Be The Change

, , , , , , | Right | September 3, 2020

It’s the beginning of the health crisis in 2020. The employees are wearing masks and there are signs posted everywhere to please pay by card instead of cash. In this pharmacy, there is only one line, but there are multiple employees, so usually, you don’t have to worry about a line, but today it’s packed.

My customer is a sweet old lady. Everything about her medication is fine, so we proceed to paying. Her total is something like 17.56€. The lovely old lady starts digging in her purse, of course paying cash, like always. She looks at every single coin, puts it back, takes out another one, and so on. After a few long minutes, she finally manages to find 17.55€ and has the last missing cent in her hand.

This is the moment she looks up from her purse, sees the sign, and says, “Oh, you like it better if I pay by card, don’t you?” Before I can tell her that it’s fine, she puts all the money back in her purse and begins searching for her card. I hand her the card reader and the real struggle begins. In the fourth attempt, she inserts the card the right way round, yay! Who guessed: she doesn’t know her PIN!

Eventually, after about ten minutes, she pays with a 20€ note. I am so glad I am wearing a mask today.

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Not A Lot Of Support From Customer Support

, , , , , | Working | September 2, 2020

When moving to my new apartment, I am also going to change from satellite to cable TV. This means my old router does not meet my new requirements, so I decide to take advantage of a promotion and get the to-rent model of my new ISP for free, as I’m too lazy to get a newer router myself, despite being a general IT and network admin at work.

After moving, I plug in the company-provided router, connect my main computer, and set everything up, which just works fine. I take a look at the manual, which says I have to connect the cable from the socket to a three-way switch/converter; one outgoing cable connects to the phone, one cable to the router, and the last cable to the TV. Despite the cable between the switch and TV, there is a regular ethernet cable that connects the TV and the router. I install all that and check on my PC and my notebook; Wi-Fi and Internet work.

To my confusion, in the following days, the Internet randomly stops working, so I do the usual troubleshooting and figure out that I cannot even connect to the router from my wired PC, as the settings seemed to have changed. Everything starts to work again later that day.

As I can’t figure out why and can’t find anything online, I call tech support.

Support: “[Company Support], how can I help you?”

Me: “Hi. I’m having trouble with your router, which seems to randomly stops working.”

I give them detailed information about the problem, all the steps I’ve taken, and the data I’ve collected.

The employee seems to ignore all I just said.

Support: “Okay, well, let’s see… Did you check whether the router is properly plugged in and the lights are all on?”

Me: “Yes. As I said, having worked IT myself, I already did basic troubleshooting, which did not work, and then…”

I give all my taken steps and collected data again.

Support: “So, hmph, well…”

There’s a very awkward long pause.

Me: “Did you have any reports about similar issues? Or any idea as to why my network settings seem to change and even change back to the correct settings later?”

Support: “Ah, network settings? I’m sorry, sir, I can’t quite follow you?”

Me: “Well, I already checked…” 

I give my results a third time.

Support: “I’m sorry, sir. I don’t know what all that is supposed to mean. But my scheme tells me to ask you to restart the router, please.”

Me: “Okay, so do you have any deeper knowledge of network configuration and your [brand router]? If not, I would like to talk to some tech person who is able to do more than read from some paper.”

Support: “I’m very sorry, but there is no one in our call center who is qualified for much more than our standard spiel given by the company.”

Me: “I see. So, is there any way you might set me up with someone who can help me?”

Support: “Again, I’m very sorry. All I could do is to set you up with an appointment with an external service, who will send someone to your house.”

Me: “Well, I guess I have to, eh?”

I get the typical appointment which is like: sometime between rise and dawn, better take the whole week off, just to be sure.

The cable guy arrives around noon without any info or documentation, so I tell him what’s wrong.

He speaks without even looking at my setup.

Cable Guy: “You followed the instructions and connected the switch with your TV, didn’t you?”

Me: “Yes, of course. That’s why the instructions were printed?”

Cable Guy: “Well, yeah, unfortunately, the instructions in this case are wrong. See, the cable from that switch to the TV is configured in such a way that your TV is supposed to work as a second router. Therefore, your settings on the real router get overridden; for some crazy reasons, the TV’s network settings are given priority. Please don’t ask me why; it’s crazy. So, if you turn on your TV, and later on your PC the settings won’t work, if you do it the other way round you stay connected with the router and everything is fine.”

