Please Retire, Please Retire, Please Retire…

, , , , | Working | January 25, 2021

I get a job as a graphic designer right out of college at a small studio. My coworkers are great, but our boss is… difficult.

Unfortunately, he is going through a nasty divorce and often stays overnight in the office. He walks around brushing his teeth, making comments about his ex-wife, and saying sexist things.

Boss: “I wish I could find a woman like [Office Dog] who would follow me around while I fed her treats out of my pocket.”

He starts a required “happy hour” at 4:00 pm on Fridays and tries to get everyone in the office to drink with him while he tells us all about how wasted he used to get in college. None of us drink because we all have to drive home.

He is totally fine with the director’s small, loud office dog biting clients but won’t let me bring in my dog because she is “too big.” She’s a greyhound, fifty-five pounds max, sleeps all day, doesn’t jump or bark, and never bites.

He screamed at me once for a Korean typo; I do not speak Korean nor did I ever tell anyone otherwise.

He screamed at me for using his favorite mug; it not only looked the same as the other mugs but was also kept in the same cupboard.

He once had me go into a room with him, shut the door behind us, and asked me if he made me “uncomfortable.” I said no because I was uncomfortable and wanted to leave as soon as possible.

He told my coworker, a single mom, that if she wanted health insurance — like the rest of us had — she could find another job.

Only one week after my other coworker tragically and unexpectedly lost a loved one, our boss tried to make him come back to work.

When I picked up a second job, he got mad that I couldn’t come in on one of my regular days off and snarled that I should be more grateful because he “takes care of me.”

I now work as a software engineer, work flexible hours at home, and make double the salary! Several years after I quit working for that terrible boss, one of my coworkers said that our boss had suggested leading a cleansing ceremony over my old desk because of all the “negative energy” that I had left behind. I laughed and told her to film it for me if it happens!

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English Really Isn’t Any Better

, , , , | Working | January 24, 2021

My dad works at an international company. They hire people and take on clients from all over the world. One day, he receives this message in the group chat from his supervisor.

Supervisor: “[Dad]: And now we have the phstodyxufhsoa from Germany, hahaha!”

Dad: “I’m sorry, what?”

Supervisor: “It’s a joke.”

Dad: “No, it isn’t. You’re being needlessly mean.”

Supervisor: “Dude, chill out. It’s just a joke. I’m sorry you didn’t find it funny because you have no sense of humor.”

Dad: “No, I didn’t. You’re making fun of the German language. As a company with an international presence, we have a duty to respect any and all of our clients and their cultures and languages. If you had sent this to another chat by accident, you’d be in deeper s*** than you are now. This kind of talking needs to stop or I’m talking to HR.” 

His supervisor didn’t respond to that. I’m so proud of my dad here; he’s absolutely not a perfect picture of acceptance, but he stood up to his supervisor for being a racist, xenophobic bully. Every little bit!

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The Money Is As Real As Her Managerial Skills

, , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: CosmosOfTime | January 23, 2021

I work at a fast food restaurant and we have a scanner machine to check if money is real or not. One day, I touch the machine’s sensor and notice that it still scans my hand as money. I do this with a piece of paper, as well, and conclude that the machine is broken.

During the same shift, I have a manager that does nothing but sit on her a** all day and only helps us with orders if we are behind orders by twenty-plus minutes. I tell her about the machine and she says she’ll check it later. I’m supposed to scan every ten- and twenty-dollar bill, and for fifties and hundreds, I have to give it to a manager to check.

A few hours go by, and my manager still hasn’t checked the machine, and by this point, I’m checking every ten and twenty by holding it up to a light, which can be seen as rude to a customer. One customer complains to me and calls my manager over.

Customer: “This employee is discriminating against me! Checking my ten-dollar bill like I’m a criminal!”

Instead of defending me, as the machine is broken and she still hasn’t checked it, she begins yelling at me in front of this customer.

Me: “[Manager], the machine is still broken, and I still need to check each bill the same as I would if the machine was working.”

Without even checking the machine, my manager just says:

Manager: “Just use the machine. Who would even use a counterfeit on a ten- or twenty-dollar bill?”

I decide the argument isn’t worth $9 an hour and just comply. I quickly scan every bill until I see two shady-acting women.

The first woman hands me a twenty-dollar bill that is obviously fake; I don’t even have to check it. It feels and looks like paper. I decide I will just follow orders and scan it. Since it goes off, I put it in the register. The second customer comes and hands me a similar counterfeit bill. I do the same thing.

Later, when my shift is about to end, my manager counts my drawer, finds the two counterfeit bills, and freaks out at me. I zone out for most of it, but most of it consists of her calling me dumb for not noticing these obvious counterfeits and telling me I’m going to get fired.

Well, what actually happened was the regional and general managers called me in to fire me on my next shift, and then I told them the story. They then checked the cameras and listened to our conversation about the machine being broken and concluded that the manager was in the wrong for: one, not letting me check the bills visibly, and two, telling me to use the machine that I explained as broken.

She was fired, and I later saw her working the cash register at a grocery store. Hopefully, she checks if she gets any counterfeit bills.

