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Multiple Systemic Failures

, , , , , | Working | June 1, 2022

I am a customer using the self-checkout machine closest to the employee terminal. At the terminal are an employee and an older woman who were there before I walked up to use the self-checkout. As I’m checking out, I gather that the woman believes she has some kind of coupon linked to her rewards account that has not been applied correctly. 

Customer: “I don’t understand why your system is so screwed up.”

Employee: “It isn’t my system; it’s just software the company uses.”

Customer: “Well, it isn’t my system — it doesn’t belong to me — so then it must be your system.”

Employee: “Look, I have nothing to do with the system, ma’am, and I don’t appreciate the tone you’re using with me. I am trying to help you. It’s just chicken; it’s not the end of the world.”

I had to leave at this point, but I let out a stifled giggle that the woman angry over a chicken coupon didn’t appreciate.

A Blitz On The Ritz

, , , , , | Right | May 30, 2022

I used [Travel Company] to book a flight and hotel. When I arrived at the hotel, I was told I needed my credit card to pay a deposit; cash would not be accepted. As my luck had it, my credit card declined the charge. Unbeknownst to me, my bank in Germany had blocked the card from being used overseas after someone made a copy of it a year earlier and went on a $4,000 shopping spree.

As I was haggling on the phone with my bank and then [Travel Company], a man who was clearly homeless as indicated by the state of his clothing and hygiene sauntered into the hotel with three backpacks. He plopped them in the middle of the floor and approached the desk.

Homeless Man: “Hey, I reserved a room for three weeks; here’s my ID. Everything is paid for.”

Clerk: “Hmmm… I’m not seeing anything under that name.”

Homeless Man: “Probably a system glitch. A power outage deleted it or something. Just give me the room. I already paid online.”

Clerk: “There is nothing under this name. I’m looking. There isn’t even a reservation for three weeks!”

This was a hotel plaza where the cheapest room was $180 a night.

Homeless Man: “GIVE ME MY ROOM! I’M NOT PLAYING WITH YOU!”

Clerk: “There is no reservation for this name! Please leave the property before we call the police.”

Homeless Man: “WELL, THEN, GIVE ME MY MONEY BACK!”

Clerk: “You can call your credit card company and reverse the charge if you did book something; we clearly won’t dispute it. You need to leave the premises.”

Homeless Man: “GIVE ME MY MONEY BACK! I’M ABOUT TO PULL YOUR A** OVER THIS COUNTER IF KEEP F****** WITH ME!”

Security was summoned and they promptly booted the guy out. He returned about two minutes later, standing outside at an adjacent window, holding up his identification card and occasionally saying, “Look under [Homeless Man]! It’s not my fault your system f***ed up!”

Meanwhile, [Travel Company] found me another hotel that would be willing to accept cash as a deposit — my bank refused to lift the international block from my credit card — and shifted my credit over to that booking. I took a rideshare to the new hotel.

After a nice long steaming bath and a delivered dinner, I went down to the front desk to ask a question. Imagine my shock at seeing three familiar backpacks dumped in the middle of the floor and the same guy at the counter.

Homeless Man: “GIVE ME MY ROOM!”

Clerk: “You didn’t book a room with us. You pull this crap every other week, and no one is buying it! Get off our property!”

Homeless Man: “WELL, THEN, GIVE ME MY MONEY BACK! I’M NOT PLAYING WITH YOU! I’M ABOUT THE BEAT THE S*** OUT OF YOU!”

This continued for a moment until security — again! — put him out. And again, he stood in the window outside holding up his ID card.

I understand falling on hard times and needing shelter. But it’s hard to garner sympathy if you are pulling pathetically transparent scams and then threatening employees who won’t play along.

Their Political Views Are Razor Sharp

, , , , , , | Right | April 20, 2022

For a short time, I was a notary/receptionist at a legal document preparation office. More often than not, we were preparing and executing trusts. I’ve met a few unusual people while here. But this couple stands out the most.

We were chatting while the office manager had to reprint a miss-signed page, come to find out that this couple had some very… odd points of view. They were convinced that Hurricane Katrina was so devastating because the Democrats were holding the storm in place with lasers.

Yes, lasers.

Yes, they were serious, because I made the mistake of asking more.

Just Do Your Own Job!

, , , , , | Working | April 19, 2022

My former manager is a real peach. Pardon my Southern. Fortunately, she is not my manager any longer, nor is she actually allowed to ask me to do anything — not even if the building was on fire and she needed help lifting a smoldering piece of scaffolding from her leg to escape.

Truthfully, I would still help her if she acted like a grown-up and ASKED for my help. However, it is out of her wheelhouse. Like, I said, real peach.

On the bright side, after I was no longer under her, I was promoted rather rapidly into a managerial position! We are now equals, which frustrates her even more.

Her new method to get me to do something is to now passive-aggressively hint until I “volunteer” to do it myself, but I have to do it in such a way that isn’t indicative of her “giving” me a task.

This happens in a conference call.

Former Manager: “[My Name], do you know if [Contractor] has been tracking bugs in [Program]?”

I am not responsible for this contractor; she is. I have received no training on the program she’s asking about.

Me: “I don’t know. I haven’t really looked or kept track of others’ tasks outside of [Subordinate #1], [Subordinate #2], and [Subordinate #3].”

Former Manager: “Did you look?”

Me: “I can look, but there is no good way to search for it.”

Former Manager: “You are an administrator. You should be able to look.”

Me: “I don’t get notifications for people not under me, and the search feature only works for tasks. I don’t know what he is working on.”

Former Manager: “You should be able to.”

At this point, I realize she wants to use me to basically “scold” [Contractor] in her stead for something she never told him to do. She already knows he hasn’t been putting in his bug reports. Basically, think of her as that “fun aunt” who likes to think she is cool, relatable, and down-to-earth so she hypes her nieces and nephews up on sugar and then sends them home to their parents covered in mud, knowing Mom or Dad is not going to be happy they ruined their new sneakers.

Me: “Can you show me how?”

Former Manager: “You should be able to do it!”

Me: “Okay, while I am not sure how. Would you like me to email him and ask?”

Notice the phrasing. I am asking her if she wants me to do something.

Former Manager: “No! I want you to look to see if he has entered any tasks.”

Me: “Well, I can certainly look, but as I said, to my knowledge, there is no way to search for who is assigned which tasks. If you know how, I would love for you to enlighten me.”

At this point, I have actually figured out how to search for tasks by clicking on individual profiles, which also shows me he has not logged on in two weeks. None of this needs actual administrator privilege to access. But as she clearly KNOWS how to search and just wants me to be the bad guy for her (on something that is pretty minor), I decide to continue yanking her chain.

Former Manager: “So, he hasn’t reported or been assigned one bug?”

Me: “I mean, if you check the bug list, he has a couple open, so he knows how to use it.”

Former Manager: “Has he put anything else in?”

Me: “I cannot see if he has or hasn’t.”

Former Manager: “You should be able to.”

Me: “How?”

There is a noticeable silence and I can hear the wheels turning in her head as she tries to figure out how to get out of this trap. She can either admit she checked and knows how to check or she can continue this cycle. I throw her a bone.

Me: “Why don’t I email him for you and ask? That seems best, right? Then, if he has any questions, we can figure it out together.”

Former Manager: *Grumbling* “Well, you should know how.”

Me: “I don’t know what to tell you. I received no training on this software and haven’t had a chance to create a training document for it. I recommend just talking to him.”

Former Manager: *Quick to change topic* “So, you are going to email him, yes?”

Me: “Sure.”

I made sure to mention in the email that she was asking him.

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.