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Man, This Really Pops My Corn

, , , , , | Working | April 15, 2022

I have a coworker who simultaneously plays the part of a self-declared germaphobe and the office “lunch thief”. And by lunch, I mean opened and unopened packages of personal snacks that are often on or in desks that are not her own.

We are in a global health crisis when I find chocolate missing from my desk. Thoroughly disgusted that someone who was JUST bragging about how careful she is being stole a half-eaten chocolate bar, I decide to merely deep clean my desk and let it go. I have no real proof of it anyway.

Then, my bags of popcorn start going missing, so I hide them in a coworker’s office. They end up going missing from there, too. This time, I have proof.

She makes the fatal mistake of bragging to her pet-of-the-week that she is so dedicated to the job that all she had for lunch is a big bag of popcorn! So, I copy both her and our boss on an email innocently asking if she saw my popcorn as it had walked off from under my desk. She eventually cops to it after some light banter between our boss and me about who would steal popcorn, and I lightly chide her by telling her, “If it isn’t in the communal space, it is not for the community.”

I think this is the end of it as my food finally stops going missing! 

But wait… there’s more.

I have just restocked the entire office with a bunch of sweet snacks and plan to get more healthy options but am hesitant due to worrying about how they will be received. My boss is on the same page.

Boss: “I love all the sweets, but do we have any healthy options?”

Me: “I was thinking about that. Apples and oranges would be good. Same for carrots. They will all last for a couple of weeks just fine. Right now, all we really have is pita chips and hummus.”

Boss: “Isn’t the hummus yours?”

Me: *Confused* “I brought it to share.”

Boss: “But you scolded her for taking your food earlier.”

I mistakenly think he means my “work-wife,” who I teasingly complained ate said pita chips and hummus off my plate the day before.

Me: “Oh. That is just because she didn’t respect the pita to hummus ratio. [Work Wife] knows she is allowed to eat my food without asking.”

Boss: *Hinting* “I remember an email exchange about it.”

Me: “Oh! No. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t mind ‘sharing’. It was just that [Coworker] was removing food from my desk and sequestering it in her office for herself. As long as it isn’t in anyone else’s desk, or otherwise marked, that is fine.”

That witch had generously shared her stash with him and then made him feel guilty! She is definitely a wonder.

Lots To Unpack Here

, , , , | Working | April 14, 2022

I have just purchased and moved into my first home. I’m working on unpacking boxes when there is a knock at the door. I am a young-looking female. Most people guess my age to be about five years younger than I actually am.

Salesman: “Good afternoon! Is your mother home?”

Me: “Probably not, but she lives in another state, so I’m not certain. Is there something I can help you with?”

Salesman: “Ah. Is the homeowner around?”

Me: “Yes, I am the homeowner. How can I help you?”

Salesman: “Oh! Uh… well, I’m a real estate agent, and I’ve got several wonderful homes on the market!” *Hands me a flyer* “If you want to stop renting, I can help you purchase a home!”

Me: “Actually, I just purchased this home. I’m not renting.”

I gesture to the stacks of boxes behind me, indicating that I have just moved in.

Salesman: “Oh! Wonderful! Er, congratulations! Well, do you have any friends in the area looking to buy a home?” 

Once again, I gesture to the boxes behind me.

Me: “I literally just moved in, sir. I don’t know anyone yet.”

Salesman: “Oh. Right. Well, if you meet anyone looking to buy a home, could you pass that flyer along?”

Me: “Er… sure… Have a good day, sir.”

I’d wager he went on a break after that. Hopefully, he stops making assumptions about people.

Frustration Coming From All Sides

, , , , , | Right Working | March 28, 2022

I work for a call center of a major grocery chain. I am trained to take calls relating to online ordering and technical issues with the apps and website. Due to a decline of a certain health concern in the country, those calls are dropping off as people return to in-store. So, as retail typically does, I’m thrown into the store-related calls with no training other than what my trainer from the very beginning said several months ago:

Trainer: “This is for in-store; you won’t need to worry about this.”

One day, I get a call from a woman.

Me: “This is customer support. My name is [My Name]. How may I help you?”

Woman: *Already upset but keeping an even tone* “I want to make a complaint about my store. Can I do that here?”

Me: “Certainly. May I get some information from you so I can correctly process your complaint?” *Gets the information* “And what was the issue with your store?”

Woman: *Her tone rising slowly* “They never have what I want I stock! I check on the website before leaving my house, and when I get to the store, it’s never there! I make sure to check online before I leave the house so I don’t waste my time!”