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Stamping The Joy Out Of Collectors

, , , , , | Working | January 21, 2021

I am about five years old when a book I read inspires me to start stamp collecting. When my dad sees me putting envelopes in water and carefully removing the stamps, he happily gives me his old stamp album containing thousands of stamps from all over the world. Though some are clearly postmarked from the 19th century, the vast majority of them are common and practically worthless. Still, I treasure them all the same; I love every stamp in that stamp album. Studying the postmarks and the designs of the stamps gives me little snapshots about the history, geography, and culture of so many different countries, and while I have favourites, I never take interest or “specialise” in any particular country or theme, as I know some collectors do. I just collect anything and everything.

Unfortunately, my family life takes a bit of a chaotic turn in my late teenage years; I am bouncing back and forth between both parents during their divorce and my dad moves house a few times. At some point during this mess, I lose my stamp album. It takes me several years to actually accept that the stamp album is gone, not hiding in a box somewhere or shelved away in some dusty corner of my mum’s garage. It’s gone.

Finally, I come to terms with it and decide to get a new stamp album. I have no idea where to start, but I know that I want to have something as close as possible to what I lost: a large collection of stamps from all over the world. The monetary value doesn’t matter; I am just sentimental about my childhood pastime and keepsake, and I want to recapture it as best as I can. I’ve also been feeling incredibly guilty about losing something my dad kept in good condition and passed down to me.

There aren’t that many brick-and-mortar stores that sell stamp collections in the twenty-first century, but I decide to take a look around the few shops that I can find in the city. The first one I visit is the biggest one and is a little overwhelming, although as I browse it, I do find some albums and loose collections that seem like what I’m looking for and are affordable enough. I decide to keep looking, though, just in case.

The next shop is a tiny little suite tucked away on the sixth floor of what looks at first to be an apartment building; I almost get lost trying to locate it. I hesitantly knock and enter the room which, while filled with albums and bags of stamps, also looks a lot more like an office than a store, and I’m not sure if I’m in the right place at first.

Me: “Hi… is this [Stamp Shop]?”

The two older men in the office look up at me from their desks; they seem equally surprised to see me. I assume that they own and manage the shop together, and I suppose it’s a little unusual for someone my age to be a customer interested in stamps.

[Owner #1] speaks, his voice sounding as uncertain as mine was.

Owner #1: “It is. Can I help you?”

Me: *A little nervously* “Um… hi. I’m just looking for some world stamps to try to make a new collection.”

The second man goes back to his computer. [Owner #1] continues to speak to me.

Owner #1: “What kind of stamps were you looking for?”

Me: “Um, I don’t really have a preference. I used to have a world collection of stamps when I was little, and I lost it a few years ago. Now I’m just hoping to build a new stamp collection similar to the one I lost. I’m not really fussy. If you have any mixed bags of world stamps, I’d gladly take a look.”

Owner #1: “If you’re building a world collection, it will be very expensive and you’ll probably need an entire basement to house all the stamps. It’s better to narrow it down a bit.”

Me: “Oh, I’m not thinking of a complete world collection! God, no, that would be impossible. No, my collection was only about 6000 or 7000 stamps at most. Just something like that would be fine!”

Owner #1: *Looking at me skeptically* “You should still narrow down your collection so that it’s manageable. I suggest you start with Australian stamps; that’s a practical goal for a beginner collector.”

Me: *Disappointed* “Oh, well, I did have a lot of Australian stamps, but… I used to collect all kinds.”

Owner #1: “Here, let me show you.”

He leads me to the back of the store and takes out an album of Australian stamps.

Owner #1: “See here, this is a complete collection of Australian stamps.”

He hands me a catalogue.

Owner #1: “Here you can see the date each stamp was issued and the value of it. As you can see, this collection is ordered from oldest to newest, with sets grouped together. And it’s not that many stamps, you see? It’s not too big of a scope for you to handle. Now, some of the stamps are rarer than others, and if you want them in mint condition, then the price will go up even higher, but if you have a catalogue, then you know exactly what stamps you have and what stamps you need to complete the collection.”

Me: “Well… I appreciate you showing me this and this is all very nice… but it’s not really what I’m looking for. I had stamps from Poland, from Japan, from Morocco… I know they weren’t worth much but it was very sentimental for me. I’m just hoping to recreate the album I lost, that’s all. I know it won’t be exactly the same; I won’t be able to get back every single stamp that I lost, but… I could get something similar, at least?”

Owner #1: “But if you try to collect stamps from everywhere, you’ll never get a complete collection! You’ll need a whole library of albums, and it will cost you a fortune. You see what I’m saying? Narrowing down your scope will allow you to be systematic in your approach. Here, I’ll give you this catalogue for free. Take it.”

He pushes the little catalogue book into my hand.

Owner #1: “Unfortunately, I don’t have an album today with fresh leaves to sell to you. But I’ll have one for you if you come back on Monday. But see, look at this album.”

Again, he takes out the Australian album and flips through the pages.

Owner #1: “This is how you’re supposed to order the stamps: by date and by set. You see?”

