The Scams Are Coming From Inside The Walls

, , , , | Working | May 26, 2020

My grandmother falls prey to an Internet scam that results in a recurring charge on her credit card every month for $100. After a few months, she asks my mother and me for help, so we call the credit card company.

Employee #1: “Okay, we have issues like this all the time. Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to cancel this card and send you a new one, but I’ll put a security hold on your account so that your new information isn’t forwarded to the scammers. Then, I’ll start the paperwork to see if we can refund the fraudulent charges, and I’ll open an investigation into the scammers. Does that sound good?”

We thank him profusely for his help and even agree to pay extra to have my grandmother’s new card overnighted to her so we can put this mess behind us. But the next month, we see the fraudulent charges again. Because my grandmother has updater services — when she gets a new card, her company automatically sends the information to the companies that she has recurring charges with — we realize that the security block must have failed, so we call again.

Employee #2: “I’m looking at the account, and I see that a new card was issued, but there’s nothing in the file about a security block for these charges, no paperwork started at all about the fraud, and no open investigation.”

Grandmother: “So, what you’re telling me is that your coworker openly lied to me over the phone when he said he was taking care of all that?”

It turns out that was pretty much the case. The second employee was very helpful. She stayed on the line with us while she did each step and confirmed that she’d completed each one as she did. We spoke to her supervisor — who also confirmed that everything had been handled — and told him that she did a great job, but we lodged a very strong complaint about the first employee who’d helped us.

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Well, It’s Certainly Memorable

, , , , , | Working | May 26, 2020

I am getting married and looking into videography. My budget is minuscule, so I ask a coworker for a quote because I know she has equipment and does this type of work on the side. She quotes me $400 for an edited highlight video including ceremony, speeches, and dances. A week later…

Coworker: “Hey, [My Name], did you decide if you wanted to have me tape your wedding?”

Me: “Oh! I almost forgot. Your quote was more than reasonable, but I don’t think we’re going to be able to swing a videographer at all. Thank you, though!”

I go back to work. Later, I see her with her head together with my boss. The two approach me.

Boss: “Are you really not hiring a videographer?”

Me: “Yeah. I just don’t think we can afford it since we went with the more expensive photographer.”

Boss: “Well, I don’t find that acceptable. It’s really important to have a video! I watch mine every year on my anniversary. So, I’m going to hire [Coworker] for you.”

Me: “Wait, what?”

Boss: “Consider it a wedding gift.”

Me: “Thank you so much!” 

Cue the group hug.

As my wedding approaches, I try to plan details with my coworker. She ends up no-showing to my rehearsal, which is concerning, but the day of my wedding she shows up ready to go. I see her record the entire day on two separate cameras.

Two months later, I send her a message. 

Me: “Hey, [Coworker]! I’m so excited to see my wedding video! No rush, but our dating anniversary is coming up in two months, and I was wondering if I might have video by then? I know we didn’t really discuss a timeframe.”

Coworker: “Oh, you’ll have it in plenty of time!”

Two months later, a week before our dating anniversary, I ask for it again.

Coworker: “I can probably get you the ceremony footage by then, but the reception needs more work.”

She sends me the ceremony footage a week after my dating anniversary. It’s nothing special but a great memento nonetheless and I thank her. I decide to be patient for the remaining footage. 

Come Christmas, seven months after my wedding, I ask her again.

Me: “How’s the footage coming?”

Coworker: “Well, you didn’t tell me your sister was supposed to sing, so I don’t know how good the audio is going to be.”

Me: “Oh, I didn’t know there was a quality issue. That’s okay. I can get her to record a track; maybe we could overlay it or something.”

Coworker: “That might work.”

Me: “Okay, let me know.”

Three months later:

Me: “Any updates on my video? I can get a track from my sister. I’d love to have it for my one-year anniversary in a couple of months.”

Coworker: “The server it was on crashed and I lost all my work in progress so I have to start editing all over. It’ll be done in time.”

