Named And Shamed

, , , , , | Working | January 25, 2018

(I live in a Swedish-speaking area and have a Russian surname. It’s by no means as complicated as some Russian names can be, but some people still tend to skip saying it, referring to me by my first name, or by my first name and the first letter of my surname, especially in class or when I’ve booked something under my name. I’ve long since gotten used to that, even if it bothers me sometimes, but this girl takes the cake.)

Me: “Hi, I have a breakfast reservation under [My Name].”

Worker: *snarky* “Oh. Right. You’re the one who booked under that name.”

Me: “Er, yes?”

Worker: *laughs* “I’m not even going to try to say that.”

Me: “Okay. Thanks?”

(I mean, come on. To all who struggle with foreign names, sometimes it actually feels better if you try and fail to pronounce our names, rather than just publicly declare you won’t be bothered. We’re part of our community, too.)

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Getting Into A Jumble-aya

, , , , , , , | Working | January 25, 2018

(I go to a restaurant with my family for no special occasion other than no one wanted to cook. When we get there, we sit down, and our waitress takes our drink orders and returns with them very quickly. Most of this conversation takes place in French, but I will translate.)

Waitress #1: “What can I get you today?”

Mom: “Soup and salad.”

Sister: “Cactus chips—” *thick potato chips with a spicy dip* “—and a jambalaya, but with gluten-free noodles, please.”

Waitress #1: *missed the gluten-free part* “Okay, would you like garlic or cheesy bread?”

Sister: “No, gluten-free, please.”

(The waitress make a correction on her pad.)

Waitress #1: “Oh, yes. Sorry.”

(I know I will mispronounce the name of what I want in French, so I just point to the picture.)

Waitress #1: “Okay, perfect.” *leaves to put in the order*

(The waitress brings the cactus chips and my mom’s soup with no problem. It is when the main course arrives that things get funny. [Waitress #2] brings our food. My sister is given gluten-free noodles with some mystery sauce on it. It is clearly not her jambalaya.)

Sister: “I ordered a jambalaya with gluten-free noodles.”

([Waitress #2] is confused, but takes it for the correction.)

Waitress #1: *comes out after being informed of the mistake, while filling water glasses at another table* “Oh, I am so sorry. It is my fault; I entered it in wrong.”

Sister: “Oh, it’s okay. We understand the mistake.”

(The waitress sees my mom’s nearly empty lemonade glass. It looks a bit like ice water and not lemonade, and the waitress fills it with her water pitcher. While filling she realizes her mistake.)

Waitress #1: “This wasn’t water, was it?”

(We all lose it and burst out laughing. My mom tears up from laughing so hard. While we compose ourselves, the waitress replaces her drink.)

Waitress #1: *with the new lemonade* “I am so sorry, again.”

Mom: “It is okay; that was hilarious! We do understand. But it is getting late and we have to go; can you put that jambalaya directly into a to-go container for us?”

Waitress #1: “Sure.”

(Later, [Waitress #2] is trying to help her colleague and brings out the jambalaya. We are trying not to laugh at this waitress, and when she leaves we just snicker about the new mistake. [Waitress #1] returns to the prep area, sees the food is missing, and hurries to our table.)

Waitress #1: “Sorry, when I went in for your food it was already gone. I will take it and put it in a to-go container for you.” *takes the food and leaves*

Me: *when the waitress returns so we can pay* “Don’t worry. You know, there is always that one table where, no matter what you do, nothing goes right.”

Waitress #1: *relieved* “Yes, and unfortunately it was you guys, today.”

(While paying we told her some other mishaps that happened to us in other restaurants, like the time I had a ketchup bottle explode in my face. We left her a nice tip. We are calling this outing the comedy of errors. We want this waitress again; I mean, you can’t beat this two-for-one special: buy food get a free show.)

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Calling It Quits For This Millennium

, , , , , , , | Working | January 25, 2018

I work in IT, so I set up a lot of new starters and process people leaving the business. As with every call centre, we have a fairly high turnover of seasonal staff, but a core of long-termers who have been here for more than ten or even twenty years. The long-termers like to complain about the young new starters a lot, that they’re work-shy, not prepared to go over and above, don’t enunciate properly on the phone, things like that. I used to argue with them that the stereotype of the “entitled millennial” was totally false, until today.

I was asked to disable an account of a 20-year old man who had been here less than two weeks. In those two weeks, he had not once turned up on time, took 20 minute cigarette breaks three or four times a day without asking his team leader, frequently “forgot” to log himself back into his phone when returning to his desk, and had at least two complaints logged about his customer service already.

Apparently it was “too difficult” to get up early enough to get here on time, and he found the job “too hard.” It’s answering the phone to people with broken electrical products. He’s had an expert sitting with him to help every day, and a team leader to escalate to should he need to.

On his leaving form, he put his official reason for leaving as “parking too difficult.” Well, if he showed up on time, that wouldn’t have been an issue!

