Jobs Are For Working. Who Knew?

, , , , , | Working | May 31, 2021

I work in the parts department of a [Brand #1] car dealership. We have a small crew with only three employees, plus a manager. We recently had one of our coworkers quit to move on to new opportunities, and as you do, our manager hired a new employee. We hired a guy who previously worked at a [Brand #2] car dealership. He seems a little shy and quiet when he shows up, but I think nothing of it. I’d be more uneasy if he was loud, boisterous, and buddy-buddy on the first day.

We get to training, and we ask the usual first-day questions. All his answers are short and curt. No follow-up. No back and forth. No questions. Quiet guy, still all good in my brain.

Being the most senior employee, training falls in my realm of responsibilities. I start training him. I know I can be a bit fast in explaining things, and there are a lot of acronyms and odd three-letter commands to use our software. Sometimes I feel like Robin Williams bellowing out acronyms like in that one scene in “Good Morning Vietnam”. I make sure to stop myself regularly to ask, “Am I going too fast?”, “Does this make sense?”, “Any questions?” Again, his answers are short and curt, and he seems to be following along.

After coming back from lunch, we hop back to it. A parts request comes through the computer: something simple, like an oil change. Even on day one, it’s pretty easy stuff, and he said he’s used our software before.

New Hire:  “What do I do again?”  

I slowly realize he’s not retained much from the morning.

Me: “Click on [Software].”

He clicks on the wrong tab.

New Hire: “This one?”

Me: “No, [software]”

He clicks on the web browser.

New Hire: “This one?”

Me: “No, [Software]. The green one.”

He clicks on a red tab.

New Hire: “This one?”

My optimist brain thinks, “Okay, he could be colourblind maybe. My bad.” So I point.

Me: “This one.”

New Hire: “Okay.” *Clicks* “What do I do again?” 

Conversations like this happen again and again all afternoon, with both me and my other veteran coworker. I do my best to keep my patience, to stay positive, and overall, to be courteous. I do not just show him how to do it; I make him do it — on the job training. Alas, there’s not much improvement by day’s end.

I’m a bit torn. The pessimist in my brain says, “Not the best hire we’ve had in a while.” The optimist asks, “Could just be day-one jitters. Were you a rockstar on day one?” No, I was not, but I was better than that. Tomorrow, we shall train anew. New day, new opportunities!

I have the early shift, starting at 7:30 am, my veteran coworker starts at 8:00, and the new hire is due to start at 8:30. But 9:00 am rolls around and no new hire. Car troubles? Sick? Slept in? Happens to the best of us, even on your second day. Hope he’s okay. Thanks, optimist brain.

Then, my manager strolls on by.

Manager: “What happened with the new guy yesterday?”

Me: “What?” 

Coworker: “Uhh, [My Name] trained him?”  

Manager: “Well, he just called and said he quit.”

Me: “Wait! What? Why?”

Manager: “That’s why I’m here. He called in and said he wasn’t coming back in. I asked him why he wasn’t coming back, and his answer was just, ‘Ask your employees,’ and he hung up. What did you guys do?”

Me: “I made him work?”

My manager just shrugged and gave us a look that said, “Not your problem, his. We’re good.” [New Hire] still comes up in conversation from time to time, and to this day, we are still trying to figure out what we did to offend him so much. Did he expect his first day to be a lazy orientation? Fill out paperwork, go play on the swings, watch some TV, nap, and then go home early? Did he really not expect to work on his first day?

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Long Story Short, The Answer Is No

, , , , | Working | April 9, 2021

Many years ago while I was driving my vintage extended-cab pickup, I noticed a newer extended cab on a dealer’s used truck lot. I pulled in, got out, walked to the truck, and checked its bed length. It was the shorter bed of that era — six and a half feet instead of the long eight-foot bed.

A salesman arrived and asked my thoughts on the truck.

Me: “Not interested. It has the short six-and-a-half-foot bed; I want an extended cab with the long bed.”

