The Next Great American Novel Is An Everyday Thing

, , , | Right | April 5, 2018

(I work at the corporate office of a retail chain and publisher. We get product submissions all the time, but they’re SUPPOSED to be done electronically. The buyers never do walk-ins; they just don’t have time.)

Lady: “Hi, I’ve written this novel, and it’s the most amazing story. I’d like for you guys to publish it.”

Me: “Okay, great. You’ll need to submit the manuscript electronically through our website.”

Lady: “Yeah, I know that’s what you’re supposed to tell me, but I know how this goes. Only really dedicated authors get to see the publishers, right? Well, I’m dedicated! So, you can go ahead and give me the green light to talk to them.”

Me: *sighs* “I promise you, that’s not the case at all. In fact, you’re hurting your chances of being considered by being difficult about this. Please go through the proper channels, and you’ll hear back from a buyer soon.”

Lady: “So, here’s my five-minute pitch.” *gives me a FIFTEEN-minute pitch, outlining every detail of her book*

Me: “I’m just the receptionist. Seriously, I have no say with the publishers, so I’m not the one you needed to tell that to.”

Lady: “Fine. Let me talk to a publisher!”

Me: *knows they never pick up their phone, so tries just to humor her* “Sorry, they’re not available.”

Lady: “Okay, fine, I’ll leave this here for them. Oh, but first can you take a picture with me in front of your company sign? This is my first time being published!”

Me: *takes the photo, just hoping she’ll leave* “Okay, I’ll see that they get this. Good luck.”

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Putting That Problem To Embed

| Working | April 19, 2017

Recently, we have been working on expanding our audience through social media and digital publications. The director of our nonprofit signed off on this project, which entailed two new positions and a suite of stock photo and web services products. We start integrating social media embedded posts and share links into many of our online publications. One day, the director starts urgently calling and emailing, and ends up yelling at us in person about something “seriously wrong” with a recent story. He keeps saying that the link in the story is broken and no matter where he clicks, it takes him off the page and he can’t figure out how to go back. He also keeps asking why we added “such crap” to the story after he signed off on the content. This all rings alarm bells, and we’re desperately checking the page to see what happened to the code or if someone hacked the site.

Not seeing anything wrong, we ask him to demonstrate. He furiously goes to his computer, opens the story, and clicks on an embedded tweet, which launches Twitter in a separate window. “Why are we including THAT?” he shouts, pointing at some rude comment replying to the original tweet. “And why can’t I read the rest of the story?”

We try our best to explain that he is now on Twitter, he can close the new window, and he’s seeing replies to the Tweet we linked to, not anything that we chose to put online. He doesn’t understand and insists that we remove the offensive comment. Eventually, we just had to stop using embedded tweets because he freaked out each time and could not understand that we can’t control comments on a site that’s not ours.

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Nic U Too

| Right | January 20, 2017

(The customer is proofing a write-up I put together for her.)

Customer: “Change the ‘an’ to ‘a’ before ‘NICU nurse.’”

Me: “’An’ is technically correct in this context; use of a/an is determined by the vowel sound at the beginning of a word/abbreviation/acronym, not necessarily the letter itself. Since ‘NICU’ is traditionally pronounced ‘en-eye-see-you’ we would use ‘an.’ However, if we wrote out the whole thing, it would be ‘a neonatal intensive care unit.’”

Customer: “I pronounce it ‘nic-u’ so change it to ‘a.’”

Me: “…seriously?”

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Searching In The Search Engine

| Right | January 3, 2017

(I get a phone call from an author trying to submit his manuscript through our online system. The link for our submissions is kind of small and easy to miss, and elderly authors especially have difficulty with it, so I’m used to these kinds of calls.)

Me: “Okay, sir, so you entered [Company].com, correct?”

Caller: “Hang on.” *I hear him typing very slowly* “W… W… W… Dot… [Company]… Dot… C… O… M… Enter. Okay.”

Me: “Great! Now if you’ll scroll to the very bottom of the page.”

Caller: “Hang on.” *I hear him scrolling* “Okay.”

Me: “You should see a link that says ‘Guidelines for Authors.’ Do you see it?”

Caller: “No…”

Me: “Oh. Um… Do you see where it says ‘Store Locator’ in bigger letters? It’s right beneath that. I know it’s kind of small.”

Caller: “There’s no ‘Guidelines for Authors’ there.”

(I’m really confused why it’s not displaying on his page, so I spend a good fifteen minutes trying to walk him through it again, checking with IT to see if there have been problems, and repeatedly testing the site on my end.)

Me: “Okay, I can’t figure out why your page doesn’t show it. What DO you see?”

Caller: “It says ‘Help,’ ‘Send Feedback,’ ‘Privacy,’ and ‘Terms.’”

Me: “Huh? What is there right above that?”

Caller: “A blue ‘G,’ a red ‘O,’ a bunch of yellow ‘O’s…”

(That’s when I realized that he’d just entered our site address into the Google search bar and not actually clicked on the link. It didn’t even occur to me that I’d need to be THAT specific with my directions!)

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Doesn’t Understand The Modern Layout Of Society

| Working | April 12, 2016

(My manager is well-known for being passive-aggressive and for giving people he isn’t pleased with unpleasant assignments in place of actually talking to them about the issue. I’m well-known around the office for being devoutly religious in a very conservative sect.)

Coworker #1: “You must’ve ticked [Manager] off.”

Me: “Oh? Why?”

Coworker #1: “He’s assigned you to work with [Coworker #2] on book layouts. [Coworker #2] is hideously anal on those layouts. Not to mention, well, you know…”

Me: “Gay. Yes, I’d noticed.”

Coworker #1: *laughs* “Yeah. Good luck.”

(Fast forward six weeks: Coworker #2 and I are hitting it off and banging out the layouts in record time. Cue my manager glaring at me.)

Manager: “You seem to be doing well.”

Coworker #2: “Yeah, we are. It’s wonderful to finally work with someone who appreciates the amount of effort that goes into making these books look right. Do you know how hard it is to find someone who can take instruction and criticism without getting his panties in a wad?”

Manager: “And there hasn’t been any problems, with, uh… his religious beliefs?”

Coworker #2: *raises eyebrow* “Should there be?”

Manager: “Uh, no…” *wanders off*

Me: “Think we should explain to him that my brother’s gay?”

Coworker #2: “Nah, let the jerk stew.”

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