What not to do when working for a debt collector

"I was sent into a tailspin yesterday when an email from a woman who works at a debt collection outfit arrived, asking me to contact her on the number provided," writes a reader. "With some trepidation (I am not a complete stranger to such things) I emailed back, asking what it was about. 'Just reading an advert. What's your phone number? I can call you,' she replied. Huh? Keen to get my number eh? I was trying to think if I had any bad debts from the past decade, any unpaid parking tickets or reneged on gym memberships. No. Clean as a whistle these days. I wrote back asking for more details. Silence. By the next day it was driving me crazy, so using a caller ID blocking service I rang her back. No reply. Again. No reply. Finally got through and was told she was trying to place an ad but got the wrong department. Really? Thanks for letting me know, lady! I was really bricking it. Maybe don't use your company email address next time."

Tourists in another world

A reader writes: "Maura and Mariela, friends of ours who came here from Italy for a holiday using the holiday home exchange system were loving New Zealand. They got houses and cars in Clevedon, Tauranga, Masterton and Queenstown. And yesterday they headed to Stewart Island for 10 days. The owner of the house, who lives in Timaru, told them his 4WD grey Toyota would be at the ferry terminal with the keys inside, waiting for them. They arrived and took the truck. But something must have been lost in translation because not long after they arrived a neighbour and a policeman knocked at their door to inform them that they had taken the wrong car!"


Horse cruelty rewarded

A reader went to the Kaikohe A&P show this year. "It is well worth the visit and great entertainment right down to the 'best egg' and 'best sand saucer flower arrangement', shearing and best-dressed lambs. A real gem and great fun ... until we visited the miniature horse section. When the animals entered the ring, one was misbehaving, probably because of the woman dressed completely in black and wearing a cowboy hat who was yanking on its head to keep it up. When it wouldn't stand still, she punched it in the face. She got second prize."

Sue saw this at The Warehouse the other day. "I think brains were deactivated too, when creating this T-shirt," she quips.

Maps: How the world gets drunk. "From happy hours to boozy brunches, people the world over like to unwind over a drink (or three). But the alcoholic beverage of choice that people drink varies by country. Let's review some of the data about how people get drunk around the world."

Grub: Dimly Lit Meals For One subvert the cooking show culture beautifully with terrible home cooking and black humour. Check out 'The emergent sausage' and the Courgette Omelette of Regret and Delicious Ham Water.

Quick clip: Hungry skier...

Video: This lawyer probably should've tried another take...

Got a Sideswipe? Send your pictures, links and anecdotes to Ana at ana.samways@nzherald.co.nz