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Maybe “Something” Is A New Color?

, , , , | Right | October 4, 2021

I work in a hardware store that has a large paint department — three aisles of paint, twenty to thirty shades of every color, and six different grades of paint. I watch a customer come up to the paint desk and say:

Customer: “I need a gallon of something.”

He didn’t specify anything about what he wanted, just “a gallon of something.”

There’s “Laid Back” And Then There’s Lazy

, , , , , , | Working | October 1, 2021

It’s the first day of the three-day weekend for the Fourth of July. I’m the closing manager for the night at my local pizza chain location. The general manager and a manager not quite out of training are also on shift, as well as some other assorted staff.

The new manager has a friend stop by and order a pizza. When the order is ready, the manager takes it to their friend’s car and tells the GM that they’re going to hang out for a bit. We’re not particularly busy, so sure, why not.

As the shift progresses, I notice that she still hasn’t returned to the store. Hours go by. Finally, almost four and a half hours later, my GM — who’s very laid back — finally takes her off the clock.

To top it all off, she comes in a bit later complaining that she wasn’t scheduled off for another hour but was clocked out because someone was nagging the GM about wasted labor. Seriously?!

Football Isn’t More Important Than A Paycheck!

, , , , , , | Working | September 30, 2021

When we moved into our house, it was December, and all the trees were bare. An engineer from [Satellite Broadcaster] installed our satellite dish for us, but it had to go on the side of the house as he could not get a signal from the back. He did say it might need raising in the summer, but we will see how things go.

It is now June, and at the time of this story, both the health crisis and a major football tournament are taking place. A rather large tree in our neighbour’s garden is in full bloom. Our satellite signal keeps cutting out and the channels are patchy at times. We know what the problem is and that we can’t do anything about the tree, so we decide to contact [Satellite Broadcaster]. I go online and find they have an appointment free that afternoon. Excellent! [Engineer #1] arrives at about 3:30 pm.

I explain what the problem is and what we would like done.

Engineer #1: “Yeah, I think I can do that.”

Due to the ongoing health crisis, I have to keep my distance from the engineer, so I let him get on with things and do a few jobs around the house. He gets several phone calls and I do hear him saying something about, “I can’t; I’m on a job,” but I don’t really pay much attention to it. After about fifteen minutes, he comes back in.

Engineer #1: “Um, I left my drill at my previous job. I’ll just need to go and get it.”

And off he goes. A couple of hours pass and it is very clear he isn’t coming back. We suspect he has bunked off to watch the football! Furious, I call [Satellite Broadcaster] and explain the situation.

Operator: “I am so sorry about this! There are no notes on the system about this. If he had to leave for a reason, he would have put something there. Can I put you on hold for a moment whilst I try and contact the engineer and see what happened?”

He comes back to the phone a few minutes later.

Operator: “I tried both the engineer and his manager and can’t get a hold of either of them. Once again, I deeply apologise.”

Me: “That’s okay; it’s not your fault.”

The operator gives us a voucher worth £14 to download some movies onto our box and then speaks to his manager to see what they can do.

Operator: “The next available appointment is not for a few days; however, we do have a team that deals with emergencies that can get to you faster. They will contact you later tonight or tomorrow morning, to book a time slot.”

Me: “Thank you! I appreciate that.”

We have also had a few problems with our broadband, also provided by [Satellite Broadcaster], which the operator notices, so he helps us with that, as well. He is a very friendly and helpful guy and I end the phone call feeling relieved that something will be done.

The next morning, I have to head to work, so my partner, who is working from home, keeps an ear out for the phone. The phone rings.

Scammer: “Hello, I am from [Satellite Broadcaster] and your broadband will be cut off within twenty-four hours…”

Partner: “…unless I download a program which allows you access? No, thanks. I am terminating this call.”

He then called [Satellite Broadcaster] to double-check and to report the call, and they were also able to sort out a new appointment for the engineer. Once again, we were in luck; a spare slot was free that afternoon. [Engineer #2] arrived.

My partner explained what we wanted done and what had happened with [Engineer #1]. [Engineer #2] was genuinely shocked at this and was able to move our dish so the tree was no longer blocking the signal. He did this with no problems at all, and whilst doing so, he made phone calls trying to see if [Engineer #1] was anyone in his team. To his relief, he wasn’t.

Our satellite signal has been absolutely fine ever since, with no more pixelly programmes. We never found out what happened to [Engineer #1], but if he did skive off to watch the football, we hope it was worth it.

Why Would You Waste Time Becoming An Engineer, Then?

