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Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

On the scale of 1 to gullible I give myself a 3 or 4. I can usually sniff out bullshit pretty well and just ignore it. This is a story about almost being taken.

I had arrived at work just in time to be asked about a situation the day before involving a cross-eyed German guy and a t-shirt. After being told to never ask someone to explain a sensor laying in a fitting room again, I let my boss take a break and begin to start my day. The phone rings.

“Overpriced clothes for Douchebags, This is Matt”

“Yes Hi is this Matt Shanknasty?”

My back stiffened. You see I’m the only Matt working there. Well there’s another but he works less than Andy in the last two minutes. No reason to use last names. This can’t be good.

“Yes what can I do for you?” “Well my name is Christy and I’m calling from (some credit collection agency whose name I missed) in regards to your federal student loans”

Calling at work will get anybody’s attention. She continued.

“You’re aware you are in Federal default currently on the amount of ten thousand dollars?”

“Federal default? Is that like double secret probation?” “What?” “Nevermind, go ahead.”

Well she goes on to say that they don’t have up to date information for me and were only able to contact me ON A NUMBER THAT I’VE NEVER PUT ON ANY APPLICATION FOR A LOAN EVER. At this point I should have given my cell phone number and ended the conversation but it was just after 2pm on a tuesday at the mall. What else did I have to do?

She goes through the standard anal probe of my finances, starting with my monthly take home pay and subtracting out expenses to arrive at a residual income figure. Presumably to figure out how much she could take me for. But right around the time we’re starting to haggle on a monthly payment things started to take a turn for the bullshit.

“Now in order to get involved in the program, you have to put down a down payment and make the agreed upon payments for 9 months. After that we’ll stop compounding interest per day, which is about $1.30 per day, and refund collections costs, which are around $2,000.”

$3,650. That was the down payment she chucked out. So heavy I’m surprised it fit into the phone line. Who the hell would have that and not be able to make payments I wondered. (sidenote: $3,600 is a years worth of $300 payments, my guess is the extra $50 were for lapdances)

The conversation doesn’t get much farther after that and I make her assure me she will not contact me at work again. She asks me not to talk down to her. I hang up.

A few hours later I leave for my hour lunch and check my phone. Voicemail from Chrissy. She’s left a number to call and a “reference number” with a letter and numbers attached. This scam is involved.

I call the number, say that I received a call and give my reference number.

“Please verify your social security number” “I just gave you a reference number, verify that”

“Verify your date of birth then” I did it. I figure the worst they can do is send me a card.

I tell her I spoke with Chrissy and we were trying to figure out a payment plan to get my loans out of default.

“You mean you spoke with Christy, I’m Chrissy” “Sure if you say so.” “Ok sir well the total balance of this loan is due and the U.S. Department of Education would like to offer you terms to pay off this loan. This is only being done as a courtesy. If you decide to let these loans lapse further, you’re looking at a 15% wage garnishment and a deliquency mark on your credit report. Now I have some terms I’d like to discuss with you if you’d like” “Yeah sure go ahead” “Ok so with a down payment of $1,800 you’re looking at payments of $249 or with a zero down payment you’d have payments of $300.” “Ok so you’ve got me bent over with a gun to my head here” “Sir you agreed to take these loans out and you have a responsibility to pay them…” I cut her off. “Don’t lecture me on responsibility, I have parents for that. And those terms aren’t going to work for me. What else ya got?” “Hold on”

She puts me on hold and I put the phone to the side and start going through my accounts in my head. Then as I’m taking another bite my mind wanders. I look at the radio as I’m sitting in my car but realize its off. No way. There was a ton of static and the audio was really low quality but it seemed to fit the music being played…

