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Making The Grade By The Letter Of The Law

, , , , , , | Learning | June 1, 2021

About twenty years ago, I was attending law school part-time during the day while still keeping my full-time job, which provided tuition reimbursement. Despite that, my grades were just below the top ten percent of the class. To minimize classroom time, one summer I requested permission for a one-credit research class that I could work on during my free time.

I was directed to a professor in my area of interest who agreed to supervise the project by email, though we never met. I suggested a topic, with which he was amenable, and he emailed over the rubric for the paper so that it would fulfill the requirements.

After five or six weeks, I completed the legal research and began writing the paper. A week later, I emailed a draft that had some edits, but the email back was reasonably positive about the paper. I showed it to some of my colleagues at work, who also gave very positive feedback. I incorporated all of the edits and suggestions and submitted it by email to the professor.

He gave me a C+, my lowest grade in Law School (before or after). I emailed him and asked for feedback but got no real explanation other than that he wasn’t impressed.

I was quite annoyed. Around the same time, I happened to notice a contest in a law school journal where the best student-written paper would get published and win a significant cash prize — $2,500. Second and third place also received money and publication. Since I had the C+ paper I’d just written, I sent it in, just for kicks.

Sometime later — at least several months — the journal called me to let me know that my C+ paper won first place in the contest out of more than forty or fifty submissions. It was published and I got the check. The award ceremony was in California and I was on the East coast, so I wasn’t able to attend.

As a coda, I wrote a letter to the school newspaper detailing this story and explaining how paper grades were very subjective. The professor was apparently annoyed; in that letter, I did use his name. He took the trouble to email me that he’d purported to show the letter to a judge friend of his, who supposedly would have only given me a B.

I don’t care because I had $2,500 extra in the bank. Honestly, if he had given me an A, I’m not sure I would have submitted it to the contest, so I can’t really complain.


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

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That Backup Plan Flopped Hard

, , , , | Right | May 31, 2021

It is the time of floppy disks. An employee is entering data on a floppy disk and is told by the technician:

Technician: “You have to make a copy at the end of every day to provide a backup.”

Roughly six months later, the disk becomes corrupt.

Technician: “Do you have the copies?”

Remarkably, she opened a filing cabinet drawer and pulled out a stack of paper; on every sheet was a photocopy of the disk.

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Cheap-Skating Around The Safety Laws

, , , , | Right | May 31, 2021

Caller: “What’s the cheapest vehicle you have available for rent?”

Me: *Checking the computer* “We have a two-door coupe for [price] a day. Did you want to reserve one today?”

Caller: “Yeah, I’ll take it! Is there, like, a passenger limit?”

Me: “There are only seat belts for up to five people.”

Caller: “Is that a strictly enforced rule or like a guideline?”

Me: “Well… it’s really safety and plain common sense not to have passengers riding without seat belts, especially in such a small vehicle. How many passengers do you have?”

Caller: “Well… there are twelve of us total.”

Me: “FOR A COUPE?!”

Yes, I suggested our vans. No, he wasn’t interested. And no, I didn’t book his reservation.

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This Story Starts With A Tornado And Gets Worse

, , , , , , | Right | May 28, 2021

Caller: “Why are you advertising tours that aren’t available?

Me: “What’s the problem?”

Caller: “I booked an excursion on a boat with my wife for our anniversary, and when I arrived, they said they weren’t doing any more tours! We both took two days off work for this cruise, got up at two in the morning, and drove seven hours for nothing!”

Me: “I’m terribly sorry about that—”

Caller: “This is your fault! You advertised something that wasn’t even available! I want a refund and two vouchers for a free tour of our choice!”

Me: “Let me call the tour operator and find out what happened—”

Caller: “They even told me that they called you and specifically told you that they weren’t offering the tour anymore and asked you to remove the advertisement!”

That’s a lie. Tour vendors are responsible for the accuracy of the information posted on our portal, and THEY are responsible for removing any service that has been discontinued. Our company simply makes the booking and sends the vendor the proceeds, minus the commission.

Me: “Let me call them—”

Caller: “How about you just give me two free tours and I’ll let you keep your job?”

Me: *Flipping off the phone* “Please hold.”

I call the vendor. They called the customer to inform them that the boat trip had been cancelled because of a TORNADO WARNING, and the customer threw a screaming fit, despite being sent two tickets by the vendor on their dime.

Me: “Okay, thank you for holding. We do apologize, but these circumstances were out of our control.”

I explain the obvious safety reasons.

Me: “I’ve gone ahead and put your refund through.”

Caller: “And you have nothing to offer to make up for the seven hours I drove, and the time I took off for work just for this cruise?”

Me: “Aside from the fact that you were already given two free vouchers by the vendor for their services, I’m seriously curious as to why on earth you and your wife would take time off of work, get up at two in the morning, and drive seven hours for — according to the ticket information — a forty-minute long boat trip for $10?”

Caller: *Click*

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Directing Them Away From Us

, , , , | Right | May 28, 2021

I work for a moving company. A customer comes in at the last minute with no reservation.

Customer: “I need you to move my boxes. I need it done today.”

Me: “Sorry, sir, we’re fully booked for the next week. Our next availability is—”

Customer: “Well, then, if you don’t value my service, I’ll just go to [Competitor].”

Me: “Great! They are two blocks south of here, on [Street]. Can’t miss ‘em!”

The customer stands there frazzled for a moment, not expecting his bluff to be called.

Me: “Need directions?”


This story is part of our Best Of May 2021 roundup! This is the last story in this roundup, but if you’d like to read more of our favorite stories, you can always check out April’s roundup next!

Read the next Best Of May 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of May 2021 roundup!

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