California Screaming

, , , , , , | | Working | July 18, 2019

In the late 80s, I worked in Ventura, California, in a satellite office for a large company. My direct boss was in the San Francisco Bay area and I flew up once or twice a month. The best airport for the trip was just north of Santa Barbara, California, about 45 miles from my house. For several months, I used a startup shuttle service that delivered door-to-door for a reasonable price. I was always happy with the service until one bad experience.

I was returning home after a two-day meeting and had landed in Santa Barbara at 6:00 pm. With only carry-on luggage, I was able to get off the plane fast and found my driver; I was looking forward to being home before seven to read stories to my kids and have a late dinner with my wife. But it wasn’t to be.

The driver told me we were going to pick up another passenger whose plane was due to land at 6:45. That delay would have been bad enough, but it got worse. Her plane was late, she had checked luggage, and we weren’t actually in the car until after 7:30. Then, when we were about halfway to my house, the driver turned off the freeway to go to Ojai, California. On the map, it doesn’t look like much distance, but it was by a back road and slow. Plus, her destination was at the far side of the town. All told, the wait and detour got me home over two hours later than I’d expected, and I was not happy.

I called the service the next day to complain and was promised a callback. When that didn’t happen for two days, I called again with the same result. Eventually, I finally talked to the owner over a week later. Had she been prompt in replying and at least apologetic, perhaps explaining there were financial circumstances that led to the events, I could have accepted it and moved on. But she wasn’t. I told her that I and my nine direct reports would not be using her service again.

We also had over 100 total employees in the office, all of whom went to the Bay Area with differing frequencies, and many of whom used the car service. At a Monday meeting of all people in the building, I gave my experience as a cautionary tale and let them take it from there. I don’t know what direct effect that had, but I do know that the service was out of business a year later.

The Mother Of All Anxieties

, , , , , | | Related | July 18, 2019

(My mom has anxiety issues when it comes to things going according to plan, and she loses perspective on the feelings of others and becomes incredibly inflexible. My dad never helps her clean the house — particularly when they are having company — because according to her, he can never do it the “right” way. She also becomes very controlling and irrationally afraid that any action we take that’s outside of her direction will somehow create lots more work for her. It is the day before Thanksgiving and I am sixteen years old. I get home from school and dutifully make sure my room is clean. When everything is sorted, I decide I need to empty my very full clothes hamper. My mom is in the living room and sees me dragging my clothes hamper past her.)

Mom: *alarmed* “What are you doing?”

Me: “I’m getting my laundry done tonight.”

Mom: “No! You’re not doing laundry now. I spent all day folding clothes and towels and I’m not going to have you mess up the laundry room the day before Thanksgiving!”

Me: “How the heck is me washing and drying my clothes and then bringing them back to my room going to ‘mess up’ the laundry room?”

Mom: *angrily* “I have too much to worry about tomorrow to deal with this; you’ll have to wait to do laundry until after Thanksgiving.”

Me: “Me washing my clothes isn’t going to affect you in any way.”

Mom: “You’re not messing up the laundry room THE DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING! Stop ARGUING WITH ME!”

(I realized I was not going to win this one, so I dragged my hamper back into my bathroom and tried to stuff the clothes down so I could at least get it to close. The next day, Mom was frustrated with the limited selection of clean shirts I had.)

Wasn’t Counting On You Counting

, , , , , , | | Right | July 16, 2019

I’m not that great when it comes to math. When I work cashier, I make sure to take everything one step at a time to avoid confusing myself. A customer comes to my register to buy a pair of cheap earbuds. He hands me a $100 bill. As usual, I set the bill on the counter while counting the change. This way, I remember what money I was given.

After I’m done, and before handing him the change, he says that he has a $20 bill he wants to pay with, and he takes back his $100 bill. I start putting the change back in the drawer while I wonder how I’m gonna figure out the new total. As I’m doing this, he tells me that he left his $20 in his car, and he has nothing else to pay me with.

Confused, I say that he can use the $100 bill, instead, but he just repeats about getting the money from the car and walks off. I have a feeling he isn’t going to come back for his headphones, but I leave them at my register anyway.

Later, I wondered if I had been scammed, but I never handed him any money. After reading a few stories on this site, I realized he was trying to scam me but my methods to prevent me from mixing up numbers stopped a scammer.

Lost In Insulting Translation

, , , , , | | Friendly | July 15, 2019

(My mother and I are walking through a parking lot when a giant van suddenly cuts in front of us and keeps heading towards us! We stop and the guy has his window open and is glaring.)

Mom: “Hey, we’re pedestrians! Don’t cut in front of us like that!”

(He speeds up and we move to the side. As he pulls ahead, he honks his horn loudly several times before shouting back at us.)

Guy: “You’re eating that godd*** baloney sandwich!”

(My mom and I cracked up. I think he was trying to say we were full of baloney. In any case, we were pedestrians with the right of way and he was a reckless driver who nearly hit us, so we know who really was “eating that godd*** baloney sandwich.”)

Coffee Can’t Help People Who Just Want To Hate The World

, , , | | Right | July 12, 2019

(While entirely uncommon, sometimes customers will ask for a specific barista when calling in on the phone, should they believe that employee remembers a specific event or has better knowledge. My manager tells me I have a phone call and I pick up the receiver.)

Me: “Hello? How can I help you today?”

Customer: “Finally! I was in your store earlier and you served me on the register, correct?”

(I remember him and confirm this.)

Customer: “I came in to relax and have some coffee, and instead I was rushed, barraged with questions, and entirely hurried. It was horrible! You need to stop being so abrasive and just let people enjoy their time!”

(I am bewildered, as I try to be brief, polite, and chipper, and I always ask questions to ensure the customer receives the drink they order. I apologize for rushing him, assuring that I meant no harm or offense.)

Customer: “You had better revise your attitude.”

Me: “Next time I’ll be sure to be less hurried. sir.”

Customer: “And just exactly how will you behave, properly, hmm? Repeat it back to me.”

(I felt belittled, on the verge of tears, and utterly defeated, and repeated back his suggestions of being less “idiotic and annoying.” Seemingly satisfied, he hung up.)

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