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Very Middling Advice

, , , | Right | April 23, 2021

I’m working in my cousin’s DIY store for the summer.

Customer #1: “How much grass seed do I need to buy for my lawn?”

Me: “How big is your lawn?”

Customer #1: “Medium.”

Me: “Great. You want an average amount of grass seed — not too much or too little, okay?”

Customer #1: “That’s great, thanks!”

A little while later:

Customer #2: “How much should I water my plants?”

Me: “What kind of plants do you have?”

Customer #2: “They’re all different sizes, mostly around this size.” *Gestures vaguely in the air beside her*

Me: “Okay. Then you want to make sure you don’t water them too much because they’re not really big. But make sure you’d water them more than a really small plant.”

Customer #2: “Thank you. Where can I find a watering can like that?”

Me: “There are watering cans here that you can fill part of the way up or all the way up.”

Customer #2: “That’s a great idea!”

The following day:

Customer #3: “Hi. I need paint for my living room, but I don’t know what kind.”

Me: “That’s no problem. I can show you our indoor paints.”

Customer #3: “Which colour should I get?”

Me: “Here are the really light ones and here are the really dark ones. If you don’t want it too dark or too light, you should pick one in the middle.”

Customer #3: “Thank you. I’ll take a few cans.”

After she leaves, my cousin comes up to me angrily.

Cousin: “How are you doing this? How are they accepting your advice when they don’t know what they want or how much they need?!”

Me: “Babysitting for fifteen years. It’s basically the same thing.”

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Making A Point

, , , , , | Right | February 16, 2021

I’m thirty years old but my mother raised me to be an old-fashioned lady; no elbows on the table, no pointing, no swearing, always use manners, etc. As a result, I never got in the habit of pointing. I always gesture with my full hand unless the item is super close.

I’m shopping for clothes for a funeral with my sister, who is thirty-four, in a large department store. A lady in her fifties or sixties approaches me and taps me on the arm. I’m very surprised because, due to the current health crisis, no one where I live gets close enough to touch strangers.

Customer: “Girl! Where are your children’s shoes?”

I start walking backward straight away until we’re six feet apart.

Me: “I don’t work here, but I think over there.”

I gesture to the children’s clothes area. The lady looks me up and down, steps halfway between us, scrunches up her face, and starts shouting.

Customer: “F****** rude! It’s rude to point! It’s rude to tell me you don’t work here! It’s rude to back away from me! I’m not infected with anything! You are! B****!”

Other customers nearby turn and start to stare. I’m shocked and embarrassed but anger quickly takes over. I back up a few feet and raise my voice, pointing at her with my index finger.

Me: “Get away from me right now! We are shopping for a funeral and have been isolating together to be able to attend. I’m not risking my family’s safety for some crazy old b****!”

The woman’s face turns red as some of the store’s employees start to approach to deescalate the situation. She looks from them to me before throwing her items on the floor and stomping off.

My sister, who has been silent this whole time, turns to me, half-laughing.

Sister: *With a sing-song voice* “Ooh, Mom’s going to kill you when I tell her about this!”

A Serious Accounting Error

, , , , | Right | January 12, 2021

A caller passes data protection.

Me: “Thank you and how can I help?”

Caller: “Why didn’t you take my last month’s bill?”

Me: “We don’t have direct debit details on file.”

Caller: “And why not?”

Me: “You haven’t given us your bank details to put on the account.”

Caller: “I’m not giving you my bank details. Why would I do that?”

Me: “If you don’t give us the bank details, how do you expect us to apply for the money from your account?”

Caller: “Oh, yeah, I guess you’re right.”

Cue facepalm.

A Tale Of Tutor Turmoil

, , , , | Learning | October 11, 2020

My friends like to make fun of me for always reading every piece of information our college sends out to us, no matter how unimportant. This is a story that has spanned my four years at college and I’m hoping has finished already!

