He’s Living His Pipe Dream

, , , | Working | August 28, 2019

(I work in an office with multiple restroom-blocks. One day, one is closed off due to a leak. A plumber comes and I happen to be the one to welcome him as a receptionist. The plumber goes to work, finds the leak, and fixes the leak. He has to change some pipes and comes down hauling the broken pipes.)

Me: “Whoa, that must’ve been one leak!”

Plumber: “Yeah, it was huge! Look at it!”

(He enthusiastically shows me the hole on the pipe, holding it very close to my face. Very close.)

Plumber: “You see this brown thick layer? That’s human poop. This has been accumulating for years!”

(I saw a layer from about an inch thick, and the pipe was still very close to my face. I realise this was not something I wanted to know. I quickly handed the plumber the key to our dumpster to let him dispose of it. When he came back with the key, he proudly stated that he had never seen a layer of poop this thick. The good man was clearly enthusiastic and meant no harm, but I did feel the urge to shower for a day.)

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You Can’t Teach A New Dog Old Tricks

, , , , | Learning | August 28, 2019

(I’m thirteen. I get home from school, dump my book-bag on the hallway floor under the coat rack — as usual and like my dad has told me at least a dozen times not to — have a snack, and leave again for a friend’s house. Dad’s out running errands. When I get back for dinner, Dad tells me that, when he came home from his errands, he found that I hadn’t closed the door between the living room and the hallway properly, so our dog got into the hallway. Apparently, the dog decided the contents of my book-bag would make for good toys, specifically my French homework. It is almost completely destroyed. There are some shreds left, but I obviously can’t work with it anymore. Dad is laughing. I am halfway between annoyance and laughter until Dad pulls me over the edge by saying that tomorrow, I’ll have to tell the teacher my dog ate my homework. Realizing the stereotypical comedy excuse has come true for once is pretty funny. The next day, I bring the shredded remains of my homework to school, because no way is anyone going to believe me without proof. I’m also determined to have as much fun with this as I can, especially since my French teacher is an old sourpuss that nobody likes. When she goes around collecting the homework, I deliberately don’t have anything on my table and wait for her to ask me the inevitable.)

Teacher: “[My Name], where’s your homework?”

Me: *suppressing a grin* “Well, ma’am, you’re probably not going to believe me, but my dog ate my homework.”

Teacher: *looking decidedly not amused* “You’re right; I don’t believe you.”

(I pull the shredded remains of my homework out of my bag to show her.)

Me: “How about now?”

(The class starts sniggering, and the teacher looks at me like I just grew an extra head or something.)

Teacher: “Well… I suppose I’ll let it slide this time.” *sour again* “But I expect you to take better care of your homework in the future, [My Name].”

Me: “Of course, ma’am.”

(I did, by the way. I finally stopped dumping my bag on the hallway floor, to my dad’s delight. He joked afterward that maybe he should let the dog into my bedroom, so maybe I’d finally learn to clear that disaster zone, as well. I decided not to risk it.)

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Biking In The Netherlands Is Taken Seriously

, , , , , | Friendly | August 26, 2019

(I’ve just impaled myself on a fence after I was riding my bike, avoided a car, noticed no working brakes, went into the sidewalk, and then hit a bump which sent me into said fence. I’m clearly hurting and stuck when a person who was on the sidewalk walks over. I am a tourist.)

Woman: “Bikes are for the road.”

Me: “I know, but I didn’t have a choice.”

Woman: “You should have stayed on the road!”

Me: “I’m not a good enough rider to stay on the road and not get hit by a car when there are no brakes!”

Woman: “You are a terrible rider. Bikes stay in the street! No sidewalk riding!”

(At this point, I get off the fence and fall into the bushes on the other side. I have blood dripping down my leg and other, far more minor injuries like scratches that are obvious as I finally stand up.)

Me: “I understand. I’m not a good rider, but I had no chance. I couldn’t stop the bike and I think I did pretty well to not hit you or anyone else.”

(I’ve got a lovely scar just above my right knee as a reminder but hey, at least she told me off for “riding on the sidewalk.”)

