South Of The Border

, , , , , | Working | January 15, 2019

(My best friend lives in Southeast Asia, and we try to meet up whenever possible. This year it’s my turn to fly to her. I have to fly to LAX airport in California, spend one night, then board a new flight the next morning. One thing I always like to do is bring her some of her favorite snacks that she can’t buy where she lives, so my carry-on backpack is stuffed with snacks that I’ve confirmed are allowed on the flight — no liquids, etc. One of these snacks is a particular brand of pork rinds that are made by a local company we’d always buy in college. Recently they came out with a new flavor — sea salt and vinegar — which I know she’ll love, so I bought her the biggest bag I could find. As I am going through security at LAX, my backpack gets pulled for a more thorough inspection. I have plenty of time to get to my flight, so I’m not worried. The TSA agent opens my bag and his eyes bug out at the amount of food I have Tetris-packed in there. It turns out, they need to check the seal on the can of mixed nuts I’ve packed and test the outside of it. I guess sealed cans like that are a good place for illegal items? Anyway, the TSA agent is putting the snacks back in my bag when he spots the pork rinds.)

TSA Agent: “What are these?”

Me: *thinking: “It says right there on the label.”* “Salt and vinegar pork rinds.”

TSA Agent: “What?”

Me: “They’re pork rinds, but salt and vinegar flavor. I’m taking them for a friend to try.”

TSA Agent: “Yeah, I’ve had pork rinds. I’ve just never seen anything like that.” *looks at me like I’ve committed some act of witchcraft*

Me: *out of explanations, I shrug* “I’m from the South?”

TSA Agent: “Oh! Well, that makes sense.”

(He seemed happy with my answer, put the pork rinds back in my bag, and handed it to me. The rest of the trip went smoothly, and my friend was delighted with her snack haul.)

Treating The Whole Industry Like A Game

, , , , | Working | January 10, 2019

(I work in video game publishing as a producer. Part of my job also involves evaluating the pitches we receive, and highlighting any that are particularly noteworthy and worth discussing further. One guy is adamant that he wants to pitch his game to me over a call because he says it’ll give him a chance to really “dive into details.” This is already sort of a red flag; refusing to send us a proper pitch document through the channels makes him sound like a bit of a handful that could be difficult to work with, but I decide to give him the benefit of the doubt and grab a call with him. He describes his game, shows me some VERY simplistic and cheap-looking screens, and, well…)

Me: “I’m sorry, but… honestly, that’s just [Insanely Popular Indie Game]. Literally everything you’ve said just makes it sound like a copy, from the characters to the plot details to the mechanics.”

Caller: *dismissively* “Everything is inspired by something.”

Me: “No, this is literally a copy. Note for note, just with different art and names and wording essentially.”

Caller: “Well… you can see that because you’re a professional, ma’am.”

Me: “No, I can see that because I have eyes. [Caller], it’s clear you put a lot of work into this, but I would urge you to channel that into an original project s—“

Caller: “Listen, listen! You’re thinking too small. People will eat it up, anyway. This sort of thing happens all the time.”

Me: “Not at our company, it doesn’t.”

Caller: “So, do you want to cut me an offer or not?”

Me: “Not!”

(While I was annoyed at having my time wasted, I was also amazed at how brazen he was with this completely transparent rip-off. We have had clones of varying quality pitched to us over the years, all of which we also passed on, but this one really took the cake. The cherry on top; he DID send over more documentation later, regardless, and one of the items on his budget was 50k USD to “clear personal debt and improve focus.” It’s been several years and I haven’t seen hide nor hair of his “work.” Guess other publishers have eyes and integrity, too. Who’da thunk it?)

A Member To Remember

, , , , | Right | December 8, 2018

(I am the only one working the ticket counter on a very slow weekday evening at a movie theater. I get a phone call from an elderly woman who does not know how to use the Internet, and needs me to look up tomorrow’s show times and read them to her over the phone. I’ve switched my monitor to read her tomorrow’s movies and times when a woman storms into our lobby and comes directly up to me.)

Customer: “Get off the phone!”

Me: *to the guest on the phone* “I… Er, excuse me one moment, ma’am—”

Customer: “I said, off the phone! One ticket for [Movie], next showing.”

Elderly Woman: “Wait. I just need to know one more thing: will your show times be the same on Thursday?”

Me: “Our movie times change daily. I’m sorry, ma’am, I need to put you on hold for—”

Customer: “I am a guild member! Get off the phone and serve the customer in front of you!”

(She reaches over the counter and presses the button on the phone to hang it up.)

Me: *somewhat flustered, as I’ve never had a customer this rude before* “You said [Movie]? The next showing? Where would you like to sit?”

Customer:Ugh, I hate this new assigned seating. I will be complaining to your bosses about this.”

(She jabs the screen selecting a seat, at least.)

Me: *staying polite and as pleasant as possible* “You said you were a guild member; could I see your card for the discount, please?”

Customer: *literally throws the card in my face with a flick of her wrist, so it smacks into my cheek* “Hurry up. The movie will start soon. My ticket will be free, too. Run the card. I don’t pay for movies; I’m a member.”

