I see the bad June a-risin' (Monthly Mini-Rants)

I had to work in one of my more distant offices today. (I do IT support for state government, and I have a few field offices that I’m responsible for.) I was determined to be out before noon today because I wanted to avoid bad traffic. But people asked me for more help on things, and I didn’t want to turn them down. (Not critical stuff, and I could provide remote support later, but I’m a sucker.) So I ended up staying a good 2 1/2 hours later than I wanted to.

Sure enough, nasty accident on my route home closes off a ramp and I have to take a bunch of side streets. It adds at least an extra 20 minutes to my drive, and that’s 20 minutes dealing with other nitwits impatient and dodging around trying to make up the time by being reckless. I white-knuckled a good portion of that drive. It was just as shitty as I predicted it would be. :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

Oh, and I was so busy I skipped lunch to accommodate all of the extra work I was cramming in, so I was famished the whole way home. I devoured the leftover charcuterie stuff I’d grabbed this weekend from the grocery store.

Still, at least I made it home safe.

I’m not reading that until June.

At least you weren’t the one in the accident. I do understand the need to vent.

Have a good June.

I think I mentioned in the May mini-rants that I was having a hell of a time getting a lawn service. The guy I was hoping to get (a landscaper who worked for the city and did private landscaping in his spare time) has moved away. At least he had the courtesy to call me back and explain. The guy he recommended that took over most of his business in the area is one of those fuckers who never calls you back. My own snowplowing guy never called me back either about lawn services. All these fuckers seem to believe that once that have all the business they can handle, other customers can go fuck themselves and don’t even deserve a callback.

I finally found what I think will be a good solution. A couple of enterprising young kids who’ve set up a little lawn-cutting business, complete with professional lawn-sign advertising, and are enthusiastic and happy to do the work for much cheaper than the fuckers who call themselves “pros”. They’re coming by this weekend. We’ll see what happens. I’d rather give my money to hard-working ambitious kids than to rude overgrown assholes.

I was at the office yesterday, sitting at an empty desk that has our check scanning machine. Twice a week, someone from the Accounts Receivable team comes into the office to process paper checks; the rest of the time, the desk is empty. No one has been assigned to this desk – and its phone – since March 2020.

Soon after I got to work, I noticed the phone ringing; it never rings, and I just assumed it was telemarketers. Then the phone rang again, and I saw it was a “wireless” caller (per the phone’s display). Out of curiosity, I answered. A person said their name (I didn’t recognize it) and gave a number that they said was their employee number. I gave my name. They said that they were working with Madame X (name redacted for obvious reasons), a name I also didn’t recognize, and that they were so glad that I picked up the phone, as they were trying to reach her but couldn’t. I told her that I didn’t know who Madame X was, and what was it they needed? The caller said they had been working with Madame X, and who was I and what do I do for the company?

Side note: a number of years ago, there was a scam where unscrupulous toner salespeople would cold-call people here, get their name and position, and use that information to call other people in the company to try to sell toner at inflated prices, saying that the first person they had spoken to had given permission – aka ‘social engineering,’

That’s precisely what this call felt like: someone wanted my details, throwing out the name of someone I didn’t know, and wouldn’t make their reason for calling clear. I didn’t want to repeat my name or give out any further information about myself. The caller was pretty insistent, and my temper flared, I told them to go to hell—convinced I was talking to a scammer—and hung up the phone.

Thirty seconds later, the phone rang again, same person. I answered. I immediately started getting yelled at: How DARE I tell them to go to hell? What was my name? I repeated my name, and that’s it. The person then told me that the phone call was being recorded, how dare I tell them to go to hell when they’re trying to get their check sorted out, and they’re going to get me fired and they hope I realize I’m going to be fired, and that I enjoy being fired and being unemployed, and they’re glad that they’re recording this call, and what was my name again? I said I wouldn’t repeat my name. They demanded my name, and I said, “You said you’re recoding this call, so go back and listen to the recording and you’ll find out my name.” And then I hung up again—STILL convinced I was talking to an especially pushy scammer.

And then they called back, but I didn’t answer.

And then they called back again. And then they called back again. And then they called back again. And then Madame X called but at that point I was deliberately ignoring the phone and trying to do my work. I eventually did notice and I reached out to Madame X (who works in Payroll, it turns out), realizing that the caller probably wasn’t a scammer.

And then I had to provide a full accounting to HR. SIGH.

Hopefully they realized you did just what you ought to have done.

I haven’t heard anything back from HR so I’m hoping so.

A few years back we had some neighborhood kid come by the house asking if we wanted our yard mowed. (I hadn’t gotten to it in over a week, it was getting a little tall.) So my wife paid him to mow, and she’d call him every so often if I just didn’t feel like getting around to doing it, or he’d call or come by if he saw the grass getting tall. In the fall he came by asking to rake our leaves. A real go-getter, most always did a real good job. Fast forward about five or six years, he’s got his own pickup truck and trailer and professional equipment and a crew working with him. So yes - support those neighborhood kids!

Oh wait, this is a mini rants thread. Well, my boss is leaving, and I’m pissed off about that and hoping that whoever replaces her doesn’t wind up being a huge asshole.

Back in 99 or so, I worked at a small business specializing in medical sensors and software. I got a call asking for our Y2K manager. From the tone and question, I thought it was a spammer trying to sell us something and hung up. I immediately got a call back from a man who introduced himself by rank, said that his base had one of our Commodore 64 based systems and that he’d been hung up on. I apologized profusely and explained that the C-64 had no CMOS battery and no idea what date it was, and that in tests no errors had come up from entering dates after December 31 99 in the system.

Heh, they’re kinda right, though!

