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Putting The Red Light On This Opportunity

, , , , , | Working | June 30, 2022

When the bank I worked at decided to reorganize and downsize, right before the credit crunch, I found myself without a job and very few job openings. Here in the Netherlands, you have to sign up with the unemployment agency to receive your allotted months of unemployment, and every month, you have to fill in a little sheet stating at least four jobs you have applied for.

Of course, anyone really wanting a job doesn’t stop at four applications per month. I soon had a binder with dozens and dozens but very little success. With so many young people straight out of high school and college who could be paid minimum wage, nobody was looking for someone in their forties they’d have to pay considerably more, especially not in the banking industry.

In addition to that application sheet, the agency would “request” your presence every now and then to go over your job hunting efforts. A request that always would — and still does — come with the admonishment that they would dock you for not showing up. So, dutifully, off you’d trot to be berated by some eager young bean counter for not looking hard enough.

My case “manager” was an overenthusiastic young man who clearly thought that finding a job was easy-peasy, despite the hundreds of job seekers that trudged through their halls every day. He had blithely told me on occasion that I should apply for a two-hour-per-day job that had a two-hour commute by train, one way.

I recently went to my final talk with him. He didn’t know it was our final talk; I finally had a second interview set up to discuss the terms for my soon-to-be new job. I saw this little flyer on his desk from a firm looking for drivers. He saw me look and said that if I had a driver’s license, I had to apply.

Feigning interest, I asked for more information than the flyer provided. It turned out they wanted drivers, preferably female as they were known to have fewer accidents, to unload new cars from ships. It was shiftwork, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm and 3:00 pm to midnight, somewhere way out in the western dockyards.

I asked how the late shift was supposed to get back into town and was that told the company would drop us off at the nearest stop for the night bus. I told him that was a good reason not to apply.

Case Manager: “Why not?”

Me: “Do you know where that bus stop is?”

Case Manager: “No, I don’t.”

Me: “I do. It’s right around the corner from a streetwalking zone, so I’m not going to stand around there in the middle of the night and wait for a night bus that comes only once an hour.”

Case Manager: “Why not?”

Me: “I’m not going to stand there with a group of other women, tired from an almost nine-hour shift, while there are cars with johns circling around looking for a sex worker to pick up.”

Case Manager: “I don’t see the problem; you’re at a bus stop.”

He literally did not see the problem!

Case Manager: “If you don’t apply, that could have consequences for your benefits.”

Luckily, four days later, I was able to inform the agency that my new job would soon start.

Well, They Sure Aren’t Getting Any More Sales From Them!

, , , , , , | Working | June 29, 2022

Both of my wife’s parents recently died, within two months of each other (one from illness and one from an accident some weeks later). As a result, we have been left sorting through their affairs and gradually sifting through their personal effects.

One task that recently fell to me was to collect a vast pile of catalogues and other communications that have been mailed to them since their passing from companies to which my mother-in-law (and a lesser extent father-in-law) subscribed. There is a surprising number; they lived fully and healthily and had made the most of their comfortable and affluent retirement. The request in all cases was simply to remove their details from their records and stop sending their magazines and catalogues.

The expected response from these companies, on being told the news of my mother-in-law’s passing, would be to reply with a sympathetic message and a promise to remove her details as requested.

However, there were also responses along the lines:

Catalogue Company: “So that we can remove their details from our systems, please send us a copy of the death certificate.”

I passed this message on to my wife, who is handling all the official paperwork, and her response was:

Wife: “They can f*** off!”

Seriously? It’s a stupid catalogue, not a military service record!

But, fair enough, if you WANT to carry on sending us copies of your catalogue, which will go directly into the recycling, then please feel free so to do. It’s no skin off our nose, but if you want to waste the money mailing this great big lump of dead tree to an address that no longer has anyone living there, go fill your boots.

For reference, please remember: this is Britain. We don’t do bureaucracy and top-heavy administration the way certain nations seem to. Apologies to you if it seems natural to have to send a death certificate to a company with whom occasional retail operations have been transacted, but to my wife and me, this comes across as distasteful.

All’s Well That Ends With Good Fried Rice

, , , , , , | Working | June 29, 2022

During lunch at work, I lament to a coworker that I can’t find certain good restaurants around town, namely my disappointment that I can’t get good fried rice no matter where I go. Two days later, I get pulled into a meeting with Human Resources.

HR Lady: “Hello, [My Name]. Do you know why you’re here today?”

Me: “No?”

HR Lady: “Several days ago, someone overheard you being derogatory toward Asian-Americans, and we want to make you aware that we have a zero-tolerance policy for racism in the workplace.”

Me: *Panicking, confused* “Wait, what? Where? When?”

HR Lady: “The incident in question took place on [date] during your lunch break, when someone overheard you say, ‘There’s no decent Chinese around here—’”

The penny drops.

Me: “FOOD! Chinese FOOD! I was talking to [Coworker] about how I can’t find good fried rice for the life of me!”

She stares at me blankly before the context dawns on her.

HR Lady: “Ah.”

