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An exclusive selection of stories from the NAR forums.

The Thieving Ravens At Sea

, , , , , , | Legal | November 12, 2022

My fiancé and I offer sailing holidays. People book a berth in a cabin and live and sail with us for one week. This, of course, means that we actually live with our customers and spend a lot of time with them in very limited space. This happened before I met my fiancé, but I’ve heard him tell the story plenty of times, and I found all the emails, reports, and protocols from this story on my fiancé’s old laptop. It was a very interesting read.

The story takes place in Sardinia in August, which is super-duper-high-season and everything is super expensive. Really, the prices are ridiculous! Sardinia happens to be a hotspot for the rich and the famous, and they pay for their privacy by jacking up the prices.

It was a normal week for [Fiancé]. The boat was full of a mixture of people: two couples and two friends. The groups didn’t know each other before the trip.

One of the women from one of the couples was the week’s treasurer, meaning she collected money from the rest of the crew to pay for the week’s expenses, like fuel, mooring fees, etc. Because it was August, they had to pay a lot. The two friends, two women in their thirties, never had enough money to pay their part and were always in “debt”. They repeatedly said that they had tried getting money but the ATM wasn’t working, and they kept making other excuses just like that.

On day two, [Fiancé] talked to them.

Fiancé: “We are not leaving this marina until you pay your part.”

They were a bit pissy about it but agreed.

[Fiancé]’s bulls*** radar kicked in, and he decided to sleep outside in the cockpit that night. Lo and behold, at 3:00 in the morning, the two friends tried to sneak out with their luggage. They hadn’t thought anyone would notice and were horrified to see [Fiancé] out there, stopping their sneaky departure.

Fiancé: “Where are you going at this time of night? And with all your luggage?”

Friends: “Oh, we’re leaving. For good.”

[Fiancé] woke the rest of the crew up and told them to check their things. Oh, no. Cameras, phones, tablets, etc., were all gone! And the ship treasurer’s wallet, containing around 1,000€, was missing, too!

The two friends were busted and gave back the things they had tried to steal.

Fiancé: “You two go to the next ATM and get the money you owe. I’ll keep your luggage as a deposit until then.”

They grudgingly did, and then they were given all their luggage back and unceremoniously banned from the boat.

The following day, the women came back with the Italian police, claiming that my fiancé had stolen their stuff. After listening to [Fiancé] and the rest of the crew, the officers just shrugged, pointed to the German flag on the boat, and said:

Officers: “German flag, German problem.”

That was it, or so everyone thought. [Fiancé] continued the trip with the remaining crew, and everyone was happy the two women were gone. 

Two days later, the booking agency called [Fiancé], saying he had to take the woman back. Apparently, the MOTHERS of the two women — adult women in their thirties! — had called the agency. The women had no money and couldn’t afford a hotel.

[Fiancé] absolutely refused. The agency made it very clear that they would hold him financially responsible for any consequences coming from this.

Of course, the women sued. They wanted money back for the trip, the flight, the hotels, restaurants, and all kinds of expenses. [Fiancé] had the testimonies from the other guests and various receipts for stuff the women tried to reclaim, so he told his attorney to go all in.

Not only did the women lose the case, but it was also revealed that they had tried the same stunt several times before with other agencies. This was the fourth time this had happened, but it was the first time someone just didn’t pay the money back to avoid the hassle. After hearing this, the previous three agencies sued the women, wanting their money back.

The story also shows how that one agency works. As long as they don’t have any costs, they don’t care. If your actions are costing them money, they will make you pay, and they don’t care about how the rest of the crew would have felt. Imagine how they would’ve felt if the two thieving ravens had come back on board.

How Much Do You Want To Bet They Pay Pennies?

, , , , , | Working | November 1, 2022

I’ve been spending a lot of time on job sites for the last few years due to a lot of raw luck, and most job listings are generally in the same few categories: “Vague”, “Dry-But-Straight-Forward”, “We’re-A-FUN-And-Quirky-Workplace”, “I have someone in mind but I had to write a job ad”, and maybe a few, “I’m not paying you more than minimum wage, but you’d better have seven years of experience.”

Here’s one I saw today that really stood out for an unreasonable ask. It was full of grammatical errors and random capitalization.

