Kindness Is In The Air

, , , , , | Hopeless | July 29, 2019

(I am visiting my sister in France along with my parents, but I am traveling alone on the flight back home. I need to change flights to reach my final destination with only an hour and a half to get off the first flight, complete immigration, and navigate through an airport that I don’t know to catch my next flight. This is my first time traveling alone and I don’t speak or understand French so I am a bit nervous. When I try to do the self-check-in through one of the kiosks at the airport, it gives me an error. Panicking, I flag down an airport employee to help me check in. He opens up a counter and starts to check me in.)

Employee: “I see that there is a problem at [Intermediate Destination] airport.”

Me: *already worried about the journey, and sure that I will miss my next flight* “What sort of problem?”

Employee: “Connectivity problem.”

(He continues to enter something on the screen.) 

Employee: “I will put you on a flight directly to [Final Destination]. It leaves a bit later, but will reach there at the same time.”

Me: “O-Okay…?”

(He motions for me to give him my old tickets. I don’t immediately respond as I feel like this is some sort of scam.) 

Employee: “Don’t worry; it will arrive at the same time! You will not be late for the rest of your journey.”

Me: *still not sure of what is happening but gives him my old tickets anyway* “Thank you.”

Employee: *hands me new tickets* “No problem.”

(The first thing I did after getting my new tickets was to find a board displaying flight schedules to check whether the flight he put me on was a real flight! I later realised that he must have changed my flight because there was very little time for me to catch the next one, and that was what he meant by “connectivity problem.” Whoever you are, airport employee, thanks to you I was able to reach home safely!)

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Fighting An Upload-Hill Battle

, , , , , | Working | July 28, 2019

(In France, there are four major ISPs, and they are having an ongoing coverage war for optic fiber Internet. Every building can decide which ISP they’re going to be connected with, and the subsequent connection needs heavy work, literally digging trenches in the sidewalk to install fiber in the ground. So, when you land in a building with fiber installed, and you’re interested in having a fiber connection, you go with the ISP already in place. I have just moved in and gotten my box installed using an extremely interesting discount price when I receive a call from a telemarketer.)

Telemarketer: “Hi, I’m [Telemarketer] from [ISP #1]. May I speak to the person in charge?”

(I could say I’m not interested and hang up, but I have some time on my hands. I figure it’d be funny to see this person try to upsell me. I was right.)

Me: “That would be me.”

Telemarketer: “Okay, great! May I ask what ISP you are with and what your Internet plan is?”

Me: “I’m with [ISP #2], and I have the Fiber at 100Mbps down and 20Mbps up for 10€ a month.”

Telemarketer: *pause* “Oh… Okay! Do you know we at [ISP #1] have right now a very interesting discount for a plan at 10€ for the first year?”

Me: “Um, okay, but you guys don’t have fiber connected to my building, so that’s not really a great deal for me…”

Telemarketer: “Wait, we can’t know that before I check!”

Me: “Well, I just subscribed, so I’m pretty sure that it…”

Telemarketer: “One moment, please! Your address is [address], correct?”

Me: *sigh* “Correct.”

Telemarketer: “Okay, then, let me put you on hold for just a sec!”

Me: “…”

Telemarketer: *one minute later* “Okay, it appears that your building is indeed not connected yet to our fiber network. But may I ask why you need the fiber? Our DSL connection is very fast and reliable, and for browsing Facebook and YouTube, even in HD, it’s plenty!”

Me: “Well, first of all, depending on the distance to the hub and the traffic, DSL for a 4K video may not be ‘plenty,’ and second of all, for my work, I often need to download and upload up to a couple of terabytes of files a month, so fiber was actually a quite important criteria in choosing my place. And excuse me, but what did you mean by ‘10€ a month for the first year’?”

Telemarketer: “It’s an exceptional discount offer; after one year the price goes back to normal.”

Me: “Which is?”

Telemarketer: “24.99€ a month. But your current offer is the same, isn’t it?”

Me: “Actually, no, if you recall there were ads on TV for it a month ago. It was a very limited offer, but the discount lasts a lifetime.”

Telemarketer: “Oh, I see… Well, you know, I was checking [ISP #1]’s network, and it says that within 18 months we will have your building connected to our fiber network, and then I can offer you a free upgrade to the fiber plan! So, what do you say?”

Me: “So, let me get this straight. Your DSL plan is what, 20Mbps down and 2Mbps up?”

Telemarketer: “Yes…”

Me: “So, you offer me a plan that is literally five to ten times slower than my current plan—“

Telemarketer: *trying to cut me off* “Yes, but—“

Me:With the vague promise that it’s gonna be upgraded in the not-so-distant future—“

Telemarketer: “Well, yes, and—“

Me:But, in one year’s time, this plan, which will hinder my work, will have the advantage of becoming almost three times as expensive as the one I’m on now, and will leave me paying more for a worse plan, waiting for an upgrade that may or may not come?”

