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Time Budgeting Is Hard Work

, , , , , , | Working | September 7, 2021

I had a coworker come to my cubicle to talk to me about the email I had sent her. She said she was too busy to read such a long message. We spent ten minutes talking about it.

The average person reads 300 Words Per Minute but speaks about 150 WPM. My message was less than 900 words, and so it should have taken less than three minutes to read. Great time-saver, talking to me about it instead of reading it.

If You’re Old Enough To Be A Little S***, You’re Old Enough To Be Treated Like One

, , , , | Right | September 2, 2021

I am a teen working in a popular local restaurant. It is at the end of a thirteen-year-old’s birthday party. The mother has been a complete nightmare the whole time. Everything goes fine until I’m clearing dessert at the entitled little man’s table where he is surrounded by his twelve- to thirteen-year-old friends.

Boy: “You’ve been absolutely great today!”

Me: “Thank you so much!”

Boy: “In fact, you’ve been so great that my friends and I have gathered a tip for you!”

Me: “That’s terribly sweet of you but I’m sure that’s unnecessary.”

Boy: “But I insist!”

He slides a nickel across the table while I have ten dishes in my hands while his friend snicker.

Me: “F*** YOU!”

I storm away so angry I don’t know what to do. It’s only when I reach the kitchen that I realize what has just happened. I cursed… at a “child”… on his birthday. I immediately go to the owner.

Me: “I need you to hear this from me before you hear it from his mother.”

I tell him the story, expecting to be fired on the spot. The owner is silent for a good ten seconds and then looks me in the eye.

Owner: “Good for you. Don’t you ever take s*** from anyone.”

Me: “You’ll probably be hearing from the boy’s mother.”

Owner: “Don’t worry. I’ll explain to her that I trust and care for my staff and she has a little s*** for a son.”

There was never a complaint, as I think the kid was too afraid or shocked to say what happened.

Not everything is terrible in the service industry if you have a boss that believes in you and backs you up. I was in the kitchen one day and almost backed into him, and he yelled at me, “Hey! Don’t look where you’ve been! Look where you’re going!” Best advice ever.

How Dare You Satisfactorily Answer My Questions!

, , , , , | Right | September 2, 2021

I used to work at a hole-in-the-wall retail computer repair shop in a not-so-good part of town. I’d frequently get customers who had outlandish requests and even more outlandish complaints.

I made sure to post printouts with info about all of our services on the wall next to the register in an attempt to ward off complaints and questions. This included prices, payment types accepted, etc.

Me: “Your total is $84.02.”

Customer: “What?! You said it would be $79!”

Me: “Yes, $79 with sales tax, which is $84.02.”

Customer: “Where does it say that there’s tax?!”

I indicated the prominent “plus tax” on the invoice.

Me: “It’s printed right here on the paper.”

Customer: “How was I supposed to know that there’s sales tax?!”

I pointed to the poster next to the register.

Me: “State sales tax info, right here. The number on the bottom is for the Connecticut General Assembly if you would like to complain.”

The customer could only grumble for the rest of the transaction. He didn’t expect me to have that info on-hand and displayed prominently!

Well Worth The Wait

, , , | Right | August 17, 2021

I work for a well company. Most of the time, I am completely by myself at the office once the guys all leave for their jobs around 7:30 am, until at least early afternoon.

Once in a while, a random customer will drive all the way here instead of calling to ask about service for their well, pump, tank, etc. Usually, I can talk to them, look up their file, and give the information to our service tech to make an appointment.

A man comes in through the entrance downstairs. The office is upstairs, so I go to the top of the stairs.

Me: “Can I help you?”

Customer: “Yes! I need to talk to someone about a problem with my well.”

He walks upstairs to talk with me, telling me about his problem as if I would know what he’s talking about, while simultaneously complaining that our business sign is by the road but not on the actual building where we rarely receive customers.

Me: “Well, the service tech is out on jobs already for the day, but I can take a message and get it to him.”

