File This One Under Crazy

, , , , | Legal | July 27, 2018

(The office I work in only has three employees for one lawyer: the legal assistant, the medical records worker, and me, the receptionist. It is a busy day, with a constant flow of clients and the phone constantly ringing. The medical records worker comes up to my desk after a lengthy phone call.)

Medical Records: “I just had a nasty call from a previous client’s daughter. She’s on the way up here for a letter from her mother’s closed file, even though I told her there’s no way we can get it right now.”

Me: “What did she say?”

Medical Records: “She told me that she’s still coming from [City 30 minutes away], and that we had better d*** well get it, even though it’s a closed case from 2012 and we filed it away already. I tried to tell her we won’t have it today, but that we may have it tomorrow, and she hung up on me.”

Me: “Well, [Legal Assistant] would know where that is, but she’s with clients all day. I’ll just tell [Client’s Daughter] that we can’t get those files.”

(Thirty minutes later, the client’s daughter shows up as I’m in the middle of a call with another client, loudly interrupting me.)

Client’s Daughter: “I called earlier about my mom’s letter. I need it now!

Me: “One moment, please.” *puts the caller on hold* “Yes, you were told over the phone that there’s no way we can get that letter for you right now. Our legal assistant is the only one who knows where those files are, and she’s currently with clients.”

Client’s Daughter: *looks around our now empty waiting lobby* “I don’t see anyone here. I need that letter now. My mom almost died, and she needs this letter to help her get healthcare. They told me I need to have that letter by tomorrow or she’s not getting it.”

(I can already tell she’s lying, because we talk commonly with doctors and healthcare agents. They never give an ultimatum like that — not without calling us first.)

Me: “I am truly sorry to hear that. And still, we cannot get that letter yet, because the legal assistant is with clients and is unable to retrieve that file. She will need a few days to find it and make copies of the letter. Which one is it that you need?”

(The daughter names off a letter that we wouldn’t even have.)

Me: “You could have saved yourself a trip. We wouldn’t have that one, anyway.”

Client’s Daughter:What?! I just drove 30 miles to get up here, and you couldn’t have told me that over the phone?”

Me: “Do you mean when you hung up on us?”

Client’s Daughter: “Whatever! While I’m here, I want my mother’s files. We’re going to take the case to someone else.”

Me: “We would still have to find the file, which is in storage at a location away from here. We would have to do this on a day we don’t have clients, since we are currently busy with clients–” *motions pointedly to my phone* “–and can’t take the time to drive to that location to get it. The best I can do is take a message to give the legal assistant. Or, you can wait an hour to see her. It’s 3:30 now, and we close at 5:00, so you’d have only 30 minutes to convince her to drive there and get it for you. Or, you can wait for us to get it for you and call you to pick it up at a later day.”

Client’s Daughter: “I’m not leaving without my mother’s file. You need to get it now.”

Me: “No, I don’t. I don’t know where it’s located. I’m not leaving my station because you were too impatient to let us get it for you and call for you to pick it up.”

Client’s Daughter: “My mother almost died last week, and you’re going to go get that file right now! She’s outside in my car, in the boiling heat, with my child and husband! They cannot wait a d*** hour for someone else to go get it!”

Medical Records: *messages me over our network* “Tell her to wait one f****** moment. I will go outside to see if it’s still here on premises or out in the storage room, or if we’ve moved it offsite.”

Me: *to client’s daughter* “[Medical Records] has kindly offered to go out to our supremely hot storage room to see if it’s out there, since your dying mother can’t sit outside in this unbearable heat. It can take her a while, so I would suggest you bring her inside.”

Client’s Daughter: “She’s fine outside. Besides, my husband is in a wheelchair, and it would take too much work to get him inside of here.”

Me: “We have a ramp you can use to bring him inside.”

(The client’s daughter ignores me and instead takes a call, so I resume my conversation with my previous client. As I’m talking, I can overhear the client’s daughter telling whoever is on the phone, “Yeah, they told me they were tired of fighting with me about it, so they’re getting the file right now.” I make a point to message the medical records worker and legal assistant. Almost fifty minutes later, the medical records worker returns with the file. She takes it to the legal assistant, who finished with her clients a few minutes ago. The legal assistant comes out shortly after.)

Legal Assistant: “We need to make a copy of your driver’s license. Here are your mother’s files. You were told over the phone that we do not have the time, and you still decided to disrupt our work period for something that was clearly not that important. Nothing in your mother’s file is going to help you to get insurance. You were told that. You still decided to keep your dying mother waiting in the hot, blazing car while you sat up here for this. I wish your mother the best in her endeavors, but you are not welcome up here for any reason. Do not return. Do not call. We don’t care to have anything to do with you any further, and no longer have a reason to. There is the door. Leave.”

Client’s Daughter: *to me* “It didn’t take that long to find her file.”

Me: “If your mother was really sick and near death, then she’d have died by now, waiting outside for an hour for you. Goodbye.”

