Word On The Street

, , , , | Right | August 10, 2020

A customer has ants in his house and calls in for service.

Customer: “So, when can you get someone out here?”

Me: “Can I place you on a brief hold so I can check with the tech?”

Customer: “Sure.”

I call the tech and it turns out that he’s on the customer’s street waiting on another appointment where the owner hasn’t shown up yet.

Me: “Well, sir, he’s actually on your street now, so he’s on his way.”

Customer: *Chuckling* “What? You can’t do better than that?”

Me: “Sorry, sir. Next time, call fifteen minutes ago.”

Customer: *Laughing* “I’ll do that, then! Thanks for your help!”

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We’d Definitely Rather Have The Chicken

, , , , , , | Working | August 10, 2020

I have a quite stressful job at quality assurance in our factory. Luckily, we are a great team. One of my coworkers, otherwise a silent, nice guy, is a bit of a walking Wikipedia, and from time to time, he decides to entertain us with bits of trivia he finds interesting. Despite how it sounds, he comes out as the opposite of annoying as those little bits, completely unrelated to our work, are like little tea breaks for our high-strung brains.

One day, I am venting about our cafeteria, which is not good at all. Basically, there is only some sort of chicken, five days a week. My coworker lets me calm down, and after some time, he starts:

Coworker: “[My Name], you know, there are very interesting bugs, called Dermestidae, often called skin beetles or museum beetles. There are about 1,600 species of them and some are considered pests because they eat grain or clothes, but overall, they are very useful, as they get rid of dead organic matter. In the show Bones, they use them to clean the bones of the corpse! And there is one subfamily of them called Thaumaglossa. They are very specialized, as they only eat ootekas — egg containers — of mantids. Really, the only thing they eat is ootekas.”

Me: “Is that so?”

Coworker: “Yes! So, why do you complain about having to eat chicken?”

My colleague was genuinely startled when the whole office exploded into laughter, as he did not realize that our colleagues listened to him. We all agreed that this one took the cake for a surprise ending. The cafeteria is still crap, though.

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That Is One Powerful Candidate

, , , , , , , , | Working | August 7, 2020

We’re interviewing a job candidate by phone. As part of the interview process, the candidates log in to a mockup of our database system to demonstrate their technical skills. The current candidate has been doing well but is struggling with a particular task. When she gets an error, we see her circling a part of the error message with her cursor on the shared screen.

Interviewer #1: “Hey, we see you indicating part of the error message. Can you tell us what you make of that?”

Interviewer #2: *On mute* “It would be nice if she could because I don’t have a clue what that means…”

Candidate: “I’ve seen that before in [our kind of system]. Pretty sure someone didn’t set it up correctly, so it’s kind of a security vulnerability.”

Me: “I know we’re not interviewing you for a security role, but can you tell us a little more about what you see here?”

Candidate: *Typing* “Sure. If I were an unscrupulous user, I’d see this error, and… actually, I don’t want to break anything.”

Interviewer #1: “You’re in a test environment. If you break it, we’ll just reset. I’m curious now. Do your worst!”

Candidate: “Okay!”

We wait a few minutes while she types a very long command on the screen.

Interview #1: *On mute* “Who the heck flagged her as ‘less experienced’? I’ve never seen half these words in my life.”

Interviewer #2: “She only has three years of experience with [System]. The rest of the candidates had at least six.”

Candidate: “Aaaaaand… there we go. Okay, I think this is gonna work. Let’s see what happens when I do th—”

As all three of us lean forward to watch what’s about to happen, the computer running the test environment — and the phone call — shuts off. We jump back in surprise.

Interviewer #1: “She was in a virtual machine! How’d she do that?”

I start frantically hitting the ON button on the PC tower.

Me: “The machine won’t even start!”

Interviewer #2: “[Interviewer #1], why’d you have to use the phrase ‘do your worst’ here?”

I get the candidate on the phone, and she says something must have gone wrong and overwhelmed the test environment. When she hears the computer won’t even start, I can hear her start to panic.

Me: “Don’t worry; it’s an old desktop that we needed to replace anyway. If there’s an exploit that can actually break a computer, we needed to know.”

Candidate: “This is a longshot, but… when you were leaning in to look at the code, no one hit anything on the computer, did you?”

I look down. [Interviewer #1]’s elbow is firmly planted on the on/off switch of the powerstrip that the computer is plugged into. We all have a good laugh and everyone calms down, and we restart the computer and resume the call.

Interviewer #2: “By the way, we see you only have three years of experience with [System]. How’d you recognize an obscure error like that?”

Candidate: “Oh, those were three years at [Company that makes the system].”

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Boris Is Now Swedish

, , , , , , | Right | August 7, 2020

I work night audit in a hotel. Monterey is a tourist town drawing in people from all over the world. The surrounding towns, however, are generally much less attractive vacation spots. We regularly get guests who are from Monterey county but not from Monterey. They come to the town, usually for honeymoons, because we have a reputation of being a place rich people go on vacation, but we’re close enough to home they can drive.  

One night, I’m checking in one such couple, and a pair of our regulars have come in behind them. They are an older Swedish couple that stays with us every year for their anniversary.

Newlywed Husband: “Hey, man, so what’s there to do in this town? I mean besides golf and beaches.”

Me: “Well, there are a few museums, there is Carmel Valley, Cannery Row, several hiking trails, and of course, the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.”

His wife scoffs.

Newlywed Wife: “The aquarium, really? I’ve gone there every year since kindergarten on a school trip; you expect me to believe its world-famous?”

Mr. Swede, in the most stereotypical Swedish accent ever — much more exaggerated than his normal voice — with his wife nodding along, speaks up.

Mr. Swede: “Oh, ja, it is, it is. We come all the vay from Stockholm every year just to see it. Is amazing; so lucky you are to see as child.”

The wives start discussing the fish with each other, sharing funny stories while I finish checking in the newlyweds, hand them their keys, and send them on their way.

Mr. Swede changes to his normal voice as soon as they get on the elevator.

Mr. Swede: “So sad how little one appreciates the wonders close to home.”

Me: “I was concerned something had happened to your voice.”

Mr. Swede: “Ah, yes, it is aquarium you see, turns me into Outrageous Over Top Accent Man, makes your bored Americans suddenly see the magic of the place. You send a bottle of our usual wine to their room and put it on our bill. Put note on it; if they want to come with us to aquarium sometime this week we will buy their tickets. Outrageous Accent Man loves being tour guide.”

Mrs. Swede: *Sighs* “Ya, every year he finds a bored American to show around, is his favorite game. The Accent gets worse every year. This is the fastest it has ever found its new friend, though.”

According to the day shift, the couples met up in the lobby a few days later and left the hotel together. I hope The Accent had a good time that year. They weren’t able to visit like usual this year; I hope they are doing well and we see them next year.

In Soviet Russia, Accent Speaks You

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Not If The American Cheese Has Anything To Say

, , , , , , | Working | August 4, 2020

Coworker: “Every day, I worry that the German bologna will invade the Polish ham.”

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