Their Understanding Is Clipped

| Toronto, ON, Canada | New Hires

(We have a new hire this season. While he’s a nice person, he lacks common sense and basically has to be retrained on everything every day. We’re on site and running underground conduit for our lines. He’s been known to not pay attention or follow directions, we’re all trying to get on him about it.)

Me: “So [Foreman] said to use clips for this, right?”

New Hire: *instantly* “No, no, no, we’re not using them.”

Me: *already fully aware of the answer because I heard him say it* “Hey, [Foreman], you said to clip this right?”

Foreman: “Yep!”

New Hire: “Oh, oh, yeah I guess he did say that.”

(This is constant with him… We’re hoping he doesn’t last much longer.)

Carry Yourself Out

| Sacramento, CA, USA | Food & Drink, Language & Words

(My husband and I decide to call and order pizza for dinner, from a franchise a few blocks away. I’m sitting next to him when he makes the call, so I can hear both sides of the conversation.)

Husband: “Hello? I’d like to place an order for carry-out, please.”

Employee: “For… what?”

Husband: “Carry-out. I want to order pizza for carry-out?”

Employee: “Uh… Is that pick-up or delivery?”

(My husband doesn’t handle dumb questions well, and I can tell he’s determined to get his point through to this employee, maybe in an attempt to educate them.)

Husband: “You don’t know what carry-out means? It means I want to order a pizza, and you make it, and then I go over there and CARRY IT OUT of the store myself. Hence the term ‘carry-out.’ It’s self explanatory.”

Employee: “So… pick-up, then?”

(We both roll our eyes.)

Husband: *silently mouthing to me* “Oh, my god.” *to the employee* “YES.”

(Unsurprisingly, the rest of the order went in a similar fashion, with my husband asking for items off their menu and the employee on the phone having no idea what he was talking about. For example, when he asked for a pepperoni pizza with “double the pepperoni,” the employee was completely lost. Finally he completes his order and hangs up.)

Me: “You can’t expect everyone to have common sense, [Husband].”

Tackling The Issue Promptly

| AZ, USA | Bosses & Owners, Physical

(I get hired to work in the computer labs on my college campus and am being given a “here’s your duties, etc.” speech by head boss. This is ten-plus years ago and I am a 19 year old girl, probably 130 lbs.)

Boss: “If someone steals any computer equipment you are responsible.”

Me: “Sooo, like, I should tackle them, right?”

Boss: “…no! No! You just need to keep an eye on people and make sure they know you are present.”

Me: “Okay, but what if someone just walks in and takes something? You said I was responsible., I don’t want to get in trouble or lose my job.”

(I was actually serious. I didn’t think it was weird to ask if I should tackle someone in the process of committing a crime; I have no idea why. I was a teenager.)

Boss: “No… No tackling, don’t follow, just… just call campus police, okay?”

(No tried to steal anything on my shifts. Also, before the year was out, a full policy had been put into place and panic buttons were installed in all computer labs. Apparently my offer to “tackle thieves” had conjured up such a strong mental image in the boss that he took fairly swift action.)

The Fluid Isn’t The Only Thing That’s Dirty

| Woodburn, OR, USA | Transportation

(I live in a small town, which at the time only had one mechanic that many people used. This was around 2000-2001. I had just had the transmission fluid flushed the last time my car was in, and my wife called me telling me they showed her some very dark fluid on a piece of paper and said my transmission fluid was very dirty. I asked to talk to the mechanic.)

Mechanic: “I was explaining to your wife that your transmission fluid is very dirty. It needs to be flushed soon. We can do that for you today for—”

Me: *interrupting* “I had the transmission fluid flushed just 3000 miles ago.”

Mechanic: “You did?”

Me: “Yes, and you guys did it.”

Mechanic: “Let me look.”

(There is a long pause while I hear papers shuffling.)

Mechanic: “Oh, I see now. Yes, we did it last time you were in, so never mind.”

Me: “No, wait! You showed my wife some very dark fluid and said it needed to be changed.”

Mechanic: “Yes, sorry about that. The paperwork was misplaced. It does not need to be replaced.”

