The Year Ended With A Karmic Bang

, , , , , , | Legal | December 31, 2019

I am working at the main railway station in Helsinki during New Year’s night when I spot two teenagers lighting up firecrackers and throwing them onto the street where people are walking. I approach them and sternly tell them to stop as they could hurt someone.

While I approach, they are still lighting one up. They throw it without looking, and where else would it land but next to a police car that has just arrived on patrol?

I leave the kids to discuss their actions with the police.

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Bill Kill

, , , , | Working | December 26, 2019

(It is around 2010 or so. I need a new battery for my phone and there’s a telecom shop of one of the Finnish carriers near where I live, so I go there.)

Me: *showing my phone* “Can I have a new battery for this?”

Salesman: “Yes, sure, but can I ask what operator you use?”

Me: “Certainly, I have a contract with [Competitor].”

Salesman: “How much do you pay in a month? I’m sure that I can go lower than that.”

Me: “Don’t remember. It’s been a while since I got a bill. But I don’t want to change operators now; I only want the battery.”

Salesman: “Certainly.”

(He fetches the battery and I pay it. About a month later, my mother’s phone needs a new battery and I finally get a phone bill. The company I use never sends bills out until the amount is over €20. My bill is something like €24. I go to the same store and wait until the same salesman is free and go to him.)

Me: “Hello. This is my mum’s phone and it needs a new battery. Do you have them?”

Salesman: “Certainly, wait and I’ll get one.” *fetches the battery*

Me: “By the way, last time I was here you told me that if I knew how much I pay for my current operator you can sell me a cheaper connection. So, here’s my last bill.”

(I hand over the bill and he looks at it.)

Salesman: “€24, of course, I can sell you cheaper than this.”

Me: “Please check the period this bill covers.”

Salesman: *gives the bill back to me* “Three months? I cannot go under that!”

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This Is How They Resolve Things In Finland

, , , , | Legal | December 18, 2019

(I’m going to the grocery store close to where I work to get some lunch. As I enter, I see a guy in his twenties about to walk out, without paying, with a whole load of beer in his arms. The cashier is coming right after him and grabs him. I decide to help out, because I’m a large guy, and I don’t really think about it; it just happens. The shoplifter is putting up quite some resistance, right until the following exchange happens.)

Cashier: “Look, I’m not really fit enough to continue for much longer.”

Shoplifter: “Yeah, me, neither.”

(And the situation was resolved like that. The shoplifter stopped his resistance and waited until the police arrived. I’m glad they could come to a mutual understanding in the end.)

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Never Been So Un-App-y To See Cash

, , , , , | Right | October 12, 2019

(I work for the national railway company. A drunk customer approaches me, asking how she can get a ticket. They have not been sold on the train since June 2017.)

Me: “Tickets can be bought from the ticket machines over there, the kiosk over there, or with a mobile application.”

Customer: *demanding* “Help me with the application!”

Me: “Okay… Are you sure you don’t want to use the kiosk? It’s probably the easiest way and you can check out the application later with more time.”

(She is considerably drunk and her train is going to leave quite soon.)

Customer: “Yeah, yeah, just show me how it works.”

Me: *helps the customer download, install, and set up the application for the next five minutes* “Now all you need to do is to choose which ticket you need and your payment method.”

Customer: *chooses her ticket type and stares at her phone for half a minute before pulling out a 10€ bill* “So, where do I put this, then?”

(It took me all my mental strength to not tell her to put it where the sun doesn’t shine. After recomposing myself, I told her to just use the d*** kiosk, that her train was going to leave in a minute, and that the next one would leave in an hour. At least she sobered up a bit during the wait.)

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You Can Tell From My (Dial) Tone That I Can’t Speak

, , , , | Healthy | March 25, 2019

(I am working in an ER doing office duties, including admitting walk-ins. A phone rings.)

Me: “This is [Hospital] with [My Name] speaking. How can I help you?”

Caller: *absolute silence*

Me: “Sir or ma’am, are you unable to speak? Do you have a medical emergency?”

Caller: *still absolute silence*

(After about 60 seconds of silence, the caller hangs up. A few minutes later the phone rings again. The same thing happens again. I am getting really worried that this might be a bad emergency, like a stroke, that can leave a person without speak. I start wondering if I could communicate with the person using the phone’s dial tones and how to do it. But again, the person hangs up before I figure out a way to do it. The phone rings a third time. This time it’s the husband of a nurse, both of whom I know very well.)

Husband: “Hi, [My Name]. [Nurse] has really bad laryngitis. She can’t speak and can’t come to work today.”

Me: “Thank God. I was trying to figure out how to communicate with a person who can’t speak.”

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