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A Glitch In Time

| Working | January 21, 2013

(One day, the boss calls me into her office for a meeting. Note: this takes place in late April.)

Boss: “Yes, I’d like to figure out who all’s taking what for vacation days this year so we don’t run into any conflicts.”

Me: “Sounds good to me!”

(I rattle off a few dates that I’m thinking about taking for my summer vacation.)

Boss: “Oh, I’m sorry. You can’t have any time off in the summer. We get so busy broadcasting from all the summer events that we need all hands on deck.”

Me: “Oh… okay. I prefer autumn, anyway.”

Boss: “Nope. It’s municipal elections this year, and we need all available personnel to cover the elections.”

Me: “But the election is just the last two weeks in September. Surely, a week at the start of September, or a week off in October—”

Boss: “NO! We need EVERYONE around for the ENTIRE autumn to cover the election!”

Me: “Um, okay. Well, then, looks like I’ll be taking a super-long Christmas vacation.”

Boss: “I’d rather you not. I prefer winter, and I always take all my vacation time in the winter.”

Me: “Isn’t that the purpose of this meeting, to get this sorted out and make sure there are no conflicts? Tell me what days you’re taking off in the winter, and I can work around you.”

Boss: “Well, I’m not going to know for sure what days I’m going to want until November or so, so for the purposes of planning, let’s say I’m taking the entire winter off.”

Me: “So, let me get this straight: spring is done, and now you’re sitting here telling me I can’t take any time off in summer, fall, or winter?”

Boss: “Looks that way.”

Me: “Well, then… looks like I’m not taking a vacation this year.”

(For the next two weeks, my boss boasted to her fellow department heads about my strong work ethic and how I’d resolved not to take a vacation in this very busy year. And the finale? At the end of the year, my boss’s boss and HR ordered me to take all of December off, because I had so much unused vacation time!)

This story is part of the Christmas In The Workplace roundup! This is the last story in the roundup, but we have plenty of others you might enjoy!

14 Times Employees Had To Fight For Their Lunch Break


Read the next Christmas In The Workplace roundup story!

Read the Christmas In The Workplace roundup!

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Love Is A Many Friendered Thing

| Working | May 11, 2013

(It’s Valentine’s Day and I’m having lunch with my best friend who hasn’t arrived yet. I’m female, and so is she. I get seated and the waiter hands me a menu.)

Waiter: “Hello, welcome. I see that you’re waiting alone. Might you be waiting for someone special? Like, a date?”

Me: “No, not a date. My best friend is coming.”

Waiter: “You can’t fool me, one only dresses that skimpy for a date!”

(The waiter gestures to my clothing and winks. I’m completely confused, because I have jeans and a heavy sweater on, which shows no skin at all.)

Me: “You call this skimpy?”

Waiter: “Yep, I sure do! Anyway, can I get you something to drink while you wait for your date?”

Me: “It’s not a date. And I’ll have some ginger ale.”

(He goes and I’m a little annoyed by his presumptuous manner, but I brush it off thinking he’s just weird. Finally my best friend arrives and gets seated.)

Best Friend: “Hey! Sorry I’m late. Got stuck in traffic.”

Me: “No problem.” *lowers voice* “Actually this waiter of ours is so weird, that he thinks—”

Waiter: “A-hem! I see your date has finally arrived!”

Me: “For the last time she is not my date! She is my best friend!”

Best Friend: “Hi!”

Waiter: “Ooh! Lesbians!” *winks* “Don’t worry, we are VERY LGBT friendly here!” *wanders away with a skip in his step*

Me: *facepalm*

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Tip Top Service

, | Right | November 28, 2013

(Our card readers are set up to offer an option to add a tip to the total. This isn’t typical for card readers in our location, and it gives some customers a lot of problems, especially if they need reading glasses or don’t look at the screen.)

Me: “Okay, sir, I just need to you to follow the instructions on the card reader now while it asks a few questions. The green button is yes, and the yellow button is no.”

Customer: “Fine, fine, okay.”

Me: “So, first it just asks if that’s the correct total, then it’ll give an option to add a tip if you’d like. Just press the yellow button if you’d prefer to skip it.”

(I don’t usually spell it out quite this much, but I have the feeling that this man isn’t really listening.)

Customer: “Yeah, fine, fine.”

(The customer presses the buttons worryingly fast, then swears.)

Customer: “Hey, why is it asking for my PIN again? I just entered that! Stupid machine.”

Me: “Oh dear, I’m sorry but I think you may have entered your PIN as a tip. I’d better cancel the transaction to make sure it—”

Customer: “No, no, it’s fine. I didn’t put in a tip.”

Me: “Are you sure you definitely pressed ‘no’? The only way it’d ask for your PIN again is if the first time was the tip prompt, not the PIN prompt. It’s easily done. It’s happened before—”

Customer: “Are you calling me stupid? Are you trying to suggest I can’t follow simple instructions? I’m a high-level manager at [Department Store Chain]. Do you think I can’t work a simple machine?”

Me: “Really sir, I think it would be safer if I redo the transaction just in case.”

(The customer sighs theatrically.)

Customer: “Fine, then, just to prove to you that I’m not a moron.”

(I cancel the transaction and the receipts print out. I see a tip had been added, and I only have to glance at the first digit to see that it could not have been intentional. I quickly hand the receipt over to protect the customer’s PIN privacy, without looking at the full number.)

Me: “Here’s the cancellation receipts, sir, and I’m giving you both copies so that you can keep your PIN private.”

(The customer takes the receipts and his eyes go wide. He seems to swell up, and for a moment I think he’s going to start screaming at me, before he suddenly deflates.)

Customer: “Oh god, I’m so sorry. Thank you, you just saved me from a serious talking-to by accounts.”

Me: “I’m sure your credit card company wouldn’t have authorised it anyway, sir, so it would’ve been fine. As I said, don’t worry. It’s happened before.”

Customer: “No, you don’t understand. This company card has a £15,000 credit limit.”

(I’m still not sure if the credit card would have authorised that size of transaction, but we still joke about the ‘1000 per cent tip.’ Just for comparison, that first digit was a 6…)

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If You Behave Like Children…

| Right | February 27, 2014

(I have just finished a long and difficult transaction. I have been calmly trying to guide the customer through the transaction, but the customer has become increasingly frustrated and angry. The angry customer has just had a temper tantrum and stomped off, and I start to help the next customer.)

Next Customer: “Wow, some people get so angry about really little things. How did you stay so calm all that time?”

Me: “I have kids.”

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One Is In Sickness, The Other Is in Health

| Right | March 25, 2014

(I am returning to a patient after we have received a call from his worried wife.)

Me: “Okay. So, we got your wife on the phone—”

Patient: “Which one?”

Me: “Which one what?”

Patient: “Which wife. I have two at the moment. She didn’t say her name?”

Me: “… No. She just said she was your wife.”

Patient: “D***.”

Me: “…”

Me: “Well, at least one of your wives is worried about you, sir.”

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