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It Might Be More Intelligent To Talk To The Rat

, , , | Right | November 30, 2021

I work for a small call center that takes overflow insurance calls for an extermination company.

Me: “Welcome to [Extermination Company]. How may I help you?”

Customer: “There’s a rat! I saw a rat in my garden!”

Me: “Right, so your insurance covers vermin inside the house, but it doesn’t cover the outside. If you have rats in the garden, I would advise you to try to clean up any—”

Customer: “I don’t care! You have to get here now. There’s a rat in my garden and I’m trapped in my car!”

Me: “Pardon me. Are you trying to say that you’ve been trapped in your car by a rat?

Here I’m imagining rodents of unusual size.

Customer: “Yes, I’m in my parking spot outside and I can see it by the shed and I don’t dare get out of the car as long as it’s there. How long until you can have someone here?”

Me: “Ma’am, I can assure you one single rat is not a threat to you. We can have a technician out within a few days to put out traps or poison if you want.”

Customer: “But I have a small child! I’m going to have to keep him inside until it’s gone!”

Me: “How old is your child?”

I’m picturing a toddler who might be curious about small furry things and unable to understand reasonable arguments not to touch them.

Customer: “He’s fifteen! I don’t want him to get rabies!”

Me: *To my manager, who has a lot more patience than I* “Boss! I think this one’s for you!”

Rage Quit In Real Life

, , , | Right | November 24, 2021

We buy used games cheaply and resell them. I’m standing by the counter and I can see a woman walking angrily towards me. Once she reaches the counter, before I can say anything, she throws a game onto the counter, shouting.

Customer: “You scammed my kids!”

A bit taken aback by this, I pick up the game and ask what she means.

Customer: “You sold my kids a broken game!”

I look at the game and see that it is a pre-owned copy of FIFA 09 for Xbox 360. This took place in 2012, so these older versions of the game are sold for half a dollar. I am prepared to give her a refund or a replacement with or without a receipt, but just to investigate how this might have happened, I take a look at the disc.

The Xbox 360 is notorious for causing circle scratches from even small vibrations to the machine — even just walking past it while it is on the floor could cause the laser to kill any disc inside — and it is one of the first things we are told to look for when purchasing pre-owned games from customers. This disc has a clear circle on it, so I get a pretty good idea of what has happened.

In order to calm the woman down and avoid this happening again, I start explaining:

Me: “Oh, I see what has happened. I will help you, but you see this scra—”

The woman explodes, out of the blue, grabs the game out of my hands, throws it onto the floor, and spits on it, giving me a death glare before running out of the store.

Stunned from the sudden outburst, I stare at the spit-covered game case and slowly start picking it up. As I stand up, I see the woman rushing toward me again.


Confused, I hand it over and watch as she rips the disk out of the case and starts trying to break it in two.


After a few moments of effort, she only managed to bend the disk, gave up, and threw it on the floor again, storming off a final time. All the while, I was trying my best not to burst out in laughter over the ridiculous scene.

I guess she just had a lot of pent-up anger she needed to vent, embarrassingly so, at someone she didn’t know.

When There’s A Strange Rat In The Neighborhood, Who You Gonna Call?

, , | Right | November 24, 2021

Me: “Hello, thank you for calling [Pest Contol Company]. How can I help?

Customer: “Hello. We’re having a bit of a rat problem in the attic.”

Me: “I can certainly help you with that. Just let me take down your details and I will forward them to a technician.”

They give me their address, contact information, and insurance details like a good customer.

Me: “Thank you very much. I will forward your information to one of our technicians and they will be in touch within the next few days.”

Customer: “Thank you, dear, that’s splendid. I should tell you; I also have a ghost in the attic.”

Me: “Um, sorry. A ghost?”

Customer: “Yes, but that’s all right; he can stay. He’s very nice! Sometimes when I’m up there, I can feel something brush up against me. And now my husband’s looking at me like I’m crazy, but he’s not on the same frequency as I am! Have a good day!”

Me: *Still a little stunned* “Thank you. You, too.”

I don’t know if the technician found either rats or ghosts in that attic, but the customer was extremely nice and I still remember her and hope she’s doing well!

Big Mistake. Big. Huge!

, , , , , , , , | Working | November 19, 2021

I was in my early teens and on a school trip to Stockholm with my class. We had visited the museums and gone on the tour we were there for, so our teachers let us loose for an hour to shop for souvenirs before it was time to head back home to our small city in the countryside. This was in the early nineties and kids had a lot more freedom then than they have now.

