When Frauds Collide

, , , | Working | March 31, 2018

When I was 22, I was working for a prominent theater company in Philadelphia as a shop apprentice, building sets. As an apprentice, I was paid very little money, so I lived with my parents, about 45 minutes away. Because of the commute, I had to leave my parent’s house before 7:00 am to avoid city rush hour traffic. I also had to work really long hours, which meant that I frequently got home around 2:00 am.

One night, while driving home after a 17-hour day, I hit a deer. Being young, inexperienced, and without collision insurance, I thought nothing of it since I collided with a deer. A week later, my dad told me that I should contact my insurance carrier, a large, well-known national chain, to see if deer weren’t actually covered under “comprehensive.”  (They are.)

An agent came out to the house to assess the damage, and I asked if I could file a claim in spite of a week passing. The agent assured me that I could. However, the report he filed said that “no deer matter” had been found on my car, but they did find a scrape of paint on the underside of my front bumper. The company then decided that I was trying to defraud them of the $400 cost of repairs.

Over the next year, I had to provide character assessments, a police record of the deer removal, statements of my hours at work, and various depositions, all to support my claim that I hit a deer and was not committing insurance fraud. Meanwhile, the company kept sending me vicious letters, threatening me with significant fines in the hundred thousands, jail time, or both.

The last thing was a formal “hearing” in the city to determine, once and for all, if I was committing fraud. My dad was incensed and insisted on going with me. Once there, I repeated my story about hitting a deer. They asked about the paint, to which I replied that I didn’t know, and that I had probably bumped a parking block. I was then asked where I worked. When I told them, “Downtown Philadelphia,” the response was, “Oh. Okay. We see this kind of thing all the time.”

My charge of fraud was dismissed, and the insurance paid me my $400. I was so angry that I was even suspected of fraud. Were I to actually try it, it would have been for way more than $400.

Hopefully, This Attitude Will Go Extinct

, , , , , | Learning | March 30, 2018

(I’m on the spectrum and one of my so-called “autistic obsessions” is extinct animals, in particular dinosaurs, but I have a fascination with any animals that have died off, and with finding out what might have led to their extinction. One of our school district’s curriculum requirements is that every school year we have to write a report about whatever topics the teacher chooses. It’s the early 2000s, and the Internet isn’t as much of a staple as it will be one day, so my teacher refuses to allow us to use the “unreliable” Internet as a source; it has to be a book, magazine, or other physical source, since she considers them more infallible.)

Teacher: *looking at me* “And no, you cannot write your report on a dinosaur! If you want to do an animal, it has to be a recent one that someone alive today has actually seen! I want you all to think about what you want to do your report on and let me know tomorrow so that I can approve it before you begin work on it.”

(This isn’t a problem for me, since she hasn’t exactly ruled out all extinct animals, just the ones that weren’t recent extinctions. My grandmother has a large collection of National Geographic magazines, and I know for a fact that she has one with an article on thylacines that I can use for a physical source, so I dig it out and choose them as my topic.)

Teacher: “What are you doing your report on?”

Me: “Thylacines.”

Teacher: “I told you that you can’t do your report on a dinosaur. Pick something else.”

Me: “Thylacines aren’t a dinosaur. They’re a carnivorous marsupial that went extinct in the 1930s.”

Teacher: “I’ve never even heard of it, and it sounds like a dinosaur. You cannot do your report on a dinosaur! I told you that it has to be something that someone actually has seen!”

Me: “People have seen it! There are actual photographs of them, and there are still living people that have seen them in person.”

Teacher: “I told you not to use the Internet, because it’s unreliable! You can’t believe everything you see on there!”

Me: “I didn’t see it on the Internet! I have a magazine with pictures, if you want to look at it.”

(By now I can hear my classmates laughing behind my back and starting to make fun of me for trying to do a report “on a dinosaur,” which is beginning to upset me and make me cry.)

