Next Time Make Sure You’re Holding All The Cards

, , , , , , | Learning | December 2, 2019

(In college, my public speaking professor hands out an assignment that is to be done in pairs, due in one week. Each pair picks another country and gives a five-minute speech about their history, politics, population, economy, etc. She selects the pairs, my partner being a girl I don’t know. We swap contact info and, before I can ask when she wants to get together, she leaves. Our class meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This is Wednesday. I wait a few hours before calling her, thinking maybe she has another class. She doesn’t answer. On Thursday, I send her a text but she still doesn’t reply. On Friday, we have class again. The professor gives us the second half of the class to work on the project. The entire time, my partner is on her phone, barely acknowledging me.)

Me: “Do you want to cover political history or agriculture?”

Partner: “Uh-huh.”

Me: “You… want both?”

Partner: “Whatever.”

Me: “Okay. You can cover agriculture since that seems… uh…” *searching for a word other than “easier”*

Partner: “Okay.”

(I go to my professor at the end of class.)

Me: “[Professor], I’m not sure about doing this project with [partner].”

Professor: “Are you not getting along?”

Me: “I just don’t think she’s invested.”

Professor: “Are you?”

Me: “Well…” *shows her my work so far* “I have the basic outline done and I searched the library’s system so I know which books to check out when I go back.”

Professor: “So, what’s the problem?”

Me: “I tried to get in contact with [Partner] and she never replied. Just now I was trying to divide the topics and she was on [social media], not even listening to me.”

Professor: *shrug* “You’re adults now. You’ll have to work it out on your own.”

(I spend the weekend trying to contact my partner while doing research, diving into my own topics while picking up tidbits of her topics along the way. I am adamant that I am not going to do to the whole project, but I don’t want to get a bad grade. Monday comes and my partner isn’t even in class. I send one more text, saying I am going to be at the library Tuesday afternoon — the day before our project is due — starting around five pm, asking her to join me. She still doesn’t reply. By Wednesday morning, I have the entire project done, timed, and organized so that we can go back and forth on our topics. I write our facts on note cards, highlighting the topic line based on whether it is mine or hers — pink for mine, yellow for hers — and put a note at the top of each note card showing what the colors represent. I always try to arrive at least five minutes before class so I can get settled. My partner arrives five minutes late, during another presentation. She makes no mention of why she hasn’t helped, nor has she done any work for herself. I am upset but still give her the rundown on the project, showing her the highlighting and how I broke everything down. For simplicity, let’s say she has topics A, C, E and the conclusion while I have the introduction and topics B, D, and F. We divide the notecards and wait our turn. I should note that I hate public speaking or being the focus of a conversation, so I’m already on edge.)

Professor: “[My Name], [Partner], are you ready?”

Partner: “Yes!” *grabs all the notecards* “Oh.” *laughs* “I guess you need some of these.” *hands back the first notecard with the introduction*

Me: *unsure of why she’s suddenly so enthusiastic* “Yeah…”

(We take our place at the front of the class.)

Me: “[Country] is a land rich with a diverse history, unique cultures and…” *reads the rest of the introduction*

Partner: *reads topic A in a monotone voice*

Me: *reaches over to take the Topic B card*

Partner: *harsh whisper* “I’m not done!”

Me: “What?”

Partner: *reads topic B*

Me: “Uh…”

Partner: *continues*

Me: *whispering* “That’s my part–” *reaches for the card again*

Professor: “Ladies, is there a problem?”

Partner: “No.” *continues reading in a monotonous voice, turning away from me*

Me: “That’s my part!”

Partner: “Shh!”

Professor: “[My Name].”

Me: *bright red and very anxious* “I… I…”

Partner: “[My Name]! Stop! [Professor], can I please just do this? [My Name] is messing me up.”

Me: “She’s reading my part!” *realizes how childish I sound* “We had assigned parts and–”

Professor: “[My Name], please be quiet.”

Me: “But–”

Professor: “OUT!”

Me: “But–”

Professor: “NOW! I’ll deal with you at the end of class. Go sit in the hall.”

(My face and ears are so red I can feel my pulse, but I leave the room without another word. I sit in the hallway, angry and crying, while my “partner” reads the entire presentation. At the end of the class, my partner comes out, looks at me sitting along the wall, smiles at me, and leaves. The professor calls me back into the room.)

Professor: “What was that?”

(I explain the division of topics, color coding, and how I did the work and my partner did nothing.)

Professor: “Do you have proof?”

Me: “There are the notecards.” *opens my bag and begins looking for them*

Professor: “Okay.” *holds out her hand*

Me: *realizing my partner took the notecards* “But [Partner] must have them.”

Professor: “So, you have nothing?”

Me: “But I came to you earlier about her and I… I have parts of it memorized. I can tell you which topics I was supposed to read.”

Professor: “I’m sorry, [My Name]. If you have no way to prove you did this work, I have no choice but to give you a zero.”

Me: “She stole my parts! She didn’t do anything but read! I did all the work!” 

(My eyes burn with new tears.)

Professor: *sigh* “Okay. I’ll give you until the next class to prove it. Otherwise, the zero stands.”

(I called and texted my partner constantly over the next two days, adamant that she admit she did nothing, or at the very least that she had taken over my topics. Still, she didn’t answer. I showed the professor that I had been trying to contact my partner but she just wasn’t answering. With no proof of my work and no word from my partner — who was absent from class again — the professor kept the zero and dropped my grade substantially. Public speaking was a requirement for my diploma, so I had to take the class again the next semester with the same professor. When that project came around again, I spitefully picked the same country. The professor initially refused, saying I’d already done that project. I reminded her that she gave me a zero because I couldn’t prove I had done anything. This time around, I got an A, an apology from the professor, and a lesson in showing your work.)

