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Ah, Capitalism

, , , , , , | Right | February 4, 2022

I love cooking; it’s something that has helped me massively at university. Even on a budget, I can make a whole week of meals in batches, and they taste pretty good. That turns out so well that I start selling meals to other students. I don’t charge much at all; sometimes I just use the leftovers for a meal for me.

Student: “I’m having a party. Could you do some food?”

Me: “I tend to do odd meals, not whole parties. How many people are coming?”

Student: “I don’t know, whoever turns up.”

Me: “That doesn’t help much. How much have you got to spend?”

Student: “I don’t know, £50? Can you do me a discount?”

Me: “No, no discounts. I buy the food and take a tiny bit for my time and electricity.” 

Student: “Well, how much can you do?”

Me: “I will let you know.”

I look into it and initially struggle, but I work out that if I add the £50 to my normal shopping bill, I can buy bigger batches cheaper. This would give us both more food for our money. I let the guy know how much he will be getting, and he seems happy.

He pays, and I make and deliver the food. I’m pretty happy as it’s more than I thought, it tastes good, and I have a little extra for myself.

A few weeks later:

Student: “I’ve heard you’re selling my party food.”

Me: “I made extra. I’m selling that.”

Student: “But I paid for that; it’s mine.”

Me: “No, you paid for the food you received and were happy about it. You got plenty of food for your money.”

Student: “I’m telling everyone you’re stealing from them.”

Me: “I knew this would happen. Here is the receipt. This is what I used to cook your food. Look familiar?”

He gives me a blank stare.

Me: “See how the amount is more than the £50 you gave me? That is because I bought more than I needed, and what was left over, I used to make the stuff I’m selling.”

Student: “But you’re profiting from my food.”

Me: “What, did you expect me to do it for free?”

Student: “This isn’t on. I’m telling everyone.”

Me: “Tell people I’m selling food for a profit, using my time, my expertise, and my electricity bill. Yeah, I’m sure that they will be appalled.”

He tried to start a massive slander movement against me, but unsurprisingly, people didn’t care and continued to buy from me. If anything, I think business went up a little bit. I didn’t see him the next year, so I can only assume he dropped out. The fact he was studying business makes it all the more obvious why.

Failing To Understand The Situation

, , , , , , | Learning | February 4, 2022

I work as a test proctor at my college in between classes. Finals are upon us, and the testing center is completely swamped. We have a high volume of students taking the final for a general education class that uses a third-party software.

A student taking one of these tests gets up from the computer and approaches my coworker.

Coworker: “Do you have a question, sir?”

Student: “I need to retake it.”

My coworker thinks something may have gone wrong with the software.

Coworker: “What happened to your test?”

Student: “I failed. I need to retake it.”

Coworker: “I’m sorry, sir, but retakes can only be approved by your instructor, and even then, only for emergencies.”

Student: “But I failed. I need to retake it.”

Coworker: “We are truly unable to schedule another appointment for you.”

The student picks up his bag and marches out of the testing room. He heads straight for me at the front desk.

Me: “Finished with your test, sir?”

Student: “I need to retake it.”

His face is emotionless. His voice is completely monotone.

Me: “Hmm, it looks like you were in here to take the [class] final. We cannot schedule retakes for that test, but—”

Student: “But I failed. I need to retake it.”

Me: “But your instructor is the one who handles retakes. You must get in contact with them. However, they aren’t likely to issue a retake unless—”

Student: “I failed.”

Me: “Unless you missed the test due to an emergency.”

He just stands there, completely still, face unreadable.

Me: “Do you have any other questions?”

As mechanically as a robot, he picked up his bag and stiffly walked away. 

Poor guy.

Masking Some Crazy Rage

, , , , , | Right | February 2, 2022

I work as a librarian at a university. The health crisis has only been in full swing for a few months, and the university has tasked its employees with enforcing a mask and social distancing mandate. For us in the library, this involves doing regular rounds to check for patron compliance. This quickly devolves into us playing mind games with the patrons to try and catch them off-guard, as most of them attempt to pull their masks up the moment they see or hear us approach, but that’s a story for another time. The majority of our patrons clearly hate the mandate and do not hesitate to express this, but ultimately, they tend to cooperate in the short term.

