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And That’s How You Save Ladies’ Night

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: RoadOdeLoad | January 30, 2023

I work in a sports bar and grill in a reasonably small town. We’re a popular hangout for the local college kids as one of the only spots with a full bar and some decent grub.

I love this because, contrary to popular belief, young people are usually the better tippers and just all around more pleasant to their servers than the older crowd. I don’t know if it’s because they’ve worked service jobs more recently or if they were just raised better, but it’s noticeable, and I really enjoy serving most of them.

One drawback, though, is that they’re certainly more dramatic than the older crowd. Usually, if my middle-aged patrons bump into someone, they know there’s a quick hello and it’s done.

With these college kids, it’s often either the best thing ever to spot your friends out and they get loud and excitable, or there’s some sort of rift between the groups and… they get loud and excitable.

For example, we had a college-aged couple that came in a bunch, almost every weekend, that then split up. I’d see the guy from time to time getting loaded with his buddies, but the girl stopped coming in altogether. I figured she only ever came because he was bringing her here.

Friday, we were having a ladies’ night, and she came in with a small group of girls — maybe five altogether.

They sat at a booth and ordered some cheap drinks and kept to themselves.

Fast forward about half an hour. This guy and his buddies came in. Without realizing, they took seats at the bar directly adjacent to this girl and her booth.

I didn’t recognize them as the couple at first, but [Guy] spotted [Girl], and let’s just say it became immediately clear who left who (despite what [Guy] said).

He started in with all these passive-aggressive — and LOUD — comments to his pals about how glad he was he’d “dropped that fat b****” who was “weighing him down”. He kept looking desperately over his shoulder hoping [Girl] would overhear him.

She didn’t, or if she did, she ignored him. He kept going with the insults for another moment or two before he got into some derogatory stuff about her breasts specifically and the bartender told him he had to keep it down because he was bothering people.

The night went on, and all parties involved got more drunk — his a lot more than hers. But she and her friends ignored him.

Eventually, the girls got up to go dance, and he was quick to follow.

I was lingering around bringing drinks to people and keeping tabs to be sure nothing escalated.

This poor girl — he was really tearing into her. The especially psycho thing is that he alternated between insulting her and begging her to take him back.

I caught, “You fat, ugly b****, I never wanted to be with you in the first place. I was with all my exes while we were together,” and, “You’ll never do better than me, so you should take this chance while you have it. We can start over. I forgive you,” from this pathetic guy in the same string of conversation.

[Girl] kept blowing him off, and her friends who were taking notice kept breaking it up and relocating themselves. I was seconds away from having our bouncer spring [Guy], but he seemed to cool off.

That only lasted until she came to the bar — not anywhere near him, mind you — to get herself another drink. He started saying all this stuff about, “You think anyone will ever want you like that? You can have me or you can have nothing. And I don’t even want you. You were the worst decision I ever made. I don’t even know why I’m giving you this chance.”

And on and on — until he was cut off by, “What’re you saying to my girl, bro?”

A towering guy sat down, put his arm around her, and was all like, “Sorry I’m late, babe. Practice kept dragging. Can I help you, son?”

He was ten times more put together — better spoken, better dressed, way less sad or terrifying — than the guy who’d been bothering her all night.

The pathetic one was so drunk at this point that he didn’t recognize he was outmatched and started to launch into this incoherent screaming.

Guy: “She’s a SKANK, W***E, B****, and you’d better not touch her ‘cause she’s mine.”

To which the towering, calm guy stood up, took his jacket off, and said, without raising his voice:

New Guy: “Oh, so we have a problem?”

[Guy]’s friends noticed the situation and came to collect him at this point, just before one of our staff could intervene. But this new guy followed him over to his friends.

[New Guy] got right in [Guy]’s face.

New Guy: “If you have a problem with her, you have a problem with me, so I think it’s time to bounce.”

The drunk guy wasn’t having any of it, but his friends were smarter — or at least soberer — and knew they didn’t want trouble.

