Things Are Heating Up Around Here

, , , , , | Working | July 2, 2020

I’ve been stopping at this same [Coffee Shop] for the past seven years. Despite working a few different jobs, it’s the most convenient one between my house and the highway. Not only that, but they actually make a decent cup of coffee considering they’re a chain shop.

Up until last week, I’ve shown up there somewhere between seven and nine am every day, depending on the day. There was even a stretch of time where, since it’s right next to a school, I would skip the fifteen-minute drive-thru line and just walk right in. They caught on and would even have my coffee waiting at the counter. They may have messed up my order twice in this long stretch of time.

Recently, my schedule changed drastically. I now stop in between five-thirty and six am, with a whole different crew working. In the past two weeks, this woman has tried to hand me a large hot coffee four times; I order a large iced coffee.

Each time, I’ve corrected her as politely as possible considering I’m definitely not a morning person. Three of those times, she has made a medium coffee and laughed crazily when I corrected her for a second time. Twice, she has attempted to give me a medium iced coffee; at least she skipped the hot coffee step.


Six mistakes in about ten days means I really need to find a new coffee place, but I have very minimal options that early.

Taco’ Bout Crazy

, , , , , | Working | July 2, 2020

When I am a teen, I am walking down the street, enjoying the summer sun, and sipping from a Gatorade bottle that I brought from my house. Set up in a parking lot along the street is a taco truck. I haven’t come within fifty feet of the truck.

A vendor leans out of the side of the truck and points at me.

Vendor: “Hey! Hey, you need to pay for that!”

Me: “Huh?”

Vendor: “You need to pay for that bottle!”

I shook my head at this and kept walking, but the guy actually climbed out of the truck and started chasing me. I ended up booking it down the street and outpacing him, but it was still one of the scariest events of my life at that point, and I ended up avoiding that stretch of street for a couple of years afterward.

Thank Goodness Stupidity Isn’t Contagious

, , , , , | Working | July 1, 2020

I admit that several-years-ago me was short-sighted and partially to blame here. I often have to fix her mistakes.

At the beginning of the current health crisis, I got a new phone. I transferred over all of my information and everything seemed fine. I had forgotten that one of my credit card apps required my fingerprint to sign in, and therefore, on my next sign-in on my new phone, I needed my card number and password.

This particular bank has a different policy than other banks I’ve used in Canada. I ONLY have their credit card, but to log into my account I need an “Access Card” which is a completely different number from my credit card. It’s probably “more secure” or something.

When I originally got the card, they never gave me a physical access card, just the number. In my infinite wisdom, I didn’t write down the number anywhere but in the app login. After this, it was encrypted, and not recorded anywhere else, of course, including my own brain or secure files, so it was promptly lost to the aether.

I am considered high-risk for the current health crisis due to my asthma, but I live alone and have to go out to get groceries and things, so I try to limit that as much as possible and wear a mask when I do have to go out. Luckily, I do get to work from home.

I decided to call the helpline and see if I can get my access card number as there is no other way for me to access my account and track my spending — no usernames, no “forgot access card” link, nothing. Again, security, I get it and appreciate it for the most part.

Representative: “Thank you for calling [Major Canadian Bank]. My name is [Representative]. How can I help you?”

Me: “Hi. I recently changed my phone and need my access card number so that I can log into the app again.”

Representative: “I can definitely do that for you. Can I have your access card number?”

Me: *Pause* “I don’t have it. That’s why I’m calling: so I can get my card number. Is there another way I can verify my account?”

Representative: *Sounding confused* “Oh, sure.” *Asks me verification questions* “Okay, so I can reset your password and you’ll just have to make a new one when you log in.”

Me: “What? No, I don’t need a password reset. I need my access card number, essentially the login ID.”

Representative: “Oh. Let me see what I can do for you.”

