They Went Back To The Future

, , , , | Friendly | June 16, 2018

We’ve lived in our neighborhood for a few years now. It’s fairly large, so we’ve mostly only met the people living on our street, but it’s common to see lots of people walking or biking through the neighborhood on nice days.

Over the years, I’ve noticed an older couple who like to walk their little dog in the early evening. We always wave at each other, but I don’t know them very well. Gradually, it seems like they are walking slower and slower. Then, there are a few days when I only see the wife walking the dog. I — rightly, as it turns out — assume the husband is starting to have trouble keeping up with her.

A few weeks later, I notice the woman walking their dog. Next to her is her husband, happily riding a hoverboard! I don’t know what makes me happier; that they found a way to keep walking together, or that a seventy-something-year-old man taught himself to successfully hoverboard around the neighborhood!

Unfiltered Story #114795

, , , | Unfiltered | June 16, 2018

Our group (around 15 people, workmates after a meeting) had a nice buffet, all-you-can-eat dinner at one of those modern restaurants where you order your drinks (and potentially other stuff) via iPad.

Unfortunately, the software was not modern enough to assign the drinks to individual persons but just assigned to the table, instead. When people leave (everyone was expected to stay as long or short as he likes and can), they pay for the stuff they call as theirs and these items are taken from the total list.

If someone forgot to pay for something he ordered, it stays on the list. If something was delivered in error, it stays on the list. If drinks were mis-assigned, they stay on the list. If someone else plays with the iPad while we’re getting food, stuff stays on the list.

You can imagine where this is going: When the last of us want to pay and leave, there are items left on that list that none of us feel responsible for. There’s a common german idiom “Der letzte zahlt die Zeche” (“last one has to pay”) but we are certain that this is not law: The restaurant is responsible for keeping track of who ordered what and for charging them. Trying to pass that responsibility onto the customer by using a common list is “fishy” at best.

There’s a malt beer on the list that we remember on the table with nobody wanting it (and it finally being returned) and the cashier deletes it from the list – still tries to guilt us into paying for the remainder and then later investigating who ordered and drank it. We see it as “adopting his problem at our expense” and refuse.

The list is down to one coffee, 2,20€ in worth. With 15 people, the buffet being 20€ per person and some people drinking expensive cocktails, I assume that we already paid 350-400€. I estimate the sum of tips to be a multiple of that coffee cost: one of us gave 2.10€ alone. My own rule of thump is rounding up by about 10% but that is for service. The whole scenario kind of opposes the idea of service: not talking to waitress but using the iPad; waitress not bringing us the drinks in person but just putting them on the rotating table; no one bringing the food but having to fetch it from the buffet; having to bring the iPad to the cashier instead of someone coming to the table to get paid.

As that trouble brewed before I could pay, I also round down a bit more. Still two of us alone gave more tips together than the coffee was worth. There’s also an open voucher of 4€ that was not deducted.

Unfortunately, the cashier cannot count that against the open position. He says he doesn’t get anything from tips but cancelling that coffee cost would be deducted from his pay.

I wouldn’t exactly say that things “escalate” because everyone stays in the restaurant and everyone stays calm when the cashier calls the police and until the policemen arrive and question everyone. They try to convince the cashier that 2,20€ is not worth the trouble in the context but fail to do so.

So in the end they have to take his formal complaint against “Unknown” (we have no reliable information on who ordered the coffee) and police takes our contact information as we are considered witnesses in that case. I think I also hear them mentioning that this is not the first time that the police has to visit the restaurant for something like this.

On the one hand: Kudos to that cashier: This site is full of people who are willing to take hits (handing out money, comping meals) just to make an annoying customer go away. There are a lot of managers and corporates that are willing to hurt the company (refunding used and broken things bought years ago) in the name of keeping potential customers happy.

Our cashier definitely is not one of them. If the restaurant system works that much against him (having to pay for uncalled items but seeing none of the tips), I cannot even blame him.

On the other hand: Maybe sometimes it is worth cancelling 2,20€ from a >300€-bill. Although it definitely was a fun, noteworthy and funnily absurd experience to have the police called on us for a coffee, it really disqualified that restaurant from some of our personal “places-to-go”-lists.

Had A Lightning Bulb Moment

, , , , , , | Friendly | June 15, 2018

My roommate and I are exploring a Florida theme park with lots of country-themed pavilions. In the Norway pavilion, we discover a little building holding an exhibit on “Gods of the Vikings.” Being big mythology nerds, we happily enter and are checking out the artifacts and stories of Odin, Freya, Thor, and Loki when another group comes in behind us.

The next thing we hear is an incredibly bubbly and excited voice saying, “Oh, wow! So Marvel didn’t just make these guys up!”

We exchange a single horrified look and nope right on out of there.

Headless Cords Don’t Mean No Strings Attached

, , , , , | Right | June 15, 2018

As part of my very extensive job description, I do “additional” tech support on home safety devices; that is, I am not the priority call-taker. I help out as best as I can when needed.

One afternoon, this lady called in through our reception line instead of the help line to get help on her devices. The receptionist tried to get her information to either have someone help her out or call her back. She categorically refused to give a name, completely upset at the question. She now demanded to speak to a supervisor.

Again, the receptionist asked for a name to give to the supervisor, very politely. This time the lady lost it and started berating the receptionist. Being too polite to the customer, and knowing that I’m good at helping people, the receptionist walked over to my desk — halfway to the other end of the building — and put the cordless headset on my head, making a face that plainly said, “This one is yours; nice knowing you.” So, I introduced myself and asked how I might help.

Because it was a cordless headset, I walked back toward reception while talking just to make sure I didn’t lose the connection. After about 20 minutes of information for her products and additional info not related directly to our products — including deducing when her house was built and other features about it — she decided she wanted to talk to my manager, though she was in a good mood and thankful for my details. I “warm” transferred her to my manager after a brief recount of my conversation.

After having a quick chat with the receptionist and a bit of a laugh that the lady did not want to share even a pseudonym, I walked back to my desk. As I proceeded past my manager’s office, I heard her state to the lady, “I’m sure he’d be honoured, but he can’t do that. He’s a married father of three, and pretty loyal to his wife.” I burst out laughing.

It turned out she had a daughter in her 20s looking for a good man, and the lady was so impressed by my information, she thought I’d make a great son-in-law.

Since that night, my wife teases me about having a potential new mother-in-law.

Sometimes Life Sends You A Win – Literature-ly

, , , | Hopeless | June 13, 2018

Money was fairly tight when I graduated from college. I always had some food at home and never missed rent and bills, but other luxuries weren’t always a possibility. One particularly tight period I went to the local bookshop to see what kind of general-purpose traditional cookbooks they had for when I had some spare cash, since the charity shops didn’t have what I had in mind. Just as I got up the steps to the cooking section, a staff member asked if I wanted to join in a promotional event for their anniversary — so I ended up playing Pass The Parcel with several kids and their parents.

The game went as it usually does, until the music stopped when I was holding a fairly large parcel. I quickly passed it to the little girl beside me, who opened a really nice [Major Animation Company] storybook that I’d have loved at her age and she seemed delighted with.

The game kept going on, until the music stopped while I was holding a much smaller parcel with a lot less wiggle room to pass it on. I opened it to find a gift card! Someone up there liked me that day, since I got my cookbook and have made some big advancements in my cooking since — even sharing some of the recipes from it when people particularly liked them.

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