Who Doesn’t Love Unsolicited Advice?

, , , , , | Working | January 1, 2021

I recently got a job at a dealership. It has quickly become apparent that one of my coworkers is going to be a problem. I was hired to replace a cashier that was moving to a different state, and this coworker fills in while I finish my last two weeks at my old job. There are only two cashiers on any given day: one in the morning and one in the evening.

I am not that good at confrontations, especially in situations like this where I’m trying to learn.

On my first day, the official trainer can’t train me because she’s the accountant and she has to do her end-of-the-month stuff. Apparently, the problem coworker thought I would be by myself the next morning — my second day — and was upset when she was told she had to work the morning cashier shift because she hates being a cashier.

I’m scheduled at 2:30, but I punch in around 2:20 and head to my station, which is basically a locked room with plexiglass at the counter with only a small opening to pass things through. The problem coworker is there.

Coworker: “What time were you supposed to get here?”

Me: “Two-thirty. I know I’m a little early. I’m still waiting for [Trainer].”

Coworker: “That’s the problem with twenty-somethings. They don’t know how to get anywhere on time. You should always be here fifteen or twenty minutes early. We open at seven, so you should be set up and ready to go at seven.” 

I anxiously wait for the trainer to arrive. When she still hasn’t arrived by 2:50, I start to wonder if she forgot she was training me today.

Me: “I wonder where [Trainer] is.”

Coworker: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Do you have her number to call her?”

Coworker: “No. I don’t get anybody’s number and no one has mine. [Dealership] isn’t paying for my phone, so nothing work-related is going on it. If I need to call out, I know the number for the dealership. And you’ll never see me on my phone while I’m at work. My family knows to call here if there’s an emergency and they need to get a hold of me.”

Thankfully, a manager walks by a few minutes later and calls the trainer for me. She is stuck in traffic and finally shows up an hour late. I go about my day and the trainer asks if I’m comfortable doing the morning shift by myself the next day. I do agree to try the morning shift after being reassured that I don’t really do anything until about nine or ten, and the trainer will be in around 9:45.

The next morning, I show up at 6:50 and start my opening tasks. By 7:15, I’ve finished everything and I’m scrolling through Facebook on my phone when guess who shows up? The coworker thought that once again she would be the morning cashier. She offers to stay with me, and while I’m glad to not be alone, I wish I was with anyone else. I decide not to point out that she was the one ranting about how you should always be twenty minutes early when she herself was fifteen minutes late.

I get a transaction around eight. The money-taking part is easy; it’s logging the money properly that I’m not fully comfortable with, but I have notes and I start to do it the way I was trained.

Coworker: “Okay, stop what you’re doing. You’re doing it wrong. Don’t listen to the twenty-somethings; they don’t know what they’re doing. They make things way more complicated than they need to be.” 

Me: “But this is how [Trainer] and [Other Cashier] showed me how to do it.”

Coworker: “Trust me, I’m sixty-something. I’ve been around way longer than they have. How old are you anyway?”

Me: “Twenty-six.”

Coworker: “You’re older than I thought.”

I get this a lot. Most people think I’m nineteen to twenty-two.

Coworker: “Anyway, the only thing the twenty-somethings are good at is Excel. I’m assuming you know how to use Excel.”

Me: “Yes.”

I’m thinking to myself that I’m a business major and had to take a computer class for business majors where 80% of the assignments were based around Excel, but she starts ranting again. I mostly tune her out at this point.

A little while later, we’re bored with nothing to do.

Coworker: “Let’s scan some documents. I know [Former Cashier that moved away] would scan sometimes in the mornings when it’s slow.”

Me: “I don’t know how to do that. They didn’t show me.”

Coworker: “Well, it’s not rocket science. All you do is push some buttons.”

I’m thinking, “It may as well be rocket science since I don’t know what I’m doing because it’s only my third day!” She shows me how to scan old documents into the computer. While I do that, a worker from another department waves hello as he passes. I would estimate that about 40-50% of the workers at the dealership speak both English and Spanish. The worker who waves is Hispanic, and I acknowledge him through the plexiglass barricade.

Coworker: “Yeah, that’s [Hispanic Coworker]. He’s nice, but his spelling is atrocious. I keep saying that if people would just learn to speak proper, then there wouldn’t be as many spelling errors in the world. Most words are spelled like they sound. I mean, [Other Coworker] always says, ‘idear,’ instead of, ‘idea.’ It’s spelled like it sounds. Like, people from Boston don’t speak proper.”

I mentally bang my head into the desk and resist the urge to say, “Okay, boomer,” and risk getting fired after only three days. I have to listen to her rant about grammar, twenty-somethings, how the other cashier doesn’t keep anything in a “logical place,” and how to properly file things — something else the other cashier apparently doesn’t know how to do “correctly” — for another hour and a half until the trainer comes in to check on me. I am honestly so horrified at some of the things I hear that I don’t know how to respond.

I pray for customers to come so she will shut up for a few minutes. When I do have customers, she watches me like a hawk and makes me super nervous, but she makes sure I logged everything “the right way.” As soon as the trainer comes in to check on me around ten, the problem coworker leaves.

Trainer: “I am so sorry you had to be stuck with her all morning. Everybody kind of hates her, but we can’t get rid of her. Do you need help with anything?”

Me: “Yes. Help me undo everything. She was having me do stuff all out of order, and she had me separate the receipts from the invoices, and I don’t know what I’m doing anymore.”

The trainer helps me get organized and settled. Thankfully, there isn’t too much to do, and she tells me to page her if I need anything. I manage to get into a rhythm and I’m feeling more confident. A while later, the problem coworker stops by.

