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That Time Search And Rescue Almost Had To Report To A Drive-Thru

, , , , , , , | Working | December 5, 2021

I’m an accountant. It’s early February, and everyone is getting their W2s. This is the first rush to get your taxes done, and we are fully booked. This means I’m working crazy hours doing people’s taxes. I’m working from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm. I don’t have time between clients to eat, so I eat a big breakfast and usually get something from a fast food place before bed. I usually go to marginally healthier places.

Tonight, there is a terrible blizzard. Instead of driving out of my way on the dangerous roads, I decide to visit the burger place with a drive-thru that’s near my home. It’s a bit after 10:00, and the sun’s well set, but the street lights are still on. Big huge flakes are falling from the sky, but the roads are mostly clear thanks to Minneapolis’s wonderful, overworked, but very effective snow removal people. I’m a bit low on gas, and my phone is dead.

The parking lot for the burger place is full of snow about two-thirds as tall as my tiny compact car, but there appears to be a shoveled-out line through the drive-thru, so I’m not worried.

I should have been worried. The path gets rougher and rougher the deeper I go into the line for the speaker. I’m starting to wish I hadn’t turned into the parking lot, but by the time I have finished my turn, it is already impossible to go back.

I order some food at the window… and my car becomes stuck. I can’t drive it forward any further; the wheels just spin.

I ask the employees for help. They can’t come out for safety reasons. That’s fine; I fully understand.

Could they pass me a shovel through the window with which to shovel out my car? No, they don’t have one. 

Do they have any salt I could apply? How about packets of salt for the fries? No, they can’t do that. 

What about cardboard? Do they have any old fries containers I could put under my wheels? Drink containers? Paper bags? No, can’t hand those out like that, either.

Is there someone who’s supposed to have cleared the parking lot? There’s a private company that’s supposed to do it, and they haven’t.

How are they going to get their own cars out of the parking lot? They don’t know. Their own cars are well and buried. (I feel pretty sorry for them, too, at this point.)

Could they have maybe put a sign out at the entrance saying, “Enter at your own risk.”? If I’d been warned, I wouldn’t have come through. No, that’s against policy, too.

Could one of them use the phone in there to call a tow truck? My phone is dead. Nope. They’re not allowed to use the phones inside for that purpose.

Could they call my spouse who lives with me about five blocks away? Nope, can’t do that either.

Can I leave my car here, walk five blocks back home, grab my shovel from home, and dig my car out? No. Apparently, I’m not permitted to leave my car here; they’d call the cops to give me a ticket.

Could they call the cops without me leaving the car here so I can get some help getting out of the snow? No.

What the f***?!

Could I come in out of the cold so I don’t freeze while I wait for someone to rescue me? I don’t want to leave my car running, I’ve only got a quarter tank, and I don’t know how long this could take. No, that’s too risky. Apparently, I could be a physical threat to them. Or someone could, and it’s unfair to play favorites. Fine, I understand.

So, I waited with my car turned off, in the cold, wearing a suit and a tie, until someone else got to the drive-thru and was willing to help me get my car loose with the old cardboard and pushing trick.

I drove off without paying for nor picking up my order. I did try to give the guy who helped me a twenty, but he said he didn’t want any money.

I understand that they couldn’t help me, and I understand why, but it was a very frustrating and frightening experience.

And if they can’t provide for the safety of their customers, why couldn’t they have posted a sign saying so? I wouldn’t have gone into their drive-thru had it been apparent from the street that I was on my own. I’ve not eaten there ever since, especially not on snowy days. It seems too risky.

If You Can’t Take The Heat, Don’t Even Think About The Kitchen

, , , | Right | December 1, 2021

I used to work in a fast food place. Our air conditioning went out one summer and we had to wait for a part to fix it. It was over eighty in the dining room, ninety behind the counter, and about a hundred degrees in the kitchen with the fryers, oven, and grill all going.

A little old lady walked up to the counter.

Lady: “It’s so hot in here! Could I go back and eat my food in the kitchen? Is it any cooler back there?”

Me: “No, ma’am. Not only is that a big health no-no, but our cook has been stepping outside into the ninety-plus-degree heat to cool down once or twice an hour.”

She didn’t seem concerned or convinced.

