, , , , , | Working | January 15, 2019

There are two walk-in clinics near where I live. One of them has unbearably long wait times; people have had to sit in the waiting room for literal hours before someone is able to see them. The other one is much more convenient, so that’s the one I go to.

One day, I get a really painful bladder infection. I’ve had them before, so I’m very familiar with what they feel like. I wait a few days to see if it will go away on its own with some rest, but it doesn’t. So, I make my way over to the more convenient clinic to get some antibiotics to feel better. Once I get there, I notice that the waiting area is completely blacked out. There’s a sign on the window that says “CLOSED. Sorry for the inconvenience.” I’d be fine if it was just that, but somebody has added to the sign in pencil, “I’m with a hot blonde in the Bahamas.”

Obviously, I’m pretty ticked off, so I go talk to the pharmacists that are still around to ask what’s going on. One of them, looking rather frazzled, tells me that the doctor just left without warning two weeks ago. I have to make my way to the other clinic — about a half-hour walk after a previous half-hour walk just to get to the first clinic — and wait in the waiting room for a literal hour, all while my lower half is on fire, just to get some relief. And to top it off, it’s about 28 C out — for you Americans, that’s 82.4 F.

I feel so sorry for the poor staff that got left behind to deal with that mess.

His Actions Were Far More Interesting Than His Story

, , , | Friendly | January 15, 2019

I am a committee member for a local writing group. The committee is fairly small, maybe 10 – 15 members including the chair and vice chair. We are all volunteers, so none of us get paid.

During our big annual writing competition, the committee pulls together to keep on top of the extra work it creates, including the influx of emails in the group inbox, as well as the general administration of the entries. We receive hundreds of entries every year so this is quite a hefty task, especially considering we all have day jobs and other various responsibilities to juggle as well.

Despite this, we usually have very few problems. One year, however, we had an entrant who was nothing but trouble. The day after emailing his entry, he contacted us, demanding to know why we hadn’t posted him a receipt to say we had received his story — all he got was an auto-reply email. For the record, all entrants receive an auto-reply. This acts as a receipt. The message in the auto-reply asks recipients to take it as such, and the website specifies this, too. That said, we’re always happy to respond to entrants who just want to double check or need extra reassurance.

Thinking this was such a case, I duly replied, assuring him that we had received his entry, and explained that we simply didn’t have the resources or manpower to offer personal receipt confirmations to every entrant. He replied almost immediately, threatening to withdraw his entry due to our “unprofessional behaviour.” According to him, email was unprofessional and lazy. How could he trust us to do our job right when we couldn’t even send a simple slip in the post?

I told him if he wanted to withdraw, that was fine; all he had to do was confirm and we would refund his entry fee, though I warned him he could only do so until the deadline. After that, he would no longer be entitled to a refund. I also explained we could only send confirmation by post if he provided us with a stamped self-addressed envelope. We’re a small, non-profit organisation, and small expenses like stamps can soon add up.

We didn’t hear anything more from him until the day of the results. He emailed us at four am demanding to know who had won. He pointed out that the website and social media pages said we would reveal the winners today, yet there was nothing on any of them.

I reminded him that the results would be announced today at 20:00 at our prize-giving gala, and then the results would be released online at 22:00. All of this information was available on our website and social media. I finished by inviting him to the gala, giving him the full details.

Unsatisfied with my answer, he continued to demand the results now. I knew he hadn’t won, but we were bound to secrecy until the official reveal at the gala. I couldn’t even hint that he had been unsuccessful. When I refused to tell him the results, he accused us of being a scam and threatened to report us. I didn’t have the patience to deal with him anymore, so I told him he was welcome to report us if he wished, knowing that even if he did, we had done everything by the book, so nothing would come of it.

Thankfully, he didn’t respond.

That evening, the gala went really well. Everyone had a great time. The winners were ecstatic, and those who didn’t win congratulated them graciously. Best of all, there was no sign of the difficult entrant.

