They Must Have Been High(lands)

, , , , , | Working | September 13, 2017

(I have applied for Universal Credit and have to attend a compulsory interview for it. I get the email telling me that my interview is not only 400 miles away, but also in another country. I call the helpline to ask them to reschedule my interview.)

Helpline Employee: “How can I help you today?”

Me: “I’ve been given a date for my interview, but it’s in Edinburgh, and I live in London. I was just wondering if that was a computer glitch or something?”

Helpline Employee: “Would that be a problem?”

Me: “Well… yes. I live 400 miles away. In London, England.”

Helpline Employee: *as though I am stupid* “Edinburgh is in Scotland, not in England. Can you attend the interview or not?”

Me: “No. As I have said, it’s 400 miles away, so I have no way of getting there. I’d like an interview closer to my home, please.”

Helpline Employee: “I can send you the public transport options to get you to your interview. It’s really important to go to it!”

(I don’t want to hang up and call again, as I was on hold for so long. I decide to go with it and see if she spots the problem.)

Me: “Can we talk through transport options now?”

Helpline Employee: “No, all I can do is email them to the email address you provided.”

Me: *getting frustrated* “I have already looked at transport options. As I don’t have a car, I can only go by train. A train from London to Edinburgh takes about five hours, usually longer. I can’t afford that kind of trip, and even if I could, I don’t want to spend more than ten hours on a train in one day. Can I change the location of my appointment, please?”

Helpline Employee: “How far away do you actually live?”

Me: *thinking we’re finally getting somewhere* “About 400 miles.”

Helpline Employee: “I can move your appointment to the afternoon. That will mean you will have time to attend!”

(I just hung up and resolved to be on hold again. I gave it a minute and called back. After being on hold for ages, I spoke to someone who changed my appointment to the branch that was 20 minutes walk from my house. He had no idea why I was sent to the Edinburgh branch, but at least he understood the concept of distance.)

If The Shoe Fits… BUY IT!

, , , | Right | September 12, 2017

(Our store works on the basis that you order the item and it is fetched from the warehouse. One customer has come several times and asked to try on work shoes from us. The third time, he brings his wife. This happens ten minutes before closing.)

Supervisor: “I’m sorry, but this is the third time this week you’ve come and tried these shoes, I’m going to have to ask you to make a decision.”

Wife: “So, you are telling us to make a decision now?!”

Supervisor: “I’m sorry, but that is merchandise, and we need it to be in decent condition for the customer who buys them. Your husband has been here twice already, and my colleague says you’ve tried the same shoe each time. Furthermore, we’re due to close soon, and we need to make sure everyone has been served and their items picked by then.”

Wife: “Fine, if you’re going to be like that, you can take your shoes back!”

(The husband takes the shoes off, puts them in the box, and slams them on the counter, but she’s determined to have the last word.)

Wife: “You’ve lost a sale!”

Supervisor: “I don’t mind!”

The Definition Is Fluid

, , , , , , , | Romantic | September 10, 2017

(I have made some new friends, and I am discussing them with my boyfriend.)

Me: “…and then there’s [Friend’s Name], but they usually go by [Gender-Neutral Name].”

Boyfriend: “Because she’s a tomboy?”

Me: “Not really. They described themselves as gender-fluid.”

Boyfriend: “…”

Me: “You know? Someone who identifies as being either gender?”

Boyfriend: *look of realisation” “Oh! That’s what that means!”

Me: “What did you think it meant?”

Boyfriend: “I don’t want to say.”

Me: “You thought it was an actual fluid didn’t you?”

Boyfriend: “…maybe.”

Me: *jokingly* “And what did this magical fluid do? Make you change genders?”

Boyfriend: “…”

Me: “Seriously!?”

Boyfriend: “There’s medical breakthroughs every day!”

Me: “I’m pretty sure they’re focusing more on curing cancer than making you a drink to give you a vagina!”

Christophe-Hand Bullying

, , , , , | Learning | September 4, 2017

(We are lucky enough to have an actual French woman teach us French. The only problem is that she and I clash over my name. The French equivalent of my name is Christophe. The teacher, being “authentic,” calls out my name this way when taking register. Despite me asking her to call me Chris, she refuses.)

Teacher: “Christophe.”

Me: *I just stare blankly at her refusing to answer*

Teacher: “Christophe.”

(We stare at one another as she repeats the name twice more.)

Teacher: “Okay, Christophe, if you don’t respond to your name, I will take you to the head teacher!”

Me: “I’ll respond when you say MY NAME!”

Teacher: “This is the French way of saying your name!”

Me: “That’s great; were my parents French, they would have called me that. However, they are English and they called me Christopher! You call every other student in this room by the name they have asked you to. Yet I have repeatedly asked you not to call me that, and you have refused. This is bullying, and if you want to go to the head teacher, I’ll go with you, and we can tell him how you have singled me out and refuse to call me by a name which I like and is appropriate.”

(There is a sort of stunned silence while everyone takes in what I just said.)

Teacher: “Okay, then, I’m marking you as present, but we shall discuss this after class with the head of the language department.”

(After class we both went to see the head of the language department, who took her side. When I got home later, it turned out my parents had been phoned. Thankfully, they backed me up fully saying that it was bullying and unfair to use a name I had repeatedly asked not to be called. I later got an actual apology letter from the teacher, and the remaining months of lessons with her were very pleasant – even if I only BARELY passed French.)

Gotta Give Those Brits Credit

, , , | Working | September 3, 2017

(I am visiting the UK, but am from the USA. Every single place I visit asks to see my ID, since I don’t have a signature on the back of my credit card.)

Employee: “May I please see your ID?”

Me: “It’s amazing! Everywhere I’ve been in the UK, they’ve checked my ID!”

Employee: “Well, it’s law. We have to check to see if your signature matches.”

Me: “It’s law in America, too, but that doesn’t stop every single place I’ve worked from allowing people to check out after saying they were using their boyfriend’s/mom’s/whatever’s card!”

Employee: “That’s credit card fraud!”

Me: “To an American business, that’s a sale!”

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