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If They’re Willing, There’s Usually A Way, Part 2

, , , , , | Working | June 24, 2022

I entered a 200-km Audax (non-competitive cycling event), and I have a day return train ticket from London. I am just recovering from a broken clavicle, and it turns out this ride is a bit much for me at my current level of fitness. When I realise I am not going to finish the ride in time to qualify, I slow down and wend my gentle way back to the station to take me home.

I am hungry and tired and the temperature is dropping. I find I have missed the last train back to London, but no worries; it’s only four hours until the first morning train, so I can just curl up in the waiting room until it comes. It’s warm enough, and I am so tired that I will probably have a nice sleep. My biggest concern is whether I need a new ticket.

A train employee comes in and asks me where I am going. I tell her London. She points to the depart board where there is only one train, heading away from London, arriving in a little while. She tells me once that train departs, the station will close until the first train in the morning. She looks very concerned and walks away. 

I am too tired to be worried. I know it’s impossible after midnight to book a hotel room online for the same night, and the idea of cycling around to find a hotel with a manned reception or calling random hotels sounds harder than the alternative of just finding a bus shelter and curling up until the station reopens. I won’t die at 3°C, and I am unlikely to come to harm. It’s been a hard day, and it’s just going to be a little harder.

Meanwhile, my heroine is apparently more worried than I am. Maybe she knows her town better than I do and doesn’t want to leave a woman sleeping rough near the train station. Or maybe I just look as pathetic as I feel. Whatever the reason, she has obviously been thinking hard about how to keep me safe or warm or both.

Train Worker: “I’ve worked out what you should do. Catch the train to Peterborough. When it gets there, just stay where you are. An hour later, it will leave again, coming back through Stevenage and on to London. I will let the guard on board know what you are doing.”

So that was it. A concerned rail worker went out of her way to make sure I was warm and safe the whole way back to London. I even got enough sleep to make the cycle from Kings Cross station to my home pleasant — London before six is a delightful place to cycle. She was so careful of my welfare that it would not have surprised me if she was considering inviting me into her home before alighting on a better solution.

I filled in a very positive customer feedback form, which was actually rather difficult, as the form assumed I was making a complaint! Oh, and the gates were open when I got to London, so I didn’t have to buy a new ticket.

If They’re Willing, There’s Usually A Way

The Ending Is All Rapped Up

, , , , , | Right Romantic | June 24, 2022

I’m working the front of house. I’m dressed smartly as the restaurant is reasonably formal — mid- to high-end food and prices. As our system is down, I’m carrying a clipboard with the reserved list, so it’s pretty obvious that I’m working.

A woman my age walks in alone; no one seems to be following her.

Me: “Good morning. Do you have a reservation?”

Woman: “Oh, no. Do I need one?”

Me: “We do have some tables available. How many are dining today?”

Woman: “Well, it’s—”

A guy dressed in a sideways cap, tracksuit, and very bright trainers (sneakers) walks in and speaks to me.

Guy: “Hey, what you talking to her for?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Woman: *Sighs* “He works here. He was trying to find us a table.”

Guy: “Hmm, I know what these guys are like, though.”

Me: “Was it just you two today?”

Guy: “Yeah, find us a booth.”

Me: “We don’t have ‘booths’ but I can certainly find you somewhere private.”

I stuck them way back away from view. I checked on them. The guy was on his phone and it all felt very awkward. We got busy quickly, and I was asked to move on a guy out front who was disturbing our guests

Surprise, surprise, it was the guy from earlier. I could smell what he was smoking from a mile off. I eventually managed to get him to move around the corner, but he didn’t go without a fight.

I managed to miss the theatrics, but apparently, he stormed out before the bill was paid. I checked on the woman he was with, and she was pretty calm.

Turns out this was some sort of last chance/reconciliation dinner. She told me she had some amazing-sounding job offer out of the country, but he wanted to stay to work on his rap career.

I bought her a dessert. She left a tip and I wished her well.

A couple of weeks later, we got a card through the door thanking me for the support and a small note that she was on the way to the airport… alone.

I hope she does great.

You Saw The Signs

, , , , , | Right | June 24, 2022

I’m waiting for a friend at her work, standing around the back. It’s dingy, wet, and full of signs to keep clear, warnings, no smoking, no entry, etc.

A guy rushes out of one of the doors carrying something from the restaurant. He fairly aggressively questions me and, happy that I’m there for a good reason, warns me to keep clear as he will be coming through the doors and won’t be held responsible.

Fine, whatever. I can read; I was already well clear.

As I continue to wait, a woman walks over, stands uncomfortably close — right in front of me, like she is cutting in some imaginary line. Then, worse, she lights up a cigarette.

Me: “Can you move down a bit?”

Nothing, she just looks at me, not even a recognition that I spoke. Perhaps she doesn’t speak English?

Me: “You, move, that way?”

I do a “go away” motion with my hands.

She rolls her eyes at me. The door slams open and I take a small step back away from her. Almost in slow motion, a massive cooking pot hits the ground, and brown-grey water splashes toward us. I manage to stay dry, but it covers the woman’s shoes up to her knees.

Woman: “My new shoes! You f****** idiot! You stupid idiot!”

Guy: “Sorry, sorry. Are you okay?”

Woman: “Do I look okay? Look at my shoes!”

Guy: *To me* “You okay?”

Me: “I’m fine. I read the signs. Keep clear! Very obvious.”

This sent the woman into a rage; the noise and language were shocking.

After trying to force her way through the staff entrance, she marched off to the front of the restaurant to complain. Unfortunately, my friend turned up shortly afterward so I didn’t get to see the fallout.

You Do Not Have License To View

, , , | Right | June 22, 2022

You have to be eighteen to buy tobacco and paraphernalia, but like most shops, we have a “Challenge 25” policy, which means we have to ask anyone who looks under twenty-five for ID, just to be sure.

A young-looking man comes in and asks to buy some filter tips. I ask for his ID.

Customer: “I’m twenty-nine.”

Me: “Okay, but I need to ask anyone who looks under twenty-five. Congratulations!”

Customer: “I’ve got a photo on my phone.”

Me: “Sorry, but I can only accept a physical ID.”

He ignores me and pulls up a photo of a driving licence on his phone, which obviously I can’t accept, but this isn’t the first time someone’s tried this. After five minutes of back and forth, he starts going from quite friendly to clearly irritated.

Customer: “Okay, fine.”

He pulled the physical driving licence from the depths of his pockets, wrapped in a soft cloth. I guess it’s too good for the eyes of a humble retail worker most of the time?

Trying To Explain How Dates Work To The Letter

, , , , , | Right | June 22, 2022

I work as a customer support phone operator for a large insurance company. We send reminders through email and post running from one month up to the day before their policy is due to be renewed. Depending on how busy the postal service is, it can take a few days, a week, or even longer to reach customers.

I can’t even begin to count how many times I have had the exact same conversation.

Customer: “I just received a request for payment for this year! I already paid this on [date]! What are you trying to pull here?”

Me: “I’ll be more than happy to check that for you… and I do see that payment was taken successfully. You said you just got this letter? Can you tell me the date on it?”

Customer: “Well, it says here [date before he called to make payment], but I don’t see what that has to do with anything!”

I understand you’d be upset to pay twice, but if folks wouldn’t only take two seconds to read the paperwork we send, it would prevent a lot of hassle on both our parts.