Me: “Yeah, I was talking about how I couldn’t find any good Mexican or Chinese restaurants. Ask [Coworker] if you want; he’ll vouch for me.”

HR Lady: “No, no, I don’t think that will be necessary. Given your good performance and behavior besides this incident, I think we can write this off as a misunderstanding.”

Me: *Exhaling* “Thank you.” *Gets up to leave*

HR Lady: “But on that note… have you tried [Restaurant]?”

I run through my mental list of disappointing takeout dinners.

Me: “N-no?”

HR Lady: “Try them. Best Chinese food you’ll find in town.”

I was relieved that the situation was resolved reasonably and that she was willing to listen and understand the context, as opposed to other interactions I’d had in the past with bosses who were determined to demonize their targets no matter what. Bonus? The Chinese food was excellent.

It Pays To Pay Attention

, , , , , , | Working | June 29, 2022

I started a new job and opted to sign up for direct deposit for my paychecks. I took the paperwork to my bank to make sure everything was correct before turning it in to my employer. I worked my first two weeks and eagerly awaited my deposit.

Friday came and nothing was deposited. [Manager] contacted [Payroll], who said it might take a little while because it’s a new account and I should check with my bank. I contacted my bank and they confirmed there was nothing on hold.

Saturday and Sunday went by, still nothing, but it was the weekend so I wasn’t expecting it.

Monday, Tuesday, and finally Wednesday arrived with no pay. The bank confirmed again that I had no pending transactions. I went back to [Payroll] myself.

Payroll: *Impatiently* “Yes?”

Me: “Hi, I’m [My Name]. My manager contacted you on Friday about my check?”

Payroll: *Rolling her hand forward* “And?”

Me: “It still hasn’t been deposited. Can we look into this?”

Payroll: “Checks are deposited every other Friday. It’s Wednesday.”

Me: “Right, I’m talking about last week’s check.”

Payroll: “And checks are deposited every other Friday.”

Me: “I did not get paid. Please help me understand why.”

Payroll: *Sigh* “Fine, I’ll walk you through it. Wasting my time, but it’s fine!” *Pulls my deposit paper* “Is this information correct?”

Me: “Yes, I verified it with my bank.”

Payroll: “Okay, so I don’t see why you’re saying you didn’t get paid.”

Me: “Because I didn’t. Maybe something was entered wrong.”

Payroll: *Snapping* “I have been doing this job for ten years. I know what I’m doing!”

Me: *Snapping back* “And I’ve had that bank account for twenty years and never had an issue.”

Payroll: “Fine.” *Begins typing on her computer* “You’re with [Bank]?”

Me: “Yes.”

Payroll: “Routing number is [number]?”

Me: “Yes.”

Payroll: *Smug* “And as I said, your paycheck was deposited into account [12345]. See?”

She turns the computer screen to show me the proof of deposit. I turn the direct deposit paperwork back to face her.

Me: “My account number is [13245].”

[Payroll] is silent for a moment. She looks back and forth between the screen and the paper.

Payroll: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Yes. How are you going to fix this?”

Payroll: “I will have to look into this and get back to you.”

Me: “Thank you. I’ll be back at the end of the day.”

Payroll: “I don’t know if I’ll have the answer by then.”

Me: “I’ll be talking to Human Resources tomorrow either way.” *Sweetly* “Thank you for your time.”

When I went back at the end of the day, she had a paper check cut for me and showed that she had updated my account with the correct information. She did not actually acknowledge that she had made an error and didn’t apologize, so I went to Human Resources and reported her. She was gone a few days later.

Just Pretend “Quart” Is Short For “Quarter” And A Gallon Is A Dollar

, , , , | Working | CREDIT: SinfulPanda | June 28, 2022

I am going to a family event and stop at a local farm-fresh ice cream shop on my way there. My boyfriend gets out to get a gallon of ice cream. He comes back all exasperated.

Boyfriend: “The girl at the counter won’t sell me a gallon of ice cream!”

I get out of the car, go up to the window, and ask for a gallon of ice cream.

Employee: “We can’t sell you a gallon of that flavor.”

Me: “Are you out of that flavor?

Employee: “No. We just don’t sell it in a gallon.”

Me: “It doesn’t matter what size the container is in; I just want to purchase a gallon of it.”

Employee: “We can’t sell you a gallon.”

Me: “Okay, I will have two half-gallons.”

Employee: “We can’t sell you a half-gallon.”

Me: *Getting frustrated* “What size container do you sell this flavor in?”

Employee: “We have it in a quart, pint, cup, or cone.”

Me: “Great! I would like four quarts, please.”

The employee hand-packs four quarts and puts them on the counter with snark and ignorance.

Employee: “You can’t just buy a gallon of any flavor, and we only have half-gallons of vanilla and chocolate.”

Me: *Blank stare* “Four quarts is a gallon.”

Employee: *Looking confused* “Really?”

Me: “Yeah. Two pints is a quart; four quarts is a gallon.”

The employee took my money and then went to talk to another server. I don’t even want to know how that conversation went.