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Laziness Is A Business Extinguisher

, , , , , , , , , | Working | January 19, 2023

I work in a small restaurant in South Dakota. The place is profitable — barely — but the building is old and in poor repair.

One day, the fire extinguisher falls out of its designated slot in the wall overnight. We find it on the floor in the morning. The manager grumbles and puts it back in place, only for it to immediately fall out again.

Inspection shows that the bits that are supposed to hold the extinguisher in place are bent and broken. Grumbling some more, the manager fetches some duct tape and tapes it back into place.

I attempt to point out that’s probably a bad idea and almost certainly is not compliant with local safety regulations, but the manager says it’s just temporary until he can get someone out to fix it.

As you can probably predict, no one ever comes out to fix it. Eventually, the tape wears out, and the extinguisher falls again. The manager replaces the tape.

Over the course of about five years, this happens three times. Finally, during a business rush, a waiter accidentally bumps the extinguisher, knocking it down, and it explodes.

White powder goes flying everywhere. It fills up the kitchen. It fills up the dining area. We’re all coughing and choking on the powder. One of the cooks steadies himself against the grill, burning the skin on his hand badly. I’m not entirely sure how he is able to hold on to the grill for such a long period of time while in so much pain, but he basically burns completely through the skin on the palm of his hand.

We have to shut down for the day to clean up, which becomes three days, which becomes a week. Then, the owners announce that they are closing for good.

All because of one idiot decision about a fire extinguisher.

Not Ready For Duh-gital

, , , , , | Right | December 29, 2022

A lady comes into my store.

Customer: “I need a new digital camera.”

Me: “Is there an issue with your previous one?”

Customer: “My old one is full of pictures.”

Me: “Can you replace the memory card?”

Customer: “The memory what now?”

Me: “…I think I understand your issue.”

She had a very eye-opening visit and bought a new memory card.

Impossible Demands Might Get Your Goat

, , , , , , | Friendly | December 22, 2022

My family was driving out to visit my grandparents on their farm. To get to the farm, we had to take a small state highway and then exit and drive on a poorly paved road for a good fifteen minutes before we reached the front gate to their land.

On this particular trip, after we exited from the highway, another car exited at the same time we did. It was a fairly nice car, and it followed along behind us all the way to the turnoff at my grandparents’ gate. We pulled over, and Dad hopped out to unlock the gate so we could drive up. The other car also pulled over right behind us.

Other Driver: “Hey! Hey!”

My dad walked over, confused.

Dad: “Uh, can I help you?”

Other Driver: “Where’s the hotel?”

Dad: “What? What hotel?”

Other Driver: “The hotel! We were following you to the hotel! Where is it?”

Dad: “I don’t think there is a hotel within fifty miles of here. Maybe some small motel back at the turnoff.”

At that, both the driver and the lady in the passenger seat just went off, shouting over each other at my dad about being incompetent, needing to do his job, being a liar, and a bunch of other stuff.

My dad just shook his head, threw up his hands at them, and then headed over to actually unlock the gate. Mom pulled forward when he did, and then the other car started forward, so Dad quickly pushed the gate shut again.

The lady from the passenger seat got out and stomped up in heels.

Lady: “We need to use the toilet.”

Dad: “There should be a toilet at the gas station next to the highway exit back that way.”

Lady: “We can’t make it that far! Let us in!”

Dad: “Nope.”

And he turned and headed back to the car after making sure the padlock and chain were securely fastened again. The lady shouted after him and kicked the gate a few times, but when it became clear that they weren’t going to be let in, she finally stomped back to the car, and they slowly got their car turned back around before peeling back down the gravel road.

When we told my grandparents about it, my grandma, who is rather soft-hearted, was all concerned and said we should have let the “poor dears” come up and rest. Grandpa, on the other hand, said if we did that, they probably wouldn’t have been willing to leave, but he joked that if they insisted on a hotel room, he could probably drag an old mattress out of the attic and into the barn that used to house their goats.

Offering people a room in the “goat hotel” then became a running family joke.