Some People Are Half A Cookie Away From Crumbling

, , , , | Right | July 26, 2018

(I am a fellow customer in this story. It’s a busy night at a popular fast food outlet linked to a major railway station. I am next in line to be served, but the cashier has had to momentarily help out the staff making food. Everyone is waiting patiently. The whole kitchen process is visible to everyone on the street outside waiting to order or pick up. I have also worked in both retail and food service extensively in the past. A well-dressed woman, in her 50s or 60s, sidles up beside me. Thinking that she’ll work out that there’s a sizeable queue behind me any second, I say nothing to her and order my food. The woman takes a cookie from a jar on the counter and begins to eat it.)

Cashier: *noticing, smiles at the woman* “Hey there, just please keep in mind that the cookies aren’t free.”

Woman: *offended* “I’m going to pay for it!”

(She takes another bite and then opens the jar and puts the half-eaten cookie back in. I look around to the people behind me in shock; everyone just stares at her.)

Woman: *begins to order food*

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am; there’s a queue to order food.”

Woman: *scowls at me* “I’ve been here for ages! It’s my turn now! I’ve been here for ages.”

Me: *not in the mood to tolerate such a childish lie, knowing that the cashier won’t feel comfortable to contradict her* “You have not been here for ages. Please get to the back of the queue and wait your turn.”

(The woman continues to argue with me.)

Customers Behind Me: *taps me on shoulder* “Thank you for trying, but don’t worry. Just let her go.”

(The woman orders her food, making several corrections and alterations, making everyone wait longer. The cashier doesn’t even charge her for the half-eaten cookie, which has ended up in the bin along with the rest of the jar. I am standing patiently to the side waiting for my food. The woman unnecessarily stands less than a foot away from me.)

Woman: *sneers* “You’re a sticky-nose, aren’t you?”

Me: *looks at her, stony-faced*

Woman: “You don’t come into the city very often, do you?”

Me: *another stony glance before pointedly ignoring her*

Woman: “Nobody would notice you without your stupid hair and stuff through your lip…” *referring to my brightly-coloured hair and neat facial piercings*

Me: *hungry and losing patience, I respond firmly, but without anger* “I will not be spoken to like that by you. Please stop talking to me.”

Woman: *leans in even closer, trying to continue her critical assessment of my physical appearance*

Me: *talking over her, sternly* “I said, stop talking to me.”

Woman: *keeps going*

Me: *with sharp contempt* “I’ve tried to be reasonable with you. Stop. Talking. To. Me… And GROW UP.”

Woman: *stunned, she mutters repeatedly* “Get f***ed.”

(I collected my food, smiled at the cashier, and told him that I hoped that his night would improve. He smiled and thanked me. I walked past the woman, who was still glowering at me. Some people really are truly horrendous.)

Finally Managing The Manager Situation

, , , , , | Working | July 26, 2018

(I work at a large retail chain. As a result, we have many managers in the building, most of whom people can at least tolerate. One manager, however, is absolutely horrible and disrespectful with employees underneath him. This exchange happens on my way to my department one morning.)

Manager: *sees me from across a display in the middle of an aisle* “[My Name]! Why did you sign your initials on a task that wasn’t completed?!”

Me: “Okay, first off, you don’t raise your voice to me on the sales floor in front of customers, or ever, for that matter.”

Manager: “Well, I’m telling you now!”

Me: “No, you’re not telling me anything in this disrespectful manner. If you have a problem with my performance, you take me back to the office and we discuss it there civilly and professionally. Secondly, let me explain why I signed my initials–“

Manager: “No! What you did is an integrity issue!”

(Having had enough, I walk around the display and stand a normal, conversational distance from him in order to force the volume of the exchange back down.)

Me: “Actually, as it was explained to me by the department manager, you sign your initials next to any task you work on, whether it gets completed or not. If I was mistaken, or if that’s changed, then I’ll sign accordingly going forward. Regardless, you will not speak to me in this disrespectful tone.”

(With that, I walk off. As I arrive in my department, there’s the usual line of customers with the only two people available working with them. After we get the line down, before I even mention him, my coworkers tell me that [Manager] has already been there to yell at them for having empty spots on the shelves just a few minutes before he found and started yelling at me. I decide that enough is enough. I help my coworkers get to the point where the department isn’t falling apart more than usual before I head straight to the store manager.)

Me: “Hey, [Store Manager], can I talk to you?”

Store Manager: “Yeah, come on in. What’s up?”

Me: “Well, I know we’ve talked about him before, and I also know you’ve had several complaints about him from other employees, but I have to bring up [Manager] again. His behavior has gone far beyond acceptable at this point.”

Store Manager: “Yeah, I know he can get a little hot-headed, but you have to understand. Some of the departments he’s managing aren’t performing as well as they should.”

Me: “I’m going to stop that line of discussion right there. Last time we spoke about him, I already said that I understood his frustrations as a manager. That doesn’t excuse anything or make his actions anywhere near acceptable. This morning, he shouted at me in front of customers over a simple misunderstanding, almost immediately after having shouted at my two coworkers for not having all the empty spots on the salad and sandwich wall filled. So, I have a question. If one employee is in the middle of making salads while also serving a line of customers at the cold cut station, while the only other employee is cooking food and serving customers at the hot case, how exactly are they also supposed to be producing so much that they’ve filled the shelves before the store’s even been open for an hour?”

