Soda-Fried Chicken

, , , , | Right | October 16, 2018

(I have just dropped my wife off at work on a Saturday morning. I am hungry so decide to stop at a restaurant chain for something to eat. It is too late for one of their breakfasts, so I decide to go for an early lunch. This exchange happens:)

Cashier: “Hi, what can I get you?”

Me: “Yeah, hi… Can I get… uh… a… [chicken meal that comes with dip], please?”

Cashier: “Would you like the meal?”

Me: “Yes, please.”

Cashier: “What drink would you like?”

Me: “Uh… a… Coke, please.”

Cashier: “And which dip?”

Me: *not really paying attention* “Coke!”

Cashier: “Pardon? I asked which dip?” *laughing now*

Me: *embarrassed* “Oh! SORRY! No dip, please.”

Cashier: “Okay, that will be [price].”

Me: *as I am paying her* “I don’t think my chicken would taste very nice dipped in Coke!”

Cashier: *laughing* “Yeah, go ahead and try it and tell me how it works out!”

(When my food arrives:)

Cashier: “Here you go, sir!”

Me: “Thank you! I don’t think I’ll be dipping my chicken in Coke after all!”

Cashier: *laughs* “Enjoy your meal!”

(I felt really silly, but I’m glad I was able to brighten this young lady’s day!)

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Doing A Good Deed Should Be Like Riding A Bike

, , , , | Legal | October 13, 2018

(I find a child’s bicycle abandoned on a street. I bring it home for safekeeping, and report it as “found property” on the police non-emergency line. There is a queue of ten minutes, and the call is taken by a civilian. The Police Service of Northern Ireland is a target for terrorist attacks, so there are — rightly — numerous procedures to handle the risk.)

Police #1: “Thank you for calling the Police Service of Northern Ireland. What is your full name, please?”

Me: *gives name* “Hi, I found a child’s bicycle abandoned in [Street, Town]. I brought it back to my house for safekeeping. I’m reporting it as found property.”

Police #1: “What’s your address?”

Me: *gives address*

Police #1: “And a description of the bike?”

Me: “Black frame, BMX style, for a child aged seven or eight.”

Police #1: “Will you hand it into a police station, or can we give your contact details if the owner turns up?”

Me: *not comfortable giving details to someone I don’t know* “I’ll take it to a police station.”

Police #1: “Which station, and when?”

(I’m sensing this will get difficult. I’m doing a good deed, but I have a busy, chaotic schedule.)

Me: “Erm, when do the police stations open in the East Belfast area?”

Police #1: “They open at 11 am.”


(This seems very late, even though many have reduced hours over the years. This means I can only return it after I finish work, which just delays it even more. I change my mind.)

Police #1: “Yes, 11 am.”

Me: “Forget it. Just give my details to the owner if they turn up.”

Police #1: “Okay, thanks for calling.” *ends call*

(I realise I’m missing some information. I don’t know what details he has given, or what the process is when found. I haven’t been given a Crime Number, but I am now responsible for a some random kid’s bike. I phone up again.)

Me: *explains situation* “Basically, your colleague was rude and didn’t explain how it works. Can you help?”

Police #2: “Yes. If — and that’s if — the rightful owner turns up, we then give them your phone number, and they phone you.”

Me: “Tell me please: what phone number did he use?”

Police #2: *number I’m calling from*

Me: “He never asked me for my number; that’s just the number I called from. Is that how you guys do things? Just use the caller ID number? What if I was calling from my mate’s phone?”

Police #2: “Yes, he should have asked. Should I change the number?”

Me: “No… What’s the Crime Number? I’m also not comfortable with my phone number being given out like that. Can’t I just hand it into a police station?”

Police #2: “The Crime Number is [number], which he should also have given. Unfortunately, you would need to tell us which station in advance.”

(I’ve had enough. [Police #1] was terse and rude and didn’t do his job. Now, I’m being made to jump through hoops for my generosity. No good deed goes unpunished.)

Me: “Tell you what. If you want it, come and get it. Send a police officer round to my house. It’s easier to take it to the dump than a police station.”

Police #2: “I can send an officer round if you like.”

(Three hours later, I get a call from an unknown number — another security measure.)

Officer: “Hi, is this Mr. [My Name]? I’m [Officer] from [Town twenty minutes away]. I hear you found a kid’s BMX bike you would like to hand in?”

Me: “That’s me, constable. My address is [address]. Look for the smart car outside my house; bring a magnifying glass.”

Officer: *laughs* “Okay, see you in twenty minutes.”

