The Customer Is Always Right – Except When They’re An Employee

, , , , , , | Right | June 24, 2019

(I am the front desk manager at a hotel, and I recently hired a new employee to work the front desk. He has only worked two three-hour training shifts so far but it is already obvious that he is not going to work out. While he seems to be learning our reservation system easily, the guy has zero customer service skills and is incapable of following even the simplest of directions. He needs to be guided by the hand like a child in everything he does, no matter how many times he has done it. I’ve already told my boss that if I don’t see any improvement at his next shift I am going to let him go and start holding new interviews. This is the afternoon after his second shift. I stop in at a fast food restaurant to get supper for my kids and me when I hear a commotion at the front. A group of young guys are making a scene and harassing the cashier. The ringleader of the group happens to be my new employee, still in his uniform and name tag.)

My New Employee: “Look, [gay slur], you may not realize how things work in the real world but the customer is always right! I told you I want a [burger from Competitor] and I don’t care if it’s not on your menu. You will figure out how to make one and you will sell me one!”

Fast Food Employee: “I’m sorry, but I can only punch in what is on the keypad. Like I told you, the closest thing we have is [Signature Burger], which has similar toppings, but we don’t carry the sauce they use. You could—“

My New Employee: “NO! We’ve been through this. You’re not going to make me look like an idiot in front of my friends! I know I’ve ordered this before. I’m not stupid. I know you can, so just shut up and do your job or get me someone else who can!”

Fast Food Employee: “Well… Okay, let me get my manager and maybe…”

My New Employee: “Holy f***! Really?! Just punch the f****** order in and make my burger happen! I know customer service! I know what it means to please your customer and do your job properly. Now, punch in the burger that I ordered; I know you have a button for it and I expect to be heavily discounted for all this trouble! God… you young people today. I would never hire someone like you at my company.”

(I’ve had enough, both because he’s holding up the line and making me wait, and also because I can’t believe I almost let someone with this kind of attitude serve my customers and work with my staff. The manager, who has been stuck at the drive-thru this whole time, finally has enough and comes over to deal with the situation, but I can’t help myself and step in.)

Me: “Hey, [My New Employee], so, uh, what kind of pull do you have exactly? What kind of authority does six hours of receptionist training give you in the ‘real world’?”

(He turns and looks at me as though he is going to say something when a look of recognition flashes on his face and he immediately goes pale.)

My New Employee: “Oh, uh, hey, [My Name], I was, um… trying to teach this guy about customer service just like you taught me. You made me understand how important it is and… uh… I’m trying to help him, you know? I really love my job and all, and I really need my job so uh…” *chuckles* “…yeah.”

Me: “Look, I don’t care what resolution the manager gives you here tonight, but you can drop off your uniform and name tag at my office tomorrow morning. I’m not going to have somebody with an attitude like yours serving my customers. Now, please, do us all a favor and go to [Competitor] to get your burger like any normal person would do and let the rest of us get our food so we can get on with our lives and pretend that you don’t exist.”

My New Employee: “Wait, why do I have to drop off my uniform? Do you guys, like, wash it for us?”

(Some people laugh, and his group of friends groan and start to leave.)

Me: “Really? Dude, you’re fired. When you go out in public with our uniform on, you are representing our company, and I will not have you making us look bad. Please go home and take those clothes, drop them off tomorrow, and don’t ever speak to me or come near our building again.”

My New Employee: *stands there quietly as he begins to realize what has just gone down and then starts to cry* “Oh, man. Oh, man! I can’t believe this! No!”

(I ended up getting the employee discount on my order, and I made sure to leave a nice tip for the young man that was getting yelled at. The guy did drop off his uniform and tried to ask for a second chance, which he didn’t get.)

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Best… Seizure… Ever

, , , , | Working | May 24, 2019

(I’m in my twenties. As I walk back home after shopping with my parents, I drop to the ground with a seizure and injure my head on the pavement. My parents call an ambulance and I get taken care of at the hospital. In the middle of it, my dad snaps a picture of me on the sidewalk, bleeding from my head. After spending a night in the hospital, I post the picture in my coworkers’ chat group, informing them I won’t come in for four weeks per doctor’s orders. My coworkers express their get-well-soons, and I get examinations for the cause of the seizure. After a week, my doctor tells me I’m not allowed to drive a car for three months due to insurance reasons. I immediately panic as my daily work commute plan goes out the window, I reach out to my works council to set up a meeting with the CEO and my shift lead. After the pleasantries are exchanged:)

Me: “The reason I asked for this meeting is because I’m not allowed to drive a car at the moment, and I was wondering if we could work out alternative work hours so I can use public transportation or some kind of plan how else I can get to work.”