, , , , | Working | September 30, 2021

I come back after a week off and notice a new face in the office. Later that day, I happen to be chatting with the department manager and I mention him.

Manager: “Oh, yes, that’s [New Hire]. I meant to ask you something.”

Me: “Okay, what is it?”

Manager: “Could you have a chat with him? He’s close to your age and he might talk to you.”

Me: “Err, sure. What about?”

Manager: “Well, he just cannot get on with anyone. I have had three people try to show him the ropes but he just isn’t responsive.”

Me: “It’s not my place to say, but maybe he isn’t a good fit?”

Manager: “No, of course. Maybe. But looking at his CV, he has worked for some of the top companies in the country and graduated top of his class. Before we… sack him… perhaps it’s worth seeing if there is anything the matter.”

Me: “I can give it a try, I guess.”

Manager: “Thanks, just when you get a chance.”

I get where he is coming from. Not a lot of people in the area have our skillset and experience, and there’s a six-month wait for security clearance. Finding people must be hard.

Me: “Hi, I’m [My Name].”

New Hire: “Yeah?”

Me: “I notice you’re new. How are you finding it?”

New Hire: “It’s boring. I don’t know why I left [Major Company].”

Me: “Well, it’s early days. Is there anything I can help with? [Reports] are pretty hard to do the first time.”

New Hire: “Nah, I can’t be bothered.”

Me: “Okay, well…. I doubt they will keep you very long if you refuse to work. Let me know if you want some help.”

New Hire: “Pff, whatever.”

[New Hire] spent two more days doing nothing and then disappeared. It was months before my boss would tell me what happened. [New Hire] had left his last job voluntarily, only because he screwed up so badly he was going to get fired when they found out, which they did. He used his friends at the company to pretend to be his old boss and give him a good reference.

Of course, now that this was out in the open, [New Hire] was sacked and his friends were undoubtedly disciplined or fired, losing him his reference. All he had to do was knuckle down and get to work, but he couldn’t be bothered. Now he will struggle to get back into engineering again.

Not Great With English, But Excellent With Cars!

, , , , , , | Working | September 28, 2021

Recently, I have had a number of halogen headlights blow far sooner than they should. I go to a chain of motor factors and ask them for LED headlights instead, which are more durable. They assure me they are compatible and legal.

A car needs a safety inspection — “MOT test” — by the government every year. Some weeks later, mine is due.

Inspector: “I’m afraid your car will fail. Your headlights are too dim.”

Me: “Huh? It was only installed a month ago at [Motor Factors].”

Inspector: “My equipment says they aren’t bright enough.”

Me: “There’s a [Motor Factors] up the road. My bicycle is on the back of my car. I can cycle up, buy new bulbs, and be back in five minutes.”

Inspector: “You’ve already failed. Sorry, mate, there is nothing I can do. Fix it and book a new test.”

After the inspection…

Inspector: “I’m going to pass you, with an advisory on one condition. I am ordering you to have these lights sorted. Immediately. Like you say, there’s a [Motor Factors] up the road.”

Me: “Thanks, buddy. I’ll do that.”

I go direct to [Branch #1]. I had the headlights changed at [Branch #2], but they’re the same chain, right? I explain to the cashier.

Me: “Hey, fellas. I had my headlights changed at [Branch #2] three weeks ago. I’ve just come from the MOT, but they are too dim.”

Employee #1: “Really? I’ll get a colleague. Hey, [Employee #2] help…?” *Points to me*

Me: “[My Name].”

Employee #2: *In a foreign accent* “Hello, Mr. [My Name]. Where car?”

I take him to my car in the car park.

Employee #2: “What is problem happened? How help?”

Me: “It failed the MOT because the headlights your colleagues installed at [Branch #2] are too dim.”

Employee #2: “Really, MOT fail?”

Me: *Thinking carefully* “Yes, it failed the MOT.”

Employee #2: “Open front, please Mr. [My Name].”

I open the bonnet and he examines the headlights. [Employee #3] arrives.

Employee #2: “Oh, dear. That reverse light.”

Me: “Huh? No, buddy, that’s a headlight. The reverse light is at the back.”

Employee #2: “Is reverse. I sure. Very ‘oh, dear.’”

Me: “But we’re at the front of the car?” *To [Employee #3]* “What’s going on here? Why is he telling me I have reverse lights in the front of my car?”

[Employee #3] looks at the car and then responds in a local accent.

Employee #3: “He means they’re supposed to be headlights, but the bulbs are reverse lights.”

