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FIRE AT WILL!

, , , , , , | Working | January 27, 2023

My uncle used to be a general manager at a fast food chain in a large metropolitan area, and he has many stories from decades of working with them.

This particular story takes place around 2006, shortly after [Uncle]’s assistant manager leaves the company to be with her son in England.

[Uncle] is ready to promote one of the shift managers from within when the district manager tells him that another manager is transferring to his store and that he does not need to promote anybody.

The new manager arrives a couple of days later and proves to be a headache for [Uncle] almost immediately. She is extremely toxic and almost never speaks without yelling. Constant complaints come in from the other workers about [New Manager]’s toxicity, and numerous write-ups appear on several employees’ files, the majority of which [Uncle] decides to throw out due to them having bogus or false reasons.

On [New Manager]’s fourth day, [Uncle] comes in and notices that the shift manager he originally intended to promote prior to her arrival is not there.

Uncle: “Where’s [Shift Manager]?”

New Manager: “Oh, her? I fired her.”

Uncle: *Taken aback* “You what?!

New Manager: “I fired her.”

Uncle: “What do you mean, you fired her?”

New Manager: “I. Fired. Her.”

Uncle: *Sigh* “We need to talk. Right now.”

[Uncle] drags [New Manager] to the office. She has a smug grin on her face the whole time, to [Uncle]’s irritation.

Uncle: “[New Manager], what the f*** is going on?”

New Manager: “I told you already, I fired [Shift Manager]!”

Uncle: “I understand that you fired her. Why did you fire her?”

New Manager: “Because I felt like firing her.”

Uncle: “Very funny. Tell me why you actually fired her.”

New Manager: *Smugly* “Because I felt like firing her — that’s why!”

Uncle: *Facepalming* “Jesus Christ, [New Manager]. You cannot just fire my employees at the—”

New Manager: “It’s called at-will employment. I can fire anyone here at any time I like for any reason or no reason. I could fire [Shift Manager #2] for being a [Local NFL Team] fan if I wanted to! I could even—”

Uncle: “Enough. I know what at-will employment is, but it only works if you follow—”

New Manager: “Nope. I can fire every employee in this store just for the h*** of it if I want to. The law says I can. And there’s nothing you can do to stop me.”

She crosses her arms and smirks triumphantly at [Uncle], who rolls his eyes.

Uncle: “You know what? There is actually one thing I can do. You’re fired.”

New Manager: “Wait, what? You can’t fire me!”

Uncle: “Actually, yes, I can. Like you said, [New Manager], at-will employment — I can fire you for any reason at any time. And I do have a very valid reason in this case. I have three, in fact: toxicity, insubordination, and willful violation of the company’s termination policy. Now, as I was going to tell you before you interrupted me twice, you cannot just fire people at the drop of a hat here at [Restaurant]. You have to follow the company’s established protocols. And no, at-will employment does not override a business’ termination protocols. You of all people should know this, [New Manager], because you were sent here in the first place for wrongfully firing someone at [Other Location], and now that you’ve done it again, it’s cost you your job.”

New Manager: “But—”

Uncle: “And before you argue that I’m wrongfully firing you, consider the fact that not only were you fired for three very valid reasons, but you were already on your last chance when you arrived not even half a week ago. That was a chance you were extremely lucky to have gotten at all considering that violating termination policy is normally fireable on its own. Go clean out your locker. You can drop off your uniform tomorrow when you pick up your final paycheck.”

[New Manager] stormed out in a huff. [Uncle] called [Shift Manager] and told her she was not fired and could come back the following day.

He got a call from the district manager later that day asking how [New Manager] was doing and told her what happened. The district manager laughed and said that she wasn’t at all surprised that [New Manager] wasted her last chance as quickly as she did and that she wouldn’t be trying that experiment again anytime soon.

[Uncle] formally promoted [Shift Manager] the day after that, and then he handed the reins to her when he retired twelve years later. [Shift Manager] is still there to this day, as friendly as ever, and always greets my uncle when he stops by for lunch.

Don’t You Just Love It When People Make Assumptions?

, , , , , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: carebearninjahair | September 4, 2022

I’m a Hispanic woman with an olive complexion, long black hair, and brown eyes. I’m dressed in a silk blouse, jeans, and red-bottomed heels, having just come from a sales meeting. I am shopping for an Earth Day event for my office at a local farmer’s market nursery in downtown Dallas, so I’m wheeling around a cart full of pots, succulents, mulch, and planting soil. It’s kind of an upscale nursery and frequented by tourists and influencers.

A young Caucasian woman walks up to me and asks me, in broken Spanish:

Woman #1: “On-day pah-gar?”

No biggie, at first. I point to the register area where there are two employees working two registers and a line of about two deep each. She thanks me, again in Spanish, and I think the conversation is over and turn my attention back to the agave plants.

Woman #1: “Ah-blar English-o?”

Me: “Yes, English is my first language.”

She looks surprised and I think she’s probably embarrassed, but then, she asks me:

Woman #1: “Oh, can you ring me up?”

Me: *Politely* “No, ma’am. I don’t work here.”

She does look embarrassed and apologizes.

Later, I set my cart down in an area out of the way since the aisles are pretty narrow and there are potted plant displays, statues, and lawn ornaments I don’t want to risk knocking over. I park the cart and walk about ten feet away to inspect some large urns. I select a couple, and as I’m walking back to my cart, a middle-aged blonde woman is unloading my cart.

