It’s My Opinion; Therefore, It’s The Only One That Counts

, , , | Right | January 13, 2020

(I work in HR for a news outlet. I’m rather amused one day when I receive an email in which a reader complains that we are writing about a certain blue or gold dress instead of “more pressing topics.” While it’s not actually my responsibility to answer it, I have a spare minute and the accusation that we’re writing about the “wrong stuff” is somewhat of a pet peeve of mine, as it is for many people working in journalism. I quickly type up an answer.)

Answer: “Dear [Reader],

Thank you for your feedback. While I understand the feeling that there are more pressing stories to write about, I can assure you that journalism is a highly specialized field with most journalists having very specific knowledge in their respective subject areas. A journalist writing about lifestyle topics would not otherwise write about politics or international affairs, like a sports reporter would not write for the economics department or about science. Furthermore, as the article you’re referencing is an online article, I can assure you that there’s no reason to worry about it taking away space necessary to report on other topics.

I promise we still report on urgent topics with the same frequency as we always have and we’ll continue to do so. If you have further feedback or questions regarding the contents of our site, I’d refer you to [Editor In Chief] at [Editor In Chief’s email address].”

(I don’t get an answer for several days, so I consider the affair settled, until I receive another email one morning from the same reader.)

Response: “Dear [My Name],

I don’t believe you, as I’m certain that there’s no journalist who would willingly write about such garbage. Let them write about something that matters, instead! Your newspaper would do significantly better, believe me.”

(Sure, it would improve the quality of our product immensely if we could only force our lifestyle department to write about the intricacies of foreign elections, lady! I’d really like to believe she was trolling with me, as nobody could be that confident in not understanding the concept and benefits of specialization. Then again, she wrote to HR to complain about our content.)

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Tales Of The Tablet: A Trilogy

, , , , , | Right | January 10, 2020

I work as a third-level caseworker for a newspaper agency. My special field of cases is people who made a two-year contract for a digital subscription, getting a free or highly discounted tablet with it.

I have dealt with every colour of crazy so far, but there are some people who just stick in my mind because they are so dumb, mean, or entitled. I have nothing against inexperienced or even stupid users; just those who make it everybody else’s problem and fault but their own make me angry.

One guy demanded a new iPad as he had thrown the first one on a hard floor in a fit of rage. That’s what he said; I am pretty sure it fell due to him being clumsy, old, or just unlucky, but he was d***** to just admit it and get it repaired. He kept writing emails which got ruder and ruder as he went, claiming we made the device faulty just to enrage him to destroy it, as companies do; you all know it. He was one of many “it’s your fault I’m too dumb” cases but took the cake with his idiocy. He now has a two-year contract to pay with no device to use it.

One woman was sent an iPad twice due to a shipping mistake and just sent us 100€ by mail — literally to my desk — combined with a written statement thanking us for our generosity and declaring this a legal purchase — in her mind. Mind you, we contacted her right away and told her to just not accept the package, which she actively declined. The legal followup resulted in her being sentenced to pay for it. Our lawyer told me she made such a scene and that she got multiple fines for disrupting court, cursing the judge, and never accepting that she was in the wrong that it had cost her around 2000€ in fines.

Then, there was the guy whose mother ordered multiple contracts from different companies in his name after he moved out to go to university. He had to either pay about 300€ in fees for all of them or go to court with her over it. He sent us emails proving he did live elsewhere, the shipping information and signature upon receiving did differ a lot, and it seemed genuine. It would not have been as memorable, had his mother not written us an email, as well, telling us basically to tell him to move back home, as all this clearly showed that he was not fit to make a living on his own. I am happy to say he went to take legal actions rather than moving back home, but I never heard the end of it.

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This Museum Doesn’t Have Dog Day Afternoons

, , , | Right | January 2, 2020

(I have been working as a volunteer in a museum. A lady walks in with her — actually quite large — dog.)

Visitor: “Hi! I’d like to visit the exhibit!”

Me: “Welcome! Sure, that will be 5€.”

(As I give her the usual information — like where the toilets and wardrobes are and where the exhibit is and everything like this — I also tell her that her dog has to wait outside, as we are a small museum but cannot allow a large dog to freely walk around valuable things AND children in the exhibit.)

Visitor: “What? Why? I don’t want to let my dog wait outside!”

Me: “Sorry, but it goes against regulation. Also, the weather is fine and we have enough room outs—”

Visitor: “No! I don’t understand. I was in [Other Museum] and they let my dog in!”

Me: “That can be possible, but we have regulations and I cannot allow it.”

Visitor: “This is ridiculous!”

(Before I can say another word, she leaves. My coworker was beside me the whole time and searches online for the other museum’s house rules, where dogs are clearly not allowed in the exhibit. We laugh at the situation.)

Coworker: “I don’t think she went to [Other Museum] recently; no exhibit there lets dogs in.”

Me: “I mean, what would a dog even want to see in a room full of old stuff?”

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You Can’t Install A Patch To Fix Incompetence

, , , | Working | December 27, 2019

(This is a story that my dad told me. My parents decide to visit my father’s mother, so my dad calls ahead to see if she’s home and has time, but when she picks up the phone, she can’t hear him. He can hear her, though, so they decide to go. When they arrive at her home, he does some troubleshooting and finds out that the problem must be with her landline. After driving back home, on a whim, he tests their own landline, as well, and finds the exact same issue. Curious, he contacts some of their friends and finds out that all those who use the same landline provider as them have the problem. The next day, my father calls the provider:)

Agent: “Hello, this is [Agent] at [Provider]. How can I help you today?”

