A Three-Course Disaster

, , , , , , | Working | November 6, 2017

My partner and I go out to a local restaurant to celebrate our fifth anniversary. We are seated and our waiter takes our drink order. He looks young, possibly in his late teens. After around ten minutes, the drinks haven’t arrived, so when our waiter walks past, I ask him how the drinks are going. Instead of going to check on them, he takes out his notebook and takes our order again.

I get the impression he is new and very nervous. I don’t want to make him feel bad, so we just re-order the same drinks. Five minutes later, he returns with both orders of drinks. “Oh well,” I think. We were probably going to order more drinks later, anyway, so I don’t say anything.

He takes our food order without any issues and our meals arrive at a reasonable time. Well… my partner’s appetizer and main course both arrive together. That turns out to be a lucky accident, as the young waiter delivers my food to a table nearby. When they tell him that it isn’t what they ordered, he apologizes, takes the plates back to the kitchen, and returns with my meal in take-away containers.

I am a bit peeved, but as it is our anniversary, we both just want to relax and enjoy the night, and the food is actually really good. We decide to risk ordering dessert. My partner orders deep fried ice-cream, only for our young waiter to tell us that it’s not on the menu. I point it out to him on the menu, and point to other tables where we can see people eating it. He apologizes and said he honestly had no idea that it was on the menu.

After finishing our meal, we go to the front counter to pay the bill. It seems our waiter has never used or been trained in using a POS terminal or EFTPOS machine, and has to call other staff for help three times just to enter our items into the register.

My patience is just about expired, but I still feel sorry for the kid, as we’ve been able to hear his boss yelling at him every time he goes into the kitchen. I’ve been the new guy before and totally sympathize with him. I think to try and bolster his confidence and show him some support, so I say, “Don’t worry; it looks like you’re new here, and it seems tough now, but in a few weeks you’ll be a total professional.”

His reply left me feeling so awful. I’ve never forgotten what he said.

“I’m not new; I’ve worked here for six months.”

The Situation Is Agonizingly Fluid

, , , | Healthy | November 5, 2017

I had some issues with ovarian cysts when I was in high school, so I had to go in for a pelvic ultrasound. In the instructions we received prior the appointment I was told I needed to drink 32 oz of water before coming in so that my bladder would be full, which helps them to get better images. Now, I was 15 and very skinny. I had just gone through a growth spurt and at 5’5″ I weighed in around 100 pounds. I drank the water and immediately had to pee; I looked down, my pelvic area was bulging already. This was 10 minutes after I drank the water, right as we were leaving, and it was a 30 minute drive to the office.

Needless to say, that drive, through a bumpy, uneven construction site, was miserable. I was in such physical pain by the time we got to the doctor that I was in tears sitting in the waiting room. When I finally got called back to the ultrasound room and I lay down on the table, the ultrasound tech gave my visibly full bladder, by this point halfway to a pregnant belly, a bit of a side eye, but continued with her explanation of the procedure. I heard none of this, as all of my energy and focus were tied up in not urinating all over that table.

She begins the ultrasound, poking at the watery skin ball that is my pelvis, until after a few moments she stops. She can’t see anything. There’s too much liquid.

I ask her what to do and she tells me that I need to go to the bathroom (which was luckily adjacent to the exam room) and “pee a little, then stop” so that there would be a good amount of liquid for her. By this point, I have been in intense physical pain because of this full bladder for roughly an hour, so these instructions felt more than a little impossible. But, being a determined kid, I went in there and against all odds, I did it. So the rest of the ultrasound goes off without a hitch, and afterward I am finally able to fully relax my bladder for the first time that day.

As I was getting ready to leave, the technician asked me how much water I had been instructed to drink, and was appalled when I told her 32 oz. She went off about how they should’ve looked at my chart to see my height and weight because they would’ve been able to tell just from that that the amount should’ve been lower, and it was lucky that I was able to control my bladder so well; otherwise, the whole appointment would’ve been a waste.

A few days later my mom gets a call from the doctor’s office and guess what? Turns out the whole appointment was, in fact, a waste, since the notes were wrong in my file and the ultrasound tech performed an abdominal ultrasound instead of a pelvic one. I was less than pleased.

At least I knew not to drink so much water for the next one.

