Being in a person's living space is one thing when it's a friend or family member; a home connected to someone you have a connection with. It's another when this person is, essentially, a stranger. Working in service jobs often means having to enter people's personal spaces - and coming out with some interesting stories to tell about it.
Reddit user dustofwasps asked:
We try not to judge, I mean - living with a herd of cats in Halloween costumes might not be my thing, but it's clearly someone's jam, right? It's possible a person has tons of cameras on tripods set up around their house for non-nefarious purposes. Maybe there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for why a person might need a three-foot tall wax mountain, or store beer cans in their walls...
Or, equally plausible explanation - people are weird, fam. Just weird.
Porn and PizzaGiphy
I was on a ride along with a fire department. We responded to "smell of smoke" in an apartment building. We found the apartment fast enough because the fire alarm was going off inside.
We walked in to find this guy naked as the day he was born passed out on the floor in front of the TV with porn on way louder than it should be and the remnants of a pizza in the oven.
The gentlemen I question was very drunk. There were beer cans all over the kitchen and a bottle of liquor on the floor next to him. To wake him up we actually all left and the fire chief woke him in his daily uniform so the guy didn't see all of us in our gear and think he was being abducted or something.
Used to work for a concrete company, and our mixer trucks would sometimes damage property. Typically my partner and I did maintenance on the plants, but we'd get sent to job sites to fix whatever the drivers did.
So while at one house, we had to tear up the driveway, replace the culvert and re-pour the end of the driveway. The first day we were there, all the old snoopy neighbors were standing around watching us, and I had to piss pretty bad. So I asked the homeowner if I could use his bathroom.
He said sure, and led me through his house, past a bathroom, into the bathroom in the master bedroom. Already creeped out by that. Oh, also I noticed cameras all over the place. So this was around 15 years ago. We are talking camcorders on tripods, not your cutetsy nanny cams. Some pointed out windows, some pointed into the rooms. Creep factor leveled up.
He leads me to the bathroom, opens the door and holds it for me, like you would at a store, when someone is behind you. imagine going to a restaurant and there's a group of people with you and you hold the door open for them. I say thanks, he still stands there. I had to walk past him and yank the door closed.
While leaving, I notice a bedroom decked out in kid stuff. This would normally not toss up any flags. Grandkid's room probably.. right? Except old guy was single, and this wasn't a very "kid friendly" set up as far as foster homes go.
Plus with all the added creepiness, it just didn't seem normal at all. Told my partner, he laughed and pointed out there was probably cameras in the bathroom.
If either of us had to piss after that, we drove down to the gas station.
Back in the early 90s, I worked for a company that removed old electric water heaters and replaced them with propane powered water heaters. Because propane water heaters can possibly spew carbon monoxide, there are state regulations as to where the water heaters can and can't be placed, so it was my job to inspect the water heater room and draw up plans for ventilation, if necessary.
I showed up at a client's home to inspect the area where he had his water heater to see if we needed to install any vents. When I asked to see his current water heater, he seemed a little uncomfortable and said, "I have something in the room that I forgot to clean up." I followed him to the room, and when he opened the door, the smell of weed hit me. In the water heater room, he had fishing lines strung up with trimmed plants being dried. If I were to guess, there must have been a couple pounds of weed drying in there.
He said, "Oops, sorry about that." I smiled and told him, "No problem. I don't even know what that is." I knew exactly what it was, but I didn't want the guy to get worried about me telling someone. He offered me some, but I told him, "No thanks. I don't know what that is."
As I was leaving, he asked me, "You aren't going to tell anyone about the plants, are you?" I asked, "What plants?" The guy smiled, then said, "You sure you don't want some?" I definitely wanted some, but I was still pretty new at my job so I didn't want to take the chance that accepting weed from him would blow up in my face. Before I left, I told him, "Make sure you clear that closet before our guys arrive. They might not be happy about the plants I didn't see."
Worked as a furniture delivery guy for a rent to own place in Iowa for a couple of years, and I saw some absolutely crazy stuff.
We were delivering a couch to someone and when we arrived there was no answer to our knocking. We called our manager back at the store and explained that no one was home. He tells us to hang out for a minute while he tries getting in touch with the customer. While we're waiting we start hearing this weird sort of screeching sound coming from a detached garage.
We decided to investigate the noise. We turned the corner to the front of the garage and came face to face with the meanest, scariest looking monkey I've ever seen! It was in the garage but they had like this wire fence keeping it inside. The entire garage was it's cage. In the middle of nowhere, Iowa.
