Fixing For Something Else

, , , , | Right | February 9, 2018

(I’m working the security gatehouse at a TV production studio. A “supporting artist” for a new TV show walks up to the metal pedestrian exit gate, presses the release button, and waits. This is a metal gate with no electronic parts, plainly not automatic.)

Me: *leaning out* “Hi there! You need to pull the gate open after you press the release button, please.”

Extra: “It’s not working!” *points at the gate*

Me: “I’m sorry; it’s not automatic. It’s a door you have to pull open yourself.”

Extra: *thumping the release button* “It’s not working. Look!”

(I sigh, walk outside, move her gently aside, push the button, and pull the gate open for her.)

Me: “See? You just push the button, then pull the gate.”

(She walks through to leave, then turns around angrily.)

Extra: “It’s broken! You should get that fixed!”

Their Cold Heart Is In Need Of Some Heating

, , , , , , , | Working | January 19, 2018

(I work in an office with two coworkers. [Coworker #1] is a nightmare to work with. She constantly needs nudging, telling, reminding, you name it, about her tasks. One afternoon on a freezing day, the phone rings.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Business]. How can I help you?”

Elderly Woman: “Oh. Is that not [Nationwide Gas Supplier]?”

Me: “No, I’m sorry; it’s [Business]. What number did you dial?”

Elderly Woman: “Oh. I’ve been trying to find their number for a while, and it’s so cold here. I put it down somewhere. Hang on… It was [number].”

Me: “I’m very sorry, but our number’s [number with one digit different]. It’s very similar.”

Elderly Woman: *sounds like she’s about to cry* “I see. Okay. I’ll try again. Thank you so much.”

Me: “No problem; goodbye.”

(Twenty seconds later, the phone rings.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Business]. How can I help?”

Elderly Woman: “Hello, dear, I can’t get my boiler working. Would you send someone, please?”

Me: “Hello again, madam. This is [My Name] at [Business]. We spoke a minute ago? Did you misdial again?”

Elderly Woman: “Well, I thought I did it right.” *starts dialing the number with me still on the line* “There’s zero…” *presses zero for about five seconds* “And eight…” *presses eight for a few seconds* “And—”

Me: “Madam? I’m sorry, I’m still on the line so it won’t work; plus, when you do redial, you only need to tap the numbers, not hold them down for so long.”

Elderly Woman: “Ah, I see. Okay. I just tap the numbers and it’ll work.”

Me: “Yes, it should do. Good luck!”

(We say our goodbyes, hang up, and then twenty seconds later, the phone rings.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Business]. How can I help?”

Elderly Woman: “Oh, hello again, dear. I seem to be struggling here, don’t I? I’m so sorry to trouble you again. I’ll just go and—”

Me: “Hello again. No, don’t worry; it’s fine. Did you say your boiler was broken before?”

Elderly Woman: “Yes. It broke last night, and I can’t seem to find anyone to come and have a look at it for me. It’s cold today, isn’t it? Boilers always seem to go when you need them the most, don’t they?”

Me: “They certainly do, yes. Look, give me the number you were going to call, and I’ll call them for you. And if you give me your name, address, and number, I’ll get them to send someone round to you. How does that sound?”

Elderly Woman: “Would you? You will? Oh, my word. That sounds fine; thank you so much!” *then she hangs up*

(Luckily, I have the 1471 service on my phone line, so I get her number, call her back, explain who I am, that I need her details to pass to the boiler people, and so forth. I then call the boiler people, explain the situation, tell them there’s a confused and vulnerable elderly lady there without a working heating system, and that she can’t even manage to use her phone. The call centre chap is fine with it and tells me he’ll sort it out. I give it 15 minutes, then call the old lady back. She’s been contacted by the boiler chap, and a visit is scheduled for later in the day. All done; old lady is happy, and we end the call. I put the phone down.)

Me: *to both coworkers* “Phew. I’m glad to be getting back to typing, after all that.”

Coworker #1: *in a snappy tone* “I don’t know why you did that! It’s not your job to do that! You wasted your time doing all that!”

Me: *looks at her for a second* “Right. First of all: are you telling me you’d leave a vulnerable person with no heating when there’s something you could do about it? And secondly, since when did you, you, of all people, get to tell me what is and isn’t my job, when you don’t even know what your own is? I’ll tell you what; when you start pulling your weight, we’ll discuss what my job entails.”

(I stomped off for some fresh air; I was so annoyed.)

Thinking Outside The Box And The Car

, , , | Right | January 2, 2018

(I work at a DIY store which sells six-piece garden furniture sets all in one box. These boxes are not small, as you could imagine.)

Me: “Hi there, are you okay? Do you need anything?”

Customer: “Well, we like [set in the box], please. Can you help it to my car?”

Me: “Of course, that’s what I’m here for. Is your car a decent size, as the box is quite hefty and large?”

Customer: “Yeah, it will fit; no problem.”

Me: *thinking he has a van or pickup* “Okay, great. Let me get you a trolley.”

(We load the box up and pay through the till and out we go.)

Me: *looking into the car park* “Which is yours?”

Customer: “Oh, the red one over there.”

(I glance up and see a little car.)

Me: “Really? There’s no way this will fit into that. You don’t have any boot space or a back seat to put it on?”

