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Most Moms WANT Their Kids To Build Character

, , , , , , | Related | September 16, 2021

I was deployed to Louisiana as a volunteer disaster responder after Hurricane Katrina. The damage was so great, and the media coverage so thorough, that an unprecedented number of people volunteered for the first time to come down south and help out.

My job at the time was shuttle driver; I ferried volunteers and their luggage back and forth from the headquarters building and the local airport. Quite late one evening, I was called to pick up a young college student whose flight had just arrived.

When I got to the airport, she was standing next to an older woman who, as it turned out, was her mother. This woman got in a car and followed us to the HQ, followed us INTO the HQ, and then tagged after us while I signed in the new volunteer and showed her where she would be sleeping.  

Mom took one look at the sleeping room — three rows of snoring volunteers on rickety cots or on blankets on the floor — and hit the roof.

Mom: *Hissing* “You are not staying here!”

She grabbed her daughter by the arm and frog-marched her back out to the car.

This woman — upon learning that her lovely child had signed up to do relief work — had driven down to Louisiana from Ohio in her car, timing it so that she could meet her daughter’s plane and check us out.

I guess we didn’t pass muster. I felt so sorry for the girl; I wonder if she ever managed to get out from under Mom’s thumb.

That Prank Is Just Cold

, , , , , | Working | September 14, 2021

We’re in the first hot days of summer, the air conditioning has not been activated yet, and the whole workforce is gasping. I’m visiting a different department — accounting.

Me: “How’s things?”

Accountant: *Puffing* “[My Name], make it cooler!”

Me: “Eh, you wish.” *Looking out of the window* “Did any of you know there’s revenue police just outside our gate?”

Accountant: *Gasps* “WHAT?!”

Me: *Grinning* “Gave you a shiver, did I?”

Teamwork Can Move Mountains… Or At Least Trees

, , , , , , | Friendly | September 10, 2021

One evening when I was young, the Seattle area was experiencing one of its windstorms, which can produce winds up to ninety miles an hour. My dad came home from work a bit later than usual. He explained that the road had been blocked by a tree felled by the wind. When he got to the downed tree, he was in a small line of traffic; people were honking their horns and he saw the same thing on the other side of the tree.

Dad is pragmatic. He turned on his hazard lights, shut off his engine, got out of the car, went to the driver of the stopped car in front of him, and explained a plan.

Dad: “There are at least a dozen cars blocked by this tree, meaning there are at least a dozen drivers. Surely we can lift the tree together and move it out of the way. Honking certainly isn’t going to move it, and it’s not on any power lines or anything dangerous.”

And he was right: there were enough drivers and passengers who were willing and able to pick up the tree and carry it to the side of the road. After a couple of minutes, traffic was able to pass the road as usual.

I still live in the greater Seattle area, and since getting my driver’s license, I have twice been in the same situation. Both times, I’ve done what my dad did, telling the other drivers, “A while back, this happened to my dad, and he had an idea…” And every time, we get the tree moved in a matter of minutes. Teamwork for the win!

Not A Moving Tale, But A Satisfying One

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: CHAINSMOKERMAGIC | September 8, 2021

I work as a mover for a very small moving company. My boss is a really nice guy. It’s really just a two-man operation, with me working as a subcontractor under him with a few regular guys we call in for bigger moves. It’s really physically demanding work sometimes, but typically our customers are super nice, and the pay is pretty good. Most people are just happy to have someone else lift their heavy stuff and get it into a truck. And we’re always super careful to not cause ANY DAMAGE to the buildings we’re moving in and out of or the items we’re moving, which most people appreciate.

Not this lady.

[Customer] booked a move with [Boss] and told him she had a small storage unit she wanted us to load up into a twenty-foot truck. We said, “No problem!” As the date of her move approached, though, so did a huge snowstorm.

Days before her move, the news started reporting that the weather was expected to take a severe turn for the worst. It’s not uncommon for the time of year in our state, but also something not to be trifled with.

We called [Customer] a couple of days before the move to see about rescheduling to avoid the storm and she said she absolutely HAD to move that day; no other days would work. A lot of (probably much smarter) movers would have cancelled, but after talking, [Boss] and I thought it was no big deal. We move in the snow all the time. It just meant we would have to dress appropriately and be extra careful not to injure ourselves or damage any property.

Cut to the day of the move. We headed to [Customer]’s storage unit, expecting a ten-by-ten-by-fifteen standard storage unit full of your usual stuff based on what she’d indicated on the phone, and ready to load it into a twenty-foot truck. That’s a pretty easy job to get done in the two hours that she had already prepaid for.

