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The Art Of Charming Your Coworkers

, , , , , , | Working | May 11, 2021

On my way into work, I stop at reception to show a friend a drawing I did over the weekend that is saved on my phone.

Receptionist: “Wow, that’s really good. You missed your calling. You should be an artist.”

Me: “I— I am. That’s literally my job here.”

She blushed so quickly I was worried she was going to pass out, but then we both laughed.

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An Often-Told Pony Tale

, , , , | Right | May 11, 2021

I’m standing in an aisle in a supermarket trying to find a particular cleaning product. I’m wearing my work uniform — a blue paint-splattered workman’s shirt with a hot pink logo and paint-splattered blue jeans. Staff wears red polo shirts, black pants, and yellow hi-vis vests.

Elderly Man: “Excuse me, do you know where I can find magazines?”

Me: “I’m sorry, I don’t work here. There’s a lady behind you who does; she might be able to help.”

Elderly Man: “Oh, thank you! Ma’am, can you tell me where the magazines are?”

To my horror, I realise the tall person with the long ponytail standing behind the elderly man is actually a young man.

Young Man: “Aisle six, at the end.”

Me: “I am so, so sorry. I just saw your ponytail and assumed!”

Young Man: “That’s fine; it happens.”

Elderly Man: “I found my magazines!”

He walked away holding a can of beans and a birthday card.

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Gordon Was Their Glue

, , , | Working | May 11, 2021

Gordon was a janitor, odd-job man, and general get-things-done man at a care facility for vulnerable adults and the elderly. He was happy, friendly, cheerful, and competent, kept the infrastructure running well, and kept the place spick and span. Basically, he was really good at his job and went above and beyond as the necessity presented itself.

Come the day when the place was computerised. The requirement was now that he book all his activities on a computerised timesheet, for which he had to have a computer of his own or a mobile phone. Gordon did not have a computer and didn’t have the most up-to-date phone; all he needed to do was to take phone calls, which he managed perfectly well with his old model.

This latest requirement gave him a lot of trouble. He managed to get around it by being allowed to use one of the computers in the office, which was not part of his domain, and he felt socially awkward in there. Not only was it a complicated, fiddly, and awkwardly buggy piece of software — it used to crash when you didn’t enter the operations in the correct order — but Gordon did not take easily to learning how to use a computer. Equally unfortunately, there was nobody in the facility who was skilled in training a technological newcomer, and he was getting shouted at plenty, so of course, he found himself shouting back.

It didn’t end well. He was given an ultimatum: shape up or ship out. He was close to retirement anyway, so he took that early retirement and shipped out before the facility had even begun to think about getting his replacement trained up. They were forced to rely completely on the agency staff who had been used on a temporary basis on the occasions when Gordon was on leave. While competent enough at general janitorial duties, such temporary staff were nowhere near familiar enough with the facility to know how to keep it running properly, and things started progressively breaking down and not getting properly repaired, and of course, it turned out that Gordon had contacts in the trade where he would call specific people to get various repairs done. Without Gordon’s happy smiling presence, coupled with the increasingly shabby and ill-maintained infrastructure, morale plummeted, and staff started to drift away. Hence, they started failing inspections, and in due course, the facility closed. I’m not sure what happened to the residents; I believe they were shunted off to other establishments.

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Don’t You Speak Asian?, Part 4

, , , , , | Right | May 11, 2021

I’m a pharmacy tech who works in a retail setting with lots of non-English-speaking customers. Most of the techs I work with can speak more than two languages. I only speak English. I can understand Chinese but can’t speak or read it, but I know how it looks compared with Japanese or Korean. One day, a customer comes up to me with a list written in Chinese and starts communicating with me. I pull out my phone to translate to her that I don’t know how to help her since I don’t know what exactly she is looking for. She walks away.

Five minutes later, she comes back with one of the assistant managers.

Assistant Manager: “[My Name], do you understand Asian handwriting?”

She shows me the list again.

Me: “Asian handwriting?”

Assistant Manager: “Yes, you know handwriting that comes from Asian?”

Me: “No, I don’t understand Asian handwriting!”

They both walked away and I was left standing there wondering what had just happened.

Don’t You Speak Asian?, Part 3
Don’t You Speak Asian?, Part 2
Don’t You Speak Asian?

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“Party” and “DMV” Are Complete Opposites

, , , , | Working | May 11, 2021

I’m almost eighteen. I need a replacement ID, so I go to the DMV. My dad comes with me since I’m still a minor.

Employee: “I see you’ll be eighteen soon. Since we’re getting you a new ID today, we can also register you to vote. Interested?”

Me: “Really? Yes, that would be great!” 

The employee smiles broadly.

Employee: “Awesome! It’s great to see a young person like you excited about voting. I just need to confirm some information first.”

He confirms my personal information and gets to the last question.

Employee: “Political party affiliation?”

My extended family is split when it comes to political views. As a result, I’ve done a lot of research on both parties and have picked the one that fits my personal beliefs the best.

Me: “[Party].”

The employee’s face falls.

Employee: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Yes.”

Employee: “You know, you can also pick Independent.”

Me: “Noted. [Party], please.”

Employee: *To my dad* “Sir, your daughter is registering as a [Party].”

Me: “Seriously?!”

My dad, who has been quietly standing off to the side, gives the employee a confused look.

Dad: “I know. She’s old enough to have her own views.”

Employee: “But—”

Me: “My views are my business. Just register me.”

Employee: “[Party] it is. You can always change it later, dear.”

Me: “Do you hassle everyone like this or just people who select [Party]?”

Employee: “Oh, look at that. You’re all set!”

I collect my new ID and all assorted documents. My dad can’t resist one final parting shot, just loud enough for the employee to hear.

Dad: “Finally, another [Party] in the family! I’m so proud.”

The employee stared at us in horror as we exited. Somehow, I was registered properly and voted in the next election with no issues.

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