This Story Is Not Rated Adult

, , , | Working | June 10, 2019

(I work at a community center. All employees just got an email saying my boss’s boss is doing away with our age policy, which previously stated anyone under 12 needed an adult present. The boss’s boss felt this was age-based discrimination, so she has changed the policy so any child can be in our center at any time without an adult. I am shocked by the implications of this, so I email my boss with my questions; she is seldom around to see things for herself.)

My Email: “I just saw the new policy, and I am a bit confused. It sounds like this means any child can just be left at [Center] without any supervision at all. However, [Boss’s Boss] has always told us we are not parents and cannot act in a parental manner. So, what do we do? What if an eight-year-old is left here all day alone? What about a five-year-old? A toddler? A baby? I cannot possibly see us accepting a baby left alone unattended all day when we’re not to be babysitters. However, the way [Boss’s Boss] worded the policy makes it seem like it’s acceptable. Can you please clarify the new policy?”

My Boss’s Reply: “[My Name], in your job description it says you’re to ‘exert decision-making concerning the public and policy.’ Tell me what you would do in each of the situations you outlined, and I’ll tell you if you responded appropriately or not.”

(I have just been diagnosed with anxiety, and her email nearly sends me into a panic attack on the spot. I feel as if she is setting me up for failure and is waiting, expecting me to make mistakes she can document and hold against me. As a result, I don’t reply to her email. I figure I’ll just hope and pray that no young children get dumped at [Community Center] for me to deal with. About two weeks later, my boss is actually working with me at the center.)

Boss: “I noticed you never replied to my email.”

Me: “Yeah… I didn’t know what to say.”

Boss: “So, how would you respond in those situations?

Me: *as I feel my anxiety rise* “I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.”

Boss: “You’re the one who asked the question. You must have some kind of answer.”

Me: “I don’t know. The policy says one thing, but common sense says something totally different. That’s why I was asking you for clarification!”

Boss: *frowns* “You’re going to be expected to make decisions. It’s part of your job description. Come on, you can give me an answer. What would you do if someone left a toddler here?”

Me: “I don’t know! [Boss’s Boss] has written up people for not following policy before. So, if policy says kids of any age can be left here without an adult, then that’s policy and [Boss’s Boss] expects us to follow it. But it contradicts us being parents, and it contradicts common sense, so I don’t know what to do. That’s why I asked you.” *trying not to hyperventilate*

Boss: “Woah, woah. Calm down, [My Name.] If there’s a baby walking around in a diaper and can’t even help themselves to the toilet, then that’s an abandoned child and we can call the police.”

(I am thinking: “Finally! She gives me an answer!”)

Me: “Okay.”

Boss: “But if it’s an older kid who is behaving themselves? They’re allowed to be here.”

Me: “Even if they’re only five years old?”

Boss: *shrug, gives me a look that says she’s very uncertain* “If they’re behaving themselves.”

(Once word got out that we allowed children to be at [Center] without parents, we became a dumping ground for parents who didn’t want to pay for babysitters. This included families with three to six young children who would spend hours terrorizing each other. One family regularly dropped off all five of their boys who brought their school bullying to our center. It was a nightmare. I later looked up my boss’s job description. One part of it was to explain policy to staff and to the public.)

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The Key Is To Check The Key

, , , | Working | January 16, 2019

Many years ago I was working at a city-owned community recreation center. As I was often the first one to enter the building each morning, I had a key to the front entrance and the access code to call to have the alarm disabled. One day I unlocked the door, called the alarm company, and then started to put my keys away, only to realize I’d just let myself in with my own house key!

My next call was to the city maintenance department to report what had happened. The locksmith they sent told us that the tumblers in the lock were so worn that any key of the same make would have unlocked that door, and it was a good thing an authorized employee had been the one who discovered it rather than someone with no reason to be entering the building!

