Not Too Chicken To Confront Them

, , , , , | Working | April 3, 2018

(I find a Chinese takeout place very near to me that is inexpensive and can deliver very quickly. The second time I order, they give me deep-fried chicken balls that are slightly undercooked. I don’t think they are dangerous, and they taste fine, but they are definitely more pink in the middle than normal. I call them to report it and they give me some free soup. Pretty normal interaction. A couple weeks later, though, there is a repeat incident.)

Me: “Hi, I’m calling about the order you just delivered to [address]. The chicken balls were very undercooked; one was actually raw in the middle.”

Employee: *a very young-sounding girl* “Yes? Hello?”

Me: “This is [Chinese Takeaway], yes? I’m calling about the order to [address]. The chicken balls were undercooked.”

Employee: “You want an order?”

Me: “You just sent an order to [address], correct?”

Employee: “Oh. Yes? Problem? No arrive?”

Me: “It arrived, but the chicken balls were very undercooked.”

Employee: “Uh…”

Me:Undercooked. Raw. The chicken! The chicken was not properly cooked!”

Employee: “Wait. [Indistinct], get boss!”

(Almost a minute of silence passes.)

Employee: “Yes, hello? You cannot make problem. We [indistinct] cook the same and you always have problem.”

Me: “I’m sorry? I’m not trying to make a problem; I’m telling you that you can’t sell raw food, especially chicken!”

Employee: “Our food is fine! You always call with problem!”

(Keep in mind I have only called once before and I didn’t even ask for free food; they just offered it.)

Employee: “We are not giving you anything!”

Me: “I’m not asking for anything! I can put these in my oven to finish cooking! But you cannot give people raw food!”

Employee: *click*

(I call back.)

Employee: *the same girl* “Hello?”

Me: “Yes, it’s me again. I’m not trying to get free food. But I need you to acknowledge that your chicken was raw. You could kill someone.”

Employee: “Stop making problem! If you don’t like how we make, don’t order!”

Me: “You know it’s illegal to sell undercooked chicken, don’t you?”

Employee: “Don’t order here again!” *click*

(I report them to the Food Standards Agency. The best part? Not three days later, I get a phone call.)

Government Worker: “Hello, is this [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes, that’s me.”

Government Worker: “This is [My Name] with the FSA. I’m just calling about your report about [Chinese Takeaway]. Could I ask you a few things?”

Me: “Oh! Of course.”

(She confirms that what I wrote is about the correct place, and asks for the whole story, which I give her.)

Government Worker: “You should know that you’re not the only person to report this place. We’ve already given them a warning in the past, so now we’re probably going to have to inspect them in person. That usually scares them into doing things properly, but I wouldn’t order from them again, in any case, if I were you. I could give you a call to let you know if and when we take action, and the outcome?”

(I assured her that wasn’t necessary. It was just nice to know that when you report bad businesses, sometimes the authorities actually take notice.)

Don’t Have A Cow, Ma’am

, , , , , , , , | Right | March 19, 2018

(I am volunteering at a local agricultural fair that takes place in my county every year. Participants are exhibiting livestock such as cows, horses, goats, and chickens. All the animals on the fairgrounds are being housed in large barns that are open to the fairgoers. My job is to supervise one of the barns and make sure that people are safely interacting with the animals. The particular barn I am assigned to is one that houses goats and cows. I notice a woman and her five-year-old son going up to a pen with a very large bull in it. This particular breed of bull is known for being aggressive to humans.)

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am. I would advise to you not to get too close to the bull, as he is not very friendly towards humans.”

Woman: “Oh, don’t worry about it. I understand animals and their behavior. I have three dogs at home!”

Me: “Right. It’s just that bulls can act very unpredictably towards humans, and we have had some instances in the past where guests were harmed by the animals.

Woman: “I am not an idiot. Don’t tell me how to properly interact with the animals.”

(I shrug it off and walk away, thinking nothing of it. A couple moments later, I turn back around to see the mother trying to boost her son up over the fence into the bull’s pen.)

Me: “Ma’am, what do you think you’re doing?”

(I rush over to the pen and call security.)

Woman: “I want my son to get a better look at the cow!”

Me: “For God’s sake, please stop! You can seriously hurt your son!”

(Fortunately, security arrived. They were able to escort the woman off the fairgrounds. To this day, that remains, by far, the most shocking and unbelievable interaction I have had with a fairgoer!)

An Alarming Lack Of Alarming

, , , , , , | Working | March 13, 2018

(My mother and I are staying at a hotel. It’s around three am and I am woken by an alarm in the room. It sounds like a clock alarm. It’s not my phone, so I go over to my mother’s bed and look for her phone.)

Mum: *wakes to me trying to locate her phone in the dark* “Wha… What’s that noise?”

Me: “I think it’s a phone alarm. Is it yours?”

Mum: “I don’t use the alarm. What is it? Turn it off; it’s annoying.”

(She rolls back over to go to sleep. I unplug the hotel alarm clock, but the noise continues. I move towards the window and I hear another sound coming from outside, this one sounds like a fire alarm a little way off. Opening our door, I notice a fire door has closed across the hallway.)

Me: “S***! Mum, get up! It’s a fire alarm!”

(We head out into the hall to find [Friend #1] standing there, looking dazed. Other friends are still in their room. We knock on one of their doors, and they answer right away.)

