You’re Not Quite On The Owner’s Tempo  

, , , , , | Working | September 25, 2019

(I work as a private guitar teacher with 30 to 40 students that I see for half-hour lessons once a week. I work as a contractor for a studio, which means I pay a portion of my lesson income to the studio to “rent” my room. My contract specifies that I am not an employee of the studio. It is springtime, which means that it’s time to re-enroll students for the fall semester of lessons. I have recently accepted a school teaching job and am reducing my hours at the studio to half. Naturally, this has caused some confusion and a parent has asked to spend the last five minutes of their kid’s lesson time discussing the new schedule with me.)

Customer: “I was wondering if you had any lesson times available in your schedule for a Wednesday next fall.”

Me: “Sure, let me check the book and see what I have available!”

(The studio owner refuses to give each of us a copy of our schedule and instead keeps a binder at the front desk of the studio which is extremely disorganized, constantly changing, and full of her personal notes. Everyone uses this binder every day, so it is in terrible condition.)

Me: “Okay, it looks like I have a Wednesday at five open. Would that work for you?”

Customer: “Yes, that’s perfect!”

Me: “Okay, let me just make a note here to reserve your spot. If you can just pay the $25 deposit, the time slot is yours.”

(The customer proceeds to get out cash and talk to the girl at the desk about the deposit. At this point, the owner of the studio — who was in the middle of teaching a lesson — comes out of her room and immediately stands between me and the customer.)

Studio Owner: “Can I help you with your re-enrollment?”

Customer: “No, we were just about to sign me up for a Wednesday because that works better for my schedule.”

Me: “Yeah, I thought since that spot is open in the schedule I could put her there.”

Studio Owner: *to me, like I should have known this already, apparently by reading her mind since this information was written down nowhere* “No. I’ve already scheduled someone in that spot.”

Me: “Oh, well, is there another spot available?”

(We proceed to go through each opening in the schedule, with the owner telling me each one is full, even though they are empty in the book.)

Me: “What about this one? You told me Friday this one is open.”

Studio Owner: “No. I don’t remember who’s there but someone is.”

Me: “Can we check?”

Studio Owner: “No.” *with a hint of nastiness to her voice, to the customer* “Look, I told you earlier when we talked about this, you can either have the spot you have now, or you can have no spot.”

Me: “But—”

Studio Owner: “Those are your options. Have a nice day!”

(The owner then sweeps off back to her lesson. I look at the customer. The customer looks at me. She mouths, “Wow,” and I just nod.)

Me: “So, I thought I had control over my schedule, seeing as I’m a contractor, but apparently not.”

Customer: “Yeah, I guess you don’t!”

Me: “Listen, I’ll give you my phone number. I may be able to arrange a Tuesday lesson if you are available.”

Customer: “Would you be able to come to our home?”

(I have a feeling that this is not encouraged at the studio, especially with the owner being who she is. But I nod to the customer and lower my voice, telling her to text me and we will talk about it. We quickly discuss a few details and she thanks me and leaves. During my next lesson, I get a text from another teacher at the studio saying she needs to speak to me urgently. So, between my next lessons, she pulls me aside in the hall.)

Coworker: “Don’t ever do that! Okay? Seriously. Never. You are not allowed!”

Me: “Oh, okay. I didn’t realize it was such a big deal. I’m sorry.”

Coworker: “I mean it! Don’t ever do that. [Owner] can and will sue you! Why would you ever poach our students? That hurts everyone here! Have you done it before?”

(I am extremely done with being told off by someone who is not anywhere near my boss, but I am not the type to burn bridges, so I decide to try and get her on my side and cool the raging inferno.)

Me: “No, I haven’t done that before. I didn’t realize that I couldn’t do that. Thanks for looking out for me; you always do that and I appreciate that. I have to go teach my lesson now.”

Coworker: “I’ll look the other way this time, and I’m not trying to villainize you, but I would hate for you to lose all that income if you lose your job.” *implying that she will tell the owner*

(Now, first of all, I am a mind-your-own-business type of gal, so I don’t understand why this other teacher decided it was her business to threaten me with losing my job and being sued. But I take it all in grace because what can you really do? Later, I am chatting with the girl at the desk after everyone else has gone home. I usually teach late and am often left to lock up.)

