Communism Is An Uphill Struggle

, , , | Working | June 11, 2018

(I have the greatest boss ever. He is over seventy years old and has owned and run part of a theme park for about forty years. I am driving the tourist train fully loaded with people up a very steep hill, and have to stop in the middle because someone has left a wheelbarrow right in my path. After the wheelbarrow is moved, I can’t get the train moving again, since it is full of people and going up a steep hill.)

Me: *calling my boss, slightly stressed out* “I can’t get the train up the hill!”

Boss: “It’s all right. Just ask everyone to get off and walk up the hill, and then drive the train up when it’s empty so they can get on again at the top of the hill. I’m sending [Coworker] to help you.”

(At the end of that day, he is comforting me because I thought I had really messed up when I got the train stuck:)

Boss: “A lot of people have gotten stuck on that uphill with the train, actually. I got stuck there in the seventies when I was driving Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party. But I just asked them to get out and walk up, and they thought it was fun!”

(That turned out to be true!)

I’m Lovin’ It

, , , , , | Hopeless | June 5, 2018

I have a mild immune deficiency that caused me to get extremely sick a lot as a baby. At this point, my parents were stressed out, devoting most of their funds on hand to treating my various long-term infections, and short on time. They quickly became acquainted with various McDonald’s restaurants as a result.

One day, a particularly attentive McDonald’s cashier noticed that my dad looked frazzled as he placed his order at the counter, and after submitting his order, she asked if he was okay. He explained the situation as politely as he could, but it was difficult for him to restrain his frustration and worry. The cashier was an excellent listener, though, and approached him with validation and understanding. Then, she walked away from the register for a bit and pulled something out of a large cardboard box.

It was a Spongebob figurine, meant for an upcoming Happy Meal promotion. Despite the hollow and cheap plastic feel of the toy, it was well-made and durable. It even had some simple articulation that gave Spongebob’s right arm patty-flipping action. The cashier handed it to my dad at no extra cost with the ordered food.

It was just a toy, but it was more than my parents could have ever asked for at that moment. They had to put the fun of finding baby toys and games for me on hold while I got better, and they badly needed the validation that I was going to make it past infancy. The cashier helped with both, and to this day, we are very grateful for her generosity. The toy is long gone now, but the memory of how supportive the cashier was when she had no obligation to be remains ever present and special.

McDonald’s cashiers are often seen as the lowest of the low, the dumbest of the failures at life. But stories like this remind me that the stereotype is unfounded. Wherever you are, McDonald’s cashier, thank you, on behalf of my parents.

Has No Hang Ups With Hang Ups

, , , , | | Right | June 5, 2018

(In this story, I’m calling myself out as being the “bad” customer. I’m shopping at a well-known Texan grocery store that is in the middle of getting upgraded from a regular to a “Plus.” As a result, everything is out of place and there are extra staff to point out where things moved to. I’m currently on the phone talking to my mom, since she was there a few days ago and forgot a few things when she shopped. Sadly, everything has changed locations again and her directions aren’t accurate anymore.)

Mom: “If you go down a few more aisles, you should see where they moved the spaghetti sauces.”

(As I head out of the current aisle to “a few down,” I discover that the equivalent of five aisles are moved with the area covered.)

Me: “Um… Mom, I don’t think it’s ‘a few more aisles’ anymore.”

Mom: “Well, hell… I don’t know where it would be, then.”

Me: *sighing* “All right, I’ll keep an eye out for it or somebody to help me out. What’s next.”

(She leads me to a few more items that are in the same places as her last trip, and then I see an employee while I’m still on the phone.)

Me: *to employee* “Hey, can you tell me where they moved the sauces?”

Mom: “I just told you; I don’t know right now.”

Employee: “Yes, they’re down—”

Me: *to Mom* “I’m not tal—” *just then I hold up my finger, realizing I’m doing a pet peeve to an employee* “Hang on, Mom. I’ll call you back.”

(I hang up and put my phone in my pocket before turning the employee who seems to be shocked.)

Me: “I’m sorry about that, now where are they again?”

Employee: *still looking stunned* “I… I’ve never seen anybody do that before, but they are down this way and to the right.”

Me: “Yeah, I’m sorry about that. That was my mom; she was here a few days ago and was being my GPS. But you changed it around—”

Employee: “No, I’ve never seen anybody actually hang up their phone when asking for help like that; most people would just ignore me, then get mad when I ‘didn’t help them.’”

Me: “Yeah, I know. I work at a different store, and that’s something that bothers me.”

(As I walk off, he starts to follow me until I pick up the sauce, and then he asks to see it. He pulls out a hand scanner, scans it, and then places a sticker over the barcode with his initials.)

Me: *stunned* “Uh…”

Employee: “Consider it a thank-you.” *walks off with a smile*

Me: *shouting* “Thanks!”

(I then waited until he left the aisle and called my mom up again, waiting until I got home to explain what happened.)

They’re All Tuned In To Each Other

, , , , | Hopeless | June 4, 2018

Recently a radio station has been running a competition where you can win your mortgage or rent paid for a year.

You can only get in the drawing by being the ninth caller each time they play the cue to call. The winner of the competition is a woman who reveals she is not keeping the prize for herself, but instead using it to pay for a coworker’s rent.

The coworker is an immigrant with no family in New Zealand; his son has recently been diagnosed with cancer and his wife has given up work to take care of the son, as they have no family support.

The winner says that the whole office had an agreement to all try to call every time the cue to call came on so they could win it for the coworker.

Warming Up Those Blue Collars

, , , , , , | | Working | June 4, 2018

(I work in a factory, but mainly in the office. In other words, I’m what you would call a “white-collar worker.” Every now and then, as part of my job, I have to visit the production area.)

Coworker: “Hey, [My Name], meet [New Hire]. He’s new here, and you’ll be seeing a lot of him.”

New Hire: “Hi, it’s nice to meet you. I would shake your hand, but unfortunately, I’m all dirty right now.”

Me: “Really? Oh, no, buddy, that won’t do. I don’t believe in that kind of thinking.”

(I shake his hand, anyway, and even go in for a “bro-hug.” When I remove myself from him, both my hand and shirt are covered in dust.)

Me: “I don’t believe in office politics. Us suit-wearing stiffs aren’t nearly as important as you think. We’re all on the same team here, and I’m rooting for you.”

(Treat blue-collar workers with respect, people! Their job is just as, if not more important.)

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