No, there’s no excuse for flat-out rudeness to a potential customer. It’s bad for business in the long run. For instance, I was very happy with the snowplowing service I get in the winter from this guy I’ve used for years, but his failure to even call me back after repeated messages relating to lawn service has pissed me off to the extent that I’m actively looking for an alternative for next winter. I hate to do it because he’s prompt and reliable, but one thing I’m really good at is holding a grudge!

Back in April I had been notified by the property manager for my HOA that the rotted landscape timbers of a pseudo-stairway on my property need to be either removed or replaced. These had been in this condition since I purchased the place in 2008, so I didn’t understand why this is suddenly an issue; they aren’t visible from the street so it can’t be a “lowering the perceived property values of the neighborhood” matter. In any case, I found a local landscaper to come over and see what could be done. I decided that the easiest thing to do would be to just have the rotted timbers removed, leaving the unrotted ones in place. As it turned out, the timbers were actually railroad ties and had been fixed in place with rebar which was sunk so deep in the ground that it was almost impossible to remove. The landscaper said that the best (and cheapest) solution would be to just cut the metal off at ground level, but that he didn’t have the necessary tools with him so he’d have to come back later. In order to avoid possible multiple trips, I told him I would check with the HOA to verify this was acceptable, as well as confirm that it was okay to leave the remaining timbers in place.

So I called the HOA manager and left a voicemail explaining the situation and asked if he wanted to come over and check things out. He emailed me on May 10, letting me know that he would be by within the next week; I said I would most likely be home and that he should feel free to come to the door to speak to me in person. Since then, I have heard nothing from him. I’m concerned because I’d like to get this settled ASAP.

(BTW, I don’t want this to turn into a discussion of “Evil HOAs”. I have been very satisfied with the HOA to date, both the services they’ve provided and the responses with previous issues.)

I’ve lived in a managed neighborhood for a decade and deal with an HOA. For the most part their rules are sensible and I’m glad they’re enforced. I’ve had my issues with them but overall they are more helpful than harmful. I think there are good and bad HOAs, they aren’t all evil. (And I think most HOAs do both good and bad things, because they are groups of people, and people do good and bad things.)

I’m betting that manager feels like he flexed his “The Power of the HOA Compels Me!” muscles by noting the problem with the stairs. You capitulated, so emotionally he may be done with the issue. I wouldn’t be surprised that, if you don’t do anything to nudge the sleeping bureaucrat (like a follow-up email), you’ll never hear about it again.

I know this doesn’t help your “get this settled ASAP” feelings, but if he does forget about it, it’ll take months to get him to care about it, let alone come inspect it.

Well, right after posting this I called him and left another voicemail basically just saying that I’d like to get this resolved. As of 6pm there had been no return call or email, but the ball is now in his court.

Wasn’t it already? He was supposed to come by days ago and never showed.

There appears to be a run one the bank, In a manner of speaking.

For the past fourteen years, I’ve been contributing to the Thrift Savings Plan, through my employer. Yesterday, I decided to cash out some of it, to handle expenses related to my upcoming move.

Went to the website, tee_ess_pee_dot_gee_oh_vee. Entered my username and password, and got a message that I have to re-create my sign-in. Okay. Enter my name, birthdate, last 4 of SSN. They need my cell number to text me a security code, so I give it, get the text, submit the code.

Now they want to have me verify my identity by answering five questions, each with a response of one of four dates, ages of people, places associated with my address, or “None of the above.” In four of the five questions, the answer is “None of the above,” because the people named are not known to me. Submit.


I call the number, and wait in a call queue for nearly two hours (fortunately, it’s my day off). The operator notifies me that yesterday, the verification process began being handled by a new provider. She says she’ll transfer me to a department that can help me. Back on hold I go. Another wait for nearly two hours. This time, the call drops while I’m on hold. and by now, it’s past 9 pm, so I can’t call again until this morning (Thursday).

So I call again on Thursday. This time, after my two hours on hold, I actually get to an operator in the aforementioned department. I hear the sounds of other operators in the background. My operator tries to reset my security questions (which is strange to me, because they’ve almost certainly been generated by an algorithm that searches the web for information on people who are somehow related to me --ALTHOUGH NONE OF THEM ARE!). Finally, I have to leave to view a possible apartment, but I keep the call going long enough for the guy to advise me to guess at answers that aren’t “None of the above.” The idea is that the system will kick me out, and I’ll be able to reset the security questions myself (again, HOW?).

So I go to the viewing, take care of some errands, and return to my computer at about 2:30 (PDT). Back to the website. Repeat paragraph 3, as above.


Call the number again. Wait two hours. Get an operator who suggests that I try it with Google Chrome instead of Safari. Download and install Google Chrome. Reprise of paragraph 3.


I try to notify the operator of this, but THE CALL DROPPED AGAIN!

I am going to hunt down every man, woman, and non-binary who was involved in switching over to this new provider, and signing off on it without completing a beta test, and when I find them, I am going to give them a dirty look.

I suppose it was, but I wanted to nudge him in case it slipped his mind for some reason. My primary concern is that at this time there are a number of metal rods sticking out of the ground in my yard, which is a safety hazard. If I don’t hear from him soon, I’m planning to call the landscaper and get them cut down to ground level, just for my own peace of mind.

That sounds like Mom and her handyman… He had been super reliable, but she’s now going on year 3 of “giving him one more chance” to reply to her voicemail messages. :confused:

Well, I guess this is an anti-rant. For those who’ve been following my overgrown backyard adventure, the kids came by this morning as promised and just did the whole overgrown back yard perfectly, for less than one-quarter the cost of the grownup fucker who did it last year. I gave them a generous tip, for which they were grateful and I think a little surprised. I’ve got them on board to do the front and back regularly for the rest of the summer. It’s a great win-win situation for everyone.

ETA: From what I could tell, they’re using high-end pro equipment, too.