My husband and I go on a trip for our anniversary. Despite constant reminders to her, when we get back, there’s no sign of it. There are lots of “next week” and “tomorrow” conversations before I’m fed up.

Me: “We really need to talk. My wedding was well over a year ago. Why don’t I have my footage? Is it really bad and you’re ashamed to show it to me? Did [Boss] not pay you? Whatever it is, I’m happy to help figure it out! I just need you to communicate with me!”

Coworker: “It got deleted from the servers again. I have the memory cards but I’ll have to start over. [Boss] only paid me for the ceremony so I’m doing this for you as a favor.”

This whole time, my boss has been asking to see my video and pushing me to get it from my coworker, so I clue her in on the conversation.

Boss: “That’s a lie! I paid her $600!”

What follows is a big mess in a group chat. [Boss] claims to have paid her $600 cash. She shows a screenshot of a bank statement with a $500 cash withdrawal about a month before my wedding and says she had another $100 on her at the time.

[Coworker] claims to have been paid by check, either $150 or $200; she doesn’t “remember.” [Boss] claims not to even have checks. [Coworker] then shows a screenshot of her bank statement, showing two deposits for $300 a couple of days apart, but still claiming that she doesn’t “think” she got more than $200.

I’m confused because the original quote I received was for $400. [Boss] claims she paid extra because she wanted me to have more than just highlights which was what I got quoted for. [Coworker] claims [Boss] only hired her for the ceremony and she’s doing this out of the goodness of her heart.

I chime in the group chat.

Me: “[Coworker], if you were underpaid, I’m happy to pay you more! I just want my footage. I don’t even want you to edit it anymore; I just want the raw footage.”

Coworker: “It’s not about the money! I’m just a procrastinator. I have to look for the memory cards. It’s not on the one that I thought it was. You’ll have it Monday.”

We play the “next week” and “tomorrow” game for two more weeks.

Me: “I’m done! At this point, I have to assume you lost it and just don’t want to tell me.”

Coworker: “It’s on a memory card that’s the size of my pinky nail.”

Me: “I, like you, am a photographer. I know how big a memory card is! Do you really keep them in that many different places?”

Coworker: “Well, you know my car was totaled back in March. The memory card was probably in my purse and fell out and I missed it when I was cleaning.”

Me: “That was ten months after my wedding. It wasn’t backed up?”

Coworker: “I’m still looking; there are a lot of files to go through!”

She never admitted to completely losing it. She repeated her car accident sob story to mutual friends and continued to reiterate that a memory card is the size of a pinky nail. Zero apologies. 

My boss flipped and demanded her money back. Even though [Coworker] only claimed to have been paid $200, she refunded “half” to my boss, which was $300. I ended up with nothing from my reception, not even a crappy cell phone video of my sister singing for my first dance with my husband. I guess I’m lucky to have gotten the ceremony footage at all.

I have not spoken one word to this girl since. It helps that we don’t work together anymore, but we still have a lot of mutual friends. Moral: do not hire friends and always get it in writing.

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That Is Not My Job!

, , , , , , , | Working | May 25, 2020

During a storm, a large piece of ice falls off the roof of our house, damaging the windshield and roof of my car. This happens on a Saturday night.

I call my insurance company to file my claim and get referred to a body shop. The shop they send me to is one of their approved/preferred partners. Part of my policy also covers a rental vehicle.

Monday morning, I have to work, so my mom drops the car off for me at the body shop. They ask her if she would like to pick up the rental car at that time. She says no, which is correct. The next day, the agent handling my claim calls to get more details about the incident and follow up.

He asks if I’ve sent the car to the shop yet and if I’ve gotten the rental car. I say yes, the car is at the shop, but because I have a work truck during the week, I am waiting until Friday afternoon to get the rental car. He says that’s no problem; I should just give the body shop a little notice and they’ll arrange it on the day I want to pick it up.

Fast forward to Friday. I get off work around 1:00 pm. I call the body shop to arrange the rental car as instructed. The woman that answers says I have to call the car rental company directly. Okay, no problem. That’s not what I was told, but maybe I misunderstood.

