The Blind Leading The Blind

, , , , , | Working | April 29, 2019

Two companies share buildings; I work for one of the companies. My company always works late, so my company always closes the building. There is still a way to get in and out with assigned badges, so it’s not much of a deal.

One day, the other company decides to host a conference for people who are sight-impared. Of course, we don’t mind, but the issue starts when the organisation comes to my office and claims they have the conference scheduled there. The lady in charge even huffs and puffs until it becomes clear she is on the wrong side of the building. We blame it on stress and the lady moves on, not giving apologies or anything of the like.

The guests arrive, first one by one and then a whole flock. The flock of guests are chatting and don’t notice they are entering the building through sliding doors. A few almost get stuck between the doors, but our safety system prevents that. The lady in charge of the organisation is nowhere to be found to help these people.

Eventually, it is decided the guests will take one of the service stairways because that is the shortest route. It has an automatic, glass door on the top which you need to open with a button. I ask the — finally located — lady in charge if they would help their guests upstairs, since I have to continue my work and they don’t have a contract with us but with the other company. “Of course!” they say. After 15 minutes, a loud clanging noise is heard throughout the building. I decide to check things out.

In order to keep the door open — so they don’t have to be present at the door — the lady has put a chair in front of the sensor. This way, whenever the door wants to close, it gets “startled” by the chair and opens quickly again, slamming against the metal construction on the side. I remove the chair. Clearly, the lady thought this wouldn’t do any harm. We will now have to wait and see if the door sustained any damage.

Then, a few people with worse eyesight enter, and they need to use the elevator. This wasn’t mentioned to the owner of the other office. That part doesn’t have an elevator; ours does. The lady in charge asks, “Can they use your elevator?” We say, “Of course! But will there be someone to take them to the conference room?” The lady replies, “I will be escorting them personally.”

About ten minutes later, my manager comes with one of the guests who apparently took a wrong turn and ended up in our office. I check the elevator; the lady in charge is nowhere to be found, and a few guests are looking around helplessly.

Finally, all guests have arrived, and at closing time, I closed the office. I go to the owner of the other office and express my worries about how the guests will have to leave the building. Will they see the green button they’ll have to push? Considering the track record, I doubt the lady in charge of the organisation will help them. I explain to the owner how the doors can be opened permanently and how to close them — it’s a few buttons. He says he will be there.

But of course — we don’t know how — someone strays away from the group and, when trying to leave the building, they press the red emergency stop. This means the doors will stop moving until they are reset manually. Since the doors are closed, this means they no longer open. We don’t know who did it since all guests are accounted for. We guess someone went back upstairs and didn’t mention it.

I notice this on my way out and reset the doors. I wish the owner a lot of luck with this conference and tell him who to contact if something else goes wrong. The owner confides to me that he will never host this conference again. The guests are lovely; the organisation is an utter mess.

Money Makes The World Burn Down

, , , , , , | Legal | April 23, 2019

Years ago, my brother was working as an accountant for a small chain of mini-marts. Since he was considered management, he was not eligible for overtime, but they wanted him weekly to be on call and to come in on his day off to some task that was not part of his job and not a management task. California law indicated he might be eligible to collect overtime for that after all.

So, he requested about $10,000 to cover the unpaid overtime. The company refused, so he took them to the Labor Board.

He lost his suit with the Labor Board, but as part of the investigation, the Labor Board discovered that the company was shorting the overtime for other employees. The company was forced to pay the overtime and close to $100,000 in fines.

In addition, the investigator discovered that the company had official inventory taken, but then fudged the numbers on the tax returns and kept both the correct and the fraudulent inventories. So, the investigator turned them into the IRS. They were audited and ended up paying close to $500,000 in back taxes and fines.

This put a major crimp in the savings and income of the partners. Whether it was because she didn’t have enough spending money or because she did not want to be associated with the cheats, one of the partner’s wives filed for divorce and in the community property state, she ended up with a quarter of the business, which she insisted on taking in cash.

This resulted in the company going bankrupt. And it all could have been avoided for $10,000.

Not Class-y Behavior

, , , , | Working | April 18, 2019

(Lately, my store manager has been trying to get involved with everything within the store. Unfortunately, he seems to be overwhelmed and often forgets having conversations. He then blames the associate and acts as if he had nothing to do with the issue at hand. I am home on a Tuesday morning when he calls.)

