Walk Me Through It

, , , , | Learning | March 5, 2019

(I am roughly eight years old. I have never been athletically gifted, and this is an example. In gym, we are playing a type of dodgeball where one of the rules is no running with the ball. I have just caught a ball and I start to run.)

Teacher: “[My Name], no running with the ball!”

Me: “Oh, sorry!”

(I start to walk very slowly.)

Teacher: “What did I say? No running!”

Me: “Is this still running to you?”

(I start to walk even more slowly.)

Teacher: “No, you can’t run with the ball!”

(Now I’m completely confused and just stand there, looking at her.)

Teacher: “When you are holding the ball, you have to stay in place; you can’t move around.”

Me: “Oh… that’s what that means.”

Not Watching The Projectiles Is Actually Even Less Safe

, , , | Right | March 1, 2019

(I work in an open-air museum. During the summer, we always have a visit from a British living history society, who bring reconstructions of Roman artillery pieces with them, which they actually use for demonstrations. However, most people don’t seem to understand how dangerous these things can be if used incorrectly. Every day, when doing such a demonstration, we have to get all visitors to the safe side of the field where the demonstration is being held. And every day, we have the same discussion with at least one person:)

Me: “Would you all go to the far side of the field, please? Just for your own safety!”

Visitor: “Oh, I’m not going to watch the demonstration.”

Me: “You don’t need to watch it. You just have to get out of this area, because otherwise you might get killed by a projectile.”

(Not to mention all the indignant faces people make when you tell them to get out of the danger zone.)

Pizza Name Calling

, , , , | Working | February 25, 2019

(A popular pizza chain is having a promotion where most of their pizzas are heavily discounted, but only with pickup rather than delivery. Anticipating that the store might be annoyingly crowded because of the sale, I place my order online, thinking it will be a quick in and out that way. I keep a close eye on their online tracker, and as soon as it indicates my pizza should be done, I head over to the store, which is just a one-minute walk down the block I live on. It’s a small location, and it is completely PACKED with probably close to fifty high-schoolers and college kids, all placing orders in-store and then waiting for them, from the looks of it. I awkwardly elbow my way through them towards the pickup counter.)

Me: “Hi. Here to pick up the [pizza] for [My Name]? According to your online tracker, it should be done.”

Worker #1: “No, doesn’t look like it is, sorry. The tracker isn’t accurate right now because of the rush.” *immediately starts to turn towards the next person*

Me: “Wait, sorry, but are you sure? It does also say, ‘Ready for pickup,’ for my order on your in-store screen, right here. Could you double-check, please? The order for [My Name]?”

Worker #1: *taps the computer screen* “Yeah, no, they’re only just starting to prepare that one, so it’ll be another ten- to fifteen-minute wait. It’s just really busy right now. Next, please?”

(I wait, standing right beside the pickup counter, since the crowd is very loud and I’m worried I might miss them calling out my name, otherwise. Ten minutes go by, then fifteen. Lots of names are being called out for pizzas that are done, eventually including people I saw come in and order in-store after I was already there. Every other minute or two, [Worker #2] will also repeat a list of orders that have been ready for a while but not picked up yet. It’s approaching the twenty-minute mark, and my name has not once been called yet, so I’m just about to go up again and investigate, when…)

Worker #2: *checks* “I also still have the order for [Other Girl that has been called at least six times now]? [Other Girl]?” *no response from the crowd; the worker sighs* “And then I also still have the pizza for [My Name]? [My Name], has she finally arrived yet?!”

Me: “What? I’ve been standing right here for the past twenty minutes, and this is the first time you’re announcing my order!”

Worker #2: *defensively* “Your name was called as soon as it was done.”

Me: “And I might not have been in yet at that exact time since I ordered online, but why didn’t you repeat it even once when you’ve been repeating all the others?”

Worker #2: *now outright annoyed* “Well, why did you just silently stand there, instead of coming to the counter yourself once you came in?!”

Me: “Because that’s exactly what I did, and she—“ *points to [Worker #1]* “–told me it would be another fifteen-minute wait!”

([Worker #1] and [Worker #2] turn to each other and share a brief “deer in headlights” look.)

Worker #2: *still grumpily* “Well, it’s hectic, okay? Look, you have your pizza now, so just go home and enjoy it.” *turns to the next person*

(Obviously, I was annoyed, both at the unnecessary wait and [Worker #2]’s complete lack of apology and attitude like I was just another typical NAR customer. However, it WAS pretty chaotic in the store, and both workers were probably between 15 and 18 years old, so I also felt bad for them and decided to let it slide. But then, I finally got home with my now-lukewarm pizza, opened the box, and found that it had onions on it, even though I specifically requested them off on the order form because I’m allergic. That pushed me over the edge, and I sent in a complaint to corporate after all. A few days later, I received an apology where they admitted some of their locations couldn’t properly keep up with the extra demand from the promotion, and they were sending me a coupon code for a free pizza so I could give them another try when they were less rushed, at their expense. Fair enough, so I decided to give them another chance a week later. I tried to place an online order… and discovered that the coupon actually worked as a BOGO deal, where I’d have to purchase at least one pizza myself to qualify for my complimentary pizza. This is where I just gave up and vowed to not buy from this pizza chain again.)

