A Little Ignorance Will Kill You

, , , , | Right | September 28, 2020

I am a handyman, and a customer has asked me to do some interior work in a crawlspace. However, since this is a house that is still being built, the power has not been hooked up yet. There is a generator onsite, but due to a few issues, I would have to take the generator up into the crawlspace to make effective use of it.

Me: “I’m sorry, [Client], but I can’t do the work that you are asking.”

Client: “Why not?”

Me: “Because that would require me to take the generator up to the crawlspace with me. It’s not safe.”

Client: “What are you talking about?”

Me: “Well, the generator puts off carbon monoxide, which isn’t safe to breathe, especially in an enclosed space like that.”

Client: “A little carbon monoxide won’t kill you.”

I then had to spend the next ten minutes explaining to the customer why that was wrong. They eventually agreed to put the work off until the electricity was hooked up.

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It’s A Big, Scary Ocean Out There

, , , , , , | Learning | September 18, 2020

I live in a small house on campus. It is a dorm, but we only have about a dozen rooms. I become good friends with two of the other girls, [Friend #1] and [Friend #2].

My second year, at the “get to know you” meeting, the three of us decide to take one of the freshmen under our wings. Our chosen freshman, who we call “Little Fish” — freshmen are often referred to as fish around here — is a very small girl, not even 100 pounds soaking wet, maybe five-foot-nothing. She is a sweet little thing, she was homeschooled, and while she knows how to do housework and is very well-prepared academically, she is very naive and believes nothing bad could ever happen to her.

One day, we find out she has been walking home alone from her night classes. Being the concerned big sisters we are, we have to stage an intervention. We sit her down in the lobby one day.

Friend #1: “Okay, Little Fish, it has come to our attention that you are walking home at night alone and unarmed.”

Little Fish: “Um, I guess.”

Me: “And are you aware just how dangerous this is?”

Little Fish: “Um, no. I mean, you guys walk around alone all the time. I don’t see why I shouldn’t if you do.”

[Friend #1] and I are both over 100 pounds and at least half a foot taller than Little Fish. [Friend #2] weighs more than all of us combined and is a weightlifter.

Friend #2: “Fish, you are small and portable.”

Little Fish: “No, I’m not.”

Me: “Yes, you are.”

Little Fish: “I’m not.”

[Friend #2] stands up, grabs Little Fish, throws her over her shoulder, sprints down the hall, touches the back door, and then sprints back and drops Little Fish back on the couch.

Friend #2: “See, portable.”

Little Fish: “That’s not fair! I wasn’t prepared for any of you to try and kidnap me. I’d be prepared for a stranger on the street.”

Me: *Standing up slowly* “Okay, Little Fish, I’m going to pick you up now.”

I proceed to grab her by the waist and carry her a few feet while she flails her hands about wildly. She manages to make contact with my face a few times but I don’t even have a bruise the next day. After I set her down again:

Little Fish: “But [Friend #2] could carry both of you off just as easy.”

Friend #1: “Honey, I carry a full-sized umbrella everywhere no matter the weather. It’s not just a style choice; that thing is a weapon and I can use it.”

Me: “And I have pepper spray on my key chain and have been learning aikido for years.”

Friend #2: “Heck, I carry pepper spray and I’m the least likely person in this room to ever need to use it.”

Little Fish: “Oh, but why would anyone want to kidnap me?”

Friend #1: “Because the world is a dark and scary place full of bad people.”

Little Fish: “It is?!”

I started dragging Little Fish to my aikido classes. We also found a friend of a friend who was taking the same night class and got him to walk with her, since his boyfriend’s dorm was in the building next door to ours.

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Don’t Know If We’re Incompetent Or Gassy, But We’re Somewhere In That Zone

, , , , , , | Working | August 27, 2020

When our teams work in certain high-risk sites, each worker must wear a gas detector. Due to a number of failures and calibration occurring at the same time, one of our workers needs a detector, and we’re all out of spares. I check who’s on layoff and not needing a detector in the next weeks and start making phone calls. The first guy is a fresh hire and he confesses he left a detector in the shack at a site a hundred miles away.

The human resources coordinator blows a fuse when I tell her. “What? This is not admissible! I’ll write him up!”

“I’d really suggest you don’t, boss.”

“Why not? He signed when we gave him his personal—”

“He didn’t sign because he never got one. He was always meant for [low-risk] site, but a third man was needed at the refinery, so we gave him a random one and sent him with God. Moreover, he was supposed to get safety training within ninety days of being hired, and despite several occasions and several reminders, the term expired five months ago. Of course, you could still write him up, but there’s a chance it comes back to bite us in the back.”

So far, no letter.

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We Hope The Child Falls Very Far From The Tree

, , , , , | Right | August 21, 2020

I work as a porter at a large branch of a national supermarket chain, dealing with the trolleys and baskets. The front of the store features a large metal A-frame that kids love to climb on but it isn’t safe at all, so we tell them to get down before they hurt themselves. About ten minutes after telling a little girl that it isn’t a climbing frame and asking her to get down, I’m approached by a woman, the girl from before in tow. 

Woman: “Don’t tell her not to climb on there; it’s none of your business!”

I try and explain that it is my business because it’s part of my job but the woman cuts me off, repeating:

Woman: “It’s none of your business!”

She stormed off to her car. I wonder if she’d feel the same way if her daughter had fallen and injured herself?

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Yeah, That Sounds Safe

, , , , | Working | August 10, 2020

This takes place about two weeks after I start a new job that involves managing various temporary properties and turning them around after each occupant. As a newbie, I’m still not quite up to speed, so I’m on the basic jobs for now.

A property becomes empty and I’m asked to go out, read the energy meters, and ring the company who supplies the property with the up-to-date readings. Easy, right?

Out I go. I walk onto the property and through the fire-resistant door into the living room/kitchen, not paying any attention to the door closing behind me.

I get the readings, go to leave, and call the company from the office and find that the very heavy, fire-resistant door that closed behind me doesn’t have a handle on the inside after the last occupant obviously removed it.

And that’s the story of how, on my second week in my job, I had to call the office and ask someone to drive twenty-odd miles to come and let me out of a property that wasn’t even locked.

They did suggest I climb out the window, but that wouldn’t have ended well.

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