I Don’t Think I Like Your Tone(r)

, , , , , | Working | May 20, 2020

I am about a month in at my new job. There is an unofficial rota amongst the staff that goes desk by desk to replace the printer toner and paper. My desk happens to be next, and the toner is running low.

Me: “[Manager], do we have gloves for changing out the printer, and can we get the window open in there?”

Manager: “Why on earth would you need gloves?” 

Me: “Because I don’t want to get toner on my hands?”

Manager: “Aww, your poor delicate hands?”

Me: “The toner is hazardous, and it’s recommended you use gloves when working with it. The window also needs to be opened to ventilate the room. There are warnings on the box.” 

Manager: “That seems a bit extreme for us.”

Me: “Well, if you want me to change the toner, that’s what you have to do.”

Manager: “You really go to extreme lengths to procrastinate. If you didn’t want to do it, you could have just said.”

Me: “I have no issue with doing it, as long as it doesn’t affect my health.”

Manager: “Well, we change the ink out every other week, and no one has taken ill from it.”

Me: “Then you’re very lucky.”

The manager tells me not to bother and he’ll get someone else to do it. Not fifteen minutes later, [Manager] comes out, hands black and holding an empty toner tube.

Manager: “See, [My Name], nothing to it!”

I’m not impressed and I grab a fresh box. Thankfully, they’re in another room.

Me: “‘Warning: contents may be carcinogenic. Prolonged exposure can result in liver and kidney damage. Ensure the area is well ventilated and that gloves are used while handling.’”

[Manager] scoffed at it and continued with his day, but one by one the people in the office inspected the box, reading the warning themselves. During lunch, I heard a couple of them talking about how their last checkups with the doctor indicated the early signs of liver disease, and one man saying he was asthmatic and was going to opt out of the rota.

A month later, there is a box of gloves that everyone dips into when the toner needs changed, and the window in there is now always open. The manager doesn’t say anything but still changes the toner like he always does.

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Welcome To The Dishonesty Zone

, , , , , | Working | May 20, 2020

I work in a city with zoning laws that state that once a building is over a certain size, it must have separate bathrooms for males and females before it can have a gender-neutral family bathroom. My boss is very much in favor of allowing anyone to use any bathroom of their choice for any reason, but the law is still the law in this area. 

Boss: “The building inspector is coming by today. Hide some of the chairs in the storage shed out back. If we can make this room look smaller, we can take down the men’s and women’s signs by the bathroom.”

I am filling in at this branch for the day, but usually, I work on the other side of town.

Me: “Isn’t that dishonest?”

Boss: “No. Do what I say.”

Coworker: “You know, the people in this community don’t like sharing bathrooms. The women always complain about men peeing on the seats.”

Boss: “Do what I say! And [My Name], when the building inspector is done, he’s going to [My Branch] next. When you get there tomorrow after he’s left, take down the men’s and women’s signs there, too.”

Me: “But what about the zoni—?”

Boss: “Do what I say!”

She left, and neither of us bothered to hide chairs.

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Good Idea Not Indulging This Owner

, , , , | Working | May 19, 2020

Our cat tends to only eat a small amount of food each day — usually a portion of dry food in the morning and wet food or fish at night. She also has a sensitive stomach so she tends to be unable to eat foods in jelly as they make her sick.

My family is going away and we need to find a cattery to book her into for a few days. I call a cattery and all is normal until:

Me: “I just wanted to check on what wet food you give the cats?”

Owner: “We use [Brand] jelly food.”

Me: “Oh, would you be able to make an exception on the jelly? It tends to make my cat sick.”

Owner: “No. Jelly is cheaper.”

I think to myself, “No, it’s not.”

Me: “I’m happy to provide the sachets myself if that’s required.”

Owner: *Louder* “NO! Jelly is cheaper. You’re indulging your cat.”

Me: “If giving her food that doesn’t make her sick is ‘indulging’ her, I’ll continue to do so. Thank you for your time.”

Owner: “You’ll be sorry for indulging her!” *Click*

I found a cattery who was happy to take on her dietary needs, and when I came back from the trip, my cat was very happy. The owner of the other cattery turned out to have only just started and was trying to establish rules and cut costs.

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All Aboard The RageQuit Bus To ScrewThisVille

, , , , , , | Working | May 19, 2020

I work as a prep cook and dishwasher at a somewhat popular Ottawa-based restaurant and pub chain. We are very understaffed and are very often left alone with no manager in the kitchen. Because of this, we regularly don’t have enough time or manpower to finish all the prep for the day by the time our shift is over, which means that people almost always have to stay hours past their end time. 

