Calling Out And Taking Out The Trash

, , , | Working | August 4, 2020

I live at the top of a hill with houses on either side. It’s not very steep and rounds out across my large yard, but it is a noticeable incline.

One day, after the trash is collected, I notice that the can has been moved from one side of my property to the far side of my neighbor’s yard. Our trash cans are labeled with the house number, so I don’t think someone thought it belonged to them. I push my can back to where it was before, but the same thing happens the next week, this time going to the far side of my other neighbor’s yard. I move it back again, wondering if somebody is playing some bizarre prank on me.

The third week, I am home when trash is collected. I see a young man with a distinctive tattoo on his arm and another on his neck hop out of the truck idling in front of my neighbor’s house, pull my can to the truck, empty both cans, and get back in. The truck then drives by my house and stops at my other neighbor’s house to collect. I try to flag him down, but he either doesn’t see me or he doesn’t care.

I decide to call the sanitation department to see what is going on.

Receptionist: “Sanitation.”

There is silence… and then I realize that was the entire greeting.

Me: “Oh! Hi, um, someone keeps moving my trash can off of my property and—”

Receptionist: *Sigh* “You have to put your trash can beside your mailbox before collection. Otherwise, they won’t pick it up.”

Me: “Yes, I know. That’s what I’ve been doing, but one of the guys collecting is putting it in my neighbor’s yards.”

Receptionist: “Who is it?”

Me: “I didn’t see a name tag.”

I describe the man.

Receptionist: “Doesn’t sound familiar. Is it beside your mailbox?”

Me: “It is now.”

Receptionist: “Then they’ll pick it up.”

Me: “I’m asking why my can was moved off of my property.”

Receptionist: *Another sigh* “I don’t know.”

Me: “Then who does? Because it’s kind of annoying to have to haul it back to where it’s supposed to be.”

Receptionist: “I don’t know. Ask the team next time. Have a nice day.” *Hangs up*

So, I wait until the next trash collection day. When the truck comes down the road, I step outside to watch. The same man jumps down from the truck and begins dumping cans. When he gets to my neighbor’s house, I walk out and stand beside my trash can. He starts walking toward me, looks up, and pauses before turning around to get back in the truck. I wait for him to pull up to my house before saying anything. He gets out, looks me over, and pulls the can toward the truck.

Me: “Hi. Could you—”

He spits in my direction.

Man: “Yeah?”

Me: “Could you tell me why my trash can keeps ending up in my neighbor’s yards?”

Man: “It’s not.”

He puts the can back where it was.

Man: “See?”

I give a short, annoyed laugh.

Me: “I saw you move it over there last week.”

Man: “And?”

Me: “Please don’t do it anymore.”

Man: *Sarcastic tone* “Okay, then.”

Me: *Overly cheerful* “Great! Thank you!”

The next week, my can was left where it was supposed to be. I could understand if I lived at the end of a road or if there was some rule about it, but I don’t and there isn’t. I still have no idea why it kept getting moved but I’m glad it stopped.

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This Is Enough To Make Anyone A Germaphobe

, , , , , , , | Working | August 4, 2020

During the recent health crisis, the bakery I work at has actually gotten a lot more orders and we end up hiring two new guys. One of them is turning into a problem case, seemingly having no common sense about working with food.

I’m working with him one day, showing him how to bag/pack some of the more delicate pies and pastries we make. I leave to take a phone order for a few minutes. I come back and notice he’s licking his fingers every time before grabbing a fresh bag.

Me: “Hey, go wash your hands and stop licking your fingers.”

New Hire: “Well, I can’t open the bags right.”

Me: “Then prep them before you start. Don’t lick your fingers while you’re bagging again; it’s not sanitary.”

I toss the few bags he did while I took the order and go back to my work. Ten minutes later, I go back around to check on him and now he’s blowing hard into every bag to get it open before starting.

Me: “Are you kidding me? Don’t blow into the f****** bags!”

New Hire: *Looking genuinely confused* “Why? I’m not licking the bag.”

I tossed out another dozen bags and called over my boss. Even after a solid five- or ten-minute conversation trying to explain contamination and basic hygienic practices, nothing seemed to stick. My boss decided, in the end, to stick him on delivery duty for the next few weeks while we needed the help.

The strangest thing is that he wasn’t some conspiracy theorist who didn’t believe the outbreak was real; he just genuinely didn’t seem to get that blowing into a bag you’re going to pack with food or licking your fingers every minute while handling food was a bad idea.

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I Shouldn’t Have To Teller You

, , , , , | Right | August 4, 2020

I work for a local credit union, and we generally have friendly relationships with all of the other local credit unions, as we tend to see each other at training and chamber events.

I am working on a Saturday, answering phones, when a teller from another credit union calls to verify a cashier’s check. It is standard procedure that those are only verified Monday through Friday by our accounting department. 

Me: “Thank you for calling [Credit Union]; how may I help you?”

Teller: “Yes, I need to verify… I guess you would call this a bank check?”

Me: “A cashier’s check? Unfortunately, those are verified by our accounting department on Monday through Friday.”

Teller: “You’re kidding? Let me have your automated system.”

Me: “Our automated system does not verify cashier’s checks. That can only be done by our accounting department.”

Teller: “That is so stupid!

Me: *Slightly shocked* “Well, [Teller], you know that alerts have been going out recently from the local police department about stolen cashier’s checks from credit unions. This is all to prevent fraud.”