The next morning, however, our inbox was full of emails from him, calling us scammers and shills. He claimed there was no way his entry could’ve lost, as he was a top graduate from [UK University known for its strong creative writing program] and had been published several times. He accused me of fiddling the results. As far as he was concerned, that was the only way his story could’ve lost. He demanded not only his entry fee back, but he also wanted the prize money that was “rightfully his,” as he put it.

This is when the committee chair stepped in. She told him she would not refund the entry fee because he didn’t win, that the results had not been tampered with or fixed, and that she most certainly would not give him any prize money. All entries were judged anonymously. The adjudicator had no idea who had written any of the stories submitted.

The entrant became nasty, hurling insults both at her and me – including questioning our competence due to our gender (we’re both female). The chair calmly wrote back and told him he was henceforth banned from future competitions.

The entrant then threatened to sue. This worried many of the committee members. A small non-profit like ourselves would struggle to afford legal action, but the chair dutifully wrote back, informing him he was free to seek legal advice if he wished. She assured him we would fully cooperate with his chosen legal representative, adding that we wouldn’t hesitate to provide ample evidence, including copies of the abusive emails he had sent.

In response, the entrant left several nasty reviews on various pages, claiming we had swindled him, were rude, unprofessional, and incompetent, as well as claiming we insulted him. He made up several fake accounts to make even more negative reviews.

We were worried this would impact future competitions. However, several members and entrants found out about this incident and immediately rallied to our defence, leaving shining reviews to combat his toxic ones. The following year, we received a record number of entries. Best of all, we didn’t hear from the entrant ever again.

Unfiltered Story #136692

, , , , | Unfiltered | January 15, 2019

One of our favorite taco trucks has a semi-enclosed, totally unstaffed eating area. You buy your food at the truck; a huge, orange truck that’s obviously the only food-making place.

I was inside to save us a space to eat, waiting for my husband to bring our tacos, reading on my phone, when two guys walked up near me and started, without trying to address me or get my attention, complain about how I wasn’t doing my job, probably checking my Facebook, etc.

I ignored them utterly as they complained for another five minutes until my husband came in with our food and we sat down. They stared at us for a quite a while until they figured out I wasn’t going to help them and they wandered away.

The Light Was Red, And Black, And White

, , , , , | Legal | January 14, 2019

In the Netherlands, we have intersections without traffic lights or traffic signs regulating the right of way. On these intersections, the rule is that the driver coming from your right-hand side has priority.

I’m a white male. I have been a driving instructor for ten years, so I think it’s safe to say that I do know a bit about traffic rules and traffic laws. I nearly get into an accident because a car coming from the left-hand side almost hits my car. The driver manages to stop with screaming tires.

A black, young woman immediately gets out of the car and starts swearing and cursing. I tell her that she needs to calm herself because she is in the wrong for not giving me right of way.

This may have not been the wisest thing to say, because she becomes more irate and starts yelling louder, calling me a racist, and screaming that I am discriminating against her.

That makes me laugh, so she calls the police.

Long story short: the police come and are mildly amused by her discrimination charges, but less amused when it turns out that she has let her insurance road tax and annual car check lapse and she is driving with a suspended license. And thus, the police officers become racists and are discriminating against her.

At least, that’s what she screams as they take her to the police station.

When Dyscalculia Attacks!

, , , , , , , | Learning | January 14, 2019

I had a babysitter once who I found out was in the ‘slow’ class and I couldn’t understand why, since she seemed like a normally intelligent kid.

She said it was her math; she just didn’t understand it and could never get it right. I told her to come over after school and I’d tutor her.

I decided to start at the beginning so I could judge where she was, and got out the penny jar to use in demonstrating basic adding and subtracting.

I soon came to realise that she had absolutely no concept of written numbers. She’d see a number and it was just a meaningless squiggle to her. She was trying to memorize them and remember what it meant when you had one squiggle and did something with it with another squiggle. I have never come across this before and have no idea what you’d call it. I’m sure it has a name.

So, we started with the pennies, me showing her that this squiggle meant these many pennies and onward and upward, and it didn’t really take long, once we figured out the problem, to get her all caught up. She graduated high school in a ‘regular’ class with her age mates.

But I CANNOT understand how this child got to grade ten without any of her ‘educators’ figuring this out!

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