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Group Projects Can Be A Roller Coaster

, , , , | Learning | October 16, 2021

At my high school, all juniors — sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds for non-Americans — have to take Physics. Both the honors and regular courses have the exact same final project: build a working model roller coaster and do your best to “sell it” to your classmates during your presentation.

For this project, we are supposed to make our own groups of either three or four people. No more, no less. Of course, I immediately partner up with the one close friend I have in my class period, but we still need a third. That third ends up being a girl we are somewhat acquainted with that no one else seems to want in their group. This should be our first red flag regarding her, but we don’t have a choice regardless.

Initially, things go fairly well as we’re given class time here and there to plan out our schematic and theme. It’s at this point that we get our second red flag: we both notice that our third member isn’t super engaged. This is especially true with the math-based parts of the schematic that we have to include as part of our grade, but we shrug it off because the two of us are doing well in the class and it isn’t especially hard.

Fast forward until about two weeks before everything is due. We start planning out-of-school meetings to gather supplies and start building. After we section off who’s buying what, we struggle to figure out where we can meet that’ll have the room we need.

Groupmate: “Hey, maybe I can ask my Grandma if we can go to hers on Saturday? She lives just around the corner from here.”

Friend: “Works for me.”

Me: “Yeah, same.”

However, that Friday evening, she shoots us a text.

Groupmate: “Sorry, my gram’s in the hospital and we’ll all be there with her all day tomorrow so we can’t meet.”

Me: “Oh, heck. That’s fine. Hope she’s all right!”

I immediately call my friend because we can really only meet on weekends due to conflicting extracurriculars, and we only have two of those weekends left. After she manages to pull some strings to get a back room reserved for us at her family’s church, we ultimately decide to just bite the bullet and have the two of us meet anyway to at least start on the model.

While we’re building up our base, we take a small break and my friend checks her phone. After a few minutes, she starts scowling before turning to me.

Friend: “Holy s***, [My Name], check [Groupmate]’s Snapchat story.”

Apparently, our groupmate forgot she had us both added on social media because she has posted several pictures of her looking as happy as can be in a brand new car that was apparently a belated birthday present from her parents. Of course, we’re both fuming, but there isn’t much we can do at this point. 

We eventually decide to just work through the day to get as much of the model done as possible. We debate having our third member create the presentation on her own time, but we decide it isn’t worth the risk since we know she has pretty abysmal knowledge of what we are doing at this point.

Monday morning, the two of us hunt down our Physics teacher. We both explain to her what’s going on and show her both the text our groupmate sent, as well as the proof of what she was actually up to that day. 

Teacher: “Hm, unfortunately, there isn’t much I can do right now. Y’all aren’t finished with your coaster yet, right?”

Me: “No, we were going to try and finish it up Friday, and we still have the whole presentation to make.”

Teacher: “Okay, let me know if she doesn’t help out then. We’re also going to do group member evaluations after presentations are over, so make sure you’re both honest on those and I’ll keep them in mind when grading. I’ll make sure you two don’t suffer if she doesn’t end up doing anything because I absolutely remember exactly how crappy that felt when I was in school.”

And, what do you know, she ends up flaking on us again by not only completely ignoring our texts but also by not even coming to school Friday. We end up finishing the project on our own that evening.

Friend: “I’m going to be honest: I hope she skips again the day we present. She’s going to ruin the whole f****** presentation if she has to do it with us.”

Me: “No kidding. She literally doesn’t know s***. I might actually ask [Teacher] about that if she does show up.”

The day finally came to present and we did just that. We were informed that our third member would, unfortunately, have to present with us; however, by the grace of the gods, she did end up skipping that day, probably knowing just how screwed she’d be if she did show up. 

Despite our two-man show, we ended up not only killing our presentation but also winning the first round of voting for the competition the Physics teachers set up for bonus points. We were also brutally honest on our group member evaluations about our third member. When it was all said and done, my friend and I got scores in the high nineties. Neither of us know exactly what score the other girl ended up getting, but we did find out later from a mutual friend that she failed the class and had to go to credit recovery that following summer.

This Professor Should Consider A Profession That Doesn’t Involve People

, , , , | Learning | October 14, 2021

I’m in an engineering class in college. The professor is not well-liked by the students or other staff, mainly because he’s lazy and rude. He once listed all the work that needed to be done on the syllabus but nothing was due until the last week of class. Two weeks before the end of the semester, he announced that there was no possible way he could grade all of the work before grades needed to be submitted, so he changed the final project to a ten-minute presentation detailing what we learned from the entire semester. Mind you, there were essays, other projects, and other homework listed in the syllabus that most of us had done and were waiting to submit. All of that work was now not needed and had been replaced by a ten-minute presentation. The procrastinators were ecstatic, but those of us who had actually done the work were pissed. All that work we had done was now worth NOTHING! We all passed with flying colors just by copy and pasting the syllabus objectives and BSing the rest of the presentation.

Another time, the entire class was gathered around the work table. One of my classmates just happened to be a woman who was eight and a half months pregnant, and it was obvious that this was the case. The professor was talking and paused, presumably to invite someone to answer. She began to speak when he held up a finger and stuck it in her face. 

Professor: “Hold on, I was having a pregnant pause.”


Going To Unwelcome Lengths To Be Lazy

, , , , , | Friendly | October 13, 2021

My girlfriend and I have bought our first home and are waiting for the exchange. The previous owners seemed nice, if a little full-on (intense). They apologised throughout the viewings, promising to fix everything that honestly wasn’t up to scratch. We got a few of the things agreed as part of the sale.

