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This Lesson Really Speeds

, , , , , , | Legal | October 18, 2021

I have submitted a few stories about my father-in-law, including this one. Some years ago, we were sitting on our back porch having a cookout and talking. My husband mentioned that I had gotten my first ever speeding ticket at the ripe ol’ age of twenty-seven. My father-in-law looked surprised.

Father-In-Law: “Really, [My Name]? You’re usually such a good driver.”

Me: “Well, they just changed the speed limit on the road from fifty-five to thirty-five last week. I forgot and they clocked me doing fifty-seven. It’s my fault for not paying attention. I am not sure how this is going to work in court since I have never had a speeding ticket before.”

Husband: “I told her she should plead not guilty.” 

Me: “But that would be a lie. I am guilty. While it wasn’t on purpose, I was still breaking the law.”

Father-In-Law: “No, I agree. Tell the truth. Don’t lie; explain it. The judge might be in a good mood and give you a reduced fine.”

Husband: “Hey, Dad, tell her about your speeding ticket in Georgia.”

[Father-In-Law] told us about how he was going down a highway some years ago in Georgia when an officer pulled him over and gave him a ticket. [Father-In-Law] said he didn’t think he was going over the speed limit but it was kind of fascinating because the officer had a radar gun. This was in the 1980s when these were kind of new in rural areas. [Father-In-Law] had never seen one, and the officer was kind of proud of it and more than happy to show it off to my father-in-law.

When they went to court, [Father-In-Law] started noticing something interesting. The first five people called up were all clocked at sixty-seven mph by that cop on the same road on the same day.  

When they called [Father-In-Law] up:

Father-In-Law: “Your honor, I mean no disrespect, but before I enter a plea, I am asserting my right to see the evidence. I want to see this officer’s proof of training on this piece of equipment, as well as the paperwork of the last time it was calibrated.”

The judge was less than pleased.

Judge: “What makes you think you can demand any of that?!”

Father-In-Law: “Since none of you have noticed, the five defendants before me were all clocked doing sixty-seven. And so was I. I am curious about the cases after me. What were they clocked at?”

The judge immediately calmed down and asked the officer to look at his ticket book. The officer flipped through his book and, with amazement, proclaimed that all the tickets that day were for sixty-seven mph.

Judge: “I never noticed.” 

The judge sat back for a moment.

Judge: “I’ve hated those newfangled things since the day I saw them. I never thought they could be trusted. I’m glad I am retiring soon. Case dismissed.”

He then told his secretary that all tickets that day were dismissed and asked her to see if someone could catch the five previous defendants before they left the building. The officer did shake [Father-In-Law]’s hand, so there were no hard feelings.

As for me, I did plead guilty. The judge said I was the first person who ever plead guilty in front of him. He told me that as long as I kept my nose clean and had no more tickets for at least a year, I was good to go. I haven’t had a speeding ticket since and don’t plan to.

This Lesson Really Blows
This Lesson Really Bites
This Lesson Really Stings, Part 3
This Lesson Really Stings, Part 2
This Lesson Really Stings

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Gosh, Now I Feel Really Safe

, , , , , , | Working | October 11, 2021

This is during the beginnings of the 2020 health crisis. I decide to take advantage of the low interest rates for mortgages and buy my first home. After searching for a few months, I claim one that’s in my budget before it’s even put on the market and move in on June 1st.

I am a single female in my late twenties. I am also formally diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and am an introvert, making it difficult for me to talk to strangers. In addition, I was raised by a mostly traditional Southern family, meaning it has been wired into me since birth to be polite and courteous. All of these factors combined mean I have a difficult time being rude to people and telling them “no.”

When I first move into my new home, I notice there is an old security system on the wall. I don’t know if it belongs to the previous owners or the owners before them, but I don’t think much of it at the time.

A few weeks after moving in, I get a knock on my door at 7:00 pm. My door does not have a peephole and I don’t have a doorbell camera, so I open the door to see who it is. Standing in front of me is a man who is dress in business casual and has a lanyard around his neck with a badge. He is also not wearing a mask. 

Man: “Hello, I am [Man], the Relocation Manager for [Security System] here to talk to you about our services. I’m sure they mentioned during your closing process that we would come by to visit.”