As we pulled up, the snow was already coming down pretty heavily, and the first thing that made us nervous was the truck. Instead of a twenty-foot truck, there was a HUGE twenty-six-foot truck. [Customer] greeted us by the truck and showed us the storage unit.

Customer: “Okay! This is our unit. We shut down our businesses, and I’m moving it out of town to pursue other opportunities. I need all of this loaded up in two hours. The last movers I had got it unloaded in about that long.”

[Boss] said something about the truck being bigger than she told us.

Customer: “Yeah, it’s the biggest one [Rental Company] had. Last time, we used another company and it was much bigger. I’m worried about getting it all, but you guys will have to figure it out. I need all of it.”

This was a HUGE storage unit, like the kind you’d store a few cars or some farm equipment in. When we opened it up, it was filled with what appeared to be the contents of a couple of pretty decently sized businesses: a dozen of those huge floor-to-ceiling filing cabinets, several desks, office chairs, some really huge glass tables, etc. And all of it was INCREDIBLY heavy.

Our company safety guidelines for weight limits are 100 pounds per person lifting an item, but there’s no real practical way to enforce that in the field, so we usually wind up using our best judgment, even if the item is over that limit. Nearly everything there was over limit, but we had our equipment, and we were pretty confident we could handle everything, weight-wise. [Boss] and I are both pretty strong. But in my estimation, this was definitely going to take a bit longer than two hours.

[Boss] told her that we would do our absolute best. To be fair, he should have leveled with her then and there that it would take a bit more time, but he probably wanted to see if we could just get it busted out as quick as possible and see where we were at before getting the customer needlessly worried.

The customer sat in her truck nearly the whole time we were working so she could stay warm. That’s perfectly understandable since it was -2°F outside and the snow was coming down pretty hard. But she’d occasionally roll down her window to offer up critiques, mostly about how much time we were taking going up and down the metal ramp of the truck, which was now COVERED in ice and snow.

About an hour and some change into the move, [Customer] got out of her truck and started chatting with [Boss] about her previous movers and how they did cause some damage to her stuff, but they were SO fast. It was weird. She went back and forth between complaining about them and praising them for their speed. And she kept referring to them as the “professional moving service I hired,” which really bugged me, because the way she said it seemed to be implying that because we aren’t a big national company, then somehow [Boss] and I aren’t professional movers, despite the fact that this is literally our full-time job.

By the point, we were far enough into this move that we could tell this was going to run long. [Boss] decided it’s a good idea to let her know that it was probably going to take a half-hour or so longer than expected, which was still a feat, considering how much there was to move and how well-packed this truck was. I pride myself on playing a mean game of Truck Tetris.

[Customer] was NOT having this. She started to get upset and started saying we were just trying to get more money out of her and that we were “Dilly Dallying.” Yes, those words actually left the mouth of a grown woman.

Customer: “The professional movers got this same stuff unloaded in two hours, so it should take the same time to load it!”

Boss: “Unloading always takes less time than loading, because you’re moving it into a bigger space, and you don’t have to pack and pad the stuff to fit into a truck.”

Me: “There’s literally a blizzard coming down, and we’re only going to go over by a little.”

She got quiet and seething. My boss could tell how angry she was and let her know we wouldn’t charge her for any extra time since it wasn’t her fault the weather was crappy. He also brought up that the other company had damaged her stuff, and we’d done a pretty good job.

Customer: “I don’t care! YOU SAID TWO HOURS, AND I EXPECT IT DONE! JUST GET IT DONE! I’m going to leave you guys a terrible review!”

She stomped back to her truck without saying a word.

I’m usually pretty chill, but I was already getting increasingly mad at this woman. Her yelling at my boss and calling us lazy when we were risking our health and safety to move her stuff in a blizzard was just too much for me.

[Boss] thought about this for a moment. I know customer reviews are super important to us as a small business. The booking site we use highlights the last handful of reviews, so a bad one takes FOREVER to stop showing up as basically the first thing people see when they click on your page. I was expecting my boss to try and keep her happy, but instead, he just grinned and turned to me.

Boss: “F*** it. You heard her!”

She wanted it all loaded in two hours? That’s exactly what we’d do.

The front half of her truck was loaded up neatly, with everything padded and stacked tightly, floor-to-ceiling, to keep it from moving on the road. The second half of her truck was the worst, jankiest truck I’ve ever loaded in my life. We’re talking huge heavy office furniture haphazardly stacked on top of each other at the weirdest angles, heavy stuff on top of light stuff, anything to just get the storage unit empty and the truck door closed. We even stacked REALLY heavy office chairs on top of glass tabletops. By the end of it, the truck looked like we’d asked Escher or Geiger to draw us a picture of an office.

