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As Long As They’re Communicating, I Guess

, , , , , , | Related | July 3, 2022

I’m visiting my parents, and my mom makes a joke about a piece of furniture she’ll inherit, saying it’ll be solely hers. Dad is a lawyer who specializes in wills and estate planning, so it’s normal for us to joke about that sort of thing. Also relevant: my parents are in their sixties and expect to live quite a while longer.

Me: “But Mom, don’t you two have a community property agreement? It’s both of yours, then.”

A community property agreement is basically a legal form stating that spouses agree they share all their possessions, including things that would normally not be considered shared in the eyes of our state laws, like inheritances given to one individual or assets gained before the marriage.

Dad: “Actually, we’re dissolving that.” 

Me: “Why?”

Mom: “It leaves more for you and your siblings to inherit when we die.”

Dad: “If your mom would ever get around to it.”

There’s an awkward pause.

Me: “Wait, Dad… when you say, ‘get around to it,’ do you mean Mom signing the paperwork, or do you mean Mom dying?”

Dad: “No, signing it! I asked her to sign it a few weeks ago and she hasn’t yet.”

For the record, Mom agrees that dissolving their community property agreement is for the best — hence her talking about the inheritance being only hers — and Dad wants her to stick around for a while.

Give A Man A Fish

, , , , , | Right | June 15, 2022

I have a seasonal job at a popular boat tour company here in Seattle. These boats serve food and drinks (including alcohol) during the tours; however, since there’s no kitchen aboard and the crew can’t exactly load new stock during the twenty minutes guests spend boarding and disembarking between tours, all of the food either is refrigerated or has a long shelf life (chips and such).

Not only that, but the food isn’t even prepared by shoreside employees; it’s purchased from local suppliers. With all this buildup, you’re probably expecting this to be a story about a customer who insisted on having a hot or fresh meal, but it’s weirder than that.

Customer: “Can I have some salmon?”

Coworker: “Sorry, we don’t sell that. I can recommend [Seafood Place] once we dock, though!”

Customer: “Oh, that’s okay. What other fish do y’all have?”

Coworker: “Sir, we don’t sell fish on these boats. It’s just what you see on the menus here.” *Points to a stack of paper menus*

Customer: “But… this is Seattle.”

Coworker: “Yes, sir. It is.”

Customer: “So… y’all gotta have fish.”

Coworker: “No, sir, we don’t.”

Customer: “But… y’all gotta have fish, right?”

Coworker: “Sir, we have never sold fish.”

Customer: “But y’all gotta have fish.”

Coworker: “We don’t have any fish.”

Imagine these last four exchanges repeating for about five minutes, until the customer finally gave up, leaving the register as he mumbled about how he couldn’t believe there wasn’t any fish.

None of the crew had any idea what was going on in his head. Did he think there was some sort of law requiring Seattle businesses to sell fish? Was he convinced there was a “secret menu” situation going on? Unfortunately, since tours don’t often have repeat customers — especially in the same season — I doubt we’ll ever know.

When You’re Both Toxic And Intoxicated

, , , , , , , | Right | May 31, 2022

A mother and her two twenty-something-year-old daughters are in the store, all three visibly drunk. One of the daughters comes up and asks:

Daughter: “Where are the airplane shooters?”

I tell her and give the grocery department a heads-up that she’s already drunk since they have to unlock the case anyway. The daughter comes back with three airplane shooters of vodka and the two daughters head out to the car to get mom’s payment card.

The person in charge on duty comes over as I warned them and I like having a witness when I deny people sales. The drunk mom scans a bottle, and this ensues.

Me: “I’m going to be honest with you now: I believe you to be intoxicated and I’m denying the sale.”

Drunk Mom: *Now angry* “Oh, I’m. I’m… not intoxicated.”

Me: “I can clearly smell the alcohol on your breath”

Drunk Mom: *Making a scene, complete with a raised voice* “Well, of course you can! I had half a sip!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but smelling it is grounds to deny the sale and we won’t be selling it to you this evening.”

The person in charge and I grab the alcohol and walk away, but he hangs out just in case they start up again. The daughters come back in a few minutes after, and the mom LOUDLY complains to them about me denying the sale.

Drunk Mom: “This guy won’t sell me the booze just because he can smell it on me. I’m the only one who’s sober here!”

I smile behind my mask because she went ahead and confirmed what I already suspected. I wish the drunk trio a good evening as they leave and one of the daughters yells back to me:

Daughter: “You need to learn not to disrespect your elders.”

