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Only Scratching The Surface

, , , , | Working | November 16, 2020

My car is at the mechanic, and I am renting a vehicle from a well-known nationwide business.

Rental Agent: “…and you can also purchase our insurance in case the car is damaged while you’re renting it!”

Me: “No, thank you. I’ll only be driving to and from work, and I don’t anticipate having it longer than three days.”

Rental Agent: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Yes, thanks.”

I drive the rental car for two days — true to my word, only to and from work, not more than forty miles all told — and then get my car back from the mechanic and return the rental car with a full tank of gas. The next day:

Rental Agent: “Hi, I need to know your insurance and your deductible.”

Me: “Why?”

Rental Agent: “Your rental car sustained damage while you had it, and since you didn’t purchase our insurance, you’re liable.”

Me: “Please describe the ‘damage.’”

Rental Agent: “Scratches and mud on the lower door panels.”

Me: “There was mud on the door panels because it rained for the two days I had the car. And I want photographic evidence of the alleged scratches.”

Rental Agent: “Um… the scratches were discovered by our Damage Agents; they are specially trained to notice damages that other people overlook.”

Me: “And how was I able to accrue scratches too small for anyone but your special Damage Agents to notice?”

Rental Agent: “Well, driving on roads…”

Me: “Let me get this straight. You want me to pay for alleged damage I can’t see, after renting me a car so fragile that it incurs damage by driving on roads?

Rental Agent: “You should have purchased the insurance; then I wouldn’t have to be doing this!”

Me: “Please transfer me to your supervisor.”

I ended up escalating to the regional representative, but the “damage” report was thrown out and I never had to pay a dime. I’m never renting from them again, though.

Fishing For Answers That Will Never Come

, , , , | Right | October 28, 2020

It is just before the lockdown goes into effect in my state back in March. The restaurant has been dead all day with a few takeout orders and maybe three dine-in tables. We’ve all been constantly monitoring the situation and rapidly implementing safety protocols as corporate sends them to our general manager.

I’m the last front-of-house person to leave since our only server had to go get her daughter from school and we’re closing early anyway. I’m a host, two line cooks and one dishwasher left, and I have just finished closing down the takeout register when the phone rings. It’s literally one minute until we close and while I don’t want to answer, I have enough experience to know it’s better if I do. 

Me: “Thank you for calling [Restaurant]. This is [My Name]; how can I help you?”

Customer: “I was wondering if you could tell me what your specials are?”

Me: “Sure. This month we are featuring [Special Sandwich]. Also, due to circumstances beyond our control, we are about to close for the day.”

Customer: “Hmm, that sounds nice. I was wondering what kind of white fish you have on your menu.”

Me: “Well, we do have a seared halibut entree as well as fish and chips on our regular menu, but because of health and safety concerns, we are strictly limited to soups, salads, and sandwiches, for takeout only, starting tomorrow.”

Customer: “I see. Well, my husband and I were there this past fall and you had this amazing special on the menu we absolutely loved. Our friends are coming to town, so we wanted to bring them there to try it. I don’t remember what it was, just that it was white fish.”

I am trying VERY hard to be patient and not let my annoyance show through.

Me: “Okay, well, like I said, because we are limited to lunch options, we won’t have fish on the menu until further notice. Even then, it’s very unlikely we would be able to recreate that dish without knowing exactly what the entree was. If it was our Lemon Grilled Halibut, I know for a fact that we can’t make it because we no longer have risotto on the new menu.”

Customer: “No, it didn’t have risotto. I definitely remember that.”

She continues to describe her dinner — everything but what she was eating, mind you. I’m talking server, drinks, what she was wearing, and who she was with, but no more detail about her fish entree that is helpful.

I turn around to check the clock and see that one of our line cooks has come off the line to check on me. From his facial expression, he’s been listening for a bit and is speechless.

Customer: “I wish I could remember more about the dish. Is it coming back on the menu any time soon?”

I have more patience than most. And hey, she sounds like someone who maybe doesn’t get out much and just wants someone to talk to. Normally, I’d be fine with it, but given what’s happening, I’ve had it.

Me: “I’m afraid not, ma’am, for a number of reasons. First, our head chef and our corporate chef encourage creativity so we don’t repeat specials. Second, even if I knew which special you are referring to, we can only use the ingredients we already have available in house. Third, we are only serving soups, salads, and sandwiches, to go, starting tomorrow. And finally, given that we just launched a new menu last month and given the state of emergency around the country, making changes to that menu is not exactly at the top of anyone’s list of priorities.”

Customer: “Oh, well, that makes sense. I’ll just call back tomorrow. Maybe my husband will remember what I ordered. Thank you.”

She hangs up and I just shake my head. Both line cooks are behind me with shocked expressions on their faces. 

Line Cook: “I’m glad you dealt with that. I wouldn’t have been nearly as nice.”

Other Line Cook: “Seriously. Who calls a minute before we close and asks something like that?”

Once I finally got home, that’s when news broke that we were closed until further notice! I still haven’t been back, so I have no idea if she ever figured out what she had for dinner that night.

Fishing For Answers That Will Never Come

Clearly Your Husband’s Not A Catholic

, , , , , | Romantic | September 12, 2020

I’m the author of Clearly Your Husband’s Not A Scorpio and thought I’d offer another gem my darling husband has come up with. To begin with, my husband is definitely very intelligent. He’s just in that category of “very intelligent with book-smarts but common sense has gone out the window.”

