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A Few Cards Short Of An App

, , , , | Friendly | January 26, 2023

A friend of mine wants to meet my husband and me to talk about something, and she brings her boyfriend. Apparently, [Boyfriend] has a business idea.

I feel a slight dread, as I’ve had people try to pitch me pyramid schemes before. I don’t think she’s that stupid, though, and luckily, this isn’t it.

[Boyfriend] has an idea for an amazing card game he invented, and he wants to make it into an app. They need someone able to program it, however, and as both my husband and I know programming, they’ve come to us.

Boyfriend: “I’ve tested this game with many friends of mine, and they all love it! I think we could make some real money from making an app.”

Me: “So, how do you intend to market it? There are a lot of card game apps out there already. We are both against micro-purchases, and games are a big hobby for us, so we wouldn’t want to create something like that. And it would be difficult to sell an app that isn’t free. Will you have commercials?”

Boyfriend: “Oh, we wouldn’t have that. We want it to be commercial-free. And no, it wouldn’t cost or have micro-purchases. Instead, people will pay to have different appearances and such, to feel exclusive.”

Me: “Those are micro-purchases.”

Boyfriend: “Oh, but it wouldn’t affect the game or how well you do.”

Husband: “Still, it would be a lot harder to program if you need to keep track of logins and purchases. Also, you have to adapt both to Android and Apple; they have different payments for publishing an app, as well.”

Boyfriend: “Yes, well, I work in sales, and I know a guy with his own business. It will take a year before we start to make an earning, but I’ll do all the marketing myself, so we don’t have to pay too much money for it. We were hoping you could sponsor some of it, as we don’t have much money right now, and then we’ll share the profit.”

Me: “Well, we aren’t really rich, either. Besides, it would take a long time to develop an app with only the two of us, as we wouldn’t have much time to work on it, and we have kids at home…”

Boyfriend: “Yeah, well, we would need to work hard for a year, and then we can reap the profits! Now, I am thinking I will take a larger portion since it is my idea, but you’ll get a good deal.”

Me: “So, you want us to develop an app from scratch and help finance everything, but you’ll take the bigger part?”

Boyfriend: “Yes. I’ll steer the ship and do all the marketing! I just need help to fund it and to create the app itself.”

There is silence for a while. We eventually tell him we’re too busy and that if we were to spend time on something like that, we’d find it more fun to do one of our own ideas, as we have plenty of them.

Eventually, they leave in a good mood; we are friends after all.

Husband: “He wanted us to do most of the work, all according to his wishes, he wanted to be the boss, and then he’d reap the money because it is his idea? Having ideas is the easy part! I have hundreds!”

Me: “Well, he is a salesman; perhaps he hoped to work his sales technique on us.”

Husband: “If that is his sales technique, I would rather have you do the marketing. At least you’re educated in it.”

True, funny enough. He knew very well of my studies and still never actually said how he was going to market the app.

I still haven’t heard anything about him getting an app developed.

You Don’t Choose The Cat; The Cat Chooses You, Part 2

, , , , , , | Related | January 11, 2023

My cat grew up as a street tom before we took him in (and washed him, got him his shots, and had him snipped).

We were often warned that a rather boisterous street cat doesn’t go well with a baby, so maybe we should get rid of the cat when I got pregnant. But that cat was abandoned enough, so we figured he’d get a chance, at least.

[Cat] protected me during pregnancy and would sleep at my side (my belly’s side).

[Cat] loves [Baby]. If I pulled [Cat]’s tail, I’d probably get an eye out; [Baby]’s allowed. I didn’t leave them alone together at first — of course not — but it seems [Cat] was more worried as to whether I was allowed alone with the baby. He slept at the foot of the baby bed and checked anyone approaching. [Cat] comes running like a bat out of Hades if the baby so much as whimpers.

As [Baby] is now a toddler, he’s allowed to walk [Cat] on his leash. [Cat] keeps close and polite, without pulling, as he does not with me. And he still sleeps with [Baby].

I wish I’d had a pet like that when I was growing up; he’s more like a guardian spirit than a regular cat. I somehow think if [Baby] ever gets bullied, the bully will have a faceful of cat before I even manage to intervene.

You Don’t Choose The Cat; The Cat Chooses You

Bad Management Really Revs My Anger Engines

, , , , , , | Legal | December 20, 2022

I’m working at a call centre. Our company is taken over and our upper-level management leaves, replaced by medium-level managers from the new parent company.

Our terms and conditions of employment are very good, not just for a call centre but in general. The new company’s terms are… less so. Thanks to European Union employment law, they can’t make our jobs redundant because they’d need to hire people to do those jobs and the only people they’d be allowed to hire would be us, on the same terms and conditions.

My boss’s boss has a way around this, however. She just makes all of us very, very miserable. Impossible targets are set. Mistakes as small as typos are treated as gross misconduct. She very publicly conducts interviews for people to replace us, down to introducing the candidates to us and saying that they’ll be taking our jobs because we’re useless.

[Boss’s Boss] introduces a new rule: for staff flexibility, so she can alter our hours of work at will, we must all have our own transport — we cannot use the local buses and trains. I come in by bus every day, but I go out and buy a stinker of a secondhand car to come to work in.

Eventually, one by one, the staff from the old company leave, either on their own in disgust or by being fired for gross misconduct like making typos in the non-public notes fields in the computer system.

I eventually walk out, the last of the old staff, when I’m dressed down in front of everybody for being two minutes late during a snowstorm when I was asked to come in on my day off to cover others who couldn’t come in due to a snowstorm.

