Leaving Room For The Invisible Boatmobile

, , , , , , | Friendly | June 18, 2019

Some years ago, I bought a second car, so I wanted the driveway widened to double its width. I called up the city and they did a “curb-drop,” and then I had the driveway widened. Until the concrete set, they left barriers around the work. Afterward, they picked up their gear but left one sawhorse barrier; you know, the one with the yellow- and black-striped crossbar.

Across the street from my house is a church and a contractor was doing some work on the roof. He parked his vehicle across the new section of my driveway. Bear in mind that there were no other vehicles parked on the street and he could have parked anywhere else. I knew what game he was playing, so I was not going to play into it by calling the police.

After he left, I went out and got the barrier the city had so fortuitously left laying on my front lawn. I set it up to block him from parking across my driveway the next day. As luck would have it, my wife was standing at the window watching when he arrived the next day. She said he pulled up to the barrier and stopped, and his eyes bugged out as his face went red. He slammed his truck into reverse and actually chirped his tires as he pulled away and parked halfway down the street! Again, there were no other vehicles parked on the street! He could have just parked across the street in front of the church where he was working. She then said he stomped up and down the street dragging boxes of tools to where he was working, his face twisted with rage.

He never tried to park in front of our driveway again. One of the dynamics of this kind of exchange is that the less effort you expend to defeat someone, the greater the victory.

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, , , , | Right | June 17, 2019

(I work at a convenience store that’s part of a gas station, and we often stock some automotive supplies inside or in front of the convenience store. One particular very cold day, when it’s -12 F,  a regular customer walks by as I am stocking antifreeze in front of the store.)

Customer: “Hey, [My Name], no one’s going to buy that if it’s frozen solid.”

(I just stare at the customer for a few seconds until it clicks in his head.)

Customer: “Please don’t tell anyone I said that.”

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Tech Support Retort

, , , , , | Working | June 17, 2019

(A minor note before I go into this story. I work in tech support. We’re not talking the “have you rebooted it,” outsourced type, but serious tech support — the kind that deals with digging through code to fix issues, patching, and some hardware support. Recently, I found myself thinking about upgrading my graphics card, not because I really needed one, but I thought it’d be just a nice change compared to what I had. So, with that in mind, I head down to the local big-box tech store on my way home after work. I head inside, wander back to the parts department, and start looking through the shelves for the specific card I’ve had my eye on. It’s about this time that one of the salesmen approaches.)

Sales: “Finding everything you need?”

Me: “Not entirely sure.”

Sales: “Well, what do you need help with?”

Me: “I’m looking at getting a new graphics card, but…”

Sales: *cutting me off* “Well, it depends what you’re doing with it. Take this—“ *grabs a cheap card* “—It’s good for most things, but you don’t want that. Nah, you need this.” *grabs the most expensive card*

Me: “You think so, huh?”

Sales: “Oh, yeah. I’m an expert!”

Me: *muttering* “Sure, you are.” *aloud* “I get that you’re trained in these things to some degree, but you didn’t let me finish explaining the issue.”

Sales: *rolling his eyes* “Oh, go on, then.”

Me: “As I was about to say, I’m looking for a graphics card, but I’m not sure what kind of connector this type has, or if it’s for a laptop or tower. It doesn’t say it on the box, and I need a specific type to fit my system.”

Sales: “They’re all the same thing! I don’t know what gives you the idea they’re different.”

Me: “Education, training, experience…”

Sales: “What?”

Me: “Ever hear of [Well-Known Tech Support Company]?”

Sales: “Yes. And?”

Me: *producing badge* “I’m a technical support agent for them. So, yeah, the connections are different. I don’t need the upsell into something more expensive than what I want, and I don’t need the condescending ‘I know everything’ attitude. I just need to know what kind of connection this is, or if it’s for a laptop or tower.”

Sales: “Whatever. They’re the same [censored] thing! Here.” *grabbing a box off the shelf* “That’s the one you want.”

(With that he left. I ended up having to go back a second time, returning the one he picked up when I found out that yes, it was a laptop card. I also had a long talk with the department’s manager and the store manager about my experience. They ended up trading me the PC version — which was fifty bucks more — even for the laptop card I’d picked up, and assured me that they were going to have a long sitdown with that employee. I got the impression that this wasn’t the first time something like that had happened.)

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A Stupid Call By Any Metric, Part 2

, , , , , | Right | June 17, 2019

(I check out a customer purchasing a large exercise ball that measures 65 centimeters. I say hello and ask how things are.)

Customer #1: “Good. I’m hoping this ball will be big enough.”

Me: “Well, you can use Google to convert the centimeters into feet.”

Customer #1: “I’m an American; I don’t want to do that.”

(I stare in disbelief and finish the purchase. Then, the next customer comes up to my register; they have overheard what the first customer said.)

Customer #2: “Wow, what a great way to prove your ignorance.”

Me: “You heard that, too? I thought I just imagined it.”

A Stupid Call By Any Metric

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Super Committed To The Part

, , , , , | Legal | June 16, 2019

(I am sitting at a cafe with some friends when a guy we don’t know approaches us. He’s holding a box with a slot on it.)

Guy: “Hello. Excuse me for bothering you, but I’m raising a fund for two friends of mine. They had a motorcycle accident and both of them are near death. My other friends and I are trying to get enough money to pay for the surgery they need. Can you spare any?”

(We all smell a scam easily and say, “No, thank you.” After trying to change our minds for a couple of minutes, he moves on to other tables. Over the next several years, I occasionally still see him in cafes in different parts of the city, but he never speaks to me again until one day, four years after the first time, at a very different place.)

Guy: “Hello. Excuse me for bothering you, but my friends had a motorcycle accident and are fighting for their lives in the hospital. Can you spare us some money for the surgery they need?”

Me: “Wow! They’re still fighting for their lives, four years later?”

Guy: *suddenly looks lost for words, begins to stammer* “Uh, I mean, it was a really bad accident. The doctors have been trying hard to keep them alive.”

(He stared at us for a few seconds and we stared back, and then he left without saying anything more. I kept seeing him here and there for a while, but that was our last interaction. I was kind of impressed that he still tried to explain his story.)

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