The Context Is, You’re A Jerk

, , , , | Right | November 1, 2020

I work at the customer service and information desk. Our job is to guide visitors to the right rooms and change money for the automated parking ticket machines. My supervisors always leave the angry visitors to me, since I’m as stubborn as a wall of bricks.

We have a sign at the entrance of the parking lot explaining the fares: the first twenty minutes are free of charge, and if you stay longer, you have to pay. About ten meters after the entrance, there are special parking spaces for short-time visitors. The parking time in those spaces is limited to thirty minutes.

One afternoon, an elderly, rich gentleman comes to me.

Visitor: “I have a complaint about your parking fees! I stood on the short-time spot for twenty-five minutes and the machine wants money from me!”

No greeting or whatsoever, which pisses me off instantly.

Me: “Hello and thank you for your visit. How can I help you with your problem?”

Visitor: “Cut the crap, boy! I want you to waive the fees! The sign says I can park for free for thirty minutes!”

Me: “I see why you might be confused, but the sign limits the parking time to a maximum of thirty minutes and does not affect the free parking time of twenty minutes.”

Visitor: “Well, that’s not what the sign says!”

I know the signs perfectly well since I walk past them every morning.

Me: “The sign also doesn’t say anything about exceeding the free parking time.”

Visitor: “It doesn’t have to! It’s called context, boy! So, are you going to fix this or do I have to complain about a child not being willing to help me?”

I am twenty years old.

Me: “Well, the signs have been there for more than five years and you’re the first one to not understand them.”

I give him a look that says, “Think about whether or not the signs are the problem.”

Me: “But I can ask my supervisor if he is willing to waive the fee.”

I turn around in my chair and look at my supervisor, who has been listening the whole time.

Supervisor: “Nope.”

He turns around to watch the parking surveillance cameras.

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but you heard him. There is nothing I can do for you in this case.”

Visitor: “Yeah, whatever. You guys are just scam artists!”

He turns around and leaves, still complaining under his breath.

Supervisor: “Have a beautiful day!”

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