The cable guy simply pulls out the cable between the switch and the TV.

Cable Guy: “There you go. That’s it.”

Me: “Your kidding, right?”

Cable Guy: “Nope, that’s it.”

Me: “Oh, good God, and nobody on the tech support line is able to give that information?”

Cable Guy: “Seems like that, huh? That’s what happens when you try to outsource everything possible. And it happens so often, I have done this fix seven times already today.”

Me: “Well, sounds like time for a break. Come on. I know some nice and fast Italian around the corner; I’ll buy us some pizza.”

Needless to say, I canceled the contract shortly after and am already looking for my new ISP in a few months, hopefully without such utter nonsense.

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All Aboard The Passive-Aggressive Express!

, , , , | Friendly | September 1, 2020

I have endometriosis. It’s a fairly common condition, which is unfortunate, because it can also be extremely painful and lead to a whole lot of other physical and mental health problems.

I have just had my second surgery, which went well enough, but I have been in pain and feeling quite weak for a few days after. On the first day I feel like leaving the house, I am to meet my partner for lunch at a place not too far away from home. Usually, I would walk, but I’m still weak, so I opt to take the tram for two stops.

This particular tram line is not used a lot, especially on these stops, so I have the whole vehicle to myself. I still don’t take a priority seat, preferring a seat right near the door, so it would be easier to get up and out; in contrast to this, priority seats have more space that can also accommodate wheelchairs, walkers, prams, etc.

On the next stop, a woman also gets in, carrying a multitude of shopping bags. She turns around, sees me, and decides to stand right next to me, huffing dramatically. Again, the tram is otherwise empty.

I could explain that I have just had surgery and prefer to sit next to the door and that she is free to take any of the remaining fifty-nine seats. However, it’s none of her business, and… she’s free to take any of the remaining fifty-nine seats!

So, I prefer to pretend not to see her, looking happily through the window. I get off at the next stop, and she huffs again because she has to move for me to stand up and again in order to take the seat.

I like to tell this story when people tell me young people are inconsiderate. I would probably have sucked it up if the tram had been full and she had bothered to ask me. But being passive-aggressive with me will only bring people more of the same.

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When You Remember That Staff Are Human, Too, Part 2

, , , , , | Right | August 29, 2020

Due to the current health crisis, masks are mandatory. I am working alone in a small shop, and a customer comes in. She’s wearing her mask over her mouth but not her nose. 

Me: “Ma’am, please wear your mask over your mouth and nose or I will have to refuse service.”

Customer: “Why? There isn’t any other customer here. And it’s so annoying to breathe through the mask.”

I would never say this to a customer, usually, because chances are high they’d yell at me, but she’s the fifth or sixth that I need to remind to wear their mask properly so it just slips out before I can stop myself. 

Me: “But I’m here, I’m a person, I breathe, and I think that you wearing your annoying mask for five minutes is better than me getting the illness.”

Luckily, instead of getting angry, she turned red in embarrassment and put on the d*** mask. I’ve had worse people than that — the customers that take down their masks completely whenever they talk are a personal favourite of mine — but really, it’s not that difficult to cover your face for a while.

When You Remember That Staff Are Human, Too

This story is part of our Anti-Masker roundup.

Read the next Anti-Masker roundup story!

Read the Anti-Masker roundup!

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Unfiltered Story #206234

, | Unfiltered | August 27, 2020

I work at an insurance broker, we offer different insurances from different insurance companies.

When it come to car insurances I am the resident expert. The following is a conversation and constant source of irritation that happens a lot when people that have more than one car buy a new one, and sell/trash the old one.

Customer: Hello, I am buying a new car and need to get a license.

Me: Ok, what is your policy number?

Customer: I don’t know, I’m not at home right now.

Me: No problem, which one of your cars is it?

Customer: It’s the (Manufacturer of Car, which for me is buried somewhere in the documentation of the policy and not easily visible).

Me: No, I meant, what’s your license number? (Which is visible in the list of cars for me)

Customer: I don’t know, it’s the (repeats Manufacturer of Car).

Me (after successfully sorting things out with them, after hanging up.): You’re selling your car and don’t know which one?