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Who Knew Getting Sued A Lot Would Turn Out Useful?

, , , , | Legal | January 29, 2022

I once encountered a variation on many of the scams listed on this site. A letter arrived in the office from a company I had never heard of, threatening to sue us over an unpaid advertisement. The company had never used any form of advertising that I knew of, being a small regional office of a much bigger multinational business, but we were a truck sales operation, so it wasn’t impossible that the sales department had chosen to try something new on a local basis.

I rang the number on the letter and asked to speak to someone about the supposedly unpaid invoice. I ended up talking to a very aggressive individual who insisted that it was a valid charge and that they even had a recording of the phone conversation placing the advert.

Me: “Can I listen to that recording?”

I got to hear a scammer taking advantage of an inexperienced receptionist who shared the same office as me.

Not once did the caller actually ask her to place an order. Everything was phrased, “Your manager asked for this. Can we just confirm the details?” Yes, she confirmed our address, phone number, etc., but all she was doing was agreeing that the information was correct, never actually asking them to do anything. She was led through a very slick spiel intended to be used as a threat to demand payment.

Unfortunately for this company, prior to working here, I had spent an entertaining three years working for a company constantly on the brink of bankruptcy, and threats of legal action were by now water off a duck’s back. I’d had so many court summonses arrive on my desk that I didn’t care anymore — nine from one company in the space of a month once. But I had also learned somewhat about when aggression actually meant, “I’m lying and hoping you will give in.”

So, after listening to the call and the following threats, I asked for something that the caller appeared not to expect.

Me: “Can I see the adverts?”

Scammer: “They’re on a calendar printed for the truck industry to be given out to potential customers with numerous suppliers advertising on them.”

Me: “You have nothing from us that proves that we placed an order, just confirmations of information. But if we see the calendar and like it, we might be prepared to pay. Just send me a copy.”

There was a brief pause from the other end, and then the phone went dead.

We never received a copy of the calendar.

Do You Know The Way To Monterrey?

, , , , , , | Working | January 19, 2022

I am Mexican, from Monterrey, and was studying in London. I had to fly back to Monterrey to my brother’s wedding, but I couldn’t change my ticket online, so I tried ringing the airline’s phone number. After being on hold for ages, I decided to go to the helpdesk in the Heathrow airport, instead.

Once there, I explained that I needed to change the date of my ticket. The guy checked my ticket and proceeded with the change. When he printed the new ticket, I noticed that the destination was Monterey, California, not Monterrey, Mexico.

Me: “Sorry, this ticket says Monterey, California, and I’m going to Monterrey, Mexico!”

Employee: *Very condescending* “My apologies. I must have gotten confused by your accent!”

Me: “Regardless of my accent, I gave you a printed ticket that says Monterrey, Mexico. You must have gotten confused because you can’t read well!”

The guy just corrected the error without saying a word.

Shortest One-Night Stand Ever

, , , , , , , | Friendly | January 8, 2022

Some friends and I are leaving an end-of-season event for the sports club we represent at University. We’ve just piled into a taxi to take us back to a friend’s house, where we’re staying.

Since this event hosts dozens of University teams, and it’s just ended, there are a lot of almost identical-looking taxis lined up, waiting to collect their passengers.

The six of us are getting situated and we’re about to close the door, when a drunk young woman climbs into the taxi, SITS ON MY LAP, and closes the door behind her.

Friend: “Erm, [My Name], you can’t bring her back to my house!”

Everyone turns to stare at me and this person who I now realise is NOT another of our friends trying to catch a ride and is, in fact, a complete stranger.

The driver, of course, is annoyed that this girl is not seated safely, and my friends are giving me raised eyebrows, evidently thinking she’s a one-night stand in progress.

Me: “No idea who this is!” *To the girl* “Hey… I don’t think this is your taxi. Do you think you could get out? Maybe we can find the one you’re supposed to be in?”

After about ten seconds, it dawned on the girl that she was in a vehicle with people she didn’t know, and she opened the door and hopped out. I got out, too, so I could make sure she at least found someone she DID know, instead of leaving her swaying on the footpath alone.

Thankfully, the taxi behind ours had some confused-looking people waiting beside it who spotted our interloper and called her over. Satisfied she’d been returned to her friends, I got back in, CLOSED THE DOOR FIRST, and then buckled up so that we could finally be on our way.

What Are You, Twelve?, Part Two

, , , , , | Right | January 4, 2022

I am shopping for groceries in a large, chain supermarket. As I am picking through the broccoli, a middle-aged man walks in, stands just next to me, holds his finger in the air dramatically, and releases a thunderous fart before turning smartly and walking away.

A few minutes later, as I have moved on to the dairy, I see him sidling up to me again.

Me: “Seriously, mate, again?”

Customer: “Oh! I’ve done you already!”

Then, he moved smartly away. Shortly afterward, I saw him being politely asked to leave by staff. Apparently, he does this regularly and it seems to amuse him.

What Are You, Twelve?

There’s Just No Accounting For Some People’s Attitudes

, , , , , , | Working | January 3, 2022

A few months after I start my first ever job — basically data entry, filing, and answering the phones in an accounts office — the finance director decides that she doesn’t like my phone answering manner. Rather than explaining this to me, she hires someone to work alongside me who has far more experience in the role.

This achieves nothing. The new hire is a grumpy woman who refuses to answer the phone, as the company is short of cash and almost every call is a supplier screaming for payment. I end up covering pretty much the whole role until a new accountant is taken on to replace the previous one, who had been driven into a nervous breakdown by the finance director disagreeing with everything she did. He is far more involved in the day-to-day running of the office, has a backbone, and makes sure to divide the tasks up in a more even manner.

However, rather than completing her share of the tasks, my colleague does the bits she is assigned directly by the finance director and ignores pretty much anything else. As a result, a moderately strange set of direct debits end up not being posted for months. A car manufacturer was taking the net cost of each car sold to us on a single direct debit and the total of all the VAT on all invoices for one day as another one. So, every day, you had one more debit than invoices from exactly seven days earlier. That’s slightly weird but not impossible to track, unless you are my colleague.

Eventually, my boss gives up on getting the finance director’s pet to do her job and asks me to work with him to process all these ignored payments. We work on it continuously, tracking down missing invoices, and we eventually get almost everything completed. The fun starts when, after nearly two days of doing someone else’s job, I return to my own desk, next to my grumpy colleague. 

The moment I enter the main accounts office, she starts screaming at me.

Grumpy Colleague: “Where have you been for two days?! How dare you leave me to answer the phones all alone?!”

You know, the job she was hired for in the first place.

I turn around, walk back into my boss’s office next door, where he is sitting perhaps ten feet away from the screaming. The two rooms are connected by an open window through which my grumpy colleague has been able to see me working on her job beside her direct boss for the past two days.

Me: “I’m going home, or I’ll do something I’ll regret.”

Boss: *Laughs* “Go ahead and leave for the day.”

As I was heading out the door, I heard him loudly asking my colleague to come into his office for a quick word. She pretty much never spoke to me again, something that was definitely a benefit.

The company went into receivership a few months later; the family owning it was still spending the money faster than it could generate it. Guess who was the first person the receivers let go, and who was the only person on the accounts team to be kept on by any of the companies that bought parts of the old business? My old boss eventually joined me, and I worked with him for another decade after that.