A Conversation Stopper

, | Working | January 19, 2016

(I work with a lot of young students aged 16-18. One shift I receive a few complaints from customers with young children, complaining that they and their children can hear my colleagues’ inappropriate conversations about their weekend partying — including stories about sex and drugs. I call a meeting with my colleagues to talk to them about this.)

Me: “Now, you know I don’t have a problem with you guys talking a bit on shift so long as you keep working. But you shouldn’t have personal conversations within earshot of customers.”

Colleague #1: “Why not? If we’re allowed to talk then we’re gonna talk!”

Me: “Like I said, I have no problem with you talking while you work. I know you’re friends outside of work. It’s WHAT you’re talking about that’s the issue.”

Colleague #2: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Well, we’ve had some complaints about your conversations. Parents have complained that they can hear you talking about sex and drugs and how ‘wasted’ and ‘f***ed up’ you were. That’s not an appropriate conversation to have at work — especially in a family restaurant!”

Colleague #1: “Well, it’s their fault!”

Me: “What?”

Colleague #1: “Why are they listening to our private conversations?! They should mind their own business!”

Colleague #2: “Yeah! It’s rude! It’s illegal, innit?”

Me: “You are loudly talking, and swearing, about having sex and doing drugs, whilst serving our customers and their small children. That’s completely unacceptable!”

Colleague #1: “Well, they shouldn’t be listening to our conversations!”

Me: “…Wow.”

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