We’re Family… When It Suits Me

, , , , | Working | April 19, 2021

Back in 2018, I worked in a really well-known English shop that sold soaps. I was a Christmas seasonal employee and did not stick around when Christmas ended.

I was grateful because our manager was incredibly vindictive and loved to play favourites. He even bullied me in front of clients and coworkers because of my disability, claiming it had cost him two days of work — one was my free day, which he chose. But this wasn’t even the pettiest thing he did.

The pettiest thing was overheard while I was down in the small warehouse.

A bunch of us workers were clocking out already. One, [Coworker #1], had to take a train and needed to leave fast, so she just took her things, wrote down her hours, and ran for it. A coworker, who was still on her working time, was in the middle of putting some things in a box and, as it was a very small warehouse, [Coworker #1] apologized and jumped over her. When she was already on the stairs, [Manager] stopped her.

Manager: “Why aren’t you helping your coworker? She is down there in the ground and you just go and jump over her. That is terribly disrespectful and I cannot believe you would do that!”

Coworker #1: “Well, I already clocked out and I have to catch a train to my hometown. I have no obligation to help, and she didn’t need it.”

Manager: “But you are her coworker and as such should be more empathetic. We need team players; we are a family. I don’t care that you are running late for your train. You have to help your fellow mates.”

Coworker #1: “Again, [Coworker #2] didn’t need help, and I. Have. A. Train. To take. Can I leave already?”

Manager: “No, no. You don’t get it. You are being terribly disrespectful and I am super disappointed in you. I did not expect you to do such things.”

Coworker #1: “But I am—”

[Manager] cut [Coworker #1] off in the middle of her sentence.

Manager: “No, no, go catch the train now.”

[Coworker #1] tried to say something else, but [Manager] kept cutting her off and telling her, sarcastically, to leave already because she had a train to catch and, obviously, it was way more important.

[Coworker #1] left, huffing and stomping, rightfully fed up with [Manager].

Then, [Manager] went to the table where one of the administrative employees was and started chatting with her.

Manager: “You know, next year, when she asks me for holiday leave, I’m just gonna give her whatever day I want. And if she can’t see her family, tough luck. She shouldn’t be such a b****.”

So much for empathy and family, huh?

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Treat Yourself, Whether You Want To Or Not

, , , , , , | Working | April 19, 2021

I want to buy a $150 gift for a friend from a popular handmade craft site.

Me: “Hi, I’m looking at [gift]. I’d like to send it to my friend in another state but I don’t see a gifting option.”

Seller: “Hi! No problem, just fill out your billing info and send me a message when you’ve ordered, and I’ll make a note that it goes to your friend.”

Me: “Okay, thanks!”

I do as she asks and she provides tracking info when the gift ships. Two weeks after I order, a package arrives at my door. It is the present intended for my friend. I check the tracking and see that the gift is on its way to my friend’s house.

Me: “Hey, I’m sorry, I’m confused. I asked for [gift] to be sent to my friend but… I’m looking at it.”

Seller: “No, I sent it to [Friend’s address]. You should have the tracking info.”

Me: “Right, I do. But I have the gift here.”

I send a picture of the gift beside the box with my shipping address. Two days pass before she responds.

Seller: “I must have sent it to you by mistake. You can send it to your friend and I’ll refund your shipping charges.”

Me: “I’m still confused. How can I be tracking the package going to [Friend] in [State] but still be looking at it right now?”

Three days pass.

Seller: “You must be tracking the wrong package.”

Me: “Okay…”

Another week passes and my friend calls to tell me he does have the gift. Now very confused, I contact the seller again.

Me: “So, you did ship [gift] to [State] because it just arrived.”

Seller: “Oh, maybe [Someone ELse] sent one by mistake.”

Me: “Who?”

Two days pass.

Seller: “A friend of mine. Sometimes she helps me when I get backed up.”

Me: “Oh. Okay, then. I’ll just send this back tomorrow. Do you need tracking info?”

Seller: “Sorry, you’re outside the fourteen-day return policy. I’ll have to charge you for the second [gift].”

Me: “I ordered one. You sent two. How is that my fault?”

Seller: “You have two. You pay for two, or I’ll get [Website] involved.”

Me: “Okay.”

We each emailed [Website] and waited. During the wait, the seller continuously sent messages saying I should have shipped it back as soon as I realized what had happened and it was my fault. In the end, the website sided with her because I was outside the fourteen days and I had to fork over another $150. If she hadn’t taken so long to reply, I would have been within the fourteen days and could have saved myself the money. I still have the gift because I couldn’t just throw it away after spending all that money on it, but now I hate looking at it.

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I’m So Tired, I’m Shutting Down (Everything)

, , , , , | Working | April 17, 2021

Many years ago, my first job was in a factory. I was only eighteen on an apprenticeship and very nervous and meek. Unfortunately, my boss was working his way up the ladder and spent all his time on courses and brown-nosing, without supporting his team.

