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Working From Home, Self-Supervised

, , , , , , | Right | April 16, 2020

The entire customer service team for a rather expensive and popular clothing chain — maybe fifty or so agents — is working from home. There are team leads but the system has no ability to transfer calls, so everyone has the capability to do pretty much anything we want to a customer’s order; changing shipping, adding discounts, and changing orders or addresses.

We are told that, if a customer asks to speak to a supervisor, we have all the same abilities as a supervisor. A more difficult customer is insisting I transfer her to a supervisor. I give the “I have the same abilities as a supervisor” spiel and, for some reason, this woman believes I somehow instantly transferred her to a supervisor and said supervisor was already fully updated on the situation.

The customer instantly becomes nicer and compliments my service, while talking badly about the “other agent’s” ability to help her.

Can’t Wait For The Ten-Year Reunion!

, , , , , , | Learning | April 15, 2020

My boarding school just closed due to a global outbreak. This happens on the last night where we can stay in the dorms. As we’re all international students in our final year, it gets pretty emotional once we realise that we’re not coming back. Already half of our schoolmates have gone back home and we won’t see them again.

House Parent: “Okay, boys, as you know, there’s been a shortage of alcohol hand sanitisers in the region. [Chemistry Teacher] and [Biology Teacher] are rigging up a distillery to make sure that [Nearby Village]’s stockpile doesn’t run out. If any of you have any liquor they’d like to surrender, I’ll turn a blind eye, just this once.”

That’s true. I’m taught by both of those teachers and have seen the apparatus, or at least its prototype. And for the record, most of us are over 18 — UK’s drinking age — by this point.

Me: “Can I keep my wine? I don’t think that its alcohol content is high enough.”

House Parent: *Scandalised look* “Bring it out anyway.”

We start shuffling in and out of the common room, dragging our contraband to the room. For some reason, everyone has decided to surrender not just the alcohol, but all of our contraband. Before long, there’s a small mountain of alcoholic beverages, e-cigarettes, regular cigarettes, and some weird pills.

House Parent: “[Dormmate #1], I am disappointed in you. You’re a prefect, for God’s sake! And [Dormmate #2], you’ve been here for years; I always thought that you were a good student. And [My Name], you’ve always been harsh on rule-breakers. So, how is it you have nine, nine bottles of wine in your room?”

The two prefects brought out an impressive supply of vodka and cigarettes. Including my nine bottles of wine — I was expecting to not be allowed back to town, thus I bought enough to last until summer — the three of us brought out roughly half of the contraband.

House Parent: “And the rest of you? How is it that over a third of my dorm has been smuggling in contraband?”

Dormmate #3: “Actually, sir, some of these belonged to the guys that left. They handed it to us before they went home.”

Dormmate #4: “Yeah. Some of them still have stuff stashed away. If you let us into their rooms, we can get more out.”

House Parent: “Great! Is there no one in my dorm that has not broken at least one of the rules?”

We all shuffle about guiltily.

House Parent: “Seriously, boys?”

Me: “Welp, sir, it’s our last day here. Just lighten up a bit, all right?”

House Parent: *Sighs* “Fine. Fine. Just take your wine and go.”

Dormmate #2: “Hey, sir, seeing as it’s our last day here, can we have a party?” *Gestures at contraband pile* “We’ve got plenty of supplies here.”

Our house parent closes his eyes for a long time.

House Parent: “Fine. Just this once. No liquor, no vaping, and no smoking.”

Me: *Grins* “I’ve got ice cream! Seeing as I’m heading home tomorrow, I’ll share it with everyone!”

Dormmate #5: “I’ve got chocolate!”

Dormmate #6: “I’ve got waffles!”

And then we all had an impromptu party, eating ice cream and drinking our sorrows away. We said our tearful goodbyes, promised to keep in touch, and confessed to all of our various crimes in front of our house parent, who reacted with a mix of disbelief, exasperation, and disappointment.

My wine supply came out reasonably unscathed as everyone found it too sweet, but there was no more beer, cider, or less sweet wine left by the time we went to bed. 

