Friday, November 5, 2010

D'oh Moments

Thanks for all the lovely comment in recent days. I love Linda's gracious wishes. She's working towards 400 and she's still happy for little old me. Shucks. You gals are amazing. I promise not to call you gals again - especially Missouri Michael.

Let's move on.

Here's a couple of stories to make you feel better about yourself - because you're not me. I had to book a supply teacher for this past Thursday so that I could plan for a day next week when I teach teachers how to use the SmartBoard in Math. The irony is that I'd never used one before and the teacher who was teaching me how to use it had forgotten half the things he used to know about it. Anyway, here's the funny part of the story: When I was booking the supply teacher online, I kept getting booted out of the system. "Please try again in a few moments." So I kept retrying.

The next day, the vice principal of my school urgently approaches me. I'm thinking that they saw me standing on a table hanging a poster and that I'd been fired. It turns out that when I kept retrying to book a supply, I kept booking more supply teachers. In the end, I'd booked four supply teachers and the VP was dealing with a crew of angry teachers who thought they had a gig, only to be told, "No, sorry, our inept grade 2/3 teacher just has sausage fingers."

I ran into one of these disgruntled teachers today and he had a good laugh when I told him the story. This story reminded me of my worst screw up at work ever. It happened about ten years ago when I was working at an independent book store in Toronto. For some mind boggling reason, the eccentric store owner insisted we sticker all of the books with barcode stickers, even though the books already had barcodes on them and surely they could have programmed their prices into the codes.

At the time of my hiring, the store manager gave me one of those annoying little speeches about not wasting store products, especially the stickers, which apparently cost a lot of money. We always had a little pile of books that hadn't been stickered. One Sunday afternoon, I decided to get these books on the shelf. The first book was King Lear. I'm not making this up. I entered all the information into the computer and hit "print." You could always hear the stickers printing off in the back office. I went to the front to help a customer. When I returned to the back of the store, I heard the printer still going. "Hmm. That's odd. I'm only printing about ten stickers." It turned out that I entered the ISBN numbers into the quantity of stickers box. This means that approximately 700 million King Lear stickers would print.
Like Ferris Bueller trying to take miles off the car by leaving it up on block in reverse, I somewhat dimly thought that I could switch the printer off and it would just stop. It didn't.

Eventually, I called the techie guy on staff and made my big confession. He said, "We'll just have to reboot the computer." When he did this, we lost power on all the computers (including the ones needed to ring up books at the cash register). It just went from bad to worse. We frantically made a call to the archaic computer company who were able to make an emergency call on a Sunday. In the meanwhile, we had to write down the ISBNs for everything sold and ring things up with a calculator and pad of paper. Eesh! I get knots in my stomach just thinking about it. I'm sure if the owner had cottoned onto my big blunder, I would have been making Timbits the following week. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

There you have it. I'm sure this lovely German weather expert would feel my pain.


  1. OMG we have all had those D'ho moments! Funny about the ISBN stickers!!

  2. Erin, I loved your stories, I could SO identify with them and the weather woman was too cute (I laughed right along with her, didn't know what I was laughing at, but I laughed)


  3. Linda and Sue - it just gets worse. Last week during a staff meeting, Peter, the school librarian sarcastically told the staff (who were scarfing back free pizza) that only five people had bothered to email him to say they'd like pizza. I had told him in person the previous day that I'd like pizza. After his sarcastic remark, I felt the need to state my case. All I had to say was, "I told you in person yesterday." But nooooo. Instead, I actually said this: "I gave it to you orally yesterday." No sooner had I said this when the feeling of horror mixed with hilarity took over. The VP looked at me and snorted. Within seconds, we were both nearly on the floor laughing. The rest of the staff either didn't hear what I said or were being politely professional.
    Oh brother.

  4. The pizza incident is a classic!

    Congrats on 100 followers! I was hoping for 100 in time for Xmas, but I managed to lose one due to my bitchy rant....Oh well it is what it is!

    I should start an anonymous blog where I get to rant and bitch all I want! lol

  5. Oh I'm chucking over here. Never got one of those (one of many) calls to supply before, I hate the automatic system, preferred the secretary calling me.
    PS. that Pizza comment - you must have been blushing!


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I'm a slightly off-beat Toronto-area teacher who enjoys writing and photography. I come from a family of collectors and now I'm dragging my own family around to yard sales. It's just a bit of fun. Enjoy the scenes.