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The Grand Tale Of Spike The Fearless And His Spiky Foe

, , , , , , | Friendly | May 26, 2021

Here comes the tale of fright and sacrifice that lead to our family accidentally adopting a stray kitten.

It was the middle of the night, and all was quiet in the cul-de-sac of the family home. I was tucked up asleep in my room with our cat purring on my pillow, my sister was off in dreamland in her sleepout in the back garden, and my parents were happily away in snoozetown in their shared bed. The time was around 2:00 am when something startled my stepfather awake.

He tried to ignore it, but after about five minutes, it was clear that the piercing sound was not going to end. Even if it was only disturbing him, he had to find and put an end to the disturbance. He put on a dressing gown, fished out a flashlight, and slipped out the front door.

The small front yard revealed nothing but the innocent plants; there was nothing hiding under the cars outside the fence. He tiptoed around, poking the light everywhere, until the sound led him across the small road into a neighbour’s yard where he found a tiny kitten being attacked by a hedgehog!

The kitten, no bigger than a palm, was wailing its little lungs out and trying to escape the prickle-beast, which had at least 20% more body than it did. The hedgehog also had the young cat’s ear in its mouth and seemed very determined that this should continue.

Being the proud cat lover that my stepfather was, he indignantly chased the hedgehog off into the bushes and let the kitten calm down before backing off, figuring the mother cat would soon be along to protect her little jellybean. He was too small to be far from her. Confident, he headed back to bed.

Ten minutes later, the noise had started up again. Confused, my stepfather grabbed the bathrobe and the torch again and slipped back out of the house. Despite his best hopes, the mother had not come back to her defiant child, but the hedgehog had! It was once again attempting to make a meal out of the helpless but very noisy little soul. Once more, my stepfather chased away the hungry rodent and scooped up the little palmful of kitten. But what to do with this bean? He decided the safest course of action would be to spirit it over the roadway and into our front yard. Surely then the mother would deem it safe to come rescue her infant, and there’d be no way a hedgehog would find it again. He found a good spot to tuck the kitten where it would be safe and warm for the mother to find and returned to the comfort of his bed.

You’ll never guess what woke him up two hours later. On went the robe, out came the torch. He rushed into the front garden to find that the mother had not tracked the kitten over the road, but a certain prickly fiend had! Once more, the barbed beast was driven off, and the kitten was placed in a basket on our back porch, with no more noise for the rest of the night.

Come the morning, it was still there. No mother had come hunting for her child, so we took it upon ourselves to attempt to comfort the shrill little creature with a jaunty half-ear. As we attempted to get him to eat and find him a place where he would be welcomed, our local SPCA rounded up a white cat with a similarly-sized white kitten. Maybe the mother and a sibling, but we will never know.

The loud-mouthed little jellybean made himself at home with us, even if our current cat did not approve, hissing viciously before running away and hiding on something tall.

We called him Spike. One of us because he had the one ear, one of us because Spike Milligan had just passed away, and one of us because he was a saucy little devil who would much rather bite someone than eat the food he was begging for. He lived a good life and ended up weighing eight kg — about twice the normal weight for a cat. He was eternally loud and always loved waking my stepfather up at two in the morning with his piercing cries, even when he had a cat door.

It just goes to show, sometimes you do have to scream when something goes wrong.

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Yellow Line Makes Him Redline

, , , | Right | May 23, 2021

I am at a train station trying to get home from school. A tech issue has arisen and the trains on my line are delayed by quite a bit. There are many people on my platform and lots of them are standing over the yellow line at the edge of the platform.

Loudspeaker: “For your own safety, please step back over the yellow line.”

Only a few people move back. This repeats twice more, and everyone is now back over the line, except one middle-aged man whose bag even sticks out over the tracks.

Worker From Another Platform: “Hey, sir?! Can you please step back over the line? It’s for your own safety.”

Man: “WHY DON’T YOU JUST WORRY ABOUT THE F****** TRAINS, INSTEAD?!”

We were all horrified by this because the train was coming and if he didn’t move, it would hit him. He thankfully moved, just in time. Everyone near him pushed past him to get on and he was left standing the whole trip to the other end of the line. It had me chuckling the whole way home.

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And They Wonder Why People Pirate

, , , , , , | Working | April 29, 2021

As strange as it may seem to some, I have a penchant for physical media. I like to own DVDs of shows I enjoy, and I like to get them in sets where possible.

The final season of one of my all-time favourite cartoons is released. I see occasional part-one-of-five DVDs for various seasons in my local retail store, but nothing else. I wait, and wait, and wait. A year goes by. I still can only find those parts, and only of early seasons, never of later ones. Maybe they just haven’t released them yet?

Finally, I look them up online, and I find that the distributors have a full box set available and claim to do international shipping. Perfect! I try to order a set to come to my small island, but it won’t bring up a price for it. After contacting their help center, it transpires that while they can ship some things internationally, they cannot, for a complicated reason to do with distribution rights, sell their own product to an individual consumer outside their area for some products. I just have to wait.

And wait…

And wait…

Three years pass and there’s still no sign of it in my region. But wait! I have saved enough for a wild holiday. This is likely to be the only time when I have enough flexible free time and money free to do this, so I plan to go to Disneyland! I figure, while I’m in America, I’ll try and get some of those coveted DVDs that can’t be sent to New Zealand. But I know some places are fussy about where they send to. So I contact the help team again.

I thank them for their earlier assistance over the country matter — stupid in hindsight, but I wanted to be friendly — and offer that I’ll be traveling soon, and want to know if they ship their products to hotels.