Early on in dating, making us in our late teens or early twenties, we are walking around our mall when we pass a Catholic priest. My future husband does a double-take.

Me: “What’s up?”

Husband: “Was that a Catholic Priest?”

Me: “Yeah?”

Husband: “I thought Hollywood made those up, like nuns!”

Me: “Nuns are a thing, too!”

Husband: “What?!”

He then looks at the priest’s briefcase.

Husband: “Do you think that’s his exorcism kit?”

Me: “What? No. No, it’s not. First of all, they don’t just carry stuff like that with them. I’m pretty sure they gotta get approval from the Vatican before they do an exorcism, anyway, and that can take time.”

Husband: “I’m gonna go ask.”

Me: “Leave the priest alone!”

My wonderful future husband had already let go of my hand and started following this poor priest down the walkway in the mall. He later returned to my side and informed me that the priest opened his briefcase to show that it was just paperwork he had with him.

Clearly Your Husband’s Not A Scorpio

Killer Pizza From Planet Jerk

, , , , , , | Working | September 8, 2020

I’m the author of the story “Definition Of Love: Sacrificing Pizza For Your Child“. Not too long ago, my mom came to visit for the day and we stopped at a pizza place in the mall food court I’d NEVER had problems with before. Of course, this is the one time things go wrong.

Me: “Can I get two slices of cheese pizza and a drink, please? And could you use a clean spatula? I have an unusual allergy and don’t want any chance of cross-contamination.”

To my horror, and embarrassment considering how I’ve just been praising them to my mother, I watch the man use one of the pizza spatulas to pick up some pepperoni that starts to slide off a pizza, put it back on the pizza, and then use that same spatula to start getting my slices.

Me: “No, no! A clean spatula! Can we replace that slice and use a clean spatula? I’m allergic to pepperoni.”

Pizza Man: “It’s the vegetarian spatula, no meat!”

Me: *With an increasing level of panic* “I just watched you. Please just swap out the slice and use a clean spatula!”

The pizza man speaks more pointedly, rolling his eyes slightly and talking as if I were a child.

Pizza Man: “It’s the vegetarian spatula; we don’t use it with meat.”

A man in line after us chimes in that he watched, too, and is in the process of telling him to just replace it when my mother speaks up in her “You just screwed up BIG TIME” voice, causing a few people at a nearby table to look.

Mom: “Get the manager, NOW.”

A manager was fetched from the back, and once we told him what had happened, my food was replaced, and he handled it himself with a fresh spatula with a lot of apologies and a discount. I now keep a photo on my phone from when I had my childhood reaction, just in case I need to show pizza place staff that, YES, I do, in fact, have an allergy. I also did the survey on the receipt and told the story there. Apparently, that and the complaint to the manager helped, since the rude man wasn’t there the next time I stopped by.

Sounds Like A Good Dothraki Wedding To Us

, , , , , , | Friendly | August 31, 2020

My husband and I are both volunteer firefighters at a volunteer fire company in Delaware while he is stationed at Dover Air Force Base. The fire company has a banquet hall that it rents out for events and also provides catering and bar service.

My husband and I have volunteered to assist the catering manager for a wedding. The groom is an Airman originally from West Virginia but stationed at Dover Air Force Base and the bride is his high school sweetheart. The wedding is a total disaster or a laugh-out-loud redneck fest, depending upon how you looked at it.

Here are some highlights:

After the wedding ceremony concluded and cocktail hour had started, my husband caught a bunch of rednecks drinking moonshine — illegal bootleg corn whiskey —  in the fire hall parking lot. This is illegal and could have cost the fire company its liquor license. My husband kindly asked the gentlemen to stop drinking in the parking lot. When they refused, he radioed on his duty radio for the town police to come. Said rednecks were angry about the police coming so they decided to storm into the fire hall to confront my husband. They ended up being chased out of the hall by our fire chief at the time, a very large Native American man who happens to be able to bench press over 300 pounds. The offending rednecks were then ordered off of the fire company property by the town police.

During the dinner, my husband and I were serving the requested meal of roast beef and gravy, mashed potatoes, etc. I was serving the gravy to the guests by ladling the requested number of scoops onto the guests’ plates after my husband put the plates down before the guests. I was walking back to the kitchen when a little girl tugged the sleeve of my shirt and said, “Paw Paw wants more gravy!” I had already served “Paw Paw,” an elderly man, three scoops of gravy. I took a fresh pitcher of gravy over to Paw Paw, and apparently, he wanted a grand total of ten scoops of gravy, literally flooding his plate! It was really lucky that we were in a fire station, just in case Paw Paw had a stroke from consuming that much salt!

The evening concluded with the bride getting into a knock-down, drag-out drunken argument with her mother because there wasn’t enough money on the bar to cover an open bar for an entire night. The bride then puked all over her gown and the handicap stall in the women’s restroom. She started screaming at me and stating that I should be fired because I was quite obviously trying not to laugh at the disaster that I had been watching unfold all night long. I informed her that both my husband and I were volunteers so we couldn’t be fired. The bride then tried to scream at me again but ended up puking all over my shoes.

One of her more sober friends drug her out of the fire hall and stuffed her into a pickup truck, separate from the groom. The groom, who wasn’t nearly as drunk, ended up apologizing to us for everything. 

It’s been five years since this happened and my husband and I often wonder if the bride and groom are still married.