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They Didn’t Sign Up For This

, , , , , | Healthy | October 28, 2020

I take medication which is supplied by a contractor. It is fragile, so it is delivered by a courier in a refrigerated van. When the supplier phones me to organise delivery, I ask them to deliver it to my local pharmacy so I don’t have to be there.

This happens for months without issue. One day, I’m at work and I receive a voicemail.

Voicemail: “Hi, [My Name], this is [Courier]. Unfortunately, you are not present to sign for the delivery, so I’m taking it back to the depot. Please phone [number] to reschedule when you are available.”

I don’t understand. Normally, the pharmacist signs for it, so why not this time? After work, I visit the pharmacist.

Me: “Hi, [Pharmacist]. What happened with [medicine]?”

Pharmacist: “The courier asked for you to sign for it. His instructions said, ‘Patient must sign.’ I tried explaining that in the context of a pharmacy, the pharmacist can sign for it. That’s my job. He insisted that it must be you.”

Me: “So he expected me to wait here all day?”

Pharmacist: “Apparently, yes. You may wish to reschedule it.”

I phone the supplier. The representative sounds embarrassed.

Supplier: “Mr. [My Surname], I’m very sorry. The notes do indeed say, ‘Patient must sign,’ so technically, he was doing what he was told. He may be new.”

Me: “These things happen. Can you reschedule the delivery, please?”

Supplier: “Of course. It will be delivered on [date]. I’ve changed the instructions to say, ‘Patient or pharmacist must sign.’ He has no excuses.”

The day after [date], I go to the pharmacy.

Me: “Hi, [Pharmacist]. Do you have my [medicine], delivered yesterday?”

Pharmacist: *Confused* “No? Nothing came, and I was here all day.”

This is now a problem. I am due to take the medicine tomorrow, but I have none left. I phone the supplier. I wait in a queue for forty minutes. My tone of voice is polite, but very, very direct.

Me: “What is your first name, please?”

Representative: “[Representative].”

Me: “Hello, [Representative]. I would like to speak to a manager, please.”

Representative: “What happened?”

Me: “I was due a delivery of [medicine] yesterday. It did not come. This is the second time in a row. Last time, the muppet of a driver thought that the pharmacist wasn’t qualified to sign for it.”

Representative: “Seriously?”

Me: “Seriously. Maybe the pharmacist said something like, ‘I went to pharmacy school for seven years; I think I know how to put a tube of [medicine] in the fridge.’ Anyway, the courier just took it back to the depot, and now another delivery has been missed.”

Representative: “Oh, dear. When do you need it by?”

Me: “I’m due to take it tomorrow. Thanks to the courier’s mistake, I don’t have any to take. I’m sure you understand that prescription medication must be taken as advised. I do not intend to find out what happens if I am late taking it.”

Representative: “I think the delivery was missed due to a mixup with a new computer system.”

Me: “Right, we’ll deal with the complaint later. How quickly can you get [medicine] to me?”

Representative: “We have no delivery slots today.”

Me: “I have a car. Can I collect it from the depot? I’ll get a coolbox to keep it refrigerated.”

Representative: “Oh… I— I honestly don’t know. I’ve never been asked that before. Can you hold? It might be a while.”

Me: “Take as long as you need.”

I start weeding my front yard. Thirty minutes later:

Representative: “Mr. [My Surname]?”

Me: “Call me [My First Name]. How did you do?”

Representative: “You can’t collect it from the depot, for security reasons. Instead, I will try and contract a special courier. It won’t be the courier we normally deal with. I’ll need to call round again. Can you hold, please?”

Me: “Take as long as you need.”

Anyway, I search for the depot online, just in case. I find it immediately, ten km away. Thirty-five minutes later:

Representative: “Hi, [My First Name]. I’ve had to phone about fourteen departments, but I found a courier. You will receive the delivery today. Can you please remain at your house all day?”

Me: “I’ll be in all day. Out of interest, what is the ‘security reason’? Do they not want people knowing where the depot is?”

Representative: “No, we had a break-in once. Something like £100,000 medicine was stolen, so we have strict rules on visitors now.”

Me: “Oh. That kind of makes sense, because this medicine costs £700 a time. Thank you very much for your patience. How do you spell your name?”

