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“For Safety”. Riiiiight.

, , , , , | Working | June 8, 2022

I work in a lab, and one of the safety procedures we need to follow is to keep the door to the lab closed. This is a fireproof door for safety.

One evening, just at the time most people are leaving, we hear a weird, slow beep. We think it is coming from the flow hood as it has been having a few issues and randomly beeps at us. We get more confused as we realise that it is not the hood, but we can’t work out where the noise is coming from.

Someone gets bored and decides it is time to go home. He opens the lab door. As soon as he does that, a loud blast echos down the entire lab. The noise we had been trying to locate for five to ten minutes was the fire alarm. The fireproof door is also a soundproof one.

Luckily, it was just a test, but we did have to text others in the lab to tell them to get out. We are now having a stern talk with the safety people while agreeing that if there is a fire we are, literally, toast.

Never Commit The Same Crime In The Same Place Twice

, , , , , | Legal | May 17, 2022

After my colleague quit their job, I needed someone in the laboratory who could represent me from time to time. I got permission from my boss to train an unskilled worker for this.

I worked with her for over a year, explained the processes, showed the necessary steps, and made sure that [New Hire] got all the help she needed when I was away. She could call me anytime during my vacation (and she did, a lot). On the whole, she did the job well. I was mostly able to iron out small mistakes. Now that she was my substitute with responsibility, she also got a hefty raise.

A few months later, at an employee briefing, it was announced that some employees had stolen money from the office and various desks and that management had called in the police.

I now know from the stories of my colleagues that the police came into the shop and interviewed some of the employees. I was on vacation at the time of the briefing. During my vacation, I got a call from the police and they ordered me to the police station for questioning.

They asked me about certain days, what I had done on the days, in which offices I had been, and, and, and…

I had no idea what it was about, but I answered the questions as best I could. Then, the investigating officer told me that someone had seen me walking into an office on a specific day on which money had disappeared.

So, I was accused of robbing my colleagues.

It was very painful, and the feeling got worse when I got back to work. I found out that I was the only one questioned, and some interpreted it as guilt.

What I didn’t know was that a colleague never said that money was stolen from his desk, too; he only told the police.

And with [Colleague]’s help, the police put some banknotes in [Colleague]s desk that had been marked with chemicals. When those disappeared, [Colleague] immediately informed the police, and they quickly showed up at our office.

They carried out a color test on the fingers of every employee present at the time, including me; I even had to go first.

My fingers stayed clean. So did everyone else’s… until it was [New Hire]’s turn. She was fired the next day.

Several weeks later, I received a letter from the prosecutor’s office stating that the investigation against me had been annulled. There was also a telephone number for questions. I then called and asked for the name of the person who had framed me. Due to data protection reasons, I didn’t get an answer. I’m not 100% sure, but I think it was [New Hire].

[Colleague] got a huge box of chocolates from me.

Always Check Before You Park

, , , , | Legal | April 29, 2022

I work in a police dispatch department. Since we operate around the clock, we also get to cover a few other duties that would otherwise necessitate someone else to be kept on call. One of these duties is responding to the intercom of the only publicly-owned underground parking in our city. Said parking garage has a toll bar at the exit, so you pay for the time you’ve parked there after you return and then insert your paid parking ticket to lift the toll bar and exit the garage. Most people don’t realize that the intercoms on the pay machines and toll bars connect them to the police.

A guest who parked his car in this garage walks up to the pay machine and rings the intercom.

Me: “Good evening. How may I help you?”

Guest: “Hi, I’ve parked my car here and I would like to pay, but I can’t figure out how to pay with my card.”

Me: “Unfortunately, the pay machines in that parking garage don’t accept cards. The only way you can pay is with cash.”

Guest: “Well, I don’t have any cash on me. What should I do?”

Me: “I guess you’ll have to find a way of procuring cash somewhere.”

Guest: “That’s no good. I’m in a hurry and I have to leave.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that, but I’m unable to help you here. I can’t just let you out without paying simply because you don’t have cash on you.”

Guest: “Well, if that’s the case, then I’ll just have to drive through the toll bar to get out of here.”

Me: “I wouldn’t advise that, since we have surveillance cameras all around the premises.”

Guest: “Okay, then. Still, this is ridiculous. Who has heard of a pay machine that doesn’t accept cards nowadays?”

