All Aboard The Guilt Bus!

, , , , , | Working | February 18, 2021

This takes place at the beginning of spring before masks become mandatory in my province but are still recommended in public, confined places. I am running late for the bus and have my mask in my hand as I sprint to the bus stop. The driver sees me running, stops the bus, and waits for me.

I board the bus and dig in my pocket to get some change. I haven’t put my mask on yet, as I find it hard to breathe through it when running. The drivers have these huge plastic curtains for these situations. This driver has his curtain pulled to the side, put away.

Driver: “Hi, how’re you today?”

As I put change in the terminal:

Me: “Great. Running a little late, though. Thanks for waiting.”

Driver: “Yeah, you can show your gratitude by not killing my grandma.”

He makes a gesture to his own paper mask. I chuckle awkwardly, putting on my cloth mask.

Me: “Don’t worry, sir. I’m not planning on doing that.”

The driver mumbled an apology and didn’t say anything for the rest of the ride.

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Not A Customer-Employee Matcha Made In Heaven

, , , , , | Working | February 18, 2021

My friend and I are sitting in a coffee shop and have ordered our drinks. Despite not being busy, it seems to take a long time for anyone to get served. We grab a table in sight of the collection area and wait… and wait and wait.

Eventually, they call our names and I collect the drinks. We chat for a bit and then I take a sip.

It’s a matcha (tea) latte, and while normally bitter, this tastes just wrong. I grab some sweetener and it gets worse the more I drink. Even the colour is wrong; it’s normally light green but this looks brown. I go up to the counter to try to get it sorted.

After a long wait to get served, I explain.

Me: “I’m sorry, but this is disgusting. It is brown and so bitter I can’t drink it.”

Barista #1: *Dripping with sarcasm* “Yeah, that would be the coffee in it.”

Me: “What? It’s a tea; there is no coffee in there.”

Barista #1: *Sighs* “Look, if you don’t like the drink, you shouldn’t order it.”

Me: “I do like the drink, but it’s disgusting. Do you have a manager here?”

Barista #1: *Smirking* “I’m the manager on duty today.”

Me: “You know what? I’ll just talk to someone who knows what they are talking about.”

She waves me off sarcastically. I ring the corporate phone line and explain that the “manager” managed to put coffee in my tea and that they just didn’t seem to care. They give me a large gift card, and I return the next week to spend it.

Me: “Can I get a matcha latte, please?”

Barista #2: “Sure.”

Me: “Oh, and no coffee in that, please.”

Barista #2: “Sorry?”

Me: “Last time, someone put coffee in it.”

Barista #2:  “Don’t worry sir, there’s no one here that will make that mistake again.”

I’m not sure what happened to the sarcastic manager, but I never saw her there again.

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Their Organizational Skills Are Just Depressing

, , , , , | Working | February 17, 2021

I was on antidepressants five to eight years ago but have been off them for a few years. Recently, however, I haven’t been coping and my friends have encouraged me to make a doctor’s appointment. When I try to book online and select “mental health consultation,” the website tells me I can’t book this appointment type online and will have to call their office. After getting up the nerve to make the phone call…

Me: “Hi, I’d like to make an appointment for a mental health consultation.”

Receptionist: “Okay. What was your name?”

Me: “[My Name].”

Receptionist: “I notice that you used to see [Doctor #1]. He doesn’t consult here anymore. If you’d like to see him, you’ll have to call his current practice.”

I feel like she is about to hang up on me. I’m actually glad that [Doctor #1] doesn’t work there anymore as he refused to prescribe me medication for months the first time around, and I know medication is what I need once again.

Me: “No, that’s okay. I can see any doctor.”

Receptionist: “All right, I have nothing this week. How about next Wednesday at 3:00 pm?”

Me: “That’s perfect. Thank you.”

Receptionist: “Okay, you’re booked in with [Doctor #2] for next Wednesday, second December.”

Two hours later, I receive a missed call from the doctor’s office and have to get up the courage to call again. The same receptionist answers, though she obviously has no recollection of the previous call. After verifying who I am…

Receptionist: “Now, unfortunately, we will have to reschedule your appointment as [Doctor #2] is going away next week and will be away for quite some time, two to three months. What was the appointment for?”

Me: “It was a mental health consultation.”

Receptionist: “I see. Is it urgent? Do you want to wait until she gets back from overseas?”

I don’t even know [Doctor #2]!

Me: “No, that’s fine. I can see any doctor.”

Receptionist: “All right, I can get you in for the same day, a bit later. What was the reason we had you down to see both a doctor and a nurse?”

