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Some People Never Outgrow Their Bully Phase

, , , , , | Working | January 4, 2023

Our story begins when I decided to go for a factory job. I wanted out of retail — the global health crisis and people’s ever-growing sense of entitlement was the last straw — so I thought, “Factory work! No customers, no stress, just an easy job.”

Wrong-o.

The factory itself was a very bad atmosphere. To put it into context, four of us were hired on the same day. In two weeks, I was the only one left. One quit before the end of the first shift. It wasn’t a nice place, and [Coworker] made darn sure of it.

[Coworker] — who is our bad colleague in this story — was horrific. It started when I was happily munching my lunch. Ten minutes into my break, they came in and told me:

Coworker: “You’re in my seat. You need to move.”

I didn’t want confrontation, so I moved my stuff. Bear in mind that the staff room was empty; they could have easily sat anywhere. Nope.

From that moment on, they were just a horrible person. They would stand with their sidekick and watch everyone else clean up at the end of the day and complain about how everyone was doing it wrong. They even told me I was using a squeegee wrong, and even though at one point I was in the middle of using it, they ordered me to go around, collect all the squeegees, and put them back where they should be. Okay. No one’s finished with them yet, but sure.

On another occasion, I was standing talking to a colleague for perhaps thirty seconds when [Coworker] stormed over and told us to stop talking and start working. They then went back to their little sidekick to have a moan about how we were slacking. A boss told me what to do. [Coworker] told me to do something else, and when I told [Coworker] that I’d already been given orders, they stormed up to the boss to demand why I was already being given jobs.

The worst part for me was by far my quiet nature. I’m not a shouter, and I quickly found out on my first day that I was expected to watch a reel of discarded plastic on one of the machines and yell across the factory to get someone to come and replace it. Every time it started getting full, [Coworker] would come and give me an absolute earful about how I should be doing my job properly, watching the reel, and yelling for someone. I couldn’t. I couldn’t yell.

So, it got to the point where I’d be a massive ball of stress and anxiety staring at this reel, desperately trying to get anyone’s attention to come to replace it. And when it did get too full, again [Coworker] would come and tell me off for it, despite the fact that I was just trying so hard to get someone’s attention. I couldn’t pause the machine, either, to get someone, or else, once again, [Coworker] would flay me alive for it.

[Coworker]’s constant berating, gossiping behind my back to their friend, and ordering me around got too much. Already dealing with mental health problems, I ended up signing off work for several weeks, and when I did go back, I was terrified.

Enough was enough when, one day, we were working in the absolute sweltering heat. A young lad who was working with us was sweating buckets, which was understandable; he was moving heavy trays around. At one point, he said he was off to get some water. And [Coworker] yelled after him:

Coworker: “Get some deodorant while you’re at it!”

I ended up going to the boss about [Coworker], and it turned out that they had pretty much belittled every single person in that factory. They were a bully, simple as. After a meeting with the boss, they were suspended from work and eventually put on another shift away from all of us who they loved to target.

I left that place for a different factory, eventually. The atmosphere is entirely different. Bullies are stamped down on hard, and everyone is so friendly. Given the choice, I would not set foot in that place ever again. I wish [Coworker] realised that bullying and talking down to people really does do more harm than they might have thought.

If You’re Gonna Lazy, You Gotta Lazy Smart

, , , , , , | Working | January 4, 2023

I work in a big department store as a receiving associate. We get large box trucks full of items, and almost none of them are on pallets, mostly so they can stuff more items into the forty-foot trailer.

Typically, in this store, we have one person loading items on a conveyor belt, one person shoving items down to the end, and four or five people unloading and sorting.

I have this one coworker, who is… lazy. I mean, I’m lazy, too, but I take shortcuts wherever I can. He hides in the racks and plays with his phone while the rest of us work.

One fine, fine day, the store manager pops through and watches us sluggishly make our way through the items for a bit and moves on.

The lazy coworker decides now’s the best time to go use the restroom. The boss came through and saw him working, so he should be safe from another surprise inspection, right?

I step in, directing my coworkers on how to best fill in the slack that was just left, and we keep going. People still need their knickknacks and geegaws, yeah?

Thirty minutes later, the manager comes back through and watches us for a few minutes.

Manager: “Hey, things picked up in pace back here. Good job!”

Me: “Thanks, but no time to chat. We’re behind.”

Manager: “Where’s [Lazy Coworker]?”

Me: “I think he went to the bathroom. Haven’t seen him in twenty minutes.”

Manager: “Yeah? Hm. All right, then.”

He walks off and I think nothing of it. We wrap up the unloading and go to lunch, and as we gather around for the briefing of what we’re doing for the rest of the shift, I notice that [Lazy Coworker] isn’t there. In fact, he never comes back!

