Cut From The Mouth Of Babes

, , , | Right | June 12, 2017

(I’m quite short and petite, so many customers mistake me for a teenager and patronise me even though I’m actually 20. This isn’t helped by the fact that it’s currently school holidays.)

Customer: “I need three metres of this fabric. But I need you to cut it straight.”

Me: “Of course, ma’am. We make an effort to ensure that every cut has been measured currently and is straight.”

(I measure out the fabric and take normal precautions to ensure it is properly lined up with the ruler so the cut will be straight. The customer apparently doesn’t think I’ve done this correctly, and moves the fabric. I firmly move it back and begin to cut. She starts to move the fabric while I’m cutting.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but it’s impossible for me to cut the fabric straight if you keep moving it.”

Customer: “But it’s not straight!”

(She keeps moving the fabric.)

Me: “I’d really appreciate it if you’d leave the measuring and cutting to me. I’ve been working here for over two years and I can assure you that you will receive three metres of correctly cut fabric. After I’ve finished cutting you’re welcome to measure the piece for yourself. If it’s incorrect I’ll happily cut you a new one.”

(She went red and kept quiet after that. To add icing to the cake, my colleague in her mid-40s approached me while I was processing the transaction and asked me how to place a complicated order. Never assume that someone who looks young is inexperienced.)

Thanks But No Thanksgiving

, , | NJ, USA | Working | December 18, 2015

(I work for a popular retail chain. At our store, it is normally expected to have all hands on deck for Black Friday and days off had to typically be secured months in advance. However, in what turned out to be my last November there, we had recently hired so many people that a good handful of regulars weren’t scheduled for that day. Curious, I ask one of the managers if that’s accurate.)

Manager: “Yeah, we’ve got more than enough coverage all day long, even for Black Friday. Enjoy the turkey hangover!”

(I make sure to ask several times of different managers during the two weeks between when the schedule was posted and when BF finally rolls around, and am always given the same answer. Finally, on the day before Thanksgiving, the one manager I haven’t talked to because I never am in at the same time that she is — the one in charge of scheduling, coincidentally — approaches me.)

Scheduling Manager: “Hey, we’re going to need you in on Friday.”

Me: “Um… excuse me? I wasn’t scheduled.”

Scheduling Manager: “Things changed. You need to come in.”

Me: “I can’t. I already made plans to go see family out of state, since I was assured by everyone short of the district manager that the schedules were accurate.”

Scheduling Manager: “We had two people already need to drop out, so you need to come in.”

Me: “Hang on, you’re trying to tell me that two people who WERE scheduled are okay to leave, but when I wasn’t scheduled I’m in trouble for not being able to come in!?”

Scheduling Manager: “Look at it this way; it just goes to show how valuable you are to the company! See you Friday.”

Me: “I’m not going to be here Friday, sorry.”

(No, the scheduling manager wasn’t particularly popular with that sort of condescending attitude. No, I didn’t go in. No, I didn’t feel bad when a couple months later I got a better job offer, and she tried to chew me out for not giving “enough advance warning” besides my two-week’s notice!)

Foot In Mouth 101

, , , | Virginia, USA | Learning | November 16, 2012

(Note: I am a criminal justice major at a college in rural Virginia. The head of our department is notoriously sexist and racist but nothing has even been done about various claims filed against him. I see him walking by with a family, giving a tour.)

Department Head: “Oh, and as you can see, we also promote diversity on our campus by giving scholarships to a few less privileged students. Most of them, like these ladies, are in the nursing program because it’s fairly easy and there is a thriving work force.”

(He gestures at two female African-American students. Both are wearing business attire. One of the women, obviously having overheard him, calmly walks over.)

Female Student: “Hello, [Head of Department], I see you are leading a tour around campus. My name is Jessica [Last Name of Major University Benefactor], granddaughter of [Major University Benefactor]. I am a criminal justice major and have been in your classes the past two terms. I used to think you ignored me because the classes were so large and I am still only in my second year, but now I realize you are a racist, sexist chauvinist. I wish you the best of luck in your future job because once I speak with [Major University Benefactor], you will be needing a new one.”

