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We Look Forward To Editing This Kid’s Stories One Day

, , , , , , , , | Learning | June 24, 2023

This was overheard during a second-grade English class.

Teacher: “Remember, [Student], when writing, I before E except after C.”

Student: “But look!”

[Student] points at the alphabet banner that wraps around the classroom at the ceiling.

Student: “A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I! E and I always come after C.”

How can you argue with that logic?

The Wrench In The Works Is Multi(plier)ing

, , , , , , , | Working | May 18, 2023

A situation has come up at work where audio plugs are being broken off in the front audio port for desktops (for valid reasons not relevant to the story), and we don’t have needle-nose pliers that are thin enough to extract the wayward plugs from the ports.

I decide to order some from [Big Online Store].

I find a good option: a set of three of them in different configurations (normal, thin, and forceps-like) for a good deal. I place the order, and I’m told it will arrive the next day. Easy-peasy. No problem.

I receive the item the next day and verify the label on the box: a set of three needle-nose pliers.

I open the box… and find a ten-inch plumber’s wrench.

I check the order again, and I check the label on the box. Yep, they both say, “Set of 3 Needle-Nose Pliers.” With a big sigh, I reach out to [Store]. They say they’re sorry and they’ll send a replacement, next-day, no charge. The world is back on track.

The replacement package arrives the next day. I verify the package. “Set of 3 Needle-Nose Pliers.”

I open it to find…

…a Ten-Inch… Plumber’s… Wrench.

They didn’t just send me the wrong item. THEY SENT ME THE SAME WRONG ITEM, packaged the same way. Seeing it in that package, it looks like a ten-inch middle finger aimed at me.

I’m not proud of what happens next. I go full Entitled Jerk.

I contact the online agent with the title “STOP SENDING ME PLUMBER’S WRENCHES!” I choose the online agent because I know yelling might come into it, but every response is practically dripping with disdain and displeasure.

The poor agent offers a $5 credit, and I figure that is the most I am going to get. I apologize for my attitude, but I’m pretty sure I am her worst “call” for the night, and I’m not proud of that.

Two days later, I pick a different supplier and get the pliers I need. But I will never forget how I felt when I opened the second package and saw that wrench.

It doesn’t take much to turn a loyal customer into a jerk.

That Poor, Poor Doormat

, , , , , , , , , | Related | March 27, 2023

My husband is the middle child with an older sister and a younger brother.

Being the “oopsie” baby, my brother-in-law was a bit coddled. He never really learned any life skills and is a bit of what the Internet would call an incel. At one point, we even had to tell him to take a shower because he stunk so badly. While he is extremely smart, he is the kind of person who will meet his untimely demise by being hit by a bus because he forgot to look both ways. What he makes up in book-smarts, he severely lacks in street-smarts — and social skills, for that matter. It doesn’t help that he has sort of fallen into major success so he believes life is easy.

My sister-in-law is very sweet but was also parentified by her conservative parents. While [Brother-In-Law] doesn’t know how to wipe his own a**, [Sister-In-Law] did most of the domestic work such as cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry. As a result, while she is neat, clean, and organized, she is stunted in a lot of ways. For example, she’s highly naïve, and she never had the opportunity to go to college like her brothers, and as a result, she lived at home until she was nearly thirty-four because she could never afford rent in our city.

When she does move out, it is into [Brother-In-Law]’s house. 

My dear husband and I are concerned about it for different reasons. He is concerned in case twenty-seven-year-old [Brother-In-Law] wants to bring a girl home. I am concerned that [Sister-In-Law] will become a maid. Obviously, one of us has very valid concerns and the other one is living in a fantasy world where his brother has “game”. Sure enough, one of our fears is realized.

We go to visit [Sister-In-Law], and she is doing laundry. As we are chatting, I cannot help but notice that while she tends to like men’s graphic tees, one is distinctly neck-beard gamer in nature. I keep quiet, but my husband does not.

Husband: “So, how do you like living together?”

Sister-In-Law: “It is a lot like living with Mom and Dad, but I have my own place without them, you know?”

Husband: “So, you are splitting cooking responsibilities?”

Sister-In-Law: “No. I mostly cook.”

Husband: “At least [Brother-In-Law] gets groceries, right?”

Sister-In-Law: “No… I do the shopping. I don’t mind it.”

Dear husband gives me a look that I pointedly ignore.

Me: “Well, at least you have someone to share in the cleaning?”

Sister-In-Law: “Well, [Brother-In-Law] is kind of a mess…”

Me: “Does he at least keep it to his own room?”

Sister-In-Law: *Oblivious* “I have to clean it twice a week. It is fine, though. I usually do it when I do laundry.”

Husband: “Laundry?”

Sister-In-Law: “Yeah.” *Motions to the shirt* “I am doing it right now.”

Husband: “And [Brother-In-Law]?”

Sister-In-Law: “Well, it is the least I can do. He is letting me live here. He could be living alone. It has to be hard on his dating life living with his sis.”

My husband glowers at me as I stifle laughter, knowing full well why he cannot actually find anyone to go on a second date with him. And trust me, it has more to do with him thinking it appropriate to be rude to a girl for not playing “Guild Wars 2” than living with such a kind, caring, albeit a little daft and clingy sister.

After she walks away, I turn to my husband.

Me: *Jokingly* “No wonder he doesn’t have a girlfriend; he already has the live-in maid part.”

It is their life, but I cannot imagine paying rent to do my landlord’s laundry, brother or not.

