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Blog : Posts tagged with 'idiots'

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Speed

In which FP drives sensibly


People round here often say: ooh, I don’t like going down to London. I’d hate to drive down there. It’s terrible. It’s so bad to drive around London. All the drivers round there are such bad drivers.

And I say: “hah”. Because I’ve driven round London,* and not had any problems with other people’s driving. I’ve driven round here – a lot more, obviously – and I can hardly go on a car trip without something making me go: “what the hell are they doing?”

In the past 24 hours I’ve driven about 25 miles in total. In that time I’ve had four people overtake me because they’ve thought I’ve been driving too slowly. That is: I’ve been driving at 60mph, on a narrow twisty country road. I drive at 60mph down it, because I know it well; I know where the bends are, where my lines of sight are, and how fast I can go and still be able to stop on sight. And I get overtaken by people zooming past me at 90-ish. On the road past the office, which is an urban road, I drive down it at 30mph and get overtaken by people doing about 50.

Now, no doubt these people would claim they’re very good drivers, and therefore it’s entirely safe for them to drive like that. This is, frankly, bollocks. It’s never safe to drive at 90mph down a twisty country road with a couple of farms along it. These people are living proof of the Dunning-Kruger effect: the more incompetent a person is, the more likely they are to overestimate their skill.

That’s fine when it involves things that don’t concern me. But when I’m driving to work every day, and meeting these idiots every few miles, it bothers me. I don’t want to end up in a ditch, because of your rudeness, idiocy, or misjudgement. If you pass me at 90mph, keep on going – because when you impale yourself on a 20mph ploughshare in half a mile, I want to have plenty of distance between us.

* although no further in than Zone 2; Mile End or Clapham Junction

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Back away from the phone and breathe slowly

In which people refuse to be in the wrong


Or, the support call from hell.

I will summarise. A known nuisance. She says she’s reporting an error that she’s told me about many, many times before. I, of course, have never heard of the error message she’s reporting. I tell her the general resolution steps: click on X, Y and Z in that order. It doesn’t work, so I ask her to reboot her computer and phone back.

She phones back, ten minutes later. “I did Q, Y and Z, like you asked me to…”

I ask her to repeat, to confirm she isn’t confused.

“Yes, you definitely told me to do Q, Y and Z.”

“I’m sorry, but I thought I asked you to do X, not Q?” For one thing, Q doesn’t take you to a place you can do Y. So if you did that, you’re clearly lying about having done anything at all.

“I know what you told me to do – you definitely asked me to do Q. Now, can you just fix my computer instead of arguing about you said this and that?”

I despair, sometimes. I wonder how people who don’t listen to anything they’re told, who expect the world to organise itself around them for their own benefit, ever get to where they are in life.

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Pillock

In which we get blamed


Why is it that, at work, we always get the blame for other people’s stupidity?

I mean, if we do something and the computers break, it’s our fault. If we forget to do something, and they break – email stops working, the databases seize up – then that’s our fault too. Fair enough.

But when people say “I sent an email but it didn’t work, it came back to me,” and you point out that they spelled the recipient’s name wrong, why do they still look at you as if it’s your fault? That’s hardly fair, is it?

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Things people say

In which we hear some shocking hypocrisy


I’ve been surprised before by things I’ve overheard people say at work. I’ve even posted about it: suddenly, someone who looks normal, says something horribly bigoted. The staff over in Another Part Of The Forest still manage to amaze me, though, not just with what they think, but with what they’ll say out loud.

Over there this afternoon, I got chatting to the current office temp. He’s just taken his university finals, and is temping over the summer before he gets a proper job. He was telling me how great his time at university was:

I made some great friends there. One of them’s going into professional sport – he’s going to be right at the top of his sport in a couple of years’ time. I’m glad I met him – he’s going to be a millionaire soon, exactly the sort of person you want to stay friends with!

“Erm … yes,” I said, wondering if he was being as serious as his eyes said. That’s really not why I have friends, and I hope it’s not why my friends have friends; but if that’s the sort of person you are, fine. Later on, though, one of the other co-workers* managed to beat him. The temp was complaining about the number of Lithuanians and Poles living in the area, and she said:

Ooh, I know, there’s loads of foreign people living round here. Still, we’re not as bad as some places – at least they’re all white round here. I don’t like this town though. I don’t like living here at all – if I could, I’d move abroad somewhere.

Again, she seemed completely serious. No idea of the big hole in what she’d just told me. I stopped talking and got on with work; it was easier than trying to explain what she’d said.

* A girl of about 19 or 20, hoping to go to university herself soon if she can raise enough cash.

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Security (part two)

In which a contractor doesn’t do the job properly


So, as I explained yesterday, the security contractor at the office has saddled us with three “incompatible” security systems, two of which probably are compatible after all, it’s just that he doesn’t know how to get them to work together. We complained to the office manager about it. “Well, if that’s what the contractor said, that’s what’s going to happen.”

The next day, our boss comes through to visit. “What’s this about us needing three different tags for the alarms?”

We told him what we’d been told.

“It’s a bloody stupid idea. I thought they were all going to work together.” Yes, so did we. “I don’t want to have to carry three tags on my keyring.” And he wanders off, grumbling about it.

The following day, we notice the Managing Director stalking about in our part of the building, looking at the security gadgets and making “hmmm…” noises. The office manager is following him around, trying to explain how wonderful these expensive systems we’ve commissioned are.

“…you’ll have one tag for these doors, one tag for the outside doors and gates, one tag for…”

“Why do we need three different tags for everything? Why can’t we just have one?”

“The contractor says that they won’t…”

“Well, I thought we were just going to have one tag that would do everything. I don’t want…”

I tuned out, but it was clear the way the conversation was going. What makes me sigh isn’t that we always prefer contractors who have worked for us before, even when their track record is hardly promising.* It’s that the management should have spotted this coming. The contractor did give the office manager a nice thick specifications document – did the manager bother to read it at all? Didn’t he bother to ask questions about the vague parts?

* This isn’t the first time the security contractor has fitted something and then not set it up properly, because although he’s agreed to fit the system we wanted he’s not willing to learn how to configure it.

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