We have a three-strike rule, where any given patron will be warned each time they are caught in non-compliance. If they incur three infractions during any single day, their name and ID numbers are to be reported to [Administrative Organization] and they are then asked to leave the facility.

On one particular day, the building is fairly quiet. There is a patron who I catch maskless several times; since he is alone in a rather open area, I opt to give him an extra chance in addition to the default three strikes in hopes that he will comply with the mandate. However, on the fourth time I catch him with it off, I bite the bullet and confront him.

Me: “Hello again. May I please see your student ID?”

The patron immediately becomes defensive, but he does hand over his ID card. I begin writing his information down.

Patron: “There’s no one here. I’m alone. The mask keeps fogging up my glasses. How do you expect me to see anything?”

Me: “Unfortunately, we do still have to follow university protocol.”

Patron: “Well, your protocols are stupid.”

There’s a short, tense silence before he continues.

Patron: “So, what’s going to happen next?”

Me: “This information will be forwarded to [Administrative Organization]. As they do not brief us on how it will be handled, I do not know what will happen from there.”

Patron: “Well, I don’t really care.”

I want to ask, “Then why did you ask?” but I remain silent.

I finish collecting pertinent information and hand his card back to him. He then leaves. I file the required report and carry on with my regular duties.

Fast-forward two weeks. It’s one of my days off, so I’m not in the library myself, but [Supervisor] is. I am out getting groceries when I hear from [Supervisor] about this; the exchange below is my understanding of what occurred.

The same patron from before comes to the front desk, where [Supervisor] is currently stationed, with a sheet of paper.

Patron: “Does [My Name] work here?”

Supervisor: “Yes, she does.”

Patron: *Pointing to the document in his hand* “I don’t agree with this!”

The document is, reportedly, an order from [Administrative Organization] to attend some form of hearing and pay a fine. It includes a copy of the report I filed two weeks ago… with my name on it.

Supervisor: “Is the information in the report factual?”

Patron: “It might be factual, but I still don’t agree with it!”

The patron then walks away, but not before announcing that he will not pay the fine and cannot make the hearing date. He then starts belittling me as he leaves.

An hour later, on his way out of the building, he stops again at the front desk.

Patron: “Tell [My Name] I said hello.”

The patron then left the building.

For a while after this, I frequently found myself glancing over my shoulder, especially to and from my car before and after work. Thankfully, nothing happened. [Supervisor] reached out to the library administrators about it, and they quickly gave us permission to remove [Patron] from the building if he ever interacted with us poorly again. He never did.

All of this because of a mask.

You Say It Best When You Say Nothing At All

, , , , | Learning | January 31, 2022

My uncle is a university lecturer who is hated by his current students and loved by his previous students. This is one reason why.

He normally has the first 9:00 am lecture of the term. For the first lecture of every year, he waits at the desk and arrives before any student. As each enters, he watches them, unsmiling and not saying anything except a curt “Good morning” if given one.

As soon as that second hand hits 9:00 am, he is off at full speed, no prisoners held. All the students are thinking, “Who the h*** is this guy?”

And then the first latecomer comes in. My uncle will stop lecturing and stare at this student, unspeaking, from when they open the door to when they have taken their seat and are ready to write, at which point he starts talking again.

He repeats this for every single late student.

At the second lecture, everyone is ten minutes early and ready for the lecture. Always works.

“Hey, Hun! I Want To Tell You About This Cool Business Opportunity!”

, , , , , , | Friendly | January 30, 2022

I have seen Multi-Level Marketing in action. Even without realising the pyramid underpinnings, I do not like their business practices. I instinctively guessed they would tell you to lie to your friends.

A school friend is studying at the same university as me, but we are in different faculties, so we only see each other a few times a year — usually at mutual friends’ parties or campus groups we are both a member of. This is before mobile phones, let alone social media, so calling someone requires some effort, as we both have to be home and no one else can be using the phone. A call from her is not shocking, but a little surprising.

Friend: “Blah, blah, business opportunity… Blah, blah, presentation at my house Wednesday… Blah, blah…”

Me: “It’s [MLM Company], isn’t it?”

Friend: “No, it’s not [MLM Company]. It’s an excellent opportunity you will be excited to be involved with.”

She continues with further entreaties and cajoling.

Me: “Okay, I’ll come. But if it turns out to be [MLM Company], I will immediately leave and never talk to you again.”

Friend: “It’s [MLM Company].”