Me: “Then what fluid did you show her? If you showed her transmission fluid from my car then you need to flush it again because you guys didn’t do it right last time.”

Mechanic: “No, everything is fine. Your transmission fluid is fine.”

(Later that evening I go into the location myself and talk to the manager.)

Me: “So, my wife was in here earlier. Your mechanic showed her some dark fluid, claimed it was my transmission fluid, then later the mechanic told me it was fine. I want you to re-flush my transmission.”

Manager: “That was just a miscommunication. We filed your paperwork in the wrong place. Your transmission fluid was fine.”

Me: “So you are committing fraud, then?”

Manager: “Excuse me?”

Me: “Well, there are only two options here. One, the fluid you showed my wife was not my transmission fluid in which case you committed fraud. Or two, it was my transmission fluid and you are now committing fraud saying my fluid is fine.”

Manager: “No, see, your paperwork was filed in the wrong place.”

Me: “Then what was the dark fluid your mechanic showed my wife?”

Manager: “What?”

Me: *raising voice* “Easy question: what was the dark fluid you showed my wife? Was it my transmission fluid?”

Manager: “I don’t know. It should have been.”

Me: “Well, I have the car with me now. Show me the transmission fluid color.”

(The manager goes to my car and pulls out the dipstick and wipes it on a white piece of paper; it’s not dirty.)

Me: “So the answer is, you were committing fraud by showing my wife dirty liquid that didn’t come from my transmission.”

Manager: “No, see, the paperwork—”

Me: *interrupting* “THE PAPERWORK doesn’t make the oil turn dark magically!”

Manager: “Well, I can give you a free oil change next time.”

Me: “Don’t bother. I will never come here again.”

(I never went there again, and moved out of the town soon afterwards. I told everyone I talked to pretty much about the fraud the mechanic was doing. I started hearing a lot of other stories about other people saying they did something similar to them. They are still there last time I checked. I guess fraud paid off big enough for them to stay in business.)

Should Speak Plane-ly

| Germany | Employees, Ignoring & Inattentive, Time, Transportation

(My husband is flying from the US to Germany. I will be picking him up at Frankfurt Airport when he comes in. Before he boards his plane he texts me that they are boarding 20 minutes late. When I get up the next morning and check the website the plane is expected over four hours (!) late. I am wondering how 20 minutes turned into four hours so I decide to call the airline to see if I can get more information and verify that this is correct.)

Airline: *automated message* “Thank you for calling [Airline]. All our representatives are currently busy helping other callers. If you want to switch to an English speaking representative to cut down your waiting time please press 1.”

(I have lived in the US, so my English is fine, and I press 1.)

Agent: *with an Indian accent* “Hello, this is [Agent] with [Airline]. How may I help you?”

Me: “My husband is on [Flight] from Houston to Frankfurt. He texted me last night. They left Houston 20 minutes late, but now the website says that the flight is expected to arrive four hours late. Can you confirm this for me? Do you happen to know why this is?”

Woman: “So, you calling about [Flight]?”

Me: “Correct.”

Woman: “I see here in my system that it left Houston yesterday at [Time].”

Me: *thinking* “Yes, I know. I just told you this. This isn’t new information.” *actually saying* “Yes.”

Woman: “It will arrive in Frankfurt today at [Time].”

Me: “Yes, I know. This is the scheduled arrival. So, you are saying it WILL arrive at this time? What about the delay listed on the website?”

Woman: “Yes, it is scheduled for [Time].”

(At this point it is painfully clear that basically she hasn’t understood one word of what I said about why I am calling. I consider asking to be transferred to someone who could understand me but I don’t feel like arguing.)

Me: *one last effort* “Yes, I know this is the SCHEDULED arrival. But do you have any information about the EXPECTED arrival?”

Woman: “I don’t have any information about that. You could check the company website…”

Me: “Okay, thank you.”

(I remained neutral and just hung up, figuring it would probably be just as effective to simply call the same number again. This time I waited for a German speaking representative who was local and was able to answer my questions. Am I a bigot for thinking if you work in an English speaking call center you should actually speak enough English to understand why customers are calling?)