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A-No-No-Tation

, , | Right | January 17, 2022

A client wants his dissertation laid out for print. It’s a pretty complicated task; it has tons of special characters and specific formatting, so I have lots of trouble with fixing all the little fails in the document.

One step before I am finished (and have already have been paid a fixed price – stupid me!), the publishers find out the author hasn’t even read the annotations of the second reviewer and it has almost a thousand mistakes left in the document that he just ignored. At this point, I have already worked hours for free just to finish this project.

The publishers and I tell him to give me the list with the mistakes, so I can fix them in the fragile, complicated, easy-to-destroy document. He refuses. We try to convince him for weeks. He refuses. We tell him if he does it himself, it will be more work for him, me, and the publishers and will result in a worse-looking book. He refuses.

Client: “I’ll pay 100 extra euros.”

Me: “That’s not even enough for three hours of work, and I will need eight to ten hours to fix what you will be ruining.”

The client goes on with doing whatever he’s doing and ignores me. When I get his document back, it will be h*** for almost no pay. Why can’t they just listen to the professionals?

Weirdly Unfamiliar With Garbage, All Things Considered

, , , | Learning | January 15, 2022

I was doing undergraduate research in a lab, working toward my thesis. The other people were a hard-working, tightly-knit, mutually supportive group, with a few notable exceptions. One of these exceptions was a girl who did not absolutely care one jot beyond her own immediate needs, and a few things she did still stick out in my memory, years later.

One of the postgrads, who was supposed to mentor this girl, vanished during the weekend; he left on Friday afternoon with a curt “bye” and did not show up on Monday… or Tuesday… or Wednesday. We did ask around whether he was ill or inconvenienced, but she did not volunteer any information. Then, the head of the lab, who was not in any way involved with the post-grad, asked [Girl] if she was going to be able to cope doing the project without assistance.

Girl: “Yes, I can manage. [Postgrad] left me all the instructions and notes.”

Head Of Lab: “Oh, so he knew in advance that he was going to be away?”

Girl: “Yes, he’s quit. He told me a week ago that he had found a proper job.”

And we were wondering whether he was in hospital!

We also had to move because the prefab building where the lab was located was literally losing bits of roof. The movers took care of the large stuff but we had to pack the smaller equipment ourselves. [Girl] and I were in charge of wrapping glassware and putting it into boxes. At one point, I saw the corner of a familiar-looking aluminium plate poking out of a black bag. Because it was just the two of us, and I would never throw that away, there could be only one culprit.

Me: “[Girl], that would not be the aluminium plate from [piece of machinery that I used and she did not], would it?”

Girl: “How would I know?! It’s just some garbage.”

Me: “It’s not garbage! It’s important for spreading the heat evenly across the electrophoresis gel. [Girl], just ask before throwing away techware that you don’t know about. We are already on a tight budget without having to replace lost equipment.”

She just shrugged. I took out the aluminium plate, checked whether anything else of value had been chucked out — it had: clamps, gaskets, stirring magnets, and several other bits and bobs of a chemistry lab — and resumed packing.

During the lunch break, [Girl] told everyone who would listen the story of how I was salvaging garbage from the black bags, a thing she found hilarious.

A few years ago, the former lab group had a reunion. I was invited; she wasn’t.

And This Is Why That Law Exists

, , | Right | January 6, 2022

I work at a DIY store. We sell those bottles with propane that you can use for BBQs or whatever you need it for. Since we’re located in Europe, it’s a law that the bottle has a safety valve, so no propane can come out of the bottle as long as nothing is attached to it, even if you open the valve.

One customer thought his bottle was empty. Since you can’t tell if it’s empty or not, I weighed it.

Me: “No, it’s full.”

He then opened the valve and held the flame of a lighter to the valve.

Customer: “See? Nothing happens! It’s empty!”

Me: “Are you stupid?!”

“Good Client”. Sure.

, , , , | Right | January 2, 2022

I work in customer service in a call center for three well-known car brands.

Customer: “My engine broke and has to be replaced. I want you to pay for the repair. This is clearly a manufacturing defect, and I’m a good client!”

Normally, we help loyal/good clients who have done their car’s maintenance on the brand. Often, we do not even care that it has been on the brand, simply that the procedures indicated by the brand have been done. So, we opened the process and contacted the repairman so that he could send us the maintenance invoices and the repair invoice so that we could analyze how much to contribute.

The car was twelve years old, had around 500,000 km (over 300,000 miles) on it, and had had six maintenances done; it should have had twelve. The customer had chosen the most expensive engine possible, and the repair cost more than €10,000.

We had that process open for two weeks because the client kept calling demanding that we pay him 100% of the repair. Obviously, we did not pay him anything. He ended up threatening to take us to court. We told him that a better option was to buy a new car with the money he would spend on lawyers to win that case. We haven’t heard from him again… for now, at least.

Tech-Savvy But Not Hypocrisy-Savvy

, , , , , | Working | November 22, 2021

Our youngest salesman is very tech-savvy. Sadly, he uses his knowledge and connections to unscramble pay-per-view channels, et cetera. He even had “cracked” software on his company laptop at one point, which drove the IT manager nuts.

One day, he comes to the office waxing lyrical about a film that’s just now hitting the theatres. He goes on and on about this magnific, elaborate masterpiece and how it’s a litmus test for the whole movie industry in these difficult times.

Salesman: “…and so everyone is waiting to see if [Film] makes it or breaks it because, if it bombs, producers are never going to risk another big-budget sci-fi movie again.”

Me: “So, it’s big, smart, and beautiful, and even if it wasn’t, we have to go to see it in the theatres to support the Hollywood industry, right?”

Salesman: “Absolutely so.”

Me: “And you downloaded it from a pirate site?”

Salesman: “I, uh, need to go take a leak.”

And he grinned at me in a “You got me” way as he got up. What a miserable scrooge.