Heavy Duty

, , , , , | Right | September 17, 2020

My store has just gotten used railroad ties in and they’ve gotten pretty popular with customers for use on farms. I’m a small female, and though I’m used to doing heavy loads, these can be tricky as the ties are probably about 200 pounds each. 

Today, one customer buys ten of them. I go out with the forklift and get ready to load these on a trailer. The customer — a big farmhand kind of guy — greets me, I sign his receipt, and… he gets back in his truck.

I don’t have an issue loading heavy stuff, but people normally tell me why they can’t help — bad back, not allowed to lift, etc. — but this guy said nothing else and got into his truck to talk with his wife. Okay. 

So, I proceed to load the first couple ties onto the forklift, drive it over to the trailer, and start to unload. One tie slips and falls right onto my foot. I scream in pain, keeping obscenities from bursting out of my mouth, but I keep working. 

The windows are down and I know they can hear me, so I know my pain is being ignored. 

As I limp back to the forklift to get the last few ties, my boss’s husband comes over, as he was getting something from the lot we were next to, and offers to help me out. I take his help, gratefully, and we get the last of them in the trailer. As the last one lands on top, the customer calls out, “Have a great night!”

He couldn’t be bothered with cries of pain but offers a thanks when he gets what he came for?

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An Exhausting Tale Of Poor Customer Service

, , , , , , , , | Working | September 17, 2020

This might be a bit long, but I hope it’s entertaining in an “awed horror” sort of way.

I love banking with my small, local bank. I like the fact that the tellers and I know each other by name, and that when my wallet was stolen and the thief tried to come in and write one of my checks for cash, the employees instantly knew she wasn’t me and called the police, instead.

However, it does have its drawbacks. For instance, my bank does not have a twenty-four-seven customer service line; they can only be reached between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm. That would be fine, except what they do have — as I found out a few months ago — is a very sensitive automatic anti-fraud system.

I was planning to be out of the country for nearly three weeks. I go out of the country fairly regularly, and I did all of the things I was supposed to: contacting my bank and advising them of my travel schedule and where I would be and when. I was all packed and ready. My flight left at 5:30 am and I was planning to leave for the airport about 2:30, since it can take close to an hour to get there and I like to have plenty of time to grab a snack, etc.

Around 2:00 am, I took care of my very last chore — paying my electric bill. I pay this bill through an automated phone service every single month the same way. However, I guess that doing so in the middle of the night triggered my bank’s anti-fraud system, and they froze my card. When I tried to call a rideshare at 2:20, it was rejected. After several tries, it was clear that something was wrong.

Slightly panicked, I walked about 100 feet to the mini-mart next door to try my luck at the ATM, thinking I could call a cab. I had $50 on me, but I knew it would cost about $75 to take a taxi that distance. The ATM would not give me cash, and that’s when I knew my card was frozen. I tried calling the number on the back of my card on my cell phone, but I just got a voice recording telling me that they opened at 8:00 am.

The overnight employee of the mini-mart, with whom I had become friendly from being a frequent customer, saw my distress and asked what was up. Near frustrated tears, I explained my situation. The worker nodded at the guy next to him, who I had assumed was another customer, and said, “He’s a taxi driver; he’s just off right now.” He looked at his buddy, who was actually just there to hang around and chat. “Hey, man, want to earn some cash?”

I was hesitant, but the guy took out his license and allowed me to take a photo of it with my phone and text it to a friend, and the employee said that they’d known each other since boot camp. He also promised that if he didn’t hear from me in two hours, he’d call the police. Feeling much better about it, I let the off-duty taxi driver take me next door to my apartment to grab my luggage and then to the airport.

Unfortunately, [Major Airline #1] had decided to start charging for the first checked bag even on international flights. This was a recent decision, and I hadn’t heard anything about it. The kiosk worker explained that I couldn’t check my bag until I paid the $30 fee. I did start to cry then, and I explained the situation. The worker tried to be comforting and said, “Let’s just see if it will go through!” It wouldn’t. I begged her to waive it. I couldn’t use my card and I had given the off-duty cab driver all of my cash. She was sympathetic but explained that only the manager could make that call, and he wouldn’t be in until 6:00 am. If he decided that they could waive the fee, he would put me on another flight to Chicago at no charge so that I could make my connection to the UK.