The rep puts me on hold without asking. Two minutes later:

Representative: “There’s a bit of a wait for me to get assistance, so I just want to check and see if you wouldn’t rather just go into the bank.”

Me: “Well, I’m considered high-risk right now and a lot of branches are closed, so I would rather get this dealt with over the phone if I can. I don’t mind waiting.”

Rep: “Okay.”

The rep puts me back on hold without asking again. Ten minutes later:

Representative: “Okay, so we can cancel your credit card and send you a new one to the address we have on file in five to ten business days. I just need to verify that your address is—”

Me: *Interrupting* “Wait, wait, wait. Why are you trying to cancel my card? Sending me a new one won’t help me with logging in. I need my access card number.”

Representative: “Oh. Well, we don’t give those out over the phone.”

Me: *Gritting my teeth* “Okay, well, is there a way you can mail it to me securely? I don’t mind waiting.”

For reference, the Canada Revenue Agency will sometimes send secure account verification PINs to your house when you sign up for their online services; it CAN be done here in Canada.

Representative: “No, we don’t do that, either.”

I’m getting increasingly frustrated and trying not to snap.

Me: “So, you’ll send me a new credit card, which could be fraudulently activated, but not my access card which is only ever used to log into the app?” *Sighs* “Can you tell me my other options?”

Representative: “You need to go into a bank.”

Me: “There’s no way for me to get my card number over the phone?”

Representative: “No, it’s policy to not give it out over the phone.”

I’m desperately trying to remain polite as I’ve done call service work and it can be h***.

Me: “I understand that it’s not your fault, but that is the dumbest thing I’ve heard of in the current situation. I will not be cancelling my card today. I will go into the bank to get this fixed. Thank you.” *Hangs up*

I do think about asking for a supervisor, but only after the fact as I am so incredibly frustrated that this rep couldn’t tell me initially that she couldn’t do the thing I told her I wanted. After I hang up I just don’t want to have to deal with them anymore.

I do try to log into my old phone, as it still connects to the Wi-Fi and I figure I could make do with that until it is safer for me to go to new locations, but I think the rep went ahead and actually reset the password or did something because it no longer allows me to log in at all.

The story does not end there. I do go into the bank. I wear my N95 mask — I had one for working with natural dye products from before the health crisis. I stand in the (blessedly short) line. They are letting three people in at a time, so I wait my turn. The woman at the door asks why I’m there, I tell her I’m there to get my access card number, and she looks at me in confusion. Maybe she couldn’t understand me from behind the mask.

The rest of this takes place inside the bank.

Teller: “How can I help?”

Me: “I need my access card number so I can log into the app on my new phone.”

Teller: “Did you get a physical card or a virtual one when you signed up for the credit card?”

Me: “For the access card? No, they just gave me the number.”

Teller: “A virtual one, then. Okay, card and PIN, please.”

The teller gestures to the PIN pad. I enter my card and my PIN. The teller goes off and returns with a piece of paper.

Teller: “Here’s your card number—” *shows me* “—and just keep that paper in a safe place for the future.”

Me: “Great, thanks.” 

I took the paper and left so I wouldn’t hold up the bank line, but I made sure the number worked in the app before I drove away.

Time in the bank: probably a minute after I got inside. I didn’t remove my mask, which covers more than half my face — I would’ve been willing to briefly if they needed it for identification purposes. They didn’t ask for ID.

Yeah, super-secure access card number there. I’m considering cancelling that card, since it’s my only tie to the bank, but I don’t generally have problems with them, my card has some good benefits, and I have to sort out some financial things before I want another credit check on my credit report.

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A Smelly Symphony Saved!

, , | Working | July 1, 2020

I’ve recently moved very close to our city’s symphony orchestra center, and I want to attend performances when I can afford it. Unfortunately, the symphony is pretty expensive, and even a seat at the very back of the concert hall has to be budgeted for. 

