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The Next Call Should Be To A Social Worker

, , , , | Right | April 9, 2021

I work at a small independent appliance store. All of us staff tend to do a bit of everything, sales, installs, etc.

An elderly lady phones and wants to replace her old cooker and kettle. I try to get the information regarding the size of the old one in order to find a suitable replacement, but she doesn’t really know. I take her details and it turns out we have another delivery near her that day. We agree to send a guy around to take a couple of simple measurements and take some brochures so that she can decide what she wants. The usual installers call me back later with the relevant sizes and specs that the lady would like and we agree on products, price, delivery date, etc. So far, so normal.

The day of the delivery comes, and the usual installation guys have been held up, so the boss says he’ll watch the shop while another colleague and I go to do a couple of deliveries. We get to the old lady’s house and go to take the old cooker out, and it is old — maybe forty or fifty years! And the kettle is the old type that boils on the hob, not a plug-in type.

We take the old stuff out and bring the new one in. All the while, the old lady is shadowing us, muttering under her breath.

As I am testing the new hotplates, the lady has filled up her new kettle behind me and goes to place it on the glowing hot stove. I quickly snatch it away before she melts it and possibly blows up her new stuff. I explain that this is not like her old one. I get the plug and base from the box and explain that it does not work the same as her old one.

Then, she wants to check that the cooker is working, so she proceeds to scurry over and try to place her hand directly on a glowing red stove! I again just manage to grab her arm in time and tell her she must be careful as this is very hot, and she will seriously injure herself.

I have to explain another few times that she must under no circumstances touch the cooker top while it’s on or place her old kettle onto it as it could blow up.

We finally get going to the next job after spending an additional half-hour with this woman, who we conclude must be senile. After about fifteen minutes, the boss phones us absolutely raging. He has a distraught old lady on the phone who has just nearly blown herself up after doing exactly what we just told her not to do, melting a full kettle and dumping two litres of water straight into the live electrics of the cooker!

Why Can’t These Jerks Blow Themselves Up On Their Own Time?

, , , , , | Right | April 1, 2021

I am driving into a gas station and notice a man smoking at his parked van. The van is directly in front of a rack of propane tanks and only about thirty meters from the pumps. Where the man is standing, there are no less than three “No Smoking” signs clearly visible. I roll down my window and get his attention.

Me: “Excuse me. There’s no smoking here.”

Smoker: *Playing naïve* “Where?”

Me: “You’re in front of propane tanks; this is a gas station. There’re ‘No Smoking’ signs everywhere.”

Smoker: *Just being a jerk* “Where?”

I point at one in front of his van, above the propane.

Me: “There.”

Smoker: “That’s for over there; I’m all the way over here.” 

He gestures as if it’s a great distance. To be clear, the nose of the passenger van is practically touching the propane tanks, and he is standing next to the rear tire of the vehicle. And he’s still at a gas station, near enough to the pumps to be a concern.

Me: “The signs mean the whole area. This is a gas station.”

Smoker: “Relax, I’m not going to blow anything up. I’ve got my gas licence; I know what’s safe. It’s fine.”

I parked and walked into the station, and I spoke to a cashier and a man who appeared to be a manager or the owner. I informed them that someone was smoking in the parking lot. They were both immediately concerned, and they told me it was not permitted anywhere on premises, as I would expect.

The smoker was just entering as I finished speaking to them. I was fuming as I walked away. I hope they explained that his bad habit doesn’t give him the right to endanger other’s safety.

Some Managers Aren’t Too Sharp

, , , , , | Working | March 8, 2021

Part of my job is to audit the work area for compliance. We have a big external audit coming up, so if I can catch any little issue now, it won’t get brought up later and in front of everyone.

I notice an unusual blade sitting in one of the boxes. Anything unusual could be relating to an issue, so I question it.

Warehouse Manager: “Oh, that’s [Worker]’s. He struggles to use the other ones.”

Me: “The other safety ones?”