It is about 9:30 am.

Customer: “Oh, really? This early?”

Me: “Yep, they’re gone by 7:30, usually earlier.” *Gets a pen ready* “What’s your name?”

Customer: “Oh, wait. No, I’d better give you my mom’s name since it’s her house. She just moved in and your company’s name was on the well.”

He gives me her name.

Me: “Okay, and what’s the address? Maybe I can find the paperwork on the computer.”

Customer: “Uh… three something… I think it’s near this road.”

Me: “Okay… what’s her phone number? Maybe we can call her and ask?”

Customer: “Oh… Um… You would ask me that, huh…”

Me: *Pauses* “I can’t really help you without any of this information.”

Customer: “Yeah… I’m just gonna have to call you back. I guess I should have called instead of coming all this way.”

Me: “Okay, you do that. Thanks.”

He walked away and left.

This Is Why We Need Black History Month, Part 2

, , , , , , | Right | June 18, 2021

It’s 1988 and I have been with the library for not quite a year.

Black History Month is upon us and children of all shapes, sizes, colors, and cute smiles are looking for information on various famous people.

But they clearly do not know what or who they are looking for.

Child #1: “I am doing a report on a famous black singer. Her name is Martha.”

Me: “Oh, good choice. Martha Reeves and the Vandellas were a great singing group!” 

Child #1: “There’s another Martha? My report is on Martha Luther and her Kings.”

Next child:

Child #2: “I need a book on a famous black man who got his leg shot off during the war.”

Me: “Um, I am going to need more information than that. Which war are we talking about?”

Child #2:The war.”

Me: “Honey, there have been lots of wars over the years. Was it the Civil War? The American Revolution? World War II?”

Child #2: “The Revolution! Yes, the revolution! When the people came here from England to fight the Americans to free the slaves.”

We finally figured out we were looking for Crispus Attucks, though I don’t remember him getting his leg “shot off,” only that he was among the first killed at the start of the Revolution.

And then there were the inventors. Not Lattimer or McCoy or Madame C.J. Walker. No, we are talking about the well-known John Doe. Mary Smith. Lotta Peeples. Who “invented” THE comb. The hairbrush. THE washing machine. And of course, the kids needed at least five books on each of these people.

No surprise, there were none. Cue child sobbing because they have to write an eight page paper on this person.  

We had to start writing a form letter to teachers (which soon became known as the Dear Dummy letter) explaining that back in the day, many, many, many people created and patented a new version of the hairbrush or the comb, or created and patented a different version of a wringer for a hand-cranked washing machine. Or new buttons. Or corsets. Shaving creams…

We had to explain that these people were black, white, Hispanic, or Asian background, and that the only reason we know they existed and what their race was is because the forms for the patent office included a little box for this. ALL we know about the inventor is his or her invention, their name, the number assigned their patent… and their race.

Regardless of their race, there are not five paragraphs, let alone five books on each person.

Imagine having to send that out daily with an extra line scrawled at the bottom saying, “Please allow [Student] to choose a new topic so he won’t flunk your class.”

Every year for closing in on ten years, the head of the tech department where patents were kept would contact teachers and explain that we could not supply five books on the life of a citizen who happened to try making something new for an already existing device, so please don’t ask kids to write a ten-page paper on them. Every year, the teachers would say they understood… and then send the kids in to research the same obscure people anyway.

And of course, my favorite kid was the one who came in with his dad. The child darted across the floor to the desk, leaned against it, and crowed, “Hey! Where your dead black people at?” His father — both were African American — did a facepalm and shook his head. He said, “Son, they aren’t keeping the bodies on ice out back. Tell the lady who you want to read about.”

That exchange had the dad and I laughing for most of the exchange. I miss those days, as the demand for writing reports has fallen off. I just hope I never have to explain to another child that the singer she wants to report on is actually a Civil Rights Leader.

This Is Why We Need Black History Month