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It’s Really Taxing To Be Perfect

, , , , , , , , | Working | January 2, 2022

I still remain somewhat envious many years later of a truck salesman I once worked with. He was perfect in every way, everything he did was right, and he had a perfect life, wife, children, and a high-paying job. Everyone else existed to ensure this situation continued… at least inside his own head.

In fact, he was terrible. He didn’t listen to customers or colleagues, missed items off quotes, and even failed to supply items that had been specifically requested. In one case, he messed up so badly that, after losing the court case, we had to give the customer a brand new £60,000 truck for free because we were deemed to have supplied something not fit for purpose. But of course, this couldn’t possibly be the salesman’s fault, so he just ignored the criticism. Most places would have fired him, but sadly he had the right handshake.

The best example I witnessed involved a conversation between him and my boss, the regional finance manager. The tax laws in the UK had recently changed, and now anyone with a company car had to keep and submit business mileage records to ensure they ended up on the right tax codes. Prior to this, many people just claimed they were doing enough to be on the lowest rate of tax, but strangely, the UK government now wanted proof.

All staff with company cars had been informed and given paperwork to complete, and most did it. Not this salesman. He just assumed everything would be the way he desired, ignored what he didn’t want to do, and then seemed genuinely amazed when he got a new tax code, showing he would be paying far more. So, in he came to our office to explain how the world should be adjusted to suit his whims.

He happily explained to my boss that he just needed to tell the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) that he was doing enough mileage and everything would go back to normal. Over ten minutes or so, my increasingly exasperated boss explained that the rules had changed, the salesman had been informed, and since taking an initial reading from all the cars, nothing had been submitted. The salesman’s smile never changed, and he just kept repeating the same statement that it could all just be changed.

My boss took him out to his car and showed him that, even including all his private mileage, he hadn’t done enough to be on the lowest code, and given we knew how far away from the dealership he lived, his business mileage wasn’t even close to getting him off the worst code. This made no difference; the salesman just continued insisting that it was just a matter of telling the HMRC to change the code.

Eventually, my boss exploded. In twelve years working for him, I only saw him lose his temper twice. The other time was with a fitter who insisted we should have ignored a court-ordered deduction for child maintenance and lied to the government on his behalf. But that was nothing compared to the red-faced screaming fit my boss inflicted on the man before him. I was the only other person in the office, trying to be as small and quiet as possible while holding in my laughter.

The salesman’s smile never changed. It seemed that given my boss was clearly angry about something, and he was perfect, it obviously couldn’t be him. So, he waited, and when my boss ran out of breath, he calmly and politely repeated his instructions to just talk to the tax office about restoring his old tax code. He was told to leave our office immediately and physically forced out by my boss, and he seemed to remain genuinely baffled as to what was going on.

He never changed. A couple of years later, he came to us and asked for copies of all his mileage records for the last few years. It seemed that the government wanted more information regarding previous years, as they suspected he had been underpaying tax for a while. The discussion was calmer this time, with no screaming, but when my boss explained to him that he had still never submitted any records and we could not help him, he seemed unable to understand. The requests went back years before it was compulsory, and he was now facing a huge bill for back taxes. But somehow, this was still something other people should be able to solve for him, as it couldn’t possibly be his mistake.

He was perfect, after all.

It’s Not Healthy To Be That Impatient

, , , , , | Right | December 29, 2021

I work as the receptionist for a charity in a specific sector, say mental health. We don’t offer direct mental health support, but rather we do policy and advocacy work around the topic and provide statutory training for workers in the sector. We also have a signposting helpline which gives people needing support the details of organisations who can help them more directly. The charity has existed for a few months longer than I have been alive. It is called something like National Mental Health, and we regularly get calls like this.

Caller: “Hi. [Long, uninterruptable explanation of their problems and situation]. What should I do?”

Me: “Hi. We are a policy and training organisation, so we do not provide direct support, I’m afraid, but what I can do is put you through to our signposting service and they will be able to able to help you find the best organisation to assist you.”

Caller: “But you’re called National Mental Health! Why won’t you help me?”