Cut to a year later. I’m happy in a new and better job, but I still have my terrible old car. It has developed yet another fault: on starting, it runs for a minute or so and then loses power, requiring the engine to be gunned for a minute to get it working again. I only use the car for trips to the supermarket, having gone back to using the bus for my new job, but I book it in to have it repaired.

While it’s with the mechanic, I get a knock at the door. It’s the police.

Police: “Do you drive a [Car]?”

Me: “Yes. It’s in with [Local Mechanic]. Is there a problem?”

Police: “Were you at [Supermarket] last week?

Me: “Yes, on Tuesday, I think. After work, probably about 6:00 pm.”

Police: “Did you see a woman in the car park?”

Me: “Not that I remember. Nobody specific, anyway.”

Police: “We’ve had reports that you stopped in front of a specific woman and threatened to run her over. She was terrified.”

Me: “Blimey! It wasn’t me, but poor thing. Why?”

Police: “Do you have a former boss that you hate? Someone you’d like to run over?”

Me: “Not that I know of! I’ve had my fair share of terrible bosses, but nobody I’d threaten.”

Police: “Is one of those bosses called [Boss’s Boss]?”

Me: “Umm, possibly. I did have a terrible boss called [Boss’s Boss] about a year or so ago. Well, she was my boss’s boss. Awful person. [Boss’s Boss] Green? [Boss’s Boss] Brown? [Boss’s Boss] Gold? It was something like that.”

Police: “So, you do know the complainant?”

Me: “Oh, it was her? Yeah, but she lives in [City thirty miles away] I think, so… I’m confused now.”

Police: “You saw her and revved your engine at her and tried to run her down?”

Me: “In [City thirty miles away]? No. And also, no, not at all.”

Police: “Well, she lives here now and says you did. Wait. Why is your car in the shop again?”

Me: “It’s got a weird power failure; the engine needs gunning to get it to work, so I’m having it repair— Oh.”

Police: “Oh.”

Me: “So, err, [Boss’s Boss] lives here now, does she? I thought my old company went bankrupt?”

Police: “Yes, after she bought a house here. She’s unemployed and convinced that her old staff is out to get her.”

Me: “Poor thing! She was a terrible boss, but she was only terrible because of the circumstances we were all in. And she thinks that I was trying to run her down?”

Police: “Well, she was in the entrance to the supermarket, saw you revving your engine, and assumed that you were doing it at her and would run her down later as you know where she lives.”

Me: “Oh, bless her. She was a terrible manager, but I’ve not even thought about her once in a year or so. I’m sorry I scared her, if I did.”

Police: “I don’t think you did. I think she was perhaps a bit… Well, anyway, we’ve got other people to see that have been harassing her. We won’t take up any more of your time.”

Part of me feels sorry for her. Part of me hopes she was charged with wasting police time.

It Takes A Village (Priest)

, , , , | Friendly | December 1, 2022

I’m doing a study for which I need to interview residents of a few towns and villages who identify as [Nationality] and can speak [Language]. For that, I usually try to contact the local priest, since he usually knows best where to look for interviewees — and, since I’m of the same faith as them, it’s an additional icebreaker with the [Nationality]’s community if I meet them at church. 

I’m in [Town] and have been told that [Town Priest] will be at the church today. As I approach the church, I see a priest walking to his car and hurry toward him.

Me: “I’m so sorry. Are you the priest?”

Priest: *Flabbergasted* “Yes.”

I begin to explain about my research.

Priest: “I’m not [Town Priest]. I’m [Village Priest] from [Village].”

Just… my… luck…

With lots of awkward mumbling from me, the situation was cleared up, and he agreed when I asked him if I could visit [Village], too; it’s got many [Language] speakers, as well. Then, I finally went to the church and met with [Town Priest], too, who was there already. 

Only later did I realize how it must have looked like to [Village Priest]. With me running toward him in such a hurry and asking if he was a priest, he probably thought someone was in dire need of last rites!

No Love In This Family Business

, , , , , | Working | November 23, 2022

I used to work in a small coffee shop, part of a chain owned by a bakery. This was a family business, and our immediate boss was [Family Member #1], who used to work in our shop two days a week to keep an eye on the operations.

Our coffee shop had maybe ten seats, and we had a lot of takeout customers. We made most of the pastries from frozen dough, which means we had to give them time to thaw and rise, and then we filled and baked them and finally applied frosting. They were super delicious, made with lots of butter and sugar! We also served coffee and other drinks. There weren’t any single-use cups or plates. Everything had to be washed — by hand — so there was plenty to do, in addition to customer service and cleaning tables.

Sundays were often busy. Normally, there were at least two of us working, often more. However, one Sunday, several people got sick and I was the only one available. [Family Member #1] called me in the morning and told me to just do my best. She said that [Family Member #2] would drop in later and give me a hand.

I worked so hard! And I did well! [Family Member #2] came in the afternoon, took a coffee and a pastry, and sat down at one of the tables. I had not had time to clean all the tables, so I was relieved and thought that she would help me with that. So, I decided to focus on baking and customer service instead of cleaning tables around her. She sat there for a long time, and then she took some of the cups and dishes from her own table, brought them in to me… and left!

I was disappointed but kept going. The day ended. I was exhausted but very proud of myself.

The next day, [Family Member #1] called me. I was expecting that she would thank me, but instead, she said:

Family Member #1: “[Family Member #2] was disappointed that you had not cleaned the tables better.”

Me: “I was doing the work of two or three people by myself. All day.”

Family Member #1: “That’s no excuse.”

The lesson I learned: don’t work too hard; you will not be thanked for it anyway. Also, time to find a new job.

The lesson she should have learned but never did: it is not easy to replace hard-working people! When your staff is going above and beyond to keep your business running, the least you should do is say thank you. That might be the difference between keeping them or losing them.