Here’s Hoping Her Umbrella Breaks

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: Raphiella1206 | November 19, 2021

My husband and I arrive at the grocery store to get our weekly groceries. It’s cold and pouring down rain, so we’re walking as briskly as we can to get out of the weather.

As we are walking up the row we parked in, a lady in a gold sedan pulls into the yellow-lined space that is right next to the handicap spaces meant for ramps and such for wheelchairs to get in and out of vehicles.

I think to myself, “Is she really going to park there?” We keep walking and I keep glancing back. Yup, she’s parking there. Before we get to the door, I turn around and see her start to get out of the car, and somehow, I find the courage in all my anger to yell out to her:

Me: “Hey that isn’t a parking space!”

She literally growls at me.

Me: “You’re blocking the handicap space!”

Lady: “Ugh! Fine! I’ll move!”

She makes to get back in her car. I turn to start walking inside, but then, I get a feeling she is just waiting for me to leave. I turn around and, sure enough, she is waiting for me to leave. I stop and watch her. She knows she’s not getting away with it now, so she starts cussing at me and eventually — she’s drawing a lot of eyes now — says that she’ll move.

The entire time she is cussing, I just stay silent and let her dig her own grave. Then, when she says she’s moving, I yell out to her:

Me: “Then do it!”

My husband got a real kick out of that as he chuckled. He knew I had everything handled, so he stayed silent while I took care of the lady. He knows I can’t stand entitled people.

The entitled woman angrily got back into her car, struggling with her umbrella in her haste, and then peeled out of the non-space to another actual parking space literally five cars down across from her.

I get it; it was raining, it was Mother’s Day, and she was probably just running in for last-minute cards and flowers. But d***!

I finally got inside the store where the greeter thanked me and told me that, apparently, people park that way all the time and they’d given up saying anything to them and just let the police handle it from now on.

Next time, I think I’ll just call the police and watch.

Forecast: Steamy

, , , , , , , | Working | November 17, 2021

I’m at my desk, listening to the person in the next office request a Florida weather report.

Coworker: “Alexa, what’s the weather in Kissimmee, Florida?”

Alexa: “But we’re just good friends!”

She tried the Kissimmee weather request a couple more times and then switched to Orlando. Evidently, Alexa doesn’t consider weather requests for Orlando come-ons.

Feeling Powerless In More Ways Than One

, , , , | Working | October 29, 2021

My city just had a massive storm. There was torrential rain and wind gusts were clocked at ninety-five miles an hour. Trees are down everywhere and half the city is without power.

In the morning before I head to work, I get a call from my boss.

Boss: “Yeah, power is out at the store, too. They’re saying it might be a couple of days before they get it back on.”

Me: “So, we’re closed today?”

Boss: “No, you should come in in case the power comes back on.”

I groan internally, but whatever. I’m still getting paid. I think about what no power will mean — no register or card machine, no A/C, no WiFi — and take water, a book, and my fully-charged phone.

The store is quiet, dim, and HOT. In the first two hours, I have this conversation three times.

Customer #1: “Oh, is your power out, too?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. Just so you know, I can’t take cards since the machine isn’t working.”

Customer #1: “Oh. Really? I don’t carry cash, though.”

Me: “Sorry about that.”

Not surprisingly, it’s very slow. I occupy myself with my paperback, feeling clever for having thought to bring it. And then, about three hours into the day, the rain rolls back in and the joke is on me because it gets so dark in the store that I can’t see the words on the page. I’m reduced to playing on my phone and hoping the battery holds out.

At about 3:00 pm, a guy pops in.

Customer #2: “Wow, it’s dark in here! You guys don’t have power, either, huh?”

I go through my spiel about the card machine. 

Customer #2: “Oh, no, that’s fine, I have cash.”

He selects a $5 item. Holding his money clip with $5 and $10 bills visible, he asks:

Customer #2: “Can you break a $50?”

Me: *Internally screaming* “Sorry, sir, I don’t have enough change for that since I can’t get into the register.”

He tsks at me, but at least he pays with a ten.

In the entire eight-hour shift, I have five customers who actually buy something. My boss finally tells me to close the store; apparently, even he doesn’t think we’ll get any business after dark during a power outage. 

I’m finally home half an hour later, done with everything and already planning to be “out sick” the next day if there still isn’t power, when I get a text from my boss.

Boss: “Hey, the power’s back on!”

I didn’t scream, but I wanted to.