Coworker: “How are you doing?”

Me: “Good…” *waits for her to leave* “…now that you aren’t here.”

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That RV Had Better Have Some Good Range!

, , , , , | Right | July 14, 2020

I’m talking to a young couple looking at an RV. The husband asks me if I RV, but I tell him that I can’t as I am working when there is good camping weather.

The husband asks me where I am going on holiday this winter and I say Austria. The cute little wife pipes up and says, “I have always wanted to go there and see the Koala bears!”

Both the husband and I look at her, dumbfounded.


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Minivan Causing Mega-Problems

, , , | Working | January 9, 2020

(My uncle and his wife own a minivan that they love — it has every feature they like — but as time wears on, the car starts to show its age, so my uncle goes to a dealership.)

Uncle: “My wife and I really love this car, but it’s a little old and we want to see if we can get a new minivan that’s basically the same thing.”

Dealer: “Oh, well, we don’t make that particular model anymore, but let me show you what we have!”

(The dealer does everything he can, but nothing on the lot will satisfy; they’re all missing features that either my uncle or his wife really want, or are in some other way undesirable. Finally, trying his best, the dealer has another suggestion.)

Dealer: “Why don’t we go look at the used car lot? I’m sure we can find you a used car with exactly the features you want!”

Uncle: “Well, if you really think about it for a minute, I kind of think that’s what we already have.”

Dealer: *long pause* “Oh.”

(He looked so dejected!)

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Ten Out Of Ten For Inattentiveness

, , , , , | Working | January 9, 2020

I was in the market for a new car, but I kept putting it off due to the love of my old car, the apprehension of car payments, and the intimidating car-buying process. I had been driving my parents’ old car, sixteen years old, and for several valid reasons, they felt it was unwise and unsafe for me to continue driving it, so they took matters into their own hands. I had visited a couple of dealerships, performed a couple of test drives, and finally decided on what make and model, but was prolonging the choosing of the actual vehicle.

My mother made a couple of phone calls to different dealerships and got me a good deal at one that they had used before, but I would have to go in and actually negotiate. I have had poor experience with the company with servicing my old car, but since it was a different make, different staff, different managers, different building, etc., I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try them. The worker who had been talking to my mom passed me on to a salesman who was pretty nice. 

Throughout the entire process, from inquiries, to test drives, to negotiating, to actually buying the car, I provided all my details several times and on several forms. Yet each time we moved on to the next step, the salesman reverted my information back to my mother’s. I didn’t live with her, so he should have no reason to keep her information attached to me. This even happened after I purchased the car. He had me input my information electronically on their tablet, I also completed a form with the manager that they would give to the RMV, and still, all the information was incorrect. Good thing I noticed before they completed the registration.

After I drove off the lot in my new set of wheels, I awaited the after-sale survey and new buyer emails the salesman told me I would receive. No surprise, my parents received all the emails, and I didn’t receive any. I contacted the dealership again to change my information, and they told me they did after the second time, but I have yet to receive anything from them. My satellite radio subscription went to my parents, as well, so I had to take some time changing that, as well as the service rewards program. The survey also went to my parents.

I remember the salesman asking for all tens so he could get a bonus. I take surveys somewhat seriously, so while many aspects were tens, some were nines, eights, or sevens. I didn’t give horrible remarks, but I thought with all the oversights, giving all tens wouldn’t be truthful. 

He texted me later, asking if I had completed the survey, because “it was done wrong.” I played dumb, pretending that I never received it, reminding him that he had never put in my information correctly at any of the steps, so perhaps my parents received the survey. When it came time to do my 5000-mile service, I went to a different dealership and had my information transferred over.

I told my parents about the survey and the response — they each had accompanied me to different parts of the sale. My dad thought I should have given him all tens because it didn’t really matter. My mom thought I did the right thing. I kind of feel bad about the survey, but at the same time, I kind of don’t.

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Urgent: I Do Not Think That Means What You Think It Means

, , , , | Right | December 5, 2019

I work at a car dealership. It’s the Friday before a long weekend. We have a busy day booked already, but we anticipate that we’ll get some calls and drop-ins from people who want to go out of town for the holiday and neglected to ensure their car is ready until the very last second. We are correct, but one in particular really takes the cake. He calls and talks to two different people, telling them both that he wants to go to Yosemite and urgently needs to get his service done. They both tell him if he doesn’t want to make an appointment for a future date he can bring in the car and leave it with us and we’ll work it in between or after when customers who had appointments need their cars — our normal answer, holiday weekend or not. We know he’s an extra-special sort of guy because he tells both of them the same thing: we should do his car first because he’s more important than the people who scheduled appointments, and he feels it is urgent because he wants to be on the road as soon as possible. He insists that we have to do this for him.

Both of them tell him the same thing: no, but in a more polite way. They say they don’t have the authority to make that call. So, naturally, he wants to talk to a manager. He hangs up before being connected the first time — perhaps because he is So Important — but the second time does successfully speak to the head of the service department. The manager tells the customer exactly what the other two employees told him: bring it to us and we’ll work it in, but the needs of the customers who scheduled appointments come first because that’s why we recommend scheduling appointments. If he wants it done as soon as possible, the earlier he brings his car the better. He finally relents and says he will bring his car immediately, but we are not to lose sight of how urgent his needs are.

He does end up bringing his car in… almost five hours after he talked to the manager.

Gee, I’m sure sorry we didn’t hold off on working on any other cars until his arrived and was done like his original demand. Obviously, it was very urgent.

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