Store Manager: *pausing for a moment* “I don’t know.”

Me: “If you have employees already under pressure because they’re trying to juggle filling a wall and serving customers, as well as all of the other regular things one has to do when opening the deli department, and [Manager] comes along and the first thing he does is to start disrespecting them openly in front of customers, what happens to morale?”

Store Manager: *pausing again* “It drops, and if anything, they slow down because of the unneeded stress and frustration.”

Me: “Exactly! Now, I honestly feel that I should have gone to corporate about [Manager] last time I had a complaint, but since this is your store, out of respect for you, I’m giving you one last chance to handle this. What he’s doing is acting like a bully, which is high school nonsense. This is the adult world now, where there’s no place for that foolishness. If this problem isn’t resolved this time, I will go to corporate. If they do nothing, then I’ll move myself from his side of the store or I will walk out. I have more respect for myself than to allow myself to be treated like that.”

Store Manager: *nods slowly* “I understand.”

(With that, I thanked him for his time, shook his hand, and got back to work. I believe my complaint may have been one of the final straws, since not long after, [Manager] was moved to a smaller store.)


A Hairy Escalation

, , , , , , , | Working | July 26, 2018

(I was lucky enough to be born with natural thick, red hair, which I grow long until it reaches my knees — I’m 5’4”. Then, I cut it and sell my plait to a wig company that buys human hair and donates wigs to children with hair loss. I then donate the money, usually to a local organization or charity. The last time I did it, though, I decided to donate the money to a mum with six kids who lost her husband in a car accident, and then soon after lost everything in a house fire. I’m just about ready to cut my hair again and I am discussing it with a coworker when another new coworker joins the conversation.)

Me: “I’m thinking maybe [Organization that works with abused women and kids].”

New Coworker: “Oh, you’re the girl that gives money to people after you cut your hair?”

Me: “Um… I donate the money to a worthy cause.”

New Coworker: “My daughter, who’s sixteen, just found out she’s pregnant. She really needs the money for the baby.”

Me: “Um… Sorry to hear that, but I haven’t made the decision on where I’m donating it yet.”

New Coworker: “Oh, okay.”

(She doesn’t say anything more, and barely talks to me over the next two months. Over the Christmas break that our office is shut, I cut my hair and donate the money to my chosen cause. The first day back, my new coworker approaches me again while talking to my other coworker before we start work.)

New Coworker: “Oh, I see you finally cut your hair.”

Me: “Yep. As it’s summer, it gets quite hot and heavy.”

New Coworker: “Oh, good. So, do you have the money for me?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

New Coworker: “You said you’d give the money to my daughter for her baby.”

Me: *looking to other coworker* “Um… I said I hadn’t decided where I was donating the money.”

New Coworker: “No, you said you’d give the money to my daughter. You better give me the money; my daughter is counting on it.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I never said I’d give it to your daughter. I’ve already donated it to [Organization].”

New Coworker: “What?! You said you’d give it to her, not some ungrateful b****es that don’t know how to take care of their men!”

Me: “I never said that, and it’s my choice who I donate the money to. Now, can you please stop causing a scene and let me start my work?”

New Coworker: “My daughter is counting on the money. You’ll be sorry; just wait and see!”

(She then went to the boss and told them that I’d promised her the money, and that when she asked me about it I called her daughter a w**** and said that she, her daughter, and the baby should die. After talking to me, as well as my other coworker and others that were there, my boss then fired her for lying and causing disharmony in the workplace. When she was fired, she proceeded to throw my boss’s computer off the desk and throw a chair through the glass door of the office. She was arrested for damages and making threats to kill me. She also tried to sue the company for unfair dismissal.)

Got Milk And Homophobia

, , , , , , | Friendly | July 26, 2018

(I work as a clerk at a grocery store and I am currently serving a short boy — around 5’2” — with a turtleneck and longish hair; he looks rather girlish.)

Man: *behind him* “C’mon, girly. I’ve got places to be.”

Boy: *looking like he’s had to say this a thousand times* “I’m a boy.”

(He continues unloading his full cart rather quickly. After about a minute, the guy decides to speak up again.)

Man: “Come on, you f****** [homophobic slur]; you’re going way too slow!”

(I’m rather surprised by this, but the boy almost grins. There’s a large man who I’d seen him send back a moment ago coming back. He’s a good 6’2” and covered in tattoos.)

Larger Man: “I got the milk!”

(He says this like he’s nine, and it’s kind of adorable. The smaller one looks at him and mutters something.)

Larger Man: *looking down at the rude man, kind demeanor suddenly completely gone*  “I will beat the everloving s*** out of you if you say one more word to my boyfriend.”

(The look on the guy’s face as they finished checking out almost killed me. And don’t worry; I had to card both of them for their beer, and the small guy was 23.)