This Won’t Leave You With A Warm Feeling

, , , , , | Related | July 26, 2021

It’s December 2019 and Australia is experiencing one of the worst bushfire seasons in history. The sky is constantly red-brown from smoke and ash and we are hearing about new fires popping up every day. A state of emergency has been declared and the general mood is one of fear and anxiety.

One morning, I’m trying to get my children fed and ready for school while trying to get the news to play on our [Smart Home Assistant]. I am getting cranky and shouty as “The Assistant” can’t hear me properly with my kids chattering away in the background.

Assistant: “Would you like to hear some soothing and relaxing sounds?”

Me: *Giving up* “SURE! Why not?”

“The Assistant” plays crackling fire sounds.

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Sew Not Doing Business With You

, , , , , | Working | July 15, 2021

My daughter and I have discovered a shop that sells handmade items and offers designer party decorating. As crafters, we are interested to find out whether they take in items that we make to sell on commissions. I approach the owner and she greets me nicely.

Owner: “Is there anything I can help you with?”

Me: “Yes, I was just wondering if you take in handmade pieces to be sold?”

The owner instantly changes tone from sweet to harsh, bordering on angry, and snaps at me.

Owner: “I just don’t take anything. I expect the best quality. What do you do?”

Me: *Taken aback* “My daughter and I both crochet. I also sew.”

Owner: *Still in the harsh tone* “Well, as I said, it has to be the best quality. I also want only original designs; I won’t have any stolen designs. And I want exclusive rights. You can’t sell anywhere else.”

She stalks off back to the counter where a customer has arrived. My daughter and I look around before we decide to leave. I hear her talking sweetly to the customer, who is asking about having wedding decorations made.

Customer: “Do you have any photos or designs we can choose from?”

Owner: “No, I don’t, but you can search on the Internet and bring me photos of what you want. I can copy anything you want.”

Needless to say, we did not do any business there, and within a couple of months, the store had gone out of business.

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Email Fail, Part 32

, , , , , | Working | July 7, 2021

Out of the blue, I receive the following email from “” at a well-known home appliance manufacturer’s email address.

Manufacturer Email: “Good afternoon. I have tried to contact you today regarding a visit for your hob, but unfortunately, I was not able to leave a message or speak to you directly. Due to the fact our technician requires parts for the repair, I have rescheduled the appointment for [date]. If for any reason this date is not suitable, please do not hesitate to contact us using the number below.”

It doesn’t look like the usual spam or a scammer. They are clearly trying to contact someone and repair their hob. This customer’s email address is probably similar to mine, as my email address contains a common name.  

I am not the customer they are looking for, though. I am fairly certain of this, not just because I do not need a hob repair, but also because the phone number and web address provided are in the UK; I am in Sydney, Australia.

I do a quick search, and the website and phone number seem legit. I decide to be helpful. However, I have noticed I am usually quite verbose, so I decide to stick just to the relevant facts and requested actions in my reply.

My Email: “Good morning. I believe you have the wrong email address. Would you kindly check your records, please? Kind regards.”

I receive the following response.

Manufacturer Email: “Good morning. Thank you for your following email. I can confirm we have the following address details.”

In their email to me was a screenshot of the full database details of their UK customer, including name, residential address, phone number, and mobile phone number! And, of course, MY email address.

I sent as stern a response as I could manage, letting them know that I had not asked for this information and was upset that they’d sent it to me. I pointed out that they had done the equivalent of receiving a not-at-this-address response, addressing a new letter to the same address, and enclosing a customer’s personal information, except that I did not have the option of returning it unopened. This time, I explicitly requested that they delete my email address from their records. They sent a suitably apologetic response and agreed to do so, and said they’d train the agent responsible for this exchange.

Looking back, I can kind of see how “You have the wrong email address” could have been interpreted as, “I am your customer and you have my email address wrong,” if I hadn’t been EMAILING them from that very address!

Email Fail, Part 31
Email Fail, Part 30
Email Fail, Part 29
Email Fail, Part 28
Email Fail, Part 27

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A Classic Item In The Racism Catalogue

, , , , , | Right | July 1, 2021

I work in a fairly well-known bookstore chain in my country. I’m a fairly new hire, which means that I don’t have the authority to do some things, like ordering.

I’m standing behind the counter — not at the register because we only have one working and our manager is using it. A customer clears her throat loudly and I look up.

Me: “Sorry, ma’am, but this register doesn’t work. If you wait for a second, my manager can help you with your purchases.”

The manager is of Indian descent and very dark-skinned.

Customer: *Smiles nastily* “Oh, I was hoping you could help me, if you know what I mean.”

Me: *Gritting my teeth* “I can help you find something, sure, but this register doesn’t work. I can’t ring you out.”

Customer: “Oh, that’s okay. I need to find something.”

Me: “Sure, what did you need?”

Customer: “Oh, I want to know about a book in your catalogue.”

Me: “Sure! My coworker can help you with that.”

My coworker is also Indian.

Customer: *Sighs and taps her foot* “Can’t you help me?” *Brandishes a catalogue* “I want to order this book.”

Me: *Internally laughing* “I’m so sorry, but I don’t have the authority to do that. Let me get you my manager.”

I motion as if I’m going to get my manager, literally two meters away, but before I can, the customer huffs and storms out of the shop.

Me: *Under my breath* “And stay out.”

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Bookstores Abhor A Vacuum

, , , , | Right | June 30, 2021

I work in a popular bookshop chain in my country. We do sell things like board games and stationery and gift-related things, but that’s it. It’s a bookstore.

I’m tidying the display in front of the counter when a man approaches me, looking confused. He’s holding a vacuum cleaner, which I assume he bought from the appliance shop next door.

Me: “Hi, sir, can I help you with anything today?”

Customer: *Holding out the vacuum cleaner* “Can I buy this?”

Me: *Thinking I’ve heard him wrong* “What?”

Customer: “Can I get this?”

Me: “Um… I’m fairly sure we don’t sell those here.”

Manager #1: “What do you need, sir?”

Customer: “I want to get this!”

Manager #1: “Uh… Okay. Come over here?”

The man follows him around to the other end of the counter. Then, as I’m watching in disbelief, he walks BEHIND the counter and puts his bag down. 

Customer: “So, how much for the wrapping paper?”

Manager #1: “Oh, you wanted this… wrapped?”

Customer: “Yeah!”

Manager #1: “I don’t think we have enough wrapping paper here. Would you like to buy some?”

Customer: “Okay.”

[Manager #1] goes to get more wrapping paper. The man follows him, BEHIND THE COUNTER the entire way.

Manager #2: “Does he know he’s not supposed to be behind here?”

Me: “I… honestly don’t know.”

[Manager #1] comes back. The man acts as if he’s going to follow him behind the counter again.

Manager #2: “Sir, you can’t be behind the counter.”

Customer: “I’m just getting my stuff.”

Manager #2: “Then go around.”

The man huffs and goes around. By this point, I’m hiding behind a display so he can’t see me trying not to laugh. The man spots me.

Customer: “Don’t be scared.”

Me: “I’m not. It’s just the first time someone’s come into a bookshop and asked me if they can buy a vacuum cleaner, that’s all.”

I very quickly turned and walked away so he couldn’t see me cracking up again. I ended up laughing so hard I cried once I’d made it into the break room. I don’t know what happened next, but when I came out, he was gone.

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