The Weird Boss To End All Weird Bosses

, , , , , | Working | September 1, 2020

I was twenty-one when I had my first job in America. I’m Arabic, and my boss was Asian-American. I hadn’t seen The Office at the time, but I noted the absurdity of my boss and now I’d definitely compare him to Michael Scott.

He would get free potato chips from a guy in a company truck and would stuff his cheeks in the middle of telling me what to do. He always offered some.

He fired a coworker for screaming some racist stuff at me by just… yanking her out the door.

He called another coworker a cub or a baby lion because she was tiny with wild unruly hair, and he would do a mini-roar whenever she was about to report for her shift or when I mentioned her name.

Sometimes, he ran around the place with a wig on his head imitating me.

He occasionally brought his daughter to work and gave her piggyback rides in the office, and he would ask me to take videos.

He would talk to black people in a “black” way. He would say, “Wassup, shorty?” to the ladies and ask people, “What’s poppin’?” He called the guys Tyrone and would say, “Shieeeeeet,” in his most convincing “black” voice. It was actually pretty accurate.

He would ask me to teach him random Arabic words so he could yell them sporadically in the middle of the day. He always got the accent right.

He had an open-door policy and would do shots in his office.

He started a small chicken farm in the back of the building and would give out whole chickens to the staff. He had a coworker and me try to slaughter one on one occasion. I couldn’t do it and nicked it just a little bit and shrieked, spraying all three of us with blood.

He eventually received a visit from some people from the city who came to tell him he couldn’t keep chickens in back. He was rounding the main floor with a small basket of freshly laid eggs just as they were asking for him.

He did the chicken farm again the next summer, this time with a small garden growing squash, cucumber, corn, etc. to disguise the chicken coop, and he happily gave out vegetables along with chicken. He was extremely proud of taking home a tray of his own eggs to his children and ate two fresh eggs every morning.

He brought a wok to work to deep fry sausages in. Sometimes, he made lunch in the back. The entire floor would smell like food and he would round us all — three of us — to his office to eat.

He would regularly fall asleep under his desk. The snoring was so loud you could hear it in the front. Once, a client asked what that noise was. I said it was the plumbing. He usually woke up after his naps looking puffy but acting as if nothing had happened, and he would always immediately go next door for a Cherry Coke.

He would constantly eat hard candy to stay awake during the day.

He ate too many edibles at a party I hosted once and passed out.

He told me to hire someone, but when he saw the girl, he did a comical thing with his face, eyebrows raised and eyes big — think Ken Jeong — because she was having trouble fitting into her chair. She was a bigger girl. He took away chairs the next day because they “encouraged us not to concentrate on the client.” The girl was a no-call-no-show the following week.

He had a love-hate relationship with a groundhog not long into his farming venture. He never caught the guy.

He once threw a cricket at me from the very opposite end of the office floor. He and another coworker kept such straight faces as I finally convinced myself the cricket flung itself at me. I watched the cameras at the end of the day only to see them do it. I’m still traumatized.

He had a hard time growing a beard and would ask me what I thought of the progress of his “soup taster.”

He fell into a poison ivy bush once and didn’t know right away. He ran around screaming until we sat him in his office, semi-undressed, and put medicine on his wounds. He was so miserable for days; it was hard to watch.

He dove headfirst into the wall when asleep once and needed to go to the doctor and get three stitches on his busted lip. He came to work that morning with a huge lip and kept having to explain himself all day. We kept joking that his wife was beating him up. He still insisted on snacking as usual. At one point, he sipped ketchup with a straw.

He has an office to this day full of the weirdest collection of things: a few feathers from favorite chickens of his that he has since consumed, all named and dated, a rabbit paw someone gave him, a goat’s hoof, a framed quote I told him that was told to me by a very high homeless person… I don’t remember the rest. It’s just an odd place to go into.

He was the nicest boss I’ve ever had — well-meaning, if a little racially insensitive, all while being fascinated by other people’s cultures. He would buy different cuisines for us to try each week. He gave bonuses because he knew the job didn’t pay much, so that was always a nice surprise. He paid my former coworker when she had to stay home all through her husband’s bout with the recent health crisis.

He loves llamas, alpacas, and baby goats, and when I showed him how to use Reddit, he would almost always send me an alpaca photo. I still get a photo now and then.

Three years after I left the job, he still sends me photos of his illegal farm and recently asked me to post his cucumbers on Reddit.

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What A Crap Idea

, , , , , | Right | August 31, 2020

It’s at the peak of toilet-paper-based panic-buying. I am working at the counter of a chocolate shop and making small talk with a couple of customers as I check them out.

Customer #1: “It’s all so crazy, isn’t it?”

Me: “Oh, I know. I’ve even been worried that when people use the bathroom they’ll steal all of our toilet rolls!”

Customer #1: “That would be terrible!”