Some Sports Fans Need To CHILL, Part 2

, , , , , , , , , , | Friendly | January 28, 2023

While visiting family in Phoenix, we went to a Diamondbacks baseball game. At the time, the team wore uniforms in teal and purple. We didn’t have any Diamondbacks gear, so we just planned to wear whatever teal or purple we had. Another fan sitting a row or two behind us must have had the same idea; she was wearing a purple shirt from a college football team a few states away.

Apparently, this was a great offense to a fan of the visiting team a row in front of us. He took it upon himself to berate the woman for wearing the “wrong color purple.” True, her shirt was a deeper purple, but it was ridiculous how much he cared or that he even noticed. The two started arguing back and forth, and suddenly, the man threw his (plastic, fortunately) beer bottle at the woman.

The fan next to her deftly caught it just before it hit her in the face and immediately threw it back right where it came from, beaning the man right on the head.

Ballpark security arrived then and ejected the man. They must have been okay with the shade of the woman’s shirt; she was allowed to stay. Even better, the visiting fan’s team lost, too.

Some Sports Fans Need To CHILL

No Good Deed Goes Well With Corporate

, , , , , , | Working | July 27, 2022

In my early twenties, I worked in a cell phone store in a strip mall. The store was an authorized dealer for a national, growing cellular provider. As an authorized dealer, my store could not do all the same things as a “corporate” store of the cellular provider, despite most of our branding looking identical.

As employees of the authorized dealer, we were sales agents, and our main focus was on selling phones, service, and accessories. Anything beyond that — warranty claims or exchanges, in-depth troubleshooting, most account maintenance, etc. — had to be handled at a corporate store. This often resulted in confused and/or frustrated customers.

One day, an elderly woman came in with an old flip phone that was no longer working properly. She needed it fixed or replaced. Upon looking up the woman’s account information, we discovered that she had obtained this phone several years ago, and as such, it was out of warranty. However, she wasn’t eligible for an upgrade, either; this was back in the days of two-year contracts, and she always gave her upgrades to the other family members on her account.

Unfortunately, this meant that she didn’t have many options apart from adding a new line of service to her account (which would significantly impact her monthly bill) or purchasing a phone “outright” at full retail price. She couldn’t afford (and didn’t want) anything fancy, and although smartphones weren’t around yet, most of the phones we carried were “feature phones” with things like QWERTY keyboards or fancy cameras. We only had a couple of “basic” models, and even then, the full retail price for those was at least $200.

I’ve always been service-oriented more than anything else, and the rest of the employees in my store — and even many of those from other stores in the region — knew me to be a very honest person who hated taking advantage of anyone just to make a sale. I really wanted to do everything I could to help this woman, so I grabbed a cheap pre-paid flip phone out of our stock room and explained to the customer that although it was marked for pre-paid service, we had a workaround that would allow us to activate it on her post-paid plan.

Technically, this wasn’t allowed under the authorized dealer contract we had with the cellular carrier, but it was a common tactic that we somehow managed to get away with for quite some time. An important caveat of selling a customer a pre-paid phone is that the sales representative doing the sale got virtually no commission from it unless they convinced the customer to purchase some additional accessories. I wasn’t invested in this particular transaction for the money.

The customer seemed a bit confused about the whole process — she wasn’t very tech-savvy or even fully understanding of how her service was set up in the first place — but decided to purchase the pre-paid phone and a phone case on clearance. (Read: still little commission for me.) My assistant manager helped me activate the phone in the system, and the elderly woman left the store with a working phone.

Alas, that didn’t last.

The woman came back the next day, complaining that the phone was dropping calls, failing to connect when she tried to place calls, etc. A coworker and I did some basic troubleshooting but to no avail. Pre-paid phones were often older post-paid phones that had been refurbished (poorly), and I suspected that this was the case with this phone, although I didn’t voice that concern to the customer. We encouraged her to visit the corporate store about three miles away, and this only furthered her confusion about the whole situation. Eventually, she conceded and left for the corporate store.

A bit later that day, we got a call from a representative at the corporate store, who asked us a number of questions about the phone and how and why it had been sold to this poor, frustrated woman. Despite my assistant manager’s explanations, the other store’s rep seemed convinced that we had sold the customer the pre-paid phone illegitimately in order to scam her out of her money, and they hung up.

I don’t know what the corporate store did to assist the woman, apart from somehow getting her a (different) working phone and sending her back to my store to return the pre-paid phone and case.

When she walked in the door, she was visibly angry, although calm, and she marched up to the sales counter and spoke to my assistant manager, who happened to be standing right next to me. She politely asked to return the phone and the case, and my assistant manager complied. Neither of them said much during the short transaction. Once the return was complete and the customer was assured that her money had been refunded to her debit card, she thanked the assistant manager and then turned to me and looked me in the eye.

Customer: “And you, young man. Shame on you, taking advantage of naive customers like me. You shouldn’t be allowed to keep working here with your unscrupulous sales tactics. I don’t know how you sleep at night.”

Keep in mind that I had made next to nothing on the sale.

While she was speaking, I maintained eye contact with her and waited a moment to be sure she was done. I then simply nodded my head and said, “Okay.”

This seemed to fluster the woman, whose expression passed through confusion and then further anger before she huffed and quickly left the store.

As soon as the door had shut behind the customer, my assistant manager burst out laughing at a customer telling me — who would rather take a punch to the face than be unkind to anyone, ever — “I don’t know how you sleep at night.”

To this day, I still appreciate him for recognizing how ludicrous that was and for making me feel better about myself.