Let’s Dive Right Past This One, Shall We?

, , , , , | Learning | September 12, 2018

(I teach older kids who can already swim, but who want to improve their swimming. I usually have mixed groups, where the oldest are eighteen years old and the youngest eight. I also teach a brother and sister, ten and fourteen years old respectively. One day, only the boy shows up. The group has gathered for roll call.)

Boy: “[Sister] is not coming. She told me I had to say she was sick. But she’s not really sick. She is MEN-STRU-A-TING.”

(The group snickers, but the boy doesn’t understand why.)

Me: “Yeah, that’s understandable, and completely normal. Also, [Boy], I don’t think your sister would have wanted the whole group to know that.”

Boy: “Why not?”

This Cousin Deserves To Be Boxed

, , , , | Related | September 6, 2018

(My grandmother is moving and the whole family is helping out. My dad asks his boss if he can borrow a few sturdy boxes, and it is approved, as long as the boxes get returned. One day, we return to the now empty house.)

Dad: “Has anyone seen my boxes?”

Cousin #1: “Oh, I tossed them out.”

Me, Sister, Cousin #2 & Dad: “TOSSED THEM OUT?!”

Sister: “We all knew these boxes had to return to my dad.”

Cousin #1: “Hey, I was busy! I have a lot of things on my mind! You know, I had to do everything on my own, and nobody helped!”

Dad: “Actually, we all offered to help multiple times, and you insisted on doing this on your own. Now what? My boss won’t accept, ‘Sorry.'”

Cousin #1: “You know, it’s always something with this family! How else did I have to move those books?”

Dad: “Use one of those other boxes, like the ones over there?! Or take them out?”

Cousin #1: “I’ve had it with this family. You guys always attack me. I’m out of here!”

(My cousin left. Meanwhile, Grandmother kept on asking where certain valuable things went. We don’t have any proof, but we think we know who took them, to sell at a black market. My cousin doesn’t have a job — and couldn’t keep one even if his life depended on it — and doesn’t live on welfare, but he keeps on posting pictures on Facebook of his new car every few months. We’ll have to keep this silent for Grandmother, though. She thinks her grandson had a rough past but is doing great now. Telling her of this would not be good for her heart.)

Learning Your Rights By Committing Wrongs

, , , , , | Legal | September 5, 2018

(I’m chatting with some coworkers after hours.)

Coworker: “It’s funny how you can learn more than a professional. A while ago, when my brother went up in court, he managed to explain his rights to his lawyer instead of the other way around.”

Me: “Really? How’s that? A degree in law or something?”

Coworker: *laughing out loudly* “A degree in law! I should remember that one! My brother sees the prison more often than he sees a book!”

Your Feelings Deceive You

, , , | Working | September 4, 2018

(We get new management and a supervisor, and no matter how we try, the supervisor and I just don’t get on the same page. We don’t hate each other, but he feels I’m not doing my work properly, and when I ask how to improve, I get vague comments. Plans are made to help me improve, but there are technical issues that prevent things from changing. I keep on asking for help, but I feel like I never get anything concrete to work on. The word “fingerspitzgefühl” is mentioned over and over again — “you just have to have the feeling for it.” When I get called into the office away from the rest of the team, I know what’s up, and I am told my contract will be terminated. It doesn’t matter that all but one of my clients are extremely satisfied with me; I just don’t have that “feeling.” I get a very generous offer, which my lawyer tells me proves they have nothing and just want to get rid of me. I accept the offer and go on an already planned vacation. My duties will be taken over by other colleagues, including a task only the most trustworthy of people can do — delicate financial work. During my vacation, I get a call from my supervisor. He wants to tell me this, before I hear rumours. From our team of eight people — me included — three were found out to have stolen from the company. They were supposed to take over my delicate task and their position was terminated immediately.)

Me: “Oh, wow. I never would have guessed that, especially from [Coworker].”

(They studied to become a lawyer.)

Supervisor: “Yeah, we are really understaffed now.”

Me: “Well, I’ll see what I can do when my vacation is over. I’ll be back next week for my final month. I hope you can find someone else soon!”

Supervisor: “Yeah… Well… Um… Yeah… Have a nice week.”

(The regret in his voice was clearly audible and I did a little victory dance. It may be petty, but to me it was wonderful to find out he put his trust in three fraudulent employees and fired me.)

A Deduction Reduction

, , , , | Right | September 4, 2018

(As tax students, we have to work at a tax office for two weeks during the period everyone has to fill in their tax return forms. We help people fill in their forms if they have trouble understanding how it works. In the Netherlands, you’re allowed to deduct expenses on certain items of clothing and bedding from your income so you don’t pay tax over them, if you pass a certain threshold. This is proven by simply showing me the receipt. I’m with a 73-year-old customer who has deducted money for this for the last few years and wants me to do it this year, too. He was already slightly irritated when he came in. As students, we don’t have access to any of the databases, so we can’t check any previously filled-in forms.)

Me: “Did you have any expenses on clothing and bedding for medical purpose this year, sir?”

Customer: “Yes, about €400.”

Me: “Can I see the receipts, please?”

Customer: “I don’t keep a receipt; it’s just the regular stuff everyone buys.”

Me: *slightly alarmed* “You mean normal clothes?”

Customer: *getting more irritated* “Yes, clothes like you’re wearing; you can deduct them. I do it every year. Go check your database.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, we can’t check any databases, and also I’m not allowed to let you deduct anything if it’s for regular clothing.”

Customer: *now getting red and talking very loudly* “Well, I’ve been doing it for years. What kind of nonsense is it that I can’t do it now?”

Me: “Then you’re lucky you’ve never been caught in the past few years. I surely will not allow it now.”

Customer: “Next thing you tell me is you won’t deduct my Viagra, either.”

(Luckily for me, he had a prescription for that, so I didn’t need to have the same discussion all over again.)

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