Did The Earth Not Move For You, Too?

, , , , , , | Working | July 23, 2021

In 1974, I go to see the new disaster movie Earthquake. The high-budget movie features famous actors and “Sensurround”! This involves specialized bass speakers that create a sound wave that is more felt than heard. The speakers make the theater rumble during the earthquake scenes.

The movie follows the typical disaster movie formula. Part One introduces characters pre-disaster. Part Two shows characters during the disaster. Part Three shows the characters after the disaster.

In the movie, before the big quake, there is a pre-quake, but there is no Sensurround, and I wonder why. (I learn later that Sensurround should have been felt during the pre-quake.)

Everyone in the theater can tell that the earthquake is going to happen very soon. And then… the movie skips from Part One directly to Part Three, leaving out the earthquake part. The entire audience is wondering, “What the f***?”

Three minutes into Part Three, the movie stops and the theater lights come on. The projectionist messed up. Ten minutes later, the movie finally resumes with Part Two. We finally get to feel Sensurround, but the climactic moment in the movie is lost.

After the movie, I get in the long line with all the others wanting a voucher refund ticket. The manager is sitting at a folding card table in the lobby to sign refund vouchers and he is not happy. After ten minutes in line, it is finally my turn. The manager looks at me and says, “So why do you think that you deserve a refund?”

Internally, I just thought, “Whatever the forty people in front of me told you.”

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This Could’ve Been A Hairy Situation

, , , , | Working | July 22, 2021

I’ve decided to try out a different hairdresser. I find a place nearby and make an appointment. Upon entering, I see that their website spoke quite the truth. It’s a small shop with the male-customer-oriented half just screaming, “MALE!” in a tongue-in-cheek way. Cosmetic articles like sprays, wax, and other stuff are in flasks that are obviously recycled alcohol bottles, for example. The hairdresser and owner himself is a big, tall bloke with a huge beard, some decorative chains around his wrists, and strong, tattooed arms. His manners are relaxed and informal… and very direct.

Hairdresser: “Your turn! Sit down, please.”

I sit down in the chair he points at. He puts a towel over my neck and covers me in a cutting cloak. Then, he stares at me silently. I am autistic, so I am not too good at reading (or especially reacting to) nonverbal signs, while also a bit clumsy at starting a conversation. So I just look back, puzzled. This takes about ten seconds.

Hairdresser: “You’re supposed to tell me how you want it.”

Me: “Oh! Just a cut, same model as I have now.”

Luckily, his voice and a hint of smile made clear to me that he wasn’t being nasty, just direct and informal. It worked for me and he turned out to be a very good hairdresser.

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An Alarming Miscommunication

, , , , | Working | July 21, 2021

I’m a minor. In my state and store, minors are not supposed to work past 9:30 pm. Our store usually closes anywhere from 10:00 pm to midnight during the week, so I’m never around during closing time. It was New Year’s Eve, which meant our store was closing slightly earlier than usual, and I was working until closing time along with the store manager, the shift manager, and several other employees. Once the last customer left the store, the managers told me to clock out, grab my things, and meet them up front to leave.

Every employee is assigned a small locker in the back of the store where the official break room is, so once I clocked out, I headed back to the lockers. I grabbed my things and went to the front to leave with everyone else…

…except there was nobody there. There are two regular exits: one by the florist and one by the bakery/pharmacy. We were supposed to meet by the florist, but I checked the bakery/pharmacy as well and they weren’t there either. I went up to the time clock where all the offices are. Nobody was there. I knocked on all the closed office doors and even tried opening the doors, but no such luck. I made my way back to the lockers and restrooms — perhaps they went back to find me? Nope. I went back to the front of the store and picked up the phone to try and use the pager system to call for anyone in the store, but I had no idea how it worked, so I put the phone back down. I walked around to the bakery, dairy, meat, produce, and deli departments, but I couldn’t find a single soul. I decided to try the exit door anyway; maybe it was locked from the outside, but I could still leave through it? It’s a two-door system where you walk through the first door, walk about twenty feet, and walk through the second door outside. I walked through the first door with no problem, but the second door was locked. Luckily, I was able to turn around and grab the first door before it shut completely, trapping me inside the vestibule. Panicking, I ran around the aisles shouting for anyone to hear me, choking back the inevitable tears that were on their way.

