There Is Snow Reason Not To Celebrate

, , , , , , | Working | October 23, 2017

(It has been cold for a few weeks now, and our university has already shut down once due to ice and snow. My department works for the university, and shuts down when the school does. There is more snow on the weather forecast for today.)

Coworker: *peering out the window* “There’s the snow! Finally.”

Supervisor #1: “All right! Who’s up for some day drinking? We can go to [on-campus Pub] just like last time we shut down early.”

Supervisor #2: *pulls a bottle of what looks like champagne from underneath his desk*

Supervisor #1: “Oh! You’re so prepared!”

Dutifully Praising Your Sense Of Duty

, , , , | Working | October 23, 2017

(I’ve recently taken a job as a secretary after the person who previously held the position was let go for less than stellar performance. My new boss seems like a demanding person, but I quickly come to realize that his expectations are low. It leads to several conversations like this one:)

Boss: “[My Name], I wanted to let you know I was very impressed with how you handled things while I was traveling.”

Me: *confused because it was very quiet while he was gone* “Uh, thank you?”

Boss: “That email you sent out, you know, when you rearranged a phone call. That was excellent!”

(A task like that would be very basic for someone new to the job. Having several years of experience, I’m completely baffled that someone would bring it up at all.)

Me: “I… You know that’s routine, right? Thank you, but it was just an email.”

Boss: “No, seriously, the way you handled that was very professional. And… Now you’re looking at me like I’m crazy because I’m praising you for something you think should go without saying.”

Me: “Sorry! I love positive feedback; who doesn’t? I’m just confused.”

Boss: “Just let me enjoy this for a bit.”

(Later, he walks by my office as I’m about to finish my last task for the day.)

Boss: “[My Name], what are you still doing here? Shouldn’t you be going home?”

Me: “My shift ended two minutes ago. It’s fine; I’m just sending out that request for information before I leave.”

Boss: “But you could leave that until tomorrow morning.”

Me: “Sure, but you said we need the reply by tomorrow afternoon. If I send it out tomorrow, how much do you want to bet that there will be someone who complains because half a day isn’t enough time to send us a yes or no reply?”

(I’m looking at my screen as I say this, but my boss goes so quiet that I look up and see him staring at me.)

Me: “Everything all right?”

Boss: “I’m not going to say anything, because then you’ll get that expression again as if you’re wondering if I’ve lost my mind. Just… That’s why I hired you. Please stay.”

Order Once, Shame On You

, , , , , | Working | October 20, 2017

(I’m the assistant manager, and part of my job involves stocking branded supplies: shopping bags, flyers, etc. The district manager and the regional manager are doing a store inspection, and they aren’t happy.)

Regional Manager: “You barely have any branded supplies in stock! You need to be ordering these to keep up with demand.”

Me: “I submitted an order three weeks ago, but they didn’t come in. I followed up with a few emails last week and didn’t hear anything, so I submitted a new order four days ago. Here: I can show you on the computer.”

District Manager: “Why don’t you call and get to the bottom of this?”

Me: “There’s only the email contact listed.”

Regional Manager: “Well, I will call and find out.”

(She gets on her cell phone and puts it on speaker.)

Regional Manager: “[Person in charge of branded supplies]! How are you?”

Branded Supplies Manager: “Oh, it’s good to hear from you!”

(They chit chat for a few minutes about personal lives before getting to the purpose of the call.)

Regional Manager: “So, I have an ASM here who said she ordered some branded supplies from you. I was just calling to see what’s going on?”

Branded Supplies Manager: “Which store? I swear I’m getting emails from everywhere.”

Me: “I haven’t heard back from you about my initial order three weeks ago.”

Branded Supplies Manager: “Ugh. Yeah, I was on vacation. I came back and there’s this huge pile of supply orders that all the ASMs kept sending me, so I just threw them out to clear my desk.”

Me: “You threw them out?”

Branded Supplies Manager: “Well, I’m obviously not going to fill them if I’m on vacation! They sent me so many when they were gone.”

Me: “How was I supposed to know you were on vacation?”

(The RM is shooting me dirty looks.)

Regional Manager: “Well, she posted pictures all over Facebook; it should have been obvious.”

Me: “I don’t know her! I’m not friends with her on Facebook!”

Regional Manager: “Well, isn’t that convenient! Look, [Branded Supplies Manager], she said she submitted a new order. Do you think that will be coming in now?”