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Has No ID-ea It’s Christmas

, , , , | Right | December 25, 2018

(Every year, my county holds a holiday gift drive to benefit local needy kids and families who otherwise wouldn’t get much for Christmas. The event relies entirely on donations from local businesses and individual citizens. The “staff” are all volunteers. One year, my mother and another volunteer are manning the check-in table where people came to pick up their gifts. Due to past impersonation and theft problems, it is standard procedure to check everyone’s ID. A middle-aged woman approaches the check-in table to pick up her gifts.)

Volunteer: “Good morning! I need to see your photo ID, and then we’ll get one of our ‘elves’ to bring out your bag.”

Lady: *huffs as she hands over her driver’s license*

Volunteer: *verifies ID matches the list* “All right, here comes your ‘elf’ to escort you through Santa’s Workshop to pick out a couple of additional toys. Merry Christmas!”

(The lady grunts and follows the “elf” who’s brought out her bag of gifts. The volunteer turns her attention to the next person in line. Not long after, the lady returns. She is obviously angry and starts shouting.)


Volunteer: *shocked* “Ma’am, I gave your ID back to you. Are you sure it’s not in your purse?”


Volunteer: “Ma’am, I—“


Volunteer: *shakily hands over $20 to cover the driver’s license replacement fee*

(The infuriated lady snatched the money from her and flounced out of the building, muttering about thieves. Later that day, a relative of hers came to pick up their own bag of gifts. While chatting, the relative mentioned that the angry lady had found her ID in the bottom of her purse. As a result of this incident, a new policy was put in place: volunteers are absolutely not allowed to touch peoples’ ID’s.)

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All Talkie, No Walkie

, , , , , , | Working | November 20, 2018

(I work in a leisure centre where jobs include cleaning, customer care, and lifeguarding. This is a small centre, so there are only four employees and the manager on site. On this particular day, there are only male staff. I’m taking my turn lifeguarding. From my chair I can’t see the front desk, where the rest of the employees are. I have a radio to communicate problems. I have been in the chair for nearly an hour, it’s hot, and there’s no sign of anyone coming to switch with me. I pick up the radio.)

Me: “Hey, does anyone fancy taking a turn on pool?”


Me: “It’s nice and warm out here.”

Coworker #1: “[My Name], are you trying to use the radio? We can’t hear you.”

Me: “Could someone come and take me off, please?”

Coworker #1: “We’re just hearing static mate; try speaking up.”

Me: “Can. Someone. Please. Switch. With. Me.”

Coworker #2: “We really can’t hear you mate; try speaking up.”

Me: “Try coming out and talking to me, then.”

Coworker #3: “What are you trying to say to us?”

Me: “Maybe you could get off your fat a** and try and solve the problem with a little initiative.”

Coworker #1: “What?”

Me: “Never mind. Forget it.”

Coworker #3: “Come again?”

Me: “Never. Mind.”

(This goes on for about five minutes. Eventually, [Coworker #2] comes out to switch with me. He has a massive grin on his face.)

Me: *snapping* “What?!”

Coworker #2: “We could hear you the whole time.”

(I instantly felt very stupid, and went back to the front desk without saying anything else to him. When I got there, everyone laughed, including the manager, and I vowed to kill them all — which was fine since I know for a fact I’m on the manager’s workplace massacre list — before getting on with my job. I know I sound pretty dumb for falling for that, but in my defence, it was very hot, and I’m quite gullible as it is.)

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It’s A Running Problem

, , , , | Right | August 17, 2018

(I’m volunteering for a local race, packing up and handing out runner kits at a local community center. There’s a sign on the front desk with a bright red arrow pointing to the gym for kit pick-up. I’m hanging another sign nearby when a runner comes in, and walks right up to the front desk.)

Runner: “Where do I pick up my race kit?”

Front Desk: “Just to the right in the gym. There will be a sign right out front.”

Runner: *walks off in that general direction, having still not noticed either of the five-foot signs*

Me: “I thought the signs were big enough to be noticed, but I guess not.”

Front Desk: “He’s the third one today.”

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