Hiring A Bunch Of Whistleblowers

, , , , | Right Working | February 7, 2019

(I’m one of the two managers on duty at a pet store, and I have just stepped out of the office near the registers. The other manager is nearby and talking with one of our groomers, but I glance up when I see a male customer leave the building and suddenly come stomping back in.)

Customer: *yelling at my male cashier* “Did you just whistle at me?”

Cashier: “No?”

(The customer barges into my cashier’s space at the register, getting inches from his face, yelling about his attitude, and I rush in to intervene. Though I’m female and far smaller than my cashier, I try to step in between them.)

Me: “Is there a problem?”

Customer: *ignores me and keeps yelling at my cashier* “Where’s your manager?”

Me: “I’m a manager. What’s the problem?”

Customer: *finally directs his anger at me* “Do you let all your employees behave like that?”

Me: “Behave like what? What happened?”

(The customer seems to realize that he actually doesn’t have an answer to my question, and he storms back out of the store. At first, I’m glad to see him leave, but then my cashier decides to be really stupid.)

Cashier: *cheerfully and loudly* “Good-BYE!”

(I groan inwardly. Sure enough, the customer comes storming back in again.)

Customer: *at me* “Do you seriously let your employees behave like this? Being all smarta**?”

(I just want the guy out of my store so I don’t have to explain to the police why he and my cashier got into a fistfight. By now, the other manager has reached the register and seems to silently agree with me.)

Me: “No, sir.”

Other Manager: “Not at all, sir.”

Cashier: *cheerfully* “What did I do?”

Customer: *making wild and threatening gestures at my cashier* “You! Stop talking! I’ve had it with your attitude!”

Cashier: *still smiling* “I didn’t do anything wrong!”

Me: “[Cashier], shut up.”

Other Manager: “We’ll deal with [Cashier], sir.”

(The customer continues to rant about our cashier’s attitude, the other manager and I keep attempting to placate him, and our cashier continues to butt into the conversation, which riles the customer up and starts the cycle all over. After a few rounds of back-and-forth, the other manager and I win out. The customer finally leaves.)

Me: *spinning to practically snarl at my cashier* “The guy was a huge jerk, but you were not helping!”

(Right on cue, the work phone rang. I was the unlucky one who answered, and sure enough, I had to endure another earful from the same customer about “that kid with the attitude.” The cashier ended up quitting for unrelated reasons a few weeks later to sell home security systems. We heard he nearly got in another fist fight on one of his first days. Also, that “whistle” the customer heard? We puzzled out later that it wasn’t the cashier; it was the other manager’s ringtone.)

A Little Nugget Of Information

, , , , , , | Working | February 5, 2019

(Overheard between two employees at a popular fast food place:)

Employee: “[Coworker], can you stop eating the chicken nuggets long enough for me to fill this order?”

Online Bug = Immediate Bigotry

, , , | Working | February 5, 2019

(A crowdfunding website which allows you to organize communal funds has a bug. Anyone can change the description of all the communal funds on the website. Obviously, some Internet users take the opportunity to replace communal funds descriptions with sexist, racist, homophobic, and/or transphobic descriptions. Since no one answers on their Twitter, I call customer service.)

Me: “Hello. I wanted to know if you were aware that your site has a bug.”

Customer Service: “No, what bug?”

Me: “Anyone can change the description of all the communal funds.”

Customer Service: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Yes.”

Customer Service: “You are sure you do not have permission to modify the description of this communal fund?”

Me: “You need an account with a password to modify normally, right?”

Customer Service: “Yes.”

Me: “So, yes, I’m sure I don’t have the nickname and the password of all the members of this website…”

Zip Up And Take My Money!

, , , , , , | Working | February 2, 2019

(My jacket’s zipper has started misbehaving; most days it refuses to zip up, and even when it does, it “splits” at the bottom. I’ve taken it to a sewing place at the mall.)

Employee: *takes the jacket, zips it up with some effort, hands it back to me* “It’s fine. It doesn’t need to be fixed.”

Me: “It’s not fine. I’m having more and more trouble with it. I’d like a replacement zipper, please.” *hands jacket to her*

Employee: “That would cost [amount].” *hands jacket back*

Me: “That’s okay.” *hands jacket to her*

Employee: “It’ll take a week.” *tries to hand jacket back*

Me: “I don’t care! I’ll pay what it costs, and I’ll wait as long as it takes! Just please fix it!”

Employee: “FINE.” *writes up the order in silence and takes my payment while glaring at me*

(I’ve never had so much trouble convincing someone to take my money before.)

Taking Inventory: I’m Afraid I Can’t Let You Do That, Dave

, , , , , , | Legal | February 1, 2019

This story happened to a friend of mine. Let’s call him Dave. We like to think of it as the moment he went from small-time to big-shot.

Dave is a new systems administrator for this company but has been working in IT for close to 15 years at this point. The last admin retired with little warning, so Dave was hired with the understanding that he would be getting no training and