Please Mind The Gap Between The Platform And Your Entitlement

, , , | Right | April 12, 2021

Before the health crisis, our store had a gap in the shelving of our queue area so that customers could come straight to the till in a shortcut if they didn’t need groceries and were merely in the store to pay for fuel or buy tobacco products or confectionary. To help enforce social distancing in the queues, we’ve blocked the gap with two cardboard stands, and we have a sign clearly stating that this gap is inaccessible and to turn right to join the queue.

I’m serving a customer at the till when I spot a man trying to push his way through the partially-closed gap.

Me: “Excuse me, sir, but that area is closed. Would you please continue to your right and join the end of the queue?

The customer waves a ten-pound note, still trying to push through.

Customer: “It’s okay. I just need to pay for my fuel.

Me: “I understand, sir, but you need to back out and join the queue to pay for your fuel.

Customer: “But I have the money right here! Just take it! I am on pump two! I just want to pay for my fuel!

Me: “There are several people in the queue right now who are no doubt paying for fuel, sir. Please back out of the gap and go right to join the end of the queue.”

Customer: “Fine, then!”

I hear him mumbling and swearing to himself as he finally backs out and disappears. A few customers later, who should appear before me but the queue jumper. He slams his ten-pound note down on the counter.

Customer: “Ten pounds on pump two! Bloody ridiculous making me queue when you could have just let me pay and leave!”

Me: “I am sorry, sir, but we are in a global health crisis. Everyone has to social distance by law, and if you had come through our clearly blocked-off gap, then you would be in the personal space of the lady that I was serving and therefore breaking the law. Thank you, sir.” *Cashes out his fuel* “Have a good day.”

He stormed off. 

He was wearing a mask, he had disposable gloves on, and he was carrying a bottle that clearly contained hand sanitizer, so he clearly knew about the health crisis and the measurements we were all taking to avoid infection.

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Didn’t Go Eggsactly According To Plan

, , , , , , , | Related | April 11, 2021

This happened back in the 1980s, when I was a young teen. My friend had told me of a great April Fool’s joke which involved soaking an egg in vinegar for about a day, to the point that the shell would go soft. Handling the egg, I was told, was really weird. As we always had boiled eggs for breakfast, I thought that would be a brilliant gag to play on Mum.

I shelled out for some vinegar — it didn’t seem right to waste Mum’s supply — and put it in a sealed box in my bedroom. The night before, I took it out, and my friend was absolutely right; it really did go squishy without cracking! So, I snuck it downstairs and put it with the eggs ready for the morning.

And what happened? Mum managed to avoid picking up that egg! In retrospegged, I should have made sure there were only enough eggs for breakfast and no spares, something which Mum did also say when I pointed out the egg she didn’t use.

But I really did want to do that gag, so I filed it away for future use, to maybe hatch this plot another day.

Several years later, I decided it was time to have another go. Whilst I could remember most of the details, what I couldn’t remember was the length of time required for soaking. As the Internet was not yet available, I had to go by memory. But as it transpired, my memory was not all it was cracked up to be. Instead of doing it for about a day, I soaked the egg for about three. 

When I came to take it out of the box, the shell had completely dissolved. The egg was held together by the membrane, and osmosis must have caused the egg to swell to the point of nearly bursting. No point in doing the joke now. But the egg looked so amazing, I had to show it!

You’d eggspect me to carry the egg down in the box to show my parents, but that would be far too sensible. Instead, I lifted it out of the box and placed it on the lid, and used it like a tray. And I did manage to carry it down the stairs and into the lounge without any trouble.

At this point, I’d like to introduce you to the lid. My parents always bought margarine in catering-sized plastic containers and always kept them as they were of good sturdy quality. The lids were also good quality and could withstand being pulled off the box repeatedly. This meant that they could flex. Also, as they were moulded plastic, they had the remnants of a small sprue, where the plastic was injected into the mould during manufacture. 

As I carried this makeshift tray and fragile load into the lounge, my grip must have changed slightly, as the lid flexed. This caused the egg to roll onto this oh-so-small but oh-so-significant sprue, where the egg promptly burst. And as to where the remnants of this hen grenade went? They flowed off the lid and straight down the armchair where my dad was sat!

I apologised profusely and helped dad clean up the mess I’d made. Fortunately, the cleaning was thorough enough, as there were no lingering odours.

Did I try this prank ever again? No way; I’d had un oeuf!

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Smart Switches And Cranky Coworkers

, , , , , | Friendly | April 11, 2021

My coworker is a bit of a technophobe and he’s not old enough to use his age as an excuse. He just seems to hate new tech and deems everything as unnecessary. 

We’re in a small group talking about recent DIY projects, and I mention that I installed some smart sockets recently.

Me: “They’re pretty good; whatever you plug in, you can switch on and off with your voice.”

Coworker: *Snarkily* “As opposed to the not-so-convenient switch?”

Me: “Yes, they have a switch, as well, but we—”

Coworker: *Interrupting* “So, you bought a toy. What a waste of money. Do you even use it?”

Me: “Daily.”

Coworker: *Sarcastically* “You must save so much time, huh? What do you do with all that time you saved?”

Me: “Actually, we can’t reach the plug, so we can have light in what was a dark corner.”

Coworker: “Well, I suppose that’s an exception.”

