Checkout Girl Has Checked Out

, , , , , , | Working | March 31, 2020

(I am 17. I got myself a part-time job, with a shiny new bank account and debit card to go with it, a few months ago. I am only working about four to six hours on a weekend and the pay is low, but as I’ve never had my own money before I fully embrace the opportunity to go shopping whenever I can, so my new bank account doesn’t have much in it! I want a new top and my mum, knowing I’ve pretty much spent my last week’s pay, lends me £20 to get something. I trot off into town early and find a top I like, but it is £5 over budget. No problem, I think; I’ve had people pay with card and cash in my shop before, so I’ll just do that. I go to the checkout. It’s not busy in the shop so there’s no queue, and the girl behind the till is about my age and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen her there before. She rings up the top and tells me the total, £25.)

Me: “Can I pay £20 cash and the rest card, please?”

(The checkout girl repeats the total.)

Me: “Yeah, I’d like to pay £20 in cash, and the rest with my card.”

(The checkout girl looks at me like I’m crazy. I wait patiently, holding the note and my card.)

Checkout Girl: “I don’t know how to do that.”

(I look at her expectantly, thinking she’ll go and get someone who does. She does nothing, still staring at me.)

Me: “Well, can you find someone who does?”

(The checkout girl spun around, huffed and tutted, and stomped away like it was the biggest inconvenience EVER. I stood there in disbelief. Finally, another member of staff appeared, took my money out of my hand, rang through the transaction, and got me to swipe my debit card, all without a single word to me. She then dropped a bag on top of my purchase, leaving me to put the — not even folded — top into the bag myself, and flounced off. I may have only been 17, but I loved my retail job and took great pride in my customer service so I found my treatment there somewhat shocking, and I have not shopped there since!)

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Some People Just Want To Watch The Dessert Burn

, , , , | Right | March 31, 2020

(In the restaurant where I work, there are only two tables that will sit a group larger than four. A large group approaches the host stand while I am literally in the process of cleaning the only available group table, so they wait, at max, five minutes for it to be clean. They are then promptly seated.

It is a fairly busy lunch so there is a bit of a wait for food, but nothing unreasonable. When I do quality checks and refills, everything seems fine until the end. While clearing the dishes:)

Me: “Any dessert or coffee today?”

Customer: “No.”

Me: “Okay, then, just the bill?”

Customer: “No.”

(I halfheartedly laugh, as this is a lame joke I’ve heard before. When I bring the bill, they crumple it up and throw it on the table, which I find odd and think that it’s a weird way to joke. I honestly have no idea they are upset; I’m usually very good at reading my customers and am sympathetic when they get slow or bad service. 

I leave to let them look over the bill and get the payment terminal. I notice at one end of the table someone has put down some money and the customer who crumpled up the bill took it. I figured they just decided to pay credit, instead. I return with the payment terminal and begin processing their payment when:)

Customer: “This is the worst service I have ever received!”

(I am completely caught off-guard as everything seemed fine and they didn’t complain once throughout the meal.)

Me: “I’m so sorry. Is there anything I can do to fix it?”

Customer: “We waited twenty minutes to be seated!”

(They waited five.)

Customer: “No one brought my son a highchair.”

(The kid was in a highchair when I first greeted the table, so obviously, someone did, and fairly quickly because we have to greet tables within two minutes of being sat.)

Customer: “We waited over an hour for our food!”

(They waited twenty to thirty minutes.)

Customer: “And you never once brought us refills!”

Me: “Actually, I did bring refills to your table.”

(She just ignored me every time I came to the table and asked.)

Me: “And I apologize about the wait times, but it has been a fairly busy lunch. Would you like to speak to my manager?”

Customer: “No! But we will never be dining here again!”

(And with that, she stormed off, of course leaving no tip. I then realized the money that had been left on the other side of the table was meant to be my tip from the sane people at the table who actually paid attention when I asked how everything was and if they wanted refills, and she had stolen it.

I was so mad. My manager could see and asked me what was wrong, so I explained the whole situation. It’s a good thing I did, because the customer called later and tried to complain about me.)

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So… Wait… You Want What Now?

, , , , | Working | March 31, 2020

(It is the middle of the recession and jobs are extra hard to find, and if you do find something it is probably temporary. A detachment agency I worked for before contacts me for a job. Let’s call it a lab technician level one, for sake of ease, while my education would put me at level three, and with experience at level four. I would be receiving a level one salary and job title, but hey, it’s a job. I would be allowed to look for something else, provided the agency got “dibs/first pick” if it was a position through agencies, and failing that, they would keep me on the payroll to find something else afterwards. Not a bad deal, so I adjust my mindset and go in for the interview. Instead of boasting about my experience, I emphasise that I am excited to work with a new product. Instead of saying that I am looking for a stable position, I say that I am curious to see what opportunities for growth might come in the long term, etc. Then, they wrap up with some questions about my personality, which is not uncommon.)

Manager: “How would you position yourself in a team?”

Me: “Initially, I tend to be a bit quieter, observe, and learn first, but over time I’ll become part of the group.”