I purchase my first ticket, and I am so excited! I figure, since you’re at the symphony to listen more than to watch, being at the back of the concert hall won’t be that bad. I make it to my seat, and just before the show starts I feel someone take the seat behind me. I am immediately engulfed in a cloud of noxious perfume, so bad my eyes start to water instantly. 

I’m a little sensitive to strong perfume or aerosol smells, but the average amount most people wear isn’t enough to trigger a reaction. This case is ridiculous. It’s like she’s DOUSED herself with the entire bottle. She also keeps fidgeting and leaning closer to the back of my seat as she rearranges herself, each time bringing the smell closer. 

I try to enjoy the music, but by the intermission I can barely keep my eyes open, my throat is burning, and my nose is clogged. I leap up and go outside for some fresh air. This symphony ticket is the most expensive thing I’ve bought for myself in months, and I think I am going to have to just deal with it. 

I am coming back inside when an older woman who is volunteering as an usher comes over to me. 

Usher: “Are you all right, sweetie?”

Me: “Huh? Yes, I’m fine. Thank you.”

Usher: “You look like you’ve been crying. Are you sure?”

Me: “Oh! No, it’s okay. I wasn’t crying, but the woman seated behind me has on some very strong perfume and it’s aggravating my sinuses.”

Usher: “Well, we can’t have that!”

She grabs my arm with a surprisingly strong grip and propels me over to the box office. 

Usher: *To the ticket agent* “This young lady needs a new seat, please. She’s having a reaction to another guest’s perfume and it’s affecting her ability to enjoy the symphony.”

Ticket Agent: “Of course!”

The ticket agent prints off a new ticket and hands it to the usher.

Ticket Agent: “I hope you enjoy the second half of the performance.”

All this is done in seconds, before I can even get a word in. Then, the usher has me by the arm again and we head down the stairs to the main floor of the concert hall. She leads me to an amazing seat in the center orchestra section. This seat easily costs twice what I paid for my original seat.

Me: “Wow, thank you so much! You didn’t have to move me to such a nice seat.”

Usher: “Nonsense! Everyone should enjoy their time at the symphony! You take care, now.” 

I got seated with just a few minutes to spare before intermission was over. Thankfully, no one around my new seat had the same perfume over-application as my previous seat, and I was able to truly enjoy the second half. It had honestly never occurred to me that I could ask to switch seats, if one happened to be open. Now I know, at least at this venue, that it’s an option.

Thank you again, kind usher lady. You made my first symphony experience so much better!

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There’s No Accounting For The Kindness Of Some People

, , , , , , | Working | July 1, 2020

I had to buy a new-to-me car when mine gave up the ghost. Happily, I found a three-year-old used car at my favorite dealership and started all the necessary paperwork. I had enough money for a sizable down payment but was still going to need the three-year plan to pay the car off.

When I sat down with the dealership’s “number’s guy,” he had one of the best senses of humor I’d ever seen in an accountant.

I have many acquaintances who are accountants and not one has a grain of humor in their being. I apologize to accountants on this site who are actual humans. I know you exist; I just haven’t met any of you.

We finally got to the nitty-gritty of the monthly payments and he quoted me a price that stunned me because of how low it was.  

Then, he said, “Oh, wait. I’m supposed to offer you [Product]. Do you want that?”

Truth was, I did want that. So, with the product added, the low price went up considerably, but it was still within my budget.

The accountant looked at it for a minute and shook his head.

“Gosh, I forgot you were in last week looking for the car when we were offering the discount. I’m such a klutz.”

“Um… I only just came in two days ago,” I said.

He said, rather sharply, “No, no, I distinctly remember discussing this with you last week. I know car shopping is stressful, but surely you remember coming in last week and discussing the discount.”

It took me a minute, but then I said, “Oh, right. Sure. Last week.”

He applied the discount, which reduced my payment below the original monthly payment he had quoted me.

That is one of the reasons I keep going back to that dealership for service and will probably buy my next car there, as well.

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