My Mission Is Not Commission

, , , , , | Working | April 18, 2018

(I am unemployed and on a job hunt. I get an unsolicited phone call from a woman representing a company I’ve never heard of.)

Woman: “Hello, is this [My Name]?”

Me: “It is.”

Woman: “I’m from [Unfamiliar Company]. We received your resume and we think you’re a perfect fit for someone who wants to build their business and progress into management.”

Me: “What does your company do, exactly?”

(She gives some vague business blabber about building management skills, establishing connections, and, “building your business,” etc. My background is not in anything entrepreneurial, and my resume is focused on describing my skills within disciplines that aren’t easily confused with “management” or “building a business.”)

Me: “What was it on my resume specifically that demonstrates to you my managerial skills?”

Woman: “We have a vendor partner that sorts through the resumes for us, and I actually don’t have your resume in front of me right now. However, since they selected you, I’m sure it’s because of your background in management and your past successes at building business. Could you make it in tomorrow at 11 o’clock for an interview?”

(Obviously, I don’t think this is going anywhere worthwhile, nor necessarily above-board, but I’m also on unemployment benefits which not only require me to have a certain number of job contacts weekly, but forbid me from declining or skipping interviews, etc.)

Me: “Tomorrow at 11? Fine.”

Woman: “Great! I’ll send an email to [my email on my resume] with the address, directions, and instructions. Bring a copy of your resume with you!”

(I get the email and start digging online a little. I find that it’s a real company but that the nature of their business is odd; you work on 100% commission by going business-to-business selling third-party manufactured office supplies — cold sales. I find lots of very bad reviews online about their conduct to employees, and lots of cult-like rants from a few other people defending the company and the owner. I notice that the email specifies that I “must dress formally” for the interview. I read that their “interview” is actually a sales pitch about “building a business,” I assume through commission sales, and involves no questions or discussion. But the most important thing that I notice is the address of their office: it’s a building I used to work in years prior. My company at the time had to change locations because the place caught on fire, and I’ve not been back since heading home the day it happened. I am interested in seeing my old workplace again. Suddenly, I’m excited about my upcoming morning. I arrive at the office building the next day at 10:55 am, wearing jeans and a punk rock t-shirt, quite on purpose. I head into the building at the same time as a guy who looks like he’s 19 years old, wearing a suit three sizes too large, carrying a manila folder. The company’s office turns out to be part of my old CEO and his assistant’s offices. I walk in and see the guy I saw outside and two other similarly-aged and similarly-dressed young men sitting awkwardly in chairs filling out paperwork on clip boards. Directly ahead of me is a woman who’s probably in her late 20s — a few years younger than me. Behind her, I can see through the glass door into a room where there are about six to eight more young men in too-large business suits taking notes and listening to a guy in his late 20s lecture about something I can’t quite make out. I recognize the voice of the woman at the desk as the woman I spoke with the day before.)

Woman: “Can I help you, sir?”

Me: *big, happy smile* “Yes! I’m [My Name]. I’m here for an interview?”

(YET ANOTHER awkwardly-dressed young man walks in behind me as I’m talking.)

Woman: *to other guy* “Can I help you, sir?”

Guy: “Yeah, I’m [Guy]. I’m here for an interview?”

Woman: “Certainly. Go ahead and fill out this paperwork and return it to me when you’re done, and we’ll have you in the next group.” *turning back to me* “[My Name], would you come with me?”

(I follow her through a short but winding hallway. The whole time I’m looking in every direction, trying to put together where what the parts of my old office were. She leads me into a small office and is suddenly very stern with me.)

Woman: “[My Name], did you not read the email I sent you yesterday with the information for the interview about formal dress?”

Me: *playing dumb* “Oh, really? I’m sorry. I missed that. Well… I’m here, though?”

Woman: “We are interested in helping people build their business and advance to management, and we expect people to dress the part. We have another interview scheduled this afternoon, so you can go home and put on something more appropriate and be back for that.”

Me: “Hmm, yeah… I have other things arranged for this afternoon.”

Woman: “Well, check your schedule to see when you have more openings this week or next week, and I’ll see if we can line up. Drive safe.”

(She escorted me out of the suite and closed the door behind me. Of course, I didn’t call them back, and they never contacted me again. A year or so later I remembered all this and looked that company up again. They’d changed their name, moved locations, and had several former employees complaining about unpaid commissions.)

