Keeping On Going To The Beat Of Your Drum

| England, UK | Coworkers, Musical Mayhem

(As part of our training, we have to undergo a three-hour session hosted by an external speaker on conduct, communication, and confidence. The speaker occasionally asks if someone has ever done or seen something and uses it to make an example…)

Speaker: “I mean …okay, does anyone here play a musical instrument?”

(After a few seconds of awkward silence, I stick my hand up.)

Speaker: “Great, and what do you play?”

Me: “I’m learning to play the timbal.”

Speaker: “Ah, the timbal. Uh huh.”

(He pauses.)

Speaker: “What on earth is a timbal?”

Me: “It’s a Brazilian hand drum used in samba reggae.”

Speaker: “It’s a what?”

Me: “It’s a Brazilian hand drum used in samba reggae.”

(After a second or two of stunned silence, the speaker starts to laugh. After about a minute or so of laughter…)

Speaker: “I’m sorry, it’s just, I’ve never had an answer like that before. I was expecting the flute or the piano. What did you say it was called?”

Me: “A timbal.”

(He laughs again and carries on the session. About ten minutes later…)

Speaker: “Has anyone here ever… except you—” *points at me* “—I’m not sure I can handle finding out what else you do in your spare time… has anyone else here ever done tai chi?”

(After the session, my colleagues and I go for lunch and chat about the session.)

Colleague #1: “I thought it was useful.”

Colleague #2: “It had some good tips. How about you, [My Name]? What did you think?”

Me: “Well… I went in there feeling all right, and then he laughed hysterically at my one answer and told me he was scared about what I do in my free time… D’you know, I actually think I might have come out of that feeling less confident than when I went in!”

(The training was actually pretty useful and to be fair to the speaker, he told me to keep on playing drums at the end. Rather unfortunately however, several years on, I only remember that incident from the entire session.)


Should Use The Microsoft Wizard

| MA, USA | Bizarre/Silly, Job Seekers

(I am a writer and content editor for a company. The writing office is fairly small, so everyone can easily talk to each other without leaving their desks.)

Coworker #1: “Whoa!”

Me: “What’s up?”

Coworker #1: “Did you see the email we just got?”

Me: “No, I haven’t checked in the past ten minutes.”

Coworker #2: “Check your email. It has to be seen to be believed.

(I check my email, and in it is a job application. Somehow, this person sent it to the whole office instead of just our boss. The letter starts off fairly normal, stating she went to school for journalism, but by the second sentence the applicant is claiming the reason no one will hire her is because she’s been cursed by a jealous Haitian witch. She lists all the ways the witch has ruined her life, including how she’s using witchcraft to mess with her phone, laptop, and Gmail account, lose her voice, lose her fingers, hands, and arms so she can’t type, and to get people to lie in court about her. I read through the letter it a few times, completely in shock.)

Me: “Good freaking lord.”

Coworker #2: “I’ve seen some weird applicants, but this is beyond insane.”

Coworker #1: “Is she for real? Maybe she made it up to show how creative she can be?”

Me: “If that’s the case, then she’s failed at that, too. Her writing is terrible! She constantly repeats herself, the sentence structure is sloppy, she’s giving us a billion reasons NOT to hire her, and she didn’t even list any references.”

Coworker #1: “Hey, [Boss], did you see this?”

Boss: “I read two sentences and deleted it. I have had more than enough crazy for this week.”

Me: “Yeah, this’ll fill your crazy quota real quick.”

Coworker #1: “Should we call her and find out if she’s for real?”

Me: “That’ll only encourage her. If she calls us, then you can be the one to talk to her. Otherwise, don’t engage the crazy lady.”

(The application went on our “Wall of Shame” to prove it really happened, and we have not heard from the cursed lady since.)


Cheech And Chong Is Never Wrong

| MN, USA | Awesome Workers, Bosses & Owners, Movies & TV

(Our center manager is named Dave.)

Coworker: *answers ringing phone* “Thank you for calling [Center]; how may I help you?”

Corporate Big Wig: “Can I be transferred to Dave, please?”

Coworker: “Dave’s not here, man.”

Corporate Big Wig: “How about [Other Manager]?”

Coworker: “Hold please.”

Other Manager: “This is [Other Manager].”

Corporate Big Wig: “So, you need to drug test the employee who answered the phones just now.”

