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Karma’s Working Overtime Today

, , , , , , , | Legal | September 8, 2021

My husband and I are volunteer firefighters and EMTs in a rural area of Tennessee. We respond to a 911 call from a VERY scared teenage girl who has run her car into a ditch on a one-lane rural road during a period of very bad thunderstorms.

When we arrive on the call, the young lady’s father is already there, screaming his lungs out at his daughter for putting the car in the ditch. The poor girl is in hysterics, pleading with her father to stop yelling at her. I did the same thing in my husband’s brand-new Lexus SUV at that exact same spot on that road about eight hours ago, so we both have a lot of sympathy for her.

My husband and I confront the father after we make sure that the girl is okay physically. My husband speaks to the father in his VERY loud retired Marine Corps drill sergeant voice.

Husband: “Excuse me, sir! Why are you yelling at your poor daughter over an accident that she probably couldn’t control?! We have been getting calls all day for accidents on this road due to the weather!”

Father: “She should have known better than to travel that fast during this weather! She may have damaged the car that she just bought! Kids shouldn’t make mistakes like that!”

We notice that the car is a roughly twenty-year-old Buick sedan.

Husband: “Yeah, so? My wife did the same thing at this exact spot this morning in my brand-new Lexus, and she had to call a tow truck to get it out. The running board was damaged, but it isn’t a big deal.”

Father: “Your wife must be very stupid to make a mistake like that!”

My husband is getting VERY angry.

Husband: “My wife is forty and she has driven tour busses accident-free since she was twenty-five! Everyone makes mistakes! There was oil on this part of the road when my wife went off the road and that, combined with the wet road and the huge bump in the road, would cause anyone to lose control of their vehicle! Your daughter is just a kid; go easy on her! I am a retired Marine Corps drill sergeant, and I would never be that hard on someone over an honest mistake!”

A sheriff’s deputy arrives and he immediately confronts the father.

Deputy: *To the father* “Calm down! She just needs a tow truck to get her out. I have already called one. It doesn’t appear that she hit the ditch very fast. The worst-case scenario is that the undercarriage is scratched and there are some scratches and minor dents to the body, which I wouldn’t be worried about on a vehicle this old. This could literally happen to anyone!”

The father starts sputtering and the tow truck arrives. The tow truck driver is a high school friend of my husband, and the driver is also an ASE-certified mechanic. The tow truck driver gets the car out of the ditch and looks for obvious mechanical issues on the car. He finds a bunch of minor scratches to the side of the car that hit the ditch and a few scratches underneath, but the car is still drivable.

Tow Truck Driver: *To the father* “The car is perfectly fine to drive! She made a mistake. So what? It’s just a dang car! Get over it! In fact, I am not going to even charge her for the tow because of the way that you are acting! The poor girl doesn’t need any more grief! The car going off the road is probably enough to make her be more attentive when she is on this road!”

The father angrily gets in his own car and starts to drive away extremely fast. The next thing we know, HE ends up losing control when HIS car hits a puddle of water, putting his car in that same ditch about 300 feet down the road. We all go down to check on him and the sheriff’s deputy starts talking to him.

Deputy: *To the father* “You were just yelling at your daughter for the same thing? Based on what you said to your daughter, you must be a first-rate moron! We all told you that it could happen to anyone!”

My husband’s friend pulled the father’s car out of the ditch, and the father had actually hit the ditch so fast that he tore out his brake lines, ripped off part of his front bumper, broke the side view mirror, AND caused numerous dents and scratches to the right side of his car. The father was completely fine physically but looked EXTREMELY embarrassed. My husband’s friend said that the damage would easily cost at least $6,000 to fix and the car could possibly be totaled due to the age of the car. We all hope that he learned his lesson for yelling at his daughter over a minor mistake.

There’s No Room For Error When Working With Family

, , , , , , | Related | September 3, 2021

My first job, when I was too naïve to know any better, was working for my uncle. He wanted a programmer to maintain the website and database for his nonprofit and to help with a startup. Neither the nonprofit nor the startup could afford to HIRE a programmer, so he offered me free room and board, an allowance of $100 a week, and “experience and a spot in the company if the startup takes off.” It was stupid to work for so little, but I agreed to, and I wouldn’t complain if he’d held up his end of the bargain.

Of course, of the odds and ends that made up my “salary,” the room was the most important and valuable. My uncle lives with his girlfriend, and I moved into her basement. This story begins maybe a year after I moved in.

Uncle: “Has [Girlfriend] talked to you about her friends coming to stay?”

Me: “No?”

Uncle: “Well, she has some old friends coming next month and the basement room is the biggest and nicest spare room, so they’ll be staying there. You can take the upstairs spare room or go back to [Home State] for two days.” 

Me: “But all my things are down here! I have furniture in this room that’s too heavy to move and won’t fit in the upstairs room anyway. And I’m trying to tame the cat that lives on the basement patio; how can I do that if strangers are in this room? Not only won’t I be able to see when she’s around, but I can’t even approach the patio from outside without feeling like I’m intruding on the guests!”

