Gladiatorial Combat Is Kosher

, , , , , | Learning | September 26, 2017

(I am in an upper-division theatre history class that is primarily for drama majors, no first-year students. One of the professor’s favorite sayings is, “The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.” On this day he is lecturing about popular Roman entertainments: gladiator vs. gladiator, gladiator vs. lion, lion vs. Christian, and so on. One student raises her hand.)

Student: “Were the Romans still mostly Jewish at this point?”

His Understanding Of The Name Is A Bit Rocky

, , , , , | Right | September 26, 2017

(This takes place in a five-star hotel’s cocktail bar that people come into to show off to friends. This night, a young guy in a cheap, ill-fitting suit brings his date in. I can tell he is out of his comfort zone but still wants to put on a good show for his date.)

Me: “Hi, what can I get you to drink tonight?”

Customer: “I’ll have a [sickly sweet cocktail] for the lady, and a scotch on the rocks, with ice, for me.”

Me:”…okay, sure. Scotch on the rocks.”

Customer: “With ice, please.”

Me: “…”

There’s No Vaccine Against Stupid

, , , , , | Learning | September 26, 2017

(It’s a lab period for one of my biology classes, and my lab group is paired with the lab group next to us. I’m getting the apparatus set up and chatting with one of the women from the other lab group when the topic of health care and vaccinations comes up. Two things worth noting: the first is that the woman, who I’ll call Student 1, is from a culture that encourages large families, and already has six kids. The other is that I’m on the autism spectrum. Mostly, this just means that I have trouble maintaining eye contact with people I don’t know well, I can be awkward in social situations I’m not familiar with, and I have a few hobbies and habits that other people might find odd.)

Student #1: “Yeah, none of my kids are vaccinated. It’s not worth the risk that it might make them autistic. That would be just horrible!”

(I freeze, take a deep breath, and get my thoughts in order.)

Me: “There’s three problems with what you just said. The first is that if your kids aren’t vaccinated, there’s a good chance that they’ll catch something awful and preventable, like measles, and they will die. The second problem is that there is ABSOLUTELY no link between autism and vaccines; it’s fake science and bad statistics. The third problem is that being autistic is not the end of the world. I’m autistic, and I have a loving boyfriend, a close group of friends, and a 4.0 GPA; I just can’t look people in the eyes for long. Autism won’t kill your kids, but measles might.”

Student #1: “You’re autistic?! But… you’re talking, and you’re at college, and you have a job!”

Me: “Yeah. Being autistic isn’t the end of the world. Being dead is, though.”

(By this time, one of my friends, [Student #2], has noticed what we’re talking about, and jumps in to help me persuade her that vaccinating her kids is important. We get so caught up talking that we don’t notice the professor coming over.)

Professor: “Less chat, more lab, you guys.”

Student #2: “But ([Student #1] hasn’t gotten her kids vaccinated because it might make them autistic.”

(The professor pauses, and I remember him mentioning that one of his cousins is autistic and working as a very successful chef.)

Professor: “Okay. Tell you what. All three of you guys helped set up the experiment, right? Get the data from your lab-mates, and make sure you get the write-up turned in on time, and I won’t notice you talking this lab period.”

(For the next hour, [Student #2] and I grab his laptop and talk [Student #1] through the concept of herd immunization, how epidemics spread, how the autism/vaccine rumor got started, how the statistics don’t back that up, what autism actually IS and what it isn’t, and story after story about how dangerous it is, both for the children and the people around them, when kids aren’t inoculated against diseases that shouldn’t exist anymore. We make sure that she has time to ask us any questions as well, and finish in time to get our results and start on the lab write-up. I see her after the semester has ended, about six months later.)

Student #1: “Hey! [My Name]! My husband and I talked it over, and we made appointments to get all of our kids vaccinated!”

(It turns out she still was not totally convinced that there’s no link between autism and vaccines, but she thought it was worth the risk to make sure her kids don’t die of scarlet fever or some other archaic disease. I high-fived her anyway. I’ll take the victories I can get, and at least her kids are vaccinated now. Still a step in the right direction!)

This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 69

, , , , , , | Right | September 26, 2017

Me: “Your total is $31.39. You can insert your card when you’re ready.”

(The customer inserts her card, and it’s declined.)

Me: “Sorry, your card was declined. Do you want to try another card?”

(The customer tries the same card and it’s once again declined.)

Customer: “So, am I good?”

Me: “No, sorry. It was declined again.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “…”

Customer: “I don’t get it.”

Me: “Your card was declined. You’ll have to call your bank if you think it’s a mistake. It may have a protection on it.”

(The customer hands me the card.)

Me: “I can’t do anything on my end. You’ll have to call your bank.”

Customer: “But it’s all the way in [Next Town Over].”

Me: “You can just call them, and I’ll hold your things.”

Customer: *pulls out cash, but not enough to cover all of it* “What about if I just buy one? How much is one?”

Me: “You can do that; just let me know which one to take off. If you buy one, it’ll be $15 plus tax.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “Which color would you like?”

Customer: “So, now what? What do I do?”

Me: “You need to choose a color.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “Blue or black?”

Customer: “…”

Me: “I need to void one of these items in order to finish the transaction.”

(The customer stays quiet for a few moments, as she processes this life or death decision.)

Customer: “I want the black one.”

Me: *quickly takes payment and waits for the customer to leave before turning to my coworker, who witnessed it all* “Are my ears bleeding?”

Calling Back Is Not His Calling

, , , , , | Right | September 25, 2017

(I work in a call center and offer customer service through chat. I am completely separate from the phones.)

Customer: “Here is my phone number. Call me.”

Me: “I apologize; I do not have access to the phones. Is there anything I can do for you?”

Customer: “YES! My phone is not working, and I want you to call me and fix it now!”

Me: “We can’t do technical troubleshooting on the chat.” *I give him all information on how to call technical support*

Customer: “NO! I don’t want to call technical support! My phone is not working! I want you to send a technician now!”

Me: “Only technical support has access to sending out technicians for technical issues. You will need to call them to get this fixed.”

Customer: “What don’t you understand? MY PHONE IS NOT WORKING!”

Me: “If your phone is not working, then how could we call you?”

(He was wordless for a few seconds, then started to say he never asked for a call, and kept pushing for technical support until he closed the chat 15 minutes later.)

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