(She then walked away with her friend. Sure enough, the next term we had a new department head — a former US Congresswoman!)

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Time For Career Path Resuscitation

, | Sunshine Coast, Australia | Working | November 5, 2012

(While we’re driving, an old man has fallen over onto the road right in front of our car, pulling his elderly wife down with him. We screech to a halt, just barely managing to avoid running them over. My mum and dad are both emergency consultants and are high-ranking doctors who command emergency wards. Mum jumps out of the car to stop other traffic and my dad heads to the downed couple to help them off the road. The woman is visibly shaken, but the man is incoherent and unable to stand. My dad quickly gets me to call an ambulance and sets about helping the man as best he can. Eventually, the ambulance arrives. A paramedic jumps out and zeroes in on the old man.)

Paramedic: “Okay, every thing’s all right now.” *to my dad* “Sir, are you the one who called the ambulance?”

Dad: “Yes…”

(My dad proceeds to give a doctor-handover to the paramedic, including symptoms, current stats, and his diagnosis, which is basically that the old man’s heart keeps skipping a beat and he needs to go to hospital right now. The paramedic doesn’t look at my dad the entire time.)

Paramedic: “If you’ll step aside, sir, I can examine the patient.” *to the semi-unconscious man* “Sir?  What’s your name?”

Dad: “His name is [Name]. I just told you. He’s having trouble talking, but his wife told us.”

Paramedic: *to my dad* “Sir, I need you to step away so I can do my job. I know this is scary and you think you’re helping, but—”

Mum: “Oh, my God, are you being serious?!”

(My dad gives Mum a look that tells her to let it go.)

Dad: “Okay, let me help you set up your equipment.”

Paramedic: “No, it’s really very complicated. I’ll do it…”

(My dad steps back to let the paramedic work, thinking that the old man will get to the hospital faster if he just goes along with it. However, the paramedic is fumbling and confusing his equipment and generally wasting time.)

Dad: “Let me help you with that.”

(Before the paramedic can say anything, my dad kneels down and fixes the equipment. Within about a minute, the entire thing is set up and attached with about a dozen wires to the old man. The paramedic finally looks my dad in the eyes.)

Paramedic: *gasps* “You’re [Dad]!”

Dad: “Yes.”

Paramedic: *looks a little pale* “I’ve gone to your lectures! I—”

Dad: “—”worked with me on a few retrievals, I know. Are you ready for a handover yet?”

Paramedic: *embarrassed* “Yes, sir.”

(My dad proceeds to tell the paramedic exactly what he told him when he first arrived. This time, however, the paramedic is following and nodding.)

Dad: “Oh, and one last thing: when you arrive and someone starts speaking like a doctor, listen to him, or at least look directly at him to check if he’s your boss. Now, get this man to the ED before he dies and we’ll talk about this more later.”

Paramedic: “Yes, sir!”

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Don’t Bite The Hand That Shreds You

, | USA | Learning | October 31, 2012

(At the school where I teach, there’s a new teacher who seems to have a habit of talking down to people: students, custodians, and most notably, the school secretary. One day, the new teacher storms in and slams a paper down on the secretary’s desk.)

Teacher: “Listen, you lazy b****! This is the third work order I’ve put in about a broken desk. It’s been two weeks. Why isn’t it fixed?”

Secretary: “I just file the paperwork. You’d have to talk to the custodians.”

Teacher: “I don’t to talk to a dumba** janitor! I shouldn’t have to! I went to college!”

Secretary: “You’ll have to take it up with [Custodian].”

Teacher: “Did you just talk back to me?! I can have you fired for that! I’m a teacher; you’re just a secretary. You’re here to serve me!” *storms out*

Me: *to the secretary* “Wow, did that really just happen?”

Secretary: “Yep. He’s cussed me out twice this year already.”

(I watch as she calmly picks up his work order and slides it into the shredder.)

Secretary: “I have no idea why they haven’t fixed that desk yet.”

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