parked at a meter and gave it plenty of quarters. We have a nice dinner, and then my dad leads us to where he parked the car. He gets to it first and sees something that angers him.)

Dad: “Oh, are you kidding me?”

Me: “What?”

Dad: “There’s a parking ticket on the windshield, but there are still ten minutes left on the meter!”

Mom: “Wait, really?”

(Sure enough, there are about ten minutes left on the meter from when my dad originally put money in it. The time stamp on the ticket shows that it was issued about ten minutes before we got there, meaning the ticket was issued with twenty minutes left on the meter! My parents take photos showing the ticket, the meter, and their watches to prove the mistake so they can contest the ticket. After this, they take me back home, and I forget about the whole thing until a few months later when I’m with my mom.)

Me: “Oh, hey, remember back when you got that parking ticket even though there was still time on the meter?”

Mom: “Oh, yes.”

Me: “You contested it, right? What happened?”

Mom: “They wouldn’t admit that the officer was at fault, but they still accepted our appeal.”

Me: “So, they agreed that you shouldn’t have to pay the ticket — the ticket that their officer left for no reason — but it’s still not the officer’s fault somehow.”

Mom: “Yep.”

(Gotta love city parking.)

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Not Losing Any Sleep Over Missing The Lecture

, , , , , | Learning | October 18, 2019

I’ve been a college professor for a long time now, and I am used to students sleeping in class, or catching a quick nap in a corner, but this one takes the cake.

The classroom for my 8:00 am class was in the library building. Being a library, there were various comfy reading chairs around. I came into my classroom to start setting up for a lecture to find that a random student had shoved two of these chairs together in the back of the room to make a bed and was fast asleep on them. I figured that he would wake up once my students started coming in, so I went on with my setup, making no effort to be quiet, but not being overly loud, either. 

My first couple of students came in. I greeted them as usual. They looked questioningly at the sleeper in the back. I shrugged, “He was here when I got here.” They shrugged back, and we went on preparing for class. By 8:00 am all 30 of my students had arrived and this guy was still snoring in the back. The whole lot of us were sort of giggling at how he could sleep through all the noise. Being of an experimental nature, I decided to start lecturing to see when he woke up.

A full 20 minutes into the lecture, this guy sat up, looking bleary-eyed and tousled, and looked around in confusion. I smiled brightly and said, “Hi! Don’t know if you noticed, but there’s a class going on here. Think you can go sleep somewhere else?” He looked confused for another second, and then staggered to his feet, grabbed his backpack, and stumbled out of the room, still half out of it. This was the point at which the entire class burst out laughing, collectively wondering what the heck had just happened. 

I mean, I know lectures can be boring, but to be dead to the world asleep before I even get in the door?

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