Say Bi To Your Management Position

, , , , | Working | June 29, 2017

(I have been called to the office of a recently appointed manager. She has been with the department for about a month.)

Manager: “This is a disciplinary for the downright unacceptable behaviour witnessed on your last shift.”

Me: “What unacceptable behaviour?”

Manager: “Regarding [Coworker].”

Me: “Well, he hasn’t told me!”

Manager: “I can understand why. Homophobia will not be tolerated in this organisation. Openly humiliating him in front of everyone for his sexual preference. I expected more from you.”

Me: “I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’d rather talk to [Coworker].”

Manager: “I have made arrangements that you and he will no longer be working together.”

Me: “Whatever. I’ll speak to him after work.”

Manager: “Then I will make arrangements for his husband to pick him up directly. I know him personally.”

Me: “You mean my husband’s husband?”

Manager: “Yes, your husband’s… husband?”

Me: “Yes, [Coworker] is my husband.”

Manager: “But, he’s bisexual!”

Me: “True.”

Manager: “But, you’re a woman!”

Me: “Equally true.”

Manager: “But he’s gay!”

Me: “I thought we just agreed he was bisexual.”

Manager: “But, bisexuals aren’t real. They’re just pretending to be more normal.”

Me: *standing up and heading for the door* “Well, I can assure you they are real, and my husband is one!”

(I called HR about the whole thing and the manager actually confirmed it. She was sent on equal opportunity training but it hasn’t done a single bit of difference. In fact, it seems to have inspired her to out my husband as gay. Every time she’s caught meddling she’s either sent for more training or put on probation. I don’t think she is going to last much longer.)

A Write Up To Bring You Down

, , , , , , | Working | June 29, 2017

(The bakery department in my store closed earlier than usual today. Since I work in the next department over, a customer asks if I know of anyone who can answer a question for her. I know very well that I don’t know the first thing about that department, so I tell her to wait by bakery as I get on the phone and call for the manager.)

Manager: “Well, have you tried helping the customer? How about trying that?”

Me: “Well, I’d be glad to, but the issue is I don’t know anything about bakery, so I’d rather ask for someone who knows the area first.”

(The manager hangs up, so I realize that I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and hope I can produce the answer somehow.)

Me: “All right, looks like I’m the one helping you today! I just ask that you bear with me, because I don’t really know this department very well, but I’ll certainly do my best! How can I help you?”

Customer: “This cake on display here, without a price tag, how much is it?”

(Sure enough, I haven’t the foggiest clue. However, after a moment of thinking, I head into the back room and start flipping through all the books stored back there. Finally, after a fairly large amount of time for so simple a question, I find the order guide and then the page with the picture of the exact cake the customer wants. I walk back out and tell the customer the price. The customer walks away thanking me for my help. The following day, the manager calls me over.)

Manager: “I’m writing you up for yesterday.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Manager: “I shouldn’t have had to tell you to help that customer.”

Me: “Okay, hold on. I had no problem attempting to help that customer, or any customer; I just figured it would be wiser to ask someone who knows the area to help the customer. What I was trying to avoid was me either being completely unable to help her or taking a much longer time to answer her question that it should take, which is what happened. Either one risks leaving an odd impression of our customer service on the customer, so to me, it was just better to try and direct her to someone more knowledgeable. Once I knew that no such person was available, I had no issue trying to help her. I thought quickly and ended up finding the answer she needed, so overall, I think I handled that situation as best as possible without any prior training in that area.”

Manager: “But I shouldn’t have had to tell you to help the customer!”

Me: “If you want me to always first try to help the customer before asking for assistance, that’s fine. However, this is a training issue, not a disciplinary issue. Four write ups in this store and you’re terminated. Do you really think that the act of being uncertain in an area I’ve never worked or trained for is so terrible that it should go on a list of reasons I should be fired?”

Manager: “It doesn’t matter. I’m tired of my side of the store getting the lowest customer service scores, so I’m not playing around anymore! If anyone’s customer service is not TOP notch, you get a write up! That’s it!”

Me: “And I don’t hold that viewpoint against you. What I’m saying is that there’s a difference between being incompetent and not having the training. If the employee never had the opportunity to first gain the knowledge, how can you then punish them for not having it?”

Manager: “Look, if you want to challenge this, take it up with the store manager.”

(I did just that. The store manager said that while I didn’t actually do anything wrong, the write up would still stay on my record.)

Not So Mental About This Rental

, , , , , | Working | June 29, 2017

(I am in college, and I have decided to try getting a part-time job. I see that the store for a national company that specializes in renting moving trucks and trailers is hiring, so I put in an application. At the interview, I am asked if I would be available to work weekends. I say yes, but I need 24 hour notice beforehand. I am assured that it won’t be a problem. I’m told that I am hired and would begin training soon. The following Saturday, I get a call from the manager that he needs me in in 15 minutes. I have not yet received any training.)

Me: “I can come in, but I’m half an hour outside of town. It’s literally not possible for me to make it there in 15 minutes.”

