That’s Not The Ticket To A Resolution

, , , | Legal | April 24, 2019

(My former employer shares one very large parking lot with two other large stores. The borough owns the lot and does not want large vehicles like tractor trailers and motorhomes parking there overnight, so they have large yellow signs with black print and reflective edges at every entrance and exit, stating that these vehicles will be ticketed and possibly towed at the owner’s expense. There is a second sign below the first stating that there is a truck stop just down the road with a free shuttle service between the truck stop and our store. One summer day, I am working at the customer service desk alone when an irate driver comes up.)

Driver: *waves a small tan envelope in my face* “This is bulls***!” *opens the envelope, brandishing a parking ticket* “It says I can’t park my rig here? I always park at [Supercenter]!”

Me: “Some [Supercenter]s own the parking lots by their stores, but unfortunately, we do not. Our lot is owned by the borough—“

Driver: “I always park at [Supercenter]! I spend hundreds in your stores every week!”

Me: “I apologize, sir, but the borough does not allow large vehicles to park in our lot. There is a truck stop about a mile down the road with a free shuttle service to our store.”

Driver: “How am I supposed to know I can’t park here?”

Me: “There are signs posted at every entrance and exit of the lot.”

Driver: “Every other [Supercenter] in the universe lets me do it!”

Me: *losing my patience* “As I said, sir, we do not own the parking lot. You’ll have to take it up with the local police. I can give you their number if you’d like.”

Driver: “Take it back.”

Me: “I can’t. You can contact the police department but—“

Driver: “No. You will take this back. I’m not paying this f****** ticket.”

Me: “[Supercenter] has nothing to do with the police department issuing parking tickets.”

Driver: “Well, you can go f*** yourself. I’m not paying.”

(The man ripped up the ticket and blew the shreds in my face before storming out. I swept up the pieces, put them in another envelope, and contacted a manager to ask what to do with the shreds; she took them and contacted the police, who sent over an officer to collect the pieces. The officer laughed when I told him the story, saying he was the one who’d issued the ticket. It was only $10.)

Money Makes The World Burn Down

, , , , , , | Legal | April 23, 2019

Years ago, my brother was working as an accountant for a small chain of mini-marts. Since he was considered management, he was not eligible for overtime, but they wanted him weekly to be on call and to come in on his day off to some task that was not part of his job and not a management task. California law indicated he might be eligible to collect overtime for that after all.

So, he requested about $10,000 to cover the unpaid overtime. The company refused, so he took them to the Labor Board.

He lost his suit with the Labor Board, but as part of the investigation, the Labor Board discovered that the company was shorting the overtime for other employees. The company was forced to pay the overtime and close to $100,000 in fines.

In addition, the investigator discovered that the company had official inventory taken, but then fudged the numbers on the tax returns and kept both the correct and the fraudulent inventories. So, the investigator turned them into the IRS. They were audited and ended up paying close to $500,000 in back taxes and fines.

This put a major crimp in the savings and income of the partners. Whether it was because she didn’t have enough spending money or because she did not want to be associated with the cheats, one of the partner’s wives filed for divorce and in the community property state, she ended up with a quarter of the business, which she insisted on taking in cash.

This resulted in the company going bankrupt. And it all could have been avoided for $10,000.

She Has Steal Appeal

, , , , , , | Right | April 20, 2019

(I’m working the information desk with my coworker when this happens. A middle-aged, blonde woman with a strong Eastern European accent comes up, looking very angry.)

Customer: “I need police!”

Me: “Okay, what for?”

Customer: “My purse stolen! I vas sitting at bench outside, I put my purse under, and next thing I know it gone. Person next to me, gone, too!”

Me: “And how long ago was this?”

Customer: “About ten minutes ago.”

Me: “Oh, wow. I’m so sorry that happened to you. Do you need the number for the police?”

Customer: “Yes!”

(I give her the non-emergency number for the local police.)

Me: “Here. You can call that number and file a stolen property report. The police should talk to you soon.”

(She dials the number on her cell phone and starts talking.)