It was oddly touching, considering that I found most of those people barely tolerable on most days. But now that we’ve gone our separate ways, I wished that that night where we got drunk together lasted forever.

Love Isn’t A Complicated Puzzle

, , , , | Related | April 14, 2020

My grandma loves to do puzzles with us, and because of quarantine, we have been doing quite a few. Because I can find a piece’s spot quickly, I sometimes will hand her a piece I’ve located the spot for and ask her for help. We’re doing a large floor puzzle.

Me: “Grandma?”

Grandma: “Yes?”

Me: “I can’t figure out where this piece is. Can you please help me?”

Grandma: “Okay.”

I will then hand her the piece and give her clues like, “What fish has those colours?” or, “That has a flat edge, so maybe look around the frame,” and so on. Sometimes I will tell her to rotate it or move it over, and when she gets it I will exclaim that she is better than all of us and ask her how she got her skills. I love seeing the giant smile on her face when this happens and her boost in confidence. As I was telling my parents this secret, they told me they used to do the same thing to me, and it made my heart warm that I was in a way continuing this little cycle.

No Better Time For Wine

, , , , , | Related | April 13, 2020

I am quarantined at home with my family, given the current health situation. It’s pretty boring after a while, so I decide to rearrange the house. My daughter keeps me company with her laptop while I sort through the liquor cabinet.

Me: “Hey, baby, look! We have some [Expensive Wine]! We should open it one of these days, don’t you think?”

Daughter: “Hmm? Yeah, sure…”

Me: “I’m serious! Can’t let it go to waste; it’s pretty good.”

My daughter looks up from the screen, smirking.

Daughter: “Mama, that’s what you said when you got it. Every time we get a wine bottle, we just stick it in that cabinet for a couple of years and then regift it to someone. Face it; we’re pretty boring people.”

I can’t be mad at her. She’s right.

The Hamster Is Probably More Self-Aware

, , , , , , , | Healthy | April 12, 2020

I’m in my mid-forties. My beloved hamster started to have blood in his urine at about the worst possible time, during the start of a widespread illness. I got a same-day emergency appointment and took him to my local vet who, thankfully, was open.

There was a large sign on their door asking patients not to enter if they showed any signs of the illness, but rather to call for further instructions. I stopped, read the sign, and then carefully entered, stopping at the tape marker before the receptionist’s desk. The receptionist was a woman in her sixties wearing gloves and other protective equipment.

I noted after greeting her that I had read the sign and had no symptoms. The vet, the receptionist, and I were all careful to keep separation as much as possible during the visit.

The visit went well and my hamster was prescribed antibiotics. As I was waiting to check out and pay, a woman in her sixties walked in the door with no pet and stood right next to me, despite the fact that the place had no other clients and she could easily have moved further away.

I moved away as far as I could get and still conduct my transaction.

The receptionist told the woman, “I need to ask you if you have read the sign.”

“What sign?” the woman asked.

“Please go outside and read the sign.”

The woman stepped out, huffing, and read the sign while the receptionist and I looked at each other in horror like, “Duh? There is a flipping world-wide crisis going on.” The receptionist actually smacked her forehead and I shook my head in sheer disbelief.

The woman stepped back in and said, “I read the sign. I’m fine,” and then flopped down in a chair as close to me as she could possibly get.

I looked at the receptionist like, “Help!” and she got me checked out and on my way as fast as possible. I fled out the door with my sweet boy — the receptionist was kind enough to hold the door for us — and I hear the woman asking her if she could buy a commonly available brand of dog food you can get at nearly any store.

I still can’t believe she’d risk her life in an international health crisis for dog food she could have ordered online or had delivered to her car at the nearest pet store, and then further do so by standing right next to someone.

If I get this illness, I have a pretty good chance of making it. People her age are dying at a rate of one out of three. If the CDC and WHO and everyone else tell you to separate as much as possible, do it!

Much as I am annoyed by young people partying on the beach during this, it’s not just them that are acting foolishly.

My hamster, by the way, is doing fine.