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am, that’s my stuff!”

She looks at me and continues to unload as I approach her.

Woman #2: “I need this cart.”

I pick up my succulents from the floor and put them back in the cart.

Me: “This one is mine. Go ask an employee for help finding one.”

She looks angry but walks off. I just roll my eyes and think that’s the end of that. I would find it all so comical if it wasn’t so sad. Then, the woman comes back with a very confused-looking manager.

Woman #2: *To the manager* “This woman won’t allow me to use this cart!”

Manager: *To me* “Are you done with the cart, ma’am?”

Me: “No, I’m not.”

Manager: *To the woman* “I can find you another—”

Woman #2: “This place needs to prioritize its customers’ needs over its employees!”

The manager accidentally lets out a snort.

Manager: “She doesn’t work here; she’s shopping, same as you.”

She does NOT appreciate being laughed at and makes a scene, threatening to report the manager’s behavior to the owners. He introduces himself, and it turns out he is actually one of the owners. The woman threatens to take her business elsewhere.

Manager: “There’s a [Home Improvement Retailer] about five miles away.”

The look on her face is priceless.

After she leaves, I’m talking to the owner about the succulents and how best to arrange them when, twice, and without apology, people interrupt us asking for help. Each time, the owner tells them:

Manager: “I’m with a customer, but [Employee] can help you.”

And each time, they looked surprised or taken aback.

I’ve lived in this area for over four decades and have worked in this area for over two decades. It’s always this way.

Ask Someone How They’re Doing Today; They Might Surprise You!

, , , , , , | Related | July 11, 2022

One of my distant cousins is, for lack of a better word, a bit of a sourpuss by all appearances. She’s very closed off and standoffish and is generally emotionless, but I’ve always chalked it up to her just being a private person. She also has Lyme Disease and was diagnosed while she was pregnant with twins. Both kids ended up having symptoms, and one of them had to get a cochlear implant.

On one of the rare occasions we get together, I try talking to her.

Me: “So, how are you doing?”

My cousin positively lit up and started talking like we were old friends. As it turns out, the entire six years she’s had Lyme Disease, not one person has asked how she was handling it, just the twins. I’m a little shocked that no one has asked, not even within the family, but I suppose they were too focused on the babies to realize.

I also found out that the reason she never smiles or shows much emotion is because the Lyme Disease gave her Bell’s Palsy on and off, and she’s self-conscious about it becoming apparent and someone pointing it out.

Putting The Con Into Convention

, , , , | Right | June 15, 2022

I sell carnivorous plants at local shows and events, including science fiction and comic conventions. It’s not a real convention unless I’ve had this conversation at comic and anime conventions, which is why I’ve mostly stopped doing either:

Rando: “Hey, I came by earlier, and the other guy here at this booth told me that I could [get a discount on this incredibly rare and expensive plant] or [take it for free] or [I could pick it up and take it now since I’ve already paid].”

Me: “The Other Guy?”

Rando: “Yeah, the other guy at your booth. I talked to him about a half-hour ago.”

Me: “I’m the only guy here, and I’ve been here all weekend.”

Rando: “Oh. So, can I still have it?”

The terrifying part? It’s watching the same man going from booth to booth, trying the same routine at each booth in the hope that it eventually works.

There’s Really No Diplomatic Way To Handle This

, , , , , , , | Friendly | December 2, 2021

My son and I were on the last row of an airline flight. Three teens were in the seats across the aisle. They seemed quiet during the flight and I really didn’t pay attention to them. Then, it happened. They jumped up from their seats before the plane came to a stop at the gate.

Teen #1: “Let’s get out of here!”

There was no way in h*** I was going to let them rush to the front of the plane, so I stepped out into the aisle to block them.

Teen #2: “We’re late for our connecting flight!”

Me: “No, you’re not. The plane landed fifteen minutes early.”

Teen #3: *Shouting* “We’re diplomats!”

Me: “All three of you?”

Teens: “Yes, we’re diplomats!”

Me: “You mean you have a parent who is a diplomat?”

Teens: “No, we’re diplomats! We need to get to our connecting flight!”

Me: “You need to wait your turn like everyone else.”

Teen #3: *Shouting* “You’re being racist because we have brown skin!”

Me: “No, you’re in the back of the plane and need to wait like the rest of us.”

Teens: “BUT WE’RE DIPLOMATS! YOU’RE BEING RACIST!”

The teens then started crawling over the tops of all the seats, over people’s heads, toward the front of the plane. At some point, I lost track of them because my son and I had to gather our belongings. When we finally made it into the terminal, several airport staff, including security, had detained the teens and were explaining to them that they could not possibly be late for their connecting flight because we arrived early. One of the teens spotted me and started pointing vigorously at me.

Teen #3: “There she is! She wouldn’t let us pass! She’s being racist because we have brown skin! WE’RE DIPLOMATS!”

I explained the whole situation to security. They asked me if I wanted to press charges. Since none of the teens had actually touched me, I declined and went on my way.

A few minutes later, my son and I were sitting near our connecting gate, and guess who came laughing, scampering, and skipping through the terminal without a care in the world? The teens saw me and one took out a camera phone and started filming me. I just sat there, bemused. 

Teen #3: “Ooo, you’re in trouble now!”

I checked social media for a few days after that and never saw a viral story about some old white lady being racist. Go figure.