Unique For How Bad It Is

, , , | Working | April 16, 2018

(I am a reporter at a local newspaper. Twice a month, I write a business feature, which showcases a local business. I go in to interview the owner of a sandwich and smoothie shop.)

Me: “There are a lot of cafes like this out there these days. What makes yours unique?”

Business Owner: “Hm. I don’t know. I should probably think of that, hey?”

(I was less than impressed with the whole interview. I didn’t even write the story. He never called to ask why.)

Will Be An Interesting News Development

, , , , | Right | April 2, 2018

(I work for a community-oriented weekly newspaper company that owns multiple publications, but all of them come from the same office. One of our publications has a similar name to a rival newspaper that gets delivered daily, which sometimes causes confusion. It’s a free publication that we deliver to some neighborhoods and businesses each week, but specific homes can call to request not to receive the paper.)

Me: “Hi. This is [Company]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “I have called you five times in the last month, and you still keep delivering your paper to me.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. There must be some confusion with our distribution department or our drivers. Could I get your address, so I can make sure our distribution manager has it? He’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Caller: “If you don’t stop delivering the paper to my house, I’m going to sue you all. I’ve already called the city, and they’re looking into taking action against your company.”

Me: “Sir, if you give me your address, I can make sure it doesn’t happen.”

Caller: “It gets delivered to me every day.”

Me: “Sir, are you sure you’re not receiving [Rival Newspaper]? I know it has a similar name to ours.”

Caller: “No, it’s you guys!”

Me: “Sir, we only deliver our paper once a week.”

Caller: “You tell your distribution manager that if this doesn’t stop, I’m going to find out where he lives and dump all the newspapers I’ve acquired on his lawn.”

Me: “Okay! Go for it, sir!”

Hard-Pressed To Complain About The Press

, , , , | Right | February 2, 2018

(The front page of one of today’s national newspapers shows a young Princess Elizabeth, who of course is now our Queen, apparently being shown a Nazi salute in 1933 by her uncle, the future Edward VIII. A customer is at my till buying the paper.)

Me: “Ooh, that’s going to be a bit of a scandal.”

Customer: *laughs* “I just bumped into a friend of mine outside who works for the local paper. She said a woman rang them up to complain about the press coverage of this story.”

Me: “But this is a national paper.”

Customer: “My friend asked if she had a local angle to the story, but apparently this woman thought that you could just call your newspaper if you wanted to complain about ‘the press,’ and wanted them to pass on her complaints to the [National Paper].”

Me: “Let me guess. She huffed and puffed when she found out the local paper had no say on it?”

Customer: “Yep! She shouted she was never going to buy [Local Paper] ever again unless they printed an apology to the Queen on the front page, and then she hung up!”

Me: *laughing* “There’s always one, isn’t there? Here’s your change.”

Intern Burn

, , , , , , | Working | January 26, 2018

During school, I interviewed for an internship at a newsroom and got it. During the interview, my editor told me that for the first week I’d be sharing a desk, as their current intern would be wrapping up. I agreed, not thinking anything of it.

My first week started, there was no intern to be found, and I had the desk all to myself. I got suspicious, as I certainly remembered my editor mentioning the desk-sharing, but I didn’t say anything.

A few weeks later, someone mentioned the previous intern, and I decided to ask why he wasn’t there when I arrived. They fired him.

Apparently, he would listen to music during his shifts, making it impossible to get him to do anything. He would be told to go out to events and talk to people and shoot photos… and he wouldn’t. He’d come back empty-handed, and when my editor asked him what he was doing out there, he didn’t even try to explain. Deciding she had enough, my editor told him not to come in for his last few weeks.

But it doesn’t end there. He got a new internship working in communications for the local police. He was let go after three days when he was told to go to an event to shoot photos and he didn’t.

The man was fired three days into his internship. When I was told that, I couldn’t stop laughing. How incompetent can you be?

Now, he works at a pizza place in town doing deliveries. We don’t order from that place, anymore.

