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He Needs To Police His Funds Better

, , , | Legal | May 5, 2021

I work in a police dispatch department. This call happens during a night shift on a weekend at 3:00 am, when all the bars close in our city.

Caller: “Hey, I’m at [Bar]. I need you to pick me up and drive me home to [Town about four miles outside our city limits]. You brought me home last time.”

I ask his name and quickly look up why on earth we would have driven him home. It’s uncommon for us to even leave city limits when it’s not an emergency since we don’t have any jurisdiction outside the city. It turns out that this happened last weekend, and he had gotten in trouble for trying to walk out of a bar without paying for his drinks. By that point, he was drunk, but not massively so, but he didn’t have any money to pay the last couple of drinks and no means of getting any from an ATM. This obviously meant that he didn’t have the cash to pay for a taxi, either. 

The officers that were dispatched told the bartender what his options were while they took down the patron’s details and then they decided to take the patron home where he lives with his mother, since it was just a short drive and there were plenty of other officers on duty, so two guys driving out of town for ten minutes wasn’t problematic. He also wasn’t aggressive and didn’t seem to pose any danger to others or himself, so we couldn’t justify putting him into the drunk tank to spend the night.

Anyway, he somehow got it into his head that it’d be a brilliant idea to just call the cops himself in order to get a free ride home after a night of drinking, instead of provisioning some funds for the ride home.

Caller: “Come on, dude. I don’t have any money — I spent it all on drinks — so you gotta bring me home. You have to help people in need.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but last time was a pretty big exception. We’re the police, not a taxi service so, unfortunately, I can’t help you. You’ll have to find another way to get home or maybe get some money from an ATM to pay for a cab.”

Caller: “Nah, in that case, I’ll just walk home.”

And with that, he ended the call. It’s not unusual for people to walk home after a night of drinking if they don’t want to pay for a taxi, which costs a flat rate of $20 for the nearest few towns. I did it myself in my younger years, and the town I live in was even farther away than his, so it’s doable. Still, I decided to call his mother and inform her that her son had called us about a ride home so if she wanted to pick him up herself, she’d at least know where he was.

Mother: “Oh, no, he’s an adult. If he can’t manage his funds in order to get home, that’s his problem.”

True to his word, the caller did end up walking home that night and he didn’t attempt to get us to be his private free taxi service anymore.

Something To Celebrate

, , , | Right | December 25, 2020

The last day of Christmas is a public holiday here in Switzerland.

Caller: “I tried to contact you yesterday, but nobody answered the phone.”

Me: “Yesterday was the last day of Christmas, so the office was closed.”

Caller: “I don’t celebrate Christmas; you should respect that!”

Didn’t Know That Was In The Cards

, , , , | Friendly | December 12, 2020

My boyfriend and I are having a mock-argument over a card game while cooking dinner. As he isn’t speaking to me, I go back to his room; he lives in student housing. When I turn the corner, I see someone INSIDE his room. Naturally, I run up and yell:

Me: “What do you think you are doing?!”

This makes the guy jump and turn round. He has on the ground a bag from a food delivery service, and he starts to tell me he has my food. I don’t speak German very well and cannot remember how to say, “Get out,” so it becomes a very agitated conversation in a mixture of English and very bad German on my part. I occasionally yell for my boyfriend (who can’t hear me from across the building) while we are talking, which is making the guy nervous.

He seems to think he has the answer and pulls out his phone to show the building on a map. I don’t care why he is there and am making gestures telling him to go. I keep telling him:

Me: “Nicht hier!” *Not here!*

But he is insistent it has to be my food. He isn’t even wearing a mask, which is making me more furious. I then mime for him to call the person who ordered the food, but apparently, he doesn’t get an answer.

Apparently, somehow, he managed to enter the building after not getting an answer, and instead of waiting in the entrance, he decided my boyfriend’s room must be the right one and knocked. When there was no answer, he let himself in, and then I turned up.

After about ten minutes of this, he finally turned around and left and I did a quick assessment to make sure everything valuable we had out was in place. Then, I ran back to the kitchen and told my boyfriend to lock his room as had I found someone in there. Luckily, everything was in place and we went back, confused and shaken as to what the h*** the guy was thinking.

I keep reminding my boyfriend it is a good thing I can beat him at cards as it meant I chased off a potential thief from his room.

Their Coffee Went Up In Smoke

, , , , , | Right | December 2, 2020

We are a table of more than ten — half kids, half adults — on the restaurant’s terrace. The table next to us, all relatively young adults, keep smoking (which is allowed) and sending their smoke to us, and especially to the kids (which is not nice, but also not illegal), even after we ask twice of them to be more careful.

They leave before us, after having made a mess of the “how shall we pay” part, according to the faces their waiter is making once they’ve left.

Fifteen minutes later, our waiter comes to us and explains that yes, some coffees are missing from our bill, but it’s because the other table made such a mess that they paid for far too many coffees. And since they had been such a bother to us, the waiters subtracted those coffees from our bill.

Making Software Way Too Hard

, , , | Working | November 29, 2020

Several companies have merged. Mine is one of them. The company that bought us is notorious for swallowing up company after company into the gaping maw of its conglomerate.

As a result of this, we software designers are tasked with merging our software as much as possible, so that it is compatible with the various small sub-companies that we now are.

My task in this instance is to visit one of the offices in Switzerland to explain how this tool I’ve built can be used to allow several different software packages to be built using a single command. As you’d expect, it’s complicated and messy, having to cater for a number of options and handle goodness knows how many edge cases and special workarounds.

I know the manager of the team I am presenting to. I’ve worked with her on a previous project, and met her in person at a big workshop meeting that turned into a glorious party a year or so before in a beautiful eastern European capital city.

Her team, however, turns out to be hostile, as they feel that the parent company’s decision to make them use our software in their applications is a bit of a slap in the face. So, from the very first moment of my presentation, they pick holes, they challenge, they question every single decision, and they reply to my justifications for those decisions by telling me bluntly that the decisions were bad ones.

I’m used to this sort of challenge, because it’s little different from a software peer review session. But by mid-afternoon, it has been a hard day and I’m starting to lose patience.

Me: “Okay, here’s the software. It is what it is. I have been tasked with presenting it to you. Take it or leave it. I’ve explained how it works and why it was designed that way. I’m afraid I don’t really have anything else to contribute here.”

Into the silence, the manager, who has been trying all day to get her team to work towards a resolution, bursts out:

Manager: “He’s come all this way to give us an app that will help us! And all the time, you people have just been, so… so rude!

The meeting wound up soon after that, and I returned to the hotel to overeat and overdrink before my flight home the next morning.

Happy days.