Backpack Pushback

, , , , | Working | July 30, 2019

(Our state fair offers booth space to businesses to advertise products and services. The non-profit office I work for participates every year and gives out thousands of small promotional items for free. Our giveaway items range from stickers, to pencils, to chip clips, to drawstring canvas backpacks. Naturally, the larger items like the backpacks are the most popular. We’re told to push the giveaways, but to allow each person only one of each item. While I’m volunteering at the booth, a woman runs up the table:)

Woman: “Hi! I work at that booth right over there, and that gentleman just bought some things from me, and I’m all out of bags! Could I have one of these to give him?” *grabs a backpack from the table*

Me: “Well, I’m not sure…”

Woman: “Oh, please? Please? He really needs it to carry his things. Please? Can I just take this one bag for him?”

(I think about it for a moment and don’t see any harm in letting her have one bag. It’s still free advertising for us, after all, so I agree.)

Me: “Sure, I suppose that’s all right. You can take that one.”

Woman: “Oh, thank you so much! Thank you!”

(She holds it up and runs back over to the man.)

Woman: “I have a bag for you! Here you go! Here’s a bag!”

(All is well, and I turn back to our own customers… but several minutes later the woman reappears. She immediately lays her hands on the stack of canvas bags.)

Woman: “Hello again! I’ve got more customers and they really need bags for their things. Can I have a couple more? Please, for my customers?”

Me: *repeating my instructions for the giveaway items* “I’m sorry, we’re really only supposed to give away one per person.”

Woman: “But I’m not keeping them! They’re for my customers! They need bags! And I’m all out! Can I just take a couple more, for my customers?”

(I know if I don’t put my foot down, she’ll be asking for bags every time she makes a sale, so I offer a workaround.)

Me: “No, I’m sorry. But they’re welcome to come and visit our booth, and if they’d like to choose some of our giveaway items, including the bags, that would be okay.”

Woman: *disappointedly* “Oh. So, I can’t have even one more bag?”

Me: “No. But your customers are welcome to come and get one from us themselves.”

Woman: “Oh. All right.”

(I watched her ask a couple more nearby booths for bags and then walk back to her customers empty-handed. The customers took their things and left, and didn’t even pass by our booth. Thankfully, that ended other sellers trying to put their own products in our free backpacks!)

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Taking A Friendly Service To The Next Level

, , , | Working | July 12, 2019

(I am flying by myself, and I am boarding the plane. I hand my boarding pass to the stewardess.)

Stewardess: “Okay, down here and on the right. And is that for both of you?”

Me: “Both of us?”

Stewardess: “Huh? Oh, sorry, I thought I saw two boarding passes and assumed the lady behind you was with you.”

Me: “Oh, no. Unfortunately, I don’t appear to have any friends.”

(I’m smiling and obviously joking. The stewardess doesn’t react, so I assume my pretty lame attempt at humour has fallen flat or she’s heard this kind of joke before, so I thank her and start to head down the aisle. Then, I hear the lady who’s been behind me speaking to the stewardess.)

Lady: *laughing* “Aw, she doesn’t have any friends on the flight.”

Stewardess: “Wait, is that what she said? Hey! We’ll be your friends! You have friends now!”

(I turned around; she was giving me a thumbs up while the lady was laughing. I’d been in a good mood already, but that made my day.)

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Don’t Freak About The Leak

, , , , , , | Working | February 4, 2019

My dad was a police officer back when local “bobbies”’ were given houses with outpost offices attached to them so they could technically work 24/7 and serve the community. This meant that the house was rent-free — just bills to pay — but if anything needed work it had to go through the police and their repair request system. When we discovered a leak in the upstairs toilet, it was reported, and they sent two plumbers over the course of a month to fix it.

Just before we were due to go away on a family holiday, we discovered a leak in the upstairs toilet that we thought had been fixed a week previously. Another plumber was sent, and as I was at home from college for the summer holiday, and I’m nosy, I got chatting with the plumber whilst he was working. I mentioned how many times this leak had happened and he replied that he was “the guy who gets sent out when everyone else has failed.” He sorted the issue, showed me there was no leak, and left. We were happy, no more leaks happened, and a week or so later we headed out for our holiday.