We get the keys and drive over. We can see from the outside that several things haven’t been done. The fence still has a hole in it and the outside light still hasn’t been put back together.

Inside is the same — barely even what you would call clean.

Girlfriend: “Wow. They really didn’t lift a finger to help us, did they?”

Me: “After all their promises, as well.”

I take the box of kitchen stuff and she grabs the living room stuff.

Girlfriend: “Hey, look at this.”

I head to the living room. Instead of painting over the horrible mural as they promised, they stuck thirty or forty wall stickers all saying, “Welcome,” to it.

Me: “What the f***?”

Girlfriend: “I mean, it would have been quicker and surely cheaper to just paint it, right?”

Me: “Oh, man. What were they thinking?” *Peels a sticker off* “Look, it’s taking the paint off with it!”

We stayed up all night getting rid of the stupid stickers and painting over the ugly mural. We still joke about the not very welcome welcome.

Ordering Cake Isn’t A Piece Of Cake

, , , , , , , | Working | October 12, 2021

We have a new coworker who just defended his dissertation, so he is now officially a PhD. I ask him his favorite cake and he says tres leche, so I end up ordering it at a popular discount grocery store chain known for their Mexican-leaning products. I order it for pickup at 7:30 am so I can get it on my way into the office. I have to give my phone number about six times, but I think nothing of it until I get there to pick it up and it isn’t ready!

Me: “Hi. I ordered a cake; it is under [My Name].”

Baker: “It isn’t ready.”

Me: “What do you mean, it isn’t ready?”

Baker: “I just got here at seven-thirty. It will be ready at eleven.”

Me: “Ooooookay. But I ordered it for 7:30 am.”

Baker: “I just told you I got here at seven-thirty. I can make you a cake for eleven.”

I’m thinking she doesn’t understand I have already placed an order.

Me: “I ordered it on Monday. It is under [My Name] for seven-thirty.”

Baker: *Frustrated* “I told you I got here at seven-thirty.”

This goes on a couple more times. I keep trying to figure out how the heck her getting in now has anything to do with a cake I ordered for 7:30 am. Each time, I ask a different clarifying question and get the same response. All the while, I shift from thinking that she’s assuming I am currently trying to order a cake and she just got in and needs to ask someone to thinking she’s explaining she is very late and making it my problem.

I used to work at this grocery store, and from experience, there is usually a night crew that works from 2:00 am to 6:00 am baking cakes and bagels.

Me: *Fed up* “Can I speak to a manager?”

Baker: “Fine.”

Turns out that they had tried to call me using whatever bad number they had written down to tell me my cake couldn’t be ready until 11:00 am because the baker that was supposed to be scheduled to make it the night before couldn’t come in. It would’ve been really great to know that context at any point in the conversation.

When I finally picked it up, Ms. Baker was not only rude and dismissive, even as I tried to apologize for getting heated, but she hadn’t even made the right cake! I went online afterward and found that all the one-star reviews for their store over the past month had been from the bakery and their attitude. Color me surprised.

Audit Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

, , , , , | Working | October 12, 2021

Part of my job is to conduct audits; I do a different area each month. It’s all in the name of improvement and helping, so all audits are scheduled way in advance and I’m pretty reasonable with findings if they tell me that it is about to be fixed or just a one-off and they seem genuine.

It has worked really well. Initially, I was ignored and avoided; now, I’m often welcomed and asked for my opinion… all apart from one area: [Employee]’s department.

I visit him and not only is the place a mess, but he is breaking rules at every step. It is clear he just wants to make himself look good but is costing the company thousands in complaints and damages.

He gives me all sorts of excuses, until I can hear no more and just give him the list of things to fix and a warning: fix them by the next audit or I will escalate. He doesn’t seem to care.

The day before the audit, I pop over to the area to make some notes to prepare for the audit.

I can’t see [Employee], but what I do see are staff brazenly hiding all the incriminating evidence: banned chemicals hidden under desks, reject parts hidden under goods, outdated paperwork in bins, etc. One, not knowing who I am, happily tells me what he is doing and that it’s at [Employee]’s request.

The next day:

Me: “Okay. We have gone through the numbers and staffing; that all looks good. Now, we had several customer complaints about damage due to the use of the wrong cleaners. Has that been resolved?”

Employee: “Yes, we got rid of them straight away.”

Me: “So, there won’t be a bottle hidden under that desk under there?”

Employee: “Err, no?”

I pull out the bottle and make a note on my paperwork.

Me: “Okay. So, next, I’ve been asked about your number of rejects. We have huge costs in parts that we cannot account for. Are your rejects being reported?”

Employee: “Yes, every reject is on the reject shelf.”

Me: “So, a member of staff didn’t hide them in that yellow bin there with the good parts?”

Employee: “Is this an audit or a snooping session? How am I supposed to run a department if you keep coming around checking up on me?”

Me: “This is my second visit, and there will be many more if you refuse to follow policy.”

Employee: “I don’t have time for this. I have actual work to do.”

He stormed off, which was a silly thing to do, because without him there, I had free reign to check the whole area. It didn’t take me long to find a huge list of issues and problems. Even more foolish was to complain to the manager about me “interfering” as, by that point, I had a whole photo album’s worth of his mistakes. He was given “one last chance” but must have blown it as, three months later, he was demoted.