Me: *Flustered and confused* “No, they didn’t. Neither my agent nor lawyer mentioned you.”

Man: “Oh, well, they should have. Anyway, I’m here to offer you some promotions we have, since you fall into a special group.”

Me: “Oh, okay.”

Man: “Do you mind if I come in?”

I’m feeling uncomfortable, but Southern courtesy kicks in.

Me: “Sure.”

The man comes into my house and notices the old system on the wall.

Man: “Oh, this is old. We’ll be sure to replace that with a more up-to-date model with a touchscreen.”

I remain silent for the most part, keeping my distance and staying behind him, so my back is never turned to him.

Man: “Do you mind if I see your backyard?”

I point him in the general direction where the hall is, following behind him. My back door is located in my office. He goes into my office, opens the back door, and looks around.

Man: “Nice privacy fence you have there. Criminals also like it because he provides them privacy, too.”

I recognize he’s trying to scare me, and it’s making me annoyed. We head back into the living room where he casually sits on my couch.

Man: “Aren’t you going to come and sit down?”

I’m still keeping my distance, and I’m getting even more annoyed.

Me: “No, I’m fine standing.

Man: “Well, since you just moved, we are offering you a special deal for new homeowners. We can waive all the installation fees and fees associated with new accounts.”

Me: “And how much would the monthly fee be for monitoring?”

Man: “Our lowest package starts at $63.99 a month.”

Me: “I haven’t even been in my house for a month, so I’m not sure if I can afford that.”

Man: “Sure, you can.”

Me: “I would rather wait instead of signing up immediately.”

Man: “Oh, this promotion is only for a certain amount of time, so you need to sign up today.”

Me: “But I don’t know if I can afford it. I need to think about it.”

He pulls out a tablet and proceeds to ask me my name, number, and email. I think he’s taking my contact information to contact me later. Then, he asks for my social security number.

Me: “I don’t feel comfortable telling you that.”

Man: “Don’t worry; it’s encrypted.”

Me: “I still don’t want to tell you.”

He hands me the tablet for me to put it in manually. I start doing so, seeing that it does the stars as I put in the numbers, showing it is encrypted. I hand the tablet back to him.

Man: “And what’s a good card number that I can put in?”

It finally clicks.

Me: “Wait, are you signing me up for the service?”

The man nods.

Me: *Starting to get angry* “I told you I needed time to think about it. I’m not signing up for a service today. I don’t know what my monthly budget will look like yet.”

Man: “Well, your bank wouldn’t have agreed to give you a mortgage if you couldn’t afford it.”

Me: “I don’t know even know who you are. For all I know, you could be lying to me about working with [Security System].”

Man: “My work badge is right here with my name if you want to take a picture.”

I should have done that, looking back.

Me: “I still need time.”

Man: “Well, I can extend the offer a couple of days. Is that enough?”

Me: “No, I would need a couple of months.”

Man: “I can’t do that. The offer is time-sensitive.”

Me: “I’m not signing up for a service when I don’t know what my monthly budget looks like.”

The man stares at me for a few seconds.

Man: “I see you are getting annoyed, so I’m going to leave.”

Me: “Yes, please.”

After he left, I sat on my couch, shaken and scared by the whole event. I know what I did was stupid. I could have gotten hurt or had my information stolen. After I calmed myself down, I immediately bought a different security system out of spite. I tried reporting the guy but found that [Security System]’s customer service is basically nonexistent.

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Taxing Taxing, Part 11

, , , , , | Working | October 9, 2021

Back when the Affordable Care Act was first implemented, I was only on my mother’s insurance, since I didn’t get insurance through my job. When it came time to do taxes, I used a computer tax program to file. When it got to the part about insurance, I put that I had insurance but didn’t pay anything as I was not the policyholder.

A couple of weeks later, I receive a notice from the IRS saying that my taxes were missing Form 8962, which is the form for insurance. My taxes won’t be filed until it is submitted. I do the form myself and send it in. A few weeks later, I receive my tax return and it is $2,000 more than it should be. I figure out that they gave me the insurance tax credit even though I put on the form that I paid nothing toward the insurance as I wasn’t the policyholder.

I call the IRS and explain the situation and that I do not deserve this money.

Employee #1: “Since our tax department is closed for the rest of the year, there isn’t anyone you can talk to to amend the tax return to return the money.”