Two weeks later, we arrived home around ten or eleven pm. My parents were tired as they had been driving for almost twelve hours at that point — we had driven back from a very rural part of France — and my sister and I were tired as we hadn’t been able to sleep properly in the car, which is why none of us could believe that we were hearing a weird noise coming from the house. My dad opened the door and water spilled out!

The entire ground floor was flooded, our post was bobbing around the place like ducks on a pond, there were tide marks on the wall over one foot high, there was a massive hole in the kitchen ceiling — below our bathroom, in case you hadn’t guessed where this was going — and a half-decent waterfall was pouring through it.

After much swearing and freaking out, my mum found a way to shut the water off and Dad phoned the police residential management people on their emergency number and after clarifying that no, this was not a joke, they sent someone out. That someone was some guy that suggested seeing if we could find a way to turn the power on so we could “at least have a cup of tea”!

Eventually, it was agreed that we couldn’t stay there, so we had to find a hotel, and by this time it is almost midnight on a Thursday. My dad later explained that before we found our holy grail of a hotel, the four others we went to first claimed there was no room at the inn and they had conferences. There weren’t conferences, just to clarify; I think they just didn’t want to deal with my tired, upset, and irked dad that late at night.

The next day a plumber came out to sort the toilet. My dad is a chatty guy, and so naturally got talking to the plumber, expressing his amazement that this had happened. Before he even looked at the toilet he tried to blame us by saying it was because we had used one of those bleach blocks you could clip onto the toilet bowl. My dad had to show him that we didn’t have any of those before he’d let it go.

The plumber then got to work and explained that, in a nutshell, whoever was there last dropped a part down the toilet — he eventually fished it out and showed my dad — and that they either didn’t realise or didn’t tell anyone. This caused a blockage, which in turn caused the pipe to burst.

At that point, I came out of my room, stopped by to see what they’re talking about, saw the guy, and grabbed my dad. I recognised him as the plumber who had come out in the first place! I quietly told my dad who the man was, and what he had said to me previously. Dad let the guy fix the issue and leave before calling the company up to check that he was the same person who had been sent out last — he was — and then went to town on them. I’m pretty sure the guy got sacked.

In the end, it took three months to make the house liveable again. In that time, my sister and I had to live with our nan some seventy miles away for the remainder of the school holidays, with our parents visiting us on the weekend. The hotel my parents had been paid to stay in was too far away from any travel links and our friends, and my parents didn’t think it was fair to make us stay in a hotel all day on our own whilst they worked. I ended up losing my part-time job because they didn’t understand why I couldn’t take a train to work — even when I explained it would have cost about £60 when I made minimum wage.

When school started back up, my dad had to argue and fight to get somewhere that was close to my college and my sister’s school because the area was quite expensive and the police didn’t want to pay for it.

Despite how stressful the whole situation ended up being — I could write a book on what happened! — my parents never let it show, which amazes me to this day.

I’ll never get over how we had to go through it at all just because one plumber got butterfingers.

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So Rude You Couldn’t Even Make Up

, , , | Working | January 22, 2019

(This happens on my way to work. I work in a call center where the dress code is business formal. I normally do a pair of black slacks and a cute but nice shirt. Today I am a bit extra and I am in my tan khakis and a red button-up shirt. I top it with my tan deck shoes and even wear an extra shirt to avoid a panty line showing. I stop at a convenience store for a drink before work, the same cashier that always helps me is there he smiles as I approach, and this happens.)

Cashier: “Hey! You look nice today.”

Me: “Oh, thank you. Yeah, decided to be a bit extra today.”

Cashier: *smirks at me* “So, who are you trying to impress, someone in the office?”

Me: “Pardon? Oh, no, I just wanted to look nice; that is all.”

Cashier: “Oh, well, I was about to say, you spent so much time on the outfit and hair but you didn’t apply any makeup; not going to go far.”

Me: *after handing him the drink* “Can you please ring me up? I need to get to work.”

(I don’t know if it was the tone of my voice, but the rest of the transaction was in silence.)

