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This Is NOT The Museum You Think It’s Going To Be

, , , , , , , , | Right | November 25, 2022

I’m a freelance graphic designer. I am helping a small bed and breakfast in a touristy part of central London create a pamphlet for their guests. Along with information about the B&B, it also contains a small map showing local attractions. One of them I am familiar with: the Foundling Museum, which is about the history of abandoned children in London and what charity did to help them.

It is a hand-drawn map, with spellings provided by the client. I call them up to discuss the final touches before it’s sent to the printers. The client has been brusque and arrogant during most of our interactions and does not like to be challenged.

Me: “Are you sure you want this to go to print like this?”

Client: “Yes! Stop questioning me.”

Me: “It’s just that you have the Foundling Museum as a local attraction here.”

Client: “Yes! It’s an important part of the local history!”

Me: “Yes, of course. It’s just that you’ve forgotten to add the ‘U’ in ‘Foundling.'”

I hear the client aggressively click on their mouse and type something on their keyboard. And then silence. Noticeably prolonged silence.

Client: “F***.” *Click*

A revised version of the map was sent a few minutes later.

You Can’t Wash The Cheapskate Out

, , , , , , , , , | Right | November 20, 2022

I work for a carpet cleaning company. A landlord called us because his previous tenants had left one of his properties in a sorry state, and he wanted us to clean all the carpets.

He was not wrong. The carpets were absolutely caked in years’ worth of dirt, grime, grease, and worst of all, urine. It smelled horrific. It was so bad that our boss told the customer he would be better off replacing the carpets. Many of the stains were so ingrained that no amount of cleaning would shift them. But the customer insisted that they be cleaned because it was cheaper than replacing them, so we gave him a quote.

We charge based on the area of the carpet and how heavy the soiling is, not by hours spent or how much/what cleaning product we use, etc. However, the customer kept trying to cut corners to get a cheaper quote.

First, he told us we didn’t need to vacuum the carpet. He claimed he had already gone over the whole house with an industrial-grade vacuum and demanded that we lower the quote to reflect that. This was clearly not true; when we inspected the carpet there was clearly dirt and lint everywhere.

Then, he told us to use a cheaper cleaning agent and only send one person so he wouldn’t be paying for the labour of two people (even though an entire house was definitely a two-man job). On and on he went trying to cut corners to save money. 

Vacuuming the carpet is not only important to protect our machines — clumps of lint and dirt can clog or even damage our carpet cleaners — but it also means we can clean carpets more efficiently. Spending a few minutes removing as much dirt as possible beforehand means less work for the carpet cleaners and fewer rinses are required. Additionally, the cheaper cleaning fluids were not going to cut it. As a bare minimum, the carpets needed a cleaner with enzymes to break down the urine, or all we’d do was spread urine around rather than shift it.

This was all explained to the customer, but he was having none of it. Ultimately, we had to refuse his business because what the customer was asking for meant we would not be able to complete the job properly.

The customer demanded to speak to our boss, the owner, who repeated what we had told him. The customer blustered for a while longer and then left us alone.

A few months rolled by, and the customer called us back. He told us he had hired a different company, but they had made a mess of everything. He begged us to come and clean the carpets. My boss told him we would only do it if he accepted our quote with no substitutes or amendments, and he would pay us in full before we did the job. The customer begrudgingly agreed.

Our boss made sure to detail the fact that we would not be able to get all the stains out in the contract and that the customer was going ahead with the cleaning against our advice. He also made sure that the customer initialled and signed those parts of the contract.

My colleague and I went to the property again to assess the damage. The carpets were horrifically streaked, and we could smell damp in the air mixed with the stench of urine, meaning the carpets didn’t get rinsed, drained, or dried properly, and they certainly didn’t use an appropriate pre-treatment or cleaning agent. It really was a shoddy job that actually made some areas of the carpet worse than they had been before. Whoever the customer had hired before must’ve been real cowboys.

We gave the customer our quote, and he accepted and paid. We got to work, making sure to take meticulous before and after photos.

As we suspected, we didn’t get all the stains out, but we got more than we initially thought we would. The carpets looked a whole lot better, and best of all, they now smelled like a spring meadow rather than a truck stop bathroom.

The landlord tried to complain that we didn’t get all the stains out and demanded a partial refund, but we quickly reminded him of the contract — a contract he had signed and initialled. We had done exactly the job we told him we would do.

When we left, the landlord complained incessantly about how much it had cost him — not only paying for the job once but having to pay to get it done again — and that the carpet still was still stained. My colleague and I left without saying a word.

A few weeks later, we received a letter from a solicitor acting on behalf of the customer, demanding a full refund because we failed to clean his carpet correctly. Obviously, our customer had not been entirely honest with his legal representative, so we enlightened the solicitor about what happened and sent him a copy of the signed and initialled contract, email communications, and phone call recordings, as well as the before and after photos. We never heard a word from the customer or his solicitor again.

After the fees for the botched job, our invoice, and solicitor fees, it would probably have been cheaper for the customer to replace the carpets.