After this, I call a few more times and nobody will help me. I set the $2,000 in my savings account and don’t do anything with it.

I receive a letter from the IRS sometime later saying they listened to my phone calls and will investigate the situation, that I don’t have to do anything else, and that they will contact me later. The next tax season rolls around and I haven’t heard anything more. I decide I want to get this situation settled before filing my taxes for that year. 

I call the IRS AGAIN and ask them about the case.

Employee #2: “The case has been closed and the money is yours to keep.”

Me: “What are the chances you could audit me years later and hit me with fines?”

Employee #2: “It could happen, but there’s no way to know.”

I thanked her, hung up, and then thought for a bit. I called the IRS one more time and asked to talk to someone who could look at my previous year’s tax forms. I was transferred to their tax department and the woman there was so helpful. She looked over it with me and said I had done the form wrong, but they should not have sent me that money. She was nice enough to amend my tax forms for me, send them so I could sign them, and give me instructions on how to return the money.

When I received the package, I followed the instructions, sent the amended tax forms and the $2,000 back, and thought nothing of it. Then, I received a letter from the IRS that turned out to be a bill. They billed me $80 in interest for keeping money that I did not deserve. I called the IRS and asked the representative if the fee could be waived since I had tried multiple times to return it, but nobody would work with me. She told me the fee couldn’t be waived. Frustrated, I paid the $80 and tried my best to put it behind me. It hasn’t worked yet since I freak out every time I receive a letter from them.

Taxing Taxing, Part 10
Taxing Taxing, Part 9
Taxing Taxing, Part 8
Taxing Taxing, Part 7
Taxing Taxing, Part 6

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Because Healthcare Staff Don’t Already Do Enough

, , , , , | Right | September 24, 2021

I work in healthcare on the night shift. There’s a department store near the hospital I work in that has some really good sales going and they open right around when I get off shift. I don’t have to come back in tonight so I figure I’ll shop before heading home.

I’m wearing navy blue scrub pants that can look like slacks if you’re not looking closely, a white scrub top, and a blue vest with multiple pockets. Trust me; in my line of work, you can never have too many pockets. The store uniform is dark slacks, a white or blue shirt, and a blue work vest. I’m pretty sure you can see where this is going, but believe it or not, I had no clue.

In my defense, the unit I work in is an extremely high-stress environment in which not paying full attention truly can cost someone their life, so I end up spending twelve to fourteen straight hours on full alert while at work. Once I clock out, as anyone who knows me can tell you, my brain kind of goes into low power mode.

The store is mostly empty with just me, a few obviously retired people up shopping at this ungodly hour, and a handful of employees. I circle the store several times trying to find gifts and am stopped by several customers. I actually circle so many times that I know where most things are. 

Customer #1: “Excuse me, miss? Where are the little girls’ pajamas?”

Me: “I just saw those. Head down this row to the left until you get to the [diapers], and they’re right behind them.”

Customer #1: “Thank you.”

Customer #2: “Excuse me, where are the gloves?”

Me: “Do you want snow gloves, leather gloves, or those little stretchy ones?”

Customer #2: “The stretchy type.”

Me: “Follow me. They’re this way but a little hard to find because they’re just hanging at the end of the jewelry section.”

Customer #2: “Why are these ones more expensive? They look the same?”

Me: “These ones are tech gloves. You can put them on and still use a touch screen like this.”

I put on a glove and demonstrate with my phone.

Customer #2: “Oh, I see! Thanks!”

I go around a corner and see an octogenarian looking at two similar comforters with a confused expression. She spots me and smiles and waves me over. 

Customer #3: “Excuse me, miss. Can you tell me if these are on sale?”

She’s standing right next to the sale sign, but the print on it is so small even I can barely read it. 

Me: “The item number on the blue one is listed on the sale sign but not this green one.”

Customer #3: “Oh, I just know my grandson would like the green better, but I guess the blue is nice, too.”

Me: “Well, I just saw a manager hanging around the toy department; if you ask nicely they might give you the sale price on the green one.”

Customer #3: “You think so?”

Me: “Can’t hurt to ask.”

Customer #3: “Thank you, I will!”