Salesman: “Oh, no! You wouldn’t want a truck that long. They are difficult to drive on city streets and in city traffic.”

Me: “Gee, I had never heard that. Are you sure?”

I know that many even longer trucks are being driven in the city daily.

Salesman: “Oh, yes! They are a real problem driving in cities.”

Me: “I’m not sure about that.”

After a few more exchanges of the same basic views, I decide it is time to give my closing declaration.  

Me: “I have been driving my truck with the extended cab and the long, eight-foot bed for thirteen years. When do you think I might finally notice this problem?”

He walked away with a deer in the headlights look on his face.

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So Much For Standing Behind Your Vehicles

, , , | Working | April 1, 2021

I have recently purchased a used vehicle from a major car company dealership. The first few days go by uneventfully until I get a light on my dash. I take it back in, get a loaner in the meantime, and go home.

A while passes, and I get a call from the dealership’s maintenance department, informing me that the engine light indicated the car needed an update of sorts, so after they ran it, the light was gone. They then tell me that I need to do several maintenance repairs and upkeep, involving flushes and a replacement of something else, totalling well over $1,000.

I then realize that the maintenance team was not instructed that this was a car they had just sold, and they did a good, thorough inspection of the vehicle. Thank goodness that light popped on!

I explain the situation, that I had literally just bought this car several days ago, and that I shouldn’t have to pay for any repairs or maintenance, as that should have been done prior to the purchase.

The person on the phone tells me they will look into it, and a day passes. I then hear back from the person who sold me my car; they bought the car from a different dealership, and they are basically arguing between the two dealerships about who should have to pay for the repairs and maintenance. 

I am with that loaner car for a week while they sort everything out. I just want to drive my new car! I am not impressed.

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Used Car Salesman Cliches Exist For A Reason

, , , , , | Working | March 16, 2021

I’m shopping for a different car. I don’t have much money and I do a lot of miles. It’s not easy, but I find a car that is known for reliability even at higher miles. I focus on finding examples for this type of car and go around the showrooms.

I find a local place that has one for a good price, but immediately, I notice odd things.

Me: “The clutch is very heavy.”

Salesman: “Yeah, that’s normal.”

Me: “I noticed that there were a lot of panel gaps on the outside.”

Salesman: “Yeah, these cars are built well, but they are used, after all, and can move.”

Me: “And it’s fully serviced before sale.”

Salesman: “Yeah, this one has just had a service in-house, no issues or concerns. So shall we talk finance?”

I smiled and walked away, I could tell he was lying through his teeth. No clutch should be so hard to push that it is difficult to drive and no car that new magically has panel gaps without already being in an accident.

I feel bad for anyone who just doesn’t know cars, that these guys are allowed to openly lie. I ended up giving them a scathing review; without evidence, it’s the best I can do.

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The Saturday Blues

, , , , | Right | January 25, 2021

I work four part-time jobs, usually about sixty to eighty hours a week, 5:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday, 5:00 am to 1:00 pm on Sundays, and 8:00 am to 12:00 pm on Saturdays.

My car needs service, but as I work during the hours of operation for most businesses and can’t leave my car overnight, my options are limited. Finally, I find a dealership near me with extended Saturday hours. I make an appointment and bring my car in.

Technician: “Hello, how can I help you?”

Me: “Hi, my name is [My Name], and I have an appointment for 1:30.”

Technician: “Okay, I found you here. Let’s get you checked in. What seems to be the problem?”

I explain the issue.

Me: “I probably should have come sooner, but I work a lot, and this was the only time I wasn’t working and you were open. I work Saturdays, too, so this was the earliest I could come in.”

Technician: “Yeah… I work Saturdays, too…”

I felt so stupid and ignorant, complaining about working on Saturdays to someone who was working on a Saturday. It’s like the people who go shopping on holidays and complain to the workers that they shouldn’t be working, but they can’t be closed if you’re going to shop there.

The rest of the transaction went fine, though, with no resentment — I hope!

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