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12 April 2007

So, the cops just left [More:] I was turning out the lights to go to bed and there's a cable truck outside my back window (I'm on a corner lot) with its amber flashing light blinking. I go up to the truck and lightly tap on the window and ask if he can turn the light off since it's shining in my window? "Nope. Safety." Hmmmm... could he move down a block? "Nope."

So okay, I lose this one. As I'm turning away, I mutter, "Well, that's a pain in the @ss."

He replies, "You can lick my @ss."


"F*** you!" he replies.

So I go into the house. I'm kind of PO'ed so I decide to get my camera and take a pic of the truck so I can get the 1-800 "how's my driving?" number. I take the pic, as well as one of the guys in the cab, and start to walk away. They get out of the truck and say, "Give me the camera!" I just stand there as the guy gets right into my face. I said if he touched me he'd end up in jail.

I turned, came into the house, and called the 800 number and reported all this stuff. Just as I hang up, the doorbell rings. The police. WTF?

So I answer the door, he asks my side of the story, I give it to him, and he says even if I had touched him I was "okay". Which I didn't. The cops leave, and I called the 800 number back and add to the report that they called the cops on me too.

You know how that goes, when you're outside your comfort zone and your heart starts a thumpin' and your mouth goes dry? Yeah... no big deal, I'm more angry than anything else, but yeah, I'm trying to relax off of that right now.

Then I thought of this thread and decided that whoever advised the AskMe poster to have several people with her when she took the picture, all I can say is- yeah, defintitely do that. It can be intimidating and the guy could really want that camera.

I won't post the pics; as far as I'm concerned it's over. But I need to calm down a bit and figured writing it out would help.

Thanks for reading. Or not reading and skipping to the next post. It really doesn't matter.
Oh, and as a result of all this, the cops asked the truck to move down a block.
posted by Doohickie 12 April | 23:53
good on ya, hope things improve, some relaxing music and all of that.
posted by edgeways 13 April | 00:08
I'm glad everything's OK. If you're anything like me, the adrenaline is gonna keep you up for a bit.

How did the cops get involved?
posted by bmarkey 13 April | 00:08
I glad it went well. You have a cool head and I commend you Doohickie. I have a history of knocking dudes like that down and kicking them till they can't get up off the ground.
posted by arse_hat 13 April | 00:13
Man, what a bunch of pricks. Not only were they complete assholes but they wasted the valuable time of the police. Hopefully their actions will have some negative consequences for them but you never know.
posted by puke & cry 13 April | 00:14
How did the cops get involved?

The cable guys called them. Personally I think they were trying to intimidate me into not calling in a complaint, but that just makes me want to complain more.

I have a history of knocking dudes like that down

It was no problem laying off for me. You see, even though I'm 6-2, 200, I'm a wimp. If he had hit me or even pushed me, I was going down like I was shot (yes, the thought actually formed in my head to do that).

My wife is a high school teacher and I'm always hearing about kids picking fights with other kids, and if the other kids fight back, even to defend themselves, they get suspended. That wasn't going to be me.

I was reasonably sure that taking a photo of a truck and its inhabitants that were doing a public job (cable company) on a public street were fair game as far as taking pictures goes, but I wasn't 100% sure. But I kind of felt that as long as I had the camera, I had leverage.

I'll tell you what though... the ladies at the 1-800 number both sounded like someone's grandmother- very sympathetic and all that. They are well trained or well selected for that job.

Hopefully their actions will have some negative consequences for them but you never know.

At the moment it happened, I wanted both of them to get fired. Now I've calmed down to hoping they get sent to a week-long and very boring "how to be polite to the public" class.
posted by Doohickie 13 April | 00:22
"I'm a wimp." Nah just sensible. I am a hot head when bullied. It's not a good thing.
posted by arse_hat 13 April | 00:25
No, cable company employees aren't doing a "public job". While the state regulates cable companies, your taxes don't support them. So you went out and called a guy a pain in the ass and took photos of him to try to provoke a confrontation (why take a photo instead of writing the number down? You wanted to piss him off, apparently). You both need to be sent to a very thrilling "How To Not Be Complete Knobs" class.
posted by cmonkey 13 April | 01:45
Jeez, cmonkey. I think you're being kind of hard on Doohickie. Your assumption that he wanted to piss someone off by taking pictures is completely unfounded and baseless. Someone want's photographic evidence?!?! HULK SMASH!!