Dad: “Hello, there seems to be a problem with our landline.” *describes the issue* “I asked around and found that other people are experiencing the same problem. What’s going on there?”

Agent: “Oh, yes, this is a known issue. About two weeks ago, we outsourced some of our services to [Large Competitor] and they changed some of the software. Since then, it’s not compatible with [Specific Router Brand] anymore, so if you use that for your Wi-Fi, you’ll experience this issue. [Competitor] is working on it, but we don’t know how long it will take. You can manually install a patch, though, and then change some of the settings to fix it. I can walk you through it.”

Dad: “Wow, hold on. You’ve known about this for two weeks and didn’t inform your customers at all? We didn’t get mail or anything! I even checked your website; there’s nothing there!”

Agent: “Well, we outsourced this part of our technology. [Competitor] changed the software, not us.”

Dad: “I don’t have a contract with [Competitor], though. I have a contract with you, that you have failed to fulfill for apparently two weeks already.”

Agent: “Yes, but [Competitor] is responsible for the change in software.”

(This goes around in circles for some time.)

Agent: “But [Competitor]—”

Dad: “Oh, for heaven’s sake! No! Listen! I pay you, not [Competitor]! You take my money; you make sure the connection works! If not, I will cancel my contract and find another provider!”

Agent: “I didn’t think about that before. You can install the patch, though, and then your landline will work again!”

Dad: “Well, yes, mine. But what about everyone else’s? What if I needed to call, say, a plumber because a water pipe broke? If the plumber has the same issue, I can’t reach them! And they won’t even know because you didn’t inform your customers of the issue!”

Agent: “That’s because [Competitor]—”

Dad: “NO!”

Agent: “Okay, but still, it only happens if you use [Specific Router Brand]—”

Dad: “Which happens to be the most frequently used router in all of Germany, by far! This probably concerns about three-quarters of your customers! Also, do you realize that [Competitor] is currently running an aggressive marketing campaign in this area? You’re giving them the best argument to change providers they could ask for.”

Agent: “Huh? How’s that?”

Dad: “Your customers will miss a lot of calls, which causes problems for them. You didn’t inform them about the issue, or the patch, and you don’t even know when it’ll be resolved. A lot of people will want to cancel their contracts. There’s a good chance they’ll go to [Competitor], instead.”

Agent: “I never thought about that at all.”

Dad: “Yes, I noticed that. Now, how does this patch work?”

(The agent tries to walk him through the setup process but it doesn’t work. It turns out that my dad’s very old computer doesn’t fulfil the requirements for the patch.)

Agent: “Umm…”

Dad: “Yeah. Great. Could you at least open a ticket for me so I can be informed about the progress?”

(The agent obviously struggles, but finds out how to.)

Agent: “And we’re finished! I hope I could answer all your questions today!”

Dad: “Are you serious?” *click*

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Her Brain Weighs Even Less

, , , | Right | December 19, 2019

(My boyfriend goes grocery shopping at a well-known larger grocery store, which also offers small kitchen appliances, books, and electronics. This store also has a service desk right in front of the entrance. Right behind the entrance, you can find fresh fruits and vegetables, where my boyfriend is looking around when he witnesses a woman yelling at the service desk worker. The woman is holding a pack of cherry tomatoes, which are packed in a paper box and then wrapped in plastic. A cherry tomato weighs around 40g. The package is ripped open.)

Customer: “Just so you know, I’m calling the police! I’ll also call the press so everyone knows that you’re cheating your customers!”

Employee: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but could you tell me what exactly happened?”

Customer: No! I will only tell this with the police present; otherwise, you’ll try to swindle your way out of this!”

Employee: “We really want to help you, but you have to tell us what’s up.”

Customer: “No, I won’t! I will call the police!”

(This goes on for a few more minutes until they can finally convince her to explain her problem.)

Customer: “I wanted to buy these cherry tomatoes, but you’re trying to cheat me! I weighed them, and they’re 20g less than it says on the package!”

Employee: “I’m so sorry this happened. We randomly check our produce to see if it complies with what’s on the package, and the manufacturer also does. Generally, the manufacturer aims for a little more produce so you will definitely get the amount that’s printed on the packaging.”

Customer: “Do you think I’m stupid? I just weighed them on your scales and it’s 20g less than what it should be!”

Employee: “Ma’am, that’s pretty much impossible, as there is also a packaging around them, which by itself weighs a few grams. 20 grams less would be such a big difference that the manufacturer would have noticed, as their produce gets weighted automatically when they package it.”

Customer: “I’m not stupid! Obviously, I took them out of the packaging to weigh them! Your produce is s***, anyway!”

(The employee is now pretty confused, as this is, like they said, pretty much impossible. They inquire further, until the woman drops this gem:)

Customer: “I once bought your tomatoes and they were s***, so now every time I want to buy some, I try one of them beforehand!”

Employee: “So, you’re saying that you opened them, ate one of them, and then weighted them?”

Customer: “YES! And it weighed less than what’s printed on the packaging! You’re trying to cheat me!”

(She did not call the police and she did not get any compensation, but instead was asked to leave. I’m still wondering if she was just dumb or a really bad scammer.)

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