Customer: *looking a bit irate as I’ve doubted him, taking the trolley off me* ” Of course it will; I’ve had these before without a problem. You just don’t know what you’re doing.” *humph*

Me: “Okay, if you’re sure and you don’t want my help. If you need me I will be inside.”

(I got called to the main desk about 30 minutes later by my coworker who was watching them struggle, and she turned to me and asked why didn’t I help. I just rolled my eyes at her and she nodded with a knowing smile. He did manage to fit it in an hour later; however, his girlfriend had to make her own way home from our store as there wasn’t room for both of them in the car.)

The Solution Is As Clear As Glass

, , , | Healthy | December 29, 2017

(I need to get new spectacles, so I get assessed. During the sight test, the optometrist notices I have the start of macular degeneration in one eye, tells me it isn’t serious at the moment, but warns me to watch out for lines appearing wavy when they should be straight. She gives me a leaflet to put on my fridge door, so that I’ll look at it several times a day and be aware of the need to check. She also instructs me to come straight back for another test if anything changes. This all freaks me out a bit because I’ve never heard of macular degeneration, so I dutifully put the leaflet on my fridge door and inspect that thing every time I go in the fridge, for about a month. I start noticing the sight in my left eye is quite blurry. So, off I trot back to the optometrist. I explain everything to the receptionist, then the optometrist, a different one to my first visit. He sight-checks me then leaves the room for a few minutes. He comes back in and asks if I mind him checking again. I don’t mind, but by now I’m sweating and my imagination’s working overtime. He does the same tests and asks me to explain again what the problem is.)

Me: “Look. I cover up my right eye…” *demonstrates* “… and you’re blurry. I cover up my left eye instead…” *demonstrates* “… and you’re not blurry.”

Optometrist: “Well, Mrs [My Name], both sight tests we’ve conducted today show no changes to the other test we did recently.”

Me: “Seriously? But I’ve definitely got strange vision in my left eye? How is that, if the test results are the same? Look, doctor, if it’s psychosomatic, tell me. If you think I’m dreaming it up because I’m so worried about losing my sight and I need a psychiatrist, just tell me straight. I really can handle it.”

(By this time, I’m near tears. I don’t know whether I’m losing my sight or my marbles.)

Optometrist: “Show me again.”

(Demonstrates covering up the eyes, etc.)

Optometrist: “I… might be a bit off course here but… did we provide your glasses?”

Me: “Of course, yes.”

Optometrist: “It looks like the common denominator is your glasses. Let’s get them realigned and see.”

(Aaaand I felt a fool. Mind you, so should they, too. My ‘demonstrations’ of blurry vs normal sight were done wearing my specs. The sight tests had been done WITHOUT my specs. It turned out there was a minuscule adjustment needed for the left lens. He brought my specs back and the blurred vision was gone. At least I know I haven’t lost my marbles yet. Not about that, at least.)

Stripped Of The Relevant Training

, , , , , | Working | October 30, 2017

(I am 17. I have left home and am broke, so I lie about my age to get a job in a nightclub. I am a month away from being 18, so I don’t feel too bad. There are no checks and screenings by a lot of places at this point in time. However, I am THE most naive young woman. I know nothing about how the world works in reality, and I find myself working in a nightclub that has seven different rooms and bars, all with different themes. I’ve never even been to a pub or bar socially before this night. I am assigned to [Bar #1], which is pretty normal, and most of the customers seem to be okay. I mess up quite a few drinks, but it is laughed off when I tell the customers it’s my first night. I am doing okay, I think, and even manage to navigate my way around the multi- and split-level corridors to get to the bathrooms and back. The place is a total warren. And then:)

Supervisor: *shouts over the music* “[My Name]! Go to [Bar #7]! They need a barmaid!”

Me: *shouts over the music* “Where’s [Bar #7]?”

Supervisor: *shouts over the music* “Downstairs! Ask someone on the way!”

(So off I trot, trying to find my way to [Bar #7], asking various customers and staff along the way. Whenever I ask for directions, however, I get comments like, “You don’t want to be going there, love,” or, “Why the h*** are they putting YOU there?” or, “Who the bloody h*** told YOU to go to [Bar #7]?” and so on. But nobody will tell me why I shouldn’t go there, so I get stubborn and carry on. When I finally find [Bar #7], 20 minutes later, I drag the door open, only to be blasted with deafening music – much louder than upstairs. I walk to the bar, and look at the shocked face of the barman there.)

Me: *angry now* “What on earth is the matter with everyone? Why shouldn’t I be here?”

(My new colleague just spluttered and pointed at the stage, going beetroot red in the face. I turned around just as a woman on stage was removing her last piece of clothing with a “TA-DAAA!” gesture. She posed there, stark naked, to rapturous applause from the 200 men watching her. The lights went down, she dashed off the stage, and all 200 men turned to face naive little me at the bar, who was standing there with her bottom jaw resting on the top of her prim little lace-up shoes. I was the only female in the room after a full-on strip show. Gulp. It actually didn’t turn out too badly. I think most of them saw me as a substitute daughter, while the rest were so embarrassed to be caught watching a stripper by a very shocked young woman that they left [Bar #7] in quite a hurry and bought drinks elsewhere.)