Painting A Picture Of Mild Obsession

, , , , , , | Learning | November 15, 2017

(During the two last years in high school in Germany, you pick two classes as your “major,” for which you have more hours per week and exams count most during graduation. I pick art, and since only nine other people do, and we are all genuinely interested and enthusiastic, and as this is the first art major ever at this school, our art teacher makes class a lot of fun while also educational. For our final project, he allows us to each paint a mural on sections of the walls of his classroom. We get really into it and often spend not only class hours but also breaks painting. One day we go a bit too far, though.)

Art Teacher: “Okay, guys. Class is officially over. Pack up your brushes and clean up.”

Student #1: “But I just need to finish this bit! I’ll never be able to mix this colour right!”

Me: “I just got into the zone! Let us stay!”

Art Teacher: *sighs* “Okay, you can stay for break, but after that I have another class in here, so have everything cleaned by then!”

(We promise, yet somehow forget. Not a problem, since the next class has to be shifted to another room for whatever reason, and our teacher completely forgets about us staying during break. Ninety minutes later, after finishing his class, he comes back into the room to find us still painting.)

Art Teacher: “Wait, you’re all still here?! Do you have a free period right now?”

Me: “Uh… No. We forgot.”

Art Teacher: “You forgot to go to your classes because of painting?!”

Student #2: “Oops?”

Art Teacher: “I’m going to get into so much trouble for this.”

Student #1: “Can’t we just all say we skipped class?”

Me: “Yeah, nobody knows we were in here. We could’ve just gone to get fast food or something.”

Student #2: “Yeah, it wouldn’t be fair to get you in trouble for us messing up.”

Art Teacher: “I’ll pretend I didn’t hear this conversation, but I’ll also not talk to the principal or your other teachers until tomorrow. You guys decide whatever you want to do.”

(We agreed to stick with the lie of skipping class, and we all got detention for it. Retrospectively, I have to wonder if our art teacher told the principal the truth, though, since detention mysteriously got scheduled in the art classroom, so we could just spend it painting even more. I went to visit our art teacher years after graduating, and our murals were still there.)

The Eternal Tomato

, , , , | Working | November 9, 2017

(I work in the kitchen at a family-run cafe. Usually, the owner of the cafe does our grocery shopping; we have a pre-printed list with any items we need and only fill in quantity. Since everyone in the kitchen knows the basic amount of items that are needed, we don’t write down, “1 kg tray of tomatoes;” we only note, “tomatoes: 1,” as the owner knows what amount we actually mean by that. Everyone is so used to this system that we forget it’s not as obvious to others as it is to us.)

Owner’s Husband: “Hi! [Owner] is out sick today, so I’m going to do the grocery run. This is the list?” *grabbing it and already heading out the door*

Me: *to another coworker* “Has [Owner’s Husband] ever done the shopping for the cafe before?”

Coworker: “I don’t think so. He’s never in, to be honest.”

Me: “Oh, dear. We should’ve explained the list.”

(We tried to call him multiple times, but couldn’t reach him. He returned an hour later with a tiny shopping cart filled with barely anything. He literally bought one single tomato, one lonely onion, one bag of rice, etc. It took almost another 30 minutes for us to explain to him why we needed another grocery run. I completely understand that our list might be difficult to understand for an outsider, but wouldn’t anyone be surprised that a cafe that serves 200 to 300 people a day only needed one onion for two days?)

Littered Thoughts All Over The Place

, , , | Right | November 7, 2017

Customer: “Excuse me? This is a bit embarrassing, but could I exchange this?” *points at a bag of cat litter* ” I really just bought it; it’s totally fine.”

Employee: “Um, well… I don’t think it’s an issue. Did you need another brand?”

Customer: “Yes! It’s for my baby, actually.”

Employee: “I’m sorry. Did you–“

Customer: “Oh, Lord, no! Sorry, I’m so sorry! I need diapers. See, there is a thing called pregnancy dementia, and obviously, it’s got me. I needed something for the poo and got mixed up. I know I should make a list, but I forgot the list and this is so… Sorry!”

Employee: “No, no, that’s okay. I’ll just return this, and it’s fine, really.”

(She thanks the poor girl profusely and pulls out her phone, which features a cat as screen saver.)

Customer: “S***! Hold on! We have a cat! Of course! I needed the litter and diapers!”

(She was handed the bag of litter and left, excusing herself over and over. Diapers? Nowhere to be seen.)

Oversized Service!

, , | Right | November 7, 2017

(I have to send a small package overseas to a friend. Unfortunately, the German postage system is somewhat difficult to understand because there are so many options and regulations of what size and what weight can be shipped with which postage, so I go to the counter to ask and become “that” confused customer, sadly.)

Me: “Hi! I want to ship this to the United States. It’s a ‘small parcel’ according to size, but it’s far below ‘small parcel’ regulations in terms of weight, so I don’t know what the postage would be. Also, the smallest parcel option is without tracking, so would I have to ‘upgrade’ to a larger parcel and pay more to get tracking?”

Postal Clerk: “Let me check.” *typing into his computer* “Actually, it seems like we can just ship this as an oversized letter. You’ll pay [lower price than I expected], and it comes with automatic tracking for overseas shipping.”

Me: “But it’s not a letter. It’s clearly a cardboard box. Won’t that cause trouble?”

Postal Clerk: “No, our system just scans the code; it doesn’t care about size.”

Me: “But there are postage regulations concerning size.”

Postal Clerk: “That’s just set as guidelines to ensure that shipping containers, vans, and such don’t get overloaded with large packages.”

Me: “Okay, sorry. I’m just worried it won’t be shipped, or it will get lost or something.”

Postal Clerk: “Of course. But watch this.”

(He prints the postage and puts it on my parcel. He then starts waving his hands above it in the way a magician might show off a trick, ending with, “Abracadabra!”)

Postal Clerk: “Tada! It is now… an oversized letter!

(He made me laugh, saved me money, and made sure I got tracking. The package arrived perfectly on time in the US. Best post office visit ever!)

No Chance To Develop Your Argument

, , , | Working | November 3, 2017

(I am managing a team of developers, and we have written a new application. The test version is already functional but we still need to make a few more tweaks before we release it to the users.)

Me: *to the lead developer* “Could we please sit down and make a list of what we have to do before we can release?”

Boss: *overhears us* “Hey, that won’t be necessary; he knows what he is doing. He will do it step by step and tell us when it is ready.”

(My boss then takes me aside, berates me for finding problems where there are none and for micromanaging the developer, and tells me to drop the issue. A week later:)

Boss: “Hey, can we release that app now?”

Me: “I don’t know, but it is probably not done yet. [Lead Developer] has not told us that he is ready.”

Boss: “You have to tell me what is still left to do on that thing. Can you tell me one thing which is missing?”

Me: “No, I didn’t get that inform—”

Boss: “Okay, I’m releasing it tomorrow, then.”

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