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Nothing Subtle About This One

, , , , | Working | December 2, 2021

This story takes place during the end of my tenure with a game store chain, after I’ve settled into a familiar groove of thirteen- to fifteen-hour shifts, six days a week — also known as “absentee coworker syndrome”. I’ve also gotten a chance to get to know all the regular customers.

One of my regulars is in the store checking on the stock of our Nintendo Wii units, wanting to know when we’ll get more, etc. The guy easily drops $300 a week in my store and has two adorable, well-behaved kids, so we’re on fantastic terms.

Unfortunately, our district manager is visiting our store and brought her friend [District Manager #2] with her for advice on how to run our store.

It’s worth noting one more fact. I am the sole white employee at this store. The neighborhood in question is predominantly filled with those of darker complexion than myself (African, Latino, etc). Both of the district managers in my store are, you guessed it, whiter than new-fallen snow.

I’m chatting up my regular when I get pulled over by the district managers to a corner out of earshot, where the following exchange takes place.

District Manager #1: “What the h*** do you think you’re doing?!”

Me: “Um, my job? What do you mean? Did I do something wrong? He already has the Premium Membership card…”

District Manager #2: “Not that. Why’d you tell him when you’re getting more Wii consoles?”

Me: “Because he asked? I don’t get it.”

District Manager #1: “We don’t give that information out to people like that!”

District Manager #2: “Exactly. When you give them that kind of information, you either get robbed or you get more of them. That’s not the image we’re trying to cultivate here.”

District Manager #1: “Yeah, we’re trying to bring in more… profitable clientele.”

Me: “I don’t… I don’t understand. What do you mean, ‘them’?”

District Manager #1 & #2: *In unison* “Blacks.”

District Manager #2: “We want bleach-white soccer moms, not a bunch of sooty street rats.”

My eyes must’ve popped out of their sockets in horror at what they just said, because my district manager immediately begins trying to backpedal.

District Manager #1: “What he means is that middle-class people tend to spend more money.”

The incredibly racist conversation continued for a few minutes before I promptly excused myself back to my store and helped my customers. Still, that little bit pretty much eroded any respect I had for Senior Management. 

Luckily, the parent company — which controlled two video chains and my game chain — went belly-up a month later, and both district managers lost their jobs overnight.

Me? I went on to a data center internship that paid more and was a ton of fun.

Thanks For Your Two Cents

, , , | Working | November 30, 2021

I work at a bakery in a thrift store. The owner, a multi-millionaire, comes in one day.

Owner: “Go into the employee breakroom and unscrew the lightbulb in the employee fridge. It will save me money!”

Supervisor, Supervise Thyself!

, , , , | Working | November 28, 2021

I receive a phone call at 10:30 pm on a Sunday. I see that it’s my office supervisor.

Me: “Hello?”

Supervisor: “Did you send [file] on Friday like I asked?”

Me: “Yes, right before lunch.”

Supervisor: “Send it again.”

Me: “Okay, I’ll do it first—”

Supervisor: “Now.”

Me: “Now?”

Supervisor: “It’s due to the client on Monday by noon.”

Me: “I already sent it. I can send it again tomorrow but—”

Supervisor: “I need it now!”

Me: *Sigh* “You want me to go to the office on my day off to send a file I already sent? You know that’s double time for the full hour.”

Supervisor: “No! Absolutely not! It’s five minutes of work. Just come—”

Me: “I’ll look into it tomorrow morning. Goodnight, [Supervisor].”

I hung up before he could say anything else, turned my phone off, and went to sleep. When I woke up Monday morning, I had two angry voicemails about my unwillingness to be a team player, how my attitude would set us back thousands of dollars… and a text saying he had found it.

Phoning In This Whole Taking Ownership Thing

, , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: Billiam201 | November 26, 2021

Quite some time ago, my girlfriend and I (now my wife of more than fifteen years) moved in together and had to set up everything: cable, Internet, phone, etc. We got our home phone number, our two cell phones, and we were off to the races.