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He Cowers When You Have A Legitimate Argument

, , , , , , | Working | December 10, 2018

(Several friends and I are barhopping. We have just left the first bar and are heading to our next stop. We show the bouncer our IDs. Everyone is let into the bar, except my one friend who is 22. She and I both have Maryland driver’s licenses, but mine was from a few years earlier than hers, so it had the old design, while hers has the new one. After a minute inside the bar, I turn around and realize one of my friends is still standing outside with the bouncer. I go outside to discover that the bouncer has turned away my friend with the newer Maryland driver’s license.)

Me: “What’s the problem?”

Friend: “The bouncer said my ID was fake and won’t let me in.”

Me: “Are you serious?!”

(I grab her ID myself to make sure the holograms are correct and that nothing is wrong.)

Me: “Excuse me, sir, but the holograms on her ID are legit.”

Bouncer: “Yeah, well, so were the ones on the Maryland ID I confiscated last week. I asked her some follow-up questions, and she couldn’t answer them correctly.”

Me: “What did he ask you?”

Friend: “He asked me what the capital of Maryland was. It’s Annapolis, right?”

(My friend got a Maryland’s driver’s license while staying with her sister for a few weeks when she turned 21. She’s a Florida native. I, however, have lived in Maryland for my entire life, minus the past few months since I moved to Florida.)

Me: “Yes, Annapolis is the capital of Maryland. Sir, she answered the question correctly; I’ve lived in Maryland my whole life and can attest that she is correct, but I’d be happy to Google it if you’re still unsure.”

Bouncer: “Doesn’t matter. Took her too long to answer the question. This is my job. Her ID isn’t legit, anyway. She’s not getting in.”

Me: “Let me direct your attention to the wristbands we’re both wearing from the last bar we just came from.”

Bouncer: “That’s great. She’s still not getting in.”

Me: “All right, let’s just clear this up once and for all; can you scan her ID?”

Bouncer: “I have no way of scanning it.”

Me: “Then, technically, you have no way of proving that her license isn’t legit.”

Bouncer: “That isn’t my problem.”

Me: “You know what, we aren’t doing anything wrong. Let me make this easy: I’ll call the police and ask that they send out an officer who can scan her ID to let you know if it’s legitimate. Once that’s proved, you can let her in.”

(I am trying to be helpful, not threatening. But at this point, the bouncer gets a little too close to me and seems angry at my suggestion.)

Me: “Look. I get that your job is to turn away people with fake IDs. If we were a bunch of kids who got caught with a fake, we’d run away. We’d be too scared of our parents finding out or the police getting involved. I offered to call the police myself to fix this situation. Why would I do that if her ID was fake?”

Bouncer: “I don’t know. It isn’t my job to know. It’s my job to check IDs.”

Me: “I can’t help but notice your accent. You’re clearly from the UK, so I can understand your confusion over the laws and capitals of states over here in the US. But you are wrong in this situation. My friend is 22 years old. Her Maryland license is legitimate. The capital of Maryland is Annapolis. You have not been open to reason in any shape or form, so I’m going to go inside, grab all six of my friends who are waiting for us to order drinks, inform the hostess inside that you’re turning away legitimate IDs, and take my friends elsewhere. But I’m going to make d*** sure that the employees inside know that their bouncer is turning away legal-aged customers, who were eager to spend a bunch of money in this establishment.”

(I then turned and walked back into the bar. I marched up to the hostess station and informed her of the situation. She was understandably frazzled, so I told her to let her manager know or to inform her supervisor. As I was talking to the hostess, my friend came up behind me and informed me that she’d gotten in. She claimed that she snuck past the bouncer. But I have a feeling he turned his back long enough to let her go by, without apologizing, to try to get me to stop getting him in trouble. I later contacted the management company that owned that bar. I included an entire transcript of the conversation, the fact that my friends ended up buying around forty shots and ten drinks during our time there — money that would have been spent elsewhere — the conversation I had with the hostess, and information to contact me with any questions. I also included how the bouncer admitted to having confiscated an ID. I looked it up the next day; it is ILLEGAL for a civilian to confiscate an ID, whether it is legit or fake. I made sure to inform the person I spoke to about that. Only a police officer can confiscate any form of ID in the US. Someone reached out to me within two hours of my email with follow-up questions and promises to investigate. I don’t know what happened to that bouncer, but I hope that serious actions were taken.)

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