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Doing A Real Job On Doing A Real Job

| NB, Canada | Working | October 3, 2013

(I have just gotten off of a split shift, during my second seven-day work week. My children have joined me for the last part of my second shift to help me out and we are heading home. It’s just after 8:30 pm, and I’ve been at it since 6 am. We go to the pharmacy next to my store to buy some ibuprofen, and I go up to the pharmacy desk to pay since the main cash has a huge lineup of people buying toilet paper and snack foods. After waiting about two minutes the pharmacy technician, who’s been looking at me and sighing deeply, finally comes to serve me.)

Employee: “Are you here to pick up a prescription?”

Me: “No, I’d just like to pay for these.”

Employee: *as she’s scanning my pills* “Okay, well this cash is only for prescription medication purchases. You should really have gone to the main cash.”

(I’ve often seen customers paying for everything from band aids to makeup at this cash without buying prescriptions, as long as they had some sort of medication with them from the pharmacy area where I picked up my pills.)

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry about that. I just assumed that you pay for medicine at the pharmacy counter. I’ll keep that in mind for next time.”

Employee: “Yeah, well we’re really busy you know, and this takes me away from doing all my work. Now it’s going to take me even longer to finish up and get out of here tonight.”

Me: “Again, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize. I work in retail myself, I know how frustrating it is when you’re busy and you have to stop to help a customer or coworker. It can be—”

Employee: “And you know, just because it doesn’t look like we’re doing anything, it doesn’t mean we’re not busy. We have a lot to do here and this is really annoying! You know, people are just leaving us with their prescriptions all the time.”

Me: “Well, that is your job but still I can understand—”

Employee: “When customers like you waste our time like this it’s really annoying. It’s going to take us even longer to finish up now.”

(The pharmacist finally hands me my change. My children are clinging to me nervously and the customers around me are all shuffling around awkwardly, trying not to look our way. I’ve had enough.)

Me: “Look, I’ve literally been working since 6am. I worked seven days in the last week, I have one day off this week, and I’ll be working from home, and then I work another seven days. I am exhausted, and I regularly have to stop what I’m doing to help my customers, coworkers and employees even when they really could have managed without me. I regularly have to work late or start early due to these interruptions, and my job is 90% physical work on the floor doing heavy lifting and going up and down ladders in a dusty stockroom. You are preaching to the choir here lady. And I’ll tell you, I have never spoken to a customer the way you just spoke to me, or made them feel guilty about coming in to shop and making me do my JOB! Thank you and good night.”

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Must Have Dismissed Thinking It Through

| Toronto, ON, Canada | Working | October 3, 2013

(I work for a small call center and my boss has been trying to get rid of me for months. She is trying everything in the book to fire me without having to pay severance. I have just come in after a smoke break and she orders me into her office.)

Boss: “Pack your bags; you are fired.”

Me: “What? Why?”

Boss: “You threatened my manager with your fist, and now she is afraid of you. She has asked me to fire you, so leave.”

Me: “When did I do these things you are accusing me of?”

Boss: “Five minutes ago!”

Me: “I was outside having a break!”

Boss: “No, I saw the whole thing. Now leave, or I will call the police!”

(I stand up and walk to the door and call the manager into the boss’ office.)

Me: *to the manager* “Did I threaten you just now?”

Manager: “Huh? Of course not!”

Me: “Did I wave my fist at you? Are you scared, and so you want me gone?”

Manager: “Uh no? That’s ridiculous!”

(I turn back to the boss who is red in the face.)

Me: “Do you know what wrongful dismissal means?”

Boss: “Get back to work.”

(I am still there. The boss has given up, and does not even talk to me anymore—which is fine by me!)

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Let’s Hope This Negative Becomes A Positive

| NY, USA | Working | October 3, 2013

(My sister and her husband are having trouble conceiving. It’s been four long and emotional years for all of us. She forgot to buy pregnancy tests last time she was out, so I offer to get some on my way over to her house. I hand over my items to the cashier.)

Cashier: *picking up pregnancy test with a gleeful smile* “Oooh! Is this a good thing or a bad thing?”

Me: “…what?”

Cashier: “Are you hoping you are or hoping you aren’t?”

Me: “That is a pretty personal question.”

Cashier: “Yeah, but I’m stuck here all day with nothing to do. So I’m thinking you cheated on your boyfriend and hope you aren’t carrying some random guy’s kid!” *huge grin* “Am I right?”

Me: “They’re not for me, but that’s really none of your business.”

Cashier: *offended and hostile* “Y’know, it’s people like YOU who make the world a terrible place! Try being friendly instead of such a b****!”

Me: “Just finish ringing me up, please.”

Cashier: “I HOPE YOUR B****** KID HAS A.D.D.!”

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| CA, USA | Working | October 3, 2013

(I’m at one of my favorite pubs with my sister and a friend after an uneventful day of work at a new job. I get a call from the person who hired me, and she informs me that I am being let go after only two weeks because I was ‘not a good fit.’ She refuses to give me any more information, and I hang up in shock. My sister and friend try to comfort me in my sadness and anger just as one of our favorite servers stops by.)

Server: “Hey! Is everything okay?”

Me: “No. I was just let go from my job for no reason.”

Server: “What?! That’s awful!”

Friend: “I think it’s discriminatory because she’s gay. If she had made a mistake, they would have at least warned her.”

Server: “Could be that. I swear, there was one time I was fired from a job because I was brunette and everyone else was blonde. Can I buy you another drink, hon?”

Me: “That’s sweet, but no, thank you. I don’t think it’ll make me feel any better.”

(I barely eat my dinner because I feel so rotten. Suddenly, the server comes back and sets down a fudge brownie with ice cream on top.)

Server: “Here, this is for you, on the house.”

Me: “Oh, no! Thank you, but I’ve lost my appetite!”

Server: “That’s okay. That’s why I brought three spoons!”

(I manage to nibble at some of the free dessert as the server continues to comfort me. Her kindness is so appreciated that the next day, I drop off a thank you card with a modest gift. If the server ends up reading this, I want to say: Thank you for your compassion during one of the most difficult and confusing nights of my life!)

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| Working | October 3, 2013


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