Me: “Hello?”

Manager: “Hello, [My Name]? [Store Manager] here. How are you today?

Me: “I’m pretty good. How are you?”

Manager: “Excellent, excellent. Listen. I have an, uh, event here from corporate. They want you to run a puppy orientation next Sunday at 10:00 am.”

Me: “Oh. But I have a class then.”

Manager: “Yeah, I saw. What do you think we should do?”

Me: “Is the event mandatory?”

Manager: “Yeah, looks that way.”

Me: “Can I do it another time the same day?”

Manager: “Oh, that might work. How about… Well, I don’t know your schedule.”

Me: “I should have 2:00 pm free. I can do it then.”

Manager: “Great! I’ll start making flyers.” *hangs up*

(The day of the event comes and my manager pulls me aside.)

Manager: “So, what are you doing today?”

Me: “Well, I have my normal classes, plus the puppy orientation at two.”

Manager: “Ten.”

Me: “Uh, I have a class at ten, so we agreed to move the puppy thing to two.”

Manager: “You can’t rearrange a corporate event.”

Me: “You called me and said—“

Manager: “I never called you.”

Me: *confused* “Yes, you did… You called on Tuesday.” *pulls up my phone call log and shows him*

Manager: “No, [My Name], I didn’t. You’re going to have to call your people and tell them why you’re cancelling their class at the last moment.” *continues talking as he is walking away* “Hopefully this won’t reflect poorly on the company. You really should have thought this through…”

(I didn’t call my students and it all turned out fine. The puppy orientation people showed up at 2:00 with the manager’s flyers in hand. He still denies having any involvement and insists it was all me.)

Only Minutely False

, , , , , | Working | April 17, 2019

I worked in a personnel office, inputting timecards for the working week, which ran from Monday to Sunday. This info would go up to the payroll department for processing.

We got two new employees who worked the night shift, from midnight to 8:00 am, five days a week, but those days varied. We could never get the supervisor to understand that if the employee started work at midnight Sunday, that was actually the start of the next week; i.e. a Monday shift. So, we had these employees getting four days of work one week, then six days the next week, one of which was overtime. The employees were unhappy that their pay wasn’t steady week-to-week, even though they were getting more money overall, and the company was unhappy that they were paying unnecessary overtime.

I started inputting their hours starting at 11:59 pm on Sunday evening and ending 7:59 am Monday, which solved the problem. Everyone happy, right?

No. I got written up for falsifying timecards.

Doing A Disservice To Customer Service, Part 5

, , , , , , | Working | April 15, 2019

(My husband retired from the military with twenty years of service in the military version of customer service for various functions last year. He currently is an operations manager for the contractor that provides housekeeping and food service for the local hospital. All told, he has over forty direct reports. He is shopping at a major general store type retailer before work one day. The store manager is the only one on duty and she refuses to check him out before she does anything else. My husband walks up to the counter and no one is there for several minutes.)

Husband: “Can I get some help here?”

Store Manager: “Just a minute!”

([Husband] patiently waits. Five minutes pass by and no one has come to the counter. He asks again, a little more forcefully.)

Store Manager: “Can’t you wait?!”

Husband: “No! I am going to be late for work!”

(The store manager then proceeds to come to the front of the store and goes into an office to count tills instead of servicing my husband.)

Husband: “This is poor customer service! What could be more important than servicing a paying customer?”

Store Manager: “What is wrong with you? Don’t you know how customer service works?!”

Husband: “Uh… yeah, I do! I spent twenty years in the military doing customer service for shipping and receiving, and I would never treat a customer the way you did to me!”

Store Manager: “But you didn’t supervise anyone!”

Husband: “I was a Master Sergeant in the Air Force. I sure as heck supervised people! At one time I had over sixty people under me. I am now the manager of over forty people who provide services at [Local Hospital]! If any of my employees treated someone the way you have done to me, I would fire them as soon as possible!”

Store Manager: *checks my husband out* “Why don’t you call corporate, then?”

Husband: “I’m not dealing with your attitude! Don’t expect any more business from my wife and me. I am also telling [Local Veterans Group] not to shop here because you are so disrespectful.”

Doing A Disservice To Customer Service, Part 4
Doing A Disservice To Customer Service, Part 3
Doing A Disservice To Customer Service, Part 2

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