Time To Give Each Other Some Space

, , , , , , | Friendly | October 9, 2017

My girlfriend and I have just moved into a new flat, where we have an allocated, clearly-marked parking space.

We’re some of the first people in the new building to move in, and it’s clear that the owner of a business across the street has been using our car park to avoid the on-street parking charges while the building wasn’t occupied. She parks her brand new, but bottom of the range, BMW in our space. We leave her notes asking her not to do it again, and eventually as our paths cross, I confront her about it.

“But that space is the biggest, and I don’t want my pride and joy being scratched by parking it on the street,” she protests.

I make it clear that it is my space; I have paid for it, and will get her car towed if she does it again. Of course, she does. I don’t have time to call the management company, as we’re off on holiday, but I park my car directly in front of hers, so there’s no way she can get out.

Two weeks later, we return, and both cars are still there. I have a succession of notes through my front door, ranging from nasty: “If you don’t move your car I’ll SMASH IT WITH A HAMMER!” to pleading: “I’m so sorry; please just let me get my car out and I’ll never do it again.”

We pop out to the shops in our car, and when we return, the woman’s car is gone. We get a lockable post to stop it happening again, and I mention the story to the barber in the shop next to hers, who happens to be our neighbour. “Oh, that was you?!” he says. “This cut’s free. She’s been doing this to everyone round here for ages. For the last two weeks, she’s had to get the bus home. She won’t stop complaining about how someone like her shouldn’t have to ride the bus.”

A Standing Order To Get Themselves Into Trouble

, , , , , | Working | October 9, 2017

(I am female, married, and have two bank accounts: one jointly with my husband, and one just in my own name. The phone rings and I answer.)

Bank Employee: “Hi, could I speak to Mr. [Name], please?”

Me: “Can I ask who this is and what it’s about?”

Bank Employee: “I’m from your bank, and I would like to discuss your account and perhaps saving him some money.”

Me: “It’s a joint account, and I’m his wife, so you can talk to me.”

Bank Employee: “I’d prefer to speak to Mr. [Name]. We’ve noticed that some of your standing orders would benefit from having their dates changed.

(He then names several standing orders, including three which go from my own personal account, NOT our joint one!)

Me: “Sorry, but did you say standing orders [#1, #2, and #3]?”

Bank Employee: “Yes, that’s right.”

Me: “You do realise they’re on my account? Would you have included them if my husband had answered the phone?”

Bank Employee: “Yes, certainly. It would be much more efficient if they all came from the one account instead.”

Me: “…”

(Hopefully, after I’d had a word with the manager, this employee will come to realise the consequences of being willing to discuss private, confidential account details with someone who isn’t the account holder. This bank also consistently asks to speak with my husband, even though he has nothing to do with the finances and doesn’t even have a debit card!)

Darwinism In Effect

, , , , , | Hopeless | October 6, 2017

The museum I love to visit has a huge central hall, with a big staircase at the back that splits to both sides about halfway up. On that landing, there’s a statue of Charles Darwin. Until quite recently, the view of the statue from the front of the hall was obscured by Dippy, a life-sized model of a Diplodocus skeleton, so to first time visitors, the Darwin statue would come as a surprise.

One time when I was visiting the museum, I was standing to the side of the hall near the stairs, not looking at anything in particular, when I saw three teenage girls passing Dippy on the way to the staircase.

As soon as they saw the statue of Darwin, their whole demeanour changed. They started squealing as if they’d just seen a boy band there, and then they raced each other up the stairs and took selfies with Charles Darwin.

Seeing that kind of happy nerdage at a time when mindless entertainment and pseudoscience seem to be on the rise everywhere really gave me hope for the world.

Hell-oumi

, , , , , | Working | October 6, 2017

My friends and I went to a pub for a meal, as the boys wanted somewhere they could also watch the football while eating. The pub had a new menu out, and I ordered a grilled halloumi salad that sounded nice, but asked for no tomatoes.