Customer #2: “Ooh! You all should make toilet-roll-shaped chocolates!”

Customer #1: “That’s a great idea!”

Customer #2: “Made of white chocolate!”

Customer #1: “Even better, white chocolate with splatters of milk chocolate on the outside!”

Me: *Awkward pause* “Yeah. Well, here you are. Thanks for coming in!”

Customer #2: *Walking out the door* “Seriously, do it! You’ll do great business!”

I actually lost that job soon after because of the outbreak but I don’t think poo-themed chocolates would have saved it.

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If Only They Could See Themselves

, , , | Right | August 30, 2020

It is 1999. I am working in technical support for an ISP. I get a phone call from a young-sounding lady and I help her to configure her email client. Her partner also has his ear near the phone so he can listen in. Throughout the call, she is covering the mouthpiece, but I can still hear the muffled conversation with her partner.

Client: “They really are spying on everything we do on the Internet?”

Client’s Partner: “Yeah. Motherf****** government watching everything we do. Large corporations, too; spying on us! You have to be real smart to know how to avoid them!”

Me: “Okay, what I need you to do is click on tools and then go to accounts. Okay, great. Please enter your name. Good. Please move a little to the left as I am having trouble seeing you. Great. Now enter your email address.”

In the background:

Client: *In panicked whisper* “Oh, my God. He can see us! What do I do?”

Client’s Partner: *Sounding very strained* “Oh, man, he can see us. F***, this is bad. It’s what I told you. This is real bad. F***!”

Client: “What should I do?”

I heard a lot of bumps and noises in the background and the line went dead. I can only think that they must have yanked the phone cable out of the wall. I could have gotten into trouble for that, but that call kept me smiling for the next month.

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Hey, What Happened To All The Gatorade?

, , , , | Right | August 27, 2020

There’s a big-name shop which has lots of smaller “local” shops in neighbourhoods. One of these is at the top of my road, so I go there often. I’m friendly with one of the managers and we will often stop and chat while I shop. I like a particular brand of energy drink and usually buy a can when I’m there, but today there are none on the shelf. When I get to the registers, I find out why.

Me: “Do you have any [Energy Drink #1] in the back? There’s none on the shelf.”

Manager: “Unfortunately not, sorry.”

He leans in and half-whispers to me.

Manager: “They all got stolen.”

Me: “What? Stolen? What do you mean?”

Manager: “Some guys came in last night, and we were out of [Energy Drink #2] so they got really upset and stole all the [Energy Drink #1].”

Me: “They… stole it? Because you were out of the other type? No way!”

Manager: “Yep. I’m pretty sure they were both on drugs. They were wandering about for ages and kept asking the colleagues for [Energy Drink #2] and got more and more upset until they put all the [Energy Drink #1] in a basket and ran out the door! [Security Guard] wanted to chase after them but I didn’t want her getting hurt over less than £20 of merchandise so I told her to leave it. The police are coming round later to get the security tapes, though.”

Moral of the story is, don’t get upset if a shop doesn’t have a certain thing! It might have been out of punishment by a couple of thieves.

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My, Aren’t We Feeling Entitled Today?, Part 2

, , , , , , | Right | August 26, 2020

Customer: “I’d like three chicken tenders and a half-pound of potato wedges.”

Me: “All righty.”

I pack the tenders into a Styrofoam tray and put a price tag on it. Then, I get another tray to put the wedges in.

Customer: “You can put them in the same box.”

Me: “No, actually, I can’t. They’re different prices.”

Customer: “But I don’t want to carry around two of these big things!”

Me: “Sorry, but these are the only containers we have right now, ma’am.”

Customer: “I don’t get why you can’t put them in the same box. There’s room in there!”

Me: “Because chicken tenders are $6.99 and potato wedges are $3.99. They have to be packaged separately unless you get the lunch combo.”

Customer: “So just put them both in there and charge $3.99 for the whole thing!”

Me: “I can’t do that.”

Customer: “Are you refusing to serve me?!

Me: “If I did what you asked, I’d be putting my job in trouble.”

Customer: “So what? I don’t care if you get fired. Your job is to do what the customer wants! And I want you to put those in the same box and use the cheap price!”

Me: “Well, if I get fired, then I have no means by which to do what the customer wants. Besides, if our company did that for everyone, we’d lose a lot of money.”

Customer: “Then don’t do it for everyone; just do it for me, you idiot! No one else matters, and they’re all going to be dead soon anyway!”

Me: “Uh… What?”

Customer: “Our Lord has chosen Donald Trump as his instrument of destruction, and the streets will run red with the blood of subhuman vermin and filth! As it should be! Then I won’t have to listen to this, ‘Oh, if I do it for you I have to do it for everyone’ s***!”

Me: “I’m going to have to get my manager.”

Customer: “Keep your s***ty food, you r****d! Have fun going out of business!”

My, Aren’t We Feeling Entitled Today?

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