Won’t Stand For It

, , , , | Right | January 28, 2019

(I’m a passenger in a very overcrowded train going from Leipzig to Berlin. The train left the station ten minutes late and even more people get in. Two passengers check their reservations and ask a couple to vacate their seats.)

Standing Passengers: “Give us these seats. We reserved them.”

Sitting Passengers: “Strange, we also reserved these seats. Maybe you are in the wrong car?”

Standing Passengers: “No, these are our seats.”

Sitting Passengers: “We are sorry, but these are not your seats. Here, see? These are the reservations for these seats.”

(This keeps going for another minute, the standing passengers are getting louder, so that the whole car can listen to their shouting. Meanwhile, the train starts moving and the conductor appears.)

Conductor: “Good afternoon. What seems to be the problem here?”

Standing Passengers: “These people are sitting in our seats and won’t give them to us.”

(The sitting passengers are trying to get a word in but are interrupted by the standing passengers. They quietly hand their tickets and reservations to the conductor.)

Conductor: *to the standing passengers* “I’m sorry, but these passengers reserved these seats. Can I please see your tickets?”

Standing Passengers: *hand over their tickets, while complaining about the train service in general* “This is unacceptable. We reserved these seats. We want to be compensated!”

Conductor: “I’m sorry, I found the problem. You booked seats on the train that is leaving for Berlin in five minutes.”

Standing Passengers: “But this train goes to Berlin.”

Conductor: “Yes, this train also goes to Berlin but it was delayed and so the departure times of both trains were nearly identically.”

Standing Passengers: “But we booked seats. It’s unacceptable for us to stand.”

Conductor: “Well, it’s the book fair in Leipzig today and therefore the train is full. There are a lot of people standing.”

Standing Passengers: “This is unacceptable and bad service.”

Conductor: “Well, you are in the wrong train. I cannot do anything about that.”

Standing Passengers: “How rude! Give us your name, so we can complain to Deutsche Bahn.”

Conductor: “Gladly, my name is [Conductor].”

(Lots of people started sniggering and the standing passengers ran off to the next car. I really would have liked to listen in on their telephone call with the complaint department.)

Wouldn’t Have Been A Flight Of Fancy

, , , , | Working | January 18, 2019

A few years ago, I needed to book business travel for an out-of-town conference. Since the conference location was about five hours away by car, I decided I’d save the company some money and drive instead of fly. Even after the company reimbursed me for mileage, they’d still save a bunch of money.

I discussed this with my boss. We found out the company does not allow using your personal car for business travel due to liability — e.g., if you are in an accident and your car is damaged it is a legal grey area. Travel suggested renting a car. I was still okay with this, because I figured it would still save the company some money, and there was a rental car outlet near my house. I figure I’d reserve the car the week before and pick it up the night before I left.

Fast forward to the week before … While attempting to reserve the car through the company travel website, I found that the company had a preferred rental agency that I was required to use. Unfortunately, the only rental outlet for the preferred company was — you guessed it — at the airport. Now, just days before my conference, flights prices were sky-high (sorry). I had no choice but to rent a car.

I drove my personal car to the airport and parked it in the airport garage ($). I rented a car at the airport ($$) and drove to my conference. I parked in the hotel garage for a week (super $$$, since I was parking in a downtown garage under a hotel in a major city), drove back to the airport, and drove home.

When all was said and done, I’d paid to park my car, paid for a rental, paid to park the rental, and paid for gas. It would have been cheaper to fly.

Drivers Know No Other Way To Get Around

, , , , , | Working | January 17, 2019

(It’s 5:30 in the morning and my supervisor and I are in the bus depot, preparing for the first shift of the day. The phone rings. It’s the other early-morning driver, who reports that his car won’t start and he won’t be able to get to work for his first run.)

Supervisor: “I can’t go to collect him because I have the first run out of [Destination #1] in fifteen minutes, and he lives way out in [Distant Suburb].”

Me: “And I have to be driving the bus out of [Destination #2] at the same time.”

Supervisor: “I’ll wake up the mechanic and see if he can help.”

(He does so, and outlines a complex plan which involves him dropping a jump-starter pack from the depot workshop to the mechanic’s house while he is en route to [Destination #1], so the mechanic will then proceed to our colleague’s place to start the car. The supervisor and I will do our own bus runs while also making deviations from our routes that cover the areas that our missing colleague would have done, until the missing driver has finally reached the depot and is able to take over. By the time the supervisor has finished sorting it out, ten minutes have passed and it’s time for us to leave for the early-morning runs.)

Supervisor: “I’ll just go and get the jump-starter pack from the workshop and head out to the mechanic’s house now and… Oh, d***. I don’t know [Colleague]’s exact street address. Would you ring him to get that while I get the jump pack and bus sorted out?”

(Before I can do so, the phone rings again.)

Colleague: “Oh, and by the way, I just moved house last weekend to [a street address only a few minute’s walk from the depot].”

Supervisor: “…”

Me: “…”

New Police Code Required For Driving While Dilated

, , , , , | Right | December 3, 2018

(I am a valet cashier at one of the larger hospitals in the cities. I see and hear about all types of things that would make one concerned, but this was the most recent.)

Customer: *has an obviously difficult time producing her valet ticket and manages to hand it over after a few minutes*

Me: “Okay, ma’am, your total is [total].”

Customer: *groans as she has difficulty finding her wallet* “They dilated both of my eyes and I can’t see a d*** thing.”

Me: “…”

(She was alone and I worried all day about her getting home. I hadn’t heard anything on the news so I hope she’s okay.)

Thinking Outside The Post Box

, , , | Working | January 10, 2018

(It’s the holidays, and because I am unable to go back home to Italy and celebrate with my family, I decide to put together a package with gifts for all of them and send it early, so they would have it by Christmas. At the post office, I am filling out the form with their address and mine and bring everything to the clerk.)

Clerk: *after looking over the forms* “So, your address seems to be fine, however, the shipping address does not… There is no PO box here.”

(Note that in the UAE everyone uses PO boxes, as they usually don’t have street names and numbers.)

Me: “No, it’s correct; we don’t use PO boxes. While we don’t have street names, you see…”

Clerk: “Well, are you sure this is the correct address?”

Me: “I lived there for over 20 years. I can assure you, this is the address.”

Clerk: “I will not take any responsibility if the package doesn’t arrive.”

Me: “It will arrive. I take the responsibility. Plus, I live in a very very small town with only one post officer. He knows everyone personally, which means even if the street name is wrong, he will still be able to deliver it because he knows my parents.”

Clerk: “All right, but as I said, I am not sure this will arrive, as there is no PO box, and I will put a note that says I informed you about it.”

Me: *sigh* “Put that note and just send it, please.”

(The package arrived just fine and my family received their presents and were very happy about it.)

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