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It Takes A Village… And A Couple Of Thoughtful Employees

, , , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: Bookaholicforever | June 4, 2022

I had to go into the shops this morning to get a few things. I thought my (almost) eleven-month-old would be all right, and she was for about 90% of the time. But it took me longer to find what I needed and she was due a nap and a feed. I was rushing to the checkout… and it happened.

She entered into a full-blown meltdown. She was grabbing at me to pick her up. I was panicking, trying to calm her down and scan my things. People were looking and I was getting more stressed. My assistance dog was nudging me, alerting me to an anxiety attack coming.

Enter two staff members. One came over and started talking to my kiddo and singing her a song. But she wasn’t having a bar of it.

Employee #1: “Can I pick her up?”

Me: “Yes!”

She picked my kid up and started walking around and saying hello to people. The other staff member started helping me scan my stuff as quickly as possible. When that was done, the one holding my kid offered to help me get out to my car and stuff.

They were amazing.

Thank You For Jumping To Conclusions — Really!

, , , , | Working | June 3, 2022

The coworker in this story has since left our workplace, but this is one of my favourite memories of her.

Introverted, unadventurous twenty-two-year-old me had just moved away from my parents’ house at the beginning of the month, and I’d regretted it instantly. I was incredibly homesick, not really adjusting well to my (nice but very boisterous) new roommates, and between work and my college classes I hadn’t had the chance to do more than speak to my mother on the phone a couple of times in the past three weeks. I was a lonely, anxious mess. However, it was a holiday and I finally had an early shift with nothing to do afterward, and my parents were going to have me over for dinner.

Just the prospect of going home again had me near tears the whole morning — part of the night before, too. I was feeling so fragile and wound up that, instead of dressing for work like I usually did, I’d thrown one of my boyfriend’s massive hoodies on for the extra comfort factor. I’d shown up and done the opening duties without even really acknowledging anyone else; as an opening shift, it was very quiet, and I’d managed to go three hours without saying a word. When my coworker showed up for her shift, I just gave her the best smile I could and continued quietly.

Then, my boyfriend showed up and came over to stand by my station and say hi.

Having to actually speak, and being able to speak to someone who is a massive source of comfort for me, burst the floodgates wide open. I tried to say hi back and started crying right there in the middle of the floor.

It was at this point that I realized that my coworker had been incredibly worried about my uncharacteristic behaviour, because she literally dropped what she was doing and ran over, grabbing me and putting herself between me and my boyfriend.

Coworker: “Are you okay? Is everything all right?”

My boyfriend, now worried as well, tried to come over to see what was going on, and she barked at him:

Coworker: “Stay back!”

She bent over, physically shielding me with her body.

I realized that she thought I was reacting to him instead of to my own mental state, and I burst out laughing. Once I’d explained that I was just a homesick mess and didn’t really know why I was crying, fortunately a very easy correction to make because I’d been homesick all week, we all had a good laugh.

I count myself very lucky to have not needed that kind of intervention, but even luckier to have had someone — a coworker, even, who didn’t know me that well and rarely interacted with me outside of work — who would have reacted to such a situation with such instinctive protectiveness.

Good Customers, Bad Customers, It’s All Relative

, , , , , , | Related Right | June 2, 2022

I have a very friendly regular who comes in super early every morning. They always order the same thing, and we always have a little talk.

Regular: “I just took one of those DNA test thingies.”

Me: “Oh, wow! Me, too!”

Regular: “It’s really cool.”

Me: “Yeah, the ancestry mix is amazing. My family is from so many places.”

Regular: “Yeah, but the family tree function is the best part. I found cousins and relatives I didn’t even know I had.”

Me: “Really? That’s on there?”

Regular: “Yes! You have to opt in. Want me to show you?”

Me: “Yes, please!”

Since it’s so early and quiet, the regular takes my phone and activates the “Relatives” section of the ancestry app. Straightaway, it highlights some distant cousins.

Me: “That’s so cool!”

The regular’s phone dings with a notification.

Regular: “Oh, would you look at that? I’ve got new relative matches, too!”

We both look at our phones for a moment to take in the new information, and then we both realize something. We look up at each other, shocked but smiling.

Me: “Your great-grandma was Nanna Beth from Brooklyn?”

Regular: “Hello, cousin!”

She’s no longer “just” my favorite regular now!

Grad Students Using Coke To Solve Their Problems

, , , , , | Learning | May 28, 2022

In the mid-1990s, I worked in tech support in a campus computer lab for the English department of my university. A grad student came to me, nearly in tears. The floppy that contained their thesis was unreadable. Could I help?

After several attempts, it was obvious that the disk was beyond repair. Sorry.

They shifted to plan B. Could I use the scanner attached to my computer to scan in their thesis? I was on the clock, and it was a slow day. Why not? So, I proceeded to scan their thesis using ’90s-era OCR software on an ancient flatbed scanner. It took forever.

When I gave them their file — with a caveat that the text was sure to be full of errors — they gave me a Coke.

In hindsight, they got off really cheap. But we were both poor college students, so I was happy with the Coke.

An Un-Toxic Work Environment!

, , , , , , , , | Working | May 24, 2022

I work at an independent insurance agency. We are allowed to disconnect abusive calls, and the agents and owner will fire clients if the behavior is repeated. We are asked to give at least one warning before disconnecting; I give two.

We have recently hired a new customer service agent. She has many years of call center experience. She has been doing pretty well on the phone and has started taking calls solo. I follow up with her to make sure the files are noted properly after her calls. I’m reviewing some of her notes and notice she has in the notes that a client yelled and cursed at her.

I pull the call and listen to it. It’s vile. She kept trying to tell the client she was trying to help him, but he was yelling over her and cursing up a storm. He finally hung up on her.

I immediately notify the client’s agent and send him the call recording. I then ask the agent to come to my office.

Me: “Hey, I saw the notes from [Client]. Are you okay?”

Agent: “Yes, I’m okay. I’m sorry, I tried to calm him down and help him but…”

Me: “No, no, no, don’t apologize. You did nothing wrong. I know I mentioned it when you started doing solo calls, but I want to reiterate that you do not have to put up with that kind of behavior.”

Agent: “You were serious?”

Me: “Absolutely. I ask you to give them at least one warning; it’s up to you if you want to give more. If they continue to be abusive, tell them their agent will be in touch and hang up. Let the agent know and they will take care of the issue.”

Agent: “I can seriously hang up on people?”

Me: “Well, not for random reasons. But if they are inappropriate or abusive, absolutely!”

Agent: “That’s amazing. We weren’t allowed to hang up on anyone at the call center. No matter what.”

Me: “That’s one of the perks of having an awesome owner. We don’t tolerate abuse.”

I love my job and my boss. Even though it can get stressful, knowing the agents and boss have our backs makes a massive difference.