Once they were gone, [New Guy] went back over to [Girl].

New Guy: “Hi, nice to meet you. My name’s [New Guy]. Sorry to get all involved like that. I hope I didn’t overstep. It’s just… I could not listen to another second of that. Seriously. That guy is scary. That’s why I went with the boyfriend thing instead of just saying, ‘Hey, you suck, time to go.’ I’ve got three sisters, and he set off all my alarm bells.”

I had been wondering who’d bring a date to ladies’ night. They’d never met; he was just a stranger who’d stepped in to protect her.

They chatted a bit and he walked her out.

They were back here for a first date today!

Good Thing You’re Not Married To This Job

, , , , , , , , | Working | January 30, 2023

Over a decade ago, when I was just out of university, I had one of my first jobs as a designer and retoucher at a photo studio. It was a tiny place where [Boss] was the owner, photographer, QA, Art Director, Alpha, and Omega.

His main clientele were newlyweds, and when he got too bored or overwhelmed with the number of people wanting photoshoots and albums, he hired first a [Secretary], and then me, as a designer.

My job was to go through a few thousand photos per wedding, choose a few hundred good ones, retouch all of the people in those photos, select twenty to fifty of the best photos of the newlyweds, and design a wedding album with their best photos creatively combined into something decent with a general theme.

There were many oddities with my boss being an old, conservative, non-tech-savvy guy, though I will be telling only the last story. Just for a general idea of what kind of man he was, his favourite joke was to buy me and [Secretary] lunch which had lamb brains as the main ingredient. Because it wouldn’t hurt two girls to have more brains, of course.

It was another Monday after another wedding, after roughly nine months of me being unofficially employed there. I got the flash drive with approximately two-thousand photos.

Boss: “[Husband] specifically said that his mum needs to be beautiful in the photos. Go through all the photos and make her look young; she’s the old cow in the leopard print dress.”

I was already annoyed with his attitude, but what could I do? He was the boss. I opened the photos and quickly found the mum in question. She was a regular lady in her sixties who looked normal for her age.

Me: *To [Boss]* “Making her look young would make her a different person. I think the best approach would be to do the normal amount of retouching, with removing some of the wrinkles and skin imperfections, but not going too far or it would look unnatural. Let’s make her a happy old lady, not a blow-up doll.”

[Boss] was immediately annoyed, condescending and talking to me as if I was an idiot.

Boss: “Did you hear what I told you? I specifically said that [Husband] wants his dear mommy to look young. So, you will make her look not a day over forty-five and that is it, are we clear? Do you hear and understand me?”

I shrugged and went back to my PC to absolutely butcher that woman’s face to the point of next to no wrinkles, a thinner face, no skin pigmentation, and other atrocities. It took me twice as long to go through that wedding, since normally even the bride and groom don’t get THAT much editing. When I was done, the boss approved the set and told me to proceed with the wedding album, which was nothing special.

Fast forward two weeks, after the album and the CD of additional photos were delivered to the clients. An angry man stormed into the office, past me, and into the room where [Boss] was. After some muffled shouting, he left, and [Boss] came up to me.

Boss: “[Husband] was very unhappy with what you did to the photos of his mum.”

My thoughts were somewhere between “I told you so” and “No s***”, but I just nodded.

Next Monday was my payday. I was not officially employed (yes, super illegal, but it was extremely common back in that day back in that area for people of my age), so I was receiving my salary in cash. I got my money, and I was $50 short. I shrugged it off, since sometimes [Boss] didn’t have enough cash and paid what he had on hand, to add the remaining amount the next day.

Tuesday came and went, and on Wednesday, I went to ask him when I was going to get the rest of my paycheck. It was not an insignificant amount for me.

Boss: “You are not getting more; you don’t deserve it. You mangled that poor lady in all the photos, I had to refund him for the retouching and give him unedited photos. You have ruined their wedding!”

