Travelling For Work Is Less Than Glamorous

, , , | Working | January 11, 2021

I’m working in a plant that’s about as middle-of-nowhere as you can possibly be in northern Italy. I’ve joined two of my colleagues, who have been working at the site for a week. They clock out for the day and go to the hotel, but I stay, alone, to complete the first part of the intervention. When I’m finally done, it’s raining in buckets, my period came unannounced, and I feel like crap.

Looking forward to a hot shower and dinner, I get to the hotel reception while still in my dirty overalls.

Me: “Good evening. I’m [My Name] from [Company]. There should be a single room booked in my name.”

Receptionist: “We have no rooms available.”

Me: “It’s okay. I have a reservation made in my name by [Company]…”

Receptionist: “Ma’am, there are no rooms available, at all, because there was a problem with the online booking site. I explained the same thing to your colleagues when they showed up last week.”

Me: “So where are my colleagues right now?”

Receptionist: “I helped them find accommodation to a different hotel, but even that is full right now. Frankly, I thought you and your company would solve the problem on your own.”

I start fuming.

Me: “No, because we were never informed of a problem, either by your hotel or my colleagues, and now I have nowhere to sleep through no fault of my own. I’m not familiar with the area and my phone has no reception. The sooner you find me a place within a reasonable distance, the sooner I’m out of your hair.”

She starts making phone calls. All the while, I’m standing in the reception, uncomfortable and cramping, because I don’t want to get their sofa dirty in any way. Finally…

Receptionist: “I’ve found a room. It’s a twenty-minute drive away but I have to tell you, it’s no place fit for a lady.”

Me: “Ma’am, this ‘lady’ spent the day rolling in dirt, expects to sleep rough in the back of a van, and fails to see how a motel can be any worse than that.”

The receptionist reluctantly gave me the address and I went. I soon found out why she’d say it was “no place fit for a lady.” It was an hourly motel!

It was, however, comfortable and clean, and despite the odd nocturnal noises, I stayed there for the rest of the gig. On the following day, I made sure to chew a new one to my colleagues, who did not see fit to alert me about the booking mishap or even inform the company that they were not staying where everyone thought they would, in an area where cell phone reception is iffy at best!

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This Headbanger Is No Head-Scratcher

, , , , | Working | January 8, 2021

We’re having an impromptu meeting in the main office. Basically, the CEO is talking about something that needs to be done his way.

The radio has been left on at a very low, barely audible volume, and a very famous song with a catchy four-note riff is next. Picture five well-dressed secretaries in their forties sitting at their desks who, one by one, begin headbanging, and a totally oblivious CEO who still goes on with his pep talk, walking back and forth.

Then, an employee comes into the office, carrying some paperwork. He sees the scene and goes white.

Employee: “I’ll just come back when you’re done with the ritual.”

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We Weren’t Creeped Out Until The End

, , , | Working | December 24, 2020

I’m on a business trip with a colleague. I’m not very experienced with travelling, while he has been all over Europe due to work or pleasure.

Soon after we leave the car rental, the tire pressure alert on our rented car goes off. We stop at the first gas station on the road. The attendant, a young, mild-mannered man, comes out of the shack to greet us.

Attendant: “Hello. Do you need petrol or diesel?”

Colleague: “Hello. Neither. Our tank is full, but is it possible to check the tire pressure?”

Attendant: “No problem.”

He goes inside the shack, returns with the pressure gauge hose, fits it to the column, and starts checking the tires. I’m embarrassed that he’s doing all this for free, since pressure checking is complimentary and we’re not buying gas. During our entire exchange, the attendant is polite and smiling.

Attendant: “All in order. Anything else?”

Me: “Yeah, is it possible to get two coffees at the bar?”

I figure that if I pay for the coffees, I can at least leave a tip for the work on the tires. We get inside the bar and the attendant prepares two coffees using a small espresso machine, of the kind you find in households.

Me: “How much for the coffees?”

Attendant: “Nothing. Coffee is free.”

Me: “Oh, come on. Do you at least have a tip jar?”

Attendant: “No, really. There’s no need. It’s on the house. It’s fine.”

Stranger and stranger. I’m puzzled by this, but my colleague seems fine with it and I don’t want to drag this for long, as we still have a day’s work ahead of us.

Colleague: “Well, all right, then. Thank you very much and goodbye.”

Attendant: “Have a good day.”

We leave in silence. I’m still mulling the whole thing over.

Me: “Do you also think he had just murdered the real attendant and was just waiting for us to leave so he could run away with the cash?”

Colleague: “I don’t know, but this is the creepiest R&R stop ever.”

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These Stories Make Me Appreciate My Bosses

, , , | Working | December 21, 2020

For “productivity” reasons, we’re now required to report our activities daily, with an indication of the time spent, e.g. one and a half hours filing paperwork, two hours on [project], and so on. This annoys my colleague to no end.

One day, she shows me an email she received from the boss.

Boss’s Email: “How come when I add up the hours on your daily, the total is always seven and a half? What do you do in those thirty minutes?”

Colleague: *To me* “He doesn’t get it, does he? Thirty minutes a day are wasted writing the bloody daily itself!”

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That Actually Worked?!

, , , , , | Right | December 15, 2020

A friend and I are spending a vacation in Alghero, Sardinia, enjoying the food and drinks. This conversation is in Italian; I speak it fluently even though I’m Swedish. We each had a glass of prosecco. Mine is empty, so I go to the bar with a concerned and slightly sad look on my face.

Bartender: “How can I help you?”

Me: “There has to be something wrong with this glass; it seems broken!”

The bartender takes the glass and looks at it. There’s nothing wrong with the glass, so he looks at me, confused.

Bartender: “What’s wrong with it?”

Me: “There was nice prosecco in the glass, but suddenly, it was empty! I think the liquid went out through that hole on top!”

The bartender looks at me, even more confused. The owner of the hotel shows up in the bar, having heard the exchange. He has a grin on his face. He takes the glass from the bartender, looking at it with much concern.

Owner: “This is not good! I can see why this upsets you, but I can fix it!”

He bends down under the bar and takes out a HUGE champagne glass that easily fits half a bottle, fills it up, and hands it to me.

Owner: “There you go, miss. This glass won’t get empty that quick! But if you have any problems, you are welcome to come back and talk to me! This is on the house to apologize for the defective glass!”

I laugh and go back to my friend, who didn’t understand any of the conversation.

Friend: “What happened? And what’s with the giant glass?!”

Me: “I told them the glass was broken, so I got a new one!”

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