Friend #2: “Hey, what’s up? Hey, [Friend #3], the noise is out here, too. What’s going on?”

Me: “It’s a fire alarm.”

Friend #2: “What? We thought it was an alarm clock. We’ve been searching the room trying to find it for the last five minutes.”

(Another group of friends had slept through it and only woke to our banging on their door. We made it down the fire escape. Thankfully, it was a false alarm — some kids had set off a fire extinguisher on another floor — but it would have been nice to have something more defined as a fire alarm, rather than something that sounded like an annoying alarm clock. I wonder how many people wouldn’t have made it out of that hotel if there really had been a fire.)

Slapped Some Sense Into You

, , , , , , , | Related | March 7, 2018

I am maybe four-ish when this happens, so I don’t remember it, but I’ve been told the story secondhand.

My mom’s car starts to break down on the highway. It lasts just long enough for her to safely pull into the parking lot of a defunct restaurant, but then she has the problem of needing to call for help. These are pre-cell-phone days, so the closest phone is at the gas station across the street. She decides that, instead of herding us across such a busy intersection, and trying to control us while tethered to a payphone, she will leave us in the car. She instructs my eight-year-old brother that he is in charge for the next ten minutes, and makes it very clear that under no circumstances are either of us to leave the car.

She runs across the street, calls my dad for help, and comes back as fast as she can. At some point I must have tried to follow her, because when she comes back she finds me pouting in the back seat with a bright red handprint on my face.

Many years later, I tell this story to my Nana, and she immediately goes to defend my brother with, “Oh, I’m sure he was just scared…” I have to reassure her that, no, I do not harbor any ill will towards him for that at all; I would much prefer being slapped in the face to being flattened by a truck.

Mission: Scarily Possible

, , , , , | Related | February 23, 2018

I’ve been a player of airsoft — a contact activity and sport involving use of mid- to high-powered BB guns — for several years, and have acquired a variety of weapons to play with during that time. For the sake of both satisfying my own security concerns about having guns — even ones that can’t fire real bullets — loose about the house and also to keep my nephews off them when they come round, I have been locking all my gear in a secure gun safe for several years. This gun safe then has a separate lockbox inside it where I store magazines and my grenades — airsoft frag grenades like the ones I use function like true grenades but contain dried peas instead of metal fragments, painful but far from lethal. The keys to this gun safe and the lockbox hang inside a separate code-locked safe in another room of the house that also contains documents, passports, etc., and my partner’s more valuable jewelry.

Because I play airsoft, and because his father (my brother) is a firearms officer for the police force, one of my nephews has a slightly unhealthy obsession with guns, and in spite of several talks from his father and me on the dangers of guns, he persists in his interest in them. As such, on agreement with my brother, I never get any of my gear out whilst he’s at the house. Before I continue with this story, I should note that my nephew was seven when this story occurred.

My partner and I were entertaining and had my brother, his wife, and his two children visiting, plus my parents and maternal grandparents, for a total of ten people in the house. I thought nothing of it when my nephew announced he needed the toilet — we have a downstairs toilet right outside the lounge — and being in the thick of preparations for dinner and busy entertaining, none of us adults noticed his absence until his little brother, only three at the time, wondered aloud where his brother was.

Immediately suspicious, I went looking and noted with concern that the downstairs toilet was empty. I raced upstairs to check the room where the gun safe is kept, suspecting him to be there, and I was met with the sight of my nephew gleefully pulling the pin on one of my grenades.

Knowing the timers on my grenades are around the five-second mark, I closed the distance, swatted the grenade from his hands, and picked him up bodily to shield him from the blast with my own body, just about accomplishing this before the grenade blew up barely three feet from us.

Now, as I mentioned earlier in this post, the grenades are filled with dried peas; they’re not lethal, but with it that close and with me wearing slacks and a t-shirt they sure as hell stung, and I had an impressive scatter burst of small bruises across my back and the back of my legs later. Unsurprisingly, the noise brought my brother and father charging upstairs, and after they’d ascertained that we were both all right and my brother raged furiously at his son, they questioned my nephew as to how he’d gained access to any of my gear in the first place, and his answer amazed us.

Over about a six-month period, this seven-year-old boy had established that I kept all my gear in the gun safe, figured out that the keys were kept in the separate safe, and then, over several visits, tagged along, pretending to play, when my partner or I had gone to the safe to get something from it, and then he had memorised the code from watching us enter it. Finally, his plan had come to fruition and he’d got into the safe. After dragging a couple guns out, presumably to play with, he had opened the lockbox and pulled a grenade out. Very fortunately, this was when I found him, because even five seconds later I’d have been entirely too late to prevent him severely injuring himself.

Being fairly dumbstruck at this level of planning from such a young child, none of us really knew what to say afterwards, so we just sent him downstairs to his (unsurprisingly mortified) mother whilst we put the guns back and cleared up the mess the grenade caused as best we could. I changed the safe code, and opted to place the lockbox key in my wallet instead of back in the safe, and we continued the evening rather shaken, but fortunately all safe.

I’m sure some people will say we were idiots to let a child roam the house unwatched when we knew he had a gun obsession, but frankly no one expects a seven-year-old to plan out a way to get past three layers of security.

Fortunately, this event did finally convince my nephew that guns are dangerous, and now two years later, he’s much more interested in football and Pokémon than conducting secret agent operations behind our backs.

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