Customer: “Yes, I need police officer!” *pause* “My purse stolen!” *pause* “I was sitting at bus stop, I put my purse under the bench, and when I look up it gone! Person next to me, gone too!” *pause* “Okay.” *pause* “No.” *pause* “Ten minutes ago, why?” *pause* “What?! But why can you not send someone now? I at library, [address], you always have officer here! But, but…” *pause* “Fine! But be here quick!”

(I’m definitely not liking where this conversation is going. For the record, we sometimes have an officer stationed in our library, because we tend to get a higher-than-average number of patrons who do not know how to behave well, but only on weekend evenings.)

Customer: “You idiot! Why you give me that number?!”

Me: “Wha… Ma’am?”

Customer: “I need officer right now! Why you not give me 911?!”

Me: “Well, ma’am… I’m sorry, but you described a crime that happened a while ago. Dialing non-emergency and filing a report is usually the wisest thing to do.”

Customer: “But I need right now! Why officer not here?! You alvays have one!”

Me: “Well… that’s usually only on evenings, ma’am.”

Customer: “So, now, what I do?!”

Me: “I’m sorry, madam, but the best I can tell you is to wait for the officer to come.”

(She stomps off angrily. I assume that will be the end of it. Stupid me. About four minutes later:)

Customer: “This all your fault!”

Me: “Huh?”

Customer: “All my documents gone! My social security, my passport, my medication — gone!”

Me: “Well… I’m sorry, madam, but you are expected to be responsible for your own personal property.”

Customer: “So, why not call 911?!”

Me: *patience stretching just a tad thin* “Ma’am, with all due respect, if you know the number for 911, why not just call them yourself?!”

Customer: “Because you have officer here in library!”

Coworker: “I’ll call 911 for you, ma’am.”

Customer: “Thank you! He know what he doing!”

(Even after that, she still comes back to harass me several times at my desk, telling me how stupid and incompetent I am, how she’s going to make my life miserable if she doesn’t get her purse back, etc. She also proceeds to talk over my coworker whenever he tries to mediate between us. But I’m still willing to let this go, until this happens!)

Customer: “You know vat? I bet it was black guy!”

Me: *keeps my mouth shut, as I don’t want to make an already volatile situation worse* “Mm-hmm.”

Customer: “I’m serious! That’s all black people do: steal! I remember all my pill stolen when I talk to one once!”

Me: “Ma’am, please don’t speculate like that. It’s offensive.”

Customer: “But it truth!”

(Did I mention that my coworker standing next to me, who called 911 for her, is also black? Remind me to commend him for his patience. She goes back to sit down, but — you guessed it — not even two minutes later:)

Customer: “If you just call 911 first time, I no be here, you stupid, incompetent, worthless little—“

Me: *temper finally breaking* “MA’AM, I HAVE DONE THE BEST THAT I CAN UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES! NOW, WILL YOU PLEASE STOP HARASSING ME AT MY OWN DESK AND STOP BLAMING ME FOR THE EFFECTS OF YOUR OWN FOOLISHNESS?!”

Customer: “I NOT HARASSING; I TELLING YOU TO DO YOUR JOB!”

Coworker: “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Okay, let’s calm down. [My Name], the police officer is here; how about I take [Customer] downstairs?

Me: *deep breath* “Yes, please.”

(A few minutes later.)

Coworker: “Okay, the officer’s taking her statement, but he also decided it’d be a good idea to ask her to leave the library.”

Me: “Good. Thank you, [Coworker].” *deep sigh* “I want to feel bad for her, since she did get stolen from, but some people really make it difficult. Especially considering this didn’t even take place on our property.”

(I somehow never got written up for this.)

Stolen From The Amazon

, , , , , , | Right | April 16, 2019

(I work at a major cell phone retailer. We get a lot of prepaid customers that bring their own devices as we are right in front of the mall’s drop-off point for shuttles from the nearby airport. A gentleman in his 80s with a walker comes in.)

Me: “Welcome to [Store]. How can I help you today?”

Customer: “I need a prepaid account for this phone my daughter bought me.”

Me: “Great. I can help you with that. Which plan would you like?” *goes over available plans*

Customer: “I’ll take plan B.”

Me: “Okay, no problem. I’d be happy to help you with that. Before I set it up, I need to ask if the device is unlocked, because if for some reason the phone does not work on the network, I cannot refund the cost of the service for any reason and I cannot test the device beforehand.”