When You Meet A Wheely Bad Person

, , , , , , , | Right | October 25, 2022

Our supermarket has a regular who got into an accident and now requires the use of a wheelchair. After a few months of therapy, he’s back in our store with his new wheelchair, and he’s showing us all the effort he’s made to become independent. I am checking out his items while chatting. My lane is designed to be more helpful to wheelchair users, with an inclined conveyor belt.

Regular: “Yeah, it was pretty dark for a while, but now I realise I can get around just as much as I did before. Plus, it really builds up some great upper body strength!”

Me: “Yes, I can see that! You zoomed around the store like it was a race!”

As we’re chatting, he passes me a canned item and he accidentally drops it. I offer to go around to pick it up but the regular puts up his hand.

Regular: “Nope, I can get it. Just takes a quick moment.”

As the regular manoeuvres himself a little to pick up the can, the customer behind him tuts intentionally loudly.

Customer: “Just get it for him. He’s just trying to show off, but all he’s doing is wasting my time!”

Me: “Sir, there’s no need for that!”

The regular is able to pick up the can quite quickly and is now turning the wheelchair back around.

Customer: “Ugh. I knew I made a mistake getting into a lane for the crippleds and specials.”

Me: *Loudly* “So, you’re saying that his disability is not as important as your convenience?”

Customer: “Hey! Don’t make me sound like an ar**hole!”

Me: “I’m certainly not doing that, sir!”

I checked that b*****d’s items out super slowly on purpose.

Oh. Oh, Dear.

, , , , , | Working | October 18, 2022

Years ago, I was trying to find a small flat on the outskirts of London. I saw this place advertised, so I went to check it out. The landlord showed me round, but it was in a really bad state of repair, and it was drab and depressing.

Landlord: “We’ve been renovating.”

Me: “It’ll be nice when it’s finished.”

Landlord: “It is finished.”

Karma Is Coming In For A Landing

, , , , , , , , | Working | September 20, 2022

I’m flying to Greece from London on what will be my first holiday since before the global health crisis. The total flight time is expected to be more than four hours, so I spend a bit extra and book myself on an over-wing exit seat. Whilst these seats have extra leg room, passengers occupying them are legally required to assist the flight attendants in the event of an emergency.

I board the aircraft and find another passenger occupying my seat.

Me: “Excuse me, sir? You are occupying my seat.”

The passenger turns his head to face me.

Passenger: “No English.”

Okay, he’s not English. No big deal. I motion to him with my ticket that he is in my booked seat and ask him to move. However, the passenger still does not get the message; smiling and just saying, “Okay!” in return. This is during boarding on a flight full of expectant holiday goers, so there is already a queue of impatient passengers behind me.

I try to grab the attention of the flight attendants by ringing the call bell. Finally, one arrives to assess the issue.

Me: “Hello, I—”

Flight Attendant: “Sir, you need to take your seat, please. You are preventing us from completing boarding.”

Me: “Yes, well, that’s the problem. I have booked this seat here, which this passenger—” *gestures to the gentleman* “—is sitting in.”

Flight Attendant: “Okay, just take any seat, sir. In fact, I can sit you there.”

She motions to a seat behind the exit rows as all the other seats on the over-wings are taken.

Me: “You will not sit me there. I have booked and paid for this seat and would like to occupy this seat.”

Eventually, the cabin supervisor arrives. She promises to correct the problem before we leave. Since I’m holding up passengers already, I take the seat offered. However, when boarding completes, neither the first flight attendant nor the supervisor bothers to return to correct the problem. Just as the supervisor prepares to shut the aircraft door, I press the call bell once more and make a beeline to the front.

Me: “I’m sorry, you still have not moved me—”

Supervisor: “Sir, we are about to begin takeoff. Just take your seat!”

Me: “I would love to if you could move the person occupying it!”

Supervisor: “Sir, I can call the police if you like and have you removed from the plane. You are causing a disruption.”

I’m fuming, but not wanting to risk police involvement or my job with this same airline, I give up and return to my non-booked seat. As I just mentioned, I am an experienced member of this airline as an attendant, but I have not given this information to the crew yet.

During takeoff, I notice several problems with the man sitting in my seat. First, he requests and is given an extension seatbelt. These are used for infants or overweight passengers and SHOULD NOT be used for passengers on the over-wing rows. Second, he has several items of loose materials in and around his seat, which is never permitted during takeoff or landing. The gentleman is breaking so many rules, but even worse, the crew member who is doing the pre-takeoff checks for this row does not bother to correct it, nor does the supervisor.

I take photographs of all of the things I see. Two hours into the flight, I pluck up the courage to speak to the supervisor.

Me: “Excuse me. Can I have a word?”

Supervisor: *Rolls her eyes* “What now, sir?”

Me: “I just think you need to see this…”

I showed her the photos I’d taken. She initially tried to protest that I was taking photos of the plane unauthorised by her, which was ridiculous. I then informed her of my position in the same airline, as well as the fact that once we landed, I was going to report both her and the flight attendant for their lack of competence in correcting the issues with the man in that seat. I never once mentioned my dissatisfaction with having my seat changed.

Once she became aware of my intention to report her, the supervisor’s attitude changed completely. She offered to place me in the seat I was meant to be sitting in on departure. I laughed in her face and refused; the only reason why she was doing so now was because of the very serious breach of safety she had caused.

Last I heard, she was demoted. My vacation was awesome!