I just want to be clear; we’ve never intentionally damaged a customer’s property, and we never would. We pride ourselves on our professionalism, courtesy, and specifically our ability to get your stuff where it’s going safely. But the particular combination of unsafe conditions and this lady’s outright disregard for our safety and feelings was just too much. And technically, we didn’t damage anything. Nothing was broken when we closed the truck doors. But literally the first bump in the road or decently tight turn was going to cause hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars in damage.

We closed the truck door and walked over to the customer’s truck.

Boss: “We’re done, and I’m not going to charge you at all for the move.”

Customer: “I’m not poor and I don’t need charity!”

Boss: “It’s clear that you’re not happy, and we don’t need your $150.”

That’s right, we charge $75 an hour, so the extra half-hour we needed to do it right would have cost her a whopping $37.

He cancelled the job and refunded her what she’d already prepaid. As we drove away in my boss’s car, I looked at him.

Me: “You realize that by the time she gets where she’s going, she’s looking at a lot of damaged furniture, right? She’s going to hit us with a bad review and maybe even try to sue.”

Boss: “She was worried about paying an extra $37. I doubt she’ll risk more money on hiring a lawyer. And besides, you can’t leave a review on the site if the job gets cancelled. We just gave her exactly what she wanted. It’s worth losing out on the money I would have made just to see her face when I said I didn’t need her $150.”

When he dropped me off, he still paid me for my time because “F*** that lady”.

Auntie Needs To Chill Out

, , , , , , | Related | CREDIT: Scarlet-absol13 | August 28, 2021

In early December, my father came down with a mild case of viral pneumonia. He took medication and rested for a week or so and felt better, so we thought that was that. Fast forward to two days before Christmas. My father relapsed, badly, and was admitted to the hospital with bacterial pneumonia and a lung abscess. He spent five days in the hospital and was basically on strict rest orders for most of January. He was released on December 28th, and we got our first major snowstorm on January 4th. We must have gotten about a foot and a half of snow.

That evening, we got a call from my aunt, who lives with my grandmother. My father had the phone on speaker, so I heard the entire conversation.

Aunt: “Hi, [Father].”

Father: “Hi, [Aunt].”

Aunt: “Mom and I want to know when you’re going to come to shovel our driveway.”

Father: “[Aunt], you’re going to have to figure something out. I can’t come shovel your driveway.”

Aunt: “What do you mean, you can’t come shovel our driveway?!

Father: “[Aunt], I got out of the hospital for a lung abscess a week ago. I’m not allowed to do anything physically strenuous for the entire month.”

Aunt: “But our driveway isn’t very big. It only ever seems to take you half an hour or so.”

Father: “[Aunt], I get winded just walking up my staircase. I’m not allowed to even go to work for another two weeks. I can’t shovel your driveway.”

Aunt: “Even with that snowblower I bought a few years ago?”

Father: “That snowblower you bought barely works and makes shoveling harder. So, no, not even with the snowblower.”

Aunt: “But I have somewhere to be tomorrow. Couldn’t you just shovel out where my car is?”

Father: “No. Get one of your friends to do it, because I medically can’t.”

Aunt: “You know that the friend who used to do that stuff for me recently had half his leg amputated and can’t do stuff like that anymore.”

Father: “You understand that your friend can’t because he has a medical condition, so why can’t you understand that I also can’t do it because I also have a medical condition at the moment? Where’s Mom? Let me talk to her.”

Grandmother: “Hello, [Father], how are you feeling?”

Father: “I’m doing okay. Could you please tell my sister that I can’t shovel your driveway because I’m on rest orders?”

Grandmother: *To my aunt* “WHAT THE F*** IS WRONG WITH YOU?! I THOUGHT I F****** TOLD YOU NOT TO CALL YOUR BROTHER, YOU DIPS***! HE JUST GOT OUT OF THE HOSPITAL! IF YOU WANT THE DRIVEWAY SHOVELED SO BADLY, DO IT YOURSELF!” *Pauses* “NO, NO! NO, I’M NOT ASKING YOUR BROTHER IF HIS SON CAN COME DO IT! NO, I DON’T CARE! DO IT YOURSELF!” *To my father* “I’m sorry, [Father]. Have a good night and feel better. I’ll deal with your idiot sister.”

Father: “Thanks, Mom. Good night.”

My father made a full recovery with no adverse effects from the illness. I was reminded of this story because just this week my aunt called my father in the middle of a snowstorm asking him to run to the market for her because she needed cigarettes. You’ll be happy to know my father refused.

This story is part of our Best Of August 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of August 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of August 2021 roundup!