Didn’t Register The Order

, , , , , | Right | November 5, 2017

(I drop into the very small department store up the road to get bread and things for lunch. I have about six items total by the time I get to the register. I am third in line. There seems to be some problem with the credit card reader for the person being served. The cashier tries a few things, but something is clearly amiss. I hear someone behind me say, “Excuse me,” but as I am blocking nothing, I do not realize they are speaking to me. I am casually watching the payment drama ahead of me.)

Lady: *louder now* “Excuse me!”

(I turn and see a woman with one item in her hand. She is clearly trying to push past me.)

Lady: “I just need to ask him something.”

(I step to the side.)

Lady: *to cashier* “Excuse me. Excuse me!”

(The cashier is clearly busy and still talking to the lady trying to pay.)

Lady: “Excuse me!”

Cashier: “Just a minute.”

(The payment finally goes through and the cashier looks up to answer the impatient woman.)

Cashier: “Yes?”

Lady: “Is the other register open?”

(There are only two registers in this store. We can all see the other register from where we are standing. We can clearly see there is no one standing by it.)

Cashier: “No. He is on break.”

(The lady looks at the counter, but it is covered with the items being purchased by the person in front of me. I deliberately step forward slightly so that she cannot step between that customer and me. The cashier quickly scans the next customer’s purchases. There is no further problem with the card reader now, and it is my turn. I put my items down and the cashier begins to scan my things.)

Lady: “You could have let me go ahead of you.”

Me: “Yes, I certainly could have.”

(I paid for my things and left.)

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An Open-Book And Closed Case

, , , , , , | Learning | November 2, 2017

(Students have just gotten their first tests back from me in one of my computer programming classes. If I had to place the difficulty of my tests on a 10-scale, compared to tests I took myself when I was in school, I’d rate them about a 7 or 8 in difficulty. The grades on this test are decent and I’m pleased with them, but I see a few discouraged looks. I acknowledge one student:)

Student #1: “This test seemed a bit hard.”

Me: “Yes, I agree; it covered a lot. But remember, I do grade on a curve and I don’t think anyone did worse than a C.”

Student #2: “Why is it open-book? Could there be another format?”

(I can tell that [Student #2] is wishing for memorize-and-regurgitate tests, which are arguably easy for people with good memories.)

Me: “I consider this a practical course, not a theoretical one. I think it’s more important that you grasp the concepts involved than memorize the minutia.” *I pause to think* “I suppose I could give a take-home test.”

(The whole class pauses to take this in. After a moment there is a lot of head-shaking from the class.)

Student #2: *in a slight panic* “No, no! That’s okay. Open book is fine.”

(He was probably wise. I’m thinking now what I’d put on a take-home test for programming. Definitely would have rated a 10.)

All Professionalism Has Gone With The Wind

, , , , , , | Learning | November 1, 2017

(I am developing some educational software. Besides me, there is the project manager, as well as his two daughters, both of whom are teachers and in charge of content, though all four of us write material. One segment involves a mouse being fed cheese. The manager is reading his preliminary script:)

Manager: “’…and then you need to cut the cheese. Then gi–’ What?”

Daughter #1: “NO!”

(The other daughter and I are face-palming and stifling laughs.)

Manager: “What? What’s wrong?”

Daughter #1: “Just… no! Not with kids. Look; I’ll handle it, okay?”

(Considering that he was about my age, I wasn’t sure how he managed to miss that bit of slang.)

Cause And Defect

, , , , , , , | Right | October 26, 2017

(I work as a hostess and cashier in a 24-hour diner while in high school. One of the waitresses is basically the epitome of all diner waitresses; she’s in her 40s but looks older, she has a gravelly, whiskey-and-cigarettes voice, she takes no crap from anybody, she’s very popular with all our regulars, and she’s absolutely unflappable. It’s a weekday in the summer, late evening, after the dinner rush but before the bars close and all the drunks come to us, so it is quiet. My manager and I are standing behind the main counter near the cash register talking, and [Waitress] has just refilled coffees for three guys in a booth and is standing there chatting, holding the half-full coffee pot in her right hand. She is mostly talking to the two guys on the left side of the booth, and apparently the guy on the right side thinks he isn’t getting enough attention, because all of a sudden he reaches out and grabs her butt cheek.)

Me: “Oh, my God, [Manager]! Did you see? That guy just groped [Waitress]!”

(The manager heads for the gap in the counter to go intervene — I don’t think he knows what is coming, just that it won’t be pretty — but without even missing a beat in her conversation, [Waitress] just turns her hand over and pours the entire remaining contents of the coffee pot into the groper’s lap.)

Groper: “F***! S***! You b****!”

(At this point, one of his buddies “helpfully” tips his glass of water into the groper’s lap, and my manager is laughing so hard that he has literally fallen on the floor. The ice water bath does cool the guy’s scalded scrotum enough that he is able to get up and come yell at someone less likely to conk him with the coffee pot than [Waitress], and as [Manager] is still on the floor and thus out of sight, that’s apparently going to be me.)

Groper: “Did you see her pour coffee on me? I want her fired!”

(I am a particularly baby-faced 16-year-old at this time, so how he thinks I have the authority to fire anybody, much less this waitress literally old enough to be my mom, is beyond me. I look to my manager for help, but he’s still down, laughing so hard he’s wheezing. Nonetheless, I’m pretty sure he’ll have my back if I need it; he’s like that.)

Me: “Yeah, I saw it, right after I saw you grab her butt. We don’t have to put up with that.”

Groper: “You… I… She can’t! I’ll call the cops! Yeah, that was assault. I’ll call the cops!”

Me: “Well, I guess you could. Or you could just hang around; there’s usually a couple of them dropping in around now for some coffee before they go round up drunks. They like to sit in [Waitress]’s section, so that’ll be convenient. You can tell them your version, and we can tell them how she was so startled her hand slipped after some pervert grabbed her butt, and we’ll see which one they think is assault.”

(At this point the guy just shrieks and stomps out. One of the busboys who’s come out of the back to see what the commotion is about starts to run after him, since he’s walking out on the bill, but our manager, who has managed to regain his feet, waves him off — it’s just coffee, not worth chasing an angry customer into the dark. Meanwhile, the other two guys who were with him come up to the register, and even though they’ve gotten separate checks, they pay his, too, so that works out.)

Groper’s Buddy: “Sorry about him. His girlfriend dumped him, and he’s totally been acting like an a**hole.”

Me: “I think you might have your cause and effect switched around there, but yeah, okay.”

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Put A Lid On Your Totally Reasonable Demands!

, , , , , , | Working | October 18, 2017

(I stop at a frozen custard shop to pick up some treats to take home for my family. The shop takes orders and then calls out items as they’re ready. I order three items “to go.” Soon, the employee is at the window calling out one of the items I’ve ordered, but without a lid, so I figure it isn’t mine. Eventually, though, I go to the window.)

Me: “Is that the [item] I ordered?”

Employee: “Did you order [item]?”

Me: “Yes.”

Employee: *tries to hand me the item*

Me: “To go…”

Employee: *looks at me blankly*

Me: “…which means it needs a lid.”

(The employee grabbed a lid, put it on the item, and handed it to me. She then tried to hand me the next two items I’d ordered without lids, too; I had to tell her they also needed them.)

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