Desk Girl: “That was crazy today.”

Me: *joking* “Yeah, I have no idea what I did, but apparently I messed up pretty bad. Let’s hope I still have a job tomorrow.”

Desk Girl: “Yeah, after you had that talk with [Coworker], she came out here and asked me if you’d ever done that before, then went through [Owner]’s desk to find the contract to show it to you.”

(Everything in this studio was extremely disorganized so, of course, she never found it. The desk girl was just a high schooler. How was she supposed to know what I do with my time outside the studio? This whole experience made me realize how crazy my coworkers are. Now I’m waiting for the text from the customer. I’ll have to explain that I can’t teach them because I was threatened by a lawsuit. I’m sure that’ll get them to resign. Now I’ve lost a customer and that income. Gotta love it.)

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Anti-Vaxxers Aren’t The Only Stupid Ones

, , , , , , | Healthy | September 25, 2019

I worked in a building catering to various businesses at the time and we were informed that a few people within the building had recently come down with hepatitis and we should pay extra attention to hygiene. I’m usually a bit casual about it but I took this one seriously. I don’t remember the type, but it was one that you could get vaccinated for. 

One day, I noticed that we were out of soap but my concern was laughed at. The next day, I saw a coworker leaving the toilets without washing her hands. I confronted her. I was flabbergasted when she replied, “Oh, no. It is not a problem; I’m vaccinated.”‘ 

I know she just resigned to go work in a café, and for health and safety, those vaccines are mandatory. I just checked which café it was again — not out of interest, but just to make sure I don’t wander into it by accident.

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He’s Totally Bus-Hurt

, , , , | Working | September 24, 2019

(When I close at work, I have to leave by a specific time, since I take the bus home. All the managers and most of my coworkers know this. It’s close to my time to leave, even though there’s still some work left for everyone else. A newer coworker sees me heading to the break room.)

Coworker: “Wait, are we done?”

Me: “No, but I have to leave by 9:30.”

Coworker: “Oh, why?”

Me: “I have to take the bus home and I catch the last one.”

Coworker: “Wait. You don’t drive?”

Me: “No? I don’t own a car or have a license.”

Coworker: “Why not? You can get a cheap car at [Shady Dealership].”

Me: “I’ve got medical issues, so it’s unsafe for me to drive. My boyfriend usually drives me where I need to go.”

Coworker: “I don’t believe you. You’re just lazy!”

(I just went and clocked out. I could hear my coworker calling me lazy as the manager let me out.)

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Fake News Epidemic Has Hit The Cartoons

, , , , | Working | September 23, 2019

(When it’s slow at work, some of us like to read the news.)

Coworker: “Hey, [My Name], you know the show Arthur?”

Me: “Yeah! I loved that show!”

Coworker: “They have an article about it on [Local News Website]. It said the show was kicked off PBS because there’s a gay character.”

Me: “What?! I didn’t know there was a gay character! Who was it, Buster? Binky?”

Coworker: “No, it was the teacher.”

Me: “Mr. Ratburn? I don’t remember him being gay.”

Coworker: “Yeah, it said he had a gay wedding, so the show was kicked off PBS.”

Me: “That’s shocking. You’d think in this day and age they’d be okay with a gay wedding. I guess maybe a lot of parents complained? Mr. Ratburn deserves to be happy; he deserves love, too!”

Manager: *in her office and can’t hear our conversation well* “Did you say Arthur was kicked off the show for being gay?”

Me: “No, she said the show was kicked off PBS because there was a gay wedding.”

Manager: “WHAT?! That’s not right!”

Assistant: “I’m going to look it up. What was this on, [Local News Website]?”

Coworker: “Yeah.”

Me: “I’m going to look it up, too.”

Manager: “I can’t believe they did that! You’d think they’d want to teach kids that being gay is okay!”

Assistant: “Oh. My. God. [Coworker], that’s not what happened!”

Coworker: “What do you mean?”