I’m trying to place the song as she clicks back on. “I just spoke with my supervisor and our client will accept a down payment of $518 with a monthly payment of $109.” “Well now you’re in the ballpark. Is this the kind of offer that expires when I hang up the phone or can I think about it” “The end of this phone call without an agreement to pay constitutes non-compliance and all deals would be void” “So now I’m bent over, theres a gun to my head AND a ticking clock. I was worried this was going to be high pressure. Sure, what the hell. Let’s do it. Game on”

With that she puts me on hold again. No music this time and I’m disappointed. When the line comes alive again I’m told its Christy on the other end and she’s ready to fax me a contract, help find me a fax machine (“Staples, Kinkos many places have fax machines”) and take my bank account and routing number over the phone. “Well I don’t have that information on me right now.” “Well do you know your bank account number, I can look up the routing number for you” “No I don’t know it off the top of my head”

That’s what saved me. Having direct deposit prevents me from writing a deposit slip for my check every other Friday and so its not a number I have memorized.  She tells me that I have to call back with the info by 10am tomorrow or they’ll take my first born or something. I hang up, finish eating, and remember that the address they kept asking me to verify was my dads. I call and ask if there had been any mail sent there he had forgotten to give me. I explain why I’m asking. “Its a scam son, don’t call them again” I curse the fact that I almost fell for it and go back to work. I had to hand it to them though. Calling me at work, using an official tone and all, very professional. There was just one problem: No collections agency has “Houses of the Holy” as hold music.

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We all love Chipotle.  The soft flour tortilla overflowing with fluffy rice, juicy pepper and onions, mushy beans, succulent tender meats, spicy salsa, gooey guacamole and semi-melted jack cheese.  My keyboard is covered in drool just thinking about it.  My friend, the Steak Burrito with red salsa (hot), pinto beans and cheese, is probably the stupidest thing to eat the night before a job interview.  The song “Tainted Love” springs into my head.

I arrived in College Park for a job interview in Arlington.  Meeting up with my bros we drank some Buds (heavy, not light), got hungry and went to that old standby:  the Greenbelt Chipotle.  A straight shot up MD-193 with the omnipresent danger of hitting a day laborer crossing Greenbelt Road makes the sizzling scent of Chipotle all the more enticing.  The fact that you may very well murder a Mexican en route to eat Mexican food somehow makes the burrito that much tastier.  But I digress…  We got our Chipotle, somehow managed not to eat it in the car and made our way back to 8802, a house so filled with empty beer bottles and cans that a homeless man buy his way off the street if he discovered that Shangri-la of recyclables.  I forgot, this post is about the dangers of Chipotle…I’ll stay on topic.  Chipotle finished, some more Bud time followed by bed time.  Up early for the long Metro (Green + Orange) to Arlington, VA.

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     This is a straight up ripoff from Pete’s Mattiver’s Travels post. He hasn’t posted in a long while, so this is basically a challenge. Petey, I dare you to rip me off. I brought the heat, you bring the noise. Recently, I’ve been making long trips to the Eastern Shore of Maryland (and sometimes Delaware) for work, and I thought my last week’s work schedule would impress people. Mainly girls. Clearly Pete and I started this page in order to attract the attention of the opposite sex. So far, nothing. I’ve tried the “Hi there, I’m the author of a popular webpage” line at the bars and it has gotten me bubkis. I find I do a little better with, “I’m a professional water polo coach” or “I’m a member of President Obama’s cabinet.” Who would have thought. The number of Presidential pardons I’ve promised is staggering.

     First off, this is only the first three days of the week. We shall start, as most people do, with Monday (April 26th 2010):

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My summer has been one of ups and downs, however an unlikely culprit has been identified as the bane of my existence.

On my first day, I walk into work, and what do I smell as soon as I get in there? Fresh buttered popcorn. We make at least three packs of popcorn a day, the customers love it. I have never been a fan of buttered popcorn, but try spending literally eight hours a day next to it. It’s nearly impossible to resist just grabbing a handful.

After day three, I swore off popcorn all together. A month later, I have come to a compromise – one bag of popcorn per day. That’s it, I couldn’t take it anymore.