Other Manager: “What? Why?!”

Corporate Big Wig: “For answering the phone with a Cheech and Chong reference. Then drug test me for getting it.”

(Isn’t it nice when corporate big shots are people, too?)


The Degree Of The Problem Is Fluid

| CA, USA | Employees, Transportation

(My sister and I have just invested in a used sedan, which includes a dealership warranty up to 100,000 miles. Rather than go back to the original dealership we bought the car from, we decide to hit up its sister dealership in our hometown. The appointment is fairly straightforward – oil change, tire rotation, and the like – and is reasonably priced. I head back home after dropping off the car and receive a phone call about a half hour later.)

Me: “Hello?”

Sales Associate: “Hello, [My Name]! Just calling you back about your car. It looks like the transmission fluid is dirty, so we’re thinking it would be best to flush it out and replace it.”

Me: “Okay… how much extra would that cost?”

Sales Associate: “It would add $500 to your original cost.”

(I’m floored, and since I’m fairly new to this whole car owning thing, I decide to double-check with my father. My father promptly calls the dealership back.)

Father: “So, let me get this straight: We just got this car about a month ago, and you’re already saying the transmission fluid is so dirty, it needs to be changed?”

Sales Associate: “It’s a little bit dirty, and we just figured…”

Father: “A little bit? Okay, I know that you rate the transmission fluid quality as green for good, yellow for okay, and red for bad. What color code would you use for this car?”

Sales Associate: “Sir, the fluid is dirty and – ”

Father: “What. Color. Would you use?”

Sales Associate: *deflated* “Yellow…”

Father: “Thank you. We’ll hold off on changing the fluid.”

(After that, we decided to take the car back to the original dealership, and lo and behold, the transmission fluid was in the green! Unfortunately, they started trying to rip my sister and me off as well, so I’ve gone to a small local car shop in my hometown ever since. I’ve had my car for four years now, and besides a few minor issues, it’s in great shape!)


Explaining It Until You’re Pink And Purple

| Ireland | Bad Behavior, Employees

(I ring up the florist to order a small posy of flowers for my grandmother’s grave for the first anniversary of her death. I asked for the posy to be exclusively pink. This is deliberate as my gran was known as ‘The Lady in Pink.’ I’m only eighteen and really emotional about the anniversary since I had been really close to my gran. I call into the florist after work that evening.)

Me: *walking up to the counter* “Hi! I ordered a posy earlier under the name [My Name] and I’m here to collect and pay for it.”

Florist #1: “Great, it’s just over here.” *fetches posy* “That will be €50, please.”

Me: *sees that posy is mainly purple and white with only two pink flowers present* “Oh! I’m sorry, this one can’t be mine. I ordered a pink posy?”

Florist #1: “Oh… Let me check with [Florist #2]. She dealt with the orders earlier…”

Me: “Yes, please!”

Florist #2: *approaching me with a scowl* “What’s the problem?”

Me: *recognizing her voice from the phone* “Hi, I called earlier and ordered a pink posy. I think I was talking to you about it and—”

Florist #2: “Yeah? There it is. What’s wrong with that one?” *pointing to purple posy*

Me: “I don’t think so… I asked for pink and white flowers only. I hate to be a bother, but it’s important that the posy is pink. Is there any way of taking the purple flowers out and replacing them with pink?”

Florist #2: “For f**** sake! There’s nothing wrong with that one! I can’t bloody well take anything out! I’d have to make a whole new one for you!”

Me: “Well, I can come back later to collect it if that’s the case? I need it to be pink.”

Florist #2: “That’s not happening! Who are you to be complaining to me? I never get complaints! I’ve had a terrible day and here you are giving me a hard time!”

Me: *apologetically* “I’m sorry, but it’s really important to me… It’s for my gran’s—”

Florist #2: “Your granny will live if she gets some f****** purple flowers!! Get her pink the next time!”

Me: *finally raising my voice* “It’s for my grandmother’s GRAVE!”

Florist #2: *rolls eyes* “Then she won’t know they’re purple, will she?”

(At that point I was in tears from being shouted at and from the florist’s insensitivity so I fled from the shop. I was so upset afterwards that I had to call my mother to collect me and drive my car home for me. I couldn’t bring myself to buy flowers for her grave this year after that drama so I opted to buy a teddy bear for her instead.)