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Computer Issues Really Suck

, , , , , , , | Working | April 1, 2022

This is a story from a job I had years ago. Our company took PCs and modded them to collect call records from a PBX. One such customer had the PC in his office on a table near the door.

It started having trouble: in the night it would just power down. It’d be down for an hour or two and then come back up. It was happening at pretty much the same time every night.

Our engineers got concerned because they worried that this could start happening with the hundreds of other machines in the field. They tried to replicate the problem. Nothing.

They had the customer send the computer back in for testing. It worked perfectly.

They sent it back. And it started happening again.

So, one night, the customer stayed in his office just to watch the machine and see what happened.

That night, the door opened a crack, a hand reached in… and unplugged it… and plugged in a vacuum cleaner.

Problem solved, and our engineers blew a big sigh of relief.

Did She Think They Were Faking Competence Before?

, , , , , | Working | January 25, 2021

I have Asperger’s Syndrome. I become close to one of my coworkers at my job at a grocery store and tell her my diagnosis. She suddenly starts treating me differently, like I can’t do anything for myself.

Coworker: “Do you want me to scan that for you? Your coordination probably isn’t good.”

Coworker: “Can you price check this for me? I know that you people are good with numbers.”

One day, she goes too far and I’ve had enough. I decide to tell her exactly how I feel about the way she’s treating me. Here’s what she says:

Coworker: “I know you probably have siblings that are, um, challenged like you.”

Me: “Are you serious, [Coworker]? I’m not mentally challenged; I simply have a social disorder that makes me different! I am not an invalid, and I am not a child, and I don’t like being treated like one. I wish you’d stop that behavior because it’s not helping. It’s insulting.”

Suddenly, I realize that my boss and a customer are only a few feet away. My boss is red in the face. The customer is shocked and then starts laughing.

Customer: “If you write her up, I’ll complain about you!”

My boss later took me aside and asked me what that was about. I told him about how my coworker had been treating me because of my diagnosis. He told me not to shout in front of customers anymore and he wouldn’t write me up. He also had words with my coworker about how to treat other employees. That particular coworker now doesn’t talk to me unless she absolutely has to.

An A-malling Lack Of Comprehension

, , , , | Right | July 14, 2020

I’m straightening up the store for the night right at closing time. Two teenage girls are still browsing the section I’m in.

Intercom: “Attention, shoppers, the mall is now closed. Please make your purchases and head to the nearest exit. Thank you for shopping at [Mall].”

Girl: *To her friend* “Does that mean we have to leave?”

You Know What Happens When Mama’s Not Happy…

, , , , , , , | Working | July 13, 2020

I’m the author of the story Oh, Brother!. I am driving down the way that the old restaurant used to be and notice that a new place has opened up: a new Italian place, even, with a sign very similar to the old one. I’m curious at the odds of an Italian business so like the old one opening up, so I go to walk inside, and I’m stunned to see the brothers there working. 

They see me, they obviously recognize me, and they give me a big, genuine smile. I feel like I’ve walked into another universe, so I go up and ask what’s up and if they’ve decided to try again.

One of them laughs kind of uncomfortably and looks back towards the kitchen and then leans in and whispers, “Mama heard our fighting ruined our business and came to America just to kick our a**es and make us work together again.”

Just then, a frail, old Italian lady hobbles out of the kitchen, smiles at me, and asks her sons if they’ve taken my order in one of the sweetest, gentlest voices I’ve heard.

I decide to go ahead and get something to support the new business. All three are nothing but genuinely polite to me, and I end up wishing them the best and heading home. The food is better than what they were making when I was working at the old place and it’s so delicious I end up making it a frequent stop for dinner. And it stays open for longer than four months this time. 

Moral of the story: there is no force of nature that’s more terrifying and more capable of stopping familial conflict than an enraged Italian matriarch.


This story is part of our July 2020 Roundup – the best stories of the month!

Read the next July 2020 Roundup story!

Read the July 2020 Roundup!

At Least Alexa Is Nicer Than Bender

, , , , , , , | Related | June 29, 2020

I’ve been working from home during the health crisis and apparently, Alexa is over my crap. This happens after I have her pause my music to take a call.

Me: “Alexa, resume.”

Alexa: “No.”

Daughter: “The robot uprising has begun.”