Here’s a question for you germophobes – where do you draw the line with a popcorn machine? The warmth from the bulb probably creates a bacterial utopia in which all types thrive, with oil, salt and butter to feed upon.

Is it bad to just reach in and grab a handful, or should you use the little scooper that’s in the machine? Some customers really take care to scoop the popcorn into the little bags, making sure not to touch any of it, and look at anyone who would haphazardly use their hands with disgust

If your problem is that your dirty hands are touching pieces of popcorn that you aren’t going to take, well what about the handle of the scooper? That touches the popcorn too. Or should you keep the scooper on the outside, where the whole scoop is picking up airborne bacteria? What about the handle of the door to open the popcorn machine, is that sanitary? How often is that machine cleaned, and is it even cleaned properly?

Crap, we’re all going to die.

And now, a transition none of you saw coming.

Interestingly, we sell what must smell like freshly popped buttered popcorn to Japanese Beetles. Japanese beetle bait and bags. This product does such a ‘good’ job of attracting them, that it draws beetles in from over a mile away, overfilling the bags and therefore attracting more beetles to destroy your plants than otherwise would’ve been there. I’m still trying to figure out why we actually sell them; I guess it’s just to recommend to customers we don’t particularly care for. (FYI, the best way to treat for them is to spray using an insect killer like Sevin, which has very little residual effect but does the job on existing beetle problems without attracting more in the process.)

Here’s a funny prank that I thought of though, if you really don’t like someone, you can buy bait at our store for $3.99. It will draw literally thousands of Japanese beetles from a 1-1.5 mile radius to wherever you choose to stash it. I was thinking of good places to put them – under your neighbor’s deck, under the hood of someone’s car, in a chimney…the possibilities are endless.

Listen: Stone Temple Pilots, “Interstate Love Song”

Quote: “Stop crapping yourself, don’t you realize I haven’t legitimately posted on this thing in months?” – Matt, in conversation with Bri about his “responsibilities” at Ranty McRanterson.

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This Month’s Hero: The Truck

The Truck and I, decked out in all our finery.
A rear view in order to illustrate the fact that the bed of The Truck spans far beyond it’s cab.

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Irritating Customers [Updated]

On the job, everyone has to deal with irate, impossible and idiotic customers. It’s just a fact of life. Everyone knows it, everyone complains about it, and no one seems to own up to the fact that they are this type of customer. I have to deal with them all the time and I know for a fact that Matt does as well. These are some of their stories:

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Bigots-R-Us

For work this morning I was doing a lot of driving, and got a chance to listen to some of the quality radio that the Philadelphia area has to offer. The topic dominating the airwaves this morning was obviously the thwarting of the terrorist plot involving blowing up airplanes leaving the United Kingdom heading towards the United States. I was listening to the Barsky Show on 94.1 Free FM and they were taking callers.

Admirably, there were some slightly intelligent and insightful comments made by the listeners, however one particular call got to me. I found myself yelling at the radio, I can’t imagine what it must’ve looked like to someone who may have been watching me as I drove back towards the shop on 309.

This woman in her late thirties or early forties called in and was bitching about how she goes to the airport and there are “towelheads” working airport security and how they talk their language all the time to each other. First of all, I have been in my share of airports and have never seen anyone of middle eastern descent working airport security, but this isn’t even the issue. Who gives a damn who is checking your bags, anyone who works airport security is given a background check (they do that at most employers nowadays). If you have a problem with who checks your bags, go complain to someone and they’ll treat you like the moron that you are.

Then she goes on a tirade about how she and her family shouldn’t be subjected to that because her husband was in the Navy for twenty years. Congratu-damn-lations, your husband was in the military, therefore he (and his family) is automatically void of all possibility of wrongdoing.

Listen: lostprophets, “4 AM Forever”

Quote: “Prepare for a pride-obliterating bitch slap.” – Ignignokt

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