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.)

Customers Are A Pain(giver)

, , , , , , | Right | April 16, 2018

(After being in the office all morning, sorting out a problem with the tills, I finally make my way onto the shop floor. This is my first customer of the day.)

Me: *moving to the side as we pass on the stairs* “Good morning.”

Customer: “No. It’s not a good morning. I’ve got a headache and it’s raining. Can I have some painkillers?”

Me: “I’m afraid we don’t have any, and we aren’t allowed to give medication to customers.”

Customer: “But I’m in pain. Why don’t you care? Today is my first time without taking drugs and you don’t even care. You’re a monster!

(The customer then ran up the stairs, and I went down to check on my colleagues. After I have been serving for a while, the customer comes downstairs with a large book in her hands and is served by one of the new girls who works weekends. The transaction goes smoothly, with the customer shooting me dirty looks the whole time.)

Customer: “I want a bag. The real ones, not the ones you give anyone. I have money, you know.”

Colleague: “They are real bags; we don’t have any others to give you, I’m afraid.”

Customer: “Why are you afraid? You should be afraid of being young and a girl.”

Colleague: *staying very professional* “Is there anything else for you today?”

Customer: “You’re trying to cheat me! I want to see your manager. Right now!”

(I take over the transaction, much to her disgust.)

Me: “Is there a problem?”

Customer: “I want a real bag, not those plastic ones.”

Me: “As my colleague told you, these are the only ones we provide. I can double them up for you, though, if you’re worried about them breaking.”

Customer: “You know, you’re horrible. My grandfather was the most wonderful, kind, loving person in the world, and he was tortured and murdered in Germany. You are a monster, and you deserve to be tortured in Nazi Germany, you b****.”

(She storms out of the store without the book.)

Me: “I’m going back into the office for a bit.”

Certainly Has Some Issues

, , , , | Right | April 16, 2018

(I work in a used bookstore that sells books and media. We often have large coffee table books for a dollar or two. A lady comes up to my register with an armload of large books and I ring her out.)

Me: “Would you like a bag or two for these?”

Customer: “IT’S YOUR ISSUE!”

Me: “Y…yes? Would a box be better? I can make a box!”

Customer: “IT’S YOUR ISSUE! IT’S YOUR ISSUE!”

(She waves off a box and quickly becomes exasperated, as if we are forcing her to buy this giant pile of giant books. I put them in a couple of bags. She’s still not happy.)

Customer: “HOW DO I CARRY?! IT’S YOUR ISSUE!”

Me: “I can help you to your car. Where are you going?”

Customer: “HOW FAR?!”

(I then realized that she was walking, and imagined carrying her books around town. I repeatedly asked where she lived but only got, “IT’S YOUR ISSUE,” in return. She came back a few more times and yelled, “IT’S YOUR ISSUE,” at different booksellers, to the point it became a catchphrase at the store. Was she on a personal crusade against bags? Or books? We still see her occasionally, but she has stopped buying large amounts of large books.)

Context Is Thicker Than Blood

, , , | Healthy | April 13, 2018

(I’m standing at the reception desk of my doctor’s office when suddenly I hear a woman yell:)

Woman: “I don’t have blood anymore!”

(I do a mental double-take since the receptionist seems completely unfazed.)

Woman: “Mrs. [Receptionist]! I don’t have blood anymore!”

(The receptionist looks up, smiling benevolently. Just as I start to wonder what the heck is going on, a female doctor’s assistant walks up to the reception desk, trailed by a courier carrying a sealed box.)

Doctor’s Assistant: “Mrs. [Receptionist], the courier is here; all the blood samples will be sent out now.”

(Finally, it clicked. So, there wasn’t a vampire phlebotomist on the loose!)

Your Tolerance Is Intolerable

, , , , | Learning | April 13, 2018

(It’s the first week of college and the class takes turns to introduce themselves, using a presentation containing photos of important events and people in our lives, as per assignment. A classmate is presenting and shows a picture of herself and another girl.)

Classmate: “This is my girlfriend and me.” *pauses and gives the class a provocative glance before continuing as normal*

(At the end of the day I find her crying in the hallway.)

Me: “What’s the matter?”

Classmate: “Didn’t you see how they all looked when I mentioned I had a girlfriend? Yes, I’m gay; so what? Why does everyone has to be so judgemental?! I hate this class!”

Me: “I don’t know; I haven’t heard or seen any negative reactions. Personally, I don’t care if someone’s straight or gay. I don’t think anyone in this class cares, to be honest.”

Classmate: “No, they all judged me; I saw it in their eyes. Why can’t I just be accepted for once?” *runs away crying*

(She disappeared from class a few weeks after, claiming she couldn’t take the bullying. No one ever bullied her, ever, for being gay or otherwise.)