Me: “I don’t know. You booked it that way.”

Receptionist: “Let’s make it 3:45 on the same day so that you can see both [Doctor #3] and a nurse.”

Me: *Gives up* “Okay, thank you.”

Seriously? I’m sure you make dozens of appointments each day so you wouldn’t necessarily remember mine, but there is no way you didn’t know two hours ago that one of your practitioners was going to be away for months! And I understand that there may be some reasons why you can’t book a mental health consultation online, but then why isn’t it marked as one when the booking is made over the phone? And no, mental health appointments can NEVER be pushed back by months. And I still don’t know why I’m seeing a nurse.

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The Grind Keeps Starting Younger And Younger

, , , , , | Working | February 17, 2021

My daughter has special needs and receives SSI — Supplemental Security Income — which is a federal supplemental program, funded by tax revenues for the disabled and seniors with little or no income. I do work and make wages but my daughter still qualifies because I am within the federal poverty level. Before the sixth of every month, I have to go to the office to submit proof of my wages — paystubs. Since the start of the health crisis, the office is closed to the public, but I am still required to submit my wages.

I am what is called a “Representative Payee” on behalf of my daughter and can’t use the wage reporting app because it clearly states that the SSI recipient is the only one that can report with the app. After several months, I finally receive word that I can report my wages by faxing; I just have to include all information on the fax cover sheet. After a few months of reporting, I receive a letter saying that they’re canceling my daughter’s SSI because of “changes in the household that show there is no need for the benefit.”

Under the suggestion of my mom, I call the general SSA number instead of calling the local office; it is after 4:00 pm on a Friday. I wait on hold for close to an hour before finding an agent who looks up my daughter’s account and instantly realizes what happened.

Agent: “It seems whoever input your wages also input the same wages for your daughter. But how is your daughter making a wage when she’s only six?” *After some typing* “I put a note to your local SSA office to correct the mistake.”

Here is the problem I have with my local SSA office: every time I go there, different workers have told me to do a certain action or sign some paperwork, and either the paperwork gets lost or is incorrect, or I wasn’t supposed to do the action they told me to do in the first place. As a consequence, I have to pay back an overpayment because of their misinformation. (I do not object to paying back what doesn’t belong to my daughter.) They sometimes send me paperwork that belongs to other people and even put another child’s name on a letter instead of my daughter’s. Because of all these problems, I try to deal with the SSA office as minimally as possible.

A few days later, I receive a letter from the local office with the same date as the first letter, saying my daughter’s wages and my wages are too high to receive benefits. I decide to call the local office to see if they made the changes to my daughter’s account. When I finally get through to a live person, I explain to her the situation. At first, she doesn’t see anything wrong. This goes on for a few minutes, until I finally get her to understand the problem.

Me: “My daughter is six and doesn’t make wages, but you have listed that she makes the same wages I make.”

Worker: “Ma’am, you need to understand how the letter is read. We break down your income and show you that you make too much for your daughter to receive SSI. We know your daughter doesn’t make wages. You need to read the letter carefully.”

Me: “Your letter says my daughter’s wages are [amount] for the month and my wages are [same amount]. Look. I already called the main SSA number and the agent already found the problem and wrote a note for your office to correct it. Where is the note?”

The worker became quiet, except for the sound of typing, and asked if I could be put on a brief hold. After a few minutes, the worker returned and informed me that whoever had input the wages thought that they had to input the wage information under both my daughter and me, being that we are a part of the same household. The worker informed me they had fixed the mistake and my daughter would continue to receive her benefits. When we did receive the benefits, it was only half of what was expected, so I had to call the local office again. I did receive the second half a few days later. I never did find out why the note that was sent to them from the SSA was never abided.

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No, Thanks, We’ve Already Got Enough

, , , , , | Working | February 17, 2021

It’s my second day as a bookseller at a large chain bookstore. Right now, we have an event where, when a customer makes a purchase, they can also buy a small paperback children’s book, which the store keeps (with a gift receipt) and then donates to children in need. We’re supposed to ask customers if they would like to donate a book to a child in our county.

I’ve just finished training on the register and a customer approaches. My manager tells me to check him out, so I do.

Me: “Okay, your total is [total]. Would you like to donate a child to… Wait…”

The customer chuckles, and I take a moment to figure out where that sentence went wrong and correct it before finishing the transaction.

Later, I tell my mom about it.

Mom: “There were a few times when you were younger where I would’ve liked to donate a child!” 

Thanks, Mom.

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