Lost Consciousness From Too Much Irony

, , , | Working | June 20, 2018

(I’m watching an air crash investigation documentary on YouTube:)

Narrator: “The force of the explosion ripped the plane apart, throwing many of the passengers free of the cabin. Most would have lost consciousness soon after from the violent G-forces and lack of oxygen.”

Interrupting Ad: “At [Volunteer Travel Organization], our goal is to take you beyond your comfort zone, because we believe that life only begins when you experience things out of your control.”

A Large Number Of Number Calls

, , , , | Right | June 15, 2018

(I own a used auto parts store, primarily operating off of eBay. On the top of every listing in the “Condition” area, there is a disclaimer telling the customer that the only way to get the correct unit is if they match their part number off their unit with the one I am selling. There is another disclaimer in the “Description” area. There is another disclaimer on the very bottom in an area marked “Compatibility,” and there is a giant button on the right of the screen saying, “Will This Unit Fit My Car,” which takes you to a page telling you that you have to match the part number in order to make sure the part is correct for your car. I get this phone call more than once a day:)

Me: “Hello, [Store].”

Caller: “Yes, I see your listing you have on eBay for [part].”

Me: “Okay.”

Caller: “I want to know if it will match [Car].”

Me: “Does the part number match with the number off your original unit?”

Caller: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Well, that will be your first step; you need to match it up in order to make sure it will fit your car.”

Caller: “What I have is a [year, Make, and Model].”

Me: “Sure, but you still have to match the number. This unit might be for a car with different options than yours.”

Caller: “Mine is a [transmission option] with [trim].”

Me: “You still have to match the number to know if it will work.”

Caller: “Well, my VIN is [a thousand letters and numbers].”

Me: “You would have to match the number on the part.”

Caller: “Which number is that?”

Me: “The manufacturer’s part number… of the part.”

Caller: “And where is that located?”

Me: “On the part in your car that you’re looking to replace.”

Caller: “So, this part here you’re selling online will not match my car?”

Me: “It might, or it might not. The only way to know would be to match the number.”

Caller: *incredulously* “All righty… Bye-bye.” *click*

(MORE… THAN… ONCE… A DAY.)

Worth Checking Out This Checking In

, , , , , | Working | May 30, 2018

(Our particular chain of gas stations developed an app that, in addition to sending you discounts for certain items, allows you to “check in” whenever you are at one of their locations. After a certain number of “check-ins,” you get a code for $2 off a purchase of gas. It works via the GPS on your phone, so you don’t have to actually be AT the store to check in just nearby. Furthermore, while you can only use one discount per transaction, there is no limit to the number of discounted purchases you can make in a day, and no minimum purchase required. We have one customer who is some sort of delivery driver, just driving around all day. He comes in several times a day and asks for $2 in gas, presents his $2 discount code, and drives off with free gas. I ask him about it; he isn’t doing anything technically wrong, but I am curious. He says as he drives around, any time he passes one of our stores, he hits the check-in button, and racks up the $2 discount codes. When he has time to stop, he gets another free $2 worth of gas. This gets me thinking. I live pretty close to another of our stores. I discover I can “check in” from my living room. So, sitting at home at night, watching TV, I check in every 30 minutes or so. Next day, I stop and ask for $2 in gas, pump it, then go back in and ask for another $2, repeat, repeat… As long as they are separate transactions, I’m not breaking any rules. I admit, I am taking advantage of the poor design of the app; somebody didn’t think it through very well. One day I go into work and the manager approaches me.)

Manager: “Are you the one who’s been abusing the app?”

Me: “I’m not abusing it; I’m using the discounts it’s offering me.”

Manager: “Well, you’re not supposed to do that.”

Me: “Why not? The rules, restrictions, and limitations are clearly stated in the user agreement. I’m not violating a single one.”

Manager: “That’s just not how it’s supposed to work.”

Me: “Then the problem is with your app, not your customers.”

(It didn’t take long for the app to be changed to limit the number of discounts and frequency of use… and ultimately they scrapped the whole thing altogether. But at one point, I did go an entire month without paying for gas.)

Branching Into Ridiculousness

, , , , | Working | May 13, 2018

(I’m working on a programming project with my uncle, and we’re using a program which neither of us is very familiar with. The details of how the program works aren’t important, but it involves creating and editing “branches” with different versions of a project.)

Uncle: “Were you able to make that new branch I asked you about?”

Me: “No, I got an error message saying I didn’t have permission. I think you need to invite me to join.”

Uncle: “But then you’d be able to change my branches, too, and I don’t want you to do that. Do you know how to make it so you can only edit certain branches?”

Me: “No, but I’ll research permissions and see what I find out.”

(The next day, he calls back and I walk him through protecting a branch so only he can edit it.)

Me: *after hanging up, to my stepdad* “Did he just delegate, to me, the job of protecting his branches from me?

AdSense Versus No Sense

, , , , , , , | Working | March 13, 2018

A couple years ago, I was tasked with buying advertising space through Google to promote our company’s video-on-demand service. However, after a few days, our ads were suspended, because we had to submit proof that we had the rights to use some intellectual property that belonged to movie studios; our ads featured lots of popular film characters. I told my boss what happened, and suggested we go ahead and get in touch with our contacts at the studios as soon as we could to obtain written proof that we could use the characters, My boss was having none of it. The way he saw it, Google was screwing us over, and my job was to get them to immediately reverse their policy-based decision and run our ads.

Unsurprisingly, I was not successful in doing so, although I had a very productive call with Google. They gave me further information and guidelines about their policy, and told me how to get the situation sorted out as quickly as possible. I told my boss about it, but he said that surely I wasn’t insistent enough, and called me into his office to show me “how it’s done.”

Cue the most cringe-worthy moment of my life, during which I sat in front of my boss while he called the reception desk at Google headquarters and (unsuccessfully) harassed the receptionist for 20 minutes, asking to be put through to Larry Page. When he finally gave up, he just told me to do whatever it takes to get the ads up and running as soon as possible, at which point I just followed Google’s guidelines as instructed. Wouldn’t you know it, the ads were up and running less than a day later.

This was one of many crazy things that happened at that company during the time I worked there. They were a very small outfit, yet they always expected to be treated like one of the giants out there — and spent money they didn’t have, accordingly. I smelled disaster coming and quit just a few months after this, and they went bankrupt less than a year later.

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