The Magic Flute

, , , , , , | Hopeless | November 3, 2017

In the early 90s, my mom’s car was broken into while she was at a music festival. The thief made off with all of her instruments, including the flute her father gave her over twenty years earlier when she was first learning. Naturally, she was devastated. She did manage to replace her instruments, and more or less put the experience behind her.

Ten years later, Mom was giving lessons at a music store. One day, she forgot her flute at home, and asked the owner if he could loan her a flute for the day so she could do her lesson. As luck would have it, someone had come in earlier that day and sold him a flute they’d found in a closet of the house they’d just bought. He reached behind the counter, and took out a case with a unicorn sticker on it. Mom immediately recognized the sticker, as she had that exact same one on her case. Excited, she took out the mouthpiece to check for the serial numbers her father had engraved in it. Unfortunately, they weren’t there. It wasn’t her flute.

Disappointed, she took the flute to her lesson room. As she was fitting the pieces together, she saw, on the middle section, a set of numbers. It was indeed her flute, and she’d simply mis-remembered which section had the numbers on it! As soon as her lesson was over, she went back to the owner, asked how much he’d paid for it, and told him she wanted to buy it.

Fifty dollars later, she was finally reunited with her flute. Since her father had died a year earlier, it was especially magical for her. Ironically, when he had engraved those numbers, she’d been upset since there was a sizable area where the silver had been stripped. But thanks to those numbers, the thief was not able to sell it, and simply left it behind when they moved, allowing it to make its way back to her.

Needs A Break From Your Illegal Activities

, , , , , , , | Working | November 3, 2017

When working for an employment agency, I was asked to work in a certain bar one evening. When arriving there, all seemed right and, to be honest, the work was okay. However, after a few hours work, I asked how everything worked with breaks. The other workers reacted a bit surprised. Break? Oh, well, in fact they didn’t do those, because there was no time… despite the law making it very clear that the employer is obliged to allow it and the employee is obliged to take it. “We don’t do that. The employment agency should have told you. I’ll talk to them about this, because this is really important.”

A bit later they had the chef de cuisine make me a croquette sandwich. Since I was quite hungry, I was very happy about this and thanked the cook, despite the fact that he shouted at me and bullied a coworker earlier in the night. I ate it quickly and went back to work immediately.

After an evening of hard work in a very busy bar, I had to leave at midnight. One of the floor managers took me to the office to find the form for temporary workers. The office turned out to be a mess and she was unable to find the form, although she was clearly as annoyed by the mess as I was. In the end, the lady improvised and made me write down my name, employment agency, and hours on a blank note. I worked for seven hours, so that’s what I wrote down.

The next day, I commented to my contact at the employment agency about the break problem, stating clearly that I wanted to be fully informed, and that I thought it was weird that the place didn’t do breaks, despite this being illegal. My contact reacted somewhat defensively, although they called the incomplete briefing “a learning point for us.”

Despite this, I was assured that it was very common in hospitality work that you’re supposed to have eaten before 5:00 pm, and I was asked to have “some flexibility.” I didn’t answer, since I was clearly not winning this, although some Internet research and a phone call to the union made it clear to me that I was totally right.

Later, when I downloaded my payslip, it turned out that the place only paid me for six-and-a-half hours, anyway, while eating the sandwich took me about five minutes. I emailed my contact, asking exactly what the bar’s general manager submitted, pointing out that I didn’t take half-an-hour break and, therefore, worked for much longer.

No response ever came. Much later, I asked the financial person of the employment agency what was submitted. According to her, [Bar] indeed claimed I worked six-and-a-half hours with a half-an-hour break. Once again, the employment agency didn’t take any action, but since then, the bar was on my personal blacklist, which I made very clear to my contact.

Saved The Best Joke For Last

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 2, 2017

My family used to have a friend that came to every family event that we invited him to. He was one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. He was funny, caring, and kind. The only problem with him was that he was always at least half-an-hour late. Every time we’d confront him on this issue, he would laugh it off, make a few jokes, and state, “At least I’m not late to my own funeral.”

A few years later, the friend was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given a life expectancy of a few weeks. He was also late to the appointment. When he passed, my family and his family both came together at a church for the service. We waited for nearly an hour, wondering why the funeral was taking such a long time to start, until the news came.

The hearse carrying his body got stuck in traffic due to an accident, causing the delay. After my dad passed the message, everybody looked at each other with the same thought.

He was late to his own f****** funeral.