The Hardest Event Tonight Is The Waiting Game

, , , , , , , | Working | October 19, 2019

(My brother has the opportunity to be on a TV competition about physical strength and agility. The show films at night so we all have to stay up to watch. The coordinator tells us that he will be on at 11:00 pm with the other competitors in his group. Not bad at all! It is supposed to be a warmer night, so we only bring sweaters to keep us warm. While my brother stays with the other competitors, the rest of us walk toward the seating area. A security guard stops us.)

Guard #1: “Can I help you?”

Mother: “My son is competing tonight and—”

Guard #1: “And you’ll be called when he goes on.”

Mother: “Oh. We just thought we would watch the other people.”

Guard #1: “That’s not allowed. Go wait outside until it’s your son’s turn.”

Mother: “We can’t watch? Do we have to buy tickets or something?”

Guard #1: “No, only seat fillers and people with the current competitor can be in there.”

Mother: “But there’s barely anyone watching. How do we become seat fillers?”

Guard #1: “Seat fillers can’t be family. Move along.”

(So, away we go to wait our turn. Small groups file in and out for a few hours. Eleven comes and goes and my brother still hasn’t had his chance. We go to another guard.)

Mother: “Excuse me? My son was supposed to run with the 11:00 group and—”

Guard #2: “You’ll be called when his turn comes.”

Mother: “Is there a coordinator or supervisor or someone I can talk to? It’s almost 1:00 am.”

Guard #2: “No.” *turns and walks away*

(It is getting colder and we are getting tired and impatient. Another hour passes with no word. My brother isn’t allowed to have his phone on him, so we can’t even ask if he knows anything. Some of us decide to nap until it is my brother’s turn. I am too excited to sleep, so I stay up as long as I could. Eventually, though, I nod off. My mother shakes me awake and tells me to get up. I open my eyes to see sunlight peeking over some of the buildings. I check my watch and see that it is nearly 6:00 am. Seven hours have passed since my brother was supposed to compete and FINALLY, his group is going. We go back to the entrance and [Guard #1] escorts us to a section by the end of the competition. Half of our group sits down and he ushers the other half to another section. It is far colder than any of us anticipated, so we are all shivering.)

Mother: “Excuse me. Why can’t we all sit together?”

Guard #1: “Gotta fill the spaces. A few small empty spots look better than one big empty spot.”

Mother: “You wouldn’t have empty spots if you’d let people watch.”

Guard #1: *glares* “Okay. Cheer loud, be proud, and don’t shiver!”

Sister: “We’re cold!”

Guard #1: “You should have thought of that!”

Mother: “We would have if someone had said we’d be here all night!”

Guard #1: “Not my problem, lady.” *walks away*

(My brother has his turn and the next person comes up. We all get up to leave but [Guard #1] steps in our way.)

Guard #1: “Where are you going?”

Mother: “We’re leaving.”

Guard #1: “There are more runners in the group. Go sit down.”

Mother: “And we would have stayed to watch had we not been here all night waiting.”

Guard #1: “What?”

Mother: “[Son] was supposed to run at 11:00 pm. That was seven hours ago. I would have sat here all night and watched everyone compete, but you said we couldn’t be here.”

Guard #1: “Well, I—”

Mother: *holds up her hand* “I understand that you’re just doing your job. But I hope you understand why I’m not willing to sit here anymore.”

(My mother pushes past the man, who stands there in stunned silence as we leave. When we are just beyond the exit, the guard decides he wants the last word.)

Guard #1: “Hey! Thanks for being true fans of [Competition]! Great team spirit!”

(The next season, my brother was contacted and asked to compete again. He declined.)

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This Is News To Her!

, , , | Right | September 24, 2019

(I work in a low-level position at a TV station in my town. I rarely answer the phone but I do so today.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Station]. How may I help you?”

Customer: “You ran a story with my husband in it and it had some flaws.”

Me: “All right. If you will tell me what information was wrong, I will let someone know.”

Customer: “My husband’s name was spelled wrong and so was his picture.”

(I find what she is referring to, realizing it is a story about her husband going to jail.)

Me: “Miss, are you referring to the man who vandalized the park?”

(The customer huffs.)

Customer: “Of course not. My husband wouldn’t do that, but you said he did.”

(I believe I realize the issue.)

Me: “I don’t think this story was about your husband, just a man with the same name.”

Customer: “Oh.”

(She waits a few seconds.)

Customer: “When are you gonna run his robbery story?”

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Helen Keller Trying To Get To School  

, , , , , , | Right | September 2, 2019

This happened some thirty years ago. I was working for a TV station. In winter, when bad weather caused school closings, they would show the closings at the bottom of the screen. In bad weather, this could take 30 minutes or more to cycle through. We would invariably get people who did not want to watch and would call in to get the information. We had to refuse, as there were just too many people out there and the stations wanted people to watch. One call stuck out.

When told they would have to watch, they told me they were blind, so I had to tell them. I happily explained that we were also announcing the closings on our sister radio stations. They said that would not work as they were deaf also; remember, this is over the phone. 

I gave them the information in sign language.

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A Towering Problem

, , , , , | Right | July 2, 2019

(I work for a television station. On rare occasions, we have to go off the air to repair our tower. It happens less than once per year. We’ve been off the air for an hour when the phone rings.)

Me: “[Channel Station], how may I direct your call?”

Viewer: “Did you know that you’re off the air right now?”

Me: “Yes, we have a crew on our tower right now to make repairs. The power is cut while they’re on the tower. We should be back on the air in an hour or two.”

Viewer: “But I’m missing my show.”

Me: “We’re working to get back on the air. Shouldn’t be much longer.”

Viewer: “Why can’t they work at night?”

Me: “They need to see what they’re working on.”

Viewer: “Why can’t they use flashlights?”

Me: “It’s not safe to have anyone climb the tower at night.”

Viewer: “Why do you have to turn the power off to make repairs?”

Me: “It’s to prevent our crew from being electrocuted.”

(Silence.)

Me: “Thank you for watching. Do you have any more questions?”

(They hung up.)

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Blue Screen Is Caused By Lack Of Green

, , , | Right | December 6, 2018

(Before my recent retirement, I spent about three decades at a local TV station as an engineer. Viewer calls concerning reception problems usually get transferred to the engineering department. I take this call one day from a very nice, older lady.)

Caller: “Hello. Are you the engineer?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, how can I help you?”

Caller: “I’m trying to watch your station, but all I see is a blue screen and no sound.”

Me: “Okay, ma’am, so that I can narrow the problem down, are you watching us over the air with an antenna, or are you a subscriber to one of the cable or satellite companies?”

Caller: “I watch over [Cable Company].”

Me: “Okay. I’m looking at a TV set connected to an antenna, and our signal is fine there, so let me check with [Cable Company] and see if they’re having problems.”

(Fifteen or twenty minutes later, after a call to the cable provider, I call the lady back.)

Me: “Ma’am, this is [My Name] at [TV Station].”

Caller: “Oh, I’m so glad you called back. I found out what the problem was!”

Me: “Well, that’s great, ma’am. What was it?”

Caller: “I realized I hadn’t paid my cable bill in three months; they cut me off!”

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