Customer: “Oh, no, it’s no problem. My daughter bought this phone from [Store]!”

Me: “Great. Let’s set this up. That’ll be $50.”

Customer: “Here you go.”

Me: “Sir, this phone is not activating; let me check a few things that may cause it.” *checks to see if it is reported stolen and it is* “Sir, it appears this phone is reported stolen. May I ask how you received this item?”

Customer: “I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING AT! MY DAUGHTER BOUGHT THIS FROM [STORE]! FIX THIS NOW!”

Me: “Sir, as I told you before, since you provided your own device I cannot refund any service provided, as the sim card is ready to go, but your device is reported stolen so it will not work. I can happily sell you a newer and better phone for $29.99 that will work on the service, if you wish.”

Customer: “You’re just trying to steal my money! I’m not afraid to die, you see! You’re stealing from me and I’ll take you out! I’M NOT AFRAID TO DIE!”

Me: “Sir, all I can do is offer you a solution. Please stop yelling in my store.” *while considering how hard it would be justifying hitting an eighty-year-old man, whether he threatened me or not*

Customer: “I’M NOT AFRAID TO DIE, YOU MOTHERF****** [SLUR]! YOU GET A MANAGER NOW.”

Me: *as my managers are small women and I don’t want to risk them getting them involved* “I can tell you now that they will say the same thing, but with the way you are acting, I will not get one until you calm down.”

Customer: “F*** YOU! YOU NEED TO FIX THIS RIGHT NOW!”

Me: “Sir, where did your daughter buy this phone?”

Customer: “OFF AMAZON, YOU MORON! NOW, REPLACE MY PHONE FOR FREE THIS MINUTE OR I’M NOT AFRAID TO DIE OVER THIS!”

Me: “Your daughter bought this phone from someone whole stole it and put it on Amazon. We don’t sell phones on Amazon and we aren’t responsible for your daughter’s stupidity. If you want to threaten me again, I may take it personally.”

Customer: *finally defeated, walks out*

A Mother Investigates Your Privacy

, , , , | Related | April 12, 2019

(I have just obtained a private investigator’s license in the state that I have just moved to shortly after earning a master’s degree in criminal justice. My first “official” case is a pro bono job to help a long time friend of my husband — and new friend of mine — locate his baby brother, who was given up for adoption as an infant in the early 1960s. I am talking to my mom on the phone one day, telling her what I am doing. Please note that I have previously worked in skip trace for a debt collection company and in sales, so people tend to be VERY comfortable with me when they talk to me on the phone — I am a very good talker.)

Me: “Mom, the case to find [Friend]’s brother is going well; everyone that I have contacted has had information that is getting me closer to finding [Friend]’s brother.”

Mom: “Will you stop harassing people?! You know that it is illegal to call someone unless you are a law enforcement official.”

Me: “Why is it illegal to simply call someone? In [State] it is only illegal if the person tells you to stop calling them in writing. I have always identified myself when I call people regarding this case, including offering my license number.”

Mom: “But it’s harassment!”

Me: “One phone call is harassment? If they tell me to stop calling them, I will. However, I have managed to befriend everyone who I have called and they all are very willing to help me.”

Mom: “But if you called me looking for information about someone I knew, I would call the police right away!”

(It is now painfully obvious that my mom is totally ignorant of what constitutes harassment in the United States.)

Me: “And the police would tell you to go pound sand! It is perfectly legal to call any stranger in the United States and ask them anything — within reason — that you want. You just have to stop calling them if they ask you to. So far, no one on this case has asked me to stop calling them. I even have one person that I have contacted who now calls me with information!”

Mom: “But I get nervous when strangers call me!”

Me: “That’s you, and it’s not representative of the laws that I must follow as a licensed private investigator in [State]. I am doing everything in this case to the letter of the law. I even carry $1,000,000 in professional liability insurance if I make a mistake!”

Mom: “But you just can’t cold-call strangers! The police are going to arrest you and charge you with harassment for trying to find [Friend]’s brother!”

(She started getting really irrational, so I gave up trying to reason with her after that.)

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