Their Writing Is A Write-Off

, , , , , | Learning | October 14, 2017

I am a writer for a magazine with a large, general audience. We publish a lot of profiles of college professors, and we always send them the final draft for “source review.” They can make sure their information is correct and that they are okay with any speech quotes that we’ve included. Many forget that the magazine’s writers are not their students and return the drafts without doing what we ask, but instead leaving comments, adding citations, and applying academic styles.

One took the cake, though.

I sent the profile for his review and he returned it with large sections completely cut, others rewritten to match his diction, footnotes added, and longer quotes from him that constituted half of the piece. It was essentially a list of block-quotes with a few citations and PhD-level vocabulary. To top it off, he sent me the document in an email that said, “Don’t be worried about using my writing; I don’t mind!”

We did not use his writing, his footnotes, or his giant block-quotes.

Time To Come Clean With That Policy

, , , , , | Working | October 13, 2017

(After two long and wonderful days at nearby theme parks, we discover that my daughter has the stomach virus that has been going around her school. She vomits all over our hotel bathroom and herself, and has not yet been able to take a break. From previous experience with my other daughter the week before, I know that it might not end anytime soon, and we really need the use of our bathroom. I call housekeeping.)

Me: “Hi, I was hoping I could get some cleaning products from housekeeping, since a family member got sick in our bathroom.”

Staff Member: “I can send someone to clean the bathroom.”

Me: “Actually, I’d prefer to do it myself, since she’s very sick and can’t leave the bathroom. Do you have any cleaning wipes or spray I could use?”

Staff Member: “No, we cannot leave cleaning products in the rooms for safety reasons. I can connect you to the onsite store to see if they have any, or perhaps you could take a cab to a nearby pharmacy to purchase some.”

Me: *sarcasm* “So, there’s really a big problem with guests drinking the cleaning products?”

Staff Member: “No, but we don’t want someone to spray it in their eyes or something.”

Me: “Fine, connect me to the store.”

(The store doesn’t answer. I leave a message and they call me back.)

Me: “Hi, do you carry cleaning products?”

Store: “No, we don’t, but you can contact housekeeping if you need something cleaned.”

Me: “No, they won’t let me use their cleaning products. And I don’t want them to come in to clean right now.”

Store: “I can give you the number if a pharmacy that delivers.”

(I am annoyed that the hotel expects me to pay for delivery of cleaning products from an outside store so I can clean my hotel bathroom, but I just want to get off a pointless phone call.)

Me: “Never mind, thanks.” *calling housekeeping again* “Hi, can you send someone to clean my bathroom? I have a sick family member.”

(About an hour later, a housekeeper showed up with plastic bags, towels, and cleaning product. Fortunately, given that she was the one who was going to clean up vomit, it wasn’t hard to convince her that I really needed cleaning, but I couldn’t let her come into our bathroom where my daughter was actively vomiting. She put everything down, told me she was going to get us some clean towels, and left me with everything I needed to clean up. Obviously, the people on the phone were blindly following a policy that forbade giving guests cleaning products, but at least the housekeeper understood that I couldn’t just let her clean around my half naked vomiting kid. I’ve never been so happy to be able to clean up vomit, so my daughter could maintain her dignity, and the rest of us could have a clean bathroom. She even got a tip from us for not doing the cleaning.)

Black Chess Pieces Matter

, , , | Related | October 13, 2017

(My fairly innocent younger brother and I are playing chess. He may be losing the game, but is clearly winning with his imaginative stories of the various pieces. Suddenly…)

Brother: “The black people are coming! Quick, put on your disguises!”

Have A Million Reasons To Hang Up

, , , , | Working | October 12, 2017

(I work remotely from home in the video game publishing industry. My business information winds up on a lot of weird contact lists, and most of it is in no way related to my work in any capacity. People try to sell me bulk sports equipment from China, for instance. One day I get a call on my work cell.)

Me: “Good afternoon. This is [My Name] speaking.”

Caller: “Hello, ma’am! My name is [Caller] calling with [Company I’ve never heard of]. How are you?”

Me: “I’m fine, thanks. What can I do for you?”

Caller: “Very well, thank you! I wanted to ask you if you had ever thought of diversifying your investment portfolio in [Country]?”

Me: “Uh. Well. No, since I don’t have any investments there.”

Caller: “Exactly! I know your time is valuable, but real-estate in [Country] is booming, and our company has great ideas for—”

(It’s become apparent that this is obviously a marketing call, and someone who is calling from outside my industry. I try several times to interject, but he just talks louder and faster about how his company plans to build expensive resorts overseas with investment from me. Finally, he winds down about ten minutes later.)

Caller: “…so, as you can see, this is a great opportunity for you to get in on the ground floor. Where can I send you some documentation to look over? Is [email] correct?”

Me: “Listen, [Caller]. I appreciate your time and wish you the best of luck, but as I have been trying to tell you, I am not involved in any sort of investing or real-estate investment.”

Caller: *offended* “Pardon me, but my colleagues and I bought a list of known investors and their contact information from a reliable source.”

Me: “Not that reliable, apparently.”

Caller: *skeptical* “You’re telling me you don’t have a net worth of 15 million dollars?”

Me: *genuine surprised, shocked, disbelieving laughter*

Caller: *angrily* “Well, thanks for wasting my time, lady!” *click!*

(Yeah, buddy, it was totally my fault you shelled out for a list of unverified information obtained through dubious means and refused to listen to me when I tried to talk. Oh, well. Luckily, I can dry my tears with all my phantom millions.)

Baseballs And Sticks

, , , , , | Working | October 11, 2017

(I’m getting my hair cut. My stylist and I are the only people in the salon. A well-dressed lady in her 60s walks in, stares at us, and sits down. My stylist calls out a greeting. No response. After about five minutes, the lady gets up, glares at us, and stomps out without saying a word.)

Stylist: “Who was that?”

Me: “No idea. I thought she was your next appointment.”

Stylist: “I’ve never seen her before in my life!”

Me: “I’m glad she left. Did you see the look she gave us?”

Stylist: “Ah, I don’t worry about people like that. She’s got a stick where it doesn’t belong, you know?”

(I laugh and she resumes cutting my hair. The owner of the beauty supply store next door comes running into the salon.)

Owner: “[Stylist]! Do you know who that was that just walked out of here?”

Stylist: “Nope, can’t say I do. Why?”

Owner: “She just came next door and complained. That’s Mrs. [Vaguely Familiar Last Name]!”

Stylist: “Who?”

Owner: “She’s married to the owner of [Baseball Team]!”

Stylist: “How was I supposed to know that? [My Name], did you know that?”

Me: “Nope. I root for [Local Baseball Team], not the Evil Empire.”

Owner: “You didn’t take care of her!”

Stylist: “I have a client right now!” *gestures to me*

Owner: “You should’ve taken care of her right away!”

Me: “Excuse me?!”

Stylist: “I’m not kicking one of my regular clients out for an old lady with an attitude problem! Go back to your store!”

(The store owner walks out, muttering to herself.)

Stylist: “Told you. Sticks where they don’t belong.”

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