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Parking Out Demands

, , , , | Right | November 14, 2022

I am normally very kind and helpful, especially if someone asks nicely. But I don’t like people who think they are better than others.

I have some papers to drop off at the bank. The parking lot only has one free space and the car to the right has parked too far left, with the wheels on the line. The free space is VERY narrow, but I manage to park (almost) in the centre of the lines. I am left with only ten centimetres of space between my car and the car to the right, a fancy-looking BMW.

I have just paid for the parking and placed the parking ticket/receipt in my car when someone shouts at me.

Other Driver: “Hey! You! Move your car!”

A man approaches and he looks furious.

Me: “Why?”

Other Driver: “I can’t get into my car!”

Me: “I have parked between the lines; you have not.”

Other Driver: “But the car on my right side was too far to the left, so I had to!”

He is now beet red and steaming furiously, and yes, the car to his right is also a bit off-centre.

If he had asked politely, I would gladly have moved my car, but instead:

Me: “Not my problem!”

And I turn and walk away…

Twenty minutes later, I return to the parking lot. (The teller at the bank was an old friend, so I chatted a bit after dropping off the papers.) The beet-red suit man has found a parking guard and is yelling at her. When I get to my car, I hear:

Other Driver: “You must write a ticket! I can’t get into my car! I have been standing here for almost half an hour!”

Guard: “I can’t! That car is parked correctly!”

Meanwhile, the car on the right side of the BMW has been replaced with another car that is perfectly lined up so there is plenty of space there. The ONLY car not aligned is the BMW.

When I open my car door, I hear the guard saying:

Guard: “But I will write you a ticket since your parking time ended an hour ago.”

Some People Just Don’t Understand The Creative Process

, , , , | Right | November 1, 2022

I work in a library. A patron comes up to me holding a brand-new book that was just released. 

Patron: “Hi. Can you show me where the rest of the books in this series are?”

Me: “That one is the first part, I believe. It just came out, so we won’t get the next one for a while yet.”

Patron: “But it says here on the back that it’s supposed to be a trilogy.”

Me: “It’s going to be a trilogy. That book is the first part; the other two haven’t been published yet.”

Patron: “Oh. Can you put them on hold for me so I can read them when I’m finished with this one?”

Me: “Unfortunately not. I can’t put a hold on a book until it’s available to order.”

Patron: “When will that be?”

Me: “I honestly have no idea. That book just came out. The next two might not even be written yet.”

Patron: “Can’t you call the author and tell her to hurry up?”

Their Brain Was In Another County When They Made That Booking

, , , , , , | Working | October 22, 2022

I work for the Stockholm transportation service for elderly and/or disabled people who can’t use public transportation. It’s a relatively easy job; customers call, order a taxi or sick transport, I enter it into the system, the customer is billed at the end of the month, and that’s that. To our aid, we have an extensive database of all the nooks and crannies of Metropolitan Stockholm, so you’d think there’d be zero ways to mess up a booking, right? Wrong.

One late evening, close to midnight, a customer calls in asking where her taxi is. 

Me: “Could you please confirm to me which address you were going from?”

Customer: “From [Street] in [County #1] — and I specifically told the booking agent that it was [County #1] — for 2325 hours [11:25 pm]. But now the taxi driver has called me asking where I am. Turns out you guys sent my taxi to [Street] in [County #2]!”

I look in horror at the booking; the customer is absolutely right. The exact same street name is to be found in several counties of the Stockholm region, which is why we have our database to avoid screw-ups like these. Plus, we are told to double-check with the customer if there’s the slightest ambiguity.

But the calamity doesn’t end there. The customer has three more identical bookings, each scheduled for thirty minutes later than the initial booking. She’s adamant that she’s only spoken to the initial booking agent and then me, and while I wonder where the cloned extra bookings have come from, this is not the time to start loudly debating their source of origin.

Me: “Well, I apologise profusely for the mishap, madam. Let me just order a new taxi for you, to the right address. And to confirm, it will be from [Street] in [County #1].”

Customer: “Sounds great! And when will it be here?”

Usually, during the wee hours, we can get a taxi fairly quickly. However, the cloned trips had already been distributed to various taxi companies, meaning I could no longer cancel or delete them. And because we have an archaic booking system, to put it mildly — think 1980s Telnet data terminal and only keyboard commands — the system won’t let us place another booking if there’s already a trip booked for that time frame. (Again, this made me ponder where the clones had come from; there should have been one, tops!). I ended up having to deliberately push the real booking by twenty-five minutes just to make the system shut up.

And the icing on the cake? The customer will have to call our customer service in the morning to have these four erroneous bookings refunded; it’s not something that we mortal phone monkeys can do. All this shambles is just because some moron of a coworker couldn’t be bothered double-checking a simple county name with the customer!

