Their Reaction Was Gold(fish)

, , , , , | | Working | August 2, 2019

(I work in the office of a multinational company that has a pet goldfish. Whenever coworkers clean the tank, I just walk away, because I am honestly horrified by how they treat that poor fish. They are the kind of people that are convinced they know what they are doing but are horrible at it. Going to a manager is useless, because they think I am overreacting. Besides, it is “just a fish.”)

Coworker #1: “Hey, I’m tired of cleaning that tank.”

Coworker #2: “Yeah, it’s always such a hassle, grabbing that fish.”

(Yes, they grab him with their hands and then toss him in a bucket with water.)

Coworker #1: “Not to mention all that cleaning of the pebbles with dishwasher soap… How about we flush that thing?”

(I am terrible at reading people when it comes to joking. I can be fooled easily and believe whatever people tell me. Yes, I know I am pretty gullible; I do my best, but I’m in my mid-30s and still have this issue. I also often take things literally.)

Me: *thinking they are joking* “Ha! That fish is so big, he would clog up the sewer!”

Coworker #1: “You know, you’re right. Let’s toss him into the canal.”

Coworker #2: “How about the office garden? I saw a heron yesterday; I bet he’d love a goldfish for lunch!”

Me: *realizing they are not joking* “Oh, well, if you are serious about this, I could take him in?”

(I am not looking for a pet, but I don’t want this fish to die, especially not because of these two. I used to have an aquarium as a kid and I still have everything from back then.)

Coworker #2: “Oh, you can’t! It’s not our fish!”

Coworker #1: “Yeah, he was bought especially for [CEO]. We promised we would take care of him.”

Coworker #2: “But, if he says it’s okay…”

Coworker #1: “Yeah, you can always ask him!”

(They walk away, giggling. Adult women, giggling like teenagers. However, I don’t catch their actual motive: setting me up to fail and get upset about that “poor little fish” — which was huge, by the way. All I hear is that I just have to ask the CEO. The CEO is the one who has appeared on TV, has expensive clothes, cars, etc., and is spoken to with the utmost respect by everyone. You do not just barge into his office. You cannot reach him without an appointment through the secretary of his secretary — well, that last part is an exaggeration — unless you are me, apparently. I just open my business email, open the address book, look up his name, and send him an email.)

Me: “Hello, Mr. [CEO]. I work at [Department] and we are taking care of the fish that once belonged to you. My coworkers no longer wish to take care of him and I wonder if I could adopt him. I am awaiting your reply.”

(About half an hour later:)

CEO: “Hello, [My Name]. Sure, you can have him. To be honest, I thought he was already long gone. Take good care of him!”

(When I tell my coworkers, blissfully unaware of their scheme, their jaws drop and they can’t believe I actually emailed the CEO! Within the day, I am known as the girl who “just emailed the CEO about a fish.” They then joke that he will probably die very soon, as goldfish only live a few years and he is probably already three or four years old. However, when my mom picks me and my new pet up — I needed safe transportation last-minute — she says:)

Mom: “That’s the fish?! Sweetie, that type of goldfish can live up to 20! Those coworkers of yours have no idea what they were talking about!”

(So, that’s how I got my goldfish and now, about ten years later, I still have him. I even got him a bigger tank this year and my husband adores him!)

Refuses To Register The Move To Register

, , , | | Working | August 1, 2019

(While I do help around the store from time to time, most of my job is teaching small groups or one-on-one lessons. I’m in a private lesson when my manager barges in, looking panicked.)

Manager: “[My Name], we need you out here.”

Me: “Umm… I can’t really leave unless it’s an emergency.”

Manager: “Now!” *she leaves*

Me: “I, uh, I guess I’ll be back. I’m sorry. Help yourself to the coffee or snacks or—“

Customer: *obviously angry* “I paid for your time and you’re going to leave?”

Me: “Again, I’m sorry, but it sounds like there’s something serious happening. I’ll comp your next visit if you’d like.”

Customer: “Forget it. I want my money back for this one.”

Me: “Unfortunately, we’re almost through our hour so I can’t do that, but I can give you the next visit for free, or a voucher for anything in the store for that value.”

