Engineered Himself Out Of A Bad Situation

, , , , , | Working | January 21, 2020

(This is one of my dad’s many stories. In the late 80s and early 90s, he was a very highly skilled network engineer, which at the time was just an emerging field. As a result, he jetted around a lot to help clients with installs and training on the new technology. In this case, he was sent to Argentina. My understanding is that it has cleaned up a lot in the last 30 or 40 years, but back then, it was not a great place. While at the hotel, his primary client contact insists that he should go to the club district while he is in town. My dad, not knowing any better, agrees, and picks a bar at random. The entrance to the bar is a steep set of metal stairs, which will be relevant later. He sits at the bar and orders a drink, but he starts getting a bad feeling about the place pretty quickly and decides he should go elsewhere, so he asks for the tab shortly after.)

Bartender: “Four hundred dollar.”

Dad: “What?”

Bartender: “Your bill. Four hundred dollar.”

(Bad feeling confirmed. My dad takes out all the money he has — a little over $100 — and places it on the counter, backing away slowly.)

Dad: “Look, this is all I’ve got. You can have it. I’m just going to leave.”

Bartender: “Four. Hundred. Dollar.”

Dad: “I don’t ha—”

(He is cut off by a blow to the front of his head from the billy club the bartender produced out of nowhere. Due to sheer bull-headed stubbornness — okay, and probably some adrenaline — he doesn’t black out, but manages to stumble towards the exit. Just as he gets there, he feels one of the bartender’s friends grab him by the shoulder. He very quickly decides on a course of action, and grabs the guy’s arm and yanks him down the stairs with him, doing his best to make sure that the other guy hits as many of the metal steps as possible on the way down. At the bottom, my dad gets up; the other guy does not. This is apparently enough to make my dad “not worth it” and he stumbles out onto the street. He tries to flag down a passing Policia, but the guy seems to develop a curious case of blindness at the bleeding American crossing his path. In the end, a hotel concierge manages to catch him before he stumbles deliriously into an even worse part of town, and after refusing a ride in an ambulance — 80s Argentinian hospital = NO — the gash in his head is super-glued shut and he is sent on his way. He actually finishes the job, with a huge knot on his forehead, and when he gets home to his workplace…)

Boss: “Whoa. What happened to you?”

Dad: “I got mugged.”

Boss: “…”

Dad: “In Argentina.”

Boss: “…”

Dad: “After the guy you sent me to work with told me to visit the club district.”

Boss: “Huh. Well, that sucks. Did the job get done?”

Dad: “Yes.”

Boss: “Great! Anyway, next month we have another trip lined up for you…”

(Yeah, my dad didn’t stay with that company too much longer.)

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Red Alert About An Orange Flag

, , , , , | Right | January 14, 2020

I used to work for a third-party call center contracted to a large, national bank, where I was a Debit Card Fraud Analyst. I enjoyed the job, but I had my fair share of belligerent customers. 

My supervisor was going in for surgery for a chronic condition, and I had been teasing her all week that my last call of her last night as my supervisor, I was going to get an “Orange Flag” call. This was simply a piece of orange, laminated paper with instructions on what to do with a threatening call; you would pull it off the board by your computer and wave it in the event of a threat. These events would take close to an hour to resolve, so I was basically telling her I was going to keep her over. She would laugh at me and we’d go about business.

My crew was the last to go home from this center, we’d leave at two in the morning, and on her last night as my supervisor, we had back-to-back calls. Finish a call, the next person was on the line at once. At 11:58, my cubical partner and I both got calls and as we went to pull information up, nothing worked. None of our systems would come up, nothing. We apologized to our customers, who were thankfully understanding, and put them back in the queue. At 12:02 in the morning, nothing. No calls. Everything seemed to have crashed on us, including the phone systems.

We now had close to an hour between calls, and the supervisor found out that the bank had taken its systems down for maintenance. Nothing would go through. All debit, credit, and ATM cards would not work for the next several hours, and if a customer happened to get through to us, we were to let them know to try again at a certain time. I wrote up a phone script for myself and ended up giving it to everyone there. I sounded like an automated phone system and used it to my advantage to not talk to customers. It politely let them know that our systems were down, we were unable to help them, and to please try again at the specified time. Of the five customers who managed to get through to my phone, four of them just hung up.

At 1:57 in the morning, one final call came through. I opened with the script I’d written: “Thank you for calling [Bank] Debit Card Fraud Services. We regret to inform you that all of our systems are currently down for maintenance and customers will be unable to use their Debit, Credit, or ATM cards until six am Eastern Standard Time. If any trouble persists after that time, please call the number on the back of your card to speak to an associate. Thank you for your understanding.”

And he responded with, “WHAT THE F***?!”