Just Your Friendly (Sort Of) Neighborhood Roofer

, , , , , , | Working | October 16, 2022

A couple of years ago, my dad discovered that there was a hole in the roof. He could stand in the hallway and look right up into the sky through the hole. This was at the beginning of September, and the weather forecast mentioned heavy rain that afternoon.

As Dad always wants to support businesses in their tiny hometown, he called the only roofer in town listed in the phone book.

Dad: “Hi, I’m [Dad] at [address]. There is a hole in my roof that needs to get fixed.”

Roofer #1: “Uh-huh. I can drop by in May.”

Dad: “May? That’s eight months from now. I can see the sky through this hole and it needs to be fixed ASAP.”

Roofer #1: “Okay, so, see you in May, then.”

Dad: “Absolutely not. Bye.”

Dad was not happy when he consulted the phone book again and called a roofer in a neighbouring town.

Dad: “Hi, I’m [Dad] at [address] in [Town]. There is a hole in my roof that needs to be fixed.”

Roofer #2: “Oh, that doesn’t sound good at all. I could— Wait, did you say [address]?”

Dad: “Yep.”

Roofer #2: “I’m over at [Parallell Street] on a job. My lunch break is in half an hour. I’ll drop by and check your roof then if that’s okay with you.”

Dad: “Sounds good!”

The roofer came over and agreed that the hole needed to be fixed ASAP. He called again right after his lunch break.

Roofer #2: “Hi again. So, your roof needs to be fixed urgently. We are basically done here, and what’s left is just cosmetic. I want to fix your roof before this incoming rainstorm. I’ve talked to the homeowner here, and we agreed to finish his roof tomorrow, instead. He was very eager to help out a neighbour in need.”

My dad has been recommending one of these roofers ever since — the other, not so much.

But it was quite the coincidence that the good roofer was working so close and could drop by basically right away.


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We’ve Come A Long Way, But Those Days Were Dark

, , , , , | Right | September 27, 2022

In the mid-1990s, I work in tech support for a Swedish company that manufactures and sells a system for time registration (employee clock-in and out) and computer software to handle the data. I have some calls that I will never forget. Remember, the computer is quite new, and most of the users have no experience. Most customers can handle the computer and hardware (the clock), but then there is this customer.

Customer: “The clock doesn’t work properly. I get an error trying to get the data.”

Me: “You must reset the clock.”

Customer: “How do I do that?”

Me: “First, you go to the clock.”

Before I have time to tell her the next step, I hear a clatter as she puts down the headset and footsteps when she walks away toward the clock.

A couple of minutes later, I hear steps again and an embarrassed client asking:

Customer: “What am I supposed to do with the clock?”

Another day, I get a call from the same customer. The computer, running MS-DOS, is locked.

Me: “You must reset the computer.”

Customer: “How? I have never done that before.”

Me: “Just press Alt-Control-Delete.”

Customer: “Wait, what?”

Me: “First, press and hold ‘Alt’ on the keyboard.”

Customer: “Okay.”

She puts the headset down, walks away, and comes back. I hear a lot of giggling before she picks up the headset again.

Customer: “Okay, and now what?”

Me: “Excuse me, but what exactly did you do?”

Customer: “Just what you said! I got two colleagues to help me press ‘allt’ on the keyboard.”

The Swedish word “allt” sounds like “alt” but literally means “everything”. She and her colleagues pressed everything on the keyboard.

These two calls weren’t the worst.

The customer is having issues with the data, and we need to clear a folder of files to restart the process. Remember, this is pre-Windows, so everything is like only using the command prompt in Windows.

Me: “Okay, can you see the text ‘C:\[application]\[data folder]’ before the blinking cursor?”

Customer: “Yes!”

Me: “Are you sure?”

Customer: “100%.”

Me: “‘C:\[application]\[data folder]’ before the cursor?”

Customer: “Yes!”

Me: “Okay. Type ‘DELETE’ and press enter.”

I hear clicking sounds and a long beep.

Me: “What happened?”

Customer: “A message appeared: ‘Unknown command or file name’.”

I get a bad feeling.

Me: “Are you sure that ‘C:\[application]\[data folder]’ was just before the cursor?”

Customer: “Yes!”

Me: “Really sure?”

Customer: “Yes! I’m sure. ‘C:\[application]\[data folder]’ was five lines above the cursor!”

Me: “Can you please read the whole line where you typed ‘DELETE’?”

Customer: “A ‘C’, a colon, a slash, and an arrow pointing right.”

So, the line said, “C:\>”.

Me: “Okay. You have to tell the local IT crew to send someone to reinstall your computer. You have just managed to wipe the root folder.”