Welcome To 2019

, , , | Friendly | March 3, 2019

(We have a new girl join our dragon boat team. She’s very sweet and seems kind of sheltered. One day after practice, some of the girls from the team go for a Bloody Mary and she joins us, which is unusual. We are discussing what we did for Valentine’s Day.)

Me: “We stayed in, I made us a special dinner, we split a bottle of wine, and he washed up. Nothing too special.”

New Starter: “Aw, it’s nice that your husband washed up.”

Me: “Oh, well, actually, he always does. I always cook, so it’s only fair really.”

New Starter: *kind of wide-eyed* “Really?”

Me: “Well, of course! We both earn and we both split the chores.”

(There are murmurs of agreement from the rest of the group.)

New Starter: “Um, I thought it was like, a woman’s thing to do housework?”

(I think we all look a little bit shocked at her, which, in retrospect, I feel bad about because she seems to really believe what she’s saying. It’s also worth noting that she works full time.)

New Starter: “That’s what my mum said, and my husband, too. She showed me, like in the movies?”

Teammate: *known for being super blunt* “Were these movies from the fifties?”

(A couple of girls laugh and I shoot them a look. Clearly, this poor girl has been brainwashed or something. I lean over to her.)

Me: “[New Starter], it definitely used to be like that, but it really isn’t anymore. In a healthy relationship, it’s fair to share the workload.”

(She looked at me like I’d just told her where babies come from. Then, she turned bright pink, and jumped up and ran out of the cafe. I hope she’s enlightened her husband, or dumped him!)

Singalongs Make Everything Better

, , , , , , | Hopeless | March 1, 2019

During one of my summer breaks while attending college, I take a job as a summer camp counselor. Part of our weekly program involves performing a short play near the end of the week, and I volunteer to be one of the main characters. All goes well until I catch a bad cold. All the coughing I end up doing hurts my throat and makes my voice sound gravelly. I thankfully am not assigned a group of kids that week, but I don’t have anyone to replace me in the play. I rest my voice up as best I can, and even find a funny in-character reason to explain the way I sound. It works, right up until I have to sing a small solo. When I try to sing, absolutely no sound comes out of my mouth. I start to panic a bit, but the other counselors are quick to pick up on what is happening.

Every counselor in the audience knows this song, because of how much they’ve seen the play. So, when my voice fails me, the song only gets a couple bars in before the counselors all start singing my part for me! They don’t hesitate to cover the other bits of singing my character does, either. I swear it’s something straight out of a feel-good high school movie! Ten years later, and thinking about it still makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

This Is One Frozen You Can’t Let Go

, , , , , , | Working | March 1, 2019

Like most American teenagers, my first job was in a fast food restaurant. I went through my fair share of interesting stories, from the customer who laughed with me when his total came to $6.66 to an old woman who complained her milkshake was too cold, but the most memorable one didn’t even involve a customer.

Our walk-in freezer, naturally, didn’t lock, so as to prevent such incidents as those commonly seen on sitcoms. The outer freezer behind the first door was more like a fridge; the inner freezer behind a second door was much colder.

On an uneventful night, I go back to the inner freezer for more fries. As I go in, the heavy doors to the outer and then the inner freezer each swing shut behind me, as always. As I’m picking up the box, the lights suddenly go out, leaving me in pitch-black darkness. I then hear a commotion outside the inner door, followed by the voice of a female manager yelling.

The freezer is small and square, so, confused but not worried, I drop the box and easily fumble my way to the door, but when I push it open, I feel and hear it pushing against something on the other side. I squeeze out through the small opening I made to find a rack of salads half-blocking the door and the manager both trying to move it and screaming at a male employee my age. There was no freak power outage; he’d turned the lights off while I was inside and started barricading the door!

I barely know anything about this kid besides his name. We’ve had no significant or hostile interactions that I can remember, no arguments or anything that night. I don’t know if I did something to annoy him without realizing it, or if he just decided to play a joke on a random person. If so, none of the managers that night or the next day find it funny. I don’t even get to confront him myself; he’s sent home immediately. The manager who caught him apologizes to me profusely, makes sure I’m all right, and assures me he won’t get away with it.

Once she learns what happened, my mother calls them twice that night in outrage, but it’s unnecessary. None of the higher-ups hesitate or waste any time. He’s fired immediately, and I never see him again. Apparently, in the world of fast food, trying to barricade someone in a freezer with the lights out is a 100% indefensible action.

Weaponizing Murphy

, , , , | Working | March 1, 2019

(I work in a pizza store, and we do takeaway, eat-in, and delivery. On this night I am working up the back on prep and taking orders over the phones, while [Coworker] is up the front taking orders and waiting tables. It has been rather quiet for a Thursday, and in a free moment, I walk up the front to drop off some cutlery. All of the six tables are clear at the moment, and no customers are waiting for takeaway.)

Me: “It’s been rather quiet for a Thursday, hasn’t it?”

Coworker: “Yeah, it has…” *realises what I just said* “Oh, no, you didn’t.”

(I start grinning, as this is always the easiest way to get a rise out of them, and turn towards the back. Some customers then walk in to sit down. [Coworker] glares at me.)

Coworker: “You did this. You’re not allowed to talk anymore.”

(I just chuckle and make my way back to the phones. When I look to the front again a moment later, there are even more customers entering the store, and [Coworker] is making a rude gesture towards me below the bench so customers don’t see. It takes me a moment to see it, but when I do, I laugh out loud. We end up going from empty to fully seated in the space of 15 minutes. Later, when [Coworker] is dropping dishes up the back:)

Coworker: “I hate you.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry!”

Management Has Hit Its Bullying Target This Week

, , , , , , | Working | February 27, 2019

(We have a young staff member who only works on Sundays and always seems to get jobs that keep her away from the register. We are supposed to sign up a specific number of new customers per shift, and she rarely hits the target. Both the store manager and I work alternate Sundays with her; it’s the Friday before my weekend on.)

Manager: “[Coworker] hasn’t reached target again this week; she has to hit four new signups but is lucky to get one each shift.”

Me: “But she always has work that keeps her away from the counter and only has a four-hour shift.”

Manager: “Well, she’s just going to have to make more of an effort. She’s got to get to that target or I’m going to have to give her a written warning.”  

(It’s Sunday and my young coworker has come to the counter in time to see me put through a signup. She serves a customer who refuses her offer of a signup.)

Coworker: “I don’t get it. I ask every time I serve someone and always get told no. How do you do it? [Manager] told me that if I don’t hit target this weekend, I could end up with a warning.”

Me: “I don’t always get a yes, so don’t worry yourself too much. I’ll make sure you don’t get a warning.”

(About fifteen minutes later she comes back to the counter to collect some stock that she needs to put out. I am serving a customer who is filling in the form for the customer signup., I put my sale on hold and sign out.)

Me: “[Coworker], can you sign in on the register, please?”

Coworker: “Why, is there a refund?”  

Me: “No, it’s for this.” *starts entering the signup under her name*

Coworker: “Oh, my God! You’re doing that for me? But what about your target?”

Me: “I’ll make up for it on other shifts, and I still have four hours after you’re gone.”

(I managed to sign up two more customers for her, and then she signed one up for herself which made her target. I noticed she was no longer tense when asking customers. It was obvious they noticed, too, because she made one more sign up before she left and even made more the next weekend. She did thank me. I just don’t like bullying tactics foisted on staff by management who won’t nurture and help young staff members find their confidence. Neither of us lasted much longer at that job; she left before I did.)

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