On a side note, we order these large boxes of bacon stripes, and we have to lay it out on large sheets of parchment paper and roll it up so we can easily place it on baking trays when needed. It’s a huge pain in the a** to do because one box takes at least half an hour, and we can get orders of up to five boxes twice a week. If I’m not there, the bacon doesn’t get rolled because no one else wants to do it.

This encounter happens with the head chef before Father’s Day:

Head Chef: “[My Name], before you leave tonight, you need to roll all the bacon in the fridge. No exceptions. If it’s not done, I’m going to be livid.”

Me: “But there are at least eight boxes in there, and my shift is over in an hour and a half. I’ve already been here for ten hours. Plus, the last bus is leaving in two hours, so I definitely wouldn’t make it. Do we really need all the bacon? It takes two days to go through a box.”

Head Chef: “Well, you’ve had all day to roll the bacon; it’s not my fault you didn’t get to it before. You’re not leaving until it’s all done.”

I’ve spent the entire day doing other prep items that he assigned to me, and he did maybe two items and took MANY smoke breaks throughout the day. He also has a car, so he is much more capable of staying late than I am.

Me: “Okay, so what happens when it’s three in the morning and I’m still here with no bus to take home?”

Head Chef: “Take a taxi. Maybe we can see about paying a percentage of the fare or take it out of your tips.”

Me: “I can’t afford to do that. I make barely $1,400 a month, my rent is $1,000, and I have to pay $115 for a monthly bus pass. I don’t have enough money to spare to spend even a little on a taxi. Is it really fair to make me stay so long after my shift?”

Head Chef: “Your end time isn’t really your end time; if there is stuff to do, you have to stay and finish it or you’ll get written up.”

He proceeded to leave two hours before his “end time” while there were still several items left to be prepped. This is a very common occurrence. 

I was kept back another four hours to finish everything. After my fourteen-hour shift, I had to walk almost an hour and a half to the next bus stop with a route that ran that late. By the time I got home, I only had five hours before I had to go in for my next shift.

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Mishandling And Manhandling

, , , , , | Working | May 18, 2020

At my work, we have what is called ‘80s Friday, which is when a local dementia charity arranges a gettogether on the last Friday of every month for their more elderly participants. They meet up in the supermarket next to us and do a big shop together for everyone.

This invariably leads to some of the group coming to our store, as well, which sells clothes. Due to the nature of dementia, these days can be a bit demanding, so naturally, those who are more sympathetic to the condition — such as me, with several members of my family currently suffering from Alzheimer’s — tend to work these days

A manager has recently died and his funeral is on the next ‘80s Friday. Because the rest of management wants to go to the funeral, human resources decides to bring in what we call a “jump starter,” which is essentially a manager from a smaller store who wants to get ahead of the process and trial working in a larger store like ours. The manager is made fully aware of the demand and she agrees to do it.

The day comes and I am working the closing shift. I step into the staff-only area to get ready and find the new manager crying and babbling about it being too difficult. As a supervisor, and feeling rather sympathetic to how difficult these days can be, I offer to cover the rest of her shift. It’s unconventional, but I have done it before. She leaves in good spirits and the rest of the day is largely uneventful.

When I come in for my next shift, I discover a complaint has been made by the charity lambasting the new manager for her treatment of one customer. It’s quite serious and is escalated to HR. The other staff fill me in that when a dementia sufferer accidentally spilled some orange juice, the manager threw a literal children’s tantrum — kicking and screaming on the floor — before physically pushing the customer out of the store.

We all think she is going to be fired but are shocked to find that HR actually takes her side and pretty much commends her for her actions, blaming the incident solely on the customer, saying she should have known drinks weren’t allowed in store, and outright banning her. They also appoint the manager as the new replacement for the one that died.

Half of us, including two managers, hand in our resignations in protest, and after the charity finds out, they decide to move their monthly event elsewhere, which reflects badly on us from the perspective of our supermarket neighbour. Rumours also spread and our reputation plummets, resulting in severely dropped performance over the next month.

It’s eventually agreed that the new manager might need a bit more time working where she originally was, and she agrees to leave us; we agree, as well, to withdraw our resignations if she leaves. We also get permission to work more closely with the charity after HR sends them a formal apology and compensation.

Everything is now more or less back to normal, except we have just recently learned that the new manager had actually only been working in retail for about a month before coming here. She was also admin staff who had never worked with customers, and her store was one of the smallest clearance stores in our cluster, employing about thirty people; we employ over two hundred. We have no idea why she thought she could suddenly step into a management role, or why HR believed in her. We all suspect something is amiss, or there is bias somewhere, as manhandling a customer has never been tolerated prior to her.

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