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Getting A Calling For Dealing With The Callings

, , , | Legal | August 23, 2019

(I am going through a period of getting calls from scammers, usually with an incredibly thick Indian accent, giving a very American name and claiming to be calling on behalf of Microsoft for some essential update. The first time, I initially thought they were linked to my work where the IT support is a genuinely good company in India, although it was odd that they would call me at home. After some questions about my system, they wanted me to visit a site. I first quickly Googled it which confirmed it was a scam and I hung up. I went along far enough that they considered me a potential victim and called at least five times more in the next hour, claiming urgency. Over the next couple of months, I became unemployed, so I couldn’t afford to simply ignore unknown callers IDs, but the accent and opening lines usually make it clear who I am dealing with. These are some my of responses. I’ll skip their intro spiel. I’m male and so is the scammer:)

Me: *in a sultry voice* “Well, hello, sweetie. What are you wearing?”

Scammer: “…” *click*

(Another case:)

Me: *sigh* “Listen, I know this is a scam. Please just hang up and delete my number.”

(Cue the scammer insisting they are real a couple of times.)

Me: “Okay, I’m done. Do me a favor and jump off a cliff or something. Just f*** off.”

Scammer: *in the same tone as a greeting* “F*** you, too, sir.” *hangs up*

(I need a second to process the politest, rudest dismissal I have ever gotten. Another time, the phone rings at 6:00 am; my grandfather was committed to the hospital the day before.)

Scammer: “Hi, I’m calling from Micros–”


(Another case:)

Me: “Listen, I know that if I follow your instructions you would lock my computer and ask for payment to unlock it. I’m clearly not going to do that, so just give up.”

Scammer: “No, sir, I am calling from Microsoft per instructions by Bill Gates and need you to–”

Me: “Okay, how about this, then: let’s skip the whole bit where you lock my computer and I’ll just send you money to stop calling me?”

Scammer: *without missing a beat* “Certainly. How much money would you send?”

Me: *incredulous pause* “You seriously think I would do that?” *click*

(I later talked to my dad, who works for the police. He said I should have written down their account details. This might have made it possible to trace them, and asking for money to not call people counts as extortion, which makes for a stronger case than phone harassment. It’s almost sad that was the last call I got from them.)

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Reaching Multiple Breaking Points

, , , | Working | August 21, 2019

(In our country, there is a chain of warehouses that is notorious for hiring really inadequate people. Often it is jokingly said that to qualify for a job there you need to have no qualifications at all, or a master’s degree in rudeness and stupidity if you want to become a floor manager. Another remarkable thing is that they call their employees to have their lunch breaks over the PA system. You know when you hear, “Second party for break,” over the PA that some employees would literally drop everything and go to have their break. It doesn’t matter if they are shelving or helping people at the checkout; when that message comes and it is their turn, they walk off. My father is shopping in that shop for some trousers and he finds a pair. It is the last pair of that make on the rack, but it has some oil stains, so my father takes it to a floor manager to ask if they perhaps have more of these in stock. Before he can even say a thing, the floor manager snatches the trousers out of his hands, looks at them, and says:)

Floor Manager: “Yeah, we will exchange these for a pair without stains.”

(She goes into a storeroom, comes out with a new, clean pair, packs it in a bag, and gives it to my father. The PA system announces her break and she hurries off to go for a lunch break. No money changed hands; she didn’t even ask for a receipt or tell anyone else to help my father. So, my father walks off with a free pair of trousers. I have another experience in that shop. I am 18 and I have saved quite a bit of money doing all kinds of chores and jobs. This is when vinyl records are still the norm, and when you go into a booth to listen to a record before buying it. I select four albums and go to an employee to ask if I can hear them.)

Employee: *looks at me* “Do you even have the money to buy them, before I let you listen to them?”

Me: *shows her my money*

Employee: “I wonder how you managed to steal so much money.” 

(I don’t know how to respond to that, so I let it go and insist on hearing the records. At that moment the message, “Third party for break,” comes over the PA, and she is gone. Since all the employees seem to have a break, I am left alone on the floor. I use my time well and switch covers and records as fast as I can. A Beethoven record goes in a Beatles cover, Beatles record in a Rolling Stones cover, Rolling Stones in a Chopin cover, etc. I manage to switch quite a few records in the fifteen minutes I have. The employee returns and I go to listen to the records. That is: the employee will put on a record, let a song play for ten seconds, and skip to the next song. Finally, she has “played” all the records and when I come out of the booth she has already bagged them and she tells me the amount.)

Me: “Thanks. Now I know that I have enough money to buy these records in the shop next door. Bye.” 

(That’s when I discovered that she was a floor manager and she did have a master’s degree in rudeness.)

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