I finally used my cell phone to call my parents, who were wondering where I was. Through tears, I explained.

Me: “I’m trapped in the store alone! And I don’t know what to do.”

Mother: “Look around for an emergency exit.”

I find one.

Me: “I’ve found one, but I’m scared to set off the alarm!”

Mother: “Suck it up and push the door open.”

I pushed it open, the alarm rang REALLY loudly, and I ran and screamed all the way around the building to the parking lot and to my car.

At the time, my father had worked for over a decade for the town, and he knew several of the police officers in town. He called the non-emergency number and told them that his daughter set off the alarm at the grocery store so they had a heads-up as to what was going on. The police then passed on the story to the store manager, who had been called back to the store by the alarm company.

The next time I worked, my mother came in, found the store manager scanning a few things at self-checkout, furiously marched up to her, and ripped her a new one.

Mother: “How dare you leave an employee alone in the store?!”

Store Manager: *Sincerely* “I’m so sorry. Even if your daughter had remained in the store, the overnight stocking crew comes in around midnight, so they would have been able to let her out. But I agree that the situation should never have happened in the first place. The shift manager and I each thought the other had let [My Name] out of the store, so it was okay to leave.”

After a few more complaints from my mom, the store manager finished scanning her items — an “I’m sorry” card, a gift card, and a couple of movie tickets — and came to my register to apologize again and give me the gifts. My mom felt a little bad after that.

Looking back at it a decade later, I think the whole thing is somewhat humorous, but I really wish I’d taken the chance to explore more of the store; I’d always wanted to see what the bakery looked like. My mom still remembers hearing the alarm go off and me screaming through the phone and laughs about it to this day. That was probably my most memorable New Year’s Eve.

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Time Management Is Hard

, , , , | Working | July 21, 2021

Normally, production will make the parts and then give them to me to sign off on. Far too many times, I’ve had parts that take two days to check and only get them a day before they are needed.

When our managers look for who is to blame, they say that the parts are with me, and I look bad. Even if I explain, the damage is done and I end up running around trying to clear the parts as fast as I can without making a massive mistake.

Not this time, though. I’ve been coming in early before production gets there and checking what I can on the parts before they release them. It’s been working well, and I manage to get most of it done without them even knowing.

As the deadline looms, production is late (again) and I’m getting ready to receive the parts. The production manager brings them to me.

Production Manager: “Now, these are really important to [Customer]. Please get on with checking these as we don’t want you delaying things like last time.”

I bite my tongue.

Me: “Don’t worry, this shouldn’t take long.”

I notice that something doesn’t look right with a bit that I couldn’t check earlier.

Me: “Hang on. Yeah, this is wrong. Look, this is way out. You should just take it back and redo it.”

Production Manager: “What? Let me see.”

I showed him the part and the drawing and let him check himself. He could tell it is way out of spec. It had to go back to production for two more days, making it late. I made sure to let our bosses know that I was actually way ahead and who was holding us up. The production manager didn’t say a word.

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Growing Your Garden Of Love

, , , , , , | Working | July 20, 2021

It’s a few minutes before four when my supervisor turns to me. 

Supervisor: “Can you cover [Coworker] in gardening for her break?”

Me: “Actually, I’m out now.”

Supervisor: “Oh! What was your shift today?”

Me: “Ten to four.”

Supervisor: “Can you stay?”

Me: “Well, my husband just got home today and I haven’t seen him all week—”

Supervisor: “GIRL, GO.”

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