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Spider Dress, Spider Dress, Causing Customers Great Distress

, , , , , | Working | June 11, 2021

My friend and I like going to thrift stores and just looking around, even if we’re not going to buy anything. One day, we notice a very nice wedding dress and I decide to try it on. I pick it up and start walking with it to the changing rooms. I happen to look into the dress and see a large spider. My idea of a large spider is about two inches long, and I have severe arachnophobia. I freak out.

The attendant comes over and pulls the spider out.

Attendant: “It’s just a spider, dear.”

It may be just a spider, but it is in a dress that I was about to try on. No one wants to wear a spider dress.

You Got Grass Growing On Your Roof?

, , , , | Romantic | June 4, 2021

We live under the flight path of a nearby small airport. Once in a while, there is an unusual engine noise and we see a vintage plane of one type or another.

On Friday, it was very cloudy. I heard a plane flying quite low. I commented on that to my husband. He just looked at me.

Husband: “That’s a lawnmower.”

Dogs Bring EVERYONE Together

, , , , , , , , | Working | June 1, 2021

I’m a bubbly, gregarious woman who’s been with the company for over four years. Last year, an older man came and joined our team. He’s a lone wolf who works away quietly in his office, only joining us to eat his lunch silently while the rest of us chat. He has a service dog that he keeps in his office and, one rough day, I ask him if I can pet his dog for comfort. He invites me in and I sit on the floor for his Schnauzer to come console me. This starts to become a semi-regular occurrence where I go in to visit his dog right before home time.

At first, we don’t talk past the pleasantries, but after a few weeks, I begin talking to him. It is one-sided talk about stock market issues, which I was just dipping my toes into, or a huge hack that has just happened. A few weeks after that, he begins to respond and my soliloquies become a pleasant back and forth where I learn that he has a full and interesting life. We begin sitting together at lunch and I start dragging him into the group’s conversations.

Months later, as I sit with his dog smushed bodily against me, he quietly thanks me for inviting me into the group.

Me: “What? No. Of course. Everyone thinks you’re great.”

He lowers his head as he confesses to me that he was let go from his last two jobs because of harassment claims from women.

Coworker: “I’m on the spectrum, so I have a really hard time interacting with people. I can’t read people so I can’t really tell if I’m being inappropriate or something. I figured it would just be best to stay quiet here so I wouldn’t upset anyone.”

Me: “Man, that’s horrible. My dad’s on the spectrum so I guess you kind of remind me of him. Everyone here likes you, and listen, I’ll let you know if I see you’re making anyone uncomfortable, okay?”

He smiled and nodded as I extricated myself from under his adoring dog so we could all go home.

He’s doing great and feeling safe in our group. I think it helps that I grew up with an autistic father. I subconsciously keep him focused on a topic, but not bogged down. I also make sure he’s heard but doesn’t overwhelm the discussion. Other coworkers have started doing the same thing.

Jobs Are For Working. Who Knew?

, , , , , | Working | May 31, 2021

I work in the parts department of a [Brand #1] car dealership. We have a small crew with only three employees, plus a manager. We recently had one of our coworkers quit to move on to new opportunities, and as you do, our manager hired a new employee. We hired a guy who previously worked at a [Brand #2] car dealership. He seems a little shy and quiet when he shows up, but I think nothing of it. I’d be more uneasy if he was loud, boisterous, and buddy-buddy on the first day.

We get to training, and we ask the usual first-day questions. All his answers are short and curt. No follow-up. No back and forth. No questions. Quiet guy, still all good in my brain.

Being the most senior employee, training falls in my realm of responsibilities. I start training him. I know I can be a bit fast in explaining things, and there are a lot of acronyms and odd three-letter commands to use our software. Sometimes I feel like Robin Williams bellowing out acronyms like in that one scene in “Good Morning Vietnam”. I make sure to stop myself regularly to ask, “Am I going too fast?”, “Does this make sense?”, “Any questions?” Again, his answers are short and curt, and he seems to be following along.

After coming back from lunch, we hop back to it. A parts request comes through the computer: something simple, like an oil change. Even on day one, it’s pretty easy stuff, and he said he’s used our software before.

New Hire:  “What do I do again?”  

I slowly realize he’s not retained much from the morning.

Me: “Click on [Software].”

He clicks on the wrong tab.

New Hire: “This one?”

Me: “No, [software]”

He clicks on the web browser.

New Hire: “This one?”

Me: “No, [Software]. The green one.”

He clicks on a red tab.

New Hire: “This one?”

My optimist brain thinks, “Okay, he could be colourblind maybe. My bad.” So I point.

Me: “This one.”

New Hire: “Okay.” *Clicks* “What do I do again?” 

Conversations like this happen again and again all afternoon, with both me and my other veteran coworker. I do my best to keep my patience, to stay positive, and overall, to be courteous. I do not just show him how to do it; I make him do it — on the job training. Alas, there’s not much improvement by day’s end.

I’m a bit torn. The pessimist in my brain says, “Not the best hire we’ve had in a while.” The optimist asks, “Could just be day-one jitters. Were you a rockstar on day one?” No, I was not, but I was better than that. Tomorrow, we shall train anew. New day, new opportunities!

