Don’t Bank On The Rank

, , , , | Working | December 7, 2018

Back in the early 2000s I was in the Territorial Army, the UK equivalent of the National Guard. I served for around five years or so before being honourably discharged. One Christmas I put my name down to work as staff for the officers’ and NCOs’ annual dinner.

During the dinner, I ended up working behind the bar in the officers’ mess. One of our “clients” for the evening was a young officer I knew well enough to consider a personal friend. He had just been promoted from Lieutenant to Captain, and so was spending his evening buying drinks for his fellow officers, and having drinks bought for him.

At one point during the evening, this officer staggered up to the bar. I could see that he was very drunk. “Hi, [My Name]!” he slurred, smiling at me. He ordered another drink for himself. “Are you sure that’s wise, sir?” I asked. My officer friend smiled and said it would be fine. I gave him his drink.

A few minutes later, the duty sergeant, who was behind the bar with me, took me aside for a “chat.” He told me that I must never question an officer, that I should have just given him his drink without question. “But sergeant, he can hardly stand!” I protested. The sergeant nodded sadly. “I can see that,” he said. “But you’re a private, and he’s a newly-promoted captain.” I sighed, shrugged and said, “Okay, sergeant.”

The next morning I learnt what had happened to my officer friend. He was leaving the officers’ mess, tripped, fell down a flight of stairs, and ended up in hospital with a fractured skull.

I learnt two things that night: 1. Just because someone wears a rank it doesn’t mean they always behave responsibly or are always right. 2. Rules are often necessary to create order, but sometimes, rules are complete bulls***.

Cof-Fee, Not Cof-Free

, , , , | Working | December 7, 2018

(In my office, people only come when they have an appointment. It surprises me that a salesman steps through the door. I am the receptionist.)

Salesman: “Hello, I am looking for [Employee].”

Me: “I can’t seem to find that name, I’m sorry.”

Salesman: “My information could be outdated. We talked in 2015.”

Me: “Well, he’s not working here anymore.”

Salesman: “Who is his replacement?”

Me: “What is your question?”

Salesman: “Well, we did business in 2015, and I thought we might be of service again. I brought a folder of things we can deliver now. Whom may I address this to?”

Me: “They work with a team, so there’s no one in charge. I can give it to them.”

Salesman: “No one is in?”

Me: “Yes, unfortunately no one is in.”

Salesman: “All right, then. Let them give me a call when they can!”

(He turns around and spots the cafe next to us, which also has an entrance in our building.)

Salesman: *eager* “Oh, can I get some coffee there?”

Me: “Yes, but it’s a different company, so it won’t be free.”

Salesman: “Ah, okay.” *looks very disappointed*

(The salesman leaves immediately. I go to the office the folder is for. I knew one person would be there, but she was very busy and I didn’t want to disturb her for a salesman. I tell her the story and give her the folder.)

Coworker: “We’ll discuss this next week, when the other members are here, as well.”

(I then tell the coworker about what happened when he asked about coffee.)

Coworker: “And he immediately left? Was he honestly fishing for free coffee?”

(I shrugged and the coworker looked at the folder. She tossed it into the bin right away. Guess the salesman didn’t make a great impression.)

A Warranted Response

, , , | Working | December 7, 2018

(My parents still have a landline telephone, which is mostly used for outgoing calls. The only “real” people who ever call the line are my mother’s aunts, who are both in their 90s; otherwise, if there’s a call on that line, the odds are excellent that it’s a telemarketer, a scam, or a political shill. I’m helping Mom with a project one afternoon when the landline rings. Note that I worked in an office for several years, and Mom likes to joke about my “secretary voice” on the phone.)

Me: *looks at display* “[Nearby Town] is calling.”

Mom: “Answer it, get rid of them, and block the number. Use your secretary voice.”

Me: *picks up the phone* “Hello?”

Caller: “Hello, may I speak to [Mispronunciation of My Stepfather’s Name]?”

Me: “Who may I say is calling?”

Caller: “This is Susan.”

Me: “…from?”

Caller: “Uh. Warranty services.”

Me: “…for?”

Caller: “…”

Me: “…”

Caller: *click*

(Apparently, there was no place in her scammer’s script to explain which warranty she wanted to discuss.)

Laura: The Last Airbender

, , , , , | Working | December 6, 2018

(I’ve just ordered a coffee and have been asked to provide my name for to be called out.)

Me: “Laura.”

Cashier: “How is that spelled?”

Me: “L.”

Cashier: “K.”

Me: “No, L as in ‘Lima.’”

Cashier: “That doesn’t start with a K.”

Me: “I know. It starts with an L.”

(She shrugged and wrote something down on the cup. Several minutes went by and everyone’s name except my own was called, until there were no customers waiting. I asked about my order and the same cashier presented my cup. When I looked on the cup, my name was spelled “Korra.” I can’t remember if I heard it being called, but it sounded familiar enough that I Googled it. It’s from an “Avatar: The Last Airbender” spinoff. I guess the cashier was a fan.)

Flushing His Job Down The Drain

, , , , , , | Working | December 6, 2018

(I’m a housing officer for the council, and part of my role includes checking bed and breakfast accommodation provided as a temporary measure to homeless families to make sure the hotels are up to standard. Normally, this is more a formality than anything, and the couple of hotels we use regularly all know me and let me get on with it. On this occasion, I go to reception and ask them to contact the people we have placed so I can then go and do the room checks; instead, the manager says he will take me up to each room and let me in if there is no answer. The first two rooms get checked with no problem. At the third, no one answers, so after knocking, the manager enters the room.)

Me: “Oh, it looks like there’s a leak in the bathroom; the carpet around the door is soaked!”

(We knock and then open the bathroom door. The toilet seat and lid is down, but water is clearly flowing down the outside of the toilet bowl onto the floor, and the floor is covered in a layer of water.)

Hotel Manager: *stepping into the puddle in his normal work shoes* “I’ll fix that!”

(He then proceeded to flush the already overflowing toilet without even opening the lid to see what might be causing the problem or what might come out. His look of consternation and slight panic as the flush predictably caused a small tidal wave to cross the floor and splash God knows what up his legs was the highlight of my day. Not sure we’ll be using them again!)

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