Branded Supplies Manager: “I’m looking now. Oh, no, that is coming up as an error in the system as a duplicate from three weeks ago, so I can’t process it.”

Me: “The one you threw away?”

Branded Supplies Manager: “I’ll look at it, but I’ve done all I can.” *sniffling* “Don’t be angry at me!”

Regional Manager: “Oh, [Branded Supplies Manager], don’t stress yourself more; you’ve been through so much lately. I’d just appreciate it if you could fix this.”

(After she hung up, the DM and RM ripped into me for making someone from corporate office “fix my mistakes.” When I pointed out that I had no way of knowing the manager was on vacation, they said I should call anyone first to make sure that they are in office before actually contacting them as my “due diligence.” My contact list had no phone numbers, only email addresses. I ended up being written up for having a bad attitude. I’ve been putting in applications elsewhere for the last week. I still haven’t gotten supplies in the mail, and neither have several other stores.)

Going Against Code

, , , , , | Working | October 19, 2017

(Back in 1978, I was just a kid working as a programmer for a large engineering firm. One day my boss hands me two stacks of listings. They are the source for a project, one from today and one from six months prior. My job is to go through them line-by-line and mark which lines have been removed, which have been added, and which have been changed. The stacks are at least six inches tall, and I look at them in dread, realizing that there have to be some 100,000 mind-numbing lines to read. The number of errors I am bound to make will be astronomical. Then I get the bright idea to write a program that can find insertions, deletions, and changes. One day, such tools will become commonplace, but in 1978, they are unheard of. In a couple hours, I have a working program and I run all the code for the project through it, print it out, and give it to my boss later in the day.)

Boss: *looking shocked* “It’s done?”

Me: “Yeah. I wrote a program that did all the dirty work.”

Boss: *getting a bit red and angry* “Who authorized you to write a program to do this?

Me: “I was hired as a programmer. I didn’t think I needed to ask about that. Besides, this is 100% accurate. If I did it by hand, think of all the errors that would be in it.”

(Since our stuff often needed FAA or military oversight, he realized I just helped him dodge a bullet, and he calmed down quickly. The remaining problem was that this little task was designed to keep me busy for two or three weeks while he came up with something else for me. But from then on, I was put on more interesting projects.)

Sew Cheap!

, , , , , , | Working | October 19, 2017

(I am a shift leader at a craft and fabric store. Towards the end of my shift, the assistant store manager arrives to take over for the rest of the day, and joins me at the registers. I am cashing out a customer and making small talk before I give the ASM my report for the shift.)

Customer: “I was so surprised to see these [Sewing Machine]s on display! None of your other stores have anything like them.”

Me: “Well, we are a pretty large chain, so different locations will often have very different merchandise. Do you have your membership card with you today?”

(I scan through all of the customer’s fabric and notions before I scan the sewing machine sitting in her cart. My ASM has been watching my screen the whole time, looking worried, and as soon as I scan the sewing machine, she swears under her breath and bolts for the back of the store like someone lit her hair on fire.)

Customer: *confused and slightly offended* “Well, that was rude.”

Me: *equally confused, since the ASM is usually extremely cool-headed* “Yeah, I’m not sure what that was.”

(I turn to look at the screen and realize the problem: the sewing machine rang up at $0.01.)

Me: “Well, lucky you. That machine is only ringing up at a penny. Your total is [amount less than $20].”

Customer: “What?! Can I go buy the rest of the display?”

Me: “I’m afraid not; I think that’s why my manager just ran off like that. But since this one is already through the system, you’re welcome to take it.”

Customer: *no longer offended, and actually quite cheerful, she pays and takes her receipt* “Any wonder. Well, have a nice day!”

(Since there were no other customers to cash out, I hurried to the back to help my ASM pull the sewing machines off the floor. There were over a dozen of that model. It turns out that our general manager hadn’t read an email memo earlier in the week, which said to remove that line of sewing machines from display, as they had been discontinued and were slated to be returned to the manufacturer. They were meant to go out with the shipment truck’s return trip the day this occurred, but no one had informed me. Somehow, the GM saw the email title with the model number, and thought it was a memo to put them on display. They’d been sitting on the floor all week as a result. When the system deleted the merchandise from our database earlier in the day, it converted the price of the machines to one penny. Fortunately, after checking with other staff, we’d only sold two of the machines since the price change. The first time, either the cashier and customer hadn’t noticed the discrepancy, or hadn’t cared to report it to me.)

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