I call the rental company, and the gentleman gets me set up with no issues. That is, until he asks me for a reservation number that my insurance company should have given me. I explain that I never got one. He says that’s okay, I can still go get the car, but I should try to get the number before I get there.

As I’m leaving to walk over to the rental place, I call my insurance company to explain. I’m lucky enough to speak to the same agent that’s handling my claim — I called his direct line first but he was on another call.

I go over what just transpired and request the reservation number from him. He pauses for a moment and I can tell he’s frustrated. 

He says, “Really?! That’s part of their job! They’re one of our approved shops. They should have set that up for you. One moment, please.”

He puts me on hold for a few minutes. When he comes back to me, I’m about a minute away from the car rental place.

“I’ve set you up with a proper rental; your reservation number is [number],” the agent explains. “It may take a few minutes for it to show up in their system but it will be ready for you today. I’ve also sent an email to my superiors about this. It shouldn’t have happened. I’m sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.”

I tell him, “No, thank you for helping me sort this out. I’m sorry if I made it harder for you by trying to set up my own rental.”

“Not at all! You didn’t do anything wrong,” the agent says. “They shouldn’t have had you do that.”

We finish the call just as I walk into the car rental place. My rental car is already pulled out and waiting for me, and the staff there can’t have been more pleasant. I just wish the process had been easier.

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Gas Problems Are The Worst

, , , | Working | May 24, 2020

This happens in the pre-cellphone era. Our company routinely performs jobs at a refinery located 230 kilometres away — that is, an hour-and-a-half drive. At 9:00 am, the foreman at the refinery realizes they will need special equipment to complete the job, so he calls the company and they send another worker with a van to deliver it.

At 10:30, the foreman is waiting outside the refinery. At 11:00, he’s annoyed and at 11:30, he starts to worry. The van finally shows up at 12.

Foreman: “At last! What took you so long?”

Driver: *Stalling* “Ehh, I had trouble.”

Foreman: “What trouble? I’ve been listening to the radio; the traffic was fine!”

Driver: “I had trouble… getting gas!”

Foreman: “Getting gas, eh? We’ll talk about that later. Where are you going now? We need to unload the van!”

Driver: “Why, I’m going to lunch before there’s a queue!”

Twenty years later, “I had trouble getting gas” is still the blanket reply whenever someone’s punctuality is questioned!

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You Could Also Blame The Parents

, , , , , | Learning | May 24, 2020

Twenty sixth-grade students from a specialized interest school — in this case, aquaculture — are touring the library in general and the children’s area in particular.  

Most of the kids are well-behaved, but there are four boys who just don’t want to follow the rules. My colleagues and I are not supposed to chastise kids if they are with their (theoretically) responsible adults. We try to guide them back into the activities but they are determined to jump on tables, run up walls, and climb up on the backs of chairs to get at our windows.

I have had it. After I catch one of them trying to pull apart a large stuffed animal that is our mascot, I round the four of them up and march them into the little kids’ room.

“You will sit there, mouths closed, until your bus comes. And if I see you move again, I will get your names from your teachers and you will be banned.”

This is a pretty empty threat as I am a lowly junior librarian, but even my boss doesn’t say anything because she is sick of them, too. They aren’t perfect, but at least they aren’t destroying public property anymore and they aren’t putting any more sneaker treads on the walls.  

It is their teacher who ultimately gets my goat, though.

She comes over with a big smile.

Thank you for talking to them,” she says. “I was getting annoyed with them, too, but it wasn’t my place to say anything.”

I stare at her in disbelief, and then my boss says, “Why not?

“Oh,” says the teacher, “it’s your library, not mine. It’s not my place to discipline them in your space.”

“It might be our space,” says my boss, “but they are your students and your responsibility.”

The teacher just waltzes off with another group of barely-behaved children.

It was a long time before my boss ever allowed that school back for tours and programs.

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