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Bringing Down The House

| Working | May 19, 2015

(We are looking for a new property. Rather than get sent everything on the estate agent’s books, I write an email detailing my exact expectations. My phone rings.)

Estate Agent: “Hi, is this [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes.”

Estate Agent: “Okay, great, how are you doing? So, I’ve got a property you might be interested in.”

Me: “Okay, well—”

Estate Agent: “—It’s in the popular area of [Area], two bedrooms, and a terraced house. How does that sound? When would you like me to set up a viewing? I have Tuesday or Thursday.”

Me: “Wait, wait, wait. Firstly, I asked to only be contacted outside office hours, and—”

Estate Agent: “—Well, you know you do have to jump on these opportunities or you will miss them.”

Me: “I also asked to only be contacted about [Area on the other side of the City], and for a completely different price range.”

Estate Agent: “Well, there is no harm taking a look at this one. How about that viewing?”

Me: “What do you think? Don’t bother calling me again.”

(I thought the matter was resolved until I got a call from the same office, a man this time, asking why I was no longer looking for property and why I was so ‘angry for no reason.’ I explained my side of the story and he couldn’t apologise enough. He didn’t quite hang up in time for me not to hear him shout at the woman who served me first.)

This story is part of the Homeownership roundup!

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A Real Live Christmas Tree

| Working | December 27, 2014

(I am an employee at this office. One day I walk in to see the receptionist taking wire cutters to an unassembled Christmas tree.)

Me: “Hey, [Receptionist]. What are you doing?”

Receptionist: “The lights burnt out so I’m cutting them off and will string some new ones on.”

Me: “Can’t you just replace the bulbs?”

Receptionist: *looking at me perplexed* “I don’t know.”

(I reach over, and pull one of the lights out of the socket and show him.)

Me: “Yup! You can!”

Receptionist: “Oh. Um… Well, I’ve already been cutting them off”

Me: “Are you going to cut and remove the power cord?”

Receptionist: “No. We want it to still turn, I think.”

Me: “That would be a fire and shock hazard to have all those open wires. What if someone touches one?”

Receptionist: “Oh… well. I’ll have to ask [Boss who knows nothing about technology].”

(Last I knew they were still going to put it up and plug it in. Here’s hoping no one touched it!)

This story is part of the Christmas In The Workplace roundup!

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Making A Song And Dance About Rent

| Working | September 25, 2014

(I’m a university student. I am out of town to stay with family for a few weeks, and my house that I rent was sold from a previous owner to a real estate firm, where I now need to pay my rent. Because I’ve been out of town, I didn’t get a letter from them and I was a few weeks behind on rent, so they called me.)

Realty: “Hello? Is this [My Name]?”

Me: “It certainly is! How can I help you?”

Realty: “You need to give us three weeks of rent NOW!”

Me: “Um, excuse me? I was told I’d be contacted regarding my new rent agreement…”

Realty: “Didn’t you get a letter?! We need the money now!”

(It turns out my housemate didn’t tell me about the letter either, so I was in the wrong there and agreed to pay the missing weeks plus rent for the next fortnight, which came up to over $700, almost all of my savings from my student payments. I transferred it that day to the account they gave me in an email. The next day…)

Realty: “Hello? Is this [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes it is. How can I help?”

Realty: “You still owe us over 21 days of rent! When will you be paying us?”

Me: “Now, hang on; I paid all of my rent to you yesterday. I even sent a receipt in an email as proof.”

Realty: “Well, I haven’t seen that email!”

Me: “You sent me a reply of ‘thanks.'”

Realty: “Um… well, that should be in order then.”

(And now today…)

Realty: “Hello? [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes, that’s me.”

Realty: “Your rent is still overdue! When are you going to pay us for the missing 21 days?!”

Me: “I’ve sent it to you! I sent both you and another employee that called! I don’t owe you any more money for the next fortnight!”

Realty: “Where did you pay it to?”

Me: “I sent an Internet transfer to the account YOU emailed me!”

Realty: “You mean [Account Number]?” *pauses* “Oh. I see your email. You put in the wrong number! Didn’t you check the number?! It has a two after the first digit and you left it out!”

Me: *checks her email* “There’s no two anywhere in this account number you sent me.”

(There is a silence as I assume she checks the email.)

Realty: “… I’ll mark your file as ‘not your fault.’ Make sure you pay us when the payment bounces back to you. Have a nice day.”

(Hopefully they leave me alone and I actually get that payment back! I’m moving out to a different realty next month!)

When Daleks Move Out

| Working | June 2, 2014

(Though English is my native tongue, I’m also fluent in several other languages and sometimes get my words mixed up. I’m moving out of my flat and I need to find a new tenant to take over my room. This exchange happens when I try to tell the landlord about my progress.)

Me: “So, I advertised the room online and I got loads of responses!”

Landlord: “Oh wow! Good job.”

Me: “Thanks! Some of them weren’t good matches though, so I had to exterminate them.”

Landlord: “… What?”

Me: “Wait, no! I mean eliminate! You know, cross them off the list!”

(I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m a murderer now…)

Send You Off The Rails

| Right | January 5, 2014

(I am self-employed in the real estate appraisal business. I have made an FHA appraisal of a home that needs some minor repair. Once the repairs have been made, it will be necessary for me to re-inspect the home to make sure that the repairs have been satisfactorily completed. In this case, I have required that railings be installed around the front porch and stairway because they are several feet above the walkway. Shortly after submitting the appraisal and repair list, I received a call from the seller’s realtor.)

Realtor: “I want to talk to you about the repairs you required. Why do we have to put up stair and porch railings?”

Me: “It’s an FHA requirement. When a home sells with FHA financing, it has to meet minimum safety standards set by FHA.”

Realtor: “Well, I don’t see why they’re necessary. The house already has an FHA loan. Why weren’t the railings required when my client bought the house?”

Me: “I don’t know. Maybe the other appraiser wasn’t paying attention.”

Realtor: “Why can’t you just look the other way?”

Me: “I’m sorry. That’s not the way I do business.”

Realtor: “We’re not going to put up the railings. And that’s that.”

Me: “I understand your frustration, but it seems to be a shame that you’re going to allow this sale to be killed over a few hundred dollars.”

Realtor: *long pause* “Okay, but you can’t charge for the repair inspection.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Realtor: “I mean if we’re going to pay for a repair that’s clearly not necessary, then the least you can do is waive your fee for the repair inspection.”

Me: “Let me call you right back. I’ll have to talk to my supervisor about this. I don’t know what he’ll say.”

Realtor: “Okay. That will be fine.”

(The realtor doesn’t know that I’m self employed. I wait ten minutes and call the realtor back.)

Realtor: “Hello?”

Me: “Hello. I just spoke to my supervisor and he got mad as h***. I argued on your behalf and he finally agreed to a 50 percent discount on the fee. This is the best I can do. He’s really upset with me.”

Realtor: “A 50 percent discount? Okay. That will be fine.”

(The realtor and seller were good to their word and quickly had the railings installed. On the invoice to the mortgage company, I charged full fee, but wrote in blue ink, ‘This fee represents a 50 percent discount.’ I later did several more appraisals for that realtor. He thought he had gotten the best of me!)