Employee #2: “Also is LED. Is wrong. Must be halogen. Maybe Lambo Maserati Xenon LED. Or Mercedes.”

Me: “Maserati… What? This is a cheap car. What is going on?”

Employee #3: “I think he means you have reverse lightbulbs for headlights, which if true, would explain why they are dim. I haven’t seen for myself, but [Employee #2] has never been wrong. He doesn’t understand why you have LEDs on a car like this.”

Me: “Car… like this? Pardon?”

Employee #3: “I’m sorry, that’s badly phrased. Normally, only luxury cars have LED headlights. For example—”

Me: “A Maserati?”

Employee #3: “Yes. [Employee #2] thinks that your car should have cheaper halogen bulbs because, erm, it’s a value brand. That’s what it would have been sold with.”

Employee #2: “Yes, a value cheap like this car.”

Me: “Now I understand… but your colleagues at [Branch #2] installed it. I told them halogen bulbs weren’t lasting me, so I wanted LED headlights, instead.”

Employee #2: “No LED! Need halogen. [Employee #3], I get halogen for the Mr. [My Name]. I think half price.”

Employee #3: “No. Please, [Employee #2], get the boss? Because this is [Motor Factors]’s mistake, it is his responsibility.”

Employee #2: “I get big boss!”

Employee #3: *To me* “Don’t mind [Employee #2]. He has trouble expressing himself, but he understands everything. He’s an automotive electrician.”

A manager arrives.

Employee #3: “Hey, boss. What happened — I think — is this gentleman had problems with halogen headlights blowing, so he asked [Branch #2] to install LED headlights. They did that and now he’s failed his MOT because they are too dim.”

Manager: “Well, yes. Headlights are brighter than a reverse light. So, obviously. Hey, [Employee #2], can you swap a headlight and reverse light?”

Employee #2: “Now you want me to swap reverse light with headlight? Silly idea with a crazy man!”

Manager: “No, I mean ‘is possible to swap’.”

Employee #2: “Yes, is possible. Swap easy. Same size, voltage, everything. For this cheap car, headlight is halogen, reverse is LED. Maybe why the mister have wrong LED headlight dim. Our computer, it no can research LED headlight for cheap car like this. So instead, [Branch #2] they fit headlight because also fits. Silly people. They no understand reverse light too dim for headlight.”

Manager: “Right, I’m sorry for your trouble. What has happened, I think, is when you asked [Branch #2] for an LED headlight, they couldn’t find one for your car. Our system is programmed to only offer LED headlights to cars originally sold with LED headlights. Yours would have been halogen. To satisfy you, they used a reverse light. They thought that they would get away with it because it fits, but maybe they didn’t understand that it is too dim to be a headlight.”

Me: “Now I understand… but I failed my MOT? And I need new headlights?”

Manager: “We’ll pay for the re-test. I’m sorry this has happened; I’ll feed it back to Head Office as a learning point. Hey, [Employee #2]?”

Employee #2: “I halogen headlight get for the mister?”

Manager: “Yes, please, for… the customer. Please, can you install them?”

Employee #2: “Charge free discount fifty?”

Manager: “Pardon?”

Employee #2: “Yes! Do I charge the mister, or is free? Or I discount?”

Manager: “No, it’s free. Because our friends at [branch #2] made a mistake.”

Employee #2: *To me* “I free your lightbulbs! Please open bonnet? Or… hood, is American? I give you will have good brand, not [Motor Factors] trash.”

Manager: *Cracking up* “That’s fine. Give him a good brand. This customer is a regular here. I believe him without the receipt.”

[Employee #2] arrives with two lightbulbs. He removes both old bulbs — one per hand — and installs the new ones — one per hand — all in about five seconds flat.

Employee #2: “Okay, you Mr. [My Name], please enter car, and turn on lights because test.”

I start the engine and turn on the lights.

Employee #2: “Very nice. Like Nicole Scherzinger, your pretty girlfriend.”

Manager: *Cracking up again* “[Employee #2], we don’t make presumptions!”

Employee #2: “Tom Cruise? Maybe you like men. So then I can have Nicole.”

The manager looks horrified. I nearly fall over laughing and the boss relaxes.

Employee #2: “Now you pass MOT! Please, you go to [Government Agency] Internet website. Make new test. Anything new, Mr. [My Name]? No? Nice weekend, pleasure meet!”

[Employee #2] went back inside the store, followed by the boss and [Employee #3] in fits of laughter. I just felt guilty for saying it failed instead of passed with an advisory.