The Family That Eats Together Isn’t Seated Together

, , , , | Working | April 17, 2018

(My kids and I are going out to eat with family friends. I have my two kids, and my friend and her husband have their two kids. We enter a restaurant and wait for someone to seat us.)

Host: “Have you been helped yet?” *he’s been there, talking to the only other host and hostess since before we walked in*

Me: “Not yet. There are seven of us: three adults, four kids.”

Host: *looking at his chart* “Um… Okay… Do you all have to sit together?”

Me: *thinking I didn’t hear him right* “Sorry, what?”

Host: “Do you all want to sit together?”

Me: “Uh, yeah.”

(The host says he’ll be back and will check. He comes back, doesn’t pick up any menus, and seats us at a table. When the server arrives she has to go get us menus, silverware, and everything.)

My Friend: *turns to me* “Next time we should say, ‘Yeah, great! We didn’t know you offered childcare here, too! Go ahead and put the four kids together; we adults will sit in the bar.’”

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Small Talk Means Big Problems

, , | Working | April 17, 2018

(This is mostly my fault, but it blows up because of the customer’s attitude. I am working as a cashier in a hardware store when a customer comes to my register with a flat cart loaded down with bags of mulch. He tells me how many bags he has, and I nod politely, say, “Thank you,” and start scanning each bag individually, counting them as I go.)

Customer: *repeats* “There are 16.”

(The customer seems tense and his voice is gruff.)

Me: “Thank you for letting me know. I do have to count them, though.”

Customer: “Do you think I’m a thief, or do you just not trust that I can count?”

(Here’s where I make a big mistake. I jokingly say, “Both,” while smiling, and trying to lighten up the mood a bit. I can tell it’s not working, so I say:)

Me: “It’s just a loss-prevention measure. It’s to make sure we are scanning the right number of bags, and that they’re all the same, because sometimes two bags look similar but aren’t the same item.”

Customer: “I spend over ten grand in this store every month, and you’re accusing me of theft. I want to talk to your manager!”

Me: “I was trying to make a joke. I don’t think you’re stealing. I’m just trying to scan items the way I was taught.”

(The customer insists that I accused him of theft, and tells the same story to my manager. I am honest. I tell the manager about my bad attempt at making a joke, and that I didn’t actually accuse the customer of anything. The manager sides with me, especially once the customer starts raving about how much money he spends in our store.)

Manager: “That’s interesting, because I’ve never seen you here before.”

(The customer finally leaves, still in a rage, even though I apologize multiple times. He emails corporate and insists that I be fired. The manager and I have a talk where he tells me he has to write me up, but that he doesn’t want to. He also tells me just to let go of any sense of humor I might be tempted to have while at work.)

Manager: “Smile, be polite, and be helpful, but don’t talk to customers beyond what’s necessary for business.”

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An Uncomfortable Level Of Lunch

, , , , , | Working | April 15, 2018

I was promoted about a year ago to be general manager for all of our branches in the city. One of my duties is to chair a supervisors’ meeting twice a year. These are usually long and tedious affairs, so to make them bearable, I have all the supervisors over to my house and feed them lunch before having the meeting. This way, everybody gets a good meal, and the meeting can be done on comfortable couches, instead of hard boardroom chairs.

Most of my supervisors are great, or at least good at their jobs, but one of them I have constantly had to speak with about her lousy customer service and basic lack of people skills.

A few weeks after I have had to have another talk with my shoddy supervisor, I receive an email from the union. The email says that they have received an “anonymous” complaint from a member that the supervisors’ meetings are held at my house. They can’t give any reasons for the complaint beyond that it makes the complainant uncomfortable.

So, from now on, all supervisors’ meetings will be held in the windowless boardroom, on hard chairs, and with no food. All in the name of making one supervisor “comfortable.”

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This Employee Has A Hex(Core) On You

, , , , | Working | April 12, 2018

(The guitar tech at the locally-owned music store my friends and I frequent has a reputation for being very reliable and knowledgeable, but also snobbish. He has a tendency to make you feel silly for not knowing what he knows about guitar. I generally try to avoid him for routine stuff. I swing into the store to buy some strings, which are in racks behind the counter.)

Employee: “What brand and gauge can I grab for you?”

Me: “Well, first, I’m actually wanting a specific kind, and I know they’re not the normal kind. I just read about them… hex core?”

Employee: *looks over rack* “Hmm. I’m not seeing any that say they’re hex core. Give me a second to run into the next room and I’ll ask [Guitar Guy].”

Me: *shoulders slump; I didn’t make it*

Employee: *coming back* “[Guitar Guy] says all strings are hex core unless they’re labeled round core.”

(I realize my error in that I’d swapped hex and round core strings. I bought some round core and left. Later I ran into one of my friends who knows about that store and I told him what happened.)

Friend: “Man, he wasn’t even in the same room and he still got you! Amazing!”

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A Lack Of Retention Attention

, , , , , | Working | April 11, 2018

(I’m struggling with finances a bit. I have the MOST basic Internet service from the local cable company. They’re losing customers at a fairly fast rate, so it’s pretty well known that if you call and ask for a discount, even temporarily, they’ll give it to you in order to keep you as a customer. So, I call them up.)

Customer Service Representative #1: “[Cable Company], how can I help you?”

Me: “I’d like to see if I can lower my rate at all.”

Customer Service Representative #1: “Let me take a look… NOPE! That’s the best we can do for you.”

Me: “Really? You can’t even lower it a little for a short period of time?”

Customer Service Representative #1: “NOPE… That’s the best rate we have.”

(I’ve done this before, so I know they have a “customer retention” department specifically set up to keep customers who may be thinking of cancelling.)

Me: “Okay. Can you transfer me to the customer retention department?”

Customer Service Representative #1: “Sir, all of our employees are interested in retaining customers.”

Me: “Right. I get that. But I also know you have a specific department that is willing to work with customers in order to keep them as customers. Can you please transfer me?”

(This goes back and forth for twenty minutes or so. Finally…)

Customer Service Representative #1: “Fine! Please hold.”

Customer Service Representative #2: “Hello. I understand you wish to disconnect your service.”

Me: “No! I was calling to ask if I might be able to save a little money on the bill.”

Customer Service Representative #2: “Oh! Sure! I can lower your bill by $20 a month for one year. How’s that sound?”

Me: “Perfect. Thank you.”

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