Me: “I really do apologize for the frustration, ma’am, and I definitely will forward your complaint. Can I confirm a few things to make sure that you are getting the most updated information?”

Woman: “Fine, but I don’t see what that’s got to do with anything!”

I ask her to pull up the website and find out that the store she’s looking at is the default location that comes up the first time loading the site up… halfway across the country.

Me: “I do believe I have found the issue. You are looking at the store in [West Coast Location] when you need to change it to [Local Store]. I can walk you through the process. I know it can be confusing, and you are not the first person to make this mistake.”

Woman: *Voice still rising* “I did not make a mistake! Your website is wrong! I use it exactly as it should! It shouldn’t make a difference!”

Me: “I can assure you that it does make a difference. Different parts of the country have a need for different items, and because of that, they would have variations in availability.”

Woman: *Now screaming* “No! Listen to me! I AM DOING IT RIGHT! YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG!”

I start to pull up the abusive customer script we need to use. In training, I was told that if at any point I felt that I was being abused, I could use it. Due to a traumatic past, yelling of any kind can set me off, but I have a one-chance point where I’ll continue as if that didn’t happen in case it was just a reaction — some customers do get better after the initial yell without me reading the script. So, I continue on.

Me: “Again, I apologize for the confusion, ma’am. Once you update your store, you’ll be able to see—”

Woman: “YOU ARE NOT LISTENING TO ME! YOUR SITE IS MESSED UP! I DO IT RIGHT! I HAVE ALWAYS DONE IT RIGHT! WHAT THE H*** DO YOU THINK I’M DOING WRONG?!”

I take a deep breath while my hands shake. Then, I read off the script as that one chance has come and passed.

Me: “I understand you’re frustrated, and I want to assist you to the best of my ability. However, if you continue to speak to me in this manner, I’ll have to terminate the call.”

Woman: *Icily* “Well, good, because I don’t want to speak to you anymore. Get me your manager.”

Those are the magic words. I ask her to please hold, dial the supervisor line, and finish up my notes as there’s a wait for a couple of minutes. The supervisor I get is known for being wishy-washy about having your side, but I explain to her what happened, including needing to use the script and the customer’s response to it.

Supervisor: “And did she actually start cursing you out?”

Me: “Well, no, but she was screaming at me.”

Supervisor: “Screaming is not classified as abuse for the script. They have to be continuously cursing at you.”

I’m upset but I don’t have the energy to pick a fight.

Me: “That’s not how it was described to me, but I’ll know for the future.”

I sent the call over, and then I needed to take an extended break because I was so annoyed. I’d been screamed at all day and was sick of it.

I only lasted about two more weeks before I ended up quitting because of the constant “abuse” and nothing being done about it. Now I have a job that’s not customer-facing and I love it so much more.

Cats Love Fish And Chips

, , , , , | Healthy | March 23, 2022

Early in the afternoon, I take a call from a woman wanting to bring a found cat in to be scanned for a microchip. My city has a large feral cat population, so most found cats don’t belong to anybody and are not chipped, but I told her to bring the cat any time we were open.

Two hours later, a couple walks in with a beautiful white kitty sitting in an open cardboard box. I bring them into the exam room so he doesn’t escape from the box and get into trouble, and get the microchip scanner.

The scanner beeps almost immediately. Huzzah! He has a chip! I check in our computer in case he’s a patient of ours (no dice), then look up the chip number on the AAHA website. Second huzzah! The chip is actually registered! Many people have chips put in but never register with the chip company, rendering the chip useless.

The chip company gives me the number they have on file with the owner and I call it. It goes to voicemail, but third huzzah! The voicemail message indicates that is in fact the phone of the owner on record.

The owner calls back almost immediately and we get as far as “Do you have my cat?” and “Yes!” before the call drops. I spend ten minutes trying to call back, but can’t get through. I thank the people who brought the cat in and set him up in a kennel to wait for the owner to call back.

About half an hour later, the owner calls back. The poor man had spent all day putting up lost cat posters in his neighborhood, finally got the call that his kitty was found, and his phone ran out of battery. We gave him directions to our clinic, and waited for him to arrive.

About 40 minutes later, the found kitty’s owner arrived. The cat had been kennel shy with us (i.e. nervous and hissing at anyone who approached), but as soon as his owner appeared, I opened the kennel door and he climbed right into his daddy’s arms.

This kitty’s owner did everything right to enable us to contact him, and I’m so glad I was able to reunite them.

