Breaking Their Pettiness

| Glasgow, Scotland, UK | Working | April 29, 2017

(When working a 8, 9, or 10 hour shift from 8 am (ending at 4, 5, or 6 pm respectively) we get three breaks: 15 minutes for breakfast, an hour for lunch, and 15 minutes for tea. I had mistakenly been told, when hired two years ago, that breakfast was 30 minutes, and nobody had ever bothered to tell me otherwise. I cover Coworker #1’s break — who, incidentally, took somewhere between 26 and 30 minutes, maybe more, for her break — and then go for my own. Just as I am about to go back to work, Coworker #2 storms in and demands to know how long I thought I got for a break.)

Me: “Half an hour.”

Coworker #2: *scoffs* “You get fifteen minutes.”

(She then proceeds to begin her break, passive-aggressively muttering about me even as I try to explain my error, and telling me to “actually do some work” and “go because now no one’s at the counter.” I go back to work feeling p****d, as she had left rubbish lying around, yet had the gall to tell ME to ‘actually do some work,’ when I had been running around like a blue-a***d fly all morning and she just put out a few boxes of merchandise. She also clearly has no intention of telling off Coworker #1 for her extended break, and then she sends one of the managers after me. The manager accepts that I had been misinformed and never had the issue rectified, and is annoyed to hear about Coworker #1 taking a longer break, which she does frequently despite multiple managers telling her not to. Coworker #2 comes back 15 minutes later, and I ignore her — petty, but given that she felt it was necessary to berate me in front of other coworkers in the canteen, I feel somewhat justified. A couple of hours later, she goes to let Coworker #1 have her break. She comes back exactly 1 hour and 15 minutes later. I’m now more than p****d off. I take an hour, timing it so as to not overstep the hour, and let Coworker #2 off for her lunch. She also comes back exactly 1 hour and 15 minutes later. There are now 30 minutes until the end of her shift.)

Coworker #2: “Do you want to go up for your tea?”

Me: “No. I figured since I made a mistake this morning and accidentally took an extra 15, I’ll skip this break.”

(The look on Coworker #2’s face was priceless: she realised in that instant that not only had she petulantly tried to get back at me by taking — and having Coworker #1 take — a longer lunch and have it blow up in her face, but now could not go and let her friend, Coworker #1, away because then I’d be due a break. Coworker #1 then had to work from 1:25 to 6:00 pm without a break. After all, I timed them.)

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