We had a good laugh over that comment. I found out the next day that one of the daughters called in later that night and tried to complain about me. The manager who took the call had already been told about the situation and took my side. But that’s exactly why I bring a witness to deny sales.

It Pays To Know The Law

, , , , , , , | Legal | May 27, 2022

We recently bought our first house and moved there from an apartment in a large complex in a neighboring city. Before moving out, we cleaned and scrubbed the apartment, but as we hadn’t had time to shampoo the carpets like the complex wanted everyone to do on moving out, we figured we wouldn’t get the full damage deposit back. Oh, well; we got all of our things out and left no trash or messes. Plus, we were happy to be done with the nickel-and-diming the apartment complex did at the slightest opportunity.

Two and a half weeks passed with no word about the deposit. In my state, the law says that a landlord must give former tenants an itemized receipt and any remaining damage deposit no later than three weeks after the tenant moves out. After three weeks, the landlord forfeits any right to the deposit; it all goes to the former tenant, regardless of what state the rental was left in. Furthermore, if the landlord attempts to recover a damage deposit at this point, the courts will award up to twice the damage deposit to the former tenant (except in extraordinary cases, of course).

Knowing this, I called the apartment office and confirmed that they had our new address. I didn’t tell them why I curious. They did. A month after we moved out (that is, one week late), we got an envelope from the apartment complex with no itemized receipt, just a check for a third of our damage deposit. The postmark was after the three-week mark, as well.

Next, I called my dad, an attorney who handles non-criminal law and has experience with property law. I told him what was going on. His advice?

Dad: “Don’t cash the check, at least not yet. Write a letter citing the law and the apartment complex’s violation of it — and go ahead and include that you’ve talked to your lawyer about it.”

That’s not a lie; in the instances when I’ve needed a lawyer, like writing up my will, Dad’s the one I go to.

I happily typed up a short letter along the lines of:

Me: “We received your check on [date] after moving out on [date four weeks prior]. According to [state code] — which you have violated — and on the advice of my lawyer, I must insist that we are refunded the full deposit in accordance with state law.”

A day or two later, I got a phone call from the apartment complex. A very tense-sounding person on the other end told me in very stiff, formal terms that they’d received my note and a check for the remaining balance was on its way. Once I got that, I took both to the bank and deposited them.

The moral of the story: know your rights and follow the rules. We would have been fine with the smaller amount had they just followed state law, but once they tried to pull a fast one on us, probably assuming that we didn’t know what they were doing? Pay up!

USB Knowledge Is Not Universal

, , , , , , , | Right | April 26, 2022

I work in IT for a bank. We are a comparatively small bank; we only have a handful of branches throughout the Pacific Northwest. We are mainly phone support, and while we do onsite support, it is usually equipment setup for new locations or occasionally cabling issues. As a rule, though, the users usually have to help out a bit.

One night, one of our techs gets a call and through his troubleshooting comes to realize that the teller just needs to plug the device into a different USB port. Simple, right? Apparently not.

I only hear his side of the conversation at the time, but he relates everything to us afterward.

Tech: “You’ll need to plug the sig pad into a different port. There should be one available on the front of the computer that you can use.”

User: “Can you send someone out to do this?”

We were based in Seattle, Washington. This branch is in southern Oregon and it is about 3:45 on a Friday.

Tech: “I can try, but we don’t usually send someone out for something like this. And it would be Monday or Tuesday at the earliest before they can get down there.”

User: “Well, what am I supposed to do? I’m eight months pregnant! I can’t be crawling all over that floor! You need to send someone out to do this now!”

Tech: “Is there someone else in the branch who can help you? Like I said, I can see if we can get someone, but it’s going to be next week before they’re down there.”

User: “I’m eight months pregnant! You need to send someone out now!”

Tech: “Look, it’s 3:45 on a Friday. We’re all closed on the weekend, and honestly, I don’t think my manager is going to approve the mileage for someone to come out just to swap that port. Is there someone else who can help you out currently?”

User: “Ugh. Fine!” *Muffles phone* “[Coworker]! I need help!”

She got someone over and they were able to swap the port easily. Guess what? Her issue was resolved! The tech understood her not wanting to get on the floor, but really, how is us driving down there going to be easier than asking a coworker to help? And in the time it took her to try and force the visit, she could have swapped it about fifteen times.