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The Union Rep Ain’t Playing Games, Either

, , , , , , , , | Working | March 19, 2023

I guard a building for the US government.

We have a little tiny breakroom in which we take two fifteen-minute breaks and one thirty-minute break per day. There are government-owned computers in the breakroom. They are capable of browsing the Internet, including YouTube.

One day, during my break, I’m watching a Let’s Play on YouTube of a very new, next-gen, graphically intense video game. It was only released about a month ago.

My manager notices me watching the game during the break, and decides that I must, somehow, be playing the game. It’s not just against the rules to install video games on government computers; it’s literally illegal.

So, he fires me with no warning and no opportunity to explain myself. Fortunately, I have a union. My union representative first pries the reason for my firing out of my manager, which takes more work than it’s supposed to. Then, he hears my side of the story. Then, he requests my reinstatement. Reason: the game isn’t installed on the computer and there’s no proof I was playing it.

This is when the tomfoolery begins. First, after IT confirms that the game isn’t on the computer, my manager argues that I must have installed the game on the computer and uninstalled it when I knew I was caught.

We respond that there’s been no increase in network traffic needed to install a game like that. The manager argues that we installed it by CD drive or USB.

We offer to take the computer in question and prove that the game won’t even install on it, let alone run on it, but my manager won’t provide access to the computer in question, so instead, we subpoena IT for the computer’s stats and build a replica of it. We then clearly prove that the game’s install program will refuse to install it on the computer and that the computer can’t even run the game.

This, finally, is proof enough that I wasn’t playing video games on the work computer. I am reinstated, with back pay, and the government is forced to foot the bill of the union’s lawyer, the union building the replica computer to prove that the game couldn’t install on it, and the cost to license a copy of the game so that they could attempt to install it to prove it wouldn’t work.

After all this, my union rep gifted me the license to the copy of the game that the union bought! So that was nice.

To Which Reverend Were You Referring?

, , , | Right | March 17, 2023

While working at a newspaper in a medium-sized town, we ran a story about a pastor at a Lutheran church. I am going to call him “Reverend John Smith”.

We got multiple calls that our information was wrong.

It turned out that the town had at least three Lutheran churches with pastors named “Reverend John Smith”.

Making Light Of The Situation

, , , , , , | Right | March 17, 2023

I work for a commercial vehicle service. A client needed lights repaired on his commercial truck. The rules are fairly strict in that all lights on the vehicle must be operational, but they’re somewhat loose about what lights must be on the vehicle.

The client was complaining that it was unfair that he needed to have the truck inspected every year and that he got hassled about lights not working. Most of the lights worked. That should be good enough, right?

The lights that didn’t work were his brake lights.

The Sauce Of All Your Problems, Part 8

, , , , | Right | March 16, 2023

Pretty much every day, food gets wasted because people can’t be bothered to specify what they want.

This morning, someone ordered a brownie, with no notes, so we sent down the full brownie, ice cream, and choccy sauce on top… only for the customer to complain because they didn’t want the choccy sauce. We had to make them a new one which they didn’t get charged for.

Later, someone ordered a BBQ chicken, among other things. One of the other items had a note on it, but the BBQ chicken did not, so we made it as usual.

The customer complained because they didn’t want BBQ sauce on their BBQ chicken. We had to make the whole meal again for them since we can’t, for example, move the chips or peas to a new plate.

We sent down this BBQ-less BBQ chicken. I snarked to my coworker that maybe we should radio down and ask if the customer was sure they wanted chicken with their BBQ chicken.

Seconds later, the radio asked us for BBQ sauce. Because when the customer said they didn’t want BBQ sauce, they actually meant they wanted it on the side. At least we didn’t have to cook a new chicken again. I sent it cold, even though the BBQ chicken is supposed to come with warm sauce, because I was feeling petty.

Apparently, the customer then poured half of the sauce on top of the BBQ-less chicken. I was fuming.

The problem is that the bar staff don’t mark the wastage down properly, so it’s us in the kitchen who get blamed when stock levels don’t match. All because the bar is throwing away perfectly edible food and making us replace it for free.

Getting To The Sauce Of The Problem, Part 7
Getting To The Sauce Of The Problem, Part 6
Getting To The Sauce Of The Problem, Part 5
Getting To The Sauce Of The Problem, Part 4
Getting To The Sauce Of The Problem, Part 3

Mouse Not Included… Sort Of…

, , , , , , , , | Working | March 16, 2023

About twenty years ago, I was employed as the sole IT staff member for a small organization in the agricultural field. I worked from an office in the city where I lived, but we had several farm facilities in the region.

One morning, I received a call from the bookkeeper at one of the remote sites. She was one of several staff working in a small office attached to the barn. She reported that her desktop was starting to crash and freeze at apparently random moments, and the problem was getting worse.

After some basic troubleshooting over the phone, I agreed to come out in the afternoon to investigate. This site only had two moderately ancient IBM-AT class machines that were in need of replacement, but management had not yet approved my upgrade proposal.

Upon arrival, I decided to start by opening the case and giving the insides a quick check and cleaning. As I slid back the cover, I was shocked to see almost the entire interior of the PC filled with straw, shavings, and mouse turds galore. As I stood speechless, staring at the mess, it suddenly began to move. As I jumped back in surprise, a mouse appeared from the middle of the wad and lunged for an opening in the back of the case. Someone prior to me had installed and then removed an add-in card for this machine. But when they removed the card, they had neglected to reinstall a cover plate for the slot. I imagine the warm toasty interior of the PC was quite an inviting habitat for the little critter.

I spent the next hour or so carefully removing the debris inside the case and cleaning up as much of the mouse turds and urine as I dared without further damaging the motherboard. After this treatment, the PC booted up normally and appeared to work just fine for the rest of my time on-site. I opened the other PC in an adjacent office and found more or less the same situation, but there was no active inhabitant, fortunately.

I located several slot covers among the old computer debris on the site, so they were installed on the open slots of both machines before I buttoned them back up.

Shortly after reporting this to management, the proposal to replace these two mouse houses was approved. Fortunately, the staff had no further problems with the old machines until they were replaced.