Job Listing: “Full Job Description: Experienced, effective graphic design EXPERT. Must have advertising background. In order to apply, you must submit a mock ad for our brand to my email, which can be found in the contact section of [Website].

“We are looking for an artist who can create poignant call-to-action ads that fit our company aesthetic. The ideal candidate can provide a portfolio of advertising design work. Must attach examples of AD work for women’s clothing, even if it’s just a mock-up, for this position. Please do not apply if you do not have an advertising graphic design background.

“Office location is inside a clothing boutique. Must be able to run store functions and ring up customer sales as needed. If you do not want to also be a sales associate, do not apply.”

So, they are asking for you to make an ad for free. Don’t ask designers to make demo designs; that’s a real design you’re asking for, and that’s what you need to pay for. Not to mention, that’s why people have portfolios. Artists, designers, etc. don’t do spec work. That’s how you get scammed and taken advantage of. Draw a hard line on free professional work.

And apparently, the super graphic designer “EXPERT” also has to run the store for them. Because experienced, established marketing designers love to jump back into retail just for funsies.

There wasn’t a pay scale listed, and I didn’t look too carefully after seeing “Send me a design first.” I only clicked back into the ad a second later when my brain went, “Wait, did they say you have to run the store, too?”

Keep Kosher, Keep Calm, And Reap The Benefits

, , , , , , | Working | October 31, 2022

My husband and I were at Disney World right before the global health crisis hit. We’re strictly kosher. I did my homework and found out that there was one quick-service restaurant in every park where kosher food was available, BUT it was frozen and took time to rewarm.

Disney World between December 21st and 28th is just the teeniest bit busy, so when the staff told us there would be a bit of a delay, we took it in stride. Whatever. We were on vacation. Wait times for the rides were a bit longer than we were used to, but that was okay with us — us Toronto hicks with our cute little amusement park just outside the city limits.

We were off to one side, happily waiting for our food. And after about half an hour, one of the crew members came up to us.

Crew Member: “You know, you’ve been waiting too long. I’m comping this.”

It was totally unexpected. I don’t think we even asked at any point, “How much longer?” It was our third day, and we’d pretty much accepted that this was going to be our normal. That was a really nice perk that was completely unanticipated and obtained without fuss or causing a scene.

If The Boss Won’t Treat You Like A Person, You Might Take It Personally

, , , , , | Working | October 31, 2022

I used to work in an electronics store. I started in the stockroom on weekends when the store opened, and when I went full-time after almost a year, it was the stockroom on weekends and the service desk on weekdays.

I had four different incidents with my moronic boss there.

Incident #1:

I was trying to get home early on New Year’s Eve. I had worked for a month on the service desk. There were three of us working there. I had a good reason to go home early — my mom was sick — and I even made a deal with whoever made the schedule: if it was calm, I could leave.

However, [Boss] decided that this was the perfect time to clean up the mess (that THEY made before I joined) of the entire year. After about an hour of discussion, where ZERO customers came by, he finally let me go.

Incident #2:

We had a meeting a few months after that because the department was a total mess. By then, the stockroom had fired two guys for stealing, so I was doing sixty hours a week and skipping between the departments on weekdays (which meant changing clothes, as well).

[Boss] made his opening, and I wanted to reply.

Boss: “Let me finish!”

I did. After he finished, I wanted to reply, but he kept talking over me.

Me: “Let me finish, just like I did for you.”

He didn’t listen, so I walked out and directly into the stockroom where my coworker happily wondered why I was back so soon. Don’t waste my time if I’m doing the store a HUGE favour!

Incident #3:

After a vacation, I came to work at 9:00 for a 9:00-to-6:00 shift. When I got there, I saw that they had changed my shift to 12:00 to 9:00. I checked, and before my vacation, it had really said 9:00 to 6:00. No one informed me about the change, and even if they had, this was the only evening in the week I had other things going on and I NEVER worked that particular evening of the week. I went to talk to [Boss about the change].

Me: “The schedule was changed to have me start at noon, but since I’m here, I’m going to start right away.”

All good. Then, I told him:

Me: “I’m also going to leave at the time I was originally scheduled: 6:00. I have a prior commitment this evening; I never work evenings on [Days].”