Bison: A NAR Guide

, , , , , , , , | Right | September 21, 2022

I am fifteen years old, on a family vacation driving through half a dozen states. One of the stops in South Dakota, aside from Mount Rushmore, is to the Wind Cave National Park. As we’re making our way through the main road in the park, we can see on the open prairie, about twenty feet from the side of the road, a herd of bison. Up close, they kind of look like big, dumb, cuddly teddy bears, and that’s actually what a lot of people seem to think.

There are a good dozen cars or more parked along the side of the road, and we join them, pulling to the side. The bison are maybe twenty or twenty-five feet away from us and they’re just grazing. To my amazement, I see people exiting their vehicles and approaching the bison like they’re pet dogs that are begging for attention. These people must have a death wish. A male bison can exceed 2,000 pounds, and they can turn a car onto its side. These people are extremely lucky it’s not mating season and there aren’t any calves around.

I make a comment to my mom and stepdad about how stupid those people are to be approaching those bison. My younger brother, who is about nine, says he wouldn’t even want to get close to one of them.

By now, half a dozen cars have emptied and most of the occupants are within six to eight feet of the bison. The bison haven’t moved an inch. They’re still standing in the same spot they have been, but they’ve now started to lift their heads up from grazing and they’re watching these people approach them. The people are snapping pictures, lifting their little kids up high, trying to make it look like the kids are on top of the bison and riding them (like how people take pictures of the Leaning Tower of Pisa to make it look like they are pushing it back up).

This goes on for five or six minutes, and then up the road comes Ranger Rick in his jeep. He parks his jeep, jumps out, and starts sternly talking to all the people out of their cars.

Ranger Rick: “What is wrong with all you people? These are not domesticated animals! They are to not be approached nor fed. Even stopping by the side of the road inside your vehicle can be dangerous if one of the males decides to charge you. I’ve witnessed them turning cars over and people getting seriously injured! Go back to your vehicles and leave.”

Murmurs come up from the group of people that are still wandering within spitting distance of these bison, and most of them are just looking at Ranger Rick like he’s a fool.

Ranger Rick: “You are putting your children’s lives at risk bringing them out of the vehicles. Please, go back to your vehicles.”

A few more murmurs come up from the people walking around. A couple of people head back to their cars, but most stay put.

Ranger Rick: “Anyone out here that does not get in your car and leave the area right now will have their vehicle information handed to the cops and fined for trespassing. If you stay, any harm that may come to you or your loved ones or your property, the state will not reimburse you. You will be responsible for all fees and fines should any rescue efforts be required.”

People start making their way back to their vehicles and piling in to leave.

My stepdad flags down Ranger Rick after everyone has moved along.

Step-Dad: “Do you have to do this often?”

Ranger Rick: “Almost every day. People think these bison are big domesticated dogs. I used to be amazed at the sheer stupidity of people, but after having to do this almost every day, I now find it just sad how ignorant most people are.”

Step-Dad: “Is it true that you’ve seen bison turn a car on its side?”

Ranger Rick: “Yep, a few times. It’s rare, but it does happen. It’s generally because someone spooks the bison because they exited their vehicle and got too close, especially with young calves around. Thank you for not being one of those families that got out of your vehicle. You guys enjoy the rest of the park.”

Ranger Rick waved and headed back to his jeep. It looked like he decided to stick around for a bit to tell grown adults that they were dumb if they exited their vehicles and tried to approach the bison.

I couldn’t believe my ears and eyes. Most people out of their vehicles cared more about not getting fined or having to pay fees than about the safety of their families, especially young children.

When You Gotta Go…

, , , , , | Friendly | April 7, 2022

One time in the early 1970s, I was on a full bus heading from Minnesota to visit my cousin in South Dakota. This was back in the dark days of travel before there were many (if any) rest areas, gas stations at every major intersection, and chain restaurants galore. I was sitting up near the driver chatting with him. He was a cool guy and was telling me all sorts of stories.

We were approaching the border between the two states and he got on the PA.

Driver: “Welcome to South Dakota! Enjoy the wide-open views.”

Everyone who had kind of been dozing stirred and looked out the windows.

Right then, we passed a car on the side of the road, and out in front of it was some poor woman crouched down relieving herself. I can still remember the shocked expression on her face as this busload of people whizzed by and the laughter of the bus passengers getting their first glimpse of the… wonders of South Dakota.