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Use It Or Lose It — We Mean It

, , , , | Working | January 26, 2022

I work for a pretty large company — so large that, in some areas, if you wanted to walk to the canteen on your morning break, the break would be over before you got back.

Luckily, the company has arranged for food vans to offer a small selection in the areas furthest out. For whatever reason, the guys in my department always snub the food van, opting to go to the canteen for the same food.

One morning:

Local Manager: “Good morning, everyone. Just so you know, the company is looking at the food vans and which ones to keep. I would suggest that if you want to keep the food van here, use it!”

No one seems to pay much attention.

A few weeks later:

Local Manager: “The food van is being discontinued at the [Location]. If any of you rely on it as we do, I suggest taking full advantage of it this week, and maybe they will reconsider.”

Me: “We should probably use it more. I don’t want to have to walk down to the canteen every morning.”

Coworker: “Nah, the canteen had better choices.”

Me: “You have the same bacon roll every morning; that’s what they sell at the van.”

Coworker: “Well, the ones at the canteen are better.”

Me: *Sighs* “It’s the same food; they drive to the canteen and pick it up.”

Coworker: “Well, I don’t care. I like going to the canteen.”

A couple of weeks later, it’s chucking it down with rain.

Coworker: “Oh, man, look at the weather. I wanted some breakfast.”

Me: “Yeah, have a nice walk.”

Coworker: “Didn’t you say something about a food van? Isn’t that near?”

Me: “The one that was just around the corner? And sold bacon rolls and hot drinks?”

Coworker: “Yeah, well?”

Me: “The one you didn’t want to use and they said they would discontinue if they didn’t get enough business?”

Coworker: “Oh.”

Suddenly, the trip to the canteen wasn’t the popular activity it was, and as it got colder, suddenly everyone was complaining about how far it was and how the company should do something about it.

A Lack Of Caffeine Can Make People A Little Crazy

, , , , | Working | January 26, 2022

My coworker stops in before he drives across the country for work, we chat, and he leaves. A few minutes later, I realise he left his still unopened cup of takeaway coffee on the side. I go out to see his car gone. I call him but his phone is off. I message him just so he knows why I called.

Ten minutes pass, and I figure, well, the coffee is soon to go cold, and it’s still good, so I break the tab and drink it myself.

The next day, he’s back in the office. We chat about how the trip went.

Coworker: “Oh, I saw a missed call from you.”

Me: “Yeah, I sent you a message. You left your coffee behind.”

Coworker: “Oh, that’s weird; I didn’t get it. But that does explain things. I was wondering where I left it. At least I didn’t drive off with it on my roof like I thought.”

Me: “Yeah, I’ve done that before, but I reversed and got to watch my coffee pour down the window in front of me. Yours didn’t go to waste, though.”

Coworker: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Oh, well, I drank it. I waited until I was sure you weren’t coming back.”

Coworker: “You drank my coffee?”

Me: “Well, yeah. What did you want me to do, pour it away?”

Coworker: “You shouldn’t drink my coffee. I paid for that.”

Me: “Hang on. If I hadn’t drunk it, it would have been thrown away.”

Coworker: “Buy me another one!”

I would have done anyway, just as a nice gesture, sort of paying it forward, but his attitude is so aggressive, and I don’t appreciate being ordered around.

Me: “Mate, I don’t appreciate your tone.”

He let out a string of expletives at me, went straight to Human Resources, and told them half of the story. I had to explain the actual story. They told him to go away and that it was not an issue.

Funny — when he did the same thing to my lunch a few months back but didn’t actually check whether I had left — I hadn’t — I didn’t make half the fuss he did.

Imagine Using Your Own Brain For Once

, , , , | Working | January 25, 2022

We have a very flakey and extremely volatile salesperson. She blows up on you at a drop of a hat for the most asinine reasons. Typically, she thinks you made her look incompetent while ignoring the fact that she does that all on her own with her inability to listen. For a while, she was using me as her own personal secretary. I am not a secretary or an admin. I am technical and got my degree in STEM, but we were all a team so I would update her on meetings she was just in not five minutes prior.

The health crisis happened and her abuse skyrocketed to new heights. At points, she was telling me to text other engineers about what they were working on and spent hours berating me for not knowing, all while trying to isolate me so only she could speak to me. It was a literal nightmare. Telling her to go talk to my coworkers herself never worked.

But I learned to buckle down with, “I don’t know. Why don’t you ask them?” shortly after we all came back into the office. It didn’t matter if I knew the answer or not. I was not going to share it with someone who was verbally abusive to me on top of refusing to listen in the first place.

It is first thing Monday morning when this takes place, and all of her questions were already addressed late Friday afternoon.

Salesperson: “Hey, [My Name]. I noticed that they got plates and cups this weekend. Did they get anything else from [Wholesale Store]?”

Me: “I dunno. I guess what was on the list we went over Friday. Did you ask for something?”

Salesperson: “No.”

Me: “Then I don’t know what you expect.”