It sounds like Doohickie was mildly annoyed by the pain-in-the-ass cable guys that couldn't give a flip about anyone else. I suppose you should partake in those classes you recommended.
posted by puke & cry 13 April | 02:11
I don't think I'm being hard at all: it's simple common sense that taking photos of someone after a verbal confrontation will piss them off and escalate the situation further.
posted by cmonkey 13 April | 02:27
cmonkey, that's completely wrong. No, the cable guys are not public employees, but they are on a public street, obviously on the job, and cursing at and threatening someone who is likely to be a customer of theirs is way, way, way outside the job description. If this happened to me with a Comcast truck outside my apartment, I'd be damn sure to call Comcast, and I'd definitely take a picture of the truck so that the company would have no doubt who was involved or where the incident happened. Doohickie was in no way being a dick by doing so.
posted by deadcowdan 13 April | 05:34
It would have been very easy for the cable guy to say, "I'm very sorry the light is bothering you, but we're required to use it for safety. We just need to finish this up and we'll be out of your hair ASAP." I'm sure Doohickie would have been fine with that response and the situation would not have escalated.

Companies really need to understand that investing a little time and money in training their employees to deal with the public will benefit them in the long run.
posted by jrossi4r 13 April | 09:39
cmonkey, you need to lay off the bile and invective, or de-urine your Wheaties, or something.

That said, doohickie, if I were in your shoes I would carefully consider the worst-case scenarios when thinking about doing something like this again.

The question to ask yourself is what your desired outcome was, and what your actions did to further that outcome: in this case, it's hard to tell whether your intent was to provoke and shame or to resolve the situation to your satisfaction. They're two very different things.

From where I'm sitting, escalating the situation by saying something under your breath and taking a picture was, while perfectly within your rights, probably unwise under the circumstances. The same eventual outcome (the police come and tell them to move) could have been achieved by taking a walk down the street, noting the 800 number, calling it, and, when that failed to resolve things, getting the police involved.

Consider this: it's one person (you) against two people (them). What if they'd cooked up a scheme to implicate you in an assault simply by lying their asses off? What recourse would you have?

Anyway, my unsolicited $0.02.
posted by scrump 13 April | 09:51
I lived for moments like that. I loved confrontations that I knew I had the upper hand.

Now, the adrenaline rush is too much for my heart, and just pushing the buttons of a telemarketer causes chest pains of 7 on a 10 point scale.
posted by mischief 13 April | 10:20
cmonkey has a point. But just to respond to one or two of his points-

Yeah, I know it isn't a public, tax supported entity. The point is that they are out in the public, out in the open.

Yes, there was knobishness coming from both sides. I used the camera because, among other things, the AskMe catcalling thread was still on my mind and I thought it would bring the guy into accountability. That, and I wanted to be able get information on the truck and I figured if they were out and about and hassled me about it, it would go much quicker if I had a camera instead of pencil and paper.

I wasn't trying to "provoke a confrontation" but I will admit that looking back on it from the light of day, I was trying to put him in his place. So yeah, I was a knob.

I replayed it in my head several times and tried to figure out where the whole thing really got out of control. I guess when I see someone representing a company, I expect a certain level of professionalism. Here this guy is, on the clock, just being very surly the whoel time, and then tells a grouchy guy who just said, "What a pain the @ss," That I can lick his. I just thought, you know, I wasn't totally in the right, but that was completely unprofessional. I'm just a guy on the street; he's a guy representing the company that pays his livelihood.

Also, even though I threw a cuss word, it wasn't directed personally at him; it was just a general observation. He got personal with is invitation.

Had he said, "Sir, that is not appropriate language," he would have been right and I would have been owned. If he would have used any kind of conciliatory tone, "I'm sorry, but we have a job do and we'll only be here another 20 minutes." Anything civil, or nothing at all, it would have ended there.

And someone from the company just called. Very apologetic. I told them basically what is in the first post, and he said they would "take appropriate action". I'm guessing that means just a good talkin' to, but at this point, that doesn't matter to me; that's the company's business.
posted by Doohickie 13 April | 10:24
You're fine taking a picture in a public place unless the subject can somehow claim an expectation of privacy. So unless the truck was parked in some bushes and you used a 2000mm lense to take the pic you're in the clear.
posted by Mitheral 13 April | 12:20
Does anyone else think this guy is bad ass? || Don Imus is cursed.