Telemarketer: “Okay, but what TV channels do you have with your plan?”

Me: “I don’t own a TV, and I’m staying with [ISP #2]. Goodbye now!”

(You still have to admire her perseverance and dedication!)

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Put An End To That Train Of Thought

, , , , , | Friendly | June 17, 2019

(I am a teenager travelling with my parents and my little brother for a summer trip to Amsterdam. My mother is Japanese, and I am half Japanese, but since I have several ethnicities I look nothing like my parents. My features are described to be difficult to pinpoint, and I have been mistaken for many different ethnicities all throughout my life. I have most often been mistaken as Indian. At this point, I am wandering the aisles of our express train and looking for our seats. I finally find them and see we are seated next to another family. I don’t pay much attention to them, but I suddenly overhear their conversation.)

Other Father: *in Japanese* “Ugh, I see an Indian family will be sitting next to us on this train.”

Other Mother: *in Japanese* “They are probably going to be so loud. What a shame.”

Me: *loudly, and in Japanese* “Mom! Mom! Looks like our seats are here.”

(The other family was absolutely shocked. I proceeded to talk to my parents, who both understand Japanese, very loudly about various topics. The family next to us looked visibly embarrassed and did not utter a word for the entire rest of the three-hour train ride.)

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Trying To Explain It In Black And White

, , , , | Right | April 14, 2019

(My company sells computers specifically designed for old people and computer noobs, with a specific user interface, very simple, with big buttons and all functionalities color-coded. I do level-two tech support for them in addition to development. We get calls from people who have never touched a computer before.)

Caller: “Hello. I have a problem with my printer. I put a color picture and it came out in black and white.”

Me: “Okay, sir, you must have clicked on the wrong button. Click on the green tab to go to the printer page. Then you click on the ‘do a color copy’ button, not the other one labelled ‘black and white copy.’ It should print you a copy of your picture in color as you wanted to.”

Caller: “No, you don’t understand; my picture is black and white now.”

Me: “What do you mean? The printer printed a black and white copy of your picture, right?”

Caller: “No, the picture I put in the printer is black and white!”

Me: “So… you put a black and white picture and want to copy it in color?”

Caller: “No! You don’t understand! I put a colored picture in the printer and that picture is now black and white! I want it colored like before! You ruined my picture!”

Me: “You are telling me that you put a colored picture in your printer and that your original picture has changed to black and white?”

Caller: “At last! You youngsters don’t understand a simple thing! That’s what I’m saying from the beginning!”

Me: “Sir, this is impossible..”

Caller: “I assure you that my picture is now black and white! You f***** up an old family picture; that’s unacceptable!”

Me: “Sir, could you please open the lid of the printer in order to see the glass panel that is in there?”

Caller: “Oh, there is my picture.”

Me: “Is it still in color?”

Caller: “Hmm… Yes… Bye.” *click*

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That’s Why It Took So Bloody Long

, , , , , | Friendly | April 5, 2019

(Due to some recurring health issues, going to the bathroom is a rather long and unpleasant task for me, something that only gets worse when I’m on my period. On such a day, my friends and I eat at a fast food place after a movie, and I decide to use the bathroom there. This bathroom is unusually small, with only one toilet and a little, cramped room before it with a sink. As we are in one of the most lively parts of the city and the fast food place is rather full, there are soon six men waiting behind the door. This is quite an uncomfortable situation for me, as not only am I stuck in a dirty bathroom trying to do what I’ve got to do both as silently and rapidly as I can, but the men waiting soon start making loud comments in a rather coarse tone.)

Man #1: “What are they doing in there? It’s been forever!”

Man #2: *crude laugh* “Maybe they’re doing something else?”

Man #3: “Like what? Banging?”

Man #4: “No, it’s only one person here.”

Man #2: “They might be doing drugs!” *others laugh*

Man #1: “How long has it been?”

Man #5: “We’ve been here for like ten minutes and they were already in there.”

(This one confuses me because the first guys to arrive after me actually arrived while I was still waiting. Did they really manage to miss the woman that was standing in front of them in a room so small it feels cramped with three people in it? I’ve finally finished and I start preparing to exit.)

Man #2: “Ah, sounds like it’s moving!”

(I’m really annoyed, because there is no way those people didn’t realise I heard all their comments, and I didn’t exactly have a fun experience in there.)

Me: *as loud and clearly as I can* “I’m sorry to have kept you waiting, but I was on my period.”

(This worked extremely well. They’re really silent for an instant, then start apologizing and saying they absolutely understand, in the most awkward of tones. Three of them even exited the bathroom, saying that they’d come back later, then, and when I got out and went to wash my hands, two of those that were left avoided my eyes. I honestly only regret not having waited to exit the bathroom before responding so I could have seen their faces.)

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