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Just Tell The Family You Went To Borders

, , , | Right | September 17, 2021

My mom and I are from Germany and we went to visit our relatives in Canada. They live close to the American border.

One day, we wanted to drive to a tourist attraction. There was road work ahead and our lane suddenly ended. I had to drive left into some kind of parking lot because I was unfamiliar with the road. We were confused and tried to get back on the road. I wanted to take a road that could get us back. My mom thought otherwise.

Mom: “Don’t take that road, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

I wanted to follow her advice but couldn’t. Then, we saw a strange official sign.

The next thing we knew, we were on a single road on a bridge going to the US. We were both horrified. There were cars behind me and I couldn’t go back. Fortunately, I was able to turn my car around and avoid entering the US, but we still had to wait in line to enter Canada — and without our passports; they were safely back at the house.

It was so embarrassing to tell the customs officers sheepishly what happened.

Me: “We took a wrong turn and never wanted to leave Canada.”

He looked at us sternly. We could only give our German ID, which he couldn’t read, of course. Then, we had to park and wait in an office. The people there looked also very unimpressed. The last person, finally, was really nice.

Worker: “Don’t worry about it; this happens a few times a week. But next time, please take your passport with you.”

We were really relieved. But we never told our relatives, although our trip was about an hour and a half shorter than planned.

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Gotta Love Consequences

, , , , , | Legal | September 14, 2021

This happened when my parents went on their honeymoon in Spain. Back then, there were ID checks each time you transferred from one nation to another, and the one at the France-Spain border in particular had a queue going on for miles.

My father, who was driving, moved to the emergency lane, went past a line of 100+ cars, and merged back into the queue just before the Border Police shack.

Out of the shack came a French gendarme with the red and green traffic baton. He singled out my parents’ car and directed them to move onto the median strip. Once they were there, he put the baton under his armpit and walked back inside the shack while the other motorists jeered and cheered.

It was more than an hour before my parents were allowed to join the queue again.

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The Municipality Needs To Hire More Mediums

, , , | Right | September 2, 2021

I answer the main phone line for a municipality. We collect the caller’s information and then dispatch our workers out to fix issues as necessary. We take traffic light issues very seriously and immediately contact staff to have them fixed as it is a safety hazard. We have hundreds of crosswalk buttons across the city, and while they do regular maintenance, there is no way they could check each button every day, so we rely on callers to inform us of problems.


Me: “Okay, I am sorry to hear that. Can I ask what intersection those lights are at?”

Caller: “Are you f****** listening? I said I was almost hit by a car! You need to fix the lights!”

Me: “Yes. I need to know where they are on [Street] in order to have them fixed.”

Caller: “They are at [Intersection]! You need to fix them right now! That’s a f****** safety hazard! I was almost killed! I have a daughter! If I was hit by a car, you would have a bigger problem! You need to do something!”

I keep trying to get a word in while she is screaming over me.

Me: “Okay, I am going to let the crew know right now and have them fix it.”

Caller: “You have to fix it now! You can’t just ‘let them know’! You have to do something!”

Me: *Trying to interject again* “Okay, this is the first I am hearing of it so I will let them know right now.”

Caller: “Are you f****** kidding me? You can’t just use the excuse that this is the first you are hearing of it! You have to fix it! I was almost hit by a car! I have a daughter! I could have been killed!”

Me: *Trying to speak over her screaming* “Okay, I am going to dispatch them now.” *Disconnects the call*

I called the crew right away and they said they would be there shortly to fix the button. She ended up emailing to say I was rude and didn’t care about her issue and didn’t fix it immediately. I am not sure how she thought we would know it was broken if no one had to told us, or how she thought I would dispatch a crew while she was screaming at me on the phone.

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The Power To Point Out Stupidity

, , , , , | Right | July 2, 2021

I work as a level-two help desk tech at a major university under contract with a government agency to provide computer support. We aren’t bound by any agreement that we can’t point out someone’s stupidity to them when deserved.

This was in the day when everyone was getting laptops but not everyone knew how they worked (so it really could have been yesterday).

Me: “[Agency Help Desk], this is [My Name].”

Client: “I can’t get my laptop to turn off.”

Me: “Okay, did you try holding the power button for five seconds?”

Client: “Yes, but it wouldn’t turn off.”

Me: “Try unplugging it from the power outlet.”

Client: “I did, but it still won’t turn off.”

Me: “So, let’s remove the battery and see what happens.”

Client: “It’s still powered on.”

Me: “So, send it to me, and I will split the money with you.”

Client: “Money? What are you talking about?”

Me: “Well, we’ve found the only laptop in the world that doesn’t require any source of power, and we are going to be rich.”

Client: “Umm, I’ll call back later.”

Me: “Okay, but I was hoping to buy a yacht.”

Client: *Click!*

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The More Locked The Doors Are The More They’ll Try To Get In

, , , , , , | Right | June 4, 2021

I work for the town government. The building I work in is closed to the public, but we have temporary workspaces in the building next door to allow for customers to come in. There are only two departments with designated workspaces — I represent one of them — and all other departments in the building are closed or by appointment only.