(Out of respect, I ALWAYS address police officers here by rank, and make them laugh. He has an extremely dangerous job, and checks below his car for a bomb every morning. Twenty minutes later, the doorbell rings. I can see straightaway how many resources it has taken to recover this kid’s bike: two police officers, both in bulletproof vests, armed with Glock 19 handguns. One is at my door, and one is in the police car eyeballing me. This is the absolute minimum deployment. Anywhere else in the UK or Ireland, police would rarely be armed at all. I could have expected an office assistant. Not here, though. In Northern Ireland, police officers are always armed, and never alone, even for the most trivial of tasks.)

Me: “Evening, constable. This is the bike. It’s in a bad state of repair; the brake cable is hanging on by a thread. Keep that in mind before you play any pranks on your sergeant [superior officer].”

Officer: “Thanks. I’ll get this into the car.”

Me: “Also, I apologise for dragging you out here. This bike has no monetary value, and you have far more important things to be doing. Your colleague on the phone wasn’t much use.”

Officer: “Civilian, eh?”

Me: “Yup. For future reference, what’s the easiest way to get rid of something I find? This could be a kid’s pride and joy… or a refugee’s only means of transport. Does the nick need to know in advance I’m coming?”

Officer: “Nope. Just drop it in. Some stations are open late. If it suits you, they’ll work with it.”

Me: “Great, I’ll take note. Hey, you should race your buddy back to the barracks in that. Have you your hi viz in the back of the car?”

(He laughed, said thanks, threw the bike into the back, and drove off. Two police officers, and forty-five minutes. At the rate a police officer is contracted out, that’s about £70. A taxi could have done it for £20. Really, don’t punish selflessness. If you don’t have a choice, at least acknowledge their efforts.)

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Not Quite The Brightest Spark

, , , | Right | October 4, 2018

(I am serving a woman buying lightbulbs and other electrical bits and pieces. NOTE: We do not sell non-electrical related hardware.)

Customer: *as I finish the sale and hand her the items* “Thank you very much. Oh! You don’t sell [type of flask that keeps hot things hot and cold things cold], do you?”

(I look at my manager, a surprised look on my face. He returns the look.)

Me: “No, sorry, we just do electricals. You would need to go to [Hardware Store across the road] for that.”

Customer: “That’s okay, I’m going there anyway; just thought I’d ask here!”

(I don’t get why she asked us if she was going to the other shop anyway!)

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For Him, A Screenshot Might As Well Be A Moonshot

, , , , , | Working | September 25, 2018

(One of our users from our engineering department phones me and describes a problem with a very specific piece of computer software. I know that one of our software analysts can fix the problem, but I also know they will want a screenshot of the error so they can troubleshoot. I know that for many of our users, “taking a screenshot” is a completely alien concept, so I always explain how to do it. Most people are happy enough to be walked through it.)

Me: “Hello, IT, [My Name] speaking.”

User: “Uh, yeah, hi. I’m having problems with [Specific System]; it’s giving me an error when I do [specific action he is trying to do].”

Me: “Okay, I can get that logged on our helpdesk for our software team to look at. Could I ask you to send me a screenshot of the error?”

User: “No, I can’t do that; I’m not IT literate!”

Me: “That’s all right. I’ll explain how to do it.”

User: “Yeah, but I’m not IT literate!”

Me: “Well let’s just try it, shall we? First of all, could you press…”

User: “Look. I told you: I’m not IT literate! Why are you not listening to me?

Me: *giving up* “Fine. Let me just log this for you.”

(I took his details and logged a ticket on our helpdesk. I put a note on there asking whoever picked it up to speak to me. One of my colleagues did pick it up, noticed there was no screenshot, and did come and speak to me. When I explained what had happened, she was very amused. Apparently this particular user is always like this. Ask him to do ANYTHING he’s not sure about, and his standard response is to say, “I’m not IT literate!” repeatedly.)

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Unfiltered Story #120915

, , , | Unfiltered | September 12, 2018

(I am with my family for a weekend to celebrate my dad’s birthday. We decide to do a guided tour of a popular tourist attraction. My wife works there but today is her day off. We arrive for the tour and meet the guide, who obviously knows my wife.)

My Wife: *to tour guide* “Hello [guide]!”

Guide: *to my wife* “Hi [Wife]! You’re here with your family then?”

My Wife: “Yes, these are my parents-in-law:” *gestures to my parents* “And this is my husband [My Name].” *gestures to me*

Guide: “Oh hello [My Name]! [Wife] has told me a lot about you!”

Me: “Oh really? Has it all been good? Because if it’s been all good, then it’s all lies!”

(The guide laughs and my wife rolls her eyes.)

My wife (to tour guide): Don’t worry, if he gets annoying just leave him somewhere! *she and the guide both laugh*

Me (to my wife): Hey, come on! You’ve been trying that for 5 years now and it NEVER works! *laughing now too*

My dad: Yeah well, she’s not trying hard enough!

We all laugh. I love my family!