I’m swiftly informed that they won’t send them to New Zealand.

Ah, my mistake. They must have confused my thanks as to where I’m traveling. I apologise and clarify that I’m coming to America. I will be within the USA for a time. Do they deliver to American hotels?

Another fast response: “Because you’re from New Zealand, our DVD’s will not work for you”

By now, I’m puzzled. Surely they must know that region-free DVD players exist, and even if they didn’t, this is clearly a loyal customer wanting to own a legitimate copy of the source media. I politely state that I don’t care about that; I just want to know if they send to hotels.

I get no answer. I end up calling the help line a few days later, with that and another question. Once again, I get a representative who tells me that they cannot ship to New Zealand, and even once I politely clarify yet again that this will be an American hotel, they counter with the fact that I will not be able to use them outside of the country. Is America booby-trapping DVDs now?

My temper frays a little and I utter that I do not care, I just wish to buy the DVDs, to have them, regardless of how they work, so could they please answer the question. I get a resounding, confused, “I guess?”

Good! A probable answer! I try my next question: do they do delayed shipping? I order today, they send my order out next month before I travel? That one is a far simpler “no,” and I go on my way.

This is all the warm-up for the fun that is about to happen. You see, there are some other DVDs from another company that I want, so I have also been in contact with them. They are delighted to hear that I will be able to purchase directly from them, and they gladly give me everything I need to know about shipping from them. While they do not do delayed orders either, they give me their best expected shipping times and apologise that once it’s with the courier they cannot control it more closely. They advise me on what dates I can best order by for the order to reach me in a timely fashion, alongside a suggestion of going for the expedited shipping if I am worried about cutting it too close. Happy with the thought, I order from both companies on the same day with the same address information two weeks before leaving. Both companies have their products in stock and are due to ship in two to five days.

Three days after placing the orders, the first company sends me an email saying my address has bounced back. Due to my unfamiliarity with American addresses, I listed both the suburb and the city, and apparently, the system hadn’t flagged it when it was submitted. Oh, well, mistakes happen. I send the correction immediately, a little surprised that a human looking at it hadn’t figured out what was going on.

Three more days pass. I get a note saying my update has been received.

Three more. My order is now being processed.

Three more. My order is now underway! Lovely, two to five days. It might show up right at the end of my trip, but that’s fine.

Now I’m traveling. Forty-eight hours later I’m on the other side of the world, checking in to a fancy hotel. The clerk surprises me with a package that arrived almost a week before me. [Company #2]’s DVDs, a double copy for both me and my sister, shine brightly in their clingfilm. I thank the clerk kindly and fall asleep for another twelve hours.

And when do the larger [Company #1]’s DVDs get to me? They get to the hotel a week after I leave, and they take another two weeks to arrive in New Zealand from there. It costs an additional $50 that it wouldn’t have if [Company #1] had bothered to respond to my actual money as fast as they did to their desire to say they didn’t want it.

For the curious: they didn’t explode, either. My region-free DVD player and I continue to enjoy media from around the world, purchased legitimately to support creators. I also found out that New Zealand post now has a service to deal with such matters.

The lesson [Company #1] taught me was, “Don’t give them your money; they really don’t want it.”

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One Popped Every Minute

, , , | Right | April 23, 2021

I work in a multiscreen cinema complex for several years. The last movie starts at 8:30 pm and we’re packing up the popcorn machines, etc. around 9:00 pm. At 9:15 pm, my coworker and I have finished emptying and cleaning the popcorn machines. The lights around the popcorn bar have been turned off and the signs have all been taken down. A customer exits a cinema and goes to the bathrooms. We think nothing of it and continue our cleaning. A few minutes later, I’m sweeping and hear a loud HUH-HUM.

Me: “OH! I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there. Can I help you with anything?”

Customer: *Rudely* “Large popcorn.”

Me: “Sorry, ma’am, we’re actually closed now and don’t have any way to serve popcorn. I can sell you any bagged candy or bottled drinks.”

Customer: “LARGE… POPCORN!”

Me: “Ma’am, I—”

Customer: “Does that machine behind you work?”

Me: “Yes, but—”

Customer: “SO TURN IT ON!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but the machines have been turned off for an hour and would take at least fifteen minutes to heat up. I would then have to put through a pop cycle and then reclean the entire machine.”

Customer: *Staring* “And?”

Me: “I cannot serve popcorn.”

Customer: “Where is your supervisor?”

My supervisor tries to explain to the customer that the popcorn machines have been shut down and cleaned and we have no popcorn. Eventually, because she made so much of a scene, the supervisor pulls the popcorn bag from the back that has all the stale stuff in it and fills a large box with it. The rude customer smiles at me with a gross, smug smile.

Customer: *Barely audible* “I don’t know why places like this hire useless idiots.”

This woman PAID $10 for stale popcorn and missed at least twenty minutes of her movie. Who’s the idiot here?

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Challenge Accepted

, , , , , | Right | March 28, 2021

I work at a chain bookstore in New Zealand and have an insanely good ability to find things with very little information. A guy comes in with his friend and I ask them if they need some help.

Customer: “I’m looking for a cookbook by an Australian author that’s around $150.”

Customer’s Friend: “Dude, you have not given her enough information. She will never find it.”

Me: “I accept that challenge.”

Less than thirty seconds later:

Me: “Is it The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “We don’t have it, sorry. It’s not so easy to get, but it is available on our website; it comes from overseas.”

Customer’s Friend: “S***, you’re good.”

Customer: “Never doubt these people, man.”

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