This Employee Has A Hex(Core) On You

, , , , , | Working | April 12, 2018

(The guitar tech at the locally-owned music store my friends and I frequent has a reputation for being very reliable and knowledgeable, but also snobbish. He has a tendency to make you feel silly for not knowing what he knows about guitar. I generally try to avoid him for routine stuff. I swing into the store to buy some strings, which are in racks behind the counter.)

Employee: “What brand and gauge can I grab for you?”

Me: “Well, first, I’m actually wanting a specific kind, and I know they’re not the normal kind. I just read about them… hex core?”

Employee: *looks over rack* “Hmm. I’m not seeing any that say they’re hex core. Give me a second to run into the next room and I’ll ask [Guitar Guy].”

Me: *shoulders slump; I didn’t make it*

Employee: *coming back* “[Guitar Guy] says all strings are hex core unless they’re labeled round core.”

(I realize my error in that I’d swapped hex and round core strings. I bought some round core and left. Later I ran into one of my friends who knows about that store and I told him what happened.)

Friend: “Man, he wasn’t even in the same room and he still got you! Amazing!”

Wants A Wait Rebate

, , , , , , , | Right | January 9, 2018

(As part of our checkout process, we’re required to ask if the customer is a member of our loyalty program. This particular customer says she is, but hasn’t shopped with us in years; I try to look up her old account but can’t find it, so she decides to just get a new account. I take all the necessary information and create the new account for her, then mention that I can give her a 10% discount for signing up with us.)

Customer: “Oh, well, in that case, there was one other item I was considering buying. Can I go grab it really quick?”

Me: “Sure, no problem!”

(She steps away from the registers, and because we’ve been quite busy all day and there’s a long line of customers behind her, I put a suspend on her transaction, set her items aside, and help the next person in line. By the time I finish that transaction, the original customer has returned, and is called up by my manager, who is on the register next to mine.)

Customer: *pointing to me* “She was helping me; I don’t know what happened….”

Me: *gathering her items from where I’d set them aside* “I just put a suspend on the order, but I can finish it up for you now!”

(Up until this point the customer has been perfectly civil, but now all of a sudden she explodes.)

Customer: “I stepped away for TWO SECONDS!”

Manager: *clearly as shocked by the sudden outburst as I am* “I… I’m sorry ma’am, but there’s a line—”

Customer: *still very belligerent* “No, it’s fine; I don’t need an explanation.”

(Meanwhile I’ve resumed the transaction, but I am distracted enough by the customer’s outburst that I miss one item, and only notice that I didn’t scan it after she’s paid for the rest of her items. So, bracing for another outburst, I apologize and start a new transaction for the last item, and do an override to give her the 10% discount, even though this is technically no longer her first transaction after opening a loyalty account. Because it was my mistake — and because I know she’ll blow up at me if I don’t — I give her the discount. She glares at me through this whole second transaction, but I get through it and hand her her bag and receipt.)

Me: “Okay, you’re all set. Have a nice day!”

(At this point she just takes her bag and stays standing at the register, still glaring at me.)

Me: “Um… Is there something else I can help you with?”

Customer: *in the most snarky tone imaginable* “Well, I thought you might say, ‘Thank you,’ since I did spend my money here, and you did make me wait.”

(And then, while I struggled to come up with a response that wouldn’t get me fired on the spot, she turned and walked away. I had to step into the back for a minute until I could stop shaking with rage.)

Pre-Foetal Applications

, , , , | Friendly | October 3, 2017

(One of the women who works in my office is known for not being too bright. She is nice enough, but the ignorance gets to be too much to bear sometimes. She is about six months pregnant when the following conversation happens.)

Pregnant Coworker: “I’m going to take a trip with my daughter to the east coast, to Harvard and Yale, to show her around, so she can see what it takes to be successful.”

Coworker #2: “You mean when she’s older, right?”

Pregnant Coworker: “What? No! Haha! I was planning on going during my maternity leave.”

(Everyone was speechless and didn’t say another word about it.)

A Weird Beard Exchange

, , , , , , | Friendly | September 22, 2017

I regularly played guitar on Sunday mornings with the music team at my church, and had for many years at the time of this story.

This particular Sunday was during a period where I was in between jobs, and I had let my beard grow out for a couple months due to laziness, and a little curiosity.

An old lady that I recognized, but had never talked to before, came up to me after service. “Excuse me,” she said, “I was looking at you during worship today, and I was just thinking that you used to be such an attractive young man. I just wish you’d take better care of yourself.”

To this day, that has been the only exchange between that woman and me.

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