Every Party Has A Pooper; That’s Why We Invited You

, , , , , , | Working | June 22, 2021

Last year’s work Christmas party was a mess. There were complaints from nearly everyone about the food, restaurant, and dates, and complaints from people who said they didn’t get asked. But worse was that so many people didn’t turn up, meaning those that did had to stump up an extra bill.

I’ve been asked to organise it this year, as I am super organised and tend to enjoy these sorts of things, so I get to work.

Months in advance, I send out a poll with a choice of restaurant and a selection of dates. I get the menu as soon as it is released and stick it on the board and email it out. I make sure I get a response from everyone regarding their attendance and any allergies.

I chase everyone down who didn’t respond, especially when it comes to collecting a deposit. It’s strictly a “Don’t pay, don’t come!” scenario.

I track down one of the non-responders.

Me: “Last chance to come to the Christmas party.”

Coworker: “Oh, no! I want to come. Where is it?”

Me: “It’s at [Restaurant] on [date].”

Coworker: “Oh, I don’t really like that place. Can’t we go somewhere else?”

Me: “I sent out the options months ago. Sorry, it’s all decided. Do you want to come?”

Coworker: “Err… Sure. Okay.”

Me: “Okay, I need your deposit by the end of the day. Cash is fine, or you can transfer the money.”

Coworker: “Well, I didn’t know about—”

Me: *Interrupting* “I emailed everyone three times about this and it has been on the canteen and office notice board.”

Coworker: “Fine!”

Me: “Great. Everyone who has paid the deposit will get invited to the group chat for any updates.”

I send her an email, and then another the next day. She doesn’t pay. I collect everyone’s deposits, set up the group chat, and think we are pretty much done.

A few weeks later…

Coworker: “Oh, I realised that I never gave you that deposit. Here.”

Me: “Yeah, I already paid the restaurant. If you don’t pay them you can’t have a space.”

Coworker: “Well, you could have just paid it for me.”

Me: “You and the other fifteen people who didn’t pay me?”

Coworker: “Look, just sort it out or I will go to Human Resources.”

Me: “No.”

Coworker: “What do you mean, no? You’re excluding me; this is bullying.”

Me: “No and no. Firstly, you had plenty of notice and I don’t owe you anything, and secondly, we moved the meal to last weekend. Everyone who did pay the deposit had a great time.”

She swore at me and ran off. I think she might have made a complaint, but it never reached me. The next year, she made a big bid to organise the meal, presumably to spite me or “forget to invite me,” but she ended up going on holiday and half-a**ed the meal planning, and I had to step in again.

We had a good time without her again.

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Engl-ish Makes Sense… Ish

, , , , | Working | June 22, 2021

I work on a temp team that was formed to deal with a large-scale mistake caused by the incompetence of a government-controlled body. On the team are two non-British people. They’re honestly the two most friendly and fun people on the team. English is their third or fourth language, and they are extremely fluent, but they struggle with some phrases. The team leader has just wrapped up helping the Bulgarian with a call.

Team Leader: “You need to call [company] at three-ish, [Bulgarian].”

The leader then walks off without waiting for questions or anything. [Bulgarian] sits there, confused, and then turns to [Ukrainian] and says something in a language that I don’t understand, mentioning the word, “three-ish.” [Ukrainian] shrugs and responds in the same language, also mentioning “three-ish” and my name.

Bulgarian: *To me* “What is this ‘three-ish’ he speaks of?”

Me: “Around the time of three.”

Ukrainian: “This ‘ish’ is what? Many words have it but they’re not the same?”

Me: “We add it to the end of words to mean… um… ‘sort of’ or ‘kind of’… or ‘about that’. So… you know what someone who’s happy is, yes?” *They nod.* “If they were happy-ish they were kind of happy but also not happy. It’s not as strong as the emotion of being fully happy.”

Ukrainian & Bulgarian: “Ahhhh. Yes!”

Ukrainian: “Things start to make a bit more sense. Silly English and their silly added words to make more words… like the Germans. ‘Handschuhe’! ‘Handschuhe’!” 

English Coworker: “Why are we yelling in German?”

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Music Is Music, My Friend

, , , , , , | Working | June 21, 2021

Sometimes, when it’s not too busy in the office, I’ll play music quietly from my Bluetooth speaker.

Coworker: “Hey, that’s [Christian Singer].”

I check my phone’s screen.

Me: “Yup.”

The wheels started turning in her brain.

Coworker: “But… you’re an atheist.”

Me: “Umm, yeah?”

Coworker: “But… that’s Christian music.”

Me: “Listen, you know I love music and go to a million concerts. If I let religion dictate what I listen to, I’d miss so much good stuff. Sinead O’Connor is now Muslim, and I love to drive to Hindi music. I listen to country when I draw and play pop when I’m entertaining. Christian music is uplifting and I just wanted a pick-me-up right now.”

Coworker: “But I like [Christian Singer].”

Me: “Great. What’s your favourite song?”

I reach for my phone to pull it up so we can share it.

Coworker: “I don’t know.”

She walked away, seeming kind of upset that a heathen like me could listen to music she likes. My lack of belief has always kept her at arm’s length from me, but now I think I may have ruined her enjoyment of music. Oops.

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They Don’t Make ‘Em Like This Anymore

, , , | Working | June 19, 2021

I am in charge of all things IT, including a huge dot-matrix printer. This printer is very convenient for the company, as we often print stacks of reports which we can do on the dot-matrix, saving big on using the fancy CMYK color printer we also had.

Every so often, we need to use the service contract, which has an oddity in it; it is unlimited and free to have it serviced as long as the printer lives.

When the tech comes by for another service to keep this antique beast alive, he starts his spiel about a new printer and a new contract, as he always does. He’s an older gentleman, techie old-school.

Me: “You always do the sales pitch, but tell me, wouldn’t we be crazy to give this sweet deal up?”

Tech: “I understand, but the company has to keep me employed just for you folks.”

Me: “When do you retire?”

Tech: “In four years.”

Me: “I think in four years, we might be swayed.”

He grinned widely.

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The Worst Kind Of Clickbait

, , , , | Working | June 18, 2021

As part of our IT security training, my employer started sending out fake phishing emails a few times a year. If you clicked on the link or opened the attachment on one of those, you ended up getting remedial training on how to spot a scam. The correct action was to mark it as spam and move on about your day.

This worked well for raising awareness. Then, one day, the company decided to contract with a third-party company to implement a text-based welfare check system. Basically, if there was an incident in a particular location, like a blizzard, everyone in that area would get a text asking them if they were okay and if they needed anything,

They didn’t announce that they were doing this, so the first any of us heard about it was when we got an email from an unknown external address asking us to go to a website and enter in our company location and link our cell numbers to it. Most of us did exactly what IT had trained us to do; we did not click the link and marked it as spam.

They tried sending out an email from one of the higher-ups, which most people didn’t even open because these are usually time-waster emails asking us to check out their new blog posts. Finally, they cascaded the info down through the management chain so that people got messages from their direct managers.

Managers: “The email from [Third Party] is not a scam. When you got the email from them again, sign up for their service.”

But they forgot that thousands of employees marking a single sender as spam would train the filters, so the resend didn’t make it to our inboxes. Eventually, they managed to get the sender whitelisted and the emails arrived.

A process that should have taken a week instead took months because no one bothered to think that this email they were sending looked exactly like the scam emails they had trained us to ignore.

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