You Get All The Internets

, , , | Working | September 10, 2019

(I work in customer service for a big phone company. One afternoon this month, I get this call.)

Me: “Hello and welcome to [Phone Company]. My name is [My Name]; what can I help you with?” 

Caller: “Hi. This might be a weird question, but I figured I’d ask anyway.” 

Me: “Okay, shoot.” 

Caller: “I ordered Internet not too long ago and have been waiting for the router to arrive. Well, as it happened, I was out for a walk today when I got the notification telling me it had arrived, so I figured I’d go get it right away, since the router is kind of small, right?”

Me “Yes, that’s right. So, what exactly is the problem, sir?”

(A moment of embarrassed silence.)

Caller: “I got eight of them.”

Me: *trying not to laugh* “Excuse me. Can you repeat that?” 

(It turned out eight routers wasn’t all he got! The system had gone haywire and given him eight different broadband services too. Of course, I fixed it, and the caller was nice and even laughed about it.)

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Give Her Some Information About How Lines Work  

, , | Right | September 9, 2019

(I am in the line for the information desk on a cruise ship. Behind me are at least ten more people. Just as it is my turn, an older woman cuts the line in front of me.)

Woman: “I want to…”

Employee: “I’m sorry, you’re going to have to wait in line.”

Woman: “But I just want information!”

Employee: *looks at all of us standing and waiting there* “Yeah, well, so do they.”

(The woman turned to stare at us and, grumbling, she went to wait in the now even longer line.)

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That Bag Of Chips Ended Up Being Costlier Than Ever

, , , , , | Friendly | September 4, 2019

I am working as a shift leader at a movie theatre. Concession closes about ten minutes after the last shows start and the crew leaves once the tills are counted and everything has been cleaned and refilled for the next morning, leaving only two people to spend the time doodling around and checking theatres as the films drop out.

This evening has been slow but fun, as I got to work with two of my favorite coworkers, friends I also hang with off of work. Being a shift leader gives me power over them at work and more responsibility but it has never really affected our friendship until now. [Coworker #1] and I are the ones staying tonight, so [Coworker #2] comes up to us after she has changed out of her uniform for some small talk before leaving. As she’s beginning to walk away, she tells us that she will take a bag of chips with her but pay the next time she works. I sense alarm bells ringing and tell her I am not okay with that. 

The chain we work for is very generous with staff discounts and lenient with us. They trust us, and I am of the opinion that such trust should be respected and not taken advantage of; I do not want to see that trust disappear. [Coworker #2] taking a bag of chips might not seem like a huge deal, but it puts a lot of responsibility on me and [Coworker #1] to make sure she actually pays for it later, which she could claim to have done on a day when [Coworker #1] and I don’t work, and she could easily forget it, as well. I trust my friend, but I am not comfortable with this and I tell her that if she’s craving chips so badly, there is a gas station ten minutes away by bike that’s open 24/7.

[Coworker #2] throws a huge fit, but I stand my ground, and it is with sadness that I watch her flounce off. 

The next day, she sends me a text apologising, telling me I was right and she was wrong. She has talked with another friend who works in retail who had agreed with me. The apology is accepted, but clearly, something broke between us that evening. We used to hang at work and off of work several times a week. Afterward, we only hang at work. We still chat like before, but our times together off of work dwindle to maybe once every two months, often when [Coworker #1] is with us. Later that year, I am not even invited to her birthday party, and while she says the party was a surprise for her and others were organising it, they still know that I was one of her closest friends and I should have been on the list by default. Some might claim I was too harsh — it’s just a bag of chips after all — but even though I miss the friendship we used to have, my conscience is clear.

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Language Is Fluid

, , , , , | Healthy | August 20, 2019

Some years ago I had gastric bypass surgery. During the aftercare, I had appointments with a dietician at the hospital where I had the surgery. As a preparation for these visits, I had to fill out an inquiry. One of the questions regarded alcohol.

Did I drink less alcohol than before the surgery, the same or more?

Well, that looks like a straightforward question, but I couldn’t answer it truthfully. Because I do not drink, and is no alcohol the same or less? It can’t be more, but is it the same or less? The same implies some alcohol consumption, as does less. 

I added an extra line to the inquiry and simply stated that I do not drink alcohol. Ever.

The dietician went nuts. She berated me for 50 minutes for “my excessive alcohol consumption” as I hadn’t picked the only acceptable answer — less. “None” wasn’t a viable answer as it wasn’t included in the inquiry. I asked her to add to my chart that I do not drink. I asked if we could please continue with discussing my diet as I do not drink. She had worked herself into a frenzy and just kept screaming. Wonderful to travel six hours for a useless meeting with someone not listening at all.

Anyway, the next meeting was six months later, with another dietician. And the same inquiry to prepare. Once again, I answered that I never drink.

This dietician was even more aggressive. She rushed out during the meeting to get a colleague so they could scream at me together. While she was out I grabbed a paper and wrote on it in big letters, “I NEVER DRINK ALCOHOL.”

It didn’t help. They still couldn’t grasp that it is possible to not consume alcohol. I asked them to test my blood alcohol level and do whatever testing they wanted as my liver should be in prime condition. Because I did not f****** drink alcohol. And I still don’t. 

Maybe I just should have picked the option of “drinking less” on the inquiry, but… I’m a language teacher. Nuances are important. “Less” is not the same as “none” or “nothing.”


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Free-Range Kids

, , , , , , | Friendly | July 8, 2019

(My mother can definitely be described as cheeky, but she does have her heart in the right place, and she hates bullying and strong people picking on the weak. This happens in her late teens, in the early 80s. My mother sits on a bus, close to an older woman with her leg in a cast. A younger boy — around three or four years old — and his mother step onto the bus and take the seats opposite the older women. The young boy starts kicking his legs, each kick lands on the cast of the older women.)

Old Woman: “Dear, could you please stop doing that? Do you see this cast? I fell and hurt my foot, so when you kick the cast, it hurts.”

(The little boy ignores the woman and keeps kicking.)

Old Woman: *turns to the mother* “Excuse me. Can you make your child stop kicking my cast?”

Boy’s Mother: *turns her nose in the air* “Absolutely not! I believe in a free upbringing.”

(My mother’s blood starts to boil at this point. As the bus is closing in on her stop, she gets up from her seat and taps on the shoulder of the boy’s mother. She looks up, and my mother spits her right in the face.)

My Mother: “I could not help myself… I was raised with a free upbringing.”

(And before anyone had time to react, she got off of the bus.)

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