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I Find Phone Calls Exhausting, Too

, , , , , , | Working | November 10, 2022

I worked for the Small Business Administration in Seattle as a secretary.

We had one gal who was the director’s secretary. Every morning, her husband would call, and they would spend sixty to ninety minutes going over the horse races at our local race track. This would leave just one person to answer calls, etc. After that, she would take a break, come back, and then take an extended lunch.

She always told the director that she was SO BUSY and that was why her work was chronically behind.

She went on vacation for two weeks and I was asked to fill in. The very first day, I had her huge backup of charts done and back to the loan officers, answered the phone, and kept everything else current.

The director called me into his office on my last day before she came back.

Director: “What’s your secret for getting everything done?”

Me: “I actually worked and didn’t spend the day on the phone with personal calls.”

About two weeks later, she was finally reprimanded for excessive personal calls during work hours.

When Helicopter Moms Are Worse Than Whatever The Refugees Escaped From

, , , , , , , , | Right | October 29, 2022

I work in politics, taking calls from the constituents of our MP (Member of Parliament). Our MP has recently won an election. I take a call from an angry woman.

Caller: “I’m never going to vote for you again!”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that, madam. Can I ask why you have changed your mind?”

Caller: “Because [MP] voted yes to bringing in a whole lot of refugees! I saw them on the news! They’re all men!”

Me: “Well, I don’t know what news channel you watch, but—”

Caller: “You don’t understand! It’s too many new men! My son still lives with me! He’s thirty years old and he already can’t get a date!”

Me: “I… am sorry to hear that.”

Caller: “You tell [MP] that as long as my son is single, she won’t get my vote!” *Click*

Yes, I’ll be sure she includes that as an urgent item on her next manifesto.

Voting Is More Than Just Black And White

, , , , , | Right | September 14, 2022

I am volunteering in a voting booth. A woman is holding up the line by checking her phone when it is her time to step into a cubicle to vote.

Me: “Can you please move along, ma’am?”

Voter: “Not yet! I need to check what they look like!”

Me: “Okay? Well, maybe you could step aside so that—”

Voter: “No! It’s my right to vote, and it’s my right to know what the person I am voting for looks like! My Google is just slow!”

Me: “Oh, well, we have a pamphlet provided by each candidate at this table here if you need to reacquaint yourself with their policies.”

Voter: “I don’t give a flying f*** about their policies! I just want to make sure whoever I vote for is white! You can’t just trust white-sounding names anymore.”

I stopped talking to her before I said something I couldn’t take back, and I just subtly redirected the line around her while she used Google for racism.

You Can’t Control What Doesn’t Exist

, , , , | Working | August 30, 2022

Once upon a time in Sweden (or prior to 2019), we had something called a TV licence or a TV fee. In order to finance public service TV and radio channels, every household that owned a TV had to pay a fee. Around the time when Internet streaming services were beginning to get popular, there was a bit of a crackdown on people who had not reported that they owned a TV.

There were controllers going around, knocking on doors of people who had not paid the fee because, for some reason, it was unthinkable that someone would elect not to own a TV. These controllers were not allowed to enter the home. They could only stand outside and ask if there was a TV in the home or, apparently, peek through the windows.

At this time, I legitimately did not own a TV. I lived alone, I got most of my news from the Internet, and I used streaming services for my entertainment needs, so I only had my laptop. However, one day, I got home from work to find a letter from Radiotjänst (the authority in charge of the TV fee) that a TV had been observed in my apartment and that I would need to pay the fee.

This was news to me, so I called their customer service number.

Me: “I got this letter today that says you’ve observed a TV in my home?”

Employee: “Yes, I can see that we’ve had controllers out in your area. Your address is [address], right?”

Me: “Yes, that’s correct. I’m just curious about what TV they’ve observed since I don’t own one. I haven’t had a visit from a controller, either, so I’d really like to know how they reached that conclusion.”

Employee: “All right, let me bring up the notes here. It says the controller walked past your apartment and observed a wall-mounted TV through the living room window.”

Me: “Really? My living room window?”

Employee: “Yes. According to my notes, your apartment is on the ground floor, right?”

Me: “Actually, this is a split-level building. The front entrance is on the ground floor, but in order to observe anything through my living room window on the other side of the house, your controller would have had to climb up onto my balcony. Even then, the only thing they could possibly have observed that’s even remotely TV-shaped would be the cage where I keep my pet rats.”

Employee: “Umm… I’m going to have to get back to you.”

A few days passed by and I didn’t hear back, so I called customer service again and was informed that I would not have to pay the fee.

I guess the controller just wanted to earn their salary without doing their job, assumed that everyone had to have a TV, and just reported everyone in the area who hadn’t paid their fee.

Thankfully, the government eventually realized what an outdated and impractical practice this was and replaced the TV fee with a tax.

Perhaps Someone Soiled Themselves In Fear Of A Shot?

, , , , , , , | Healthy | August 27, 2022

For several years, I was the emergency planner for our county Health Department. In that capacity, I was expected to have protocols in place that could respond to any contingency — floods, tornadoes, terrorist attacks, civil disturbances, fires, explosions, biological warfare, you name it.

One afternoon, a nurse from the immunization clinic materialized at my office door.

Nurse: “Does EmPrep (Emergency Preparedness) have any booties?”

Me: “You mean the little blue disposable footy-things?”

Nurse: “Yeah.”

Me: “I’m afraid not. What do you need them for?”

Nurse: “This is one of those ‘you don’t want to know’ situations.”

I never did find out what they were up to down in Immunizations.