A Snappy Comeback

, , , , , | Right | May 19, 2021

A coworker, a seventy-year-old woman, has just finished her last day before retiring. She has said her goodbyes and is walking out through the lobby, still in her uniform. A customer approaches her and snaps her fingers.

Customer: “Tell me where Hall B is.”

My coworker snaps her fingers in the customer’s face.

Coworker: “Try again, this time with manners.”

The customer did not try again and my coworker is loving her retirement!


This story is part of our Best Of May 2021 roundup!

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The Plant Is Fake; The Stupid Is Real

, , , | Working | May 19, 2021

I work in the housewares department of a well-known Canadian supermarket. I am frequently called to identify products that have lost their tags. Preferably, this is done over the phone, so I don’t have to walk across the entire store to see it in person. However, some of my colleagues are not very good at descriptions.

Colleague: “I have a return that’s lost its code. It’s a [Store Brand] product. It’s wet inside.”

My department includes appliances. The number of things that could be wet inside from normal use is high; the number of things that could be wet inside from ABNORMAL use is higher. It was an oil-and-vinegar bottle.

My favourite so far has to be this.

Colleague: “This lady got a fake plant from one of the display tables; she said it was the last one.”

Me: “Can you describe it for me? What kind of pot is it in? Does it have flowers?”

Colleague: “It’s got green leaves?”

It was a three-foot-tall fake fig tree, but sure. “It’s got green leaves.”

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You Can Lead A Horse To Tools…

, , , , , | Working | May 17, 2021

Part of my job is to take the complaints made by customers and prevent them from reoccurring.  This can be as simple as stopping the packing guys from dumping their breakfast wrappers in the boxes going to the customers or as complex as helping devise a new machining method to improve the accuracy of parts.

A major complaint comes in from the main customer; potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds of stock are affected by an issue that’s almost impossible to detect after it leaves us. We should be catching it, yet they are finding more and more issues. This could be serious.

I quickly find that the root of the issue is the way the guys are checking the parts. It just isn’t good enough and it’s the reason why we kept sending bad parts through. I call the team together.

Me: “Okay, everyone. We have had some major issues reported by the customer. It’s affecting potentially thousands of parts, it’s about the height of this part.”

I can see several of them not listening and rolling their eyes. One is chatting at the back.

Me: “Can we pay attention, please? If this isn’t resolved quickly, we could have a massive issue; if they send all the parts back, it could close us down!”

They begrudgingly start to listen.

Me: “The new way to check these parts is with this new tool and doing it this way.”

I demonstrate.

Worker: “That will take too long! I don’t have time for that!”

Me: “This is the new process. If we don’t do it and we keep sending scrap to our customers, you will have all the time in the world, as we won’t have jobs! Everything is described on this single page, which is laminated and stuck to the machine. I have placed a tool at the machine and with the team lead. Understood?”

They just stare at me in apathy. They don’t care that this is such a huge problem, or they don’t believe me. I decide to check on them in a week’s time.

Me: “How is it working out?”

Worker: “Yeah, okay.”

Me: “This is the old tool. Why are you not following the process?”

Worker: “The new one got lost.”

Me: “So, you didn’t ask or report it?”

He shrugged his shoulders. I found a replacement tool and removed the old one from him. 

I decided to check on him in a few days and found him using the new tool but the old way. After another few days, someone had ripped the instructions down and “lost” the tool again. 

The customer kept finding more and more issues, even on the ones that we said should now be good. The next year, the customer didn’t renew their contract, and the company slowly collapsed as no other new work came in.

I found a new job before it went completely under; some stayed to the end. I later saw a newspaper article about the company closing. The same faces were there saying they were devastated the company closed, blaming the company for not doing more, etc. Some people will find blame anywhere but themselves.

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No Notice Until Someone Notices

, , , , , | Working | May 17, 2021

One of my coworkers has survived for years just by being difficult to deal with and not great at his job but not quite bad enough to fire. They left him with little work to do and no real responsibilities. He came close to being fired several times but just found better places to hide — out of sight out of mind.

Coworker #1: “Has anyone seen [Difficult Coworker]?”

Me: “Have you looked out the back?”

Coworker #2: “Or in the toilets?”

Coworker #1: “Yeah, he’s not there.”

Me: “In the plant room?”

Coworker #2: “No, he doesn’t hide there anymore. They said they would get rid of him if he did.”

Me: “Best check his boss, see if he is on holiday.”

Coworker #1: “I’ve just come for him; that’s why I’m looking for him.”

They disappeared. We found out later that [Difficult Coworker] had quit WEEKS ago and not told anyone, not even his boss. He had just left an unclear voicemail with the Human Resources team.

He then applied at the sister company, but the two companies share the same HR team. Needless to say, [Difficult Coworker] didn’t get the job.

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Pilfered Copper And Stolen Valor

, , , , , , | Working | May 17, 2021

My coworker gets a lot of extra slack around the office, even though he is a truly difficult, aggravating, and even rude person at times. We all give him extra time and space. He puts his attitude down to his injury he picked up in active service; it causes him a lot of pain and affects his mood. The owner is a massive supporter of injured service personnel, so we all genuinely try to be more mindful.

One day, [Rude Coworker] loses it and has a massive shouting match over nothing with one of the office girls. She leaves in tears and ends up quitting. [Rude Coworker] is called into a meeting with Human Resources and the owner. Somehow, he keeps his job.

Even so, the rest of the staff aren’t happy; most people are angry. We are chatting in the break room later that day.

Coworker: “[Rude Coworker] has gone too far.”

New Guy: “He has always had a bad temper.”

Me: “Oh, did you serve with him?”

New Guy: “Serve?”

Coworker: “In the military.”

New Guy: *Laughing* “[Rude Coworker] was never in the military; they wouldn’t take him cause of his record.”

Me: “This is [Rude Coworker] [Last Name] we are talking about? The one with a limp?”

New Guy: “Yeah, that [Rude Coworker]. I was with him when he got that limp, in fact, climbing out of that factory window. We were stealing a load of copper wire. Of course, I got a suspended sentence because it was his idea.”

Coworker: “Right! I am not having this.”

She marched into HR in a fury and told them everything. The new guy got pulled in, and then so did [Rude Coworker]. [Rude Coworker] was sent home while they investigated, but he didn’t wait for the outcome and quit the next day. 

I heard when the owner found out, he told the team that he would personally give any recruiter the honest truth about him should he dare put the company down as a reference.

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