Almost immediately, we started getting calls for an establishment that does custom framing and various other art-related things. Of course, we had caller ID, and we had friends that would call us, but inevitably, if we didn’t recognize the number, it was someone wanting to find out if their order was complete, or their frame was done, or what their hours were, or any of a thousand other questions.

I’m sure anyone else who has had this happen will recognize this exchange.

Us: “Sorry, that’s no longer their number. This is a residence.”

Us: “Yes, I’m sure.”

Us: “No, I’m not giving you my address.”

Us: “No, I don’t know their new number.”

Us: “Yes, I have a phone book, but so do you.”

After a thousand of these, we changed the message on our answering machine to say, “This is not, I repeat not, [Art Shop]. If you are trying to reach [Art Shop], please hang up, look up their number, and try that, because we aren’t them.”

Eventually, I got my gazillionth call.

Me: “Where do people keep getting this number?”

Caller #1: “It’s printed on my receipt. I guess I’ll just call this other number.”

Me: “Any chance you can give me that number? Thanks!”

I called the other number.

Owner: “Hello, [Art Shop].”

Me: “You guys are still giving out my home phone number on your receipts.”

Owner: “Yeah. So?”

Me: “Well, f****** stop it. It’s been at least a year since you haven’t had that number. At least cross it out or something.”

Owner: “That’s a pain in the a**. I’m not making my employees do that.”

Me: “So, you’re the manager?”

Owner: “I’m the owner.”

Me: “So, let me see if I have this right. You, what was your name again?”

Owner: “[Owner].”

Me: “You, [Owner], have decided that it’s too inconvenient to cross my home phone number off of your receipts, so you’re just going to keep giving it out?”

Owner: “What are you gonna do? Sue me?”

Me: “Maybe.”

Owner: “Whatever. I’ve got s*** to do. Bye.”

I called a lawyer, but I didn’t really have a leg to stand on.

I went to the store and asked for the owner.

Employee: “[Owner]’s not here. He’s hardly ever here, really. You want me to call him?”

Me: “No, I’m fine. I know this is going to sound odd, but is there any chance I can see one of your receipts?”

She picked up a receipt book and showed it to me. Sure enough, it had my phone number at the top, above another one.

Me: “I thought so. I couldn’t get you at the other number, some guy yelled at me, and I didn’t have my old receipt, so I had to come down here.”

Employee: “We’ve been having that happen a lot, ever since [Owner] decided we didn’t need two phone lines. But he had just bought like twenty boxes of these receipt books and business cards, and he’s too cheap to buy more until they run out. I’d hate to be that guy.”

Me: “Yeah, that’s gotta suck.”

I went home and hatched my evil plan. The next time I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize:

Me: “Hello, [Art Shop].”

Caller #2: “Hi, this is [Caller #2]. I dropped off [item] last week to be framed. Is it ready?”

Me: “Let me check. Yup. We finished it this morning. I hope you don’t mind, but we decided to upgrade the matting because of the weight of the piece. It’s the same color, and we won’t be charging you for it, since it was my decision.”

Caller #2: “Oh, thank you. I’ll be down to pick it up later today. What time do you close?”

I look down at the business card, with my number and the hours clearly marked 11:00 to 4:00.

Me: “Take your time; we’ll be here until 7:00.”

Caller #2: “Thank you so much. Can you tell me how much that was?”

Me: “$19.99, ma’am, plus tax, so $21.39.”

Caller #2: “Wow, that’s cheap. Are you sure?”

Me: “Of course. If anyone has a problem, tell them you talked to [Owner].”

Caller #2: “Okay, see you around 6:00.”

Me: “See you then. Thank you for calling [Art Shop].”

For WEEKS I kept giving out completely random information.

