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We Wish This Author Understood Chinese!

, , , , , | Working | May 18, 2022

At our local Chinese restaurant, the food is good, but every time, something strange happens.

One time, we enter ten minutes after the doors opened. Lights are on but there is nobody, not even staff. We stand around for a few minutes and then start making polite noises until a man appears. He looks straight out of bed and drags a bottle.

He says a few things in Chinese, which we don’t understand. Then, he mumbles:

Man: “Closed. Closed. We closed.”

And he slowly disappears into the kitchen.

So we leave. Just outside the door, we meet the Chinese woman running the dining room, dragging bags and a stack of boxes, clearly too heavy for her. She asks why we’re leaving, so we tell her what happened.

She clearly understands us, as she drops everything on the floor and marches to the kitchen, her face an angry declaration of war.  

From the kitchen comes a loud discussion going back and forth, back and forth, in Chinese, between a very angry, fast-speaking woman voice and a sleepy, slow, male voice. Something breaks and the male voice stops abruptly.

The kitchen door swings open, and the woman strides out angry as a thunder cloud and then looks at us. Her face just switches to the most radiant, warm, welcoming smile you’ve ever seen, and she says with perfect, professional calm:

Woman: “Dinner will be served in ten minutes.”

You Can Plan, But Sometimes The Universe Screws You Anyway

, , , , , , | Working | May 18, 2022

My husband and I are planning to move. As we have a busy schedule and a lot of pets, I start arranging rental trucks and movers more than two months in advance. I foolishly assume this will make everything easier.

Sadly, the universe has other plans.

One week before our actual move-in date, we plan to move some items into storage, so I book a van from a well-known moving company. I make this reservation about six weeks in advance. They take my credit card information and send me reminder emails, and everything seems good to go.

When we arrive to pick up the van, though, the store says there’s an issue and to call the corporate number. Confused and worried, I dial their number and am immediately met with a hostile tone. 

They tell me they are denying my rental because I listed my husband as an additional driver and his name is linked to someone who didn’t pay their bill from six years ago! Neither of us recognizes the name.

The representative does not believe me and accuses me of covering for this stranger.

[Company #1] Rep: “Unfortunately, you’ll be permanently banned from renting from our company unless you resolve the debt.”

Me: “Neither my husband nor I know this person, so obviously your records are wrong. And why wasn’t this an issue when we rented a truck from you two years ago?”

[Company #1] Rep: *Pause* “You must have given us false information then so it didn’t flag our system. Tell you what. I can even settle the account for $150.”

I tell her I’m not paying some stranger’s debt and hang up.

Desperate to find a vehicle and stick to our schedule, we turn to another well-known rental company. I reserve a van on their website for the next day. When my reservation time arrives, we show up at the store only to be told their website is wrong and they don’t have any vans.

I tell the representative that I would take a small truck or anything really, and she asks me to wait. I wait an hour and a half before I can get her attention again. Suddenly, her tune changes and she acts like I am an idiot for expecting the vehicle that I reserved.

[Company #2] Rep #1: “You really have to request vehicles far in advance.”

I think about my six-week reservation that was just pulled out from under me and scream internally.

Me: “I assumed that your reservation website was accurate. When would you have a vehicle available?”

[Company #2] Rep #1: “We’re booked up for the next few days. Just call back and maybe something will get returned sooner.”

Wondering why the heck she asked me to wait, I decide to leave and cancel our moving plans for that weekend. 

But wait, that’s not all. A couple of days later, [Rental Company # 2] charges me a $75 NO-SHOW fee for not picking up a van. Furious, I call them. 

Me: “I need this charge refunded. I waited an hour and a half only to be told you didn’t and wouldn’t have my vehicle.”

[Company #2] Rep #2: “Unfortunately, ma’am, you have to actually cancel your reservation with twenty-four hours’ notice.” 

Me: “How would that be possible when I showed up on time and you told me you didn’t have the van?”

[Company #2] Rep #2: *Pauses* “When we cannot complete a reservation, policy states that we must charge a fee.”

Me: “So, let me get this straight: your website accepts reservations for vehicles you don’t have, and then you get to collect a fee when you can’t complete those reservations?”

The rep hung up.

I ended up contesting the charge with my bank and getting the money back. We finally reserved a truck through a commercial vehicle company that made an exception for us. 

I couldn’t help but send an email to [Rental Company #1] with the amount I had paid the Commercial Truck Company (in cash) to show how they’d lost a sale because they wrongfully linked me to some stranger’s six-year-old debt. 

Long story short, this is how I learned that planning ahead doesn’t necessarily mean things will go well!

Do You Even Google, Bro?

, , , , | Right | May 12, 2022

I work at a gym and am currently answering calls.

Me: “Hello, thank you for calling [Gym]. This is [My Name]. How may I help you?”

Caller: “Uh, yeah. Do you know if [Restaurant] near you guys is open?”

Me: “Sorry, sir. I do not.”

Caller: “Oh. Well, could you check for me?”

Me: “Pardon?”

Caller: “Ya. Can you walk over there and see if they are?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. I can’t leave the building. I would suggest looking up their number and calling them to find out.”

Caller: “How would I find out their number?”

Me: “They probably have it listed on Google.”

Caller: “Can you do it for me? Call them and then call me back and let me know?”

Me: “Sorry. We are quite busy at the moment, and since this is unrelated to the gym, I won’t be able to assist you.”

He begrudgingly accepted that answer, muttering something along the lines of how I was providing poor customer service. I looked up his number in our system and no memberships popped up, so he wasn’t even a member of the gym!

Boo For Him, But Yay For You!

, , , , , , | Working | May 12, 2022

About twenty years ago, I was working freelance, helping several small local businesses with their bookkeeping and data input. I was used to working in the owners’ houses on old equipment or even taking work home to deal with.

One of my clients knew of a small business whose owner had just decided to computerise their accounts system and had employed a worker who claimed to be an expert in computers and accounts, but said worker had abruptly left them after only a couple of weeks, and it was suggested I might like to take over. As it only involved a few hours each week, it fit well with my other commitments, so I went to meet the business owner.

They showed me their rather old computer, running Windows 3.1, set up in their dining room, and asked me whether that was okay with me, as their previous employee had insisted they needed an office to work in and a state-of-the-art new computer for them to use, which the business could not afford.

As soon as I moved the mouse, I realised there was a slight problem; the cursor hardly moved. I just turned the mouse upside down, removed the retaining ring, tipped the ball out, and scraped a thick layer of gunk off the rollers inside. When I put it back together, it worked perfectly. The look on the owner’s face was great — to see the “load of rubbish” made to work so easily confirmed their poor opinion of the previous employee’s expertise in computers. The computer didn’t need to go online, so the fact that it used an outdated version of Windows did not matter, and it turned out they had made a mess of setting up the accounts, too!

I worked one morning a week for that business for fifteen years until the owner decided to retire.

Printers Can Smell Fear

, , , , | Working | May 9, 2022

I’m sat at my desk whilst a coworker is sat a few desks away and her manager is walking toward the nearby printer.

Coworker: “Whilst you’re over there, can you grab me [document]?”

Manager: “F****** h***, what did your last servant die of?”

Coworker: “She was killed by the printer, so be careful.”