They spell their name for me.

Me: “I’ll tell your employer what a good job you have done.”

Representative: “Thank you very much!”

An hour later, a man arrived at my house with [medicine], and I finished weeding my yard.

He’s Getting Warmer… And Colder

, , , , | Healthy | October 26, 2020

I’m an IT technician in a factory. My female colleague is heavily pregnant at the moment and has been suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, so she’s doing a mixture of remote working and on-site working with significantly reduced hours. She only comes on-site if she feels well enough to do so.

Today is one of her better days, so she’s on-site. I’ve just come back from a job. My female colleague is nowhere to be seen, but all her stuff is sitting on her desk so she can’t be too far away. We have a placement student in our office at the moment, a lad in his early twenties. He’s a very capable IT technician but not yet very world wise.

Me: “Hey, [Student], where’s [Female Colleague]? Is she okay?”

Student: “She’s in the bathroom throwing up again.”

I flinch at his apparent lack of sensitivity and realise that, as the most senior person in our office, I may have to have words with him about this.

Student: “Hey, [My Name], I’m worried.”

Me: “Oh, about what?”

Student: “[Female Colleague] has been vomiting a lot. Every day she’s in, she keeps running to the bathroom to vomit. I’m worried about her; that’s not normal.”

Me: “No, [Student], you’re right. It’s not normal. But she has Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which means she’ll vomit a lot because of her pregnancy.”

Student: “But I don’t get it. When my sister was pregnant with my niece, she had morning sickness and it was nothing like as bad as this!”

Me: “Yeah, but this isn’t morning sickness, mate. It’s worse. A lot worse. Oh, and try and be a little bit more sensitive about it, yeah? It can’t be easy for her.”

Student: “Yeah, but it’s not normal!”

Me: *Sighing* “Of course, it’s not normal! That’s the point. She has… Look, just never mind, okay? Try and show a bit of sensitivity.”

I sat down at my desk, having given up trying to explain it to him. [Student] sat for a few minutes muttering, “It’s not normal…” until [Female Colleague] came back, red-faced, tearful, and feeling sorry for herself. I sat her down and got her a drink of water.

To [Student]’s credit, he DID later leave the room and come back with an ice lolly (popsicle) for [Female Colleague]! Clearly, in spite of his cluelessness, he’d been paying enough attention to realise that ice lollies were one of the few solids she was actually able to keep down. He later told me that he felt sorry for her and wanted to try to make her feel better. She seemed to really appreciate the gesture.

Seven (Or Is It Eight?) Kinds Of Stupid

, , , , , | Working | July 28, 2020

I own my own home. Many of my neighbours rent subsidized housing from a government agency. When repairs are needed, a contractor will come to their house. Unfortunately, these contractors are not known for showing the same respect to tenants in social housing that they would to a paying customer.  

I have been out cycling. I wheel the bike into my house and turn round to close the door behind me. I see a man is walking through my hallway with a T-shirt with logos of a contractor and the housing agency. He didn’t ring the doorbell or knock. He is now three metres into my house.

Me: “Can I help you?”

I march up to him and invade his personal space.

Contractor: “Is this number eight?”

I move even closer to him and he steps back.

Me: “No, this is number seven. What do you want?”

I’m still walking forward; he’s walking backward.

Contractor: “I’m here to fix a shower.”

Me: “No, you aren’t. Get out.”

He nearly trips and falls on the doorstep.

Me: “Look at that number sign on my front door. What does it say? Seven!”

Contractor: “Where is eight?”

Me: “Over there. You don’t just walk into somebody’s house like that.”

He looks confused. We are now in my front yard, three metres from the gate to the sidewalk. He has stopped moving.

Me: “I told you to get off my property, so get moving.”

Contractor: “I knocked! Is this Second Street?”

Me: “No, you didn’t, and this is First Street. Second Street is over there where the sign is.”

He hasn’t moved. I invade his space again and GENTLY push him towards my gate.

Me: “Listen, mate, your attitude stinks. You’ve got the wrong street. You have the wrong house number. I have a big, black seven on my door, which is yellow. You never just walk into somebody’s house like that; you ring the doorbell. If you needed directions, all you had to do was to ask.”

