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What Happens In Vegas… May Cost You

, , , , , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: clevercubed | October 28, 2022

A few years ago, I went to a very large week-long conference in Las Vegas. One of the evenings, our company was throwing a massive party for our customers. These parties were known to be epic, and everyone there to work the booth looked forward to it every year.

But, at the last minute, the CEO, wanting to keep costs down, decided that engineers weren’t allowed at the party because of the cost, despite the fact that we had been busting our butts for weeks for the show. Our Vice President protested and was told just to take us all out for dinner — on the company’s dime. 

So, our VP took us all to a VERY expensive restaurant on The Strip.

VP: “Get anything you want. Let’s max out my company card!”

Everyone got Wagyu steaks, expensive wine, OLD Scotch, and all of the desserts. The bill came out to around $15,000 — at least ten times what allowing us in the party would have cost.

You Tease!

, , , , | Working | July 8, 2022

They’re giving out door prizes at a conference I’m attending. I have ticket #500.

MC: “And for a free book, #487. A coffee gift card, #522. T-shirt, #550. And the grand prize, two free nights at this resort, #500!”

Me: “Yes!”

I jump up and go running to the stage.

MC: “…and 17. #517.”

Apparently, she’d just paused for dramatic effect.

Impossible Demands? I Won’t Hear Of It!

, , , , , | Working | June 25, 2021

I’m a biologist, and my boss made me the “volunteer” audio-visual person at an international consortium of about 150 people. This was mainly because, as one of the youngest scientists at my company — I’m in my mid-thirties — I was known for being reasonably comfortable with computers. To be clear, I really have no useful A/V skills; I just know how to plug a laptop into a projector and advance Powerpoint. We had an IT person, but my boss didn’t want to pay the expense of sending another person to the conference.

None of this would be a big deal, except that the conference was in a hotel conference room, and my boss balked at the hotel’s charge for A/V rental. Instead, with just a few hours’ notice before I had to leave for my flight, my boss told me that he didn’t want to rent any A/V equipment there, and I needed to somehow acquire and take all of it with me to the conference.

We had a computer and projector but no audio equipment. On such short notice, our IT person ran out to the only place he could think of — a guitar store — and bought an amp, microphone, mixing board, and cables. He saved the receipts, knowing that he’d be asked to return it all after the conference.

He had about ten minutes to show me how to plug everything in, and then we packaged it all up into a few duffel bags that I then had to lug through the airport.

The morning of the conference, I set everything up, but it was clear that this amp — the largest he could buy at the time — was clearly too small and too low-quality for the conference presenters to make themselves heard. As conference participants entered the room, it was like I was watching a car crash at low speed. I knew no one would be audible, and I knew there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. The darned amp was balanced on a chair in the center of the room and all dials were maxed, and yet the room was just too large for this single amp to do anything. THIS IS WHY YOU PAY FOR THE HOTEL’S A/V.

You can guess what happened next. The first speaker started, and after about a minute, the room broke out in:

Attendees: “Can’t hear! We can’t hear!”

Of course, all of our international attendees looked at me, thinking I was some sort of actual A/V person and not just a biologist who got “volunteered” and wished he were anywhere else. I couldn’t fix the problem, and with my boss breathing down my neck, I couldn’t tell anyone what the problem was.

Attendee: *Pointedly* “We can’t hear!

Me: “That is accurate.”

It was a long, long two days.

At least we got a refund at the guitar store.

Make Cheesy Choices, Suffer Cheesy Consequences

, , , , | Healthy | January 26, 2020

The healthcare organization where I work is setting up an educational conference for our members, who are mostly doctors and nurses. When people register for the conference online, they have the option of customizing their name badges with nicknames and Twitter handles. 

My coworker is preparing attendee name badges and notices something. An attendee, a doctor whose last name includes the word “cheese,” has customized his nickname to “The Cheeseman.” After much deliberation, we decide to print the name badge as-is.

At the conference, my coworker meets the attendee, hands him his registration packet, and shows him the name badge. 

Doctor: “Wow… I don’t remember doing that. I must have been s***faced!”

Coworker: “We can print you a new one, if you’d like.”

Doctor: *Solemnly, and a little sadly* “No… No, I deserve this.”

He took his badge and wore it for the entire conference.

Physics-ally Wearing A Shirt

, , , , | Working | August 19, 2019

(My boyfriend works as a researcher at a physics lab. As such, he works with people from all over the world. Most of his coworkers have met me and know we’ve been dating for several years. One of those coworkers is a very sweet woman from the UK who loves to compliment people. Another aspect of his work is that the dress code is very lax, of which my boyfriend takes full advantage by wearing graphic T-shirts and shorts to work pretty much every day of the year. On this occasion, however, he is at a conference giving a talk about his findings and so is in a nice dress shirt.)

British Coworker: “Oh, [Boyfriend], you look so nice! I like it when you wear a shirt!”

(Other coworkers give them weird looks.)

Boyfriend: “I… I think I usually wear a shirt.”

British Coworker: “Oh, does that mean something different here?”