The Internet Cannot Cycle Up

, , , , | Working | CREDIT: AnseaCirin | September 10, 2020

I work IT support for an optician. They have stores all over France and in a few other countries. They also have a subsidiary with a production site some distance away, but still in Paris. This site is comprised of two buildings.

August is an “off month” for the whole company. Most activities go down, and more than half the personnel is on vacation, including the entire personnel of one building in the distant site, meaning that the building is closed off.

Of course, that’s when the troubles begin!

We get a warning that the Internet has gone down on the production site. Worse, the network material that we need to check is in the closed-off building. Of course, the most mobile tech of the team is yours truly, as I am on a bicycle and everybody else depends on public transportation.

Going there takes me twenty-five to thirty minutes, in 38 to 40° C (about 100-104° F) heat. Sadly, I have to wear dark trousers because of the dress code.

I grab the keys to the closed-off building only to find that, while it opens the metal curtain, it doesn’t open the main door. After searching a bit, the only option is to go back to the main site to find the other key, another twenty-five minutes in the scorching heat.

Turns out the guy who handed me the key thought he had four identical keys. Wrong: he had two sets of two different keys and only gave me one. I gulp down a half-litre of water and stash another in my bag, courtesy of the company. Back to the production site I go. Again, twenty-five minutes of rather intense pedaling under the merciless sun of early August.

Of course, opening the main door and the metal curtain does not end my troubles. The alarm is on, and the guy who controls the alarm remotely can do so only when the Internet works, which, of course, is the one thing that has gone down.

He finally gives me a code that will get me in. Of course, the d*** thing is super-sensitive, and if you take five more seconds than needed, you get your ears blasted. Ah, well. It only lasts less than a second.

Finally able to get to work, I do the usual IT checkups. I power everything down, wait a bit, power it back up, and so on. Nothing budges. I do note that the modem is stuck at a step in its power-up sequence. I take note of everything and then go back to the main site. Once there, I task one of my colleagues with contacting the Internet service provider to see what’s wrong, since that error code is for them. I, for my part, am done with my day and quite happy to be rid of this situation! I’ve spent my whole afternoon either on my bicycle or waiting for stuff to happen, with little or no AC anywhere.

A couple of hours after I get home, my colleague tells me he’s found the crux of the matter:

The contract with the ISP has not been renewed, and of course, the service has been cut. Even better, the service will take up to a week to get back up. It’s a vital part of the still-active production team’s work, and it is now completely inoperable!

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Tourists, I Swear…

, , , , | Learning | August 25, 2020

It’s 2006 I’m fifteen and on a big school trip through Europe to practice our newly-learned German and see some of the countries where German is spoken. For whatever reason, the trip plan includes a few hours of free time and an overnight stay in Strasbourg, which might be right near the German border, but is still in France.

My classmates and I have had a long day, with a start in Cologne and a stop in Heidelberg. Because of this, and because we’re fifteen and hungry most of the time, we split into groups and start looking for street food or grocery shops. It is important to note that we’re all Bulgarian and we all speak at least one other language.

A few of my classmates are trying to find a popular burger chain restaurant; again, we’re 15 and it doesn’t occur to them to just find local food. They stop a man to ask him for directions, since smartphones are not a thing yet and nobody has a map. They first ask him in German, as we all have spoken primarily in the German on the trip. The man shakes his head and tries to go on his way.

Here is where my classmates might be jerks. They don’t let him go and ask the same question in English. The man, again, doesn’t understand. One of the group speaks Spanish and tries this language; again, no luck, and unfortunately, nobody can speak French.

One of the group is frustrated and hangry at this point and just swears under his nose in Bulgarian that they just want to go to the [string of expletives] chain burger restaurant. However, the man overhears, turns around, indicates the right direction with his hand, and goes on his way. My classmates find their burger place.

Was the man another Bulgarian or simply someone who understood that language enough? We’ll never know. But I occasionally snicker to think how multiple foreign languages didn’t help my classmates, but swearing in their own language did.

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The Weight Of Responsibility

, , , , , | Working | July 23, 2020

My sister works in a supermarket. One day, my sister is next to the self-checkout operator. 

Self-Checkout Operator: “There’s a problem with self-checkout; I have the impression that it no longer takes into account the weight of the items.”

When my sister doesn’t have any customers, she glances at the self-checkout and she notices a couple with five items scan one and put all five on the scale.

Although it doesn’t beep, the self-checkout operator notices it. 

After dealing with the customers, she comes back 

Sister: “You’re right; it didn’t beep to warn of a problem.  Call [Check-Out/Front Desk Manager].”

The manager arrives.

Self-Checkout Operator: *Whispering* “There’s a problem with the machine at self-checkout. It doesn’t take the weight into account anymore.”

The manager glances around the store and notices that there are few people around.

Manager: “It’s voluntary; I took off the parameter ‘weight of the items’.”

Self-Checkout Operator & Sister: “But why?”

Manager: “So that you are more vigilant instead of waiting for the beep to go and see if there is a problem!”

Sister: “But if you’re busy with other customers, others may pass by without you being able to stop them.”

Manager: “It’s not my problem! The store manager approved my idea! Employees who are not vigilant enough will be punished.”

It didn’t take long for customers to notice and for people to come in two groups, one group simulating a problem for the self-checkout operator to come and see, allowing others to steal items.

The rate of shoplifting has skyrocketed and store management has not sanctioned anyone; otherwise, all cashiers who had at least one shift at the self-checkout should have been sanctioned.

Three weeks later, the self-checkouts were taking into account the weight of the items.

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Think They Can Flounce The Bounce

, , , | Right | July 20, 2020

I work in a call center and we recently got a call-back on invoices that hadn’t been paid. Customers are calling to know what the charges are for until this one:

Me: “Customer care, [My Name] speaking.”

Customer: “Hi. You charged me over €30 instead of €3; I demand to know why!”

Me: “Certainly, sir, let me check your invoices and we’ll look at it together.”

Customer: “This is awful customer service. How can you charge people like this? You people are awful; your whole service is awful. I’ll sue your a**!”

Me: “Sir, I see the charge is because your monthly payment to us has been bouncing for ten months.”

Customer: “Yeah, so? Why are you charging me? It bounced; now it’s too late for you to charge me. I’m not the one that’s supposed to track my payments; you are!”

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The Invisible Creep

, , , , | Learning | July 20, 2020

A friend of mine is in college taking a course in the sociology of the imaginary. The professor comes to talk about invisibility. 

Professor: “What would you do if you could be invisible?”

Male Student #1: “I’d go in the girls’ locker room.”

Criticism instantly pops up from the class.

Male Student #2: “Seriously, at twenty years old, there are other ways to see naked girls.”

Female Student #1: “And then, there are better things to do than to see people naked without their consent.”

[Male Student #1] realizes that he has shocked everyone and tries to defend himself.

Male Student #1: “But I never said it would be non-consensual.”

Female Student #2: “Because you need to be invisible to go and watch naked chicks who are willing to let you watch them?”

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