I shot a picture of the license plate on his van so he can be identified when I complain about him.

Someone Failed Here, And It Wasn’t The Student

, , , , , | Learning | July 7, 2020

In 2014, I was a mature student in my final year of a part-time Computer Science degree. The final year involved a software development project which ran over two semesters and all students were allocated an individual Project Supervisor, who helped us develop the project and gather requirements, etc. We also had a Project Coordinator, who we were timetabled with once per week, and who was supposed to guide us through managing the project and writing our dissertation.

During the penultimate week of the autumn semester, our Project Coordinator was going to great lengths to prepare us for our first milestone, a presentation showcasing our project and the work we had done to date. She repeatedly emphasised that we must not fail the presentation part of the module; otherwise, we’d fail the whole course.

I suspect this was an embellishment on her part, but still.

We were supposed to upload a copy of our presentation to the Online Learning Environment used by the University no later than the night before the presentation, and then we’d do the presentation during class time the following evening.

That week, I finished off my presentation, and on Sunday evening, I sat down and uploaded it to the Online Learning Environment — OLE. The way the OLE worked, when you uploaded something, you’d get a green icon on the screen with a message that said, “Your document, [Title], has been uploaded,” but for some reason, you wouldn’t get an email confirmation.

I uploaded my document and got the green icon as I usually did, so I closed my browser window and went off to do something else. On Monday night, I did my presentation, which the assessors all said was excellent. They even scored me quite highly in it — above 70% — which I was pleased about.

On Tuesday evening, I got an email from the Project Coordinator. She informed me that she had discovered I “hadn’t uploaded” my presentation, and therefore, she was going to fail me. She informed me that “she had told us several times” not to fail the presentation, and that because uploading the presentation was a mandatory requirement, she was therefore authorised to fail me.

I replied to her email and said that, a,  I had been to class on Monday night, b, I had done my presentation, and, c, I had been given a very good mark for it.

She was uninterested. She kept insisting that “she had to follow procedure” and that she now had to fail me.

I was furious. I told my wife, who was also furious. In tears, I phoned my project supervisor, who was horrified. He said he had never, in all his years supervising projects, heard of anything so petty and ridiculous. He emailed the Head Of School and copied me in. The HOS was as shocked as he was, and said that, in his opinion, if I had done the presentation and been given a mark, there should be no reason to fail me.

His advice? To submit an Extenuating Circumstance claim, which would be reviewed during the Christmas holidays.

I did so, and emailed my Project Coordinator to inform her that this is what I would be doing. Her response was frosty: “Do what you like. I have to follow procedure.”

I submitted my EC claim and went abroad with my wife to stay with her family over Christmas. While away, I got an email from the School of Computing to inform me that “The EC committee had reviewed my claim and determined that I was not at fault and should be awarded the mark for my presentation.”

Relieved, I came back off Christmas break and threw myself into my project again, with one slight difference: from now on, any time I submitted assessed work to the Online Learning Environment, I screenshotted the confirmation message and emailed it to both the Project Coordinator and my Project Supervisor.

I completed my project, graduated, and later went on to complete a PhD! The Project Coordinator never said anything else about her intention to fail me. I’m not sure why she took such a notion, and I doubt I’ll ever find out, nor will I ever find out why my presentation didn’t upload.

Tried To Outfox The System

, , , , | Right | May 21, 2020

It is 2013. I work for a huge car brand that offers different user portals on their website, so as technical customer service, I deal most of all with registration problems.

Me: “Welcome to [Company] customer service. My name is [My Name]. How may I help you?”

Customer: “Hello, I cannot register my car at [Owner Portal]. It keeps saying my vehicle identification number is not in the system.”

Me: “Could you please tell me your vehicle identification number so I can look it up in the system? We can try to register it from here.”

The vehicle exists. I go on the website, click on the subscribe button, and enter the vehicle identification number. It works.

Me: “Sir, unfortunately, it is working in my system, so I would assume another cause of trouble. What browser are you using?”

Customer: “What? Pardon?”

Me: “Are you using Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox for entering the Internet?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “Excuse me, sir, which of both are you using?”

Customer: “The foxy thing you mentioned… I guess.”