Me: “I agree that it’s inconvenient, but it’s far from the only parking lot that only accepts cash payments.”

Guest: “Nonsense, I’ve used many a parking space around this country, and they all accept card payments. In fact, I’m pretty certain that it’s illegal to only accept cash and no other means of payment.”

Me: “I’m not so sure about that.”

Guest: “But I am. I’m absolutely certain that it’s illegal to only accept cash.”

Me: “Sir, do you have any idea who you’re connected with?”

Guest: “No.”

Me: “You’re talking to the police. And I know for a fact that it’s not illegal to only accept cash payments.”

Guest: “You’re wrong. I know the law.”

Me: “Oh, well, in that case, can you please tell me what law states pay machines are required to accept card payments in addition to cash payments?”

I guess getting called out like that threw him for a loop, but after stammering for a bit, he told me that he’d figure out a way to get out of there.

I’d mentioned that we had surveillance cameras all around the parking garage, which was true. However, what I didn’t tell him is that we were not allowed to record any of it. It was just used for real-time surveillance on our large video wall, not as a means of recording video evidence. I decided to pull up a couple of views of that parking garage, specifically the exit, in case I managed to get a good look at his license plate if he decided to make good on his threat of running over our toll bar.

I also had another view visible of the pay machine he talked to me from. Not five minutes passed before I saw him walking back to that pay machine and paying for his parking ticket with cash. That wouldn’t be a big deal, except this was after all the nearby shops had closed and the nearest ATM was at least ten minutes walking distance away, so he either had some spare change in his car and just wanted to try his luck with me, or he begged someone else he encountered there to help him out.

The Lights Are On, No One’s Home, And It’s Not Our Problem

, , , | Right | February 25, 2022

I work for a city police dispatch department. It’s around 8:00 pm and I have just started my night shift when I receive the following call.

Caller: “I live right next to the town hall, and I’ve noticed that for the past two weeks, a couple of lights in their offices were constantly turned on. I think it’s both environmentally unfriendly and a waste of tax money to keep the lights on when nobody’s there.”

Me: “I understand, but unfortunately, unless you’ve observed anything out of the ordinary besides lights being turned on in an office building, we’re not really the right department for these types of complaints, even if it’s a public building.”

Caller: “Well, who should I call otherwise?”

Me: “You could try calling the town hall front desk during office hours.”

Caller: *Sarcastically, under his breath* “The police, your friend in need.”

This is a rough translation; a literal translation of the German phrase would be, “The police, your friend and helper,” so he’s implying that I’m not really helping him here by pointing that out.

Caller: *To me* “Well, could you give me their number?”

Me: “Sure, I’ll look it up for you.”

Caller: *Again under his breath* “You guys sure are something.”

At this point, I get fed up with his attitude. Apparently, he had two weeks to observe the lights being on, but he only got around to call some completely unrelated department about it in the evening, instead of calling the people who actually work in the building he’s complaining about during their office hours, or, you know, walking across the street from where he lives. And then he thinks he can be snarky with the police trying to help with his complaint?

Me: “Sir, I’m trying to help you, but to be frank, we’re not an information desk, and we certainly won’t dispatch police officers just because some office workers forgot to turn off the lights when they went home.”

Caller: “Those offices aren’t occupied; they’ve just left the lights turned on the entire time.”

Me: “How would you know that nobody’s in those offices during their office hours?”

Caller: “I’ve been observing them for two weeks now.”

Me: “So, you mean to tell me you’ve had two weeks to constantly observe those offices during their office hours, and yet, you decided to wait until it’s 8:00 pm to then call the police about this non-emergency issue?”

After a few seconds of silence:

Caller: “You know what? I don’t need that front desk number anymore.”

I get where he’s coming from in principle, that the lights shouldn’t be turned on the entire night when nobody’s there, but I simply can’t follow the thought process that would lead him to call the police about it and then choose to have an attitude when we tell him that his issue lies outside of our responsibility.

You Smelt It But I Didn’t Dealt It

, , , , | Related | November 10, 2021

My family is on a tour in Switzerland. We pass by some horse-drawn carriages.

Mum: “Yuck, [My Name], you need to use more deodorant.”

Me: “Mum, those are horses you’re smelling.”