I silently went back to my PC, unplugged the mouse and headphones that I brought from home, and walked out, my only two words to him being “I quit”. He followed me, trying to shame me.

Boss: “People don’t just leave like this! You have a job to do! There’s an unfinished pack of photos to retouch… You have responsibilities! Decent people don’t do this. And what about two weeks’ notice?!”

Well, I was never employed there, so there was literally no way he could make me do anything else.

A month later, I was in a different city, studying in a different industry, with an entry salary three times higher than my previous one. I never heard a word about that guy and his business again. Good timing, good riddance!

Fruit Versus Bread: The Age-Old Struggle

, , , , | Working | January 30, 2023

I lost my job at a bakery because the owner’s wife saw me on my own time getting trained at a nearby fruit store. I came into the fruit store the next day for more training to learn that the owner of the bakery had come in and screamed at the fruit store’s owners in front of customers for stealing his staff, so I was sent over there to sort it out before I was allowed to train anymore.

[Bakery Owner] had been cutting my hours until I only had two shifts a week, which were both so short I didn’t even qualify for a fifteen-minute break and wasn’t earning enough to cover my travel costs. I’d planned on picking up extra shifts at the fruit store and then giving [Bakery Owner] notice.

I didn’t get much of a chance to explain; [Bakery Owner] gave away my remaining shifts and told me to bring in my uniform. I was glad to be out of there, frankly. Getting told off for taking too long because I was the only one who didn’t cut corners sucked.

There Snow Way He’s Getting Away With That

, , , , , | Working | January 29, 2023

It was a snowy January morning, and I arrived five minutes before my shift was scheduled to start at 6:00 am. Since the store was not yet open, I had to knock for the assistant manager to let me in. The assistant manager was scheduled at 5:00 am, so he should have been inside, in the office near the front entrance. The entire front of the store is glass, so I would have seen him if he had walked across the store. Nothing happened.

I checked my watch and saw that I had been standing there for three minutes. I knocked again. Still no movement from inside the store. I pounded on the window and called the assistant manager’s name. Still nothing.

I tried calling the store, but the phone just rang. I tried calling the assistant manager’s phone, but it went to voicemail.

Finally, at 6:10, [Assistant Manager] came from the back of the store. I kept pounding on the window until he looked over.

Assistant Manager: “Jesus, [My Name]. You’re late!”

Me: “I wouldn’t be if you had answered any time in the last fifteen minutes.”

Assistant Manager: “If you had knocked, I would have answered.”

Me: “I was knocking! I knocked, I yelled, I called the store, and I called you.”

Assistant Manager: *Shrugging* “Go clock in. We can discuss this later.”

A few hours later, I was called to the office, where [Assistant Manager] and [Store Manager] were waiting.

Store Manager: “[My Name], please have a seat. We need to discuss your tardiness today.”

Me: “I wasn’t. I’m sorry. I know this is rude and blunt, but I was not tardy.”

Assistant Manager: “Whatever time you pull into the lot is irrelevant. You are expected to be clocked in when you are scheduled.”

Me: “And I would have been if you had answered. I stood outside for fifteen minutes knocking and calling, and you were nowhere to be found.”

Store Manager: “[Assistant Manager] was here and has no record of you doing any of this.”

Me: “Okay.” *Pulls out my phone* “Here’s my call log. I called the store three times in five minutes and called [Assistant Manager]’s cell phone four more times. If he was in the store, why didn’t he answer any of my calls? Why didn’t he hear me pounding on the door and calling his name?”

Assistant Manager: “I was busy!”

Me: “And I’m being punished?!”

Store Manager: “Okay, let’s just take a breath here. [My Name], you can go out. I’ll do a little research here and figure out what is going on.”

I left, fuming. An hour later, [Assistant Manager] was walked out of the store. [Store Manager] approached me.

Store Manager: “Could we talk? I’m not going to reprimand you, but I do owe you an apology.”

