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Letting You Know At The Top Of Their Lung

, , , , | Right | January 27, 2023

Me: “You’re talking to [My Name]. How can I help?”

Caller: “My smoke detectors are ten years old, and my insurance told me to replace them.”

Me: “I see. Do you rent a house with us?”

He gives me the address.

Me: “I see you are renting with us, and since smoke detectors are obligated by law, we can help you with that. I just need some information, and then I can put you on a list. Please know that all of our smoke detectors were ordered from [Country that is currently being invaded], so it may take a while before we can place them with you.”

Caller: “I understand.”

Me: “Now, how many smoke detectors are present in your house?”

Caller: “Three.”

Me: “And how many floors does your home have, including the ground floor?”

Caller: “Three.”

Me: “All right, and are the smoke detectors still working, or are they broken?”

Caller: “I don’t know.”

Me: “When was the last time you tested them?”

The fire department advises you to check the detectors once a week. They have an easy-to-reach test button.

Caller: “I’ve never tested them. I only have one lung!”

Me: “Do you have the opportunity to test them right now?”

Caller: “I told you; I only have one lung!”

Me: “I understand that you are not in the position to press a button. I will mention that in the work order for you. When was the last time you cleaned them?”

Cleaning means just vacuuming them.

Caller: “What don’t you understand about having one lung?!”

Me: “All right, you haven’t been able to clean them once in the past ten years. I’ll let our technician know that, as well. You will be called in [timespan]. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Caller: “Yes, am I allowed to take my bike into the elevator? I have a very expensive racing bike, and I don’t want to keep it in my storage unit. I’d rather keep it at home so I don’t have to worry about it being stolen. I only ride it every Sunday.”

So, pressing a button and vacuuming a smoke detector is too hard, but riding a bike is no issue… Some people…

Also, bikes are not allowed in the elevators. The customer then asked if he could take it up the stairs. I know racing bikes can be light, but again… some people…

Oil Bet He’ll Never Live It Down

, , , , , , | Working | January 24, 2023

One of our dimmest bulbs on the forklift rotation brilliantly put a shipment of glass olive oil bottles, wrapped on a broken pallet, on the fourth shelf up — about thirty feet in the air. How he got it up there without it collapsing, I don’t know. But when someone else went to take it down… Have you ever heard 360 glass bottles smashing?

The sound was incredible. It went on for a cartoonish amount of time. People didn’t even move for a second, just transfixed. But when we did, everyone came running. We got the driver out, shaken but safe, and then we found mops, rags, cat litter, and squeegees.

We designated “oily” for the people working in the crash zone and “outside” for the runners, so we wouldn’t track olive oil everywhere, and found clean shoes for them.

That is the biggest workplace catastrophe I have ever seen, and also the biggest come-together moment.

Sometimes Karma Is Instant And Aggressive

, , , , , , , | Working | January 24, 2023

I used to work in a restaurant, and our manager was awful. She was rude, intentionally picked out favorites and gave them presents in front of everyone (even when they didn’t like her and tried to avoid it), messed up schedules on purpose for people she didn’t like, etc. She was the worst manager ever.

There was a huge storm coming in, and people were really worried about it. The news was telling people to stay home, other businesses were closing, etc., so it was up to [Manager] to either keep our store open or close it. Of course, she kept it open.

Because schools closed, only half of our scheduled employees showed up. The rest called in, and [Manager] called her favorites and told them they didn’t have to come in. As the five or so of us who showed up were standing there, watching out the front windows — there were zero customers — [Manager] started yelling at us, threatening to write us all up, and so on. We tried telling her that no one was there, all the work was done, and we were watching the wind bend trees over and worrying about whether we were safe and would be able to get home.

Right about this time, we heard a super loud crashing noise: KACHUNK! KACHUNK! KACHUNK! KACHUNK! WHAM!

The industrial air conditioner on top of the building got blown off! It rolled along the roof and then went flying into the parking lot… and right onto [Manager]’s car.

It was so perfect it was surreal; it landed dead center and smashed her car flat. If [Manager] had been in it, she would have died. And it only happened because she parked right up by the building where we had specifically been told not to park. All our cars were out in the farthest corner of the lot.

We later found out that [Manager]’s car wasn’t paid off, it was some stupidly expensive BMW or something, and her insurance didn’t cover the damage because it was an “act of God”.

His Science Career Is Literally Going Up In Flames

, , , , , | Learning | January 23, 2023

I was studying biology at university and we were in the laboratory, working with bacteria samples. It was mostly for practice before the more serious lab work later on in the year.

It was clear that some of the students had little experience working in a lab. My lab partner was one of these, and since I already had some experience, I let him do the actual work while I assisted.

My partner was getting ready to place a sample onto a petri dish with growth medium on it. Before the sample could be placed, the equipment needed to be sterilized in order to ensure that the samples weren’t contaminated.

He started out by dipping an inoculation loop in ethanol, and then he was going to move it through a blue flame to make it completely sterile. As he was moving it through the flame, the spirit on it caught fire as planned and started burning off. The beaker of ethanol was still placed on the desk.

Me: “Okay, now, just hold still, and take care not to spill the—”

[Lab Partner] knocked the beaker over, spilling ethanol all over the bench.

Me: “Woah! Okay, don’t panic. Just make sure you don’t move the flame too close to—”

Then, [Lab Partner] clumsily lowered the burning instrument too close to the pool of ethanol, causing it to catch fire and spread across the desk.

The teaching assistant rushed over and threw a fire blanket over the desk. The fire had reached an expensive microscope and started to melt part of the plastic on its base, but thankfully, it wasn’t properly ruined.

I took care of the sterilization protocol myself after that.

The Stagehands Can But Make A Fire (Extinguisher) Of Him…

, , , , , , , | Working | January 20, 2023

In the late 1990s, I worked as a production assistant for a company that did an outdoor Shakespeare show every summer. The year I worked there, the show was “Julius Caesar”.

At one point during the show, while Caesar was giving a speech, several actors onstage held lit lanterns on long poles — none of those fake battery-operated lights but real live fire in the lanterns. Best practices dictated that we have a stagehand standing just offstage with a fire extinguisher the entire time those lanterns were lit.

One night, while this scene was occurring and Caesar was giving his speech, one of the lanterns broke and hit the stage, still lit. The stagehand immediately stepped onstage and shot the lantern with a blast from his fire extinguisher to put out the flames.

There was a moment of stunned silence from everyone: the stagehand, the actors, and the audience. And then Caesar, gravely and sincerely, turned to the stagehand and exclaimed:

Caesar: “Thank you, citizen!”

And he promptly turned back to the audience and returned to his speech without missing another beat. 

It was one of the most masterful recoveries from an onstage problem I’ve ever seen.