The first time the salad came out, it had lots of tomatoes, had ingredients that weren’t even in the description, and the halloumi wasn’t grilled. I sent it back, telling them what was wrong. The second time, the tomatoes were gone, to be replaced by raw onions, which I don’t like either. Again, the onions weren’t in the menu description. The halloumi still wasn’t cooked. I sent it back yet again. By this point, everyone in the table was eating and enjoying their food, and I was so hungry I was picking off their plates. The third time the salad came, the halloumi was half-cooked, and the salad consisted of leaves and a few cucumbers. I was incensed; the poor waiter could see that and offered me something else off the menu. I opted for a hunter’s chicken, which is chicken, cheese, and bacon smothered in barbeque sauce. It came with chips and salad.

It was now over an hour since we ordered. I was ready to gnaw off my hand due to hunger, everybody had finished their food, and I had work in half an hour. When my plate came, the chicken was rubbery, the bacon was half-cooked, and the chips were soggy and cold. The kicker? There were tomatoes in my salad.

Oh, Mother!

, , , , , | Related | October 5, 2017

(I work in a reception class at this time, for kids aged four to five. We have just finished saying goodbye to all the children when we hear a noise from the toilets. We investigate, and find the little brother of one of our students happily playing with the water in the sink. All the parents have gone at this point, so I am sent to go and call the parent while my colleagues entertain the child. I try the first number we have for our student, but get no answer, so I leave a message:)

Me: “Hi. This is [My Name] from [School]. When you have picked up [Student], you left [Brother] behind. He is safe and I didn’t want you to panic. Can you call me back when you get this message?”

(After five or ten minutes of no response, I try the second number, listed as “Grandma.”)

Me: “Hi, [Grandma], this is [My Name] at [School]. I was hoping you could help. I have got [Brother] here; I think [Mother] has left him here when picking up [Student], but I can’t get through to her. Can I just check her number with you?

Grandma: “I ain’t dealing with that b****; she can f*** right off.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that, but do you have her number so I can get in touch?”

Grandma: “I deleted that b****.” *hangs up*

(I go and explain the situation to my colleagues and relieve the colleague watching [Brother], who needs to pick up her own children, leaving me and the teacher. I try the first number again, and this time there is no answer at all. The phone just rings out. Finally, over thirty minutes after the children were all collected, we decide to find the mother’s old contact information, which includes a work number.)

Me: “Hi. Is [Mother] there, please?”

Employee: “No. I think she used to work here, but I have only been here about six months.” *shouting in the background* “Yeah, she used to work here. Why? What’s up?”

Me: “This is [My Name] from [School]. I don’t suppose she left any contact information?”

Employee: “I couldn’t tell you if she did.”

Me: “I understand that. If she did, could someone ring her and let her know she has left something important at School], and ask her to ring me?” *trying to stress the importance of the matter, without outright saying she forgot her kid*

Employee: “Yeah, I will try.”

(I explain the situation to the teacher, who is cutting up some of her lunch to share with [Brother] as he is moaning he is hungry. It is now nearly an hour after school has finished.)

Me: “Should we be ringing social services?”

Teacher: “Give them a call and see what they think.”

(The phone suddenly rings. It’s [Mother].)

Mother: “I got a call to ring [My Name].”

Me: “Yeah, that’s me. I’m glad you got my message. I am at [School] with [Brother]. Are you on your way back to get him?”

Mother: “What? He’s not in his pushchair?” *noise in background as she checks* “Oh, well, I am in town at the minute with [Student]. I will be there in 10 to 15 minutes.” *hangs up*

(Twenty minutes later, there was still no sign of [Mother], no answer on her phone or [Grandma]’s, and social services advised to just wait for her. Nearly two hours after school has finished, the lights started going off and they began locking the doors. I left a message on [Mother]’s phone explaining the situation, and telling her that the teacher found a car seat and we were going to bring [Brother] to her at home. We reached the address we have on file, and wouldn’t you know, according to the new tenants [Mother] hadn’t lived there for at least two months. Eventually, two-and-a-half hours after school closed, we ended up sat in social services’ reception, waiting for [Mother] and/or the police to collect the child. [Mother] eventually turned up and collected [Brother] without so much as a thank you or explanation, and proceeded to shout at the social workers and storm out when they tried to find out what had happened. I wish I could say that this was the worst family I ever worked with.)

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