You Are Expressly Forbidden To Express Yourself

, , , , | Working | October 13, 2018

(I am working on the express lane, which is fifteen items or less. A lady comes up with a ton of items. I politely tell her that this is the express lane of fifteen items or less. She just stares at me. I am not allowed to “make” anyone leave my line, so I start ringing up her items quickly as I have a line behind her. Her items quickly start to pile up on my smaller-than-average register, which is built for express orders only. The baggers and managers are all standing around, but won’t come help since I am on express and expected to bag my own. Finally, I finish with the lady and bag her groceries; she has a total of thirty-nine items according to the receipt.)

Me: “Have a nice day.”

Lady: “You are so rude!” *stomps off*

(The next day I get called into the office because I had a customer complaint. GUESS WHO FROM? The boss hands me the email she sent in. According to the lady, I scanned her items too fast and she couldn’t see all the prices on the computer, and I seemed angry that I didn’t have someone help me bag her items, and because of this she is never shopping there again. She says that I should have been smiling at all times, and that I needed to check slower so that she could see what I was charging her, since I was probably trying to charge her more.)

Manager: “Why were you so rude to this lady?”

Me: “I wasn’t. I checked her out fast, since she wouldn’t get out of the express line after I told her to, and I didn’t have a bagger, since you made a rule they can’t help on express, even though it wasn’t an express order. And the other manager wouldn’t help, either, even though items were piling up all over the place.”

Manager: “Oh! Well, next time call a bagger, and if they refuse call a manager. We shouldn’t have people with more than fifteen items in express, anyway.”

Me: “So, can I tell them to go to another line?”

Manager:No, that’s rude. We need to have good customer service.”

 

Minimum Wage Is Totally Skippable

, , , , , | Working | October 12, 2018

I used to work at a popular clothing store that had pretty much everything you could need at a reasonable price. Just like every other clothing store, we had a store credit card that we were encouraged to have customers sign up for.

The rule was three “No”s per transaction, which no one really followed because that’s a little ridiculous. And, of course, corporate and managers gave us weekly goals that we had to meet.

Because I was usually working the sales floor and therefore couldn’t enter cards into the computer, I was never really close to my goal. This became a problem for me, but management preferred me on the floor, so they were cool with just keeping me there.

But then, one day, I went into work to see a bright notice on the cork board. It read, “ALL EMPLOYEES WHO DON’T MEET THEIR WEEKLY CREDIT GOALS MUST ATTEND A CUSTOMER SERVICE CLASS. SEE MANAGER FOR DETAILS.”

I did exactly that. When I spoke to a manager, she told me I had to attend the three-hour, mandatory class on being a polite but pushy employee or face “consequences.” When I asked what day it was, she said, “Next Friday morning.”

I was a college student who had morning classes, so I quickly told her that I literally couldn’t attend because of class. I was told that it was fine for me to skip classes, since college kids do that all the time. When I told her I didn’t want to skip classes that I paid $30,000 a year for, she then asked me what was more important to me: college, or my minimum-wage job?

I got a new job that week. I’ve never been so happy to hand in a letter of resignation.

Fads Are Not Light Bulb Moments

, , , , , | Working | October 12, 2018

(The latest management fad is a daily briefing in which we have to state yesterday’s achievements and objectives for today, with a three-minutes time limit, all while standing in a circle holding hands. The implementer of the fad alternates between interrupting people for not giving their statements correctly and reprimanding them for running out of time. My turn comes, but a colleague cuts me off:)

Colleague: “[My Name], get a ladder and get someone to hang that map…”

Me: “Oh, while they have the ladder out, they could also change the burnt-out light bulb in the corridor!”

Fad Implementer: *holding up a finger like I was a little kid* “No, no, no, [My Name], this is not a topic for the morning briefing!”

Me: *speechless*

(I just hope the fad dies out before I punch him in the throat.)

Not The Only Terrorists That Day

, , , , , , , | Working | October 5, 2018

(I work for a home office of a store chain in Virginia, before 9/11. When the planes hit, it is pandemonium in our office, and our boss is a real piece of work. One of our employees has a dentist appointment that morning. He calls in to say he will be spending the day with his family. My boss gives me his work and tells me to run the numbers for product being sold in the coming months. I scale them back 20%.)

Boss: “Why did you scale them back?”

Me: “We just had a terrorist attack. We’re going to war. People are going to have other things on their minds than buying a new [Expensive Toy Product Line].”