Of the five other newbies who started the same day he did, one left on the first day as he “doesn’t do call centres.” What did he think he was interviewing for? The other four seem very keen and are getting along well.

Oh, how I wish I could just quit a job because I didn’t like getting up in the morning!

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You Want Me In Two Places At Once, I’ll Be In None

, , , , , , , , | Working | January 24, 2018

(This story takes place when I’m 16 and working the closing shift in a chain pet store, which involves checking all the cages and tanks in the back and recording and initialing everything. I am also the only employee on the entire floor and expected to be available to customers. The manager is a useless turd who sits in his office all day. Whenever we approach him with something, he tells us it’s not his problem and to stop bothering him. He even did that when the store flooded. He also insists on being called “sir” and likes to throw his weight around. It’s also relevant to note that, unbeknownst to my manager, I am as belligerent as punk rock comes.)

Manager: “[My Name], how come the forms aren’t done yet?”

Me: “I have to do them after we close. I’ve been busy helping customers back-to-back.”

Manager: “That’s not an excuse.”

Me: “So, you want me to stop what I’m doing and go back to do the forms?”

Manager: “No, someone needs to be on the floor helping customers as long as we’re open.”

Me: “Then the forms are just going to have to wait until after we’re closed.”

Manager: *smirking* “They should already be finished. I expect you to get it done.”

Me: “Uh-huh, and are you going to help the customers while I’m doing that?”

Manager: “No, I have important things to do in my office.”

Me: “Yeah, well, unless the pet department is suddenly self-serve, you only get to pick one.”

Manager: “Why?”

Me: *using my Captain Obvious voice* “Because it is literally impossible to be out here scooping fish and on the other side of the building doing paperwork. I can’t break the laws of physics.”

Manager: “That’s not an excuse. Get it done by the time we close, unless you want to get written up.”

Me: *deciding I’m done* “All right. Is this some pathetic little power game of yours, or are you really so high on your own farts that you can’t grasp this very basic concept? Because either way, this is pretty sad coming from a grown man.”

Manager: “Excuse me?!”

Me: “The schedule is your responsibility, sir. If your forms aren’t getting done because there aren’t enough employees to cover duties, it’s because you suck at doing your job.”

Manager: *turning red* “You’d better watch your attitude with me, missy–”

Me: “Or what?”

Manager: “Or you’ll find yourself out of a job!”

Me: “So?”

(The manager deflates, and opens and closes his mouth a few times, so I continue.)

Me: *laughing* “Hello, I’m sixteen. You think I’m worried about making my mortgage payments? I could walk out right now, and you’d be on the hook if you didn’t stay as long as it takes to close this place by the book. So, maybe you want to rethink whether you’re in control here.”

Manager: “You can’t talk to me like that!”

Me: “Or what? I’m fired?”

Manager: “Yes!”

Me: *shrugging* “Works for me. Bye.”

Manager: *realizing what he’s done* “Where do you think you’re going? You’re not leaving until you finish your work!”

Me: “What work? I’m not an employee here.”

Manager: “Your termination is effective after you’ve completed your tasks.”

Me: “Hmm… Nah.”

Manager: “Stop! You can’t! Come back here this instant!”

Me: *calling over my shoulder in a sing-song voice* “You can’t make me!”

Manager: “I… I’ll call your parents!”

(This is an empty threat, since they only have my cellphone on file. I just laugh and keep walking away. He starts to follow me outside, but as soon as the door shuts behind me I press a full moon against the glass. I hear him scream, “Oh! Oh, my God! Just you wait!” He comes running back out, making a call on his cell phone, as I hop on my bike. He tries to accost me, but I just do a few loops around him, cackling my head off, and speed away. He tries to make the cashier stay, but his mom comes to pick him up and won’t let the manager keep him on a school night. So, the manager is stuck there half the night mucking out cages. The store also keeps buzzing my phone when I don’t show up for my following shifts. When I go to pick up my last check, the manager is standing on the floor glaring at me, so I walk up.)

Me: “Sir? Excuse me, sir? Do you work here? Can you help me with this fish? Oh, are you busy? Do you have important manager stuff to do?”

(I called after him as he walked straight into the office and slammed the door.)

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Your Review Is Under Negotiation

, , , , , | Working | January 24, 2018

Boss: “[My Name], do you how long these performance self-reviews usually are?”

Me: “What? Like, when printed out? Usually about two pages, right?”

Boss: “Yes. And yours is 11.”

Me: “How many pages did I tell you it was going to be?”

Boss: “Well, 30, but…”

Me: “You’re welcome. If you’d like, the review window is still open; I could expand on it. I might be able to get that baby up to 100 pages by next Monday.”

Boss: *sigh* “You did warn me you’re terrible at being political.”

Me: “Yes, but I’m an expert at hostage negotiations.”

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