Manager: “Well, if you’re not here then, I’m going to have to mark you down as being late to work.”

(I made it there in, unsurprisingly, a half hour and was marked late. By this point I was already having second thoughts about the job. The manager gives me a pair of coveralls which he claims are clean but have obvious sweat-stains on them, which I point out. He insists that they are in fact clean, despite the visual evidence to the contrary. I end up wearing them. I’m instructed to help another worker do inspections of rental trucks that have been brought in, to make sure that everything is working.)

Me: “I don’t know what we’re supposed to be looking for.”

Other Worker: “It doesn’t matter. Nobody double checks, so we just mark that everything is good.”

Me: “I think I want to make sure that you’re the one signing the checklists.”

Other Worker: “No problem.”

(This is pretty much the only smart move on my part the whole day. After pretending to inspect the vehicles, I am given some other minor tasks that could actually be accomplished without training, then, once it gets dark outside, the manager has me come to assist with closing. After telling me to help a second coworker, he and the rest of the staff leave for the day. Since I haven’t even been given access to the cash registers, much less trained to use them, this means that I am stuck standing behind the counter looking stupid for the rest of the night.)

Customer: “Excuse me; can you unlock the propane line so I can fill my tank?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but this is my first day and I haven’t been given access to that yet.”

Customer: “That’s f****** stupid.”

Me: “Yes. Yes, it is.”

(By the time the day ended, I’d firmly made up my mind that I absolutely did not want this job and in the future would absolutely avoid renting a vehicle from them, so I turned in my badge and the “clean” coveralls (which I actually washed and what do you know, the sweat stains came out). Some months later, I found out that the manager and several of the workers had gotten into some serious trouble due to renting out a truck that had had turns signals that weren’t working.)

Ebola Sounds Better Than The Cubicle Farm

, , , , | Working | June 29, 2017

I used to work for a payment collection call center. It was a real revolving-door sort of place, people always quitting, new people always coming in, less-than-stellar corporate policies, all packed into a big cubicle farm.

One day I’m at my desk, trying my best to handle some customers, when I notice a lot of the supervisors and higher-level personnel seem to be gathering and chatting fervently. I assume it’s nothing important and that they’re probably all just getting together to go to the supervisor office to eat candy and laugh at all the normal employees. Yes, they really did that. I return my focus to work.

A few minutes later, I hear loud footsteps. I peer down the room again, and now in addition to the supervisors, there are several firemen. And I can tell they are firemen because they are dressed for the part: yellow jackets, red helmets, and masks. I think one of them even has an axe. I am a little worried about this, but since nobody is saying anything, I just figure it is a burst pipe or something and go back to work.

Later still, the footsteps have gotten louder, and the supervisors and firemen have been joined by police officers. I am now officially worried. Sure enough, we finally get the word that we need to vacate the building. We power down our computers and are herded down the incredibly narrow fire escape into the parking lot.

Here’s what happened, according to one of my coworkers who spoke to an officer. In the office that shares a building with ours, a random guy went up to the front desk and placed a single glass test tube. On that test tube was a piece of sticky tape with one word scribbled onto it: “EBOLA.” Naturally, the police were called, and when the man who brought the tube was questioned, he said it was “the cure for Ebola.” The test tube was obviously empty, but to play it safe, the building had to be vacated for about two days.

Here’s where those corporate policies I mentioned come in. You would think, in a situation like this, we would simply be told to go home. Once we’re all herded into the parking lot, the supervisors explain that we all have to get in our cars and drive to the company’s sister office, an entirely separate cubicle farm, at which we’ll spend the next two days.

There are two problems with this:

  1. The second office is already grossly overcrowded, unable to accommodate the people who are actually supposed to be there. It is statistically unlikely that any of us will be able to even get a computer, much less get any work done.
  2. Nobody knows the second office’s address. The supervisors just parrot “follow us, follow us” over and over, but even if we ask for the address just in case, they refuse to give it up for some unknown reason.

I try my best to follow the enormous line of cars, but the car I’m behind suddenly pulls into a commuter parking lot. I follow them and ask why they stopped. Apparently, she is equally clueless as to where we are going, as is the person she was following. We just sit there for a few minutes, heavily considering just ditching work, but the other driver manages to wrestle the second office’s address from her temp agency after calling them, and we manage to make our way there.

And to top it all off, when we finally arrived, the supervisors didn’t even know we had been gone, greeting us with an emotionless “get back to work.”

A Fan Of (A)Round Numbers

, , , , | Working | June 28, 2017

(Last year our studio head moved away and we welcomed a more organized replacement. Communication between departments improves, paperwork is filed on time, attendance is tracked, and tickets for the spring show are printed and available for sale two weeks before the performance. Under the old studio head we were lucky to get them the week prior. It seems like this year we’ve sold more tickets. This was confirmed:)

Text: “I just ran the numbers. Last year we sold 29 tickets at the desk. So far this year we’ve sold 92.”

Second Text: “So we’ve literally turned our numbers around.”

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