Boss: “Run them again, as normal. There is no excuse… none… for our employees to fail to sell products at the normal rates.”

(I just stare at him. This is so cartoonishly disconnected from reality that I can’t believe he said that. He just gives me that dismissive hand wave. Several women have husbands who work for the Pentagon; they keep trying to get a hold of their loved ones, and aren’t getting through. A lot of tissues are being used.)

Boss: *yelling at them* “Get off the phone and get back to work!”

(He is ignored, which makes him angry. During lunch break, he goes through the whole office and takes away everyone’s Internet cables.)

Boss: “This is so that people will stop playing around on the Internet and get some actual work done!”

(When employees found out that they couldn’t get online to check for updates, the entire office turned on him. The boss kept bellowing that they were here to work, and that they needed to put their personal lives on hold while on the clock. He told them that their work ethic needed to improve, and since they couldn’t do anything, anyway, they might as well make themselves useful. I had never seen an entire office turn their backs and walk out like they did that day. He tried to discipline everyone who walked out, but a higher-up intervened. He was quietly retired a short time later.)


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I Got 99 Problems And A Hundred Is One

, , , , , | Working | October 5, 2018

(I work at a gas station. After several customers complain that we don’t break large bills, my manager — against corporate advice — decides to do so, anyway. What follows is a summary of the week after.)

First Customer Of The Day: “Can you break a hundred?”

Me: “No.”

Manager: “Yes, we can. I’ll go get the money.”

(The manager walks into her office in back. To her surprise, the customer has followed her. After breaking the hundred, the “customer” walks out without buying anything. The manager returns to the front.)

Second Customer: “Can you break a hundred for me?”

Me: “No.”

Manager: “You have to buy something first.”

(The second customer looks around and decides on a ten-cent gumball, handing me a hundred. I look at the manager, who nods. Shaking my head, I empty my register to give the second customer the money, including several rolls of coins.)

Second Customer: “Man, why are you giving me this? I wanted bills!” *storms out*

Manager: “Let me get you some more money.”

(She goes back to her office and returns with money, only to see three more customers with hundreds out. This repeats every day for three days before my manager changes tactics.)

Manager: “Listen, I’ll just go in back. When you need to break a big bill, use the intercom.”

Me: “This is ridiculous. We’re making maybe ten bucks more a day for this, and you’re easily taking in several thousand in hundreds for it. Word’s already gotten out, and we’re going to be robbed if we keep this up.”

Manager: “You’re right. We should have a codename for when you need to do it.”

Me: “Why?”

Manager: “So I don’t get robbed when I come up with the money.”

(I glare, but she doesn’t notice. For two more days, I have to say a ridiculous codename over the intercom every five to ten minutes. Everyone knows why she’s coming up, defeating the purpose of the codename, but she gets upset when I simply tell her I need to break a large bill. Day five begins:)

Manager: “I’m wasting too much time coming up front. I’ll add a spot for the bank [a deposit/change dispenser behind the counter] that dispenses five twenties.”

Me: “That’s ridiculous. That means night shift will have this problem, too!”

Manager: “Great, we’ll make even more money!”

Me: “We’ve made almost nothing. We don’t even have a spot for a new roll of bills to drop.”

Manager: “Oh, I’ll replace pennies. Nobody’ll even notice!”

(At the end of day five, we’ve made no appreciable extra money, and my till is now off because I ran out of pennies and had to give out nickels for anything four cents or less. My manager writes me up for being short due to this. I refuse to sign the write-up. Per policy, this means a regional manager needs to be called to settle the dispute. I’m out the door for two days, anyway, and need the time to calm down after all this. I return two days later to find the regional manager waiting for me at the door. She pulls me aside, and ominously holds a clipboard.)

Regional Manager: “[Manager] called to let me know you’d been insubordinate every day for the last week, culminating in a suspicious register deficit on your final shift of the week. Is that right?”

Me: “Yes, she screwed with the bank so we had $20s instead of pennies, and insisted on breaking all bills, no matter how large.”

Regional Manager: “That’s what [Night Shift Worker] said last night in his police report. We had an armed robbery. Fortunately, [Night Shift Worker] is unharmed.” *hands me the clipboard* “I need you to sign that you confirm [Night Shift Worker]’s story about the lead-up to the robbery.”

(The regional manager had already contacted corporate after the robbery, but my manager’s write-up and the night worker’s story had convinced her the manager’s unsafe business practices were partly to blame. The regional manager closed the store for the day — to the bemoaning of customers — and a new manager awaited us the following morning.)

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