The Longitude Is Zero And So Is Their Understanding

, , , , , | Right | March 2, 2021

I work at a popular London tourist attraction, on one of the entrances. I get approached by a visitor who is struggling to find the main part of our attraction: the Prime Meridian Line.

Visitor: “Excuse me, can I ask you a question? Where is the Meridian Line?”

I point to where it is.

Me: “You see where the different paving stones and metal tiles on the ground are? Where everyone is taking photos? That’s the Meridian Line.”

The visitor wanders over to a point closer to the line so he can see it better. I continue to deal with other visitor enquiries until he wanders back over, looking puzzled.

Me: “Hello again, sir, how can I help?”

Visitor: “I still can’t see the line. Could you come up and show me?”

I walk over to the better viewing point with him and begin explaining again.

Me: “You see the tree over there? It’s the metal line underneath the tree.”

Visitor: “Ah, so the Meridian Line is the tree?”

Me: “…”

No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 15
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 14
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 13
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 12
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 11

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Too Bad Vaccines Don’t Combat Argumentative Behavior

, , , , , , | Healthy | February 27, 2021

I am a volunteer vaccine marshall. My colleagues work hard to make sure as many people are vaccinated as quickly and smoothly as possible. We do almost every part of the process except check the patients in when they arrive and actually inject the vaccine.

Today, we have both of the vaccines currently offered by the NHS. One is preferred by most of those who have read about it. I agree it’s the superior vaccine, as do most experts, but either will keep you safe. My job today is to take people from the waiting room to a vaccination room, so I actually get to decide who gets which vaccine. But I have been told that individuals don’t get to choose; they should take whichever vaccine they are offered.

Because I want to be fair, I decide on a rule of how to direct the patients into the two vaccination rooms, so I am not actually making that decision; it’s random depending on when you come to the front of the queue. People go to whichever room has a space. If both rooms have a space, then I direct the patients to the “better” vaccine room until it’s full again, and then the next patients go to the other room. 

While both rooms are fully occupied, I hear a man go to the doctor working check-in and have an increasingly animated discussion with him about why he should get the “better” vaccine. The doctor is stoic, never admitting there are two being offered today, and not allowing him to choose. Meanwhile, as the argument continues, spaces open in his preferred vaccine room. I fill them according to my rules. When the argumentative man finally gives up arguing and joins those in the waiting area, I pick him out when his turn comes up and send him to the only room that is accepting patients at that moment, which is not the vaccine he wanted. 

If I hadn’t spent so long arguing for the other vaccine, he would have got it!

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That Was A Close-Knit Call

, , , , , | Right | February 26, 2021

I’m the idiot in this story. My friend and I visit London shortly after some attacks. One of the museums we visit has set up security checks. There are two security officers, so my friend and I hand over our handbags.

Security #1: “Good morning. Anything sharp?”

Me: “No.”

Security #1: *To his colleague* “Careful, this one has knitting.”

It dawns on me that knitting needles are considered sharp objects and grin sheepishly.

Security #2: “This one, too, but she told me.”

Security #1: “Any scissors?”

Me: “Yes, in my fanny pack.”

I’m searching but I’m already nervous about the needles mixup and I cannot find them.

Me: “Yes, well, I seem to have trouble finding them, but they are air carrier safe with a less than 2.5-inch blade and dull points.”

The officer just sighed and let me go through. I later noticed that in my recently added manicure set, there was a pair of scissors with sharp points. I’m since then much more aware of what I carry in my purse! If only because blood is so difficult to clean out of wool.

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In Bad Company

, , , , , | Right | February 21, 2021

I work for a small start-up website used for producing yearbooks. As the main non-technical staff member, I’m almost always the one who answers the phone.

I answer a call from a man claiming to represent a company doing much the same as us, only in India. They apparently want to partner with us but want to get some more information about the business first.

I’m suspicious of his actual motives, since all my requests for information about the company he is calling from are met with vague and evasive answers. I send over some basic marketing materials — nothing proprietary or even un-Googleable –hoping that will satisfy him.

The next day, he calls back.

Caller: “I’m very upset with you! I wanted much more detailed information about the company! I wanted financial data! You not sending this is clear evidence that you aren’t taking this partnership seriously!”

Me: “We aren’t prepared to hand over any private information to anyone who refuses to tell us anything about who they were or what they want.”

The caller becomes extremely aggressive and rude.

Caller: “Who do you think you are to make that decision? You’re just an account manager! You’re not anybody of consequence in the business! Put me through to someone who has the power to decide things!”

While “account manager” is my somewhat official job title, the nature of the company means that my actual duties are many and varied, effectively covering anything non-technical or executive. The organisational structure of the company is very flat; there is the CEO and then there’s everyone else.

Me: “The only person who can decide on partnerships is, in fact, the CEO, and if I take the proposal to him without being able to even give the company’s name, he will not be interested. You’re asking for a lot of extremely sensitive information about our company, but since you are unwilling to even give the name of your company, there is very little incentive for me to trust you.”

By now, the whole room is staring at me.

Caller: “What would it take for you to trust me?”

Me: “At the very least, you could give me the name of the company and a contact number so that I can do my own research before getting back in touch if I want to.”

Caller: *Shouts* “FINE, I’LL EMAIL YOU!” *Click*

I recapped the exchange to the CEO, who said that while I’d handled it well enough, I’d been far too patient and polite, and that if the guy called back again, I had his full backing to tell him to “f*** off” or to pass the phone over so the CEO could say it himself.

I never did get the company name or hear from the man again. To this day, I’m not entirely sure what his goal was, other than being vaguely shady, but if his principal tactic is to berate and belittle the gatekeepers at a business, I don’t think he’s likely to achieve it.

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You’ll Just Have To Gin And Bear It

, , , , | Right | February 19, 2021

I’m working in a very loud pub. I’m deaf in one ear but can lip-read sufficiently enough to have had three years of bartending with no problem. I have occasional issues with certain words, but I tend to parrot back orders to make sure.

Lady: “Two double gin and tonics, please.”

Me: “Two double G&Ts! Any particular gin, ma’am?”

Lady: “Just the house.”

I start pouring drinks.

Lady: “No, no Gordon’s!”

Me: *Shows her the bottle* “This is Tanqueray, ma’am, not Gordon’s.”

Both are similarly sized green bottles.

Lady: “Bombay?”

I am irritated because I’ve just wasted two doubles’ worth of Tanqueray because she didn’t bother specifying a gin.

Me: “Of course. I can do Bombay, instead.”

I start pouring Bombay.

Lady: “No, not Bombay! Gordon’s!”

Me: “We don’t sell Gordon’s, ma’am. I asked if there was a specific gin you wanted and you didn’t clarify so I poured the house. Is there anything else you would like?”

Lady: “I’m allergic to Bombay and Tanqueray! That’s why I want Gordon’s!”

I’m now worried, because allergen violations are a huge problem in my district.

Me: “Oh. May I ask what it is that you’re allergic to so I may advise a certain gin?”

Lady: “Juniper.” 

For anyone that doesn’t know, to legally be classified as a gin, it HAS to contain juniper. She settled for Hendricks and didn’t die.

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