A Flärdfull Of Fyrkantig

, , | Right | February 25, 2019

(I work as a stocker in the self-serve warehouse for a Scandinavian furniture company. As the description implies, people pick the items themselves and we can help if asked nicely. Other than that, we replenish the stock.)

Customer: “Hi. I’m looking for [wardrobe], and I can’t find it at the location mentioned.”

Me: “Sure. Let’s look in the computer for the location and stock details.”

(I start looking and seeing that while we have a lot in stock, it seems to be out of reach of customers. This is something that happens when a product sells more than predicted.)

Me: “Oh, no. It seems that the product is out of stock at the moment, but we should be getting some more overnight.”

(She’s a bit upset, but she seems to leave to find another product. After a while she comes back.)

Customer: “I found some, but it’s a bit heavy. Can you help load it on the cart for me?”

Me: “Sure, let’s have a look.”

(She leads me to an aisle and points towards the top shelf, well out of reach for any human being without a reach truck.)

Customer: “There it is. Can you get it down?”

Me: “Not without a reach truck, and we can’t get it on the floor unless all customers leave, due to safety reasons.”

Customer: “That’s not good enough. It’s clearly there. Climb up and go fetch it for me.”

Me: *staring, knowing that the flat-pack weighs at least 30kg* “That’s not going to happen.”

(Eventually, my manager came round and told her the same. The only option for her was to stay until closing so we could cordon off the self-serve area and get it down by reach truck. She did.)

Diving Head-First Into Entitlement

, , , , | Learning | February 23, 2019

(I’m teaching swimming classes, and one of my former students asks if she can interview me for school. She is ten years old, she has to write an essay for schools, and she has picked diving as a subject. I used to be a diver, and she wants to include an interview with “someone who was a diver.” I agree to meet with her for the interview after my classes have ended. I come out to meet the student and encounter her mother.)

Me: “All right, are you ready?”

Mother: “Oh, no, no, she went to the next group, so she has class now.”

Me: “Oh… Well, I can wait for her to finish.”

Mother: “There is no need to; I have the questions here, so we can work ahead.”

Me: “Eh… Sure… I guess… Wow, she has very neat handwriting!”

Mother: “Oh, she didn’t write the questions down; I did.”

(I feel a bit uneasy, because I promised to do the interview with the girl, and now her mother is doing the interview. But, if that helps the girl to get a good grade… there’s no harm in this, right?)

Mother: “Thank you so much for your time! I can’t wait to start working this out.”

Me: “Oh, [Girl] can’t wait to get started on this presentation?”

Mother: “No, no, she has better things to do.”

(That creeping feeling is back again.)

Me: “You really like helping her, don’t you?”

Mother: “Of course; that’s what mothers are for!”

Me: “But shouldn’t she be doing this herself, then?”

Mother: “Don’t worry; there’s plenty of time for her to do things on her own. You know how kids are. One day they just don’t want to listen to their mothers anymore and then they just fly out. Besides, I’m having way too much fun! When I was small, we didn’t have such things as Powerpoints… or even videos! And their homework sheets are just so much fun to do! I always wonder what she’ll come home with.”

(The mother laughs as I realize she is not only making this presentation for her daughter, she is also doing her homework! The girl is by no means a spoiled brat, but things suddenly click about passive behavior and always giving up if something doesn’t work out the first try. Then, the lesson ends.)

Girl: “Mom, did you do the interview?” *her mother nods* “Oh, and you packed the wrong shirt for this class; this shirt is too heavy to swim with. I told you that last time.”

Mother: “Oh, I am so sorry! I won’t pack that shirt again.”

Me: “You know, why don’t you pack your bags yourself? Then you can be sure you have the right stuff!”

(The girl just stares at me as if I’ve told her I teach dinosaurs how to swim. The mother laughs.)

Mother: “Oh, dear, she’s much too young for that! “

(I know my mother was strict with ordering me to pack my own bags at age four — checking it afterward — and teaching me about consequences if I forgot something, but this was the other side of the spectrum. This girl will have to go to high school in two years and then face the harsh reality where she has to do her own homework and her own reports and pack her own bag — things her mother has sheltered her from. If nothing changes, I’ve witnessed the birth of a special snowflake, caused by mother’s love.)

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