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The Chosen One Has Chosen You

, , , | Right | September 23, 2021

I work for a huge company that operates in a variety of fields, including running hotels. I, however, work at a law office. The phone rings and I answer.

Me: “[My Name] at [Law Office].”

Customer: “Hi, I would like to book a standard room with a queen-sized bed for the upcoming weekend.”

Me: “I’m afraid you have the wrong number. This is a law office.”

Customer: “No! I’m looking at the Internet and this is the number!”

Me: “Not to worry. It’s a common mistake. We are a part of [Company Group], as are the hotels you are probably looking for. The phone numbers are quite similar. Have a nice—”

Customer: “You’re not going to hang up, are you?! What kind of customer service is this? Why, I never!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I just can’t help you any further. You need to call the hotel to book a room. Bye.”

I hang up, but the phone rings again almost immediately.

Me: “Yes?”

Customer: “How dare you hang up on me?! I need to book this room now. I’m going to the wedding of [Person #1] and [Person #2]. They can have only ten people attending because of the health restrictions and I am one of the chosen ones!”

Apparently, the wedding is for some celebrities, as she assumes I would know the names. I’ve never heard of these people but am also honored to speak with “the chosen one.” For some reason, I start to feel a little sorry for her. She is annoying and demanding sure, but she’s also clearly confused.

Me: “Okay. Let me see what I can do for you.”

I go to the website of the hotel chain.

Me: “Which of our hotels would be the best for you? We have six in total in the central area of Helsinki.”

Customer: “The one I called, obviously!”

Me: “We have a shared booking number. Please, just state the name of the hotel.”

Customer: “Well, actually, I’m not sure which one would be the best. Can you recommend the nicest for me?”

We spend about twenty minutes on the phone comparing the hotels and she finally chooses one. I go to the booking section of the website, get her details, and book a standard room with a queen-sized bed for her.

Me: “…and we are all done. I hope you have a wonderful stay at [Hotel] and hopefully all goes well at the wedding.”

Customer: “Thank you so much! Sorry I was rude in the beginning! I’m just so nervous to be one of the chosen for such an event. Sorry again. Have a nice day.”

Me: “Not a problem at all. Bye!”

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And Now I’m Frantically Mashing The “Save” Button

, , , | Legal | CREDIT: aeldsidhe | August 25, 2021

Back in the mid-1980s, when computers were just starting to be widespread in business, autosave was a thing of the very near future but not here yet.

I was a secretary at a law firm and got transferred to the newly created IT department. I did training, setups, and troubleshooting, and I reported to a newly hired but experienced IT manager.

One attorney was having a meltdown because her computer froze and she had been working all morning on a contract for a multimillion-dollar project.

Me: “No problem. We can do a reset and restore it from the last time you saved it.”

Attorney: “I haven’t had time to save it!”

She kept screaming at me to get it back. She hadn’t saved it. Not once. A multimillion-dollar deal. Worked on it for hours. Didn’t. Have. Time. To. Save. It.

When I broke the news that there wasn’t a d***ed thing we could do, I thought she was quite literally going to have a stroke. She was screaming so loud that someone called my boss, who listened to her spit-flecked tantrum. When he heard her say that she hadn’t once saved this oh-so-important document, he said:

Boss: “You didn’t save it. It’s gone. What do you want me to do, [Attorney]? Wave my magic wand to get it back? Get it back from where?”

To this day, I’m still astounded that this woman, who had four years of college and another two to three years of law school, didn’t have the common sense to save her work periodically as it progressed, and then screamed at people who were only trying to help her.

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Sometimes I’ll Start A Title And I Don’t Even Know Where It’s Going

, , , , , , , | Working | August 13, 2021

I work in a legal aid clinic and we hired a new attorney during the health crisis. We get along great, but almost all of our interaction is over video conferencing, which isn’t the best way to get to know someone. The part of my personality that doesn’t always come through over video conferencing is my tendency to quote from TV and movies in regular conversation. I don’t expect people to always catch the quote and usually do it for my own amusement. It’s something I mostly do when I’m comfortable and have a good relationship with those around me.

Once we’re all vaccinated, we return to in-person work. The new attorney has just been made the director of our clinic and mentions during our team meeting they’d like to set up a regular meeting with me for the purposes of case review and supervision. 

