This Lesson Really Stings, Part 2

, , , , , , | Working | April 2, 2021

I submitted this story about my father-in-law. My father-in-law is a pretty smart man, especially when it comes to anything construction, and the company he has worked with for several decades really values him.

The construction company teams up with another company to do a very big and lucrative highway job. My father-in-law has a lot of experience with repairing big machines, so they send him to the site to work on the big and incredibly expensive machines. 

The mechanic from the other company, for some unknown reason, takes great offense that my father-in-law was put in charge and is just a jerk the whole time; he argues with him every chance he gets, even over things as simple as putting the correct type of oil in the machinery.

My father-in-law gets a call and has to go home for a family emergency. He instructs the mechanic and the helpers from the other company that he is in the middle of changing the oil on a piece of equipment and asks them to finish it.

He gets an urgent call the next day to come in to the job site, which he quickly does. In the office, the owners of the construction company and some big wigs from the other company are arguing, with the other mechanic sitting in the corner with his arms crossed and a smug look on his face. Apparently, the piece of equipment’s engine froze, which resulted in something worth several hundreds of thousands of dollars being worth nothing but scrap. The company blames my father-in-law because he was working on it, and they are demanding that the construction company replace it.

My father-in-law figures out what happened pretty quickly. He tells them he will be right back, and he returns with a box and a scared-looking helper. He dumps out the box of parts onto the table. They are bluish in color, which is what happens to engine parts when they are run without oil. He gives the poor helper an angry look and growls, “Tell them!”

The helper stammers that they restarted the engine without any oil because the other mechanic told them to. At that point, the mechanic in the corner looks scared and starts getting angry looks from his bosses.

Before storming out, my father-in-law yells, “It won’t run without f****** oil, dumba**!”

The outcome was the mechanic lost his job and was blacklisted from several other construction companies as word got around, and the company apologized to my father-in-law and had to pay over $200,000 to replace the equipment.

The owner of the construction company took my father-in-law out for a steak dinner.

This Lesson Really Stings

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A Sign Of Good Work!

, , , , | Working | January 18, 2021

The city puts a notice sign up on my street announcing that they’ll be doing road work tomorrow, and the street will be closed to all but local traffic from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. I make sure to leave my house by 7:30 am.

Fast forward to 6:00 pm. I’m driving home from work when I see city trucks blocking half the entrance to my street, and approximately ten workers standing around talking. I can see the notice sign peeking out from behind the truck. There aren’t any barriers blocking the street, so I hit my turn signal. One of the workers runs toward my car and motions for me to stop. I stop and roll down my window.

Me: “Yes?”

Worker: “You can’t go down there.”

Me: “I live here. I can show you my ID.”

He shakes his head.

Worker: “You can’t go.”

Me: “Your sign says, ‘Local traffic only.’ I am local traffic. I live about 500 feet away. Literally, right there.”

I point to my house.

Worker: “We’re not done.”

Me: “All I see is a completely unchanged road and ten guys standing around doing nothing.”

Worker: “We’ll be done in about two hours. Come back then.”

Me: Two hours?! Listen, I left my house at 7:30 this morning because your stupid sign said, ‘Local traffic only from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.’ I am local traffic, and my clock says it’s 6:00. Go check your sign. It’s right behind your truck. Conveniently moved out of sight, of course.”

The worker opens his mouth and then closes it.

Me: “Go check. I’ll wait. I’ve got a full tank of gas.” 

I put the car in park and fold my arms. He goes to check the sign, sighs, and comes back. Without a word, he moves aside and waves me through.

Me: “That’s what I thought.”

For those who are curious, there wasn’t another way into the neighborhood — one way in, one way out. The next day, there was a sign up with altered hours of 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, but then they showed up at 8:00 am. Thankfully, I had the day off!

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This Lesson Really Stings

, , , , , , , | Working | December 22, 2020

My father-in-law is a pretty smart man, especially when it comes to anything construction. The company he has worked for for several decades really values him and has offered him numerous promotions but he won’t take them. He prefers running the big equipment and not being responsible for idiots — his words. Unfortunately, every so often they hire some new young supervisor for a job who thinks that, because they have some fancy college education and an expensive shirt and tie, they know more than anyone else.

One day, they are clearing land for a road. My father-in-law is operating a closed cab backhoe. It’s not common to see a closed cab but it essentially surrounds the operator in glass to protect them from brush and such as they are moving through an undeveloped area.

He comes upon a tree that needs to be knocked down and realizes that it is hollow. Looking upward, he sees what looks to be liquid flowing down. My father-in-law knows that means a mighty big beehive. He also knows what will happen if anyone so much as touches that tree. He shuts down the backhoe and climbs out to take a better look to decide the best course of action.

The new supervisor comes stomping over.