Manager: “Are you headstrong or more go with the flow?”

Me: “I’m not one to start a fight; I know when to let things go, but I’m not going to lie or hide my opinion.”

Manager: “So, a lot of people in this team are a huge fan of [Sports Team]; would you feel comfortable saying you support the opponents?”

Me: “Well, I don’t care about sports at all.”

Manager: *laughs* “Okay, that’s a good, honest start.”

Me: “But if I favored the opponents, sure, I would say so.”

(I end up getting the job, and in this field, it’s very common that no matter what your education or experience is, you go through a phase of training with your hand being held — almost literally — so the company can check off and certify that you’ve been trained. Mentally, I roll my eyes, but I take it in stride. This period lasts pretty long in this job, though, and at some point, the training starts to scale down, but I hardly get any real work to keep me busy. What little work I do receive is very easy so I do it pretty fast, yet I get fairly limited access on the software systems, leaving others to “finish” my work for me. I start asking my trainer and manager for more work, but they brush it off or refer to the posted schedule. Said schedule uses all kinds of color coding and descriptions which are far from immediately obvious. In fact, when I ask about it, it seems everyone knows just enough to do their own job, but all the other information on the schedule is a foreign language to them. I end up talking to the planner and he only knows that when job A comes in it’s yellow, job B is blue, C is yellow, etc., but when I ask why A and C are yellow even though they are very different tasks, he basically shrugs. I go through several weeks and more phenomena like this, along with some odd bits. A coworker tries to sell a phone he found on the street, and when I point out to management that he is essentially selling stolen goods, the response is, “Yes, we will discuss with him that he shouldn’t do this at work,” and my motivation takes a hit, to say the least. I get called to the manager.)

Manager: “So, it’s clear that you aren’t really making improvements to the department.”

Me: “Do you mean I should work harder? I want to, but nobody will train me.”

Manager: “No, not like that. We hired you because your education and experience put you on a higher level than the rest of the team and we’re expecting you to take the team to a higher level.”

Me: “I thought I was hired as a level one technician, so that’s the job I’ve been doing. I’ll be happy to give you feedback on any shortcomings I see; I just didn’t want to be too critical as a newcomer.”

Manager: “Yes, you’re a level one technician. We specifically asked during your interview if you would speak openly and address things you would disagree with. So, when you see things not going well, we expect you’ll take the initiative and improve them, not just report them to management.”

Me: “So, I should develop myself into something like a team leader?”

Manager: “No, I’m the manager; you’re a technician just like the rest. But you should make things go better.”

Me: “O… kay… So, I should use my experience to see where you can reduce costs or make tests go faster?”

Manager: “Don’t think in terms of specific metrics. You’ve attended several team meetings now and heard the criticism we get from upper management. You also should have noticed that things aren’t going as well as they should.”

Me: “Sure, for one thing, it seems nobody fully understands the schedule.”

Manager: “Yeah, don’t mess with that; the planner takes care of the schedule.”

Me: “So, you don’t want me to train the rest of the team, nor will you give me any form of authority. You want me to make improvements, not to share critiques with you but to fix it on my own. I should not change the way the team is run and I shouldn’t be thinking of any measurable efficiency like costs, time, accuracy of results, etc.?”

Manager: “I’m glad you understand. Now get to it.”

(After a few weeks of mutual frustration, they kicked me out for failing to meet expectations. Initially, the agency was pretty pissed, but once they confirmed my story of the contradictory role, they became more sympathetic and admitted that there had been a big miscommunication on what kind of person the company was looking for. I ended up doing some headhunting for the agency until they found me a position that worked out a lot better.)

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A Shakespearean Roundup

| Right | March 31, 2020

Is this a roundup you see before you?  Some stories are written great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.

John Carpenter’s: Hamlet — Better than John Landis’: Animal Castle.

Caesar 2: The [Roman] Empire Strikes Back — Followed by Return of the Shrew.

Verily, A New Hope — The above being closer to reality than thought.

Not Donuts About Shakespeare — And Julius Caesar isn’t a play about salad.

Oh What Fools These Mortals Be — or, The Shakespeare Conspiracy.

Love Makes Fools Of Us All — Got it, got it, got it, got it… fumble.

Et Tu Brute Spoilers — It’s not all movie magic.

Shipping Has Been Around Since Shakespeare — Probably before that, but who’s to argue?

Love’s Labours Lost — Using the Bard as a dating filter.

It’s Going To Be An Interesting Knight — First, twelfth… Same thing, right?

What did you think of our roundup?  We hope it is as you like it… How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless reader!

Do you have your own Shakespeare-related tale?  Tell us below, or submit it here.  It is up to you to decide if brevity is the soul of wit.

To Customers, Competence = Magic

, , , | Right | March 31, 2020

(This happens at least once a week when I walk the floor at the casino where I work. Guests will flag me down and then:)

Guest: “My ticket/card/cash won’t work in this machine. Fix it!”

(I take the item from the guest and insert it into the machine. It works perfectly, and the guest stares at me.)

Me: *waves* “Magic hands. Have a great day!”

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