This is explained on the website, on social media, on the phone when you call in, and on the doors of the building. Roped stanchions are placed across the staircases with “DO NOT ENTER — EMPLOYEES ONLY” signs on them.

The other departments have also locked their doors to prevent wanderers from walking in. Benches are placed across the doors of the large event room to prevent people from going in. The only places customers can go freely are down the hall from one outside door to the other as well as in the bathroom.

We also have to use a visitor log for contact tracing in case one of us is sick with [contagious illness] with the date, time of visit, name, and phone number of the visitor. Below are a few customer interactions I’ve had within the first two weeks of opening. Also of note, we aren’t supposed to call to make appointments for other people. They are supposed to call themselves. Every department is extremely short-staffed, so if we use our time being the liaison calling other departments to make appointments for people, we will be missing our own phone calls, which we are already missing due to not having enough staff.

Me: “Hi, can I help you?”

Customer #1: “I need a permit for [item].”

Me: “Oh, okay. [Department #1] isn’t here, but you can either mail the application and payment in, put it in the dropbox, hand it to me so I can give it to them, or call them and make an appointment to meet with them.”

Customer #1: “No, that won’t do. I need a permit now.”

Me: “Right, well, they aren’t here, so those are your options. I can write down the phone number and mailing address for you if you’d like?”

Customer #1: “NO! I NEED A PERMIT NOW!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I can’t issue permits. The only departments here today are [My Department] and [Department #2]. [Department #1] doesn’t have hours here, but if you need to meet with them, you can call them and make an appointment. Or I could hand your application and payment to them when I go back over. Or you could mail it or put it in the dropbox.”

Customer #1: “NO! GOD, YOU’RE USELESS!” *Storms out*

Next customer:

Me: “Hi, can I help you?”

Customer #2: “I just tried the doors for [Department #3], but they’re locked! Can you call them and tell them to open their doors?”

Me: “Unfortunately, I can’t. I can give you their phone number, though, and you can make an appointment if you need to meet in person.”

Customer #2: “No, I’m not going to make an appointment. I just want to go in. I need an [activity pass].”

Me: “Oh, well, they aren’t selling [activity passes] right now for health reasons, but again, I can give you their phone number if you want to talk to them.”

Customer #2: “No! I’m not calling them! I’m going to stand right here until you let me see them!”

Me: “Okay, but they aren’t coming out right now. The only way to see them is to call them.”

Customer #2: *Stomps foot* “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!”

She leaves two minutes later after realizing her temper tantrum won’t solve anything.

Next customer:

The door to the event room is slowly but forcefully pushed open, knocking over one of the benches.

Me: “Uh, sir? Can I help you?”

Customer #3: “Yeah, I was just looking for [Department #4]. There was a bench in the way, so I moved it to get in here, but it looks like you put another bench in the way. Why would you do that?”

Me: “Well, sir, no department has ever been located in the event room, and we don’t want people going in there unsupervised, so we put the benches up to block the entrances.”

Customer #3: “They used to be in that room. Did they move?”

Me: “I don’t know if they were ever in that room, but not in the seven years I’ve worked here, and not for at least thirty years to my knowledge. In any event, you can meet with [Department #4] by calling them to make an appointment. Do you want their phone number?”

Customer #3: “No, that’s okay. Thanks, sweetie. I’ll talk to them some other time.”

Customers #4-#50:

Customers #4-#50: “Do you have [very specific item/book/information that requires research]?”

Me: “We do back at the main office, but not here. I can call you later with that information, you can pick it up on [list days and times], or you can make an appointment to view it later.”

Customers #4-#50: “I don’t understand why you don’t have it here. It’s public record. I should be able to get [very specific item/book/information].”

Me: “As you can see, I have nowhere to keep it here.”

I gesture to the twenty-five-square-foot room/closet acting as my “office”.

Customers #51-#100:

Me: *On the phone* “[My Department], can I help you?”

Customers #51-#100: “Yes, are you open yet for us to come in?”

Me: Yes, we are open, but not at [main building]. [Main building] is closed. We are in [building next door] at [address].”

Customers #51-#100: “Oh, like where we vote?”

Me: “Yes, exactly — [building next door] where the voting takes place.”

Customers #51-#100: “Okay, see you soon!”

A few minutes later on the phone:

Me: “[Department], can I help you?”

Customers #51-#100: “Yes, I just went to [main building] like you said, but the doors are locked! And there is a sign saying to go to [building next door]? Is that right?”

Me: “Yes, that is correct. Come over to [building next door]. Remember where you vote? It’s that building.”

Customers #51-#100: “Oh, it’s where we vote? Well, why didn’t you say so in the first place instead of sending me over to [main building]?”

Customers #101-Infinity:

Exit doors, which are locked from the outside and clearly marked as Exit Only, are being tugged at.

Customers #101-Infinity: “Did you know your doors are locked?”

How did you get in, then?

Me: “Only the exit doors are locked. There are big signs on them saying ‘EXIT ONLY.’ There are also large signs next to two other doors, such as the one you came in, that say, ‘ENTER HERE.’ Those doors are unlocked.”

Customers #101-Infinity: “Yeah, well, I just wanted you to know that the door was locked. You should probably fix that.”

And I bang my head on my desk.

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