I sat on a bench near the kiosk for two and a half hours until the manager came over to talk to me. I explained my entire situation, but he would not be moved. I paid the $30 or I didn’t fly. In the end, I missed my flight and had to wait until 8:00 am when I could call my bank and have the block on my card lifted. I then had to purchase a $400 ticket from Oklahoma City to Chicago, though it gave me a bit of grim satisfaction that [Major Airline #2] were the only ones who had a flight that would get me on the ground in time for my connection. When their worker heard what I’d been through that morning, she bumped me up to first class, gratis.

There is a happy ending, though. When I returned home, I went into my bank branch to complain, and the manager helped me fill out a report to request reimbursement of my $400. He said it would also help encourage the bank to get a twenty-four-seven customer service line, as they were collecting such complaints for that purpose. A couple of months later, I got an email that I could now reach my bank anytime regarding “security concerns.”

Further, I’ve been fortunate through circumstances to form strong friendships with several people who are “Someone.” While I didn’t go around complaining about what happened, I did mention it to one friend, and it apparently got around. Several of them took to social media to complain about [Major Airline #1], since they hadn’t made any sort of announcement about their baggage fee change and hadn’t even updated the information on their website yet.

Apparently, this made the Powers That Be at [Major Airline #1] realize how bad they looked, and they contacted me in response to my complaint to offer me a credit for the unused portion of my original ticket. I explained that my bank had refunded the cost of my replacement ticket and I wasn’t looking to get anything for free, but the airline insisted, so I came out ahead. However, it will probably remain my most dramatic travel tale for a very long time.

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Ghastly Miscommunications

, , , , , , , | Working | September 17, 2020

One vacation, we arrived at our hotel to find out that they had way overbooked their property and had “walked” dozens of guests to another property owned by the same property group on the other side of the city. We weren’t happy but we rolled with it. 

Unfortunately, this required us to contact all of our tour excursions and have them reallocate our pickup points to be closer to our new hotel. For the most part, this went well, but one company had some issues.

We walked to the pickup point at another nearby hotel for a nighttime tour, and we waited. No one arrived. As this occurred in the pre-smartphone, pre-international roaming cell phone era, we asked the hotel there if we could use their phone to call the tour company, but they did not answer the phone since it was outside of daytime business hours.  

Fortunately, the hotel had an awesome concierge who was familiar with the tour company, and even though we were not guests at his hotel, he tracked down the dispatcher for the company and assured us that we would be picked up soon. He was correct, and shortly a minibus with two other ladies on board arrived along with a harried-looking driver. The only problem was that we weren’t on his schedule, and while we had booked the ghost walk tour, the other two ladies had booked a pub crawl. The tour company had apparently never put the tour we booked onto their roster, and they had never told us when we contacted them about the new hotel or contacted us on the new number we gave them.

So, with the cooperation of his four passengers, the tour guide commenced to go completely off-script and concocted an ad-hoc haunted pub crawl. The tour actually turned out really well in the end thanks to the awesome tour guide, but I’ll never book another tour through that booking company — nor have I ever booked with the original hotel group again.

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This Would Have Been Rude Even Without The Crisis

, , , , , | Right | September 16, 2020

A popular budget clothes shop has recently reopened near me after being shut due to the health crisis. It’s near a local food shop and the staff are going above and beyond to keep everyone safe. There are regular markings on the floor, repeated tannoy announcements, restricted numbers, etc.

I decide to go in and pick up a few things. I’ve been wearing a mask as often in shops as possible even though, at this point, it hasn’t been legally required. Many people in the shop are being extremely cautious, and while it can take a while to get everything together, almost everyone seems good-spirited and equally cautious. I head to the tills and join the queue.

A young woman joins behind me and calls down an aisle to beckon someone over: another young woman pushing an older woman in a wheelchair.

They park the elderly lady in the queue about six inches behind me and, before I can say anything, they rush off back down the aisles. The woman in the wheelchair isn’t wearing a mask.

As the queue slowly moves forward, one of a small group of roughly six young women will run back, dump their chosen items onto the woman’s lap, push her forward to maintain their place in the queue, and again park her as close to me as possible. Two times, they even push her into the back of my knees.