Supervisor: *Shouting* “What the f*** do you think you are doing?”

Father-In-Law: “The tree is hollow. You can see up there…”

Supervisor: *Cutting him off* “I don’t give a d***. Get in there and get to it!”

Father-In-Law: “But you don’t understand. If I touch that tree…”

Supervisor: “WHAT DO YOU MEAN, I DON’T UNDERSTAND?! I will have you know that I have far more education than you! Now get your stupid, uneducated a** back in that cab, you old f***, and KNOCK DOWN THAT TREE!”

Big mistake. Now he has ticked my father-in-law off. So, my father-in-law climbs back into the cab and starts up the machine. The supervisor stomps off to a group of big shots, inspectors, and such that are standing nearby, talking about how sometimes you just have to crack the whip on these stupid laborers, and they all chuckle.

With the biggest smile he can muster, my father-in-law begins hitting that tree. And, like an explosion, a solid mass of bees pour out of a hole at the bottom of the tree. They immediately attack the backhoe, but my father-in-law is perfectly safe. At that point, the bees turn their attention to the supervisor and the others standing nearby. It is not pretty. The bees swarm them. But my father-in-law just keeps hitting the tree. With every hit, more bees pour out, even angrier than the last ones.

The supervisor starts screaming for my father-in-law to stop, but being in the enclosed glass cab and with the engine running, there is no way he can hear him. At least, that is his story later on and he sticks to it. My father-in-law does not stop until that tree is knocked down, and hundreds of angry bees chase the supervisor and all the others for about a mile.

After the supervisor and others got out of the hospital, they had a meeting with the company owner — who thought of my father-in-law as a brother — and all the higher-ups. The supervisor, of course, tried to blame my father-in-law. The owner and others who knew my father-in-law well could barely keep a straight face when my father-in-law said, “Well, I am just a stupid, old laborer and was just doing what the highly-educated man told me to do.”

Of course, my father-in-law didn’t get in trouble and there is a happy ending. My father-in-law said that the supervisor became a much more humble man after that, never mistreated any of his employees again, and learned to listen to the more experienced people under him. Every so often, the two of them still treat each other to a beer.

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She’s A Few Berries Short Of A Patch

, , , , , | Friendly | December 3, 2020

When we bought our last house, it came with a run-down side plot of land. It looks like it was a garden once upon a time, but now it is overrun by plants, rubbish, old bits of burnt cars, and spray paint.

We clear the land and cut back the jungle of weeds. While I am sweeping the remaining broken glass and filth, a little old lady appears at the entrance.

Woman: “Oh, it looks so much better.”

Me: “Thanks! It took a lot of work. It’s all going to be—”

Woman: *Interrupting* “This used to be [Stranger #1]’s garden, you know?”

Me: “Oh, really?!”

Woman: “[Stranger #2] and I used to come down here and pick the blackberries. It would make him so mad. Right over there.”

She points to the mass of blackberries growing up a wall.

Me: “Yeah? Well, I wouldn’t want anyone picking them now with all the broken glass around.”

Woman: *Suddenly sour* “Well, you would say that.”

She storms off.

I don’t know what to think, but to be honest, I’m glad our little “chat” is over.

That weekend, the builders fit a temporary fence around the garden to allow for excavation and scaffolding. I get a call from the builder the next day.

Builder: “There’s some lady here trying to get into the garden; she is now saying you gave her permission? We can’t let her in; the whole ground is dug up.”

Me: “What? I didn’t… Oh, is she an angry-looking pensioner?”

Builder: “Well, yeah.”

Me: “Tell her that they sell blackberries at the supermarket.”

Apparently, she screamed and shouted at the builders but still tried to get in several times while all the work was carrying on, despite being told repeatedly that it wasn’t safe and no-one could get the blackberries.

We even had the police turn up, but they quickly understood once we explained that she had no right to be there.

When all the work was done, we had a locked, sturdy gate fitted. I still see her once in a while on the cameras trying to force her way in.

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A Little Ignorance Will Kill You

, , , , | Right | September 28, 2020

I am a handyman, and a customer has asked me to do some interior work in a crawlspace. However, since this is a house that is still being built, the power has not been hooked up yet. There is a generator onsite, but due to a few issues, I would have to take the generator up into the crawlspace to make effective use of it.

Me: “I’m sorry, [Client], but I can’t do the work that you are asking.”

Client: “Why not?”

Me: “Because that would require me to take the generator up to the crawlspace with me. It’s not safe.”

Client: “What are you talking about?”

Me: “Well, the generator puts off carbon monoxide, which isn’t safe to breathe, especially in an enclosed space like that.”

Client: “A little carbon monoxide won’t kill you.”

I then had to spend the next ten minutes explaining to the customer why that was wrong. They eventually agreed to put the work off until the electricity was hooked up.

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