Uncle: “That’s up to you. I just came downstairs to make sure you know you’ll need to leave on those days.”

I agree, reluctantly, to take the upstairs spare room. The day before the guests are supposed to arrive, I’ve almost finished cleaning my room. I plan to wash my dishes and take the items I want to keep with me upstairs that evening. I’m at the nonprofit when my uncle’s girlfriend texts me.

Girlfriend: “Hi, [My Name], my friends showed up early, so I went ahead and took all your things upstairs.”

I’m furious that she went into my room and moved my things without so much as asking for permission, let alone asking what I wanted where. But I text back, “OK,” because what else can I do? She’s already done it; I can’t exactly tell her no.

That afternoon, when I get home, I go upstairs to assess the damage. I can’t find any of my books. There’s a dirty knife, covered in jelly, at the bottom of my laundry basket, which has been repurposed into a junk basket. Various electronics are piled in it willy-nilly, some missing their charge cords. All my dishes, apart from that one knife, are in the dishwasher, even though many aren’t dishwasher-safe. I have to go down to the basement to collect clothes, because [Girlfriend] didn’t bring any up.

I also show the guests where I keep the kibble and ask them, since they have the patio, to please feed the cat. They agree, but for the rest of their stay, the kibble dish is empty every time I look at it. I eventually sneak into the basement when they’re not there to get kibble with which to refill it.

The next day, I discuss what’s happened with my uncle, trying to make him see why the situation bothers me.

Me: “First of all, she just kicked me out of my room! I didn’t get any choice in the matter.”

Uncle: “Sure, you did. You got to choose whether to stay upstairs or leave the house.”

Me: “I mean I wasn’t given a choice of whether or not to give up my room.”

Uncle: “No, you weren’t. The room is in [Girlfriend]’s house; it belongs to [Girlfriend], and just because she’s nice enough to let you use it, that doesn’t mean it belongs to you. I think you need to appreciate how [Girlfriend] has bent over backward for you. She didn’t have to let you stay in her house.”

Me: “That’s most of my salary! I earn that room!”

Uncle: “[Girlfriend] doesn’t get anything from you. You don’t write code for her; you write it for me.”

Me: “If you’re stealing from her to pay me with something that was never yours to offer in the first place, that’s between the two of you. Either the room is charity, given to me out of the goodness of [Girlfriend]’s heart — in which case, she does have the right to kick me out, but I’m working for practically nothing — or it’s part of my salary, in which case, I have the right to stay there as long as I keep doing my job. Which is it?”

Uncle: “I’m not going to discuss this.”

Later that day — while I’m still living in the upstairs guest room — we’re discussing the startup’s prospects and how much longer I can continue working with him before I start looking for a “real job”.

Uncle: “I know, I don’t pay you very much. But if you include the room and board—”

Me: “Seriously?”

Sadly, this is not the incident that led to me quitting that “job” — although it probably would have been if it weren’t for the cat, who wasn’t tame enough to transport yet. A few months and a lot of kitty treats later, after an even stupider argument, I packed her into a carrier and left for good.

Necklaces, Festivals, And Humming, Oh My

, , , , , | Right | August 25, 2021

Our store sells out-of-season and overstock products. It’s fifteen minutes past close and I am waiting for the last two customers, a couple, to purchase their items and leave so that I can close down my last drawer.

The couple approaches my register to check out and the husband starts off with a question about some items they have. He has such a strong southern accent that it is very hard for me to understand what he is saying.

The wife holds up two different necklaces packaged in their respective boxes.

Husband: “We wanna know if we can switch this to this.”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Wife: *Rudely interjects* “I want to know if I can switch this part of this necklace to this one.”

Me: “Well, if you take tweezers to the clasps holding that part of the necklace, it would be quite easy to switch those pieces, so yes, you could do that.”

Husband: *To his wife* “She is clearly not understanding what you are saying.”

Me: “I am so sorry. Did I misinterpret something?”

Wife: “Well, I like this piece on [Necklace #1], but I like this piece on [Necklace #2], and I want to know if I can take one piece off and put it onto the other necklace.”

I begin to reiterate my point of being able to do that with tweezers. The couple grows more frustrated. I then realize that the wife wants me to take apart the necklaces, right now, put the piece she wants onto the other necklace, and then sell them to her that way.

Me: “I cannot do that. The necklaces come that way and are priced that way, so they must stay that way.”

This infuriates the couple and they grow increasingly frustrated. The wife slams the jewelry down on the counter.

Wife: “Whatever. I don’t even want them anymore.”

Husband: “I told you we should have gone to [Sister Store]. They would have let us switch them.”

Me: “Unfortunately, sir, [Sister Store] does not sell jewelry, so they actually would not have been able to do that.”

They go silent for a minute while I continue to ring up their other items. I am wearing a wristband for a popular music festival I attended.

