A Reversal Of Fortune

, , , , | Right | January 24, 2018

(I’m a female on-call locksmith. It is 3:00 am, in -16-degree weather. I go to the car that the person has been locked out of. I make them sign the paperwork, and I pop the lock in under five minutes.)

Customer: “Wait! Why should I pay $150 for something that only took you two seconds?!”

Me: “Because you couldn’t do it yourself.”

Customer: “You b****! I’m not paying this! I’m going to dispute the charges!”

Me: “Well, in that case…”

(I take the keys and throw them back into the car, lock the door, and slam it shut.)

Me: “Have a good night.”

Customer: “You can’t do that!”

Me: “You just said you were going to reverse the charges, so I’m reversing the job.”

(I got chewed out so hard for that, but it was worth it.)

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Time To Go Write A Ground-Breaking Essay About Burning Bridges

, , , , , , | Learning | January 22, 2018

(I am a teaching assistant for a freshman core American History course that everyone has to take, regardless of major. For the most part, the teaching assistants actually teach the courses with professors overseeing us. A freshman in my course thinks that he is smarter than everyone else, in general, but especially within the course, and has been a snot all semester. On the last essay, he affixes a fantastically entertaining letter about how I am stupid. He tells me, in short, that he hates my guts, and that he knows I am going to give him a bad grade on the essay because I am not intelligent enough to grasp the complexities of his thesis. Knowing that no matter how I grade it, it is not going to be an unbiased score, I give it to the professor. The professor demands the student apologize or he will fail him in the course. He gives the essay a fair score of a B-minus, because it isn’t actually that groundbreaking. Fast-forward a few years. I’m working with a professor in the life sciences department in their research lab. This same student comes through the lab one day with my professor. Apparently, he is interviewing to work with the professor in the research lab also, and is being shown the lab. The student has a complete deer-in-the-headlights look as he recognizes me.)

Me: “Hello, [Student].”

Student:You work with Dr. [Professor]?”

Professor: “Oh, this is [My Name]. She’s quite indispensable around here. Her scientific work is superb, and she’s a very organized lab manager. She does all the ordering, purchasing, and administrative work for me. Do you know each other?”

Me: “Oh, briefly. He was a student of mine in [Course].”

(After the student leaves, I tell my professor all the details. This is the email that he then sends to the student:)

Email: Dear Mr. [Student],

After careful consideration, and a candid conversation with my current research assistant, [My Name], I will not be extending an invitation for you to join my lab team at this time, or at any time in the future. I do not welcome toxicity in my lab.  

Let this be a lesson to you. Never burn bridges. You don’t know when you might need them again.

Their Cold Heart Is In Need Of Some Heating

, , , , , , , | Working | January 19, 2018

(I work in an office with two coworkers. [Coworker #1] is a nightmare to work with. She constantly needs nudging, telling, reminding, you name it, about her tasks. One afternoon on a freezing day, the phone rings.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Business]. How can I help you?”

Elderly Woman: “Oh. Is that not [Nationwide Gas Supplier]?”

Me: “No, I’m sorry; it’s [Business]. What number did you dial?”

Elderly Woman: “Oh. I’ve been trying to find their number for a while, and it’s so cold here. I put it down somewhere. Hang on… It was [number].”

Me: “I’m very sorry, but our number’s [number with one digit different]. It’s very similar.”

Elderly Woman: *sounds like she’s about to cry* “I see. Okay. I’ll try again. Thank you so much.”

Me: “No problem; goodbye.”

(Twenty seconds later, the phone rings.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Business]. How can I help?”

Elderly Woman: “Hello, dear, I can’t get my boiler working. Would you send someone, please?”

Me: “Hello again, madam. This is [My Name] at [Business]. We spoke a minute ago? Did you misdial again?”