“How much is a 36″x48″ matted frame?” “Let’s say $24.99.” “Wow, that’s cheap. How much to have it done custom, how I want it?” “Custom is an extra $10, so $34.99.” “Wow, that’s cheap. I’ll be right down. What was your name?” “[Owner].” “See you in ten, [Owner].”

“How much to have the entire front page of the New York Times from 9/11 mounted and framed?” “$33.99, unless you want our special, proprietary newspaper frame and mat service, only $49.99 and guaranteed for life, only at [Art Shop]. Tell them [Owner] sent you.”

I can only imagine the number of pissed-off people who showed up to pick up orders that weren’t ready, and when they finally were, they were given a price WAAAAY higher than what “[Owner]” had told them over the phone.

Eventually, someone let slip that “they called the number on the receipt, and that’s what [Owner] had told them.” [Owner] was NOT happy.

Me: “Hello, thank you for calling [Art Shop]. This is [Owner].”

Owner: “YOU’RE NOT [OWNER]! I’M [OWNER]! ARE YOU TRYING TO PUT ME OUT OF BUSINESS?!”

Me: “Why, [Owner], whatever do you mean?”

Owner: “Someone has been giving prices to my customers and telling them their orders are in when they’re not due for weeks.”

Me: “Well, [Owner], who called them?”

Owner: “Nobody called them; they called us.”

Me: “Then what’s the problem? If someone called you and got pricing information, that would seem to be your problem.”

Owner: “They didn’t call me; they called you.”

Me: “Well, how would that happen?”

Owner: “Your number is on my receipts and business cards.”

Me: “My, my. It seems to me there’s a very simple solution here. Take my number off your receipts and business cards.”

Owner: “Do you have any idea how much promotional materials cost?”

Me: “Is it more than it costs to do these jobs for the prices you’re quoting? Is it more than it costs to lose customers, or less than that?”

Owner: “This is extortion!”

Me: “Call it what you want, [Owner]. The choices, and consequences, are entirely up to you.”

A week later:

Me: “Hello, [Art Shop]. This is [Owner].”

Owner: “I’VE ORDERED NEW RECEIPT BOOKS AND CARDS! CAN YOU PLEASE STOP THIS BULLS***!”

Me: “Sure. Bye, [Owner]!”

I didn’t let him off the hook until the calls stopped, but it was only a week or so after he called me back. He must have paid for expedited shipping.

All Systems Normal, If By “Normal” You Mean “AAAAAAA”

, , , , , | Working | November 25, 2021

My company is the epitome of chaotic and disorganized as a quirky character trait. Our sales manager is the worst out of everyone and has made it my responsibility to remind her to send out software license renewals, despite constantly crowing about her “system” and why she cannot have her files on the server because it would mess up her “functional” system.

I typically just schedule to send her reminder emails when licenses expire at sixty-day, forty-five-day, thirty-day, and fifteen-day intervals and wait for the client to email me because four acknowledged warnings is clearly not enough. It is pretty commonplace for me to have to stop what I am doing when she screeches at me to find a P.O. to prove she is behind. I have no access to her P.O.s due to her asinine “system,” so I merely shrug my shoulders at her, remind her that it isn’t my job but I am happy to take it on if she wants to split the commission, and go back to actual software development when she starts to complain about me possibly being able to do her job.

Despite keeping her own “records” on her computer exclusively and how, frankly, easy it is to renew licenses for happy customers, she typically makes me keep a log that she has me send her once a month. No amount of reminding her that it is on the server can convince her to get it herself, so I relent to emailing it and call it a day.

This time, she messages me telling me that there is a license missing, but she refuses to tell me for whom or when the license was generated. She wants me to search my email to find it. Again, I don’t have access to any of this, but I search anyway and ask the person whose job it is to actually create the licenses. He cannot find it in his email, either, but finds when the license code was sent out. We continue to dig.

Apparently, this dingbat sent him a screenshot of an email authorizing his purchase in a text message two years ago and expected me to keep track of this for her. It would’ve taken her two seconds to forward her email. Thank goodness her system is infallible!