The Prize Money Is Only For Those Who Can Prove They Don’t Need It

, , , , , , , | Working | February 7, 2020

(A while back, I went to an event in my city, and with admission to that event, I got a free raffle ticket to use at the booth of my choice. I entered a drawing for a $250 gift card and a three-night resort vacation. I’m used to never winning anything, so I basically forgot about it after that day. That was in late June; it is now early December. I get a letter from the company claiming they’ve tried to reach me by telephone and to call them back to arrange picking up my prizes, so I call that evening after work.)

Employee #1: “I just wanted to congratulate you again on winning! Now, in addition to that gift card, you’ve also won a three-night stay at one of our resorts, [Resort #1] or [Resort #2]. Have you been to either of those before?”

Me: “I have not. Can you tell me a little about them?”

(The employee gives a very long, detailed explanation of both resorts, one of which sounds great for my kids.)

Employee #1: “Do you know which one you’d be more interested in?”

Me: “The second one sounds great!”

Employee #1: “Great choice. I just have to ask you a few more questions. What is your household size?”

Me: “Three.”

Employee #1: “All right, and are you married, unmarried, separated, or engaged?”

Me: “Single.”

Employee #1: “Okay, and is your total annual income over [amount that is fairly modest, but more than what I make currently]?”

Me: “It is not.”

Employee #1: “I’m sorry, but you are not eligible to claim this prize.”

Me: “What? I have to have a certain income to claim a prize I’ve already been selected for? That makes no sense.”

Employee #1: “Yes, part of this vacation is that we require you to attend a short seminar about our time-share options. While a purchase is not necessary, we do require that you have enough income to purchase a time-share in order to attend.”

Me: “You could have saved me a lot of time if you’d started off with that.”

Employee #1: *cheerily, as though this is a great consolation prize* “I’m very sorry, ma’am, but I can keep you on our mailing list in case we have any events with a lower income requirement, though!”

Me: “No. Do not contact me.”

(The employee starts to say something, but I’m so annoyed about the twenty minutes that I wasted on this call, his cheerful attitude about baiting and switching me, and — oh, yeah — apparently being too poor to even WIN a vacation, I just hang up on him without bothering to ask if I’m still wealthy enough to get the $250 gift card. The next day, when my temper has cooled off, I call back; a tiny part of me hopes that the guy told me the wrong information, but mostly I just want to see if there’s anyone in this company who is actually capable of expressing empathy before I go stirring the pot online. I get a different employee this time.)

Me: “Hi. I called yesterday about a prize I had won, and I just want to be extra sure I have the correct information. Can you help me out?”

Employee #2: “Sure, how can I help?”

Me: “I see on the letter here that all terms and conditions still apply, but it has been around six months and I was never given an actual copy, so I can’t say I remember what those terms are. Can you email that to me?”

Employee #2: “I can do that for you. Did you have other questions today?”

Me: “Yes. So, when I take this vacation, I have to attend a seminar about time-shares, correct?”

Employee #2: “That is correct.”

Me: “Am I obligated to purchase a time-share that day?”

Employee #2: “No, absolutely not!”

Me: “Am I obligated to purchase down the road?”

Employee #2: “No, it really is no obligation!”

Me: “So, I just have to listen to this seminar, I don’t have to purchase anything that day, and I won’t be penalized for not purchasing anything later on? I can really just listen to your presentation and then never be forced to look at or think about this ever again?”

Employee #2: “Well, if you decide it’s not for you, that’s fine, but I think you will be very interested in this program!”

Me: “Perhaps… I’m not looking to purchase immediately, but I have been researching different vacation time-share companies.”

Employee #2: “Oh, perfect! You will find we offer better rewards than many other companies!”

Me: “That’s great! The problem is, though, the employee I spoke to yesterday said I need to make over [amount] per year to attend the seminar.”

Employee #2: “Yes, we do require that guests who attend our seminars have the means to actually purchase a time-share.”

Me: “But you said there was no requirement to purchase?”

Employee #2: “There is no requirement, yes.”

Me: “So, someone with no intentions of ever purchasing a time-share can attend the seminar and then enjoy their free vacation, as long as their income is over [amount]?”

Employee #2: “Well… yes…”

Me: “But someone who does have an interest in time-shares, but doesn’t have the income right this second, is not allowed to attend the seminar and therefore not eligible to take the vacation they entered to win?”

Employee #2: “…”

Me: “Do you see why this may not be a great way to get business?”

Employee #2: “Ma’am, I’m very sorry, but those are the terms and conditions that go along with this offer. I cannot make any exception.”

Me: “Gotcha. Thanks anyway.”

(Of course, I have no intention of owning a timeshare at all, especially not with a company I’d never heard of before. But at least now I know to avoid hotels that are associated with this company. Yes, I did forget to ask about the gift card. And no, I did not receive my copy of the terms and conditions… probably because there was no income requirement mentioned at time of entry. Lucky me; it was the first time in my life I’ve ever won anything worth more than $20, and I couldn’t actually have it.)

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Looking At Girls Through Beer Goggles

, , , | Romantic | February 2, 2020

(When I am seventeen, I decide to try to break out of my shell and go out to a fancy-dress street party organized for Carnival in the harbour of my town. I step into the crowd and dance. Soon after doing so, I see a couple of girls looking at me with interest, and after some more dancing I decide to make a move.)

Me: “Hi there!”

Girl: “Hi, would you buy me a drink?”

(While I have heard about offering a drink to somebody else, I have never heard of the opposite, but I immediately assume it means she wants in my pants.)

Me: “Sure, let’s get in line at the shack. What would you like to drink?”

Girl: “Oh, anything’s fine.”

