Leaking Vital Information

, , , , , , | Working | December 17, 2018

I work for a convenience store chain as an assistant manager. We have to measure the fuel volume in our underground tanks every day by dipping a long stick marked in inches into each tank, and then converting that into gallons by matching inches to gallons in a book. If the gallons are off, the central office will send a tech crew to check for leaks.

Apparently, the store manager has been faking the readings, as she is too lazy to stick the tanks, for a long time. On her next day off, I enter accurate readings, which are way off.

Meanwhile, the business next door has been complaining that their toilets smell like gasoline. They find that the lines from the tanks to the pumps are leaking and need to be replaced.

The region director asks the repair crew why they can’t just pour concrete around the old lines and call it a day. It is explained to him that concrete won’t stop seeping gasoline, and the EPA will fine the company lots of money, and they would also then have the expense of digging up all that concrete, so they replace the lines.

Because of the length of time the lines had been leaking, it cost a quarter of a million dollars to dig up all the contaminated earth for disposal. The manager was not fired because she was a friend of the owner.

She fired me, though, for “disloyalty.”

Their Problem With Sick Days Reaches Fever Pitch

, , , , , , | Working | December 13, 2018

(I have just been promoted to manager trainee and am working on a Sunday with one of the assistant managers. It has already been made clear to me that managers don’t really get to take a day off at this store when they are sick because there will be literally no other manager able to cover them — it’s a small store. I have a 104-degree fever at this point and am supposed to be the closing manager on a Sunday, working with an assistant manager until about an hour before close, at which point I’ll be on my own. Everyone can see I am sick; even customers ask why I’m there. I am walking — very slowly — across the sales floor, having just been in the back office trying to cool down, because I am sweating due to my fever.)

Associate #1: “Girl, I know you’re pale, but you are green today.”


Associate #2: “Can I get a manager to the front for a return?”

(I get up to the front, enter my ID and password for the return, and once the customer leaves, I just slowly lower myself to the floor. I am so dizzy at this point I can’t see straight.)

Associate #2: *on her headset* “Uh… [Assistant Manager]? [My Name] is on the floor up here.”

Assistant Manager: *on headset* “Did she fall? Is she okay? She didn’t pass out, right?”

Associate #2: “No… She just kind of sat down.”

(I indicate I’m okay.)

Associate #2: “Yeah, she’s okay.”

Me: “Can I go home, please, [Assistant Manager]? It’s only an extra hour you’d be working. I’ll owe you.”

Assistant Manager: “Are you sure you can’t make it? I wanted to go out with [Her Boyfriend] tonight.”

Me: “No… I literally can’t see straight right now. I’m sorry. I really tried to work through it, but I think I’ll call my mom to drive me home.”

(And that’s how I almost passed out at work because I was scared I’d be reprimanded for calling out sick. They still make both associates and managers work when sick because there literally isn’t enough staff to allow them to take a sick day. I no longer work there.)

A Sickening Lack Of Enthusiasm

, , , , , | Working | December 12, 2018

(I’m working at a popular clothing store in the fitting room, helping customers and running clothes back to the store front. The fitting room also leads right to the restrooms. After a trip to the front, I come back and hear a customer coughing from one of the two restrooms. I hear the toilet flush and think its the end of it. Nope, I hear more coughing and another flush and the customer finally leaves the restroom; it’s an old woman.)

Me: “Ma’am, is everything all right?”

Customer: “Oh, I’m all right. It’s not contagious. I just got a little ill, a stomach ulcer. You take care, dear!”

(Fearing the worst, I take a quick look into the bathroom. Thankfully I don’t see or smell anything immediately, but I decide to put a wet floor sign in front of the bathroom to try and dissuade any other customers from using it while I get a manager to deal with it. I should mention that while I can clean spills at the store, only managers can deal with bodily fluids, which this definitely qualifies as.)

Me: “Hey, [Manager #1], a customer got ill in the bathroom. I blocked it off as best I could and it doesn’t look bad at all, but it still might need to be cleaned.”

Manager #1: “Oh, absolutely. I have some bleach I can use to clean it up later. Thanks for letting me know!”