Teacher: “If you want to do an extinct animal, fine, but I already told you that you can’t do a dinosaur, and you picked one, anyway. I’ll be speaking to your mother. Now, go to the library and pick something more suitable!”

(I cried for the rest of the day and was bullied by my classmates, both for crying and being the weird kid obsessed with dinosaurs. The teacher later told me I could do my report on the extinct Jurassic reptile, plesiosaurus, which has never been seen alive by anyone ever. Apparently she thinks the Loch Ness Monster is real and is a plesiosaur, therefore not extinct and actually seen by human eyes, but thylacines, which have confirmed photographic and video evidence to prove they existed in recent times, are not allowed because the name sounds like a dinosaur. The “photographic evidence” in the magazine I used that “proved” that plesiosaurus was still alive was actually the decomposing remains of a dead basking shark that looked kind of like a plesiosaurus. Go figure.)

It’s Time To Use The Wizard

, , , , , | Related | March 29, 2018

(My little sister finally got a new laptop to replace her seven-year-old one. About a week later, I find it outside, locked in a dog-sized travel crate.)

Me: “Why is your laptop locked outside?”

Sister: “Because it’s haunted! You have to get rid of it!”

Me: “What do you mean, your laptop is haunted?”

Sister: “I mean there’s a ghost in it, and it’s making it do things! Go get rid of it!”

(I checked it out and found out that Windows 10 was making it restart to install an update without giving a warning first, and she thought a ghost was doing it. I wouldn’t be so worried about this if it weren’t for the fact that she once smashed a television in fear because it turned itself on when the power button on the remote got stuck.)

That Remark Is Going To Go Down A Storm

, , , , | Right | March 28, 2018

(I am a greeter at a very large car wash, and we are about to close early because it’s been pouring down rain all day. A customer approaches.)

Me: “Hi there, sir. How are you today?”

Customer: “Are you guys still open?”

Me: “Yes, but we will likely be closing soon because of the storm.”

Customer: “I don’t even know why you guys opened up today! Who in their right mind would get their car washed on a day like this?”

(The customer then proceeded to purchase an exterior car wash.)

What A Complete Melon

, , , , | Right | March 23, 2018

(I work at a farm during the summer, and I sometimes have to use the cash registers because it’s usually very busy. A man comes into the store with a cart and immediately heads for the cantaloupe display, which is located in the corner of the store. All of a sudden, I hear a loud “THUD.” The customer is picking up each cantaloupe individually and sniffing it, then violently dropping it back into the case.)

Me: *looks over* “Sir, may I ask that you please don’t drop the cantaloupes?”

Customer: “But that’s how you know they’re fresh. If they make a good sound, they’re fresh.”

Me: “Sir, I assure you that the cantaloupes are fresh, and if you drop them, you’ll damage them.”

Customer: “I know what I’m doing! I’m a chef for a very fine restaurant!”

Me: “Just please don’t damage our produce, sir; we don’t have a lot of cantaloupes left.”

(I walk away for a while, and after a few minutes, he comes up to the checkout lane, where my coworker and I are working the cash register.)

Coworker: “Hello, how are you?”

Customer: *mumbles*

Coworker: “Did you find everything okay, sir?”

Customer: “These cantaloupes aren’t fresh!” *picks up a cantaloupe and holds it over the counter, raised high above his head* “Look!”

(He drops it, and it splatters all over the counter, and all over my coworker and I.)

Coworker: “[My Name], would you clean this up, please?”

(As I start to clean up the mess, the man launches into a lecture on how it’s unacceptable that we sell “unripe” cantaloupes. My coworker interrupts him.)

Coworker: “Sir, any cantaloupe will break if you smash it. Now, get out of this store.”

Customer: “NO! I want to see the manager!”

Coworker: “I am the manager. Get out.”

(The customer shuffled out of the store, leaving three cantaloupes behind. All of them were badly bruised and had to be thrown away. My boss’s son decided that he would take the bad cantaloupes and feed them to his chickens, which they greatly enjoyed!)

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