Instead, the manager is there.

Manager: “You may notice that [Lazy Coworker] is absent. He no longer works for the company.”

Me: “Might I ask why?”

[Manager] hits me with the smuggest smirk.

Manager: “I can’t talk about that. Just know we’re going our separate ways.”

The Longest Shift Ever With The Worst Shift Lead Ever

, , , , , , | Working | January 2, 2023

I work with [Shift Lead], who just gave me a true shift from h***, and it was only four hours long. She had a poor attitude from the start and revealed herself to be lazy, inconsiderate, and backstabbing. Yet, somehow, she hasn’t done anything bad enough to get fired yet.

It starts out very busy. I walk in the door to our clothing store and there is a line. This is unusual, as the one person on a register can normally process a purchase fairly quickly and we don’t normally have more than five to ten customers in the store at once. 

I don’t even have time to put my jacket in the back and just toss it on the back counter while I punch in early. [Shift Lead] is stuck on a return and having trouble processing it. Now, she was hired on as a shift lead about a year ago (the same day I was hired) and, as such, should know how to do a simple return. I am on my last week of training before becoming a Shift Lead myself, so I help her out and we start to take care of the line.

Not five minutes after I arrive, [Shift Lead] says, “I’m going on break!” and happily walks into the back room. 

We still have eleven customers in the store and the line isn’t even gone yet, so taking a break should be last on her mind. Company policy says that you get a fifteen-minute paid break if you work more than five hours and if there is nothing urgent that needs to be done — you know, like the customers still waiting for service.

I am irritated but shrug it off as her usual laziness and clean up the line and help the customers on the floor. We are given a list of things to do tonight, and we are supposed to split them fifty-fifty. I figure [Shift Lead] won’t do her part, so I leave one single thing for her to do. I clear the fitting rooms, straighten the tables, help customers, wax the fixtures, and wipe down the counters.

A whole HOUR goes by with [Shift Lead] in the back. I call her out to help ring up more customers and she gives me a dirty look. I am in the middle of dusting and watching a potential shoplifter. [Shift Lead] stomps up to the register, rings up the customer, and heads back to the break room.

Shift Lead: “I’ll be out in ten minutes.”

Me: “No, your break ended like forty-five minutes ago. I got most of the list done. I just have to finish dusting, and then you can vacuum.”

Shift Lead: “Excuse me?! I would have thought you’d be done by now!”

Me: *Rolling my eyes* “I’m not supposed to be doing it alone, [Shift Lead].”

She sulks back to the floor when she realizes I will just chase her down and refuse to let her hide in the back anymore.

Our clothes have magnetic alarm sensors to prevent shoplifting. They have a small, needle-like component and a large oblong piece that attaches on either side of the cloth. When we take them off, the two pieces come apart and are tossed into separate bins to avoid accidental injury.

Of course, both of us are at the register, and [Shift Lead] is throwing both parts into the bin for the safe oblong pieces. I don’t notice, and when I go to grab a handful, I am stabbed pretty badly in my palm.

Me: “Um, hey, [Shift Lead], would you mind aiming about three inches to your left when you throw the sensors?”

Shift Lead: “I really don’t think that’s important, [My Name].”

I show her my bleeding hand.

Me: “Well, it’s important to me. I just got stabbed. So… please?”

Shift Lead: “Well, if it’s really all that important to you, I guess I can make the effort.”

To this day, I don’t know why [Shift Lead] is in such a horrid mood, but it continues throughout the entire shift. Every chance she gets to make my job harder she takes.

We have no major incident until ten minutes to closing. The store has settled down with only the occasional customer. The vacuuming still hasn’t been done, so I bring it up and ask if [Shift Lead] will do it. She complains that her back is sore and asks me to do it. I’m almost at my breaking point by now, but I smile and agree.

I’m up front vacuuming. The last customer is being rung up with a decent-sized purchase. 

Suddenly, I hear:

Shift Lead: “[MY NAME], I NEED YOU UP HERE!”

I turn off the vacuum and walk all the way from the front of the store to the back, where the register is.

Me: “What do you need?”

Shift Lead: “Oh, can you bag these clothes for me? I’m busy ringing her up.”

Bear in mind, bagging a customer’s items is part of the job. It consists of shaking out a bag, picking up an item, and dropping said item into the bag. She called me all the way back here to stuff some jeans into a plastic bag? Something she has done thousands of times with no trouble?

I swallow my building rage. I can play her game.

Me: “I really think you can handle that yourself. I was busy doing your single task for the evening, so if you don’t mind…”

I turn and walk back to the vacuum.

Sadly, this is still not the end of my night.

I finish vacuuming, lock the door, and approach the register. Associates are supposed to watch the Shift Lead]s count down the registers; otherwise, I wouldn’t go anywhere near [Shift Lead].

