For When Your Brain Just Goes Ker-Chunk

, , , , | Working | October 19, 2017

(I work in a small retail store, in which we have a manual “sticker gun” that we use to create price labels for merchandise. You set the price, pull a trigger, and a price label comes out. Due to the noise it makes every time you pull the trigger, my coworker and I start calling it the “ker-chunker” and the labels in it are always referred to as “doo-hickeys.” We always know exactly what we mean when one of us says to the other “hand me the ker-chunker,” but we get weird looks from customers, which is expected. My coworker calls the supply company to order more labels. She gets on the phone with the supply rep, and completely freezes.)

Coworker: “I need… some doo-hickeys. For my ker-chunker.”

Rep: *without missing a beat* “Oh. Labels for your price gun? What size?”

Coworker: *amazed* “How on earth did you do that?!”

Going Against Code

, , , , , | Working | October 19, 2017

(Back in 1978, I was just a kid working as a programmer for a large engineering firm. One day my boss hands me two stacks of listings. They are the source for a project, one from today and one from six months prior. My job is to go through them line-by-line and mark which lines have been removed, which have been added, and which have been changed. The stacks are at least six inches tall, and I look at them in dread, realizing that there have to be some 100,000 mind-numbing lines to read. The number of errors I am bound to make will be astronomical. Then I get the bright idea to write a program that can find insertions, deletions, and changes. One day, such tools will become commonplace, but in 1978, they are unheard of. In a couple hours, I have a working program and I run all the code for the project through it, print it out, and give it to my boss later in the day.)

Boss: *looking shocked* “It’s done?”

Me: “Yeah. I wrote a program that did all the dirty work.”

Boss: *getting a bit red and angry* “Who authorized you to write a program to do this?

Me: “I was hired as a programmer. I didn’t think I needed to ask about that. Besides, this is 100% accurate. If I did it by hand, think of all the errors that would be in it.”

(Since our stuff often needed FAA or military oversight, he realized I just helped him dodge a bullet, and he calmed down quickly. The remaining problem was that this little task was designed to keep me busy for two or three weeks while he came up with something else for me. But from then on, I was put on more interesting projects.)

Rated “M” For Misogyny

, , , , | Working | October 19, 2017

(I go with my brother and my mom to buy a game that recently came out. I am 17. The cashier gives the usual “did you find everything” speech. While this is happening, my brother is looking at other games, and I’m with my mom.)

Cashier: *to my mom* “Also, ma’am, I just need to tell you about the rating of this game. I don’t think it’s suitable for your son.”

Mom: “Actually, this game is for my daughter.”

(The cashier was quiet through the rest of the transaction.)

Dealing With Ignorance Is A Lottery

, , , , , | Working | October 19, 2017

(I run a lottery pool at work and buy tickets every week. The lottery that we buy tickets for has a draw twice a week. For simplicity’s sake, I like to get one ticket that covers both draws. This happens almost every time I go to buy one.)

Me: “I’d like a ticket for [Lottery], please, for the next two draws.”

Clerk: “Huh?”

Me: “I’d like a ticket that has the same number for both the Wednesday and the Saturday draw.”

Clerk: “Then you want two tickets.”

Me: “No. Two tickets would be two different numbers. I want just one ticket for both draws.”

Clerk: “We don’t do that.”

Me: “Um, yes, you do. I buy tickets like that all the time.”

Clerk: “No, we don’t.” *turns to more experienced colleague* “Right?”

Colleague: “Actually, we do. Here, I’ll show you.”

Clerk: “But, that means that the ticket will cost $8 instead of $4.” *gives me a triumphant “Gotcha” expression*

Me: “Yes, that’s right.” *holds out the $8 that I had all ready to go*

Clerk: “Oh.”

The Employees Are In A Vegetative State

, , , , , , | Working | October 19, 2017

(I decide to stop by the sandwich shop on campus for lunch today. I’m a really picky eater, and I hate lettuce and tomato.)

Me: “Can I get the chicken bacon ranch sandwich? And no lettuce or tomato?”

Cashier: “Sure thing.”

(She puts in my order and both the screen and my receipt say, “Hold lettuce, hold tomato.” I pay and go wait for my food. But when I get the sandwich, there’s a problem.)

Me: “Um, excuse me? This has lettuce on it, and I asked for no lettuce.”

Worker: “Oh, sorry about that! I’ll remake it for you.”

(After a few minutes he makes eye-contact with me and gestures for me to come over.)

Worker: “While I was making it, I accidentally put ranch on it. Is that okay?”

Me: “Uh, yeah, it’s a chicken bacon ranch sandwich.”

(He finishes the sandwich and walks away. This time, not only is there lettuce on it, but also tomato. I go to the cashier this time, more than a little frustrated.)

Me: *after explaining what happened and showing her my receipt* “Can you please have someone else make it? I just want the sandwich, no veggies.”

(This time, a different worker made my sandwich and checked that I want no veggies. She made my sandwich in seconds, correctly this time. The sandwich wasn’t even very good.)

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