I was shoved into the night shift, alone for most of the night. I struggled from day one, my sleep was everywhere, I didn’t have anyone to train me, and I hated it. I made several requests to swap shifts and put many of them in emails. My boss basically told me to get on with it.

After several months, I was still struggling. I was losing weight and tired all the time. I would often fall asleep on my breaks.

One quiet shift, I slumped back and heard a dreadful noise; I had knocked into a door of an electrical cabinet that was propped open, one that apparently controlled a lot of the automation. It had an issue with the safety interlock and closing it would forcibly shut down everything.

We lost five hours of production that night.

Despite the safety aspect of the cabinet, it was my emails that saved me from disciplinary action. Better yet, I was transferred to the day shift the next week.

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Who Wants To Go On A Power Trip?

, , , , | Working | April 16, 2021

We’ve just gotten a new general manager and she’s learning the ropes. Everyone’s a little frustrated with her because she likes to go on little power trips, but we’re trying to be patient and let her get used to having her own store.

Right before she started with us, my boyfriend and I got a new puppy, and since I work close to home, I go home on my lunch breaks to let him outside and play with him for a few minutes. We get thirty minutes, and sometimes I take thirty-two or thirty-five minutes, so the new GM sits me down to talk about it. I agree to be more careful about getting back on time and the rest of the week I’m only punched out for twenty-five to twenty-seven minutes.

The new GM goes back to her training club for a few weeks, and this week is her first week as the official GM, no longer the GM in training. The puppy is big enough now that I don’t have to go home on my lunches, on the GM’s first official day, I eat lunch at work.

I’m in the back on my lunch break, crocheting and listening to a podcast, wearing huge headphones. [General Manager] walks in and bustles around for a moment before calling my name. I pause my podcast.

Me: “Yeah?”

General Manager: “Are you on lunch?”

I look down at my crocheting.

Me: “Um, yeah.”

General Manager: “Okay.”

She goes about her business. I think that’s weird, but whatever. An hour and a half later, I’m at the front desk with her.

Me: “Oh, let me show you a new pic of my puppy! He’s gotten so big, I don’t have to go home on my lunches anymore!”

General Manager: “Did you do what I told you and put newspapers on the floor so he didn’t mess it up?”

Me: “Uh, no, I don’t want him thinking peeing on the floor is okay, but he’s big enough to hold his bladder now.”

General Manager: “[My Name], I’m begging you, please, please, please. You’ve got to make sure you’re getting back before thirty minutes have passed. We can’t be taking long lunches!”

Me: *Totally baffled* “Um, I don’t.”

General Manager: “You don’t?”

Me: “No, I literally just told you I don’t! And you talked to me today while I was on lunch, and you asked me if I was!”

General Manager: “Well, I can’t have you taking excessive breaks, then. You can make your coffee and sit back there for a moment, but don’t spend too much time in the break room.”

Me: *Holds up my coffee* “I don’t. I make my coffee and bring it out here to drink. Even if I have to eat a protein bar, I wolf it down so I’m not back there for long.”

General Manager: “Well, you know [Regional Manager] is on my back. I gotta impress her, gotta stop all the bad habits here!”

Me: “Okay…”

I still don’t know what on earth happened there. Totally baffled me. I’m leaving for a better job soon anyway, so I’m just trying to stay out of her way. Not sure if she’s got it out for me in particular or if it was another power trip.

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Those Who Can, Do. Those Who Can’t, Train.

, , , , | Working | April 9, 2021

I am hired at a big government laboratory that handles sensitive biological samples. Some of the testing we perform is very time-critical and finicky; everything has to be carefully categorized and organization is super strict.

I am about a month into training and I am still only being allowed to perform the most basic tasks. Every part of my training has to be verified by a superior and there are numerous forms to fill out.

One day, a woman from the admin office who I have met once approaches me. 

Admin: “It’s [Wrong Name starting with my first initial], right? We’ve got a new college intern and I need you to train her on how to put these samples into [Complicated Database].”

Me: “It’s [My Name], actually, and I’m sorry, but I don’t know a single thing about that system. I’m not going to be able to train her.”

Admin: “All you have to do is read the training manual and then show it to her. Make sure you sign all of the paperwork saying she’s finished training.”

She starts to walk away. I follow her.

Me: “I’m not comfortable training someone on something that I know nothing of. What if something goes wrong?” 

Admin: *Now walking faster* “I’m too busy to train her; you’re just sitting around. She needs to be trained. I don’t get why this is so hard for you.” 

I ended up taking the issue up with my superior. It turns out that it WAS [Admin]’s job to train the intern but she simply didn’t want to. Funnily enough, [Admin] was only mad for about a week and then was back to her tricks. I was commended for following procedures, but in reality, I was just terrified of messing everything up.

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