The elderly woman seems uncomprehending of anything around her and not able to move the chair herself.

I manage to flag down a member of staff who explains the distance requirements, and the other women comply until the staff member leaves. Then, once again, they push her right up behind me. 

When I get to the tills to pay after around ten minutes, I hope that’s the end of it. The many shopping women have all congregated around the wheelchair and they move forward to pay. Then, they decide that they need to split the teetering pile of bedding and clothing into several transactions and take over the tills on both sides of me, crossing backward and forward within inches of me, moving items between tills and staff members, and handing them around each other to work out who is paying for each item.

None of them are wearing gloves or seem to give a hoot for the idea of six feet apart.

I finish up my transaction and attempt a few times to move away from the till as they rush back and forth, and I am barely out of the way before one of them dumps a pile of items in front of the operator who served me and begins sorting through it in the same manner.

I can only hope the staff managed to sort everything out and the rest of the queue realised it wasn’t their fault.

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The Wedding From (And In) Heck

, , , , , , , | Related | September 16, 2020

My younger sister had a summer wedding in Las Vegas where she was living at the time. It was hot as heck, in the nineties even at night that week. My dad had to pick me up at the airport. The flight was delayed three hours, so I got into Las Vegas just after 7:00 pm.

The groom’s family was supposed to take everyone out for dinner. They did not wait for us, so only my sister was there. They all got drunk as h***. My parents, grandmother, and I ended up eating at [Australia-Themed Chain]. Our dinner was very nice, but it was around 10:00 pm.

The groom and best man had a fistfight in the restaurant’s parking lot, which led to the groom and my sister spending the night in a Las Vegas emergency room. The best man ended up in jail for the entire weekend. My sister refused to leave her intended in the emergency room, so she called my mom about every two hours during the night. My folks did not get much sleep. I shared a room with my grandmom, so we slept okay.

The next day, the day of the wedding, the groom’s family, the groom, and my sister all showed up. They were all hungover and unhappy. The wedding was supposed to be at 1:00 pm, with the ceremony held at a cheap-looking walk-in wedding chapel. There was no shade or outdoor seating. The prior wedding party ran late, so we all spent an hour outdoors, in Las Vegas in July, where the outside temperature went from 108 to 110F during that hour. After about twenty minutes, my dad let my mom, grandmom, and me sit in their rental car with the air conditioning on so we didn’t get heatstroke.

Finally, a little past 2:00 pm, the ceremony could begin. It turns out that the chapel could hold twelve if everyone squished together, and there were more than twenty there. My dad squished inside, but I stayed in the rental car to keep my ninety-year-old grandmom healthy, and after a little bit, my mom came to sit out the ceremony.

We had to go back outside for wedding pictures. Photos for the ceremony were done by one of the groom’s friends. Everyone had to stand out in the sun again for another half-hour and I was ordered to not wear my prescription sunglasses for the pics. Since I never saw evidence of any pics, my guess is he screwed up somehow.

By this point, I had used all of a (large) tube of SPF-fifty sunscreen on myself, my grandmom, and my mom — and everyone else attending because no one else brought sunscreen. I was the only one who wore a hat. I was in long sleeves/full coverage, dying in the heat, because I’m pale as f***.

As the wedding group was getting into cars, someone rammed into me, knocking my prescription sunglasses — in their case — onto the asphalt, and a car drove over them. They were crushed beyond salvaging.

For the reception/wedding dinner, my sister had booked twenty reserved places for us at a bar she liked, and thirty were in the party by then. We got there and only two six-person booths were held for us. The catering guys never showed, but they did call the bar to alert them. This meant there was no food available, only drinks.

The cake, ordered separately, never showed up, either, but my sister only found this out an hour later. The bar’s staff lied that it was “in the back” so the entire group wouldn’t leave before spending money there.

Everyone got drunk — no food and lots of booze — except for me, since I don’t drink. I ended up driving my mom, dad, and grandmom back to our motel.

We were told there was another fight in the bar later that night which ended with more police involvement, but my sister didn’t want to talk about the details. Her new husband was arrested but not booked that night. My sister says they got out of the police station at around 3:00 am.

The marriage lasted less than a year.

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