He got pissed, and at some point, he even said:

Boss: “You’re screwing me into working 9:00 to 9:00!”

Me: “That’s exactly what you are trying to do with me. Deal with it.”

Twenty minutes later, I gave my notice.

Incident #4:

It was my last day, and I already didn’t give a d***. It was time for my dinner break. Some guy came in with an impossible request: he wanted me to exchange a camera he had bought five months prior in a store (in the same chain) in another country for a new one RIGHT NOW!

I couldn’t do that, he wanted my boss. [Boss] forced me to wait in the back while he was with the customer and then called me back to handle it. The customer was still not happy, so [Boss] was called again. We went back and forth four times. [Boss] kept saying things to the customer and not telling me, so in the end, I went to the back, pissed.

Me: “If you’re going to tell the customer things without telling me, you can just deal with him yourself. I’m going to eat now. Bye.”

Our breakroom could only be reached through the store, so I walked into the store with [Boss] behind me YELLING at me to come back. I kept walking. When I came back from dinner, he was still busy with this one customer.

There’s a happy ending: people complained about that last incident. A few months later, [Boss] was let go, and that day was apparently the final straw for that decision. I was offered his job, but I refused since I was already out of there.

“I Like To Cry At The Ocean Because Only There Do My Tears Seem Small.”

, , , , , , | Romantic | October 19, 2022

My boyfriend and I offer sailing holidays. People book a berth in a cabin and live and sail with us for one week. This, of course, means that we actually live with our customers and spend A LOT of time with them in very limited space.

We had a good crew this time. Everyone was getting along fine and the weather was good. There was a married couple among the crew, and they had a very… special… dynamic between the two of them. The wife was very, very dominant and bossy, sometimes even demeaning, to her husband. To everyone else, she was friendly and polite, but she was definitely in charge of their marriage. No big deal; he didn’t seem to be bothered by it.

[Husband] seemed happy, and they gave the impression that they were really in love. [Husband] was in no way dependent on [Wife], and it never came off as abusive. [Wife] was just bossy and the decision maker, and sometimes she was a bit rude about it.

[Husband] did stand his ground on important issues, but he didn’t seem to care about the everyday nagging, and we had the impression that he found it convenient that [Wife] made all the decisions and he could tag along.

[Wife] was, supposedly, the one who liked sailing and she claimed to be pretty experienced. [Husband] tagged along; he’d never been on a boat before but liked the idea. [Wife] didn’t show any interest in partaking in the sailing when we were out. She was relaxing in a corner and enjoying the sun. This is not unusual, but we were surprised because of how she had claimed to love sailing and told us all about her previous trips. Still, it was her holiday and no one is forced to help if they don’t want to.

One day, at the end of the week, the weather was lovely and we were sailing downwind. At some point, we decided to sail wing-on-wing. This point of sail is a bit tricky; you don’t have a lot of leeway and the one at the helm has to concentrate. Of course, it was a bit wavey, making it even more difficult.

Still, the wind wasn’t that strong, and we trimmed the sail so our crew could practise and make mistakes without it becoming dangerous. You can only learn through practice, practice, practice, and this was a great opportunity. The crew all tried, made mistakes, learned, and had fun. [Husband] steered, too. He wasn’t better or worse than anyone else. All in all, he did a pretty good job. [Wife], who had been quiet when the others steered, started commenting and correcting [Husband] all the time with a pretty mean voice.

[Husband] reacted well enough to it; he sort of smirked it away and he really didn’t seem to be bothered by it. My boyfriend, however, decided that enough was enough.

Boyfriend: “[Wife], why don’t you take the helm?”

Wife: “No, I’m here to relax. I can’t be bothered.”

I don’t remember how, but we managed to convince her to try.

It took her thirty seconds to make the exact same mistakes that she had so naggingly commented on when [Husband] made them. We were all quiet, thinking our part… except for [Husband]. When the sails started to flap and wobble:

Husband: *Calmly and coolly* “HA-HA!”

He said it much like Nelson from “The Simpsons”.

You could’ve heard a pin drop. Then, everyone — except [Wife] — burst out laughing. After a week of listening to her boss him around and tell him how to do this and that, this was his small, subtle revenge.