Me: “And the night light for my eldest — she can fall asleep with the light on and I can turn it off rather than disturb her. Or the hair straighteners my wife can never remember if she switched off.”

Coworker: “Yeah, well, whatever. It’s mostly useless.”

It did feel good to shut him up for once; he is so sure he is right all the time. A few months later, he came to me, excited, admitted he was wrong, and asked me to help set one up for him!

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Branching Out Will Do You No Good

, , , , | Friendly | April 10, 2021

Next door to us is a rented house; we don’t know the owners but we get along with the tenants.

No one takes care of the gardens on the property and weeds and plants grow wild. I guess the tenants should take more care, but they seem to not even use the outside space. We trim what comes over to our side and ignore what’s happening over the fence. 

Over the years, the tree growing in the back gets bigger and grows further over the bounties. I trim outside, but no one does the back fence that is shared by the car park.

One stormy day, I notice the branches sway and creek. Underneath is a guy’s shiny BMW. In chatting with him, it’s his pride and joy; he is worried about the tree but has nowhere else to park it.

I can’t stand to see what happens next, so I do some sleuthing and find the agents who manage the house; the tenants “forgot” or don’t care enough to look.

Me: “Hi, do you manage [address]?”

Agent: “I’m sorry, I cannot divulge that information.”

Me: “Ah, okay. Well, just so you know, if you do, they have a tree that is surely going to lose a branch, which will crash into a new BMW that parks underneath.”

Agent: “As I said, I cannot divulge that information.”

Me: “Err… Yeah, I’m not asking you to. I’m sure if I was the owner I would want to know about a possible lawsuit if you were representing me.”

Agent: “And I cannot tell you if we manage that particular property.”

Me: “Okay, this is going nowhere. If you represent them, then tell them.”

She tries to interrupt but I carry on

Me: “Either way, I will be putting a letter through the door, marked for their attention, to say that I have contacted you on this date to inform you.”

Agent: “As I said, we cannot divulge—”

I hung up. She wasn’t getting it. Or, she was just being belligerent. I wrote the letter, marked it as “For owner,” and gave it to the tenants. They didn’t care about any of this and told me that they hadn’t seen the owner in months, anyway.

I gave up; it felt like a marathon trying to help anyone. Next year, another storm hit, and a sizable branch broke off and smashed the windscreen of the BMW and scratched a load of the paintwork. It sat there for months as the resulting legal work carried on.

The owner came round to shout at me for not telling them or not making enough of an effort. I told them where to go in short words they would understand and slammed the door.

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Never Be Afraid To Defend Your Name!

, , , , | Learning | April 10, 2021

[Friend #1] is half Turkish and fairly shy and quiet, and her name is somewhat unusual and has four syllables. We’ve got a new PE teacher who’s from Australia, going by her accent, and has a surname that’s quite typical in the UK but pronounced differently in Australia. She makes a point to highlight that it’s pronounced differently and there will be punishment if we get it wrong. She does the register, and [Friend #1] is near the start.

PE Teacher: “[Unknown Two-Syllable Name]?”

There’s no response.

PE Teacher: “Is she not here?”

Classmate #1: “Never heard of her before, Miss.”

PE Teacher: “[Unknown Two-Syllable Name] [Friend #1’s Surname]?”

Friend #1: *Quietly* “Oh, sorry. Here. My name is [Friend #1].”

The teacher doesn’t notice but continues on. She also butchers an Irish classmate’s name, which said classmate loudly corrects. The lesson starts, and every time she refers to [Friend #1], she calls out the two-syllable name instead. [Friend #1] corrects her quietly every time, but the teacher still doesn’t pay attention. It’s about halfway through and she’s gotten the name wrong about six times now.

PE Teacher: “[Two-Syllable Name].”

Me: *Snapping* “Her name is [Friend #1]! It’s not hard!”

PE Teacher: “Don’t talk to me like that!”

Me: “Don’t repeatedly get someone’s name wrong! She’s told you how her name is pronounced. Get it right!”

PE Teacher: “Well, I pronounce it like [Two-Syllable Name], as that’s the way Australia pronounces it!”

Friend #2: “And? She’s Turkish, not Australian, and we’re in the UK, not Australia. Even then, she pronounces it [Friend #1] and that’s all that matters!”

PE Teacher: “I will pronounce it [Two-Syllable Name] as that is the correct way!”

The class is silent.

PE Teacher: “Nobody correct me again, understand?”

Irish Classmate: “Yes, Miss [UK Pronunciation].”

PE Teacher: “My name is Miss [Australian Pronunciation]!”

Classmate #3: *Catching on quickly* “Yeah, but we pronounce it [UK pronunciation], and as we’re in the UK, I’d say that was the correct way.”

PE Teacher: “It’s not the correct way!”

Classmate #1: “It’s just as correct as you calling [Friend #1] by [Two-Syllable Name].”

Irish Classmate: Sucks when people don’t bother to learn your name, doesn’t it?”

We all started to do it until the teacher stormed off. We continued doing PE with the guidance of [Classmate #1], who was also taking sport studies as an extracurricular, until another PE teacher — who’s Indian — came over as he saw we were missing a teacher. We were told not to worry about anything after we explained, and we ended up finishing the lesson with the other class since we couldn’t be left unsupervised. It turned out that she had been repeatedly pronouncing names how she wanted, stating it was the Australian way — including the Indian PE teacher’s name. She didn’t last long.

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