I realize I’ve been in the store for over an hour and have been stopped by just about every other customer in the store. I finally meander over to check out and see [Customer #1] in front of me checking out, [Customer #2] talking to someone on the phone while heading out the door, and [Customer #3] talking to a manager at the customer service counter.

As I get in line behind [Customer #1], he looks over at me.

Customer #1: “Oh, doing a little shopping on your own? Are you on break?”

Me: *Still oblivious* “Oh no, I’m off the clock for the day.”

Customer #1: “Well, enjoy the rest of your day.”

Me: “Thanks! You, too!”

He leaves and I step up to put my items on the counter and see the actual employee looking at me funny. Finally, he looks closely at me and asks for my badge. Without thinking, I reach into my pocket and pull out my hospital ID. He blinks.

Employee: “You don’t work here.”

I just shake my head no, put my ID away, and keep unloading my cart. I’m just aware enough to realize that the employee looks very confused. Then, [Customer #2] stops to call out, “Thanks again,” while waving at me as they head out the door and the actual employee looks even more confused.

As I’m loading the last of my items, I hear [Customer #3] call out:

Customer #3: “Oh, miss! Look, there she is. Miss!”

I look over and wave at her as she points me out to a very confused-looking manager behind the customer service desk.

Customer #3: “Look, they gave me the green one at clearance price!”

I smiled at her and gave her a thumbs-up. I paid for my purchases and left with the actual employee who checked me out and the manager from behind the service counter watching me all the way out the door with the most befuddled looks on their faces.

I went home, slept for nine hours, and was in the middle of having breakfast/dinner when I finally realized I had been mistaken for a store employee and helped several people before thoroughly confusing two real employees while checking out.

If everyone hadn’t been so polite when asking for help, I might have figured it out earlier… or not. It’s really hard to think when you’re on low power mode.

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He’s Only A Member Of The Random Jerks Club

, , , , , , | Right | September 23, 2021

My local game store has special sales days for loyalty members. The deals are usually pretty good, like buy-two-get-one preowned, or sometimes buy-three-get-two. Plus, I can usually load up on T-shirts, cute pins, and the occasional decoration for my gaming corner. 

It’s one of those sales, and I’m walking around with several T-shirts and packs of Pokémon pins in my arms. I stop by the PlayStation 4 games, because it’s a great time to load up on games I’ve heard good things about but wasn’t sure about paying full price for. I’m browsing along when some random dude decides to talk to me.

Customer: “Hey, you have a loyalty card, right?”

Me: “Uh, yes.”

Customer: “Can I use it, too?”

I will totally let my close friends use my account, but I don’t feel comfortable letting some random dude use it, especially as it’s tied to my phone number.

Me: “Sorry, no.”

Customer: “Come on. It’s not a big deal.”

Me: “I don’t feel comfortable giving out my phone number, so no.”

I grab my games and go up to the counter. Rando follows a few steps behind. I’m an extreme regular, so the main employees know my phone number by heart. So, thankfully, I don’t have to say it out loud, but rando dude is trying to see over my shoulder.

Employee: “Hey, sir, I’m going to need you to stand over there in line.”

Customer: “I’m with her. She’s my girlfr—”

Employee: “I know her boyfriend, sir.”

I’m single, but thank God for good people!

Customer: “Brother?”

I shake my head.

Employee: “Behind the line, please, sir. It’s store policy, as a lot of our customers pay with credit cards.”

Customer: “Come on!”

Employee: “Sir, step behind the line.”

Rando finally steps away, and the employee rings me up. I pay, take my bags, and head for the door. As I do, rando steps up to the counter and puts the games down with a half slam. I kind of decide to be nosy and see what happens.

Customer: *Points to me* “She said I could use her account.”

Employee: “No, sir.”

Customer: “It’s like, c’mon, it’s like five bucks.”

He’s holding several pre-owned games that have been recently released, where the free one would be around $50.

Employee: “I can sell you a membership and you’ll still save money.”

It’s $15 for the membership, which would mean he would essentially get the third game for $15, which is still a $35 savings.

Customer: “No, that’s too expensive. Just put in yours or something.”

Employee: “I can’t do that. I can only give you a discount if you have your own membership.”

Rando knocked the games off the counter and stormed past me, tossing out a slur that implied that I could be paid in exchange for sexual favors.

Dude, just buy a membership.

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