Husband: “Is that a [Popular Music Festival] wristband?”

Me: “Yes, sir, it is. I go every year.”

Husband: “I can’t believe you attend that stupid festival! We live in [Town the festival is in] and it causes so many problems for us!”

Me: “Well, sir, I know it may be inconvenient for the four days it is happening, but [Popular Music Festival] actually brings in a lot of money for your town.”

Husband: “WELL, I CAN PROMISE YOU THAT THE CITIZENS DON’T SEE A PENNY OF THAT MONEY!”

Does he really think that is how it works? Has he not seen the brand-new [Popular Retail Chain] and recently renovated high school in his town?

Husband: *Unintelligible*

Me: “I am sorry, sir. I could not understand what you said.”

Husband: *Unintelligible again*

Me: “I am really sorry, sir. I do not understand.”

Husband: “YOU MUST HAVE THAT [POPULAR MUSIC FESTIVAL] STILL STUCK IN YOUR HEAD! YOU ARE NOT LISTENING TO ME!”

After this comment, I go silent and try to ring up their items as quickly as possible. I still do not know what he said.

Me: “Would you like your receipt emailed to you?”

Husband: “Yes, I would.”

Me: “Okay, please input your email into the PIN pad.”

The wife goes to put her email in. This tends to be a lengthy process, so while she is doing this, I zone out and start humming and tapping my nails to the beat of the music. I often tap my fingers or shake my leg when unoccupied due to ADHD.

Wife: “Honey, you are never going to get anywhere with that patience. I work as a middle school teacher and I know exactly what tapping your fingers means.”

Me: “Actually, ma’am, it means that I have ADHD and I need to be moving at all times.”

This shuts her right up and she storms away. I give the husband his receipt and they finally leave. While I am closing down my drawer, I see them talking to my manager. They are both pointing their fingers at me, and I can tell they are yelling at him.

My manager walks up to me after they leave to tell me what they said.

Manager: “They just told me that you were so rude and that I should fire you.”

Dumbfounded silence falls.

Manager: *Laughs* “Don’t worry. I could hear everything, and they were a problem from the start. You are not in trouble.”

A couple of weeks later, I see the couple back in the store and I make a point of walking up to them.

Me: “Hi! How are you guys doing today?!”

They both stared in silence, clearly upset that I did not get fired. I walked away with a huge smile on my face.

Can’t Hear You Over The Sound Of Your Ovaries, Part 18

, , , , | Right | August 17, 2021

I started a sales job in an auto parts store a few weeks ago. Retail is pretty new for me, but I spent three years in an auto parts warehouse for a different company, so I’m learning fairly quickly.

I’ve learned most of the free services, like battery, alternator, and starter testing. I’m a young woman and try to look feminine while also being a tomboy. So far, it hasn’t been an issue, despite living in a small rural town… until yesterday.

A man in his seventies or so comes into the store.

Me: “Hello, what can I help you with?”

Customer: “Can you get someone to test my battery?”

Me: “Sure.”

I grab the tester and walk to the door.

Customer: “Oh, you’re going to test it?”

I say yes and we go out to his car.

Customer: “These days, they let women do just about anything men can, don’t they?”

Normally, I ignore comments from customers, and I’m usually too tolerant of rude people, but I’ve been having a rough week at work. I look him straight in the eyes.

Me: “Yeah, I’m a firefighter, too.”

He looked shocked for a minute and then shifted the subject to his son being a retired firefighter. I finished the battery test and told him it showed good but to come back if it dies again (sometimes they go bad slowly). He thanked me for my time and let out a sheepish “thank you for your service” before he left. Maybe next time, he’ll think before judging what a girl is capable of.

Related:
Can’t Hear You Over The Sound Of Your Ovaries, Part 17
Can’t Hear You Over The Sound Of Your Ovaries, Part 16
Can’t Hear You Over The Sound Of Your Ovaries, Part 15
Can’t Hear You Over The Sound Of Your Ovaries, Part 14
Can’t Hear You Over The Sound Of Your Ovaries, Part 13

The Game Is A-Foot

, , , , , | Related | June 3, 2021

I’m watching my oldest daughter, who is twenty-two, play with my youngest daughter, who is ten. [Youngest] has her arms around the other’s ankle, playfully trying to tug [Oldest] off the couch. My oldest is “struggling” in [Youngest]’s grip.

Youngest: “Come play!”

Oldest: *Flailing dramatically* “You’ll never take me alive!”

[Youngest] wraps her arms around [Oldest]’s foot and pulls.

Oldest: “Oh— Ouch! Hang on.”

Youngest: “Did I hurt you?”

Oldest: “It’s okay; that’s just the foot I had surgery on and I guess you pressed on the site. Here.”

She offers up her other foot, instead. [Youngest] wraps her arms around the other foot and tugs.

Youngest: “Come play!”

Oldest: *Flailing* “Never, I say! Never!


This story is part of our Best Of June 2021 roundup!

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