A Functional Warning

, , , , , , | Working | January 13, 2019

The main point-of-sale server is down with corrupted files, and a dozen and a half stores are offline. We’re on the phone with tech support for a while, and they determine that the most likely fix is a restore from backup tapes, a four-hour process. But there’s a special function that might rebuild the corrupted files. Maybe. If it doesn’t, well, we’ll have to do a restore from backup. But that’s the only other alternative, so we’ll give it a go.

We’re used to this system having some very dangerous functions that let you really screw yourself over, and undocumented flags that have to be set before they’ll actually run. And that is the case for this function, too. We have to go into a special administrative panel to get to it at all, and know what to type in. There are options to be set for it to do its thing, and an undocumented flag to get it to actually run. And then, at the end, we hit Run, and one last warning comes up:

“We recommend that you do not run this function, even if we told you to.”

It does fix the problem in a matter of a few minutes.

That’s The Tall And The Short Of It

, , , , , | Friendly | January 13, 2019

(My 6’7”, male friend is a very intelligent engineer but is very oblivious to common sense and socially acceptable, appropriate, and expected behaviors. He asks me to go to the grocery store with him to help him get ripe produce — i.e. show him how to pick out good fruit and vegetables. We are rounding a corner to an aisle when I notice that a very short woman, maybe three and a half feet tall, is scaling the shelf and about halfway up the rack. My friend, being a southern gentleman, says, “Here! Let me help you!” and tries to grab what she is attempting to reach on the higher shelf. She snaps:)

Woman: “No! I will get it myself!”

(I watch in absolute shock and horror as he puts a hand on each side of her waist and lifts her up. She turns to look at him, slack-jawed, as she grabs the box of cereal. As he is setting her down, I profusely apologize as well as chastising him about not grabbing strange women, especially not picking them up! He immediately realizes something is amiss and sputters out:)

Friend: “But she said she wanted to get it herself!”

Me: “Then let her get it! You don’t pick random people up!”

You REALLY Earned Your Paycheck Today!

, , , | Right | January 12, 2019

(I am a sixteen-year-old male and was hired at my clothing store just two days ago. I am busy folding clothes on a display rack when a woman in her 40s comes over and just starts unfolding everything I just folded.)

Me: “Can I help you?”

Customer: *mumbles something about customers working*

(I think she is odd, but I leave to another rack to tidy it up. She follows me again and undoes everything I just did. Being 16 and freshly hired I go and tell my shift leader what is going on. She approaches the woman. The woman is not yelling but her voice is raised.)

Customer: “Customers should not have to fold clothes or do work for employees! Employees should be on the floor working to earn their pay-check!”

(My shift leader tries to explain that I am an employee but the woman doesn’t listen. She leaves and goes back to shopping. I return to re-fold four racks (that’s two more thanks to this woman). Fifteen minutes later she comes over and looks at me:)

Customer: “I thought I made it clear you should not do that! The workers need to earn a paycheck!”

Me: *a little steamed, I point to my shirt* “I work here! I am trying to earn my paycheck but you are making it hard.”

Customer: “Oh, I didn’t know they hired guys at a women’s clothing store. Good, you can help me, then!”

Me: *grabbing another garment and folding it* “I am sorry; you can help yourself! I’m earning a paycheck here!”

(I wasn’t fired!)

Treating The Whole Industry Like A Game

, , , , | Working | January 10, 2019

(I work in video game publishing as a producer. Part of my job also involves evaluating the pitches we receive, and highlighting any that are particularly noteworthy and worth discussing further. One guy is adamant that he wants to pitch his game to me over a call because he says it’ll give him a chance to really “dive into details.” This is already sort of a red flag; refusing to send us a proper pitch document through the channels makes him sound like a bit of a handful that could be difficult to work with, but I decide to give him the benefit of the doubt and grab a call with him. He describes his game, shows me some VERY simplistic and cheap-looking screens, and, well…)

Me: “I’m sorry, but… honestly, that’s just [Insanely Popular Indie Game]. Literally everything you’ve said just makes it sound like a copy, from the characters to the plot details to the mechanics.”

Caller: *dismissively* “Everything is inspired by something.”

Me: “No, this is literally a copy. Note for note, just with different art and names and wording essentially.”

Caller: “Well… you can see that because you’re a professional, ma’am.”

Me: “No, I can see that because I have eyes. [Caller], it’s clear you put a lot of work into this, but I would urge you to channel that into an original project s—“

Caller: “Listen, listen! You’re thinking too small. People will eat it up, anyway. This sort of thing happens all the time.”

Me: “Not at our company, it doesn’t.”

Caller: “So, do you want to cut me an offer or not?”

Me: “Not!”

(While I was annoyed at having my time wasted, I was also amazed at how brazen he was with this completely transparent rip-off. We have had clones of varying quality pitched to us over the years, all of which we also passed on, but this one really took the cake. The cherry on top; he DID send over more documentation later, regardless, and one of the items on his budget was 50k USD to “clear personal debt and improve focus.” It’s been several years and I haven’t seen hide nor hair of his “work.” Guess other publishers have eyes and integrity, too. Who’da thunk it?)

Driving Home The Kindness, Part 15

, , , , | Hopeless | January 9, 2019

A few years ago I was working at a dealership for a manufacturer that produces notoriously terrible cars. Our service department was open on Christmas Eve, though with shorter hours than normal. I was hoping to get out a bit extra-early — which I did! — we booked light, but of course, we kept hoping that unexpected cars wouldn’t show up. Around noon, a car without an appointment pulled into the driveway, and when I saw who was getting out I thought, “Crap! Why is she here?”

She was a customer I knew well: an older Russian lady who was perfectly nice, but paranoid and oversensitive about her car. We’d had quite a few occurrences of her coming for “symptoms” that were not, in fact, actual issues but just the normal operation of a crappy sort of car. Helping her also tended to be rather time-consuming as English was not her first language. I was dreading finding out why she had pulled in.

She came to bring me a box of chocolates and thank me for being so helpful to her over the past year, taking the time to explain her car’s idiosyncrasies and make her feel safe driving it. She said she knew she could be difficult, but that she really appreciated knowing that I was there to help her out and keep her mind at ease.

The gesture had a big impact: I’d been getting jaded, but she really helped me remember why I love my job, and how even the frustrating moments can be part of a rosier big picture. I continued to work with her, but dreaded seeing her far less as I was able to remember how our visits could be rewarding for both her and me. A year and a half later, when her lease ended and she turned the car in, she brought me her favorite snack from her home country, gave me a big tearful hug, and told me if the car wasn’t so terrible she would’ve bought out the lease so she could keep coming to see me for service. I don’t know what she’s driving now, but I hope it’s taking good care of her!

Related:
Driving Home The Kindness, Part 14
Driving Home The Kindness, Part 13
Driving Home The Kindness, Part 12

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