Can I bribe you?

I was doing the church books this morning and had Skype on. I permit students to ask important questions if necessary if I am not doing something I don't want to be disturbed by. Our exchange went rather like this (my thoughts in square brackets):

Stu Dent: Do you have a second?
Me: [this will not take a second - it did, actually, take 9 minutes] Sure!
Stu: I need your signature on this student loan form, will you be at school any time soon?
Me: [My summer office hours have been posted since July] My last office hours were Wednesday. I have the next one in 2 weeks, because I am attending a conference next week. There were lots of people needing signatures who showed up Wednesday, all with the proper documentation.
Stu: But I was waiting for (excuse) and (another excuse) and (a third excuse) and I didn't know (something else).
Me: [How typical! The letters requesting the signatures has been out since July. They must have just sent around reminders. ] Sorry. I don't get paid for this, so I only do it on my office hours. The next one is in 2 weeks.
Stu: My fault. But could you please make an exception and maybe do it by fax because I have to pay my rent?
Me: No. Since we got a 10% pay cut for doing the same work I quit doing freebies. Office hours are in 2 weeks.
Stu: But (a fourth excuse) and (a repeat of a previous excuse)!
Me: Office hours were on Wednesday, and many people were there.
Stu: I don't suppose you could make an exception for me and accept a bribe of a bottle of wine or so?
Me: [WTF?] Of course not. This conversation is now ended. [Switches Skype button to DO-NOT-DISTURB]
Stu: That was just a joke, of course you don't take bribes.
Me: [Silence]
Stu: I need the money! I'm broke! I don't know what to do!
Me: [Silence]
Stu: It was just meant as a joke, I would never try and bribe a professor because I know that this is a big problem.

Listen up, Stu. Maybe you want to get out a pen and some paper and take notes. I am a German civil servant, a Beamte. According to StGB § 334 you are looking at 3 months to 5 years in prison for even making such a suggestion. It's like trying to joke with the security people when going through security to get on a plane about the bomb in your shoes. The rule is: keep you mouth shut. Tight.

It might not have been that bad for me, you were only wishing to have an extra appointment. If you had offered something for my signature so that you could get money, I would be in danger of getting fired and losing my pension. Does this help?

The correct answer for our discussion above was: My fault. See you in 2 weeks. And then go out and get a day job at a construction site shoveling garbage or moving bricks for 3 days to pay the rent. That will help remind you to respond to letters from the student loan office in a more timely fashion.


Fritz said...

10% pay cut?

WiseWoman said...

Yeah, that was a while back. They cut out the Christmas money and the vacation money, "postponed" pay raises for professors, and increased the amount of work we theoretically have to do to get paid in full, so you have to work a bit more for the same money.

I should have maybe gone into banking.

brainerror said...

...and if one of those civil servants just deserves a nice "thank you"-present (which, I may add, could easily be a bottle of wine), that's just out of luck?

WiseWoman said...

Officially, we are only doing our job and a "Thank you" is all that is needed. Of course, an after-the-fact chocolate bar is different from a before-the-fact bottle of wine....

Anonymous said...

"The correct answer for our discussion above was: My fault. See you in 2 weeks. And then go out and get a day job at a construction site shoveling garbage or moving bricks for 3 days to pay the rent."

well now, that might well be so, but these days it would surprise me that such jobs can be found that would get you out of a tight spot like that. AND I seem to recognize the signs of attention deficit disorder in the fellow -- have come across it often enough. Rules/Schedules are made to just inconvenience people, your karma is linked to doing undeserved kindness onto others...

P.S. glad you didn't give in! sounds like some of those coeds that would appear at the office hours "to improve their grades" -- whatever it might take. I miss those days sometimes, I should have been more accomodating... my story could have had a more memorable finish to tell about! ;-