Teller: “MANAGER. NOW. How dare you accuse me of fraud?! You know what? I don’t have time for this. I’ll tell our member and yours that you refused to help me. I hope you get fired.” *Click*

I sent a companywide email out explaining what happened, and a few minutes later, I got a phone call from our CEO asking for more details. It turned out that our CEO is great friends and golf buddies with the CEO of the other credit union. They were on the golf course together when our CEO got the email. He mentioned the teller’s rudeness to the other CEO, who wanted to speak to his employee right away. She was a new hire, and her credit union has the exact same policy as ours. From what I hear, she got an earful about her rudeness.

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At Least We Can All Agree On What NOT To Say

, , , , , , | Working | August 3, 2020

Forty years ago, I worked for a small microfilm publishing company as a newspaper indexer. While the company filmed the paper, the indexers read the articles, choosing subject headings for the article and writing a short sentence describing the content.

I had recently been promoted to assistant editorial which basically meant that, yes, I got a raise, but it also meant I did a lot of leg work when the big bosses decided it was time to fix things that weren’t actually broken.

The bosses, upon looking at the index, felt that African-Americans reading the index would be offended if the words “race” and “racism” were in an alphabetical list with the words “race track” because it was disrespectful to black people. From then on, anything about racing, the sport, was under the name of the item being raced — cars, horses, greyhounds, jumping frogs, etc. We could not even put in a “see” reference from racing to the new terms because that would be so hurtful.

The discussion of race then put them in mind that using the phrase “African-American” didn’t sound right, either. It was going to sound offensive and they didn’t like it.

So, it became my job, the vice president decided, to call every black cultural group on every college campus in the county until I got some kind of consensus. 

In what was one of the strangest little projects, I called the three closest and largest colleges. The first two “African-American Cultural Centers” were, oddly, run by white people. They told me this up front. Number One said she had no clue as she wasn’t African-American and had no one to ask, but she felt sure that the term “Afro-American” was preferred over “Black” or “African-American” because it sounded “hip.”

Guy Two was some kind of didactic intellectual who went off on a long diatribe about how “Afro-American” and “African-American” were somehow insulting — he did not explain why — and it was much better to refer to them as “Black” which was descriptive and therefore preferable.  

Then, I hit Number Three. The gentleman who answered had a deep James Earl Jones voice and what seemed a sour and disinterested manner. I explained my dilemma and I finished with, “And so, I am embarrassed to ask this, but my boss insists I ask exactly this: do African Americans prefer to be called ‘African-American,’ ‘Afro-American,’ or ‘Black’?”

There was a long pause and then he said, “I prefer ‘Steve,’ actually,” before he burst out laughing. He went on to say, “Your bosses aren’t very bright. We are people of African background who were born and raised in the U.S. We are African-Americans. What the heck else would they call us?”

We talked for a bit and he assured me that as a professor of Black History, he was pretty sure he knew his terms.  

I went back to my boss with my findings and she took it to the big bosses.

And, despite what Steve said, they went with “Afro-American” because they agreed with the idea that it sounded hip, happening, and now.

Consequently, an entire year’s work had to be redone because a bunch of people who were so not equipped for their big important jobs needed to meddle in the work of their employees who knew what they were doing and how to do it.

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A Number On The Board Is Worth Two Burgers In The Bag

, , , | Working | August 3, 2020

I’ve had a fairly stressful day and am at a popular fast-food chain to treat myself. I’ve ordered and paid for my meal at a self-service machine. I got a receipt with a number — let’s say it’s 72 — which is supposed to be called out and shown on a board when my meal comes up.

I wear headphones but sit down in a seat with a clear view of the board and don’t let it out of sight for more than a few seconds at a time. The ones currently on the board are 36, 37, and 124. Order 73 comes up after a while, but not 72. It’s packed and I don’t want to be THAT customer, but after waiting for twenty minutes and watching several people who came in after me collect their orders, I go up to the counter.

Me: “Excuse me. I ordered some time ago, but my number still hasn’t come up. It was order number 72. Did I miss it?”

Waiter: “Oh! Yes, that was up quite a while ago!”

Me: “Oh, really? I’m sorry, the number didn’t show up on the board.”

Waiter: “Huh, that’s strange. I believe it was on the board.”

Me: “No, I’m sure it wasn’t. Order 73 was up for quite a while, but not 72.”

Waiter: “Really? Well, anyway, let me get your order.”

He walks to a table with several bagged orders piled up, picks up a bag, looks at the receipt, and trashes it. He then picks up something else, stuffs it into the bag, and comes back to hand it to me.

Waiter: “Here you go. Enjoy your meal!”

I look into the bag and find not only my order, but also two extra cheeseburgers.

Me: “Excuse me, there are two cheeseburgers I didn’t order.”

Waiter: “Yes, those are for you to make up for the wait.”

Getting free extra items as compensation isn’t very common in Germany, so I’m pleasantly surprised.

Me: “Really? Thank you so much!”

Waiter: “You’re welcome. Have a wonderful day!”

I went to sit down to eat — free cheeseburgers, yay! Only then did I realize that since he’d trashed the receipt, I had no idea if they’d accidentally displayed it as 73, or not at all, or if I’d somehow missed it. I keep wondering, was this a Not Always Working or Not Always Right?

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