(Since I’m not big on drinking, and since the elderberry liquor I like isn’t popular, I’m a bit worried, but I keep my cool externally. Halfway through the line…)

Me: “Are you really sure that you’re fine with anything?”

Girl: “Of course I am!”

(And so we restart. After quite a bit of time, there are only four people in front of us.)

Me: “Anything in particular you want? They have a bit of everything.”

Girl: “Nah, your choice is all right.”

(Figuring I can’t hold up the line like that, I give up and decide to order a beer for her, as she slips out of the line and waits for me. Thanks to lax IDing, I buy a glass, pay a handsome amount of money for it, and then get back to her.)

Me: “Here we go, enjoy.”

(The girl looks at the glass full of beer as if it was full of urine. She frowns and makes it swish inside the glass before dumping it all in the water below the wharf.)

Girl: “I wanted a mojito.”

Me: *flabbergasted* “W-what? You said that ‘anything’ was fine!”

Girl: *whining* “But I wanted a mojito! Not beer, a mojito!”

Me: “Why didn’t you tell me that?! I asked you three times!”

Girl: “Why would I want beer? I can get that anywhere!”

(Resisting the urge to shove her off into the water, I stormed away and went home. To this day, I cannot understand why she couldn’t tell me what she wanted right away, instead of trying a weird mind game.)

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Disabled People Have To Stall Their Need To Pee

, , , , , | Friendly | May 19, 2019

I’m at a center that celebrates Polynesian culture. Everything is awesome until I have to use the restroom. It’s a busy day and all eight stalls are full with a line out the door. It should be noted that I’m in a wheelchair and there is only one disabled stall.

Things are going pretty quickly and I’m almost at the front; only one person is ahead of me. The disabled stall opens up. The person in front takes it.

I sit there for five minutes, saying, while getting progressively louder, “You can go ahead of me. I can only use the disabled stall.” At least a dozen people skip me until finally — finally! — that lady emerges. She won’t look at me and just walks out of the bathroom without washing her hands.

It isn’t that I wanted to jump to the front of the line, but when you have seven other stalls and I only have one, can’t you please just take the next one?

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You Need Thick Skin At This Table

, , , , , | Friendly | May 3, 2019

(I’m at a banquet with my mom, seated next to a husband and wife my parents’ age that I know, but not very well. I’m a biology professor and I’m pretty sure they’re aware of that. I’m wearing a sleeveless dress and I have a large mole that my dermatologist is not concerned about, so I haven’t had it removed.)

Woman: “Oh, you need to get that taken care of.”

Me: “What?”

Woman: “That mole. That’s cancer.”

Me: “No, actually, it’s okay. My dermatologist says it’s fine. I could have it removed if it bothers me, but I haven’t gotten around to it.”

Woman: “Nope, that’s cancer.”

Man: “You know, our daughter’s husband had a mole just like that. He didn’t even know it was there! It was on his back. Our daughter didn’t even notice it! But one day he got out of the shower and she said, ‘Hey, what’s that?’ And he got it checked. And you know what? The doctor sat down and said, ‘You have six months to live.’ It looked just like yours.”

Me: “No, really, I’ve had it looked at; it’s not cancerous.”

Woman: “You probably have six months to live, too.”

Man: “When the doctor finally looked at it, it had met… med… What’s the word? When it spreads?”

Me: “Metastasized?”

Man: “Yeah, that. He was a goner. It was everywhere. Lungs, brain. Everywhere.”

Me: “Yeah, skin cancer’s weird like that; it has its places it goes.”

Woman: “Do you know about cancer?”

Me: “Um, a little? We just covered it in my intro cell bio class last week. I use breast cancer as an example.”

Woman: “Are you going to apply to med school?”

Me: *completely taken aback* “No? I mean, I thought about it years ago, after I started my PhD, because it would have made more financial sense to get an MD/PhD at the time, but those programs are hard to get into. And really, I didn’t want to pursue an MD; I wanted a PhD.”

Woman: “But think of all you could do! You should apply to med school.”

Me: “No, really, I’m happy with my PhD. I like my job.”

Woman: “You should apply to med school.”

Me: *later, to my mom* “Why did you make me sit next to them?!”

(For the record, I was probably going to get that mole removed next summer, but now I don’t want to, just out of spite!)

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An Emotional Victory

, , , , | Friendly | December 25, 2018

(I am at a chess tournament. My friend is the defending champion and has made it to the finals. After a hard-fought match, he is checkmated by his opponent.)

Opponent: “CHECKMATE! I beat the champion!”

Friend: “Well-played! Congratulations!”

Opponent: “In your face, loser! In! Your! Face!

Friend: “Um, dude, not cool.”

Opponent: “What’s the matter? Poor baby gonna cry? Waaaa! Waaaa!”

Tournament Official: “No, he’s not, but if you don’t stop, you won’t like the results.”

Opponent: *ignoring the official* “WAAAAA! WAAAAA! Loser, loser, you’re a worthless loser!”

Tournament Official: “[Opponent], for your poor display of sportsmanship, you have been disqualified from the tournament!”

Opponent: “WHAT?! That’s not fair! I’m the champion!”

Friend: “If you really were a champion, you’d know that a true champion doesn’t humiliate their opponent.”


(The official called over security, and the rowdy player was escorted out of the building. As they were dragging him out, he was screaming and threatening to sue. He was banned from the tournament for life. Incredibly, the moron made good on his threat of a lawsuit, but unsurprisingly, given the large number of witnesses who testified against him, he lost and is now banned from every chess tournament in the state, as a result. As for my friend, who remained calm throughout the whole ordeal, he was declared this year’s champion by default. However, he refused the title, saying that it would be better to not have a champion this year than to have one that didn’t earn it.)

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