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Control Yourself! And Your Kids!

, , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: imakep0werfromdasun | February 27, 2022

I work in the solar industry (mainly residential) as a service technician. Whenever something goes wrong with a Solar PV system, I’m the guy they send out to fix it. I’ve been doing this long enough to have the knowledge and skill to complete an entire installation by myself, with roof pitch and module count — within reason, that is.

I go out with one of the crews for an installation as they are short a few guys. It seems like a pretty standard job: forty panels and not a steep roof. We should be in and out, timing permitting, finished and back at the shop by four or five pm.

We arrive at the house in what looks like a pretty rich neighborhood. The homeowner greets us and even offers to grab us all breakfast. It is a good day so far. We set up an exclusion zone to prevent anyone from coming too close to the house as equipment, tools, etc., can fall off the roof. I’m on the ground working on building the electrical portion of the system. I’ve got my music playing, all is good, and I’ve got myself in a good rhythm.

I then notice a child, no older than seven, darting past the red tape we put up, heading toward a ladder to the roof, and trying to start playing on it. Like a human being with common sense, I run over and tell the kid:

Me: “You can’t play on this. That red tape is up so you can’t get hurt.”

Then, the kid’s mother appears.

Mother: “Don’t talk to my son like that. He just wants to play with your tools.”

Me: “Ma’am, I can’t allow him to play with our tools. I also can’t have him or you past that red tape. We put it up for your safety.”

Mother: “Oh, he’ll be fine. Just tell your workers to not drop anything.”

Me: “I can tell them to not drop anything all day, but that doesn’t exclude the fact that accidents happen, and we cannot risk anyone who is a non-worker being hurt. Now please leave; this is an active worksite.”

Mother: “I can do as I please and so can my son. We’re friends with these people, and they let my son play in their yard. You should take a better direction at talking to potential customers, you know.”

Me: “Ma’am, until I have site plans for an installation on your house, how I speak to you is not a concern I have. If I sound cross, I apologize, but I have now told you twice that I cannot have you past that red tape. So, I am asking once again, please take your son and leave before either of you gets hurt. This is an active worksite.”

She grabs her child’s arm and storms off, while also tearing off a section of the exclusion zone tape and storming over to her house two doors down.

A little while later, the panels are prepped, and the roof is based out. We’re now just finishing up the electrical before placing the panels into position. I’m running between the basement and the outside area. I get back outside, and I’m punching in some wires when I hear one of my guys yelling from the roof.

Coworker: “Hey, kid, what are you doing?”

That immediately catches my attention as I think the little kid has run past the exclusion zone tape once again. But my eyes catch an older kid running down the road with a solar panel in tow. Thankfully, he isn’t very fast with how he is holding the panel. I dart over to this kid with one of our solar panels and attempt to rip it from his hands, while simultaneously trying not to let it hit the ground. I am able to get my hands on it, but this kid actually puts up a fight and tosses the solar panel in a way that puts me in an awkward position, and he lands a full-on punch to my chest. Not gonna lie, it does knock the wind out of me a little.

But I go into full self-defense mode. The kid wants to take another shot at me since I didn’t completely go down. I immediately put him on the ground without throwing any punches; I don’t know how old this kid is and I don’t want to get into trouble for hitting a minor, but I’m not about to let this kid continue to hit me.

I have the kid pinned down on the ground, and out comes the mother, running and screaming like a banshee, the typical, “I’m calling the cops,” and, “You just assaulted my son!”

Me: “Your son was stealing a solar panel and punched me in the chest. I had to defend myself.”

Mother: “I told him to grab the solar panel! My neighbor said I could take one and try it out and see how I like it.”

At this point, my guys were at my aid, and I told them to call the cops and keep the mother away from me. As we waited for the cops to show up, this lunatic was ranting how she was going to sue all of us, and blah, blah, blah.

Cops arrived about ten minutes later. I removed myself from the kid and the cops split us all up to take our statements and such. The mother went with her story about how her neighbor said she could borrow a solar panel and try it out. Now, even if he did say that (which he didn’t) you can’t just let someone take a solar panel, because they still belong to the company. Most people who buy solar finance the panels and pay them off over the course of the next couple of years. It works a lot like financing a car.

It got to the point where the cops asked if I want to press charges for the assault. The homeowner had a security camera system and caught the incident all on tape, so I gladly said yes.

The homeowner was present during most of the ordeal, and he told us he’d never talked to that woman in his life. I have no idea what her intentions were with the solar panel. If she planned to just slap it on her house, she’s as stupid as she is entitled.

The kid was eighteen, so legally an adult. I have no idea when the court proceedings are going to be taking place. I honestly just want this over and done with.

When The World Goes Paper-Free, They’ll Find New Ways To Scam You

, , , , | Working | September 27, 2021

I’m a contractor running a one-man company. I use a second phone line for my business and, despite being careful who I hand it out to, scammers and cold callers still manage to get hold of it.

Me: “Hello, [Business].”

Caller: “I need to speak to whoever manages your company’s printers.”