Salesperson: “So, no popcorn?”

I shrug.

Salesperson: “Do you know where [Contractor she constantly misgenders] got on Friday?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

Salesperson: “So, [they] didn’t ask you for any help?”

Me: “Considering, it is [Coworker #1]’s project, why don’t you ask her?”

Salesperson: “Okay… What is [Coworker #1] working on for [Owner], anyway?”

Me: *Shrugs again* “I don’t know. You are going to have to ask her.”

Salesperson: *Pauses* “And do you know when we are having a meeting next with [Contractor #2]?”

Me: “I don’t know. I am not privy to that information.”

Salesperson: “I think [Owner] and [Contractor #2] are going to meet frequently.”

Me: *shrugs* “I wouldn’t know.”

Salesperson: “And [Her Favorite Contractor]? Is he supposed to be in today?”

Me: “I don’t know his schedule. I am not in charge of him.” *Silently* “You are.”

Salesperson: *Scoffs* “Well, what do you know?”

Me: “That I should get back to work.”

Shortly after, she storms out.

Me: *To [Coworker #2]* “By the way, I ordered popcorn. It is hidden in my desk if you want some.”

Coworker #2: *Laughs* “Hidden popcorn?”

Me: “Yeah. I ordered it after the meeting. If I didn’t, none of us would get any.”

Yes, I knew the answers. Yes, this was all stuff she should have known the answer to.

Supportive Coworkers Are So Important

, , , , , | Working | January 25, 2022

I recently began working at a boutique, premium bar and restaurant. I am autistic, which isn’t widely understood by employers. I have to work hard and be patient to educate my employer. That includes being understanding to what extent sexism, racism, and so on is a problem, right?

I am speaking to a petite, female coworker aged twenty-five. I am male, and I’m thirty-four.

Me: “Hey, [Coworker], I have a funny question. Do you ever experience any— I mean, are you ever a victim of any sexual harassment here?”

Coworker: “What? Erm, no… not really. Well, a bit at the wedding.”

We recently hosted a small wedding when we were extremely busy.

Me: “Oh? So, not really from any of our regulars, or people here for a few pints?”

Coworker: “Nope. That was the first time.”

Me: “If you don’t mind me asking, what did he do or say that made you feel uncomfortable? Or she?”

Coworker: “He was just asking stuff like whether I was taken and when I was getting off shift. Nothing major. I’ve dealt with it before. Why… why are you asking?”

Me: “A video cropped up on my Facebook feed of a barmaid ranting about what was and wasn’t appropriate. I wanted to know what my own colleagues experience here. Also, we should be looking out for the teenage girls who work here. He didn’t touch you?”

Coworker: “No. And anyway, in the area we are located…”

Me: “You mean million-euro homes for half a mile around? We don’t exactly get students or a rowdy pub crawl, no. But if you’re not comfortable serving someone, just ask me to serve them, nothing more.”

Coworker: “Nothing more?”

Me: “I mean, you don’t need to say what he said or did, like if he said he wanted to motorboat you. If you’re not comfortable serving someone, just tell me you don’t want to serve them. I’ll serve them. That’s it. I won’t ask you for reasons.”

She looks confused and then looks down at her larger-than-average chest. Maybe my crude example of sexual harassment caught her off guard, but then she thought about what I was getting at?

Coworker: “Thank you, [My Name]. I’ll remember that. I’ll also serve someone for you if you don’t want to.”

Me: “Aww, thank you.”

We now have an unofficial anti-harassment pact. I think that is cute because I’ve always had difficulty relating to my work colleagues.

It’s A Piece Of (Ugly) Cake

, , , , , | Working | January 25, 2022

I worked at a grocery store bakery as a closer for a few months. They have a couple of really talented cake decorators, so they get a lot of orders for all kinds of occasion cakes. I am not a talented cake decorator. I wish I was; I love making cake and I can make a really tasty one. Baking is something I’ve always had a knack for; I just have the shakiest hands in the world so everything looks very homemade.

There was a cake order getting picked up one evening after everyone else in the department had gone home for the night. This was a forty-year anniversary cake: two tiers with a waterfall scene and individually piped blades of grass. The person who put it in the fridge after it had been finished, who did so before I even came into work that day, jammed a lid on it before they put it away and ruined all the delicate icing work that probably took the decorator hours.

The person came to pick it up and understandably was incredibly upset. I texted the department manager and asked for help to figure out what to do because I couldn’t even match the frosting colors they had mixed, let alone fix the whole layer that got peeled off when they opened the lid to look at their cake, as tends to be the case when frosting gets stuck to something besides cake while it’s hardening.

The person in charge for the night used to work in the bakery and seemed to expect that I would be able to repair the ruined frosting. I did my best to make it very clear that this was not something I was able to do to any degree beyond putting a slab of blue on it and calling it a lake. I still feel so bad for the couple; they got the cake for free but that doesn’t bring back the beautiful cake they ordered and deserved to get.