Not An Industry-Standard Greeting

, , , , | | Working | June 14, 2019

(I am a woman in my mid-20s. In February, I go with my company to my first conference focusing on our industry. The first day is wonderful. I am meeting peers from other states and countries and learning a lot about the goings-on of our business. The second day, I am walking around with a coworker who is also a woman, in her 60s. She also happens to be part of the LGBT community.)

Me: “I love how they have all the vendors set up in the ballroom so we can check the booths out on breaks!”

Coworker: “Yep! It’s a great way to see what everyone else is working on this year.”

(We approach a vendor booth and start looking at their brochures when one of their reps, a man who I assume is in his late 40s or early 50s, comes over to talk to us.)

Company Rep: “Good morning! Let us know if we can answer any questions for you!”

Coworker: “Thank you! We’re just looking around before the talks start.”

Company Rep: “Which company are you with?”

Me: “We’re with [Company], from [Southern State].”

Company Rep: “Of course! I know exactly where you’re located.”

(My coworker begins to walk down the line of booths, and I move to join her when the guy stops me.)

Company Rep: *looks at me expectantly* “So, are you originally from [Southern State]?”

Me: *thinking maybe he’s visited there* “Yes, born and raised. Haha…” *looks to see my coworker has already moved a couple of booths down* “I should go join my…”

Company Rep: “[Southern State]’s had a lot of trouble with [slang, derogatory, term for LGBT people], huh?”

(I stare at him for a second. It’s no secret that many southern states in the US have had rocky legislation and communication with the LGBT community, but I am of the opinion that things are starting to move in a more positive direction. I try to deflect the subject because this is a business setting and this man’s job is to make our company want to hire his. Plus, he has no inkling of my opinion on this subject, so why would he bring something like that up?)

Me: “Well, I haven’t been a fan of many of the state’s decisions in recent years, and I have friends in that community, so…”

Company Rep: *interrupts me and cranks the topic up 100 notches* “Well, you know, there was a kid in [Other State] who was assaulted in a bathroom by a man dressed as a woman.” *smug look*

Me: *barely keeping my voice calm* “I had not heard that. Was it an actual transgender person, or was it a predator pretending to be one?”

Company Rep: *looks panicked for a second that I actually asked a real question about his comment* “Well, uh, he had a wig and stuff on.”

Me: “I see. Well, it appears I’ve lost my coworker. Excuse me.”

(I walked quickly away, found my coworker, and told her what happened. I was so angry I had to excuse myself for a few minutes to calm down. We both sat down with our manager that evening and told him what happened. He is also a staunch believer in professional behavior between businesses, and made it a point to contact the rep’s superior to let him know how his employee was talking to potential clients. Turns out, this guy had gotten in trouble for bringing up touchy political topics with strangers before — apparently, he liked to get a rise and arguments out of people — and was already on the superior’s radar for disciplinary action. He thanked my manager for letting him know this was still going on. I was so glad that my manager stood up for me, and for our coworker, instead of dismissing my experience as something this guy “just does,” or something that “wasn’t a big deal.” It doesn’t matter what side of a topic like that you fall on, or if the other person agrees with you or not; don’t ambush a stranger in a professional environment to get a rise out of them, especially a stranger who could potentially make the decision to spend thousands of dollars with your company.)

He REALLY Wants That Book

, , , , , , | | Working | June 14, 2019

I was walking past the reception desk in my local library and overheard one of the librarians actually on the phone, calling my wife at home, asking her to let me know that a book I had reserved was ready to pick up.

The look on his face when two seconds later I turned up at the desk and said, “I hear you have a book for me?” was priceless.

A Vicious Bi-Cycle

, , , , , | | Working | June 13, 2019

(I’m a regular at my bike repair shop since I bought mine from them about a year ago and it’s had its share of problems. This takes place as I’m bringing it in for scheduled maintenance.)

Employee: “Has he been behaving lately? Any problems, complaints?”

Me: “No, he’s very well behaved. He even plays nice with the other bicycles.”

Employee: “Strange, our bikes are bred to be more aggressive for [Suburb the shop is located in, known for its eccentric population].”

Me: “That’s all right; I don’t live here. I live in [Suburb known as a bit of a ghetto].”

Employee: “Yeah, that’s where our bikes usually end up, one way or the other.”

Groomed For Failure

, , , , , , , | | Working | June 12, 2019

My dog was a lab-retriever rescue who was six or seven when we got him and slightly… special. I loved him, don’t get me wrong, but for a dog and in particular, a lab, he had some interesting personality features along with the fact that he had medical issues like arthritis. The biggest one: he basically hated water. He’d drink it just fine, but giving him a bath was painful because he didn’t like water hitting his chest and he hated being dried. If we tried to blow dry him, he’d bark and snarl, and towel drying took too long because he’d think it was a game and constantly try to run away.

We finally found a groomer at a pet store who could handle him. When we took him in the first time, we explained everything to her — all his issues and troubles we had. She told us that she could handle it; it would just cost us a little more and take a bit longer. Considering that giving him a bath at home usually took at least three people and a few hours, we figured it was fine. So, she bathed him and did a great job keeping him calm and getting him taken care of. Basically, she bathed him in whatever way she did and groomed him and then let him crate dry with a couple of fans blowing gently if needed. And he was fine. So, whenever he needed grooming, we always made sure to talk to her and schedule on a day when she was going to be in.

