One Day My Prints Will Come

, , , , | Working | January 19, 2019

(I have recently started a new job. I need to send out over 800 letters, so I ask my supervisor some questions.)

Me: “Is there a usual vendor we use for printing and mailing?”

Supervisor: “Oh, we don’t do that directly. All our printing and mailing gets done through [Consulting Firm].”

(This isn’t unusual, so I let the firm know to expect some info from us to set up the mailing. I get to work, put together the draft, and send it to my supervisor.)

Me: “Can you look this over? If everything is okay, I can send it right off to [Consulting Firm].”

Supervisor: “It looks fine, but why are you sending it to [Consulting Firm]?”

Me: “Because you told me they handle all our printing and mail?”

Supervisor: “Not for something this small; we can print it all directly in the office. It will be cheaper that way.”

(I’m a bit frustrated by this but I let it go. The next day…)

Me: “Hey, can I get an expense approval for a box of paper?”

Supervisor: “What do we need all that paper for?”

Me: “For the letter I need to send out.”

Supervisor: “Oh, just send it over to [Local Print Shop]. They are the vendor we usually use for printing and mailing.”

(That finally answered the first question I had asked.)

Wouldn’t Have Been A Flight Of Fancy

, , , , | Working | January 18, 2019

A few years ago, I needed to book business travel for an out-of-town conference. Since the conference location was about five hours away by car, I decided I’d save the company some money and drive instead of fly. Even after the company reimbursed me for mileage, they’d still save a bunch of money.

I discussed this with my boss. We found out the company does not allow using your personal car for business travel due to liability — e.g., if you are in an accident and your car is damaged it is a legal grey area. Travel suggested renting a car. I was still okay with this, because I figured it would still save the company some money, and there was a rental car outlet near my house. I figure I’d reserve the car the week before and pick it up the night before I left.

Fast forward to the week before … While attempting to reserve the car through the company travel website, I found that the company had a preferred rental agency that I was required to use. Unfortunately, the only rental outlet for the preferred company was — you guessed it — at the airport. Now, just days before my conference, flights prices were sky-high (sorry). I had no choice but to rent a car.

I drove my personal car to the airport and parked it in the airport garage ($). I rented a car at the airport ($$) and drove to my conference. I parked in the hotel garage for a week (super $$$, since I was parking in a downtown garage under a hotel in a major city), drove back to the airport, and drove home.

When all was said and done, I’d paid to park my car, paid for a rental, paid to park the rental, and paid for gas. It would have been cheaper to fly.

I Bet A Thousand Bucks That You’re Wrong

, , , , , , | Working | January 18, 2019

(I work at a store that sells lottery tickets. We can pay cash prizes if we have enough money in the till. For loss-prevention reasons, we don’t keep a float and we aren’t allowed to add cash to the tills from the safe. The only influx of cash into our tills is from people buying things with cash. So, if we don’t have enough cash in the till to pay a prize, the customer has to take their ticket somewhere else. Our tills are also swapped out with every shift change, so the time of day is no guarantee that there will be a lot of cash in the till. I have just started my shift, and one of my very first customers has a ticket that has won $200. Because the amount is so high, the machine asks if I am able to pay. I know for a fact that I can’t, so I press, “No”, and the machine returns the ticket and creates a printout telling the customer what their prize amount is and where else they can go to get it. I give the ticket and the printout to the customer and explain.)

Me: “Unfortunately, I don’t have enough cash in my till to pay this, but there’s a [Convenience Store] upstairs that might be able to-–”

Customer: “Oh, I don’t like this. I don’t want to carry my winning ticket around until I can find someone who can pay it. You shouldn’t be selling lottery here if you can’t pay this. You’re supposed to be able to pay up to $1,000!”

(Our training isn’t very thorough, so at the time I have no idea if what she’s saying is true. I ask my colleague on the other cash register if she has enough in her till, but she doesn’t. I flag down the assistant manager to find out if there’s any way we can pay the customer’s prize. He confirms that we can’t add cash from the safe, and reiterates that she can try the convenience store upstairs.)