(I retrieve the card from the counter, and run the card so she can get her discount. The ticket and receipt print out, and I offer them both to her.)

Me: “Your ticket, ma’am.”

Customer: “It’s about time!”

(She snatches both from my hand, and storms off. It’s not until moments later I realize my register is still set for tickets for the next day, because of the phone call I was taking. She will end up having to sit in the theater for an hour before the movie starts, IF she manages to find the correct theatre, which she must do because she doesn’t come back out again during my shift. I do enjoy the little bit of unintentional Karma, though. I also realize moments later that I have forgotten to give her her guild card back. I flag down my manager and tell him what happened.)

Me: “So, that woman who came in earlier threw this at my face, and I was so shocked I forgot to give it back to her.”

Manager: “What? She threw it at you? Actually?”

Me: “Yeah. Bounced off my face and everything.”

Manager: “Well. We’ll just put this in the lost in found for her, then.” *dumps the card into the nearest trash can* “After all, we definitely want to keep her as a customer.” *rolls his eyes angrily*

How To Get Picked Up By Guys: Look Homeless

, , , , , , | Romantic | December 6, 2018

(I am out late at night, walking to a convenience store. I lead a largely nocturnal schedule so I sometimes have to go to stores at night. I live in an okay neighborhood, but not completely safe, so I do my best not to look like an attractive target for harassment or robbery. There is nothing I can do to hide being female, but I wear old frumpy clothes, going for a look somewhere between “poor” and “homeless.” This evening, about a block before I reach the store, a young guy in sweats and a hoodie, who’s casually walking in the other direction by me on the street, suddenly stops and turns to me.)

Guy: “Hey. Do you have any change to spare for me so I can take the bus?”

(It is too late for any bus line in this area to be running. I don’t carry any cash, in any case.)

Me: “No, I don’t. Sorry.”

Guy: “Oh, okay.” *goes on his way*

(Half a minute later, when he’s walked at least four house lengths away from me:)

Guy: “Hey! Hey! HEY! HEY! HEY!”

(I turn around and see he’s actually got his hands around the sides of his mouth to more effectively shout at me.)

Guy: “Hey! Do you wanna [unintelligible]?”

(I make a gesture that I don’t understand him.)

Guy: “Do you wanna [unintelligible]?”

(I make another gesture that I can’t hear.)

Guy: “Do you wanna [unintelligible]?”

(The best I could make it out in the moment, it sounded something like, “Do you wanna fight?” I was bit alarmed, and gestured again that I couldn’t hear him. Instead of doing anything sensible, like walking closer to me, the guy started making the “come here” beckoning gesture with his hands that is usually only made to little children. Having had quite enough of this dude bothering me, and having recently had another bad experience after a man made that same exact “come here” hand gesture at me and I was stupid enough to obey, I physically reared back while making a very alarmed expression, turned back around, and hurried super-fast in the opposite direction from him, to the store I was going to. Luckily, he didn’t follow me. Later, after going over the sounds in my head several times, I realized he had actually been calling at me, “Do you wanna ride?” Yes, the guy who’d just thirty seconds previously asked me to give him change so that he could take a — non-existent — bus, now decided it made sense to try to lure me in by offering me a ride.)

Need To Put More Than A Hundred Feet Between Me And You

, , , , , | Romantic | November 20, 2018

(My car’s gas gauge is wonky, and one time my car unexpectedly runs out of gas while on the road, around early afternoon. Luckily, traffic is sparse and I am in my neighborhood, maybe 100 feet from a gas station. I manage to park on the side of the street, fish my empty gas can out of the backseat, and walk the 100 feet across an intersection to the gas station. As I’m crouching down near one of the pumps, filling up the gas can, some dude suddenly looms right over my head. I can see his pickup truck with its door open parked right behind him; it’s obvious he’s not an employee here. It’s just as obvious that he’s not here to get gas, himself.)

Dude: “Uh… so… Um-hmm…”

(I ignore him and pretend to be terribly busy. Nothing good has EVER come to me from talking to strange men.)

Dude: *inching even closer to me* “Uhh… Um-HEM! HI! HELLO! MISS!”

(I sigh. Clearly he’s not going away.)

Me: *side-eyeing him* “Yes?”

Dude: *suggestively* “Soooo… I just saw you walking down the street with your gas can while I was driving.”

(There is a very expectant pause while he’s staring at me hard enough that it’s almost like he’s attempting hypnosis. Already knowing where this is going, I put on a sweet, condescending tone of voice and a fake smile.)

Me: “That’s great for you!”

(I immediately dropped the smile and turned away from him again. He was somewhat flustered at this, but wouldn’t you just know it – he persisted in repeatedly offering me “a ride” to my car, anyway. Shockingly, I said no. Several times over. He finally left, with extreme reluctance. I have a very high skepticism that it’s even possible he didn’t see how close my car was parked, but frankly, even if I had to walk 100 miles instead of 100 feet, I’d never have agreed to get into his truck. 100 feet! That’s how little it takes to have a creep notice you walking alone down a street and decide to follow you in his car!)

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