This Grandfather Is As Unlucky As Uncle Ben

, , , , , , | Learning | October 3, 2019

I was a grad student at a university, acting as TA and tutor for a few sections of Calculus I. I gave quizzes over the course of the semester, always with a warning. My policy on missed quizzes was reasonable: I would drop your lowest quiz grade, so you could miss one quiz during the semester with no penalty, but you could only make up a quiz if you had an excuse — a doctor’s note or proof of some kind of conflict — otherwise, you got a zero.

I had a student who was a total slacker. He missed class all the time, turned in incomplete homework, etc. [Student] missed the first quiz of the semester. He emailed me after the next class to ask if he could make it up. I reminded him of the policy and asked if he had an excuse for missing the quiz. Nope, he’d just overslept. I told him that was fine; this could be the quiz he dropped for the semester.

A couple of weeks later, [Student] missed another quiz. He’d overslept again. Again, he asked to make it up. I reminded him of the policy and told him that he should maybe get a better alarm clock.

A couple of weeks after that, [Student] missed a third quiz. But this time, he had an excuse: his grandfather had died. I asked for proof and he sent me an online obituary. The last name matched, there was a mention of a grandson in college, and I wasn’t about to harass a grieving kid, so I told him he could make up the quiz. He did… and failed it. At that point, he decided to quit while he was behind and drop the class.

Fast forward to the next semester: [Student] signed up for Calculus I again. And he was in my section again. He started off better, showing up for class, passing the quizzes. Maybe he had turned over a new leaf!

Then, one day, the professor and I were talking about the midterm she had just given her Calculus I students. She said she had one student who walked out of the midterm for 20 minutes, and then came back and turned in an incomplete exam. She asked the kid what was up, and he said he was just really upset; he’d just found out his grandfather had died. I asked if the student was [Student]. When she said it was, I told her to get the name of the grandfather.

It turned out that [Student] had created a fake obituary for his grandfather and was using it regularly to get out of work in his classes. But the bonehead didn’t stop to consider that maybe the professor and I would talk about our students and realize he was playing us.

He dropped Calculus again, and I think he got kicked out of the university.

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First-Hand Advice

, , , , | Friendly | October 2, 2019

(My first roommate out of college is a coworker who is a heavy smoker. One Sunday morning, I awaken with a cold. I stay in bed as long as possible, but I finally venture out to the living room. He is lounging on our couch, waiting for the pro football games to begin, smoking a cigarette.)

Me: *hacking and coughing*

Roommate: *taking a long draw on his cigarette* “Y’know, you really should stop that second-hand smoking.”

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The Gift Card That Keeps On Giving, Part 11

, , , | Right | October 1, 2019

(I am working in the box office on a busy weekend with a coworker, just before Mother’s Day. A man in his thirties or forties comes to me because my coworker has a family in her line, buying tickets.)

Customer: “Hello, I’d like a gift card.”

Me: “All right, I can sell them here.”

(I begin to reach for our gift cards, which are quite plain; they’re a solid color with our company name on them.)

Customer: “Do you not have anything… prettier?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, we do not have Mother’s Day-themed gift cards.”

Customer: *grimacing, hesitates* “Well… can you tell me about them?”

Me: “Um… Our gift cards never expire, you can use them for tickets or concessions, and we can put any amount you want on them.”

Customer: “Well, you have senior discounts, right? Do they work on those?”

Me: “Yes, sir.”

(My coworker, by this time, has finished her sale and has been listening. The customer looks absolutely confused.)

Coworker: “It’s like, if you had twenty dollars, it spends the same, only you can only use it here. It’s like cash.”

Customer: “Okay… Well, let me get a fifty-dollar gift card.”

(I verify the amount and make the sale, give him the card and his receipt, and thank him. He looks very confused again.)

Customer: “Does it have to be activated?”

Me: “You can use it as soon as I hand it to you, sir.”

(He left, and my coworker and I were silent for several seconds, before she finally asked if he simply didn’t know how a gift card worked, feeling just as confused as I was through the entire transaction. I suppose there’s a first for everything!)

The Gift Card That Keeps On Giving, Part 10
The Gift Card That Keeps On Giving, Part 9
The Gift Card That Keeps On Giving, Part 8

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It’s Time For A Fax Check Facts Check

, , , | Right | October 1, 2019

(My firm has several offices. I work 300 miles away from the “main office.” Sometimes the main office sends clients to my office to sign settlement documents.)

Client: *signs settlement documents* “Okay, where’s my settlement check?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, I do not have it. It’ll be mailed to you once I get these signed documents back to your caseworker.”

Client: “What? I was told you have it.”

Me: “I do not. I have the settlement documents your case manager faxed me, but no check.  I apologize for the misunderstanding.”

Client: “Well, tell [Caseworker] to fax the check over.”

Me: *laughs*

Client: “I’m serious.”

Me: “…”

Client: “Well?”

Me: “You realize the bank will not take a faxed check, right?”

Client: “Why not?!”

Me: “Hold on one sec; let me see if I can get your caseworker on the phone.” 

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Police Pineapples

, , , , | Right | September 30, 2019

(I’m doing some grocery shopping on my way home from work when a woman walks up to me in the produce section.)

Customer: “Do you have any fresh pineapples?”

Me: “Uh, I have no idea if there are any pineapples.”

Customer: “Oh, do you not work here? I’m sorry.”

(She wandered away, the most politely clueless customer ever, as I stood there wondering how on Earth she’d picked me — the off-duty cop still wearing my badge, gun belt, and “POLICE” polo shirt — as the most likely person to be an employee.)

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