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Not Even Doing The Least You Could Do

, , , , , , , | Working | June 20, 2022

Twenty-odd years ago, I was in line at a major fast food chain located in a large mall. Suddenly, the woman in front of me in line fell to the floor, unconscious. At the time, I was in university preparing to apply to medical school, and I had taken some first aid classes. I checked on the woman, who had quickly regained consciousness, but she was confused and trembling after the fall. I asked the employees to hand me a cup of water and to call mall security about the medical issue.

After using my first aid training to determine that the woman didn’t seem to be in immediate danger, I turned around to ask the counter employee for the cup of water.

Employee: “That will be $1.08 for the water.”

Me: “What? There’s a person having a medical issue here. Please just give it to me.”

Employee: “We can’t. You need to pay for the water before we give it to you.”

It should be noted that the law in New York State at the time said that restaurants must give tap water to diners for free upon request.

Me: “I’ll pay in a sec. Please just give me the water.”

Employee: “No, and you need to get her out of the way; she’s blocking the register.”

I looked around, and every employee in the store was scrupulously looking away, and every customer in the area was staring at them. Luckily, at that moment, a security guard I knew from the mall passed by and came to help. 

Me: “Thank God you finally came. I told them to call for security over ten minutes ago.”

Guard: “No one called for security. I was just on my normal rounds.”

Thankfully, he was able to radio for help, and a first aid team was there inside of two minutes to help the woman. She ended up fine; she had just passed out.

As soon as she was in good hands, I turned to the counter. The employee who had refused me water was standing there with a bored look on her face. The manager was behind her tapping his foot and looking annoyed. I had worked retail, and I knew to treat workers as people worthy of respect, but I admit to losing my cool and yelling a bit. 

Me: “What the h***? Not only did you not supply water — as required by law and common decency — but you didn’t even call for security? And then you’re mad at me because I wouldn’t singlehandedly move someone who may have been sick or hurt?”

Manager: “It’s not our problem. If you wanted water, you should have paid for it. If you wanted security, you should have called them.”

Me: “Well, now it is your problem.”

I snatched a sign off the wall with the phone number for the franchise ownership and walked out, with the manager yelling at me as I left. As soon as I could, I contacted the owner, the corporate complaint number, and mall management. I asked them if it was store or franchise policy to allow people to die at the counter and to defy state law. 

By the weekend, when I came to the mall for my retail shift, the manager was gone and much of the staff was replaced. I later heard that that had been the last straw in a number of complaints against the manager, including at least one where they refused to call security when a customer was being assaulted. I don’t think anyone who worked or shopped at that mall shed a tear for them losing their jobs.

If I Had A Nickel For Every Time This Happened…

, , , , , , | Working | June 20, 2022

The way my company organizes itself is that we’re split into three- to five-person teams that each handle a certain specialty. I’m a woman and the team lead for four men.

When I first started with the company, the teams were named “Team 1,” “Team 2,” “Team 3,” etc. Because the names are not memorable, the team leads, and eventually, upper management started referring to each team by specialty instead. Unfortunately, those specialties tended to change throughout the year. Documents from last year might refer to my team as “Longtail” and from this year might refer to them as “Webex”.

It was decided to let the teams give ourselves official names. We chose “Nickel” as a dorky reference, and we were instructed to submit a team photo. As a team full of people in our late thirties and early forties, we decided to make our most gangsta poses possible in an effort to seem young and hip, though gangsta hasn’t been in style since we were in college.

We submitted the name and photo to management.

The next day, I was called into Human Resources.

I thought initially that the poses were too much, but HR reassured me that there was nothing wrong with the poses.

HR: “You should see what the other teams submitted. No, the problem is this. Here. Look at their pants. Did they do that deliberately?”

I looked at their pants — really looked — for the first time, and they all appeared to be sporting improbably large boners.

HR: “They trust you. Please find out for us.”

The way I found out was just by brazenly asking. It turns out it was deliberate; they had all chosen to wear, essentially, codpieces at the urging of their instigator and ringleader. I asked him why, and he said:

Employee: “To demoralize the other teams and crush their spirits.”

Long story short, my team is being disbanded and three of the men are being let go. The ringleader is having some portion of his compensation clawed back.

I’m no longer a team lead, though I got to keep the pay bump. The ringleader and I are being put on separate teams.

Why does it feel like I’m the one being punished?

Buses Are The Worst

, , , , , | Working | June 18, 2022

I live in a very rural area of Wales. At the time of this story, I was sixteen and had just started college, which was a good hour and a half away. Thankfully, there was a special bus program that went through my village that consisted of two separate connecting bus routes.

I was on the second bus back one evening and my friend had gotten off, so it was me and a couple of random people. I had my headphones in and was zoning out when I suddenly realised it was taking longer than normal to reach my stop. I am very socially awkward, so I waited for a while, but eventually, I made my way up to the front.

Me: “When will we reach [My Village]?”

Driver: “This bus doesn’t go through [My Village].”

Me: *Shocked* “What bus number is this?”

He told me. It was the right bus route, but the driver insisted that this bus NEVER went through my village. We were already past the turning for the village, so I went to my seat and checked my phone. However, it was an old piece of garbage, and I’m a little forgetful, so it had gone dead. 

In the end, I got off at the next stop — a small town a ten-minute drive from my home. I planned to find a phone box, but the only one around was out of order, so I walked into a pub and asked to borrow their phone. The people were very nice and let me stay there until my parents arrived since it was pretty dark out. 

My parents were furious at the driver, and my mum called up the next day to complain. Turns out the bus only goes this route at certain times for the school run. The driver must have not worked that shift in a while and didn’t bother checking the route. I don’t know what happened to them, but hopefully, they will be more careful in the future.

Well, It’s Either That Or The Green Beer

, , , , , | Working | June 17, 2022

At my old store, employees received nine paid holidays throughout the year. Eight were determined by the corporate honchos (they included things like Christmas), but the ninth was a floating holiday that you could use on whatever day you wanted. Most people selected their birthday or a similar personal event. This included me, but…

Me: “I’d like to take my floating holiday every year on Saint Patrick’s Day. It’s my wedding anniversary.”

Manager: “That’s fine, but you know I’d give you off for your anniversary if you requested it, right?”

Me: “Oh, I know. But I like telling people that I get Saint Patrick’s Day as a paid holiday. It confuses them.”

Check Yourself Before You Check… Yourself…

, , , , , , | Working | June 17, 2022

I work in the tax department for a municipality. One of my tasks in my job is answering the phones. Often, when nearing the end of a phone call, the caller will ask for my name for their call reference notes.

Me: “The amount due as of Monday is [total].”

Caller: “Thank you. And who do I make the check out to?”

Me: “[My Name].”

Caller: *Pauses* “What?”

Me: “Oh! Not [My Name]! [Town]!”

Caller: “Okay, that sounds better.”

Me: “Definitely not [My Name]! I’m sorry, sometimes people ask for my name at the end of the call. The check can be made out to [Town], not [My Name]!”

Caller: *Laughing* “Okay. Well, thank you, [MY NAME]!”

Me: “Thank you! And have a great day!”

Caller: “You, too, [MY NAME]!”

In the nearly ten years of doing this job, I think that’s the first time I told someone to make their check out to me.