Time To Clean The Brain Filter

, , , , , | Working | January 22, 2021

My husband works in hospitality, as do I. We decide to take advantage of a discount on a room and spend the night in a hotel during a weekend of wine tasting with friends. Check-in is uneventful and we proceed to our room. My husband tends to evaluate it as an engineer and housekeeper to make sure all is well. I tend to look at the upkeep details.

My husband finds two lightbulbs that are out, so he takes them out of the lamps and leaves them on the dresser. I notice some minor upkeep issues.

Then, we realize that there is no real airflow in the room, despite turning the fan and AC on. My husband looks around and locates the return air filter and opens it. The filter is completely blocked and disgusting. When we look at it, we notice a date written in the corner; it is two years old!

Upon checkout, I mention the lightbulbs to the front desk agent.

Agent: “How would we know unless you tell us?”

I was shocked silent. I skipped mentioning the air filter, figuring they would see it leaning against the wall when they serviced the room. In the industry, it is standard for housekeepers to test all lights to ensure they all work, among other things. There is no excuse for the air filter.

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You Don’t Get Commission If You Don’t Give Us Houses We Want!

, , , , | Working | January 22, 2021

We are looking to buy a bigger home. We know the location, the type of house we want, and our budget. As the area is very popular, it is just a matter of finding one and making an offer quickly.

We sign on with the local estate agents and I drop them a message.

Me: “We are looking for a house with three good-sized bedrooms and a garden in [Area].”

Agent: “Thanks. I will send over the properties I have that match.”

I get an email the next day. One house isn’t quite what we are looking for, one is an apartment, and one is a two-bed house without a garden.

The next day, he sends me another email.

Agent: “So, what did you think of the properties?”

Me: “To be honest, two of the three weren’t what we asked for. The first one was okay but overpriced for the condition it’s in.”

I copy our requirements again.

Agent: “Oh, okay. I will take a look and send you over some more.”

He did, and we started getting daily emails of all the properties they had. The emails were hit or miss to start with and then quickly got worse each time. In less than a week, none of the properties matched what I was looking for.

It just didn’t make sense, given the size of the area alone. We saw many For Sale signs with the agent’s name on them yet so little being sent over by email. Out of interest, I checked their website. I found dozens of houses, all of them exactly what we were looking for and all listed by the estate agent that was supposed to be helping me.

Taking a closer look, all the properties he sent did have one thing in common: they had his name as the contact on them. He had only been sending me the ones he would get a commission on and not the ones his coworkers were working on! I rang the office, confused.

I explained the issue to the agent who answered. She tried to argue with me and tell me that that wasn’t how it worked and that they wouldn’t do it, etc. I sent over the emails and she promised to come back to me.

A few days later, I got another daily email with properties on, but this time, they were far better and from someone different. A few weeks later, I happened to ask what had happened to the first guy. The agent quickly told me that he had decided to move on.

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Let’s Not Address This

, , , | Working | January 21, 2021

I’m nineteen and I’m walking through the city when I notice a booth in front of a stationery store where children can draw on postcards and then send them. The stamp is paid for by the store. I love postcards and the booth is almost empty so I figure, what the heck, I’ll give it a try.

Me: “Hi! Could I colour a postcard, as well?”

The lady running the booth smiles broadly.

Lady: “Sure, sweetie! Here’s the card; here are your crayons. You can even keep them as a gift!”

I am by no means a professional artist, but my drawing turns out pretty well. I flip over the postcard and write a message to my mom. The lady watches me do all of this.

Me: “Done!”

Lady: “Wonderful! Here’s your stamp.”

She puts the stamp on the card.

Lady: “Now, you just have to—”

She looks at me sharply, suddenly hesitant.

Lady: “Oh, um… Do you know your address already?”

Me: *Bewildered* “Uh… yes? It’s there.”

I point to the address on the card IN HER HANDS.

Lady: “Oh! Fantastic! You’re really grown up! Well, that’s all, then! Have a nice day, honey!”

I’ve always been told I look young for my age, but… I can’t help but wonder if she thought I was that young or disabled in some way. If so, she did a fantastic job of treating me just like everyone else. It still feels strange because she was watching me the whole time while I was writing.

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We’d Like To Give Them A Pizza Our Mind

, , , , , | Working | January 21, 2021

During a busy day at work, I decide that I don’t feel like cooking tonight, so I decide to try ordering a pizza online from a new pizza joint in town. Like most restaurants, the website gives you the choice of when you want your order to be ready for pickup, so I enter my usual dinner time. It’s about five hours into the future, because I still have four hours to work for my own shift.

After work, I run some other errands to kill time and then pick up my pizza and head home to eat. With the first bite, I realize that something is off; this is definitely not a fresh, hot pizza at all. I call the pizza joint to complain and ask for a fresh pizza.