Elderly Woman: “Well, I thought I did it right.” *starts dialing the number with me still on the line* “There’s zero…” *presses zero for about five seconds* “And eight…” *presses eight for a few seconds* “And—”

Me: “Madam? I’m sorry, I’m still on the line so it won’t work; plus, when you do redial, you only need to tap the numbers, not hold them down for so long.”

Elderly Woman: “Ah, I see. Okay. I just tap the numbers and it’ll work.”

Me: “Yes, it should do. Good luck!”

(We say our goodbyes, hang up, and then twenty seconds later, the phone rings.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Business]. How can I help?”

Elderly Woman: “Oh, hello again, dear. I seem to be struggling here, don’t I? I’m so sorry to trouble you again. I’ll just go and—”

Me: “Hello again. No, don’t worry; it’s fine. Did you say your boiler was broken before?”

Elderly Woman: “Yes. It broke last night, and I can’t seem to find anyone to come and have a look at it for me. It’s cold today, isn’t it? Boilers always seem to go when you need them the most, don’t they?”

Me: “They certainly do, yes. Look, give me the number you were going to call, and I’ll call them for you. And if you give me your name, address, and number, I’ll get them to send someone round to you. How does that sound?”

Elderly Woman: “Would you? You will? Oh, my word. That sounds fine; thank you so much!” *then she hangs up*

(Luckily, I have the 1471 service on my phone line, so I get her number, call her back, explain who I am, that I need her details to pass to the boiler people, and so forth. I then call the boiler people, explain the situation, tell them there’s a confused and vulnerable elderly lady there without a working heating system, and that she can’t even manage to use her phone. The call centre chap is fine with it and tells me he’ll sort it out. I give it 15 minutes, then call the old lady back. She’s been contacted by the boiler chap, and a visit is scheduled for later in the day. All done; old lady is happy, and we end the call. I put the phone down.)

Me: *to both coworkers* “Phew. I’m glad to be getting back to typing, after all that.”

Coworker #1: *in a snappy tone* “I don’t know why you did that! It’s not your job to do that! You wasted your time doing all that!”

Me: *looks at her for a second* “Right. First of all: are you telling me you’d leave a vulnerable person with no heating when there’s something you could do about it? And secondly, since when did you, you, of all people, get to tell me what is and isn’t my job, when you don’t even know what your own is? I’ll tell you what; when you start pulling your weight, we’ll discuss what my job entails.”

(I stomped off for some fresh air; I was so annoyed.)

Legal Tender, Karma Rendered

, , , , , , , | Right | January 19, 2018

(I am manning the register soon after opening one morning. A customer makes a small purchase and offers a $100 bill to pay.)

Me: *politely* “Do you have a smaller bill, or would you like to pay with another form of payment? The change for this purchase would take a large portion of the paper money in the till.”

Customer: *smug* ” No, I want to break this bill; it is legal tender, you know.”

(I politely agree, and begin counting out fives and ones. This does not please the customer.)

Customer: “No! I want larger bills!”

Me: “I am sorry, sir; I do not have any larger bills. These are legal tender, you know.”

Customer: “Oh, never mind! I’ll pay with my credit card!”

(I politely informed him that he couldn’t do that, as the till was already open for a cash sale. The customer left, angrily stuffing the mass of bills into his wallet. I just smiled my best polite smile.)

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Parenting Doesn’t Have To Be Reserved For Children

, , , , , , | Friendly | January 15, 2018

(I’m standing in line with my toddler. There are a couple of young men behind me, who look to be in their late teens or early twenties, talking and joking with each other.)

Guy #1: *very loudly, leaning slightly toward me* “Y’know, some people don’t even look old enough to be parents, [Guy #2].”

Me: *turns around* “Well, I’m twenty-eight, so…”

(I turn back around, and the first guy stammers a bit while the other one laughs.)

Guy #2: “Haha! Serves you right!” *pause* “Oh, my God, dude, you’re turning so red right now!”

(Hopefully that will teach him to mind his own business.)

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