Breaking Bank

| Working | February 11, 2013

(I was recently made redundant at the time this happened, and have had to cut back on expenses. I am paying off a cancelled credit card at about NZ$20 a week from my meagre unemployment insurance. At 9 am once a fortnight, I receive phone calls from the bank which are unhelpful but relatively pleasant. Then, this happens…)

Me: “Hello?”

Employee: “Yes, this is [name] from the credit facility of [bank]. Our records show you have been paying off the amount which you owe at a rate of $20 each Friday of each week. ”

Me: “Yes, and as I have explained, I am unable to pay any more at present.”

Employee: “I understand, but why are you not paying a greater amount?”

Me: “Because I am unable to pay any more with my current expenses and earnings.”

Employee: “I understand that. So, you’ll be paying more from this week? The more you pay, the faster you will pay off the debt, and you want to do that or else your credit rating—”

Me: “—will be adversely affected. Yes, I understand that. Thing is, I don’t earn more than $320 total each week.”

Employee: “I understand that. We would expect that you paid a relatively small amount of your earning each week, say a thousand dollars, as a minimum.”

Me: “A thousand dollars is and never has been a small amount of my earnings, even when I was working! I’d have to be running a methamphetamine lab to make enough to afford that each week!”

Employee: “That’s a good idea, sir! Would you consider such a venture?”

Me: “Pardon?”

Employee: “If that would assist you making the payments, [bank] would be happy to help you. Would you need some bridging finance to start this venture?”

Me: “You do realise what you are asking, don’t you?”

Employee: “Of course. You wish to start a small business venture and we at [bank] would happily—”

Me: “—finance a criminal enterprise?”

Employee: “I beg your pardon?”

Me: “You do understand that making methamphetamine is illegal in this country?”

(There are a few moments of silence, except for rapid typing noises.)

Employee: “…Oh, yes. I remember now. I had forgotten because I was thinking about the Rugby football match this weekend between the Blues and the Warriors, sir.”

(Note to American and foreign readers: this is like a person telling you they are in Cleveland to watch an ice hockey match between the Cavaliers and the Browns—two utterly different codes of sport between teams from the same town.)

Me: “I’ll pay you what I can when I can, okay?”

Employee: “That would be acceptable, sir.”

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Change Can Be Difficult, Part 2

| Working | February 11, 2013

(My sister is checking out at a popular retail store. The total comes out to $14.01. My sister hands the cashier $15.)

Sister: “Hang on, I have a penny.”

(The cashier ignores her and starts counting out change while she pulls out a penny.)

Sister: “Here, just give me a dollar back.”

Cashier: “What?”

Sister: “Take this penny, and then just give me a dollar back.”

Cashier: “I already calculated the change in the machine. My register won’t be balanced.”

Sister: “Okay, but if I give you a penny, and you give me a dollar it will still be balanced.”

Cashier: “But the register says 99 cents!”

Sister: “I know, so you give me a dollar, and I give you a penny, it evens out.”

(The cashier looks visibly distraught and hands my sister a bunch of change.)

Cashier: “I’m really sorry. I don’t know what you want me to do!”


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Here’s A Capital Idea: Invest In Education

| Working | February 11, 2013

Me: “Hey [coworker]! I heard this really funny thing on the radio yesterday where people couldn’t answer simple questions. You should have heard it!”

Coworker: “Oh yeah? Like what kind of questions?”

Me: “Well, there were five questions they were asking people. The first was, ‘What’s the capital of the United States?'”

Coworker: “That’s silly! It’s New York!”

Me: “Umm… no. ”

Coworker: “Umm… Virginia?”

Me: “It’s Washington, DC.”

Coworker: “Noooooo… that’s not a state!”

Me: “No, but it’s still the capital of the US.”

Coworker: “Well, I learned that in like second grade. I can’t be expected to remember that after all this time!”

(Mind you, this coworker had graduated high school earlier in the year with honors. The next day, I’m telling the story to her mother, my boss.)

Me: “Man, I asked [coworker] if she knew the capital the the US yesterday and she had no idea!”

Boss: “There is no capital!”

Me: “…Yes. Yes, there is. It’s Washington, DC.”

Boss: “Are you sure?”

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Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Hints

| Working | February 11, 2013

(I’m at the checkout of a small store with several t-shirts. Note: I am left-handed.)

Checkout Girl: “Cash or card?”

Me: “Card.”

(I give my card and I sign on the receipt. As I do, the checkout girl gives me a strange look.)

Checkout Girl: “Oh, I see… your wand arm is different from most of ours. Sinister…”

Me: “Huh?”

Checkout Girl: “What are people like you doing here? Muggles!”

(I finally realise what is going on. When she bags my stuff and hands them to me, I say…)

Me: “Master gave Dobby clothes! Dobby is free!”

(We both begin to laugh and exchange phone numbers. She later told me that “sinister” was a word for left-handedness in Latin. I even called her home once to show her my Harry Potter collection! Funny way to make friends!)

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Dressing Up Can Lead To Dressing Downs

| Working | February 10, 2013

Supervisor: “You are aware of the dress code, right? No flip-flops, no t-shirts with offensive pictures or slogans, nothing torn or dirty, and nothing too short or revealing.”

Me: “I… I’m not doing any of these things. Ever.”

Supervisor: “Exactly! You are always so elegant with your black dresses and nice jewelry. I just want to make sure you’re aware that you are allowed jeans and sneakers here. We are not that kind of office!”

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