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I’m Glad Someone Here Knows What’s Going On

, , , , , , | Related | August 19, 2021

I manage support for mainframe computers and have done so for many years. My kids have grown up around a great deal of tech, but I’ve never taught them anything specifically related to mainframe.

I am out shopping with my oldest daughter, who is a teen, when I got a call. Since we are close to the office and it is a weekend, I just take her in with me. She can read a book and wait until the problem is fixed. It’s not uncommon when you’re the support lead, so she knows the drill.

As often is the case, one problem leads to another problem. We’ve been in the office about three hours by this point, and there are now three of us support staff in the office, plus my daughter.

All of a sudden, my daughter gets up and walks over to where my employee is working. Though he is the youngest of us three, he has at least a decade on my daughter.

Daughter: *Pointing to something on the screen* “That job is blocking up the queue. It’s sorting the records by time, but it’s trying to recalculate all the time to daylight saving and that takes longer. Just delete it and tell the Red team that they need to run job 8-B. Job 8-A only gets run on the night daylight saving switches over, and it’ll be replaced when [project] finishes, anyway. The problems on [system 1 and 2] are cascaded because job 8-A’s mucking up the times in the records in real time.”

All three of us turn to look at her.

Me: “[Daughter], why do you think that’s the problem?”

Daughter: “It’s the same problem you had on CICS4 last week.”

I may talk about my work in front of my kids more than I realised. Yes, she was right.


This story is part of our Best Of August 2021 roundup!

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Jelly Bean Meets Jelly Mean

, , , , , | Right | June 7, 2021

I am at the cashier desk servicing customers. I have already served this girl a bus card, and while she is still hanging around, I don’t think anything of it; customers often hang around while friends are getting their cards recharged. I keep working my way through a line about five deep, and when I’m done, I notice that the girl and her boyfriend are still waiting off to the side, nowhere near a register and clearly not a part of a line.

I smile, and ask:

Me: “Did you guys need anything else?” 

Girl: “Yeah, these jelly beans!”

Me: “Great, I’m happy to serve you here! But just for future reference, we do have clearly marked lines for registers. I’m sorry, I didn’t think you—”

She cuts me off and says rather snootily:

Girl: “Well, we didn’t know! No need to be so rude about it!”

I’m perplexed as it’s quite clear, especially at the moment with social distancing stickers on the floor and the plexiglass around the registers where the line would be, and I didn’t think I had been rude. 

Me: “O-oh… um… that will be $2.99… it’s just… I had no idea you were in the line, and for quicker service, being in the line is best! I’m sorry for the wait.”

They walk away and I think that is that. As I go to serve another customer, I hear a thwack but don’t think anything of it.

Coworker: “They just threw a jelly bean at you.”

I blinked and turned around, and sure enough, there was a jelly bean on the ground. I was a little ticked at this, as it could have hit a customer, but ultimately found it hilarious.

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Only One Half Of The Conversation And It’s Already Exhausting

, , , , , | Right | May 27, 2021

I’m waiting for my prescription to be filled, sitting next to the reception desk of the in-house optometrist. I only hear the receptionist’s half of the phone call, so I can only imagine what the other end sounds like.

Receptionist: “Hello, [Optometrist].”

Receptionist: “Yes, yes, we can certainly get you an appointment.”

Receptionist: “Yes, he still works here.”

Receptionist: “No, he doesn’t do late Wednesday night anymore; he does Thursdays, instead.”

Receptionist: “Thursdays.”

Receptionist: “Yes, he used to do late Wednesday nights, but he stopped that and now he does Thursday nights, instead.”

Receptionist: “Yes.”

Receptionist: “No, he doesn’t do Wednesday nights anymore; he does Thursday nights, instead.”

Receptionist: “Yes, Thursdays.”

Receptionist: “Yes, we can certainly get you an appointment on Thursday night. How is 6:20 for you?”

Receptionist: “Yes, in the evening.”

Receptionist: “Yes, on Thursday.”

Receptionist: “Okay then, how about the following Thursday? The latest I have is 7:00 pm.”

Receptionist: “Yes, in the evening. If that’s not going to work, may I suggest—”

Receptionist: “Yes, we are open Saturdays. We are open from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm.”

Receptionist: “Yes, he does work Saturdays. I can fit you in at ten o’clock this Saturday.”

Receptionist: “Yes, in the morning.”

Receptionist: “This Saturday.”

Receptionist: “The fourth of July.”

Receptionist: “Yes. Saturday. Have you been here before? What was the last name?”

Receptionist: “Can you spell that for me? Okay, nothing is coming up on my system. Are you sure you’ve seen him before?”

Receptionist: “Oh, I see, the appointment is for your husband. Has he seen the optometrist before?”

Receptionist: “No? Okay then, I’ll need his last name.”

Receptionist: “Well, yes, it probably all is on your Medicare card, but I’d need that in front of me to get the information off it.”

Receptionist: “Yes, the actual card.”

Receptionist: “Yes, I’d need to be holding it in my hand to get that information.”

Receptionist: “Okay then, can you please spell his name for me? Thank you. And his date of birth?”

Receptionist: “Once again, ma’am, I don’t have your Medicare card in front of me. Thank you.”

Receptionist: “Okay, we will see you at ten am this Saturday the fourth of July.”

Receptionist: “Yes, this Saturday. At ten o’clock.”

Receptionist: “Yes, in the morning. Please bring your Medicare care.”

Receptionist: “Yes, the actual card. Thank you. Bye.”

He hung up and made an expression that said, “Thank God that’s over.” As he turned around, he saw that I was looking straight at him and panicked briefly before he realised that I was shaking with silent laughter. I really want to be there at 10:00 am this Saturday to see what happens. Yes, in the morning. This Saturday.

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When Things Are Adding Up Too Well, The Customer Will Find A Way…

, , , | Right | November 25, 2020

I’m doing work experience at a bakery. It’s only my third day there, so I’m still working out how to add prices and use the till.

Customer: “I’d like a steak pie and a Coke, please.”

I grab the Coke and the pie, and as I go, I add the prices together in my head. So far, so good. 

Me: “Would you like anything else?”

Customer: “Yes, I’d like a custard Berliner, and a chocolate donut, and…”

He proceeds to order about twenty items, and I run around putting them all in bags and frantically trying to add things up in my head as I go. I can’t remember all the pricing, so it takes a bit of effort. I finally have everything together, and I’m quite proud of myself as I’ve almost added up his entire total in my head so I can type it into the till.

Customer: “Um… can I pay for everything in separate groups?”

Me: “…” *Eye twitch.*

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An Editor’s Job Security

, , , , | Working | November 12, 2020

When I am working for an insurance broker, one of my tasks is to do daily banking, mail, etc. On the way, I pass the office of a large and well-known insurance company. We used to do a fair amount of business with this company, so I know the people who work there pretty well.

One day, as I walk past, I glance at their window and notice a new poster. I stop and look at it and think, “Hmm, should I say something?”

I am in a hurry to get to the bank, so I go on. On the way back, though, I can’t resist it, so I go in.

Three of the employees I know are in the front office, and after we all greet each other, one asks me what they can do for me.

Me: “Since you are an insurance company, don’t you think your posters should have spelt ‘Insurance’ properly?”

Shock, horror! All of these posters had been sent all over the state and each one — in big, bold letters — had “Insurnance” on them.

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