CEO: “So, wait. You want to get back to work?”

Me: “Well, my sick leave is still in effect for another three weeks, but yeah, I’d like to come back.”

CEO: “Oh, great. I thought you wanted to announce you’d be gone for half a year or so. [Works Council] showed me a picture of you bleeding on a sidewalk; that must’ve hurt quite badly, didn’t it?”

Me: “Honestly, I don’t remember the fall at all. I just suddenly woke up in an ambulance headed for the hospital. Getting that wound stitched together was kind of uncomfortable, though.”

CEO: “You still have some overtime in your account, right? And some leftover vacation days too?”

Me: “I guess, last I checked 10 days vacation and some 60 hours OT.”

CEO: “Let me go to the HR office real quick to crunch some numbers.”

(They leave.)

Works Council: “Hey, [Coworker] lives in [Town near my parents’ town]. Maybe you can carpool with him?”

Me: “If he’s okay with it, that’s a valid option. But isn’t he off the early-late shift rotation and always starts at seven?”

Shift Lead: “That’s not a problem. We can put you off rotation until you can drive here by yourself again.”

(The CEO gets back.)

CEO: “So, HR and I came up with a little plan. We need you to reduce your overtime hours, anyway, so if you take your leftover vacation and some 50 hours, you can stay home and recover properly.”

(It is late-October and it dawns on me they intend to send me home for the rest of the year.)

Me: “Wait. You’re telling me I’d be done with work for the year?”

Works Council: “It would greatly reduce your carpool time, as well. [Shift Lead], are you okay with that?”

Shift Lead: “I’d have to swap some people around, but it is manageable.”

Me: “I don’t know what to say. I was panicking back home as I didn’t know how I could come here, and now you took this huge load off my shoulders.”

CEO: “I’d rather have you here healthy and fit than bleeding everywhere and stressed out. Go home, get some rest, recover, and I’ll see you on January 2nd. Just keep us updated if your doctor finds something serious.”

(My CEO has a reputation of being demanding, but when times get tough they totally have their workers’ backs. I ended up carpooling with my coworker for three weeks, but stopped doing the voluntary night shifts, as my doctor suspected my messed-up sleep cycle to be responsible for the seizure.)

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Telling Employees What They Want Is Rewarding

, , , , | Right | December 3, 2018

(I’m the customer in this. It’s late in the evening and I’m at the movie theater with my sister. I approach the counter to get some snacks before the movie starts.)

Me: “Hi! I’d like two [menu items], one with [Soda #1], one with [Soda #2], and both with salted popcorn, please.”

Employee: “Oh, my god! [Coworker], she’s the first to actually straight up tell me what she wants!”

Me: “Uhm…”

(The employee grabs one of the chocolate bars from the display (not just any kind, but the expensive brand chocolate, too!) and slams it on the counter.)

Employee: “Here, you get chocolate for that.”

Me: *baffled* “Thank you…”

(I honestly just ordered as I always did but her reaction made me think about what kind of things she must have been dealing with all day.)

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At This Store, You Get What You Ask For!

, , , , , | Right | September 9, 2018

(I work in a popular ladies clothing store. It is a busy Saturday afternoon, with a line of customers. Our state offers tax-exempt shopping for customers from certain nearby states.)

Customer: “I’m an Alaska resident; I’m tax-free.”

Me: *jokingly, with a smile* “Prove it! I’ll need your driver’s licence or ID.”

(The customer rolls her eyes and tosses her licence at me silently. I cross to the other side of the register counter and pick up the paperwork I need to complete the tax-exempt sale.)

Customer’s Friend: “Ugh. Can you go ANY slower?”

Me: *smiles* “Yes.” *I start writing more slowly and carefully, and take my time typing in the computer and carefully folding all her items* “Thank you for shopping at [Store].”

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A Positive Sign

, , , , , | Hopeless | May 7, 2018

(Minneapolis has an annual zombie pub crawl. There’s 10,000 people in attendance and there’s drunken chaos everywhere. It’s late in the night and I’m quite drunk myself. I am trying to get some water from a very tired bartender.)

Me: *yelling* “Can I get a water, please?”

Bartender: “What?!”

(I try several more times, and the combination of my current state and the noise makes her unable to hear me, so I do the only thing that makes sense at the time.)

Me: *in sign language* “Can I have a water, please?”

Bartender: *jumps excitedly, nods and grabs me a water*

Me: *signing and matching her excitement* “You know sign language?”

Bartender: *signing* “Yeah, my grandma is deaf. Have a good night!”

Me: *signing and giving her my last $5* “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

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