The college I go to assigns every student a faculty advisor; when there is any trouble, this advisor becomes the student’s advocate to the school. They are also there to advise students on more mundane rules and regulations surrounding the school. Your advisor — or tutor, as we call them — is assigned your first year of college and stays with you until you graduate. It’s suggested that when you first start, you get in touch with your tutor to either meet them or just send off an email. However, most students don’t. Of everyone I know, I seem to be the only person who ever made the effort to get to know my tutor. It seems the college wanted to have fun with me for this fact.

My first year of college, I get assigned my tutor, [Tutor #1]. I send off an email introducing myself and asking for a time to meet. My tutor responds immediately and suggests a time he is free and in his office, and I agree to meet him then.

However, the day before, I get a notification that my tutor has changed. I email [Tutor #1] and apologize. I then email [Tutor #2]. She invites me to her office hours, and this time I am able to meet her with no problem. She is a wonderful woman in the history department.

Tutor #2: “Just check in with me periodically to let me know how you’re doing!”

My second year comes, and roughly a week before classes start, I get an email: my tutor has gone on a research break, so I’ve been reassigned. No problem; at this point, I feel I’m a pro at emailing my tutors. I send an email off to [Tutor #3], introducing myself as a second-year just put under his charge, and asking to meet. He readily agrees and we make a date.

What happens two hours before we have plans to meet? I get an email from the college, changing my tutor again. I email [Tutor #3] to cancel our plans and send off an email to [Tutor #4]. She tells me she is busy for the next two weeks — the first two weeks of term — meeting with the first-year students she advises, but after that, she would love to meet. I put it out of my mind for the two weeks and then plan to email her.

What happens the day I go to email her? At this point, they have to be screwing with me. I get an email telling me that now [Tutor #5] is my tutor. I email [Tutor #4] to explain and get in touch with [Tutor #5], planning a meetup. This time, thankfully, everything goes well. We meet for coffee in one of our student coffee shops on campus and have a lovely chat about the difference between STEM degrees and arts degrees. [Tutor #5] remains my tutor for the next year.

I had really hoped the second year was the end of this funny business. But lo and behold, somehow, it isn’t. I start my final year of college in a week’s time, and I just received an email from [Tutor #5].

Tutor #5: “Hi, everyone. Sorry this email is coming out so close to the beginning of the semester, but I wanted to let you all know due to the health crisis, I’ve chosen to take this year off to do research. As such, you will all be reassigned to my colleague, [Tutor #6]. She is available to answer any problems that arise for you all. Regards, [Tutor #5].”

Seriously, I seem to be one of the only people who made the effort to meet my tutor, and somehow, someone decided to screw with me and make me have to meet and change tutors six times! At this point, I’m just hoping I make it through my final year with [Tutor #6] and can move on from this whole ordeal.

Sometimes The Lightbulb Just Doesn’t Go Off

, , , , , | Working | July 24, 2020

My family and I had just flown from the US to Ireland for a ten-day vacation. We were spread out over two hotels across the street from each other. Our flight came in at around five or six in the morning, so we were exhausted and just wanted to curl up in a bed and sleep.

My aunt and I were sharing rooms for the trip, so we checked in, went up to the room, and started to explore the room. We were having trouble figuring out how to turn the lights on. There were no wall switches, but some of the lamps had knobs. We tried turning them over and over and over, but no luck. We searched all around the room for a switch but came up empty.

My aunt went down to the front desk to ask about how to turn on the lights, and they told her it was on the wall. I found some odd-looking contraption on the wall near the door with what looked like a button. When I pressed the button, the lights came on, but as soon as I took my finger off, they turned back off.

We could not figure out how to keep them on, so we went back down to the desk. They were never rude to us, but you could tell they thought we were idiots who didn’t know how to operate a simple light. They came back to the room with us, took our key card, slid it into the contraption, and walked off. We stood there, dumbfounded.

We had never come across this in our one or two hotel stays a year in the US. We told my other uncle about our troubles that night at dinner. He, being a more seasoned traveler than us, chuckled at us, remembering his first time. Apparently, these key card contraptions to activate lights are in the US, but they are definitely not frequent.