Customer: “You’re supposed to be able to pay up to $1,000.”

(To my surprise, my assistant manager doesn’t contradict her, and actually seems a bit sheepish.)

Manager: “Unfortunately, we don’t have enough cash in our till.”

Customer: “You should have a float. You shouldn’t be selling lottery if you can’t pay this. You really shouldn’t.”

(My assistant manager just reiterates that we can’t pay it, and eventually she leaves.)

Me: “Are we really supposed to be able to pay up to $1,000?”

Manager: “Technically, yeah.”

Me: “What?! But then how do we get away with that? We need to be approved by OLG, right? If this is a requirement, can’t we get in trouble for not keeping enough cash on hand?”

Manager: “I don’t know.”

Me: “That can’t be right. The machine asks, ‘Can you pay?’ if it’s over a certain amount, and if you say, ‘No’, it gives you that printout. It explicitly gives us the option not to pay. And they give us that machine, so it wouldn’t ask that if we were required to pay up to $1,000, right? I’m going to look this up.”

(When I got home that night, I looked it up. The OLG website said, “Every retailer can pay up to — and including — $50. Retailers have the option to pay up to $999.90 — as long as they have the cash available.” In other words, we can pay up to $999.90 if we are able and willing, but we aren’t actually required to pay any amount higher than $50. I texted my assistant manager this information. The next morning, he called OLG to confirm that this was correct, and then he printed out that webpage, highlighted that sentence, and left it behind the lottery counter, so that if any customer ever made that claim again, we’d have an actual response for them.)

Oh, Crimea River

, , , , | Working | January 18, 2019

(My husband and I are visiting an ear-nose-throat doctor for the first time because we’re having allergy problems after moving to a new area. For convenience’s sake, we’ve scheduled ourselves back-to-back and we go in together. I have kept my own last name. It is now the end of our appointments.)

Doctor: “[Last Name]… What nationality is that?”

Me: “It’s Ukrainian.”

Doctor: “Oh, man, you Ukrainians are having a rough time, huh?”

Me: “Oh, yeah, I suppose. But really I’m American.”

Doctor: “So full of strife for so long!”

Me: “Um, yeah, well, we’ve been in America for a very long time — at least three generations, probably longer. I’m really not sure.”

Doctor: “You poor Ukrainians. Tell you what; I’ll only charge you for one appointment today.”

(It was super awkward but hey, free money.)

Drivers Know No Other Way To Get Around

, , , , , | Working | January 17, 2019

(It’s 5:30 in the morning and my supervisor and I are in the bus depot, preparing for the first shift of the day. The phone rings. It’s the other early-morning driver, who reports that his car won’t start and he won’t be able to get to work for his first run.)

Supervisor: “I can’t go to collect him because I have the first run out of [Destination #1] in fifteen minutes, and he lives way out in [Distant Suburb].”

Me: “And I have to be driving the bus out of [Destination #2] at the same time.”

Supervisor: “I’ll wake up the mechanic and see if he can help.”

(He does so, and outlines a complex plan which involves him dropping a jump-starter pack from the depot workshop to the mechanic’s house while he is en route to [Destination #1], so the mechanic will then proceed to our colleague’s place to start the car. The supervisor and I will do our own bus runs while also making deviations from our routes that cover the areas that our missing colleague would have done, until the missing driver has finally reached the depot and is able to take over. By the time the supervisor has finished sorting it out, ten minutes have passed and it’s time for us to leave for the early-morning runs.)

Supervisor: “I’ll just go and get the jump-starter pack from the workshop and head out to the mechanic’s house now and… Oh, d***. I don’t know [Colleague]’s exact street address. Would you ring him to get that while I get the jump pack and bus sorted out?”

(Before I can do so, the phone rings again.)

Colleague: “Oh, and by the way, I just moved house last weekend to [a street address only a few minute’s walk from the depot].”

Supervisor: “…”

Me: “…”

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