Warehouse Manager: “Yeah.”

Me: “The other safety ones that were put in place because we had a serious accident that sent someone to the hospital all because people left blades like this in boxes like that?”

Warehouse Manager: “Yeah.”

Me: “Okay, I’m taking this away with me. [Worker] can get used to the safety ones from now on.”

Warehouse Manager: “What? Don’t be a jobsworth.”

Me: “Seventeen stitches and the person still doesn’t have full sensation in their hand. Blood all over the place. You can have proper ones or you can take it up with [Senior Manager].”

Warehouse Manager: “Yeah, I’ll do that.”

He did, but of course, he didn’t tell the manager the full story. I reminded the senior manager that this would probably result in a lawsuit if someone injured themselves this time, as the company now had full knowledge and had failed to act.

He unsurprisingly changed his tone, thanked me, and gave the warehouse manager an earful.

Sometimes It’s Safer To Have A Cow

, , , , | Learning | March 4, 2021

It’s an ordinary day. I am reading a book to my fourth-grade class when the principal comes on the intercom.

Principal: “Teachers and faculty, this is a code blue. This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill.”

Heart pounding, I do everything I am supposed to. I check for people in the hallway, turn out the lights, lock the door, urge my class into a hidden corner of the room, and tell them to be quiet.

An hour passes, and my kids start getting antsy.

Student: “Mr. [My Name], what’s going on?”

Me: “I don’t know. And be quiet.”

A few more minutes pass, and the principal comes on the intercom again and says the danger has passed. I do all the usual procedures and find my boss in the hallway. He’s laughing. I also spot a police officer who is also laughing.

Me: “What happened? My kids were scared!”

Principal: “It was a cow!”

Me: “You’re kidding.”

Police Officer: “No, he’s not. Somebody forgot to close the main doors, and she managed to get in and make herself at home! We’ve contacted animal control and are currently asking all the local farmers if she’s theirs.”

Laughing, I went back to my classroom, calmed down my kids, and told them that everything was okay. And that’s how a cow caused mass panic in an elementary school and caused us to lock down for over an hour.

A Rollercoaster Of Emotions

, , , , , | Right | February 18, 2021

I’m a ride operator at an amusement park. Most coasters require a height of 4’0”. It assures that the rider will be safely secured through the ride. A little girl comes up with her mom and I notice that she’s extremely small so I kindly ask her to exit the train before take-off and stand against the measurer to make sure she’s riding safely.

Me: “Hey! Could I have you take a quick stand against the post here to check your height?”

Mother: “Don’t do it.”

She looks away from me.

Me: “Hmm, all right, ma’am. I’ll just need to measure her to make sure it’s safe for her to ride. Otherwise, I can’t let the train take off.”

Mother: “I said no! Get out of my face!”

It’s 104°F out, I’m in full “cowgirl” attire, and I’m just trying to get through the day. I’m sweaty, I’m tired, and I’m annoyed. I have my dispatcher release the hand bars and everyone sighs. The woman pulls hers and her daughter’s back down. Again, I have them released.

Me: “Ma’am, we can do one of two things. I can measure your child and we can move on from this, or I can shut down the coaster, call security, and have you escorted from the park.”

Mother: “Get off the d*** train, go stand on your tippy-toes like I told you, and hurry up!”

The child is very visibly about a head too short to ride.

Me: *Talking to them both* “I’m so sorry, but it doesn’t look like you’re quite tall enough! We can have your adults take turns and I can help by getting you in through the exit to a ride of your choice that you can safely ride!”

My life flashed before my eyes and all I saw was the child’s mom jumping out of the train and straight at me. She grabbed my hair, started yanking on my suspenders, and screamed like a wild woman. I had to literally kick her off of me for trying to keep her kid safe!

Eventually, security got there and pulled her away and escorted her out… through the employee back lot. I’d say I was surprised, but it’s even more surprising how many people put their kids at risk for a short ride.