Employee: “Hello, [Pizza Joint]. How can I help you?”

Me: “Hi, I ordered a pizza online earlier today. When I picked it up and tried to eat it, it was almost stale. I would like to return it for a fresh pizza.”

Employee: “Okay, can I please get your name?”

Me: “[My Name].”

Employee: “Okay. You ordered a [specialty pizza], correct?”

Me: “Yes.”

Employee: “And what was wrong with the pizza?”

Me: “It’s barely lukewarm, and the crust tastes like it’s gone stale.”

Employee: “I see. Our records show that you were almost five hours late picking up your pizza, so unless there’s something actually wrong with it, there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Me: “How could I be five hours late when the pizza wasn’t supposed to be ready until 6:00 pm?”

Employee: “Our records show that you placed your order online at 1:00 pm; is that correct?”

Me: “Yeah, but I chose to have it ready at 6:00.”

Employee: “Um… sir, that’s not possible. We don’t have that option on our website.”

Me: “Yeah, you do. I’m literally looking at the receipt for my order right now. It says 6:00 pm pick-up.”

Employee: “Well, the order came in at 1:00 pm, so we made your order at 1:00 pm. If you wanted a later pickup time, you should have ordered later.”

Me: “Is there a manager I could speak to, please?”

Employee: “Sir, the only person above me here is the owner. I guarantee you he will only tell you the same thing. You were late picking up your pizza. If there was nothing wrong with it, we can’t replace it. Goodbye!”

The employee actually hangs up on me. Frustrated, I drive to the restaurant, pizza in tow, to speak to the owner, who turns out to be the employee’s father. He sides with his son/employee in claiming that I was just too late picking up my order, even after I show him the email receipt that very clearly shows I wanted my order at 6:00 pm. I decide to just get my money back, and after ten minutes of arguing, the owner finally gives me my money back.

But wait… there’s more! When I get home, I leave an extremely negative review on the restaurant’s Facebook page — nothing nasty, just a thoroughly detailed account of what happened — and end up reading similar negative reviews from other customers. About an hour after I leave my review, the owner chimes in on the post, in true Not Always Working fashion, to try and refute my order. Of note here: I am a black man while the owner is white.

Owner: “[My Name], for the last time, we do not have that option on our website. Never have, never will. Maybe if you used regular time instead of [racial slur] time, you would get fresh pizza.”

I chose not to respond any further, but I did report the owner’s response to the local Chamber of Commerce. I live in a very politically liberal area where racism is absolutely not tolerated by local authorities. The pizza joint’s business license for our county was revoked, and they were forced to shut down.

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Make Yourself Invaluable For More Valuable Paychecks

, , , , , | Working | January 20, 2021

In business, there seems to be an expectation of “I do my job without screwing up, so I want more money!” or “Pay me more and I will do more work.”

Actually, in most companies, you are being paid to do your job well already, and rewarding employees who can demonstrate that they are willing and capable of more responsibility makes more sense than throwing cash at someone in the hope that it will improve their performance.

As a manager, here are some of the conversations I have had.

Employee #1: “I am not getting paid as much as [Coworker].”

Me: “You refused to do the (free, one-hour) training. It was explained that if you didn’t do it, you wouldn’t get a pay rise. Will you do the training?”

Employee #1: “No. But I think I should get the pay rise.”

Me: “No.”


Employee #2: “I think I deserve more money; I have been here for [number] years.”

Me: *After getting the records* “You have the worst attendance record in the company and two written warnings for behaviour. It looks like you were told at the last pay review to improve, and only then would your pay be reviewed. It seems to have gotten worse!”

Employee #2: “Oh, yeah, I remember. So… can I have my pay reviewed?”

Me: “No.”


Employee #3: “I will leave if I don’t get an extra [number] thousand pounds.”

Me: “Look. I like you, so I will be honest with you; for that money, we could employ someone with twice your experience. But I can look into what we can get you. Have you seen that sort of money being advertised elsewhere?”

Employee #3: “No.”

Me: “So your plan to leave isn’t backed up with any sort of other job?”

Employee #3: “No.”

Me: “Or evidence that your job currently pays or is worth what you are asking?”

Employee #3: “No.”

Me: “Not exactly making it easy to fight your corner.”

I go away to argue with HR and my boss and pull together a plan to develop him and teach him valuable skills.

Me: “You will have to take on these extra responsibilities to progress in the company to get extra money. Interested?”

Employee #3: “Not really.”

If you are looking for more money, get a review set up with your boss, explain that you would like to progress, and ask to set up goals for you to achieve this. They should be realistic and measurable. If you are already taking on extra work, make a note of what you are doing and how often, remember that it is normal to take on extra reasonable duties in every role, and check your contract for what you should be doing.

Always focus on the positives while being clear that you expect this to grow into opportunities to do more and earn more.

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