Customer: *stands up* “We’ll see what corporate has to say about this.” *leaves*

(Annoyed, I go out to see what my manager wanted. She’s on one of our five registers, furiously waving me over. The lines are ridiculously long, even though all five registers are open. When I get there, she steps out and asks about something on the screen. I step in to get a better look.)

Manager: “Why is it doing that?” *points at an item that has been reduced by half*

Me: “I guess there was a deal on that item. Maybe a buy one, get one half off?”

Manager: “Oh. Okay.” *starts to walk away*

Register Customer: “Where is she going?”

Me: *to the customer* “I don’t know…” *to my manager* “Are you not going to finish this?”

Manager: “Oh, no, I don’t run the registers unless there’s no other option.” *smiles* “But now you’re here so I can go and do my job!”

Me: *stunned silence*

Manager: “Go on, then!” *goes in her office and closes the door*

Register Customer: “Wow… Who is that?”

Me: “Oh, that’s the store manager.”

Register Customer: “Huh…”

(When the line is gone, I go to her office to talk about what just happened.)

Me: *knock knock* “Hey, [Manager], I need to talk to you.”

Manager: *opens the door* “I need to talk to you, too. Please sit down.”

Me: “Okay…”

Manager: *sternly* “I just got off the phone with corporate. A customer complained that you were very unprofessional today. She is demanding her money back for her session, plus compensation.”

Me: “You mean the one I was with when you came in, acting like the store was on fire?”

Manager: “I don’t know who you were with, then.”

Me: “I was with [Customer]. You told me to go with you, despite knowing I was already involved in something.”

Manager: “Well, I’m going to need you to read over this and sign it.” *slides a paper toward me*

Me: *reads it over* “Are… are you writing me up?”

Manager: “You left a customer before finishing their session.”

Me: “You realize that was your doing, not mine.”

Manager: *shakes her head* “The customer comes first. My hands are tied.”

Me: “Which customer? The one in line at the register, or the one I’m already with when the line starts to grow?”

Manager: “Please don’t be difficult, [My Name]. Just sign.”

Me: “Fine.” *signs* “I’m going on break now.”

(While on my break, I call corporate myself and dispute the write-up, telling them what the customer conveniently forgot — that the manager had told me to come out without telling me why. I also add the part about the manager seemingly only needing me to come out so she wouldn’t have to run the register and how she left without finishing the transaction. When I get back from break, the manager calls me into her office again.)

Manager: *sullen* “I heard you talked to corporate.”

Me: “I did.”

Manager: “They are reversing your write-up because the customer did not give the full story.”

Me: “Good!”

Manager: “In the future, if you have a problem with me or the way I run my store, you can come to me instead of whining to corporate.”

Me: “If a customer complained about you when you weren’t at fault, wouldn’t you want your name cleared?”

Manager: “Yes, but—“

Me: “So I wasn’t doing anything wrong. And, per our non-retaliation policy, I don’t think you should say I was ‘whining’ about anything.”

Manager: *blushing* “Go back to your job, please.”

(The next time I saw the customer from the register, she told me she had called corporate, as well, and reported that the manager walked away in the middle of the transaction, leaving me to deal with it. I don’t know if anything came from that, but my manager hasn’t asked me to leave sessions to help anywhere else since that incident.)

What A Complete A**-perger

, , , , , | | Working | July 30, 2019

(I stock shelves for a grocery store. I have Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning type of autistic spectrum disorder. My manager is fairly new, but he has taken a disliking to me and often treats me poorly compared to my coworkers. This happens one day while I’m stocking pasta sauce.)

Customer: “Excuse me. Do you have any more of this sauce in the back room?”

(She’s holding a jar of an uncommon variety of sauce that we have recently discontinued. I know for a fact that we do not have any more in the back room because we just received our sauce shipment the other day, and none of it was of this variety.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but that sauce is actually discontinued and is on clearance.”

Customer: “That’s bulls***! I know you have more back there! Go and get me some, now!”

Me: “I cannot do that, ma’am, as we don’t have any more.”

Customer: “LIAR!”

(Without any warning, she SLAMS the jar of sauce onto the ground at her feet, causing it to shatter. As if on cue, the manager comes over.)

Manager: “Is something wrong?”