Me: “Oh, we don’t have anyone like that. You see—”

Caller: *Interrupting me* “Fine, just put me through to whoever orders your stationary.”

Me: “That would be me, but I don’t have any—”

Caller: *Interrupting me again* “Okay, so I need you to tell me what printers you have.”

Me: *Fed up* “You haven’t told me who you are or what company you are calling from.”

Caller: “Look, I am trying to save your company money on printing. Do you want your boss to find out that you are wasting company money? Because I could ring and tell him that.”

Me: “Listen, d**khead, I am the boss, and if you listened for more than five seconds, I would tell you we don’t own a printer. Our yearly printing expenses are zero. You got that?”

Caller: “…”

Me: “That’s the most sense you’ve made all call.”

I hung up and made a note of the number in case he should ring again, but I must have made myself clear, as he never did.

Contracting A Serious Problem

, , , , , | Working | April 27, 2021

I am having some remodels done to my home, and while I consider myself pretty handy, I simply don’t have the time to devote to the work, so I hire a contractor and crew. The problem is that the lead contractor keeps calling for countless questions. It’s not things like, “Do you prefer this color or the other one?” but rather questions like, “How are we going to build this?” It begins to feel like I am supervising the lead rather than hiring him.

Finally, I get fed up.

Contractor: “Hey, I tried to call you. Why didn’t you answer?”

Me: “I’m working. That’s why I hired you guys to do this.”

Contractor: “Well, I’m trying to figure out how to do [task], and it’s giving me a headache. I need you to come sort this out.”

Me: “Look. At the end of this, one of us is going to have a headache and the other is going to have a bill. Which would you like to have?”

This story is part of our Best Of April 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of April 2021 roundup story!

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How To Lose A Woman (And A Contract) In Less Than Sixty Seconds

, , , , | Working | November 27, 2020

I am a housing officer in a mental health specialist housing group. I’m responsible for over 100 properties over a large city. I am responsible for maintenance and tenant welfare and am extremely busy because of it. I’m a woman in my twenties but can easily pass for an eighteen-year-old.

I need to find a new carpet supplier and have arranged for several companies to provide quotes. The successful company will become our exclusive supplier, and we are recarpeting 90% of our existing properties with new ones coming in the next few weeks. On this day, I’m scheduled to work from home but I’m coming in as a favour. I am dressed in workout gear — leggings, trainers, and a hoodie — with my ID badge on display.

As I pull into the street, a van cuts me off coming down a pedestrian walkway. The driver beeps and makes vulgar gestures at me, all of which is captured on my dashcam. He races off, breaking the speed limit, and parks across two driveways, blocking me from parking on the property.

I drive past and walk to the property, and I notice the driver standing on the doorstep repeatedly ringing the bell and hammering on the door.

As he drops a cigarette butt on the floor, he notices me and lets out a shrill wolf-whistle.

Worker: “Oi, oi! How’s it going, baby?!”

Me: “Hello, are you [Worker] from [Company]? I’m [My Name] from [Housing Organisation]. I believe you’re here to bid for the carpeting contract?”

Worker: “Err, uhh, yeah. Yeah, that’s right, love! I thought I was meeting the officer, not their assistant! I’m only gonna deal with the big boss, all right, sweetheart?”

Me: “Actually, you won’t be dealing with anyone. I am [My Name] and I’m the officer dealing with contracts. Your conduct has been disgraceful; you’re not coming anywhere near my tenants or properties. I will be calling your supervisor to confirm exactly why you won’t be getting the contract and to let him know about your behaviour. Have a wonderful rest of the week, Mr. [Worker].”

Leaving him speechless, I stormed back to my car and went back to my office. His company was apoplectic with rage when they heard what he had done and he was fired on the spot, due to this incident combined with previous issues. They sent both their other workers who would be carrying out the work to meet me and sign up for mental health awareness training, AND they gave us two carpet fittings free. Due to this, we gave them the contract and have had no trouble since.

A Sudden Switch In Their Understanding

, , , , , , | Right | June 26, 2019

I’m on a job to, among other things, repair a light over a client’s front door. The issue as described by the client is that it doesn’t always come on every time they flip the switch.

I talk to the property manager and he shows me the switch — in a bank of about eight others — that controls the light. I turn it on and off several times and cannot replicate the issue, but to be thorough, I open the fixture and inspect everything. I tell the property manager that it seems to be in proper working order, but I can replace the functional parts just to be certain. He agrees and I proceed.

When I’m finished, I show him that it’s working properly by again repeatedly turning it on and off. He agrees that it’s good to go.

The next day, when we return to finish the rest of the work, he approaches me again and says they’re still having the same issue. This time the client is home so I speak to her directly. I ask her to show me what happens when she turns it on.

She proceeds to flip every single one of the aforementioned eight switches before coming to the one that actually controls the light, and then she says, “See? It doesn’t work.”

Containing my laughter, I show her that it’s only tied to the one switch and repeat the process of turning it on and off, showing her that it’s functioning normally.

The client says, “Oh, well, now it works!”