I have the early shift, starting at 7:30 am, my veteran coworker starts at 8:00, and the new hire is due to start at 8:30. But 9:00 am rolls around and no new hire. Car troubles? Sick? Slept in? Happens to the best of us, even on your second day. Hope he’s okay. Thanks, optimist brain.

Then, my manager strolls on by.

Manager: “What happened with the new guy yesterday?”

Me: “What?” 

Coworker: “Uhh, [My Name] trained him?”  

Manager: “Well, he just called and said he quit.”

Me: “Wait! What? Why?”

Manager: “That’s why I’m here. He called in and said he wasn’t coming back in. I asked him why he wasn’t coming back, and his answer was just, ‘Ask your employees,’ and he hung up. What did you guys do?”

Me: “I made him work?”

My manager just shrugged and gave us a look that said, “Not your problem, his. We’re good.” [New Hire] still comes up in conversation from time to time, and to this day, we are still trying to figure out what we did to offend him so much. Did he expect his first day to be a lazy orientation? Fill out paperwork, go play on the swings, watch some TV, nap, and then go home early? Did he really not expect to work on his first day?

The Warranty Is Only A Little Expired

, , , , , | Right | May 16, 2021

Back in the early 2000s, I worked for a computer company as Level 2 support. Level 1 support would answer the calls and if they were stumped or had a difficult customer they would get a Level 2, to come and help them. As I was making my way around the office, one of the Level 1 support workers stopped me and asked for help.

Level 1: “[My Name], can you help me, please?”

Me: “Sure, what seems to be the problem?”

Level 1: “The customer is upset because I won’t warranty her computer. Her warranty expired over a year ago.”

Me: “What is the problem with her computer?”

Level 1: “Her CD-ROM isn’t working.”

Me: “Okay, I’ll take over the call from here.”

I looked through her information and verified that her warranty had indeed expired. I also saw that she was calling from a business.

Me: “Hello, ma’am, my name is [My Name]. How are you doing today?”

Customer: “Not so great; the other guy won’t help me out with my problem.”

Me: “[Level 1] was telling me that you are having some issues with your CD-ROM. What is it that he won’t do for you?”

Customer: “He won’t replace the CD-ROM for me. Mine doesn’t work, and I need a new one.”

Me: “Your warranty expired over a year ago so, unfortunately, we cannot send one out for you, but I can put you through to the sales department and they can set you up with a new CD-ROM.”

Customer: “That shouldn’t matter. I need it replaced. It’s not my fault it’s not working.”

Me: “I understand that, ma’am. But without a current warranty in place, we are unable to send out a new CD-ROM. I’d be happy to try some further troubleshooting with you if you are okay with that.”

Customer: “No, I don’t want to do any more troubleshooting. Just send me a new CD-ROM.”

Me: “Without a warranty, we can’t do that.”

Customer: “That’s stupid! Who cares about the warranty? Your product broke and you have to fix it.”

Me: “Ma’am, if you took your vehicle into the dealership and the warranty was expired, would you expect them to fix your vehicle for free?”

Customer: “No, of course, not. But this isn’t the same thing.”

Me: “This is the same situation, just with a different product.”

Customer: “But my warranty is only a little expired. So, you should honor my warranty.”

Me: “If your warranty was only expired by a month or so, I would send you a new CD-ROM, but yours is expired by over a year. I see that you are calling from your business. Is that correct?”

Customer: *Now getting a little exasperated* “Yeah.”

Me: “Do you offer warranties on your products?”

Customer: “Of course.”

Me: “If I came into your store and bought a product and then came back to get it fixed or replaced due to an issue, but the warranty had expired a year ago, would you honor that warranty?”

Customer: *Quite annoyed* “No, of course, I wouldn’t.”

Me: *Frustrated* “Then if you agree that a vehicle with an expired warranty shouldn’t be repaired for free, and you wouldn’t honor an expired warranty for your store’s products, why then should [Computer Company] honor an expired warranty for you? It doesn’t make any sense that we should honor an expired warranty.”

Customer: “Listen to me. You have to give me a new CD-ROM.”

Me: “No. No, I don’t need to give you a new CD-ROM.”

Customer: “If you don’t give me a new CD-ROM, I will be contacting my lawyers.”

We had been trained that if anyone ever mentioned anything about speaking to lawyers, we were to give them another number to call and let them know that we would be ending the call. Then, we were to tell our senior management.

Me: “Ma’am, here is another number to escalate this matter further. Due to you informing me that you are going to call your lawyers, I can no longer help you, and I will have to end this call.”

I then went to my senior management and told them about the call. They had no issues with it and said that the Level 1 support and I did the right thing. I went into the customer’s file about a month later to check and see if anything else had happened after our call. From other notes on her file, I saw that she had called in a few more times and each call was escalated to a Level 2 support, and each call except for one was ended due to her saying she would call her lawyers. The last note call was to the [Computer Company] sales department, where she ended up buying a new CD-ROM.