Me: “Okay…”

Store Manager: “I reviewed the security tapes. I saw you standing out there and doing your best to get [Assistant Manager]’s attention. I can’t tell you the details because it’s an active investigation, but it seems that [Assistant Manager] was not able to answer the door. I am going to change your punch log so you get paid for the time you stood outside and remove your tardy from the records.”

Me: “Thank you!”

After I left that job, I maintained a friendship with [Store Manager].

Me: “Can you tell me what happened with [Assistant Manager]?”

Store Manager: “He was salaried, so he never had to clock in but we found out he had been lying about his hours for weeks, showing up just a few minutes before the next person and saying he’d been there the whole time. That day, the snow slowed traffic just enough that he couldn’t get there before you. He snuck in the back door and tried to play it off like it wasn’t all on the cameras.”

Take Her To The Zoo Yourself, You Animal!

, , , , , , | Learning | January 29, 2023

I recently retired from teaching, and this is the story that sticks out the most to me. This story starts in 2018 and ends in 2020. Our school makes a yearly trip with the fifth-grade class to the Honolulu Zoo. Elementary school ends at the fifth year here, so it’s kind of seen as a send-off from elementary to middle school.

In 2018, I receive a call from a parent who has one child in our fifth-grade year and another in our third.

Mother: “Hello. I was wondering how to get my daughter in [Third-Grade Teacher]’s class in on the zoo field trip with her brother?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but the zoo trip is only for the fifth-grade class. We don’t allow any additions aside from chaperoning adults.”

Mother: “No, they are siblings.”

Me: “Yes, but your daughter is in third grade. She’s not eligible for the trip.”

Mother: “But they are siblings.”

Me: “I know, but the class trip is only for fifth-graders.”

Mother: “No, they both have to go.”

Me: “Sorry, but it’s only for the fifth-grade class. Your daughter will be eligible for the trip in two years.”

Mother: “But they are siblings! You have to treat them the same!”

Me: “We will. Your son waited for fifth grade, and your daughter needs to, as well.”

Mother: “No! She is going!”

Me: “No, she is not.”

Mother: “Yes, she is!”

Me: “No, she isn’t.”

Mother: “I am their mother! I decide what happens with them!”

Me: “Not in my classroom.”

Mother: “How dare you?!”

Me: “Would you like to speak with the principal?”

Mother: “YES!”

I transfer the line, and she ends up getting into an hour-long argument with the principal of our school. Her daughter is offered a place on the field trip, but only if the mother comes as a chaperone, which we need. The woman refuses and yells obscenities at the principal. In return, she is told in no uncertain terms that she is free to take her children to the zoo herself, and if she keeps pushing the matter, she will be.

Two years later, in 2020, I am at home and my phone rings at 7:00 pm. 

Me: “Hello?”

Mother: “What the f*** is going on with the zoo trip?!”

Me: “Excuse me? Who is this?”

Mother: “You said my daughter would be allowed to go to the zoo when she got to fifth grade!”

Me: “Ma’am, the zoo is closed.”

Mother: “I don’t f****** care. You said she would be able to go.”

Me: “And now she can’t because of the GLOBAL [HEALTH CRISIS]!”

Mother: “Don’t you dare raise your v—”

Me: “Shut the f*** up.”

Mother: “Exc—”

Me:Shut the f*** up!”

Mother: “…”

Me: “You call me three hours past office hours — on my home phone — and you think you can swear at me and get your way?!”

Mother: “I—” 

Me: “Well, guess what? This isn’t a recorded line, b****, so shut the f*** up and pull your head out of your f****** a**. I can’t control [illness], and I can’t control the zoo. If you are stupid enough not to understand that, then we should be enrolling you in your daughter’s class.”

Mother: “I… I… I—”

I slammed the phone down so hard that I cracked the body of the receiver. 

This was at the end of the school year for 2020, and I was one week from retiring. 

I didn’t mention a word of this to anyone. I felt bad about it when it happened, but looking back, I would do it again.