My family didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, but I had saved up for months for this trip so I would be able to buy myself something special. I have always been interested in fashion, and there is a very well-known fancy department store in Stockholm that I was dying to visit. My friends and I spent some time walking through the different areas, ahh-ing and ooh-ing at all the things we couldn’t afford. 

I still wanted a souvenir from my visit, so we went to the accessories department where I picked out a beautiful scarf that was pretty pricey but still within my budget.  

There was a line to the register, and I took my place in it, clutching the scarf in one hand and my little wallet in the other, while feeling very grown-up and fancy. 

When it was my turn, the lady behind the counter looked at my fourteen-year-old self, my mail-order clothes, and my mended backpack, and instantly turned to the next person in line and started serving them instead.

Me: “I’m sorry, I think it was my turn. I would like to buy this scarf, please.”

Cashier: “Go put that back where you found it, kid. We’re very busy right now.”

Me: “But we have to meet our teacher in fifteen minutes. Can I just pay for this, please?”

Cashier: “So, you found something on the clearance rack and you just want the [Department Store] bag. I get it. You’ll have to wait your turn while I serve the real customers.”

I was close to tears, but I was too intimidated to stand up to an adult in a place where it had been made clear to me that I didn’t belong. I also really wanted the scarf, so I dutifully stood aside, waiting for the line to clear. 

Eventually, the last customer in the line had paid, and I stepped up to the counter again.

Cashier: “Are you still here? All right, put that scarf back and you can have a bag for two crowns.”

Me: “I would like to pay for the scarf, please. I don’t need a bag; I’ve got room in my backpack.”

We were late back to meet with our teacher, and while it was a beautiful scarf, I rarely wore it because every time I looked at it, it brought the entire humiliating experience up again. 

Now, as an adult, I can actually afford to shop at that department store, but I have never been back because of the way they treated me back then.

Only Slightly Better Than A Food Thief

, , , | Working | November 10, 2021

My supervisor is generally a pretty decent person and a good boss, but she is terrified of food poisoning. It’s bordering on a phobia. Whenever she has a meal, she will throw away any leftovers because she’s convinced that the food will go bad if it’s not eaten immediately.

My last job was in the food industry and I’m an enthusiastic home cook, so I know what to watch out for when it comes to spoiled food. I’m also on a limited budget and I can’t really afford to throw away food that’s still good. Unless it’s stuff that can make you seriously ill, like meat and seafood, I go by the “look, smell, taste” test to judge if something is still edible.

We have a communal fridge in our break room where employees can store their lunches and snacks. My workplace provides free coffee but no frills. I’m the only one who takes milk in their coffee, so I usually bring my own and keep it in the fridge.

Me: “Hey, who threw out my milk? I wanted that in my coffee.”

Supervisor: “That milk was disgusting; it was almost at the best-before date. I poured it out so no one would get sick from it.”

Me: “Really? I had some of it this morning and there was nothing wrong with it then. You know the best-before date is just a recommendation, right? If it doesn’t smell or taste bad after that, you can still drink it.”

Supervisor: “Well, I don’t want any old food in this fridge. In fact, I’m going to start cleaning it out regularly. I’ll put up a notice about it so everyone’s aware.”

I shrug and go about my day, figuring that it’s a pretty good idea. Having lived in shared housing, I know how vile communal fridges can get.

The next day, a coworker and I decide to get takeout from a nearby Thai buffet for lunch. Since it is all-you-can-eat and I’m not a big eater, I figure I can get at least two or three decent lunches out of it, so I fill my takeaway box to the brim. We go back to the office, I eat the delicious food until I’m full, and then I put the leftovers in the fridge, being careful to label it with my name and the date.

The day after that, I don’t bring lunch from home since I know I have leftovers at work. It’s a busy day and I’m running between meetings, but when I finally get a moment to take a quick lunch break, the fridge is empty.

Me: “Hey, where’s my food?! I left a box here yesterday and now it’s gone!”

Supervisor: “I threw it out, of course! I told you I don’t want any old food in the fridge!”

Me: “[Supervisor], there was nothing in that box that would have gone bad overnight. I’d planned to eat that for lunch. Now I don’t have anything to eat, and I don’t have time to run out to get something before my next meeting.”

Supervisor: “I told you I’d be cleaning out the fridge regularly.”

Me: “You didn’t say you were going to clean it out every day!

In the end, I figure it’s not worth the fight. Minor annoyances aside, it’s still a pretty great place to work, but I’ve learned to never leave anything I want to keep in the fridge overnight. Now, I just bring it home, put it in my own fridge, and bring it back the next day in a different lunch box. Incidentally, this makes the food more likely to spoil since I’m technically breaking the cold chain, but what [Supervisor] doesn’t know won’t hurt her.