Me: “Yes, I know it’s a bit confusing but [repetition of previous explanation of the organisation and helpline in different words]. I am the receptionist, so I can’t answer your question, but I can put you through to the helpline.”

Caller: “That’s f****** ridiculous. False advertising! You shouldn’t be allowed to do that! Why are you called National Mental Health if you don’t help with mental health?”

Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way. I am afraid all I can do to help you get support is to put you through to the helpline. Would you like me to do that?”

Caller: “F*** you!” *Click*

I understand the frustration and I do agree that the charity’s name is misleading, but a) I am the lowest-paid person with the least power in the organisation and b) I was a foetus the size of a strawberry when the organisation was named. What do callers think shouting and swearing at me will achieve?

That’s Just Plain COLD

, , , , , , , | Friendly | December 24, 2021

If you want to book a large table for your Christmas party at a restaurant, you need to order and pay for your meals in advance. In November, you think, “Roast turkey with all the trimmings? Yum!” But a week before Christmas, by now you hate the sight of turkey, and you know you are having it again next week. During the meals, it’s like watching military exercises — the precision of those teams of cooks and servers moving like an army, serving more meals than they usually do in a week each night. There is no room for specifications or special orders that haven’t been informed about and paid for in advance.

My sports team had organised Christmas dinner at a pub to commemorate a successful year. As the meals we had ordered a month ago started arriving, it was clear some dishes were more impressive than others. My — ahem — friend expressed her disappointment that [meal #1] she had chosen looked relatively unappealing. Then, a few moments later, the waitress came out.

Waitress: “I’ve got three more [meal #2]s.”

My friend’s hand shot up.

Friend: “Yes, I ordered [meal #2]!

And she shamelessly took someone else’s dinner. When the final dish was brought out, the poor team member had to accept the inferior dish that was all that was left. I still remember her disappointed face.

I didn’t say anything. For a moment, I was just shocked that she would do something so blatant in front of me, and by the time I regained my composure, she had started eating, so nothing I could say would rectify the situation.

Not Even Remotely Getting It, Part 2

, , , , , , | Right | December 22, 2021

In my previous job, toward the end of my employment, lockdown occurred, and I ended up working from home. I’d go about my work as usual, with calls routed to a company mobile.

Me: “Hi, [Company] helpdesk.”

Caller: “Hi, my [Program] isn’t working properly. Can you remote on and fix it?”

I run the user through the basic troubleshooting, which takes an odd twenty minutes on its own, because they aren’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, and going through the troubleshooting steps is like pulling teeth. I decide at this point it’s probably easier to remote on.

Me: “Okay, on the desktop there should be an icon for Teamviewer. Can you click on that, please? It should give you a nine-digit number.”

Caller: “What? Teams?”

Me: “No, no, not Teams, Teamviewer.”

I make sure I articulate the words so they hear it all.

Caller: “Teams? I already have Teams open. I can’t see the number.”

Me: “It should be Teamviewer; the icon should be a blue square with a white circle in it and a double-ended arrow.”

Caller: “This is too hard. Can you remote on and do it?”

Me: “I can’t remote on without that program, so I need you to open that to allow me access.”

Caller: “Can’t you remote on and open it?”

Me: “…”

This call went on for at least another HOUR. This wasn’t the first or last time I had a call like this. I’m so glad I left that job. It was atrocious.

Not Even Remotely Getting It

He Sent A Chill Down Their Spines

, , , , , , | Romantic | December 6, 2021

My boyfriend can be a bit… different. One day, the phone rings, and I just hear his side of the conversation.

Boyfriend: “Running? No… it’s just sitting there watching me. Plotting! Waiting for me to let my guard fall. I think it hates me. I know it’s coming for me. Oh, no… It heard me. It knows I know! It’s coming! NO! NO! AAARRRRRRRRRRGH! AAAAAH! AAAAAAAAAAAARRRGGGHHH!”

And then he hangs up.

Me: “What the actual f***?”

Boyfriend: “Some kids called and wanted to know if my fridge was running.”

Apparently, they were really young and sounded completely freaked out, so if your kids are afraid to go into the kitchen… sorry? I really love my boyfriend but we’re never having children.