Me: “Yeah, that’s definitely not how I ordered my album when I was little. I did order them by country, but other than that, I just arranged them in whatever way I thought looked the nicest.” 

I laugh nervously. The owner stares at me.

Owner #1: “Yes, well, I understand that’s what you used to do. But if you want to be serious about stamp collecting, this is the way to do it. This way is systematic and logical, and you’ll finally be able to say you have a complete collection!”

This goes back and forth for some time. I’m doing my best to be respectful towards someone I recognise as far more experienced than I am, but I increasingly feel like I’m being talked down to.

Me: “I see where you’re coming from, but it was never about having a complete collection for me, or how much a full collection is worth. It’s just something I loved doing and was very sentimental about… You know?”

Owner #1: *Long pause* “So, for you, it was just a form of mindless entertainment? A hobby?”

I feel like I should be ashamed for answering, like I’ve somehow been disrespecting the sacred art of stamp collecting my entire life.

Me: “Yes?”

Eventually, I left with the free catalogue, with the owner urging me to come back the next Monday so he could sell me a blank album with which I could start my new, “proper” Australian stamp collection. I was very confused and frustrated. I know the man was probably a very experienced collector who took his passion seriously, and I’m sure I was and still am hugely ignorant about stamp collecting compared to him, but I couldn’t help feeling very condescended to. I never did go back to that little shop.

I ended up purchasing some mixed bags from the first store and online, and a few months later, I found a closer stamp shop that I began to frequent. The owner of this shop was a very friendly and helpful man. I did ask him once if I was “wrong” for not specialising in anything, and he assured me there were many casual “world” collectors like me, and there was no wrong way to collect stamps. As an example, he recently came across a collection of nothing but camel stamps from all over the world! Some collector really had a thing for camels, apparently.

I now have a collection much bigger than the collection I lost, housed in fancier albums, and eventually, I did take interest in a particular theme on my own accord — not Australian stamps, though, but Disney-themed ones.

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We’d Like To Give Them A Pizza Our Mind

, , , , , | Working | January 21, 2021

During a busy day at work, I decide that I don’t feel like cooking tonight, so I decide to try ordering a pizza online from a new pizza joint in town. Like most restaurants, the website gives you the choice of when you want your order to be ready for pickup, so I enter my usual dinner time. It’s about five hours into the future, because I still have four hours to work for my own shift.

After work, I run some other errands to kill time and then pick up my pizza and head home to eat. With the first bite, I realize that something is off; this is definitely not a fresh, hot pizza at all. I call the pizza joint to complain and ask for a fresh pizza.

Employee: “Hello, [Pizza Joint]. How can I help you?”

Me: “Hi, I ordered a pizza online earlier today. When I picked it up and tried to eat it, it was almost stale. I would like to return it for a fresh pizza.”

Employee: “Okay, can I please get your name?”

Me: “[My Name].”

Employee: “Okay. You ordered a [specialty pizza], correct?”

Me: “Yes.”

Employee: “And what was wrong with the pizza?”

Me: “It’s barely lukewarm, and the crust tastes like it’s gone stale.”

Employee: “I see. Our records show that you were almost five hours late picking up your pizza, so unless there’s something actually wrong with it, there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Me: “How could I be five hours late when the pizza wasn’t supposed to be ready until 6:00 pm?”

Employee: “Our records show that you placed your order online at 1:00 pm; is that correct?”

Me: “Yeah, but I chose to have it ready at 6:00.”

Employee: “Um… sir, that’s not possible. We don’t have that option on our website.”

Me: “Yeah, you do. I’m literally looking at the receipt for my order right now. It says 6:00 pm pick-up.”

Employee: “Well, the order came in at 1:00 pm, so we made your order at 1:00 pm. If you wanted a later pickup time, you should have ordered later.”

Me: “Is there a manager I could speak to, please?”

Employee: “Sir, the only person above me here is the owner. I guarantee you he will only tell you the same thing. You were late picking up your pizza. If there was nothing wrong with it, we can’t replace it. Goodbye!”

The employee actually hangs up on me. Frustrated, I drive to the restaurant, pizza in tow, to speak to the owner, who turns out to be the employee’s father. He sides with his son/employee in claiming that I was just too late picking up my order, even after I show him the email receipt that very clearly shows I wanted my order at 6:00 pm. I decide to just get my money back, and after ten minutes of arguing, the owner finally gives me my money back.

But wait… there’s more! When I get home, I leave an extremely negative review on the restaurant’s Facebook page — nothing nasty, just a thoroughly detailed account of what happened — and end up reading similar negative reviews from other customers. About an hour after I leave my review, the owner chimes in on the post, in true Not Always Working fashion, to try and refute my order. Of note here: I am a black man while the owner is white.

Owner: “[My Name], for the last time, we do not have that option on our website. Never have, never will. Maybe if you used regular time instead of [racial slur] time, you would get fresh pizza.”

I chose not to respond any further, but I did report the owner’s response to the local Chamber of Commerce. I live in a very politically liberal area where racism is absolutely not tolerated by local authorities. The pizza joint’s business license for our county was revoked, and they were forced to shut down.

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