Assistant: “It says, ‘Arthur kicked off 22nd season on PBS with gay wedding.’”

Me: “Oh, my… [Coworker!]”

Coworker: “What?”

Me: “You read it wrong! The season was kicked off with a gay wedding! The show wasn’t kicked off the network!”

Coworker: “Oh, I guess I read it wrong.”

Me: “Hashtag ‘fake news.’”

Coworker: “I didn’t even know Arthur was still around.”

Me: “Me, neither.”

Manager: “Okay, what happened?”

Me: “[Coworker] was spreading fake news. Arthur is apparently still around and making new episodes. They started the new season with a gay wedding. The show wasn’t booted from PBS.”

(That made the slow period of the day go by a bit quicker, and we continued making jokes about the situation for the rest of the day.)

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An Unwelcome Shift

, , , | Romantic | September 23, 2019

(We have a list of phone numbers at work so that we can contact each other to find coverage if we need to call off. The list is locked in the manager’s office so we do need permission to get to it, but it’s posted on the wall so basically anyone in the office can see it. I am at home one morning when a number I don’t recognize texts me.)

Unknown Number: “Hi, [My Name]. It’s [Coworker].”

Me: “Hi, what’s up?”

Coworker: “Are you working today?”

Me: “No, I’m off. Why?”

Coworker: “Oh. Okay.”

(I think the exchange is odd, but it doesn’t raise any red flags so I go about my day. A few hours later, another text.)

Coworker: “Hey, [My Name]. It’s [Coworker].”

Me: “What’s up?”

Coworker: “Are you working tomorrow?”

Me: “Yeah, I’m opening. Why?”

(No response. Again, odd, but not odd enough to worry me. A few more hours pass.)

Coworker: “We haven’t worked together in a while.”

Me: *wondering what is going on* “I guess not.”

Coworker: “I like seeing you at work.”

Me: “Okay…”

(The next day, I’m at work when my coworker comes up to my register. It’s clear he is here on his day off and has nothing to buy, but still he stands at my register and tries to make small talk with me. I’m getting increasingly more uncomfortable but I try to be polite while still attending to my customers. He wanders away a few times when management comes around, but since he isn’t outright doing anything, there’s nothing they can do. At the end of my shift, I see him standing by my car. I bring it up to management and again, they say there’s nothing they can do because now he’s in the parking lot and off the property. I walk to my car, where he is now leaning against the driver’s door.)

Me: “Um. Hi, [Coworker]. What’s going on?”

Coworker: “Oh, I’m just waiting for you.”

Me: “Because…?”

Coworker: “Well, I, um… I was going to, um…” *leans in fast*

Me: *putting my hand on his chest and pushing away* “Woah! There’s been some kind of misunderstanding.”

Coworker: “What?”

Me: “I’m not interested in you like that.”

Coworker: “Why not?”

Me: “I’m just… not.”

Coworker: *starting to whine* “But why?”

Me: *getting annoyed* “Because I’m with someone else. Because I don’t date coworkers.”

Coworker: “But you… you… you’re always flirting with me!”

Me: “No…?”

Coworker: “Yes! All day today! You smile and laugh and talk to me between customers and–”

Me: “You mean I’m polite?! No, [Coworker]. Look. I’m sorry if you thought there was more to this but there’s not.”

Coworker: *now standing defiantly in front of my car door* “Why not?”

Me: “Well, it used to be because I just don’t see you that way. Now it’s because you’re acting like a f****** a**hole and you’re blocking my car.”

Coworker: *begging* “One date. Just one date. You’ll change your mind.”

Me: “Move.”

Coworker: “Just one!”

Me: “Move!”

Coworker: “No!”

Me: “I am either going to kick you in the nuts or call the police if you don’t move.”

Coworker: *sidesteps away from my car, hands over his crotch* “You’re a f****** b****!”

(I dove into my car and drove a few blocks away before calling the store. I told the store manager in no uncertain terms that I would quit if I was scheduled with that particular coworker ever again. She asked why and I gave her the whole story: the texts, standing at the register, everything at the car. The next day I came in, the store manager told me that he had been terminated for misuse of the call list and for harassing me.)

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