Fast forward a few years down the road. I’m now in college but living at home and I take a lot of responsibility for him when I can. He’s obviously a lot older, like 14 or 15; we were never entirely sure how old he was because his previous owners couldn’t give us a straight answer. The age was the best guess based on what the vet said. He still has the special neurosis, but he still can get bathed just fine by this one tech. I have scheduled an appointment with her and things are good.

The day of his appointment comes and I get him to the groomers only to see that the tech isn’t there. I ask about her and she has apparently had a family emergency. No big deal. I just explain to the groomer who’s there all about my dog and let her know how things normally go, because she is looking at him a little warily. Again, at this time he’s well into his teens; it’s a lot more obvious that he’s got arthritis and just that he’s an old dog in general. She tells me that it’s fine, and I hand him off and go about running various errands.

About thirty minutes later, I get a call from the pet store. When I pick up, it’s the tech and she tells me that I need to come and get our dog because he’s freaking out and she thinks he’s about to have a stroke. I finish up the errand I was in the middle of and get back to the store as fast as I can. When I get there, she brings him out and he’s soaking wet. When I ask her what happened, she says that she got him into the bath and when she turned on the water, he freaked. I explain that I mentioned this when I dropped him off, and try to see if she handled things the way the other tech usually does, but she refuses to walk through anything, maintaining that I need to take him because they can’t be responsible. She tells me that because of things, she isn’t going to charge me, but she refuses to let him dry and tells me that we aren’t allowed to bring him back.

So, I have to get my sopping wet, freaked-out dog into the car. While he likes car rides, because of his arthritis and everything else, sometimes getting in and out is difficult, and this is one of those times. But I manage to get him in and mostly calmed down enough so I can get in the driver’s seat and go. I get him home and dry him off, dry out the backseat of the car, and give him some treats and love before getting him back into the car so I can go get his nails trimmed at the vet. I get him taken care of at the vet and then get home, where I give him some more attention and treats.

When my mom gets home, I tell her what happened and she calls the pet store. She talks to the same tech I had, who gives her the same story about him freaking out and now being basically banned. She calls back a few days later and gets the tech we’d been trying to schedule with. The tech apologizes and then explains that because the tech who’d banned him is her manager, she can’t change the ruling and is going to be sad to see our dog go. My mom is frustrated although she doesn’t blame our tech. She speaks to the manager again, wondering why it was okay to a) not listen to the special care instructions I’d mentioned, and b) force me to take an obviously worried animal home — not that he would have hurt me on purpose but… — especially when he was soaking wet. The manager just maintains that she’s done what she could in trying to care for him and in not charging me for the work she started.

We’ve never gone any further with that store, although we probably should have. But we have found a groomer/doggie daycare that will take him. They love having him around because he was super friendly and one of the oldest dogs they regularly take care of. He loves going there because they always give him a new squeaky toy to bring home. We aren’t always thankful for that portion of the grooming.

Orange Alert!

, , , , | | Working | June 11, 2019

(I’m driving on the interstate early in the morning with my wife, and our two children are in the backseat. We see a sign for a fast food restaurant which serves breakfast a few miles ahead. My wife and I decide we each want a sausage biscuit with coffee and the kids just want an orange juice each. I pull off the highway to the drive-thru intercom which has an order display to “ensure accuracy.”)

Intercom: “Good morning. What would you like?”

Me: “I’ll have two sausage biscuits, two coffees, and two orange juices, please.”

(The order display correctly shows my order until I order the two orange juices; the display then removes the two coffees from the order and adds the two orange juices.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but the coffees were dropped off the order. Could you put those back?

Intercom: “Yes, sir.”

(The order display shows the two orange juices dropped off and two coffees added.)

Me: “The orange juices dropped off the order! Please put those back!”

Intercom: “You want the orange juices with the order?”

Me: “Yes!”

(The order display shows the two coffees dropped off and two orange juices added.)

Me: “I still want the coffees. Could I have those with my order?”

Intercom: “You want the coffees with the order?”

Me: “YES!”

(The order display shows the two orange juices dropped off and two coffees added.)

Me: “Don’t remove the orange juices! I want those on the order!”

Intercom: “The orange juices cost more, sir.”

Me: “I understand that; put them back on the order!”

(The order display shows the two coffees dropped off and two orange juices added.)

Me: “Keep the coffees on the order, please!

(The order display shows the two orange juices dropped off and two coffees added.)

Me: “Please put the orange juices back on the order!

Intercom: “But the orange juices cost more, sir.”

Me:I know! Please put the orange juices back on the order!

Intercom: “Sir, please drive forward and my manager will explain it to you.”

Wife: “Please just pay for whatever they give us and leave!

(I pulled up to the window and, sure enough, the manager was also at the window to “explain it to me.” I paid without saying a word; if I had opened my mouth at that point, I’m sure I would have screamed some things the kids should not hear at their ages.)

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