No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 13

, , , , | | Right | July 12, 2019

(I work in a very small office. Due to a severe storm that knocked out power, we have to close the office for two days. When we reopen, I am working my way through voicemails. I return a call.)

Operator: “Thank you for calling [Finance Company.] Can I have your account number?”

Me: “No. I’m returning a call about confirming employment.”

Operator: “Can I have the social security number of the applicant?”

Me: “We don’t give out employee social security numbers. I can confirm employment, however.”

Operator: “I need the social to look it up.”

Me: “Then I guess we’re done here.” *hangs up*

(Over the next several days, I get multiple additional voicemails from the same company. Each return call is the same. Finally, one comes in while I am there.)

Caller: “Hi, this is [Caller] from [Finance Company.] I need to confirm employment for one of your employees.”

Me: “Yes, I’ve had multiple voicemails from you but I can’t get past the part where your operator wants me to provide a social security number.”

Caller: “No worries. I have that information. I need to confirm employment and pay for [Employee].”

(I confirm the details for her. She’s got all the information and simply needs me to say it is correct. The employee has authorized this, so I confirm.)

Caller: “I just have one final question. What are your company’s hours of operation?”

Me: “We have posted hours of nine am until five pm, Monday through Friday. We are sometimes here earlier or later, but you can always get someone during those hours.”

Caller: “I’m only asking because I called on [Date] and got the voicemail and then again on [Other Dates] and got voicemail.”

Me: “Well, as you may have seen on the national news, our area was hit with a massive storm on [Date] and we had no electricity or phones. We were closed for two days while the flood waters went down and the utility companies restored power.”

Caller: “I thought that might explain [Date], but what about the other times I called?”

Me: “Each of those calls came in after six pm. Everyone was gone by then.”

Caller: “No, I called shortly after four pm. each time.”

Me: “California time, yes. We are on the east coast.”

Caller: “What do you mean?”

Me: “You are in California. You are three hours behind us.”

Caller: “I don’t appreciate your attitude. We aren’t behind anything.”

Me: “Sweetie, what time is it where you are?”

Caller: “It’s the same as where you are: noon!

Me: “No, here it is three pm. Our time is different because we are in the Eastern time zone.”

Caller: “The whole country is in the same time zone. I’m going to have to flag this application. I don’t think this is a legitimate company.”

(Several days later, the employee told me the application went through… after she had a conversation with the loan officer about why [Caller] thought we weren’t a “real” company. I have no idea if anyone explained time to her.)

No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 12
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 11
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 10

That’s Not Fare

, , , , , | | Right | June 27, 2019

(I am sitting on a train waiting for it to leave the station at the beginning of the line when a group of teenage girls arrives to board the train, as well. One of the girls has some type of trouble paying her fare, so another girl blocks the door to the car I am seated in, standing with one foot on the platform and the other on the train.)

Girl: “This train ain’t leaving! Nope! Y’all ain’t going nowhere! No! Where! Everybody’s gonna have to wait now!”

(She goes on like this for a while. None of the passengers react in any way.)

Conductor: *over the loudspeaker* “Ma’am, this train isn’t scheduled to leave this station for another five minutes.”

Girl: “Oh.”

(She went to a seat and sat down with her head down while the rest of the passengers had a little chuckle. Her friend made it onto the train with plenty of time to spare.)

Winning At “Misery Loves Company”

, , , , , | | Healthy | June 25, 2019

I went to see my doctor as I’d had a weird pain in my arm for a week and then it had swelled up at the weekend. He sent me to the hospital for a scan, which confirmed I needed to stay in hospital, but they needed to find me a bed so I went back to the investigations ward to wait. And wait. And wait some more.

At 10:00 pm, there was a teenage lad whose parents were grumbling about how they’d been there for four hours and they were fed up waiting for the boy to be discharged.  

A few others joined in, waiting five, six hours… After a while of this, I decided to pipe up.

“I’ve been here since ten o’clock this morning. I got diagnosed nine hours ago and I’m still waiting for a bed because I don’t get to go home tonight.”

There were a few beats of silence before the original grumblers declared me the winner and happily waited for their son to be discharged. It actually helped break some of the tension in the room and got people talking to pass the time until I finally got a bed, so yay for winning “waiting time” to trumps, I guess.

Wiping The Place Clean Of Guests

, , , , | | Right | June 11, 2019

(I work the late shift at a hotel. While it’s not unusual for people to comment about my hours, this is definitely the most amusing conversation to date.)

Woman: “Oh, my God, are you still cleaning?”

Me: “Yes, I am the late shift.”

Woman: “What? You clean all night?”

Me: “Not normally; the odd time I’ll be here until midnight, but normally 10 or 11. Tonight I’m off at 11.”

Woman: “Wow, you are a hard worker.”

Man: “You must do the work crews.”

Me: “Yes, sir, my main responsibility is cleaning the rail crews’ rooms since they are constantly routing.”

Woman: “So, someone does cleaning all night?”

Me: “No, ma’am, I am the late cleaner and we have an early cleaner who starts at five am. There is no housekeeper for the slowest part of the night, but if needed the front desk will clean a room for them.”

Man: “You do what you have to. How are the rest of the rooms divided up?”

Me: “We have other housekeepers who work normally eight to four; their job is the regular guest rooms. If the early cleaner or I have free time we will also clean the regular rooms.”

Woman: “Twenty-four-seven cleaning is crazy! I will write to your head office for you and I promise we will never stay with this hotel again!” *walks off before I can say anything*

They Can’t Wrap Their Heads Around It

, , , , | | Right | June 10, 2019

(My store offers gift wrapping services. A few times a week, I have some version of this conversation:)

Customer: “I heard that you guys do gift wrapping.”

Me: “We do! What would you like wrapped?”

(The customer chooses paper, ribbon, etc., and prepares to pay.)

Me: “All right, it will take me probably about 15 to 20 minutes to wrap this, so if you want to continue shopping or get something to eat or drink and come back, that’s perfectly fine.”

Customer: “It will take that long?!”

(Then, I usually give some variation of “I’m the only one here, we’re busy right now, etc.” What I wish I could say: “Do you want me to make it look good, like you’re paying me to, or do you just want me to slap it together? If you were going to wrap this, how long would it take you?”)

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