He wouldn’t listen to me when I tried to explain to him that our systems were just out, and I was thinking to myself, “Why would you wait this late to book your tickets anyway?”


I muted my mic, sighed, and waved the orange flag at my supervisor, who just stared at me. She took over the call from there and I sat and listened to her deal with this man for a good forty minutes, taking down information. I went to clock out, use the restroom, and get a drink, and came back to ask what happened.

Turns out, he was already on file for making threats like that against employees pretty regularly, and that was his last strike. The bank was going to close out his account with them and blacklist him as a result.

My prediction came true. On the last call of her last night, I had to give her an orange flag. I couldn’t have timed that better if I had tried.

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We Think We’ve Found The Demon He Was Shouting About

, , , , , , | Right | January 13, 2020

I’ve just finished ordering a healthy lunch of nuggets, fries, and soft drinks for my kids in the packed food court when a man jumps up into the counter and starts yelling about god and demons.

He is obviously having some sort of psychological crisis and security is quick in arriving and coaxing him down. He seems pretty harmless, but it’s school holidays and the place is packed with families and teens who wouldn’t normally be there this time of day mid-week so there’s a lot of kids looking a bit scared.

Security is successful and he is coaxed down and escorted away — hopefully to be met by an ambulance so he can get some assistance — and everyone starts to get back to what they were doing prior to the excitement.

Cue an irate woman who starts yelling at the staff because her food is taking too long to be ready. She actually folds her arms and stomps her foot and demands that her food be ready “right this instant or corporate will be informed.”

Honestly, how self-absorbed are people?!

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Stand Up For What’s Right, Even If You Have To Sit Down After

, , , , | Friendly | January 12, 2020

(I’m afraid of confrontation, but I also have a tendency to speak before thinking. One day, I am walking to a mall with my husband. We have to cross a road for cars and a bike lane. A zebra crossing crosses both roads and both biking lanes, so pedestrians should have the right of way. Unfortunately, many forget about that rule, willingly or accidentally. In front of me, a group of three women crosses the zebra. Two kids on a bike, a boy of about 13 years old and a girl of about 11 years old, do not give way, but there is no accident as there is enough space. However, one of the women suddenly stretches her arm and tries to grab the girl off of her bike! The girl wobbles but manages to stop safely. The boy — her big brother, we assume — stops, as well. But before anyone else can react, I yell:)

Me:Hey! Don’t you dare!”

Woman: “I had the right of way!”

Me: “I don’t care! You almost made her fall!”

Woman: “Mind your own business!”

Me: “I won’t mind my own business when I see someone pulling a child off her bike!”

Woman: “I had the right of way!”

Me: “That did not give you the right to cause an accident.”

Woman: “Just shut up, you!”

Me: “Not for someone who almost hurt a child! Right of way or not, you were in the wrong here!”

(The women walk on, while the aggressor keeps mumbling that people should mind their own business. The children also go on, though they look shocked. I can’t ask them if they are all right; they are already gone.)

Husband: “Wow, you were fast!”

Me: “I didn’t know what came over me. I just imagined that child falling in front of me…”

Husband: “I don’t know if I would have had the guts to say anything.”

Me: “Could… could we sit down for a moment? I’m so scared all of a sudden… My legs are weak.”

Husband: “No, not yet. You can’t show weakness to that b****. Just wait until she can’t see you anymore.”

(My husband then treated me to ice cream so I could sit down and calm down. We didn’t see any of those women in the mall again, and two years have passed by now. It’s okay to be upset if you do not get right of way, but that never justifies causing — almost — injury to anyone!)

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Can’t Get Over You Moving Over

, , , , | Right | January 10, 2020

(I am at the grocery store, going to the self-checkout. There are two self-checkout areas right next to each other. I see one is busy, with a line of about four people, while the other area is completely empty. At first, I assume that the other area is broken, but when I look, all the machines are on and seem functional. So, I carry my basket over to one of those lines, bypassing the line entirely. Not even two seconds later, the lady who had been at the front of the line suddenly bustles over to my station with her cart.)

Customer: “Ahem!”

Me: *turning to look at her* “Hello?”

Customer: “It is very rude to just jump the line like that! You need to go wait your turn.”

Me: *looking at the other empty stations* “I’m sorry, but that line was apparently waiting for the other area. This area was empty; it’s not my fault none of you were willing to move over.”

Customer: “IT IS RUDE!” *tries to push her cart into me*

Me: *stops the cart with my foot* “Hey! Back off!”

(At that point, the employee who is supposed to be watching the area comes over, and the lady starts shouting to him about how rude I was. While that happens, I manage to finish scanning my items, feed my money into the machine, and then grab my change and bags and start to walk off.)

Customer: “Where are you going? You need to wait your turn!”

(I just waved.)

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