Director: “I’d like to set up an initial meeting so we can get to know each other a little better and find out what kind of supervision style and schedule will work best for the two of us.”

Me: “It was my understanding that I was not going to be managed.”

The director startles a little bit and throws a look at the other attorney in the room.

Staff Attorney: “It’s a quote from something. Whenever she says something confusing or out of character, there’s a good chance it’s a quote from something.”

Me: *Resignedly* “It’s from The Office.”

Director: “Ah! Got it! Well, that makes me David Wallace… What gave you that idea?”

Me: “We’re gonna get along so well.”

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Not Fluent In The Language Of Love

, , , , , , | Right | July 15, 2021

I am a lawyer practicing in a pretty diverse area. I speak English, Sinhala, and Tamil, and I take meetings in all three languages.

I had this couple come to meet with me. The husband spoke Sinhala as his first language and had a smattering of English, but the wife spoke Cantonese as her first language and spoke decent English. It was very confusing. I still have no idea how they managed to get married without being able to communicate without a translator. A lot of pointing, I suppose?

The meeting went okay, with me relaying things in Sinhala and English and translating where necessary, but the final moments of the meeting were the most surprising.

Me: “So, is there anything else we need to discuss?”

Husband: *Looks bashful* “Um, would you mind telling my wife I love her?”

Me: “No?”

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Everything’s Coming Up Sunflowers

, , , , | Legal | CREDIT: MeowSchwitzInThere | June 29, 2021

CONTENT WARNING: This story contains content of a legal nature. It is not intended as legal advice.

 

A client walks into the office and asks us for a contract review. He then hands over a Homeowner’s Association contract. Before slogging through a whole HOA contract, I ask him what he is hoping to accomplish.

Client: “They want me to dig up my sunflowers.”

Me: “Your… sunflowers?”

Client: “Yes, I planted a row of sunflowers outside my house. They pranced by and said that sunflowers are not allowed per the contract I signed. So, I want you to tell me if that is true or not.”

Me: “Sir, before anything else, I need to tell you that this will likely be an hourly fee bill. HOAs are notorious for dragging things out. These could quickly become expensive sunflowers.”

Client: “I don’t care. This is America and I should be able to plant sunflowers, God d*** it.”

Still thinking he isn’t THAT serious about sunflowers, I ask for a three-hour retainer. He immediately pulls out a checkbook and pays for four hours. So, I buckle down to review the alleged anti-sunflower clause.

The sunflowers he has planted are really big and are all along the front of the house. It is a very substantial number of sunflowers.

The contract does indeed contain a clause, with a VERY thorough list, regarding which plants are not allowed to be planted. The list has just about every plant I can think of, in alphabetical order — think, “Apple, banana, cauliflower, dill…” — sunflowers included. Corn is not included, which becomes very important later.

Quick legal point: if you write, “no dogs allowed,” it is normally assumed that you are talking about all dogs generally. If you write, “no labs, golden retrievers, or poodles allowed,” it is normally assumed that all other dogs are allowed. Sometimes a not-so-great attorney will write a super long list to pad hours — read: charge more — instead of just writing, “no plants without prior approval,” or something.

I call the client back in for the bad news. In explaining the above legal point, I let him know that the HOA got a raw deal from whoever drafted the contract.

Me: “No can do on the sunflowers. But if it makes you feel any better, they were probably over-billed by whoever wrote this contract. Pretty shoddy work, too. They even forgot to write down ‘corn,’ but they included nonsense like ‘dragonfruit.'”

Client: “So yes to corn, no to sunflowers?”

Me: “I didn’t really check the contract for corn. But it’s not prohibited in the plant section, so probably?”

Client: “Excellent. That’ll work.”

I thought he was oddly happy with bad news. Then, two or three weeks later, he came in with a picture of his house, surrounded by huge sunflowers.

What happened? This guy drove out to the country and bought obnoxiously large and ugly cornstalks. He promptly planted them where the sunflowers had been. When confronted by the HOA, he told them, basically, “Suck it. The contract lets me plant corn.” Then, after some negotiation, he agreed to take the corn down in exchange for permission to plant sunflowers.

Now we are friends, he is still a great client, and he lives surrounded by a ridiculous moat of sunflowers.


This story is part of our Best Of June 2021 roundup!

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