Time To Change Your Phone Number

, , , , , | Working | March 18, 2022

[Coworker #1] and I don’t particularly get along. It is her choice. She made the decision to treat everyone in her life horribly, and as a result, I have a very low opinion of her professionalism, ethics, and overall character. I cannot say she is a good person, or even a decent one for that matter, but I won’t go as far to say I hate her. I just think she is rather… evil.

It is also worth noting that I have called [Coworker #1] out several times for overstepping boundaries and contacting me during vacation, sick time, while I am driving in early mornings, after work, at lunch, and late at night for non-critical information (e.g. passwords she already has, asking where an unimportant file is, expecting me to search HER email for her, etc.) and for rescheduling my client and personnel meetings to conflict with my paid time off without asking (the only time she ever does it at all). Sometimes, she contacts me when I’m off just to whine about our boss, complain about a coworker having the nerve to go on vacation, and/or get free talk therapy. She has a habit of doing it to everyone.

One time, she called another coworker, [Coworker #3], in the middle of a store on a Saturday to pester her for her social security number and refused to call back at a more convenient time as “it will only take a minute.” And if my coworker hadn’t picked up? She would have filed a complaint. She always takes awful power trips like that.

However, I am the only one who has repeatedly asked her to stop, which she dislikes even more than being unable to extort free labor out of terrified employees.

The last time [Coworker #1] did this to me, I contacted our boss to lodge a complaint after she went around telling everyone in the office that I was going to be out before conveniently “forgetting” (like every time before). I tried to be diplomatic at first and suggested a way that she could easily “remember,” as it was an ongoing issue.

She had the nerve to insist there was no problem. Even with proof of her wishing me a good vacation the night before, I pointed out that she personally received reminder texts and emails within forty-eight hours that she acknowledged, she had access to the Google Calendar and Timesheet which had all this info, and I had several coworkers approach me about her complaining about me going on vacation. Ultimately, our boss sided with me after the dust settled, and she was told that unless it was a Code Red, she should not be contacting me when I am off the clock.

It is December 1st.

Coworker #1: “Have you thought about the holiday party?”

Coworker #2: “Well, I haven’t given it much thought, but I think we agreed that it would be in mid-January.”

Coworker #1: *Offended* “Why would we do that?”

Me: “Well, it is the holidays, so people are going to be out.”

Coworker #1: “Well, why don’t we put when everyone will be out on the Google Calendar?”

I want to bang my head against the desk as the incident above happened a mere three weeks ago. Additionally, everyone has shared their own calendars at this point, either on Google Calendar or in an email.

Me: “I can put my vacation days on the calendar.”

I already have my days on there, so no biggy. Plus, I already emailed her and our boss when I would be out several times and he acknowledged it.

Coworker #1: “Well, [Coworker #3] will be out on the seventh through the tenth… I think?”

[Coworker #3] isn’t in the meeting, and from experience, she expects me to put it all in right now for her.

Me: “Okay. She can put those dates on there herself when she knows.”

Coworker #1: “And I am not sure when I will be out yet… And when will you—”

She pauses, realizing what she was about to say to me — the person who just filed a harassment complaint against her because she refuses to respect my boundaries and got caught spitefully rescheduling my meetings to when she knew I would be out.

Coworker #1: *Distastefully* “I guess I will be surprised.”

Now, I love [Coworker #2] as a coworker and a person, but he has to question EVERYTHING. If a process has been in place for ages, he at least wants a discussion as to WHY we are doing it this way and will suggest some small tweak to “leave his mark”. It doesn’t matter how impractical it is. And when you put him in with someone like [Coworker #1], who wants to argue about if you REALLY saw a line of ants to the trash can? Well, it is a long and drawn-out discussion about if number-two pencils are truly the best pencils that starts and ends in us buying more pens.

Coworker #2: “Do we want to do Google Calendar or [Task-Tracking Program]?”

Coworker #1: “Does [Task-Tracking Program] even have a calendar on it? That seems like a bad idea.”

Me: “Yes. It is under ‘Out-of-Office’. My days are already put in there, as well.”

Coworker #1: “But does it have a calendar or is it just a list?”

Me: “It is a calendar.”

Cue a “riveting” debate on the nuances of both, for the sake of picking a fight, I guess. I just sat back and let them decide. I had already done what I needed to do, and she was going to ignore it anyway, so what did I care? 

As predicted, we ended up using both, and [Coworker #1] had a lovely night sitting alone in the dark with a bottle of wine, griping and whining about how positively lazy “kids these days” are for having the audacity to use paid time off.

I am not imagining this. Remember when I said she would call me late at night to complain about a coworker taking PTO? Yeah.