Why Ad Men Become Mad Men

, , , , | Working | October 12, 2017

(I call the local paper to inquire about posting a four-line ad in the classified section. It turns out the ad will be classified in a different category than I thought ,and will therefore be four times the cost. Not wanting to pay $60 for the ad, I thank the person on the line but tell them I will not be placing the ad after all. Simple. I think that is the end of it. But, no. A few days later:)

Caller #1: “This is [Caller #1] from [Town] paper. I need to speak to [My Name].”

Me: “You’ve reached her.”

Caller #1: “You recently placed an ad in our paper under someone else’s account.”

Me: “No, I didn’t. I inquired about an ad, but did not place one. I didn’t put in under any account at all.”

Caller #1: “We have the ad billed to [Person I’ve never heard of]’s account. You can’t place an ad under someone else’s account.”

Me: “I didn’t place an ad at all. You’ve made a mistake.”

(I hang up. The phone rings again.)

Caller #1: “Don’t hang up on me! You’ve fraudulently placed an ad under someone else’s account!”

Me: “What ad was placed?”

Caller #1: “I don’t have that information.”

Me: “Look. I called your paper to inquire about an ad. I didn’t end up placing it. The ad I intended to place had my information, and my information only. I have no idea what you are talking about. I told you that already.”

Caller #1: “The ad was placed with the phone number of another person’s account.”

Me: “Really? The ad I wanted to place included this number, the phone number you called to reach me. Clearly this is my number. Does someone else have an account under my number?”

Caller #1: “No. The account is under a different phone number.”

Me: “Did my ad post? Just a second, while I look in the paper.” *I do so.* “There is no ad in either the section I thought it would go in, or the section I was told it would go in. No ad was posted. There seems to a problem in billing. It is not my problem.”

(I hang up again. When the phone doesn’t ring immediately, I again think it is over. A few hours later the phone rings.)

Caller #2: “Hello, I’m trying to reach [My Name].

Me: “You’ve reached her.”

Caller #2: “Hi, my name is [Name given to me by Caller #1] and the newspaper tells me that you’ve place an ad in the classified section using my account.”

Me: “Well, the newspaper is wrong. I called them a few days ago to inquire about an ad. It turned out to be way more expensive than I’d thought, so I did not post it. I posted no ad at all. The only information I gave them was my own. The only phone number I gave them was the number you called. I don’t know what to tell you.”

Caller #2: “Well, they told me to call you and that maybe we could work it out.”

Me: “There is nothing to work out. This has nothing to do with me. Someone at the paper has made a mistake. They are the only ones who can fix it. Someone has just transposed numbers or something. Our phone numbers must be pretty similar.”

Caller #2: “No, actually. Our numbers are not even remotely close, and one must give a password to place an ad on my account.”

Me: “Okay, this is ridiculous. I certainly never gave your number, never gave a password of any kind, and actually never even placed an ad. If you are being billed for an ad that never ran, you need to take that up with the paper. This has nothing at all to do with me.”

(I hang up. Yup, the phone rings again a bit later. It is the lady from the paper.)

Caller #1: “We need to get this taken care of.”

Me: “Listen. I’ve had enough of you. Any mistake made has nothing to do with me. You need to stop bothering me. Figure it out from your end.”

Caller #1: “We can—”

Me: “I’ve been patient. You really just need to stop talking. Let me speak to a supervisor or stop calling me. Those are the only two options I’m giving you.”

Caller #1: “Fine!”

Supervisor: “Hello, I understand you have placed an ad under someone else’s account.”

Me: “Listen to me carefully. I will say this once. I called about possibly placing an ad. While doing so, I gave my name and my phone number. My phone number was to appear in the ad. That is the only phone number I gave during the call. Before the call was over, I was given a quote for cost. I determined it to be too high and did not authorize the ad. I was asked for no billing information, as there was no reason to be billed. I. Did. Not. Place. An. Ad. Have I made myself clear?”

Supervisor: “You placed no ad at all?”

Me: “No.”

Supervisor: “Okay. We’ll look into things on this end. Thank you for your time.”

(That was the last I heard from them. I never tried to place any sort of ad in that paper again!)

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