(Thinking it is all taken care of, I head back to my post and hear a toilet flush. I look back and someone has moved the wet floor sign out of the way and used the bathroom. She doesn’t seem bothered by it, but I try leaning the sign against the door, to try a bit better to block it. It can’t be locked from the outside, at least not with a key I have. About an hour later, the manager I told about the mess leaves and, as far as I know, hasn’t cleaned the bathroom. I never see him come back, but he may have forgotten; it is a busy day. After another customer moves the sign to use the bathroom, so I decide to tell the next manager who comes in about it.)

Me: “Hey, [Manager #2], a customer got sick a while ago in the bathroom and I told [Manager #1] about it, but I don’t think he got around to it. Can you take care of it?”

Manager #2: “What kind of sick?”

Me: “Um… stomach sick?”

Manager #2: “Oh, no. Nope. Not going to do it.”

Me: “Are you sure? It didn’t look bad at all; it just needs disinfecting.”

Manager #2: “Nope, I don’t deal with that stuff. Make an ‘out of order’ sign and stick it on there.”

(My manager ended up making the sign and had me post it on the door. And that’s the story on how one of our two bathrooms went out of order because a manager didn’t want to clean it as she was specifically trained to do.)


Not Your Regular Pawn Shop

, , , , , , | Right | December 10, 2018

(I work in a small pawn shop. A regular comes in. He usually has unusual items he buys at garage sales to sell us. On this day he is slightly tipsy and empty-handed. My boss is working out in the back but can hear everything.)

Me: “Good afternoon, [Regular]. What can I do for you?”

Regular: “Um… Yeah, this is going to sound weird, but how much for me?”

Me: *in shock* “I’m sorry?”

Regular: “I’m broke until tomorrow, but I need more beer, smokes, and something to eat. How much will you give on a loan for me?”

Me: “I’m sorry, [Regular], but to pawn something, you need to leave the item here, so pawning yourself wouldn’t really help you.”

Regular: *with a sigh of defeat* “Oh, okay. Thanks, anyway.”

(He turns to leave but my boss stops him.)

Boss: “Hey, [Regular], in the twenty years I’ve owned the shop, that’s a first. I’ll personally loan you $50 just for having the balls to do it.”

(My boss — the owner — did lend him the money, and the regular was waiting for us to open the next morning to repay the loan. Over the next five years I worked there, he continued to sell us stuff. He would occasionally come in asking to pawn himself, and my boss always lent him the money.)

Don’t Bank On The Rank

, , , , | Working | December 7, 2018

Back in the early 2000s I was in the Territorial Army, the UK equivalent of the National Guard. I served for around five years or so before being honourably discharged. One Christmas I put my name down to work as staff for the officers’ and NCOs’ annual dinner.

During the dinner, I ended up working behind the bar in the officers’ mess. One of our “clients” for the evening was a young officer I knew well enough to consider a personal friend. He had just been promoted from Lieutenant to Captain, and so was spending his evening buying drinks for his fellow officers, and having drinks bought for him.

At one point during the evening, this officer staggered up to the bar. I could see that he was very drunk. “Hi, [My Name]!” he slurred, smiling at me. He ordered another drink for himself. “Are you sure that’s wise, sir?” I asked. My officer friend smiled and said it would be fine. I gave him his drink.

A few minutes later, the duty sergeant, who was behind the bar with me, took me aside for a “chat.” He told me that I must never question an officer, that I should have just given him his drink without question. “But sergeant, he can hardly stand!” I protested. The sergeant nodded sadly. “I can see that,” he said. “But you’re a private, and he’s a newly-promoted captain.” I sighed, shrugged and said, “Okay, sergeant.”

The next morning I learnt what had happened to my officer friend. He was leaving the officers’ mess, tripped, fell down a flight of stairs, and ended up in hospital with a fractured skull.

I learnt two things that night: 1. Just because someone wears a rank it doesn’t mean they always behave responsibly or are always right. 2. Rules are often necessary to create order, but sometimes, rules are complete bulls***.

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