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Flea, You Fools!

, , , , , | Right | November 30, 2019

(I’m alone in the shop one day when one of the manager’s regular clients comes in and literally throws her chihuahua at me over the desk.)

Customer: “BOBBY HAS FLEAS!”

Me: “Bobby always has fleas, ma’am. You need to have your house treated.”

Customer: “GIVE HIM A FLEA BATH; THAT WILL BE GOOD ENOUGH!”

Me: “He’s just going to get fleas again when you bring him home.”

Customer: “GIVE HIM A FLEA TREATMENT! THEN THEY WILL LEAVE HIM ALONE!”

Me: “They can still get on him when he has the treatment. They’ll just die when they bite him; it doesn’t magically make the fleas disappear from your house.”

Customer: “JUST GIVE HIM A BATH! I HAVE TO GO!”

Me: *sighing* “You have to fill out the paperwork, ma’am.”

(This was a regular occurrence. I just feel bad for Bobby.)

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Frozen In Line

, , , , | Working | November 27, 2019

I don’t get to visit my favorite hometown coffee shop much anymore, so it’s always kind of an event when I have a chance. It’s an extremely hot day and I’ve been on the road for almost an hour; I also had to take a detour around some road construction to even get to the coffee place.

I park next to a car with two teenagers chattering away inside. I notice because I don’t want to accidentally slam doors with one, but they are in no apparent hurry to exit, so I get out and head for the building. The shop has one barista on the register and a second one to make orders; I’ve actually finished paying for my order at the register when the two teens from the parking lot come in and the second barista greets them with Valley Girl-esque enthusiasm. The three of them start chatting and I move down to the end of the counter to wait for my drink.

I notice a frozen mocha sitting next to the sink, and I wonder if it’s mine, since I ordered a frozen mocha. But the barista at the register has disappeared and the second barista is talking nonstop with the two teens while she throws together two iced coffees for them. Being really non-confrontational, I don’t want to say anything, in case that wasn’t my drink at all. Still, I’m a little miffed she’s making their drinks before mine. But maybe there was something wrong with the machine and my drink couldn’t be completed. Anyway, I tell myself, it can’t be my drink, because I asked for no whipped cream. I tell myself all kinds of things to keep myself from speaking up.

The barista finishes, hands the two their iced coffees, finishes her little visit with them, and then finally goes over to the sink to retrieve the rapidly-melting frozen mocha that was mine all along and hands it to me.

I’m completely infuriated that my order was evidently finished before those two jabber jaws even paid for theirs, and for some reason, the barista just couldn’t work up the enthusiasm to pass it to me at any point while making two more drinks. But I was too afraid to speak up before confirming it was my drink, and too shy to complain about it once I realized what had happened, so… here I am complaining into the void! Hello, void. Thanks for listening.

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Turned Into A Meal Ticket  

, , , , , | Working | November 27, 2019

This happened in the 1970s at a well-known hotel chain in Oklahoma. My (now-ex) wife and I stayed there one night because she was having an outpatient procedure at a hospital in the area early the next morning. 

It was a disaster from the beginning. The room was dirty, to the point where I got stabbed in the foot by a straight pin that was in the carpeting. There were cracker crumbs ground into the carpeting. Very little about the room was right.

As there was no alarm clock in the room, I requested a wake-up call for 6:00 am.

We woke up at about 8:00. No call.

I called the desk and angrily asked what had happened to our wake-up call. “I don’t know. I just came on shift.” No apology; no acknowledgement of the problem that they had caused.

I called the hospital, who said they could still get us in as long as we got there as quickly as we could.

We ran down to the desk, rushed through checkout without looking at the bill, made it to the hospital, got the surgery done, and got home safely.

Then, I got the credit card statement. They had charged us for a meal in the restaurant; we had never been in the restaurant at all!

So, I wrote a strongly-worded letter to the hotel manager, with a CC to the chain’s headquarters. The original, sent to the hotel itself, clearly had “CC: [corporate headquarters]” on it.

A short time later, we received a money order from the hotel for the amount we’d been overcharged, along with a handwritten note apologizing. The note was poorly written, with misspellings and other mistakes. It was obvious that someone in the hotel had intercepted the letter and replied in the hope that management would never know.

Okay. We got our money back.

A week or so later, we got a check from corporate for the full amount we’d paid, along with a very nice, typed letter promising that they would investigate the incident.

We ended up with more than we had paid, which I figured came close to compensating us for all the crap we had had to put up with.

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There Is No Escape From Her Stupidity

, , , , , | Right | November 24, 2019

I used to work for an escape room, which is a room where there are puzzles that lead to clues that people must solve to escape it. I’m having a lot of fun. Then, I get this woman. She is lazy and doesn’t want to try to figure out the clues, and insists that I do it for her. We are allowed to only give hints, and I do, but she is so thick that anything but saying the answer confuses her.

Finally, frustrated, she screams, “Well, I guess I’m just too dumb for this! How dare you make me feel dumb?!” and throws a fit. She leaves a horrible review and my boss, who is the one who designed the puzzles, blames and fires me.

And that’s the story of me getting fired because a woman was too dumb and lazy. And the boss was an idiot but in a different way. The moral of the story is: if you’re too poor at logic and deduction skills, go do something else. Oh, and don’t work for someone who blames you for things that aren’t your fault. Plenty of people have failed and didn’t leave bad reviews.

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