I have no idea what type of monkey it was. It was large and very angry.
I worked as a delivery driver for a "deliver anything" company in the early 2000s. It was a very novel (but ultimately unsustainable) idea for a business back then. We had a lot of regular weirdos.
One night one of these weirdos ordered about $30 worth of candles... from the dollar store.
This job really brought to the forefront the disconnects that exist in us as consumers. So of course initially I had gotten the wrong kind of candles for the weirdo. He showed me what he wanted at his apartment door.
Luckily the store was literally a couple blocks away so I didn't have to waste much time because I wasn't being paid hourly.
"Come in" was what I was greeted with when I returned which is never something I'm particularly happy about as a delivery person. I see what my rational brain tells me is a pile of laundry on a coffee table in front of a filthy couch. But it's not that. It's a 3 foot tall wax pile.
I had bought candles in jars the first time, and I could definitely see why those would not work for our gentlemen. He needed freestanding candles so he could just plop one down and light it to continue building his wax mountain which was starting to spill onto the floor.
One Full OneGiphy
On one occasion we were demolishing a kitchen for a remodel and found, sealed inside the wall, five empty beers and - one full one. We didn't drink it as it was 30+ years old. One of the crew took it home to add to his shelf of antique knickknacks and old bottles.
Protecting Freedom In Case Of Fire
I used to install smoke alarms for the hearing impaired (50% elderly and 50% deaf) all over the state of Oklahoma. I would get addresses for the installations the week before and plan routes accordingly, meaning i would just put the addresses into google and check out the earth/map views. This place I'm thinking of was in the middle of nowhere, which is saying something considering that the entire state of Oklahoma is in the middle of nowhere.
When my ASL interpreter and I made the trip, we had to ramp our minivan over a nearly washed out bridge, bounce down a forest road, and choose which of three broken down trailers these people were using as shelter. Looking back, we really should have just called it before ramping the bridge.
Once there, we met the people and they explained (in ASL through my interpreter) that they had a tornado rip through their home that ended up sparking a fire somehow; that explanation never made it through translation.
Since then, they had decided to be more fire safety conscious - which I applaud - but their home had holes in the roof the size of people. One wall was just a tapestry of duct taped trash bags. I didn't feel right just installing fancy smoke alarms when they clearly needed much more help... but there wasn't anything I could do.
So I'm doing the only thing I can do, installing smoke alarms, explaining basic fire safety, teaching them to use their bed shaking devices (these folks were deaf.) Then I start to explain that they should exit the home without stopping to grab anything including pets, they stopped me and explained that their pet is very valuable.
I thought they meant emotionally, like the pet was seen as a member of the family. But no; they meant valuable as in it had a monetary value.
I'm not one to pry, so I took this at face value and reiterated the importance of leaving the home immediately if it is on fire, especially because it's a trailer home. They had a long, silent conversation with my interpreter during which she looked more and more concerned.
The occupants go into a room I hadn't yet entered and emerge with a f*cking bald eagle on a leash.
Go Granny Go
Not exactly weird but cool. Knocked on the door and didn't get a response. The door was unlocked so I let myself in to find a 90 yr old woman in her dressing gown head banging to Led Zeppelin.
I was on hurricane relief in the mountains of New York. We had to go and supply water to this guy whose house was deep in the woods. His property was surrounded by trees, and hanging from those trees were a bunch of black baby dolls from nooses. There was a wooden archway as you approached his house that said "Arbeit mach frei" which means "work sets you free."
That was on the entrance to Auschwitz.
Cats In CostumesGiphy
Years ago I drove a tow truck at nights putting myself through college. Got a call to go get this woman's car. I pull up and she's in the car and won't get out. I ask her ma'am to please get out so I can safely tow your vehicle without you in it.
She said "That's never going to happen."
I explain that it's an insurance violation for me to let you ride in your car. She refuses to get out. It's late so I said screw it..."Ma'am can you please move to the passenger seat so I can put your car in neutral and steer it up on the flatbed."
She complies. I get in the car and she says "I can't leave them alone in here."
"Who?" I turn around and there are, no joke, 30+ cats in the back of this old station wagon. Every single one of them is in some sort of Halloween costume. The car smelled worse than anything I've ever encountered in my life.
I guess this counts as the weirdest thing I've seen in a "home" since the crazy cat lady was living in her car.