Shift Lead: “What the f*** were you doing?!”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Shift Lead: “Why did it take you so long to do your chores tonight? What, are you stupid or something?”

You can hear my patience snap. Since we are alone and almost done for the evening, my cheery and professional demeanor vanishes. I have had enough.

Me: “Well, maybe if you hadn’t been sitting on your a** all night and had helped me a little, we would have gotten done faster!”

[Shift Lead] purses her lips — a sure sign she’s angry with me.

Shift Lead: “That’s a d*** lie! Do you know what God does to little lying b****es like you?!

Me: “That stupid trick would have worked if I actually believed in God.”

She sputters a little and then goes off on a tirade about how I am a bad person and am going to Hell. 

Me: “Don’t threaten me with a place I don’t even believe in, [Shift Lead]. And don’t you even try to pile this on me when you couldn’t complete a single thing on the list.”

The tirade resumes: swearing, face going red, the whole thing. I let her do this for about five minutes before telling her to start counting down the drawer so we can punch out and go home. [Shift Lead] ignores me and continues her tantrum. I see that we’re late. I’m tired and frustrated and totally done with her, so I slam my hand on the counter and shock her into momentary silence.

Me: “[Shift Lead]! Shut up and do your f****** job. If you want to discuss your behavior tonight, we can do it outside.”

She’s quiet for fifteen seconds while she’s counting down the drawer. Then, she pipes up again, calls me a b**** some more, and says she’ll talk to the boss because I swore at her.

Me: “You really think [Boss] will buy your story after I tell her what you did tonight? And just a reminder, we have cameras!”

Shift Lead: “Oh… well…”

Blessed silence… until we’re punching out.

Shift Lead: “You know I wouldn’t fight with you like this if I didn’t like you, right? I can tease you because you’re my friend. We don’t have to tell [Boss]; it was just friends teasing each other.”

Me: *Completely thrown off* “What?!”

Shift Lead: “Yeah, girl, we’re friends!” *Laughs* “We should go out drinking some night. Get our dance on.”

Me: “Um, no, thanks.”

Shift Lead: “Oh, come on. I bet we’d get tons of guys. Besides, I get a little frisky when I’m drunk. Who knows, maybe we’d go home with the same guy! Hahaha!”

I just stare at her until we leave. Then, the worst possible thing that could ever happen happens. My boyfriend and two of his friends came to pick me up and witness this.

Shift Lead: *Laughing* “You know I love you, [My Name]!”

Then, she hugs me. She pulls me into a freaking hug! Then, she notices the car with the guys in it. Before I can shove her away, she kisses me on the cheek. I’m too stunned to react.

Shift Lead: “Oh-ho! I hope the boys don’t think we’re having an office romance! Tee-hee!”

I sprint for the car. I get in the car and my boyfriend’s friends immediately start laughing.

Guy: “What was that?!

Me: “When we get home, remind me to bleach this side of my face.”

And that was that. I reported it to management, but she still hasn’t been fired yet. I have no idea why the sexual harassment wasn’t enough. I am waiting for her to dig her own grave some way, somehow.

Your Coworker Also Seems To Need Three Coffees

, , , , | Working | January 2, 2023

I’m sitting on the floor in the back room sorting stock while listening to a coworker serving a customer.

Customer: “I want two cups of black coffee and one with milk.”

Coworker: “So, a cup of black coffee and a black coffee with milk?”

Customer: “No. I want two cups of black coffee, and one with milk.”

Coworker: “Yes? A black coffee without anything and a black coffee with milk.”

Customer: “I… No. Two cups of black coffee and one with milk.”

I can’t take it anymore, so I stick my head out of the door.

Me: “[Coworker], he wants three cups of coffee in total.”

Customer: “Thank you!”

It Really Pays To Pay Attention

, , , , , , | Working | December 31, 2022

I’m the unofficial IT person in my job. This is mostly because I can read and follow instructions, and I’m slightly more computer savvy than most as my dad is a tech geek and most of my friends are, too.

We have a meeting three times a week for allocating cases to case managers. I’m in the meeting in Teams, and my coworker is trying to get on it. It isn’t working.

Coworker: “My camera isn’t working! I know I switched it on! It must be broken.”

Me: *To the video call* “Sorry, two minutes. She’s having tech issues again.”

I walk over and look at her screen.

I then slide the cover on the camera so it isn’t blocking the lens. I walk back to my computer and put my headset back on.

Me: “[Boss], I’m gonna be charging £1 an incident from now on to fix IT issues.”

Boss: “Fair. Go for it.”

My coworker started off happy I had fixed it. She was less happy by the end of the day when she owed me £5 under my new invoicing system.