A Two is a 2 is a II


I now am in charge, exclusively, of Customer Returns in the warehouse. I don’t mind a bit, despite the fact that this is not the job I was hired for. I still do that one, too.

Returns means I’m in the sales office a lot. I have to ask a lot of questions and beg for paperwork, so I can get all the pallets and pallets of shite out of my little returns area (and lawsy me, does it pile up fast). Sometimes, the returned item is jus’fine, and can go back on the shelf for another delivery.

Sometimes it’s a broken piece of crap. That’s when I have to get the sales manager involved.

Last week, I had an item to ask him about. He needed to look it up in the computer first. I’m standing there, waiting, and I see that he’s having an issue typing in the name of the product itself.

He calls out to another office worker sitting at a desk in front of him, “Hey, how do I make the symbol for two, but it isn’t a number?”

The sales person turns around, looking baffled. Not at the question, no: trying to think of where it might be on the keyboard.

I’m standing there in my grimy steel-toe boots, grimier hi-vis jacket, and comfy many-pocketed work trousers; sweating as I can’t bear the heat in the office as compared to the warehouse. I can’t watch this any longer, not even for the craic. “It’s just two capital letter i’s. Roman numerals.”

Sales manager is all kinds of thrilled and thinks I’m a bloody genius. Says to me, “That’s brilliant, we could sure use you down here. Are you sure you don’t want to come back into the office?”

Not for all the tea in China, as my mother would have said. I mumbled something about watching a lot of old movies and teaching myself Roman numerals so I could read the date the movie was made. But that was a lie. I learned that shit in fifth grade. Maybe earlier.

It especially struck me funny when I saw this, via the Huffington Post.


19 responses »

  1. Was they really looking for a key with II on it?!! I hope none of the software in the office ever asks the user to press ‘any key’!!

    I remember exactly when I learned what II meant. I don’t know what age I was, but I would assume I was in first grade, or very close to that. I was reading a text out loud in the kitchen, was a school assignment. Noticed how a capital ‘i’ and a lowercase ‘l’ look just the same in many printed fonts? Now I need to tell you that ‘il’ is the french word for ‘he’, third-person singular pronoun. Now imagine me trying to read out loud John Paul II thinking it’s ‘il’. Obviously, the sentence didn’t make sense at all, and my mother from the other side of the room was kick to say “John Paul TWO”. I remember having been baffled at how she could know that. Obviously, I was having a quick roman numeral 101 class the very next minute, and eventually I was even able to read time on the fancy clock in the living room that had roman numerals on it.

    Two office workers were unable to determine how to type 2. Ah! About half an hour ride tomorrow morning for the first store, I’ll have something to keep my employees entertained (those that don’t sleep right away anyway).

  2. You first mistake was letting it slip out that you actually knew stuff and could solve problems…now you’ve done it.
    Hope you still get to go out and play with the big machines some…that returned stuff does pile up quickly and everyone has some issue.
    But if things get difficult remind them you are wearing steel toed boots….
    Thanksgiving greetings from across the water.

    • Oops! Must learn to keep big mouth shut. Easier said (hee) than done!

      Yes I still have my big toys, and drove the biggest all by myself (and moved a pallet down to the floor, go me). However you may have cursed me with that piling up comment! I got a full van load in today, just for me – six pallets! No paperwork! Random stuff in every box! Wheee!

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