Customer: “Fire this brat! Now! He threw this jar at me!”

Manager: “Is this true?”

Me: “No, sir! She threw that jar herself!”

Customer:You liar! I saw you throw that at me!

Me: “That’s not true! I—“

Manager: “Enough. I’m sorry, [My Name], but I simply will not tolerate this behavior, so I have to let you go. Go pack up your things and leave the store. I am very disgusted with your behavior.”

(I sheepishly punched out and left, but I wasn’t about to let myself be fired on such bogus grounds. As soon as I got home, I got on the phone with HR and explained the entire situation to them. Three days later, I got a call from the district manager offering me my job back. As it turns out, the whole incident was the latest conspiracy by my now ex-manager to get me fired because he didn’t want to work with someone on the autistic spectrum. The customer turned out to be his wife, and the whole scheme was planned out well in advance. One thing that he, quite foolishly, forgot to take into account was the security footage, which clearly showed his wife throwing down the jar of pasta sauce, contrary to what they claimed to have happened. He was fired almost immediately, and both he and his wife are now banned from setting foot in any of the company’s stores. I’m still working there to this day, and just recently got a promotion to assistant department manager.)

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Off The Clock And On To The Chopping Block

, , , , , | | Working | July 26, 2019

(I am a cashier at a big box retailer. Our longtime front-end manager has retired recently. His successor is a young blonde woman in her late twenties. I meet her on her first day and she seems like a very sweet and enthusiastic person, even taking an almost immediate liking to me. The next day, I’m off, and I’m shopping for my family when she approaches me.)

Manager: *smiling* “Hey, how are you doing?”

Me: “Very well, thank you.”

Manager: “Hey, do you think you could get on register four? We’re getting swamped in here.”

Me: “I can’t. I’m shopping.”

Manager: “Well, we’re really busy and the lines are getting long. I really do need you over there.”

Me: “It’s my day off! I’m not even in uniform!”

Manager: *no longer smiling* “You don’t have a choice in the matter, and I do not like this attitude of yours. Get on register four, now. That is an order.”

Me: “With all due respect, you cannot make me work off the clock.”

Manager: *now yelling* “Again with your attitude! Go to the office! Now! I’ll deal with you later!”

(I head to the store director’s office.)

Store Director: “[My Name]? What are you doing back here? Is something wrong?”

Me: “Apparently, I’m in trouble.”

Store Director: “What do you mean? I thought you weren’t scheduled today.”

Me: “I wasn’t; that’s the point! I was just here shopping when [Manager] sent me back here.”

(Just then the front end manager comes storming in.)

Manager: *screaming* “I’m sick and tired of your attitude and refusal to do as you’re told! You’re fired!

Store Director: “Whoa, whoa! Hold the phone! First and foremost, [Manager], you do not yell at anyone in this store. Second, what exactly are you firing [My Name] for?”

Manager: “I’m firing him for insubordination! He wasn’t getting on register when I told him to!”

Store Director: “Oh, really? Did it ever occur to you that [My Name] wasn’t even scheduled today, and that maybe he was just here to shop?”

Manager: “I don’t care! His job is to do as he’s told!”

Store Director: “And you essentially told him to break the law and work off the clock. You cannot fire him for refusing to do that, and even if for some reason you could, it would have to go through me and I still wouldn’t allow it.” *to me* “Sorry about that, [My Name]. You can go about your business now. I’m going to have a word in private with [Manager]. Hope your day gets better! I’ll see you tomorrow!”

Me: “You, too!”

(I left the office and finished my shopping. As I was checking out, the front end manager emerged from the office cursing out loud and stormed out the front door. When I came to work the following day, she was nowhere to be seen. I later learned she was fired that day for intentionally violating federal labor laws. It just goes to show you that sometimes sweetness and enthusiasm are only skin-deep. Thankfully, her replacement wasn’t a demon inside like she was.)

To Train A Predator

, , , , , , | | Working | July 24, 2019

(The monthly staff meeting began a few minutes ago. The boss is checking the quick opening announcement off his list before we move onto things in more detail.)

Boss: “Okay, so, by now, you all should have completed your sexual harassment training… which needs a name change, by the way, as that makes it sound like they’re training you how to sexually harass someone…”