Leave The Parenting To Your Coworkers

, , , , , | Friendly | September 19, 2018

(I am in my mid-twenties, working at a bookstore with another woman who is a few years older and has five kids. We become friends. She invites me and a few other coworkers to her son’s third birthday party. I don’t have any children of my own, but I have a lot of little cousins, and I love buying them presents, so I buy some fun toys and get extra batteries. I wrap everything up and go to the party and have a nice time. When it’s time for the gifts, all the kids help their little brother tear into them, and they’re all books, except for mine. The kids all go nuts, ripping apart the boxes, putting in the batteries and pushing all the buttons that make the toys move, beep, light up, etc. I’m really glad they’re having such a good time with the things I picked out, but when I go to leave, my coworker takes me aside, frowning a bit.)

Coworker: “I guess I forgot to tell you; we only wanted [Son] to get books this year for his birthday.”

Me: “Oh, no, you didn’t tell me that.”

Coworker: “Well, it’s not that I don’t appreciate your gifts, but I really didn’t want them to have toys like that. They’ll fight over them.”

Me: *at a loss* “Oh, well, I’m sorry? I’m sure they’ll get tired of them in a few days; you know how kids are.”

Coworker: “Yes, but I wanted him to just get books.”

Me: *a little irritated now* “I’m sorry. I don’t know what else to say. You didn’t tell me not to buy toys, so I assumed that toys would be an acceptable gift for a three-year-old.”

Coworker: “You need to tell them they can’t have them and take them away.”

Me: “Excuse me? You want me to take away the toys I gave a three-year-old boy for his birthday?”

Coworker: “Yes.”

Me: “Forget it. No way.”

Coworker: “They’re going to fight over them!”

Me: “And if I take them away, they’re going to cry! I’m not making a bunch of little kids cry because you failed to tell me you didn’t want me to buy toys!”

Coworker: “You work at a bookstore! I just assumed you knew.”

Me: “Well, I didn’t. Since you also work in a bookstore, I figured your kids probably had plenty of books. If you’d told me, I would have bought books. If you don’t want them to have the toys, you can take them away.”

(I left, furious and feeling bad for those poor little kids. The next time she needed a ride home from work — she lived over forty minutes away from where I did, but I used to give her rides all the time to help her out, since I knew all about her financial difficulties — I told her I couldn’t, and we barely spoke again until I quit a few months later.)

Toxic Masculinity Is Always Caffeinated

, , , , , | Working | September 19, 2018

(In the office kitchen, the coffee maker has a part that won’t go in properly after cleaning the grounds container. There’s a trick to doing it that I know, but most other employees don’t. It is literally just pushing slightly on a spot and everything clicks into place, but you need to know where to push. I usually end up doing it for people several times a day. Almost every day, some variation of this happens. I am female.)

Me: “Need help with this?”

Struggling Female Employee: “Yes, please.”

Me: *helps replacing the container*

Struggling Female Employee: “Thanks. You should show me how you do that.”


Me: “Need help with this?”

Struggling Male Employee: “Nah, I got this.” *after several minutes of more struggling* “Okay, you do it.”

Me: *does the magic touch*

Struggling Male Employee: “Yeah, I guess that was easy, now that I’ve done all the hard work.”

Fragile Masculinity On Speakerphone

, , , , | Working | September 17, 2018

(A coworker and I are checking inventory in the aisles. A few other coworkers are working in the stockroom.)

Coworker: *in stockroom, over headset* “Which one of you guys has a small one?”

(There is stunned silence, while a coworker near me and I look at each other funny.)

Coworker: *near me* “[Stockroom Coworker], I don’t think anyone is going to answer that.”

(Apparently, she wanted to ask who was using one of our small pallet jacks.)

Not-So-Family-Friendly Magic

, , , , , | Working | September 13, 2018

(I work as an outside salesperson for a HVAC company. Before, however, I was a professional magician, and I often still carry some magic tricks on me. Whenever we get new coworkers, I often show off and pull brightly colored sponge balls out of people’s hair and make them multiply and vanish. One day, I walk into the dispatch area of the office that is packed with multiple dispatchers and a couple of managers talking. One of our newer dispatchers sees me and gets really excited when I walk in.)

Coworker: “[My Name]! Do you have your balls on you?!”

(Everyone bursts out laughing, and we have to put a couple of people on hold due to the volume of the laughter. My coworker realizes what she said and tries to backtrack.)

Coworker: “No, wait. I mean your magic balls!”

(Everyone laughs harder.)

Me: *almost in tears* “Yes, I do! But thank you for making my day!”

Manager: “I need to go warn the new HR manager to be wary of any complaints about your magic balls!”

A Bad (Bar)Code Of Conduct

, , , , | Working | September 12, 2018

(I have a coworker that was hired a year after I was, but she is twice my age. That makes a difference with some people more than experience with the actual job. She also has a tendency to never admit when she is wrong, constantly chats with customers — by “chats” I mean she talks with them for over an hour while other people do her job for her — and simply believes she’s always right. It is a very busy day, and I am constantly helping out at the register, ringing up customers, answering questions, or helping to bag items, all in the interest of getting people checked out as quickly as possible. Some of our items are so small that we can’t put a barcode on them. When that is the case, we usually print a barcode either on a sheet of paper by the register, or on the counter at the register so we can quickly scan it and go on our way. I notice that my coworker is looking at the paper for something to scan.)

Me: “Hey, [Coworker], what are you looking for?”

(She doesn’t say anything, and she is hard of hearing, so I think maybe she doesn’t hear me.)

Me: “What are you looking for? I might know where it is.”

Coworker: *glares at me* “I know what I’m doing! I don’t need your help! You don’t need to hover; you’re making me flustered.”

(While she is yelling, I glance over at the customer and see what they have; it is a simple ID holder that you can fix to a lanyard. I know where that barcode is on the counter, and I also know it’s not on the sheet she’s holding.)

Me: “[Coworker]…”

(But she’s not done.)

Coworker: “I’ve worked here 30 hours a week for the past three years; I know how to find things. I worked at the 50%-off sale for eight hours. I know what I’m doing.”

(At that massive sale a year ago, I worked the exact same number of hours she did. Anyway, [Coworker] scans a barcode on the sheet of paper, but it’s obviously the wrong one, as she’s ringing up the item as $7 when it’s really 50 cents.)

Coworker: “That’s wrong.”

Me: *points down to the correct barcode* “Because that’s the right one.”

Coworker: “I’ve never seen that! How long has that been there?”

Me: “Only about five years, but hey, you said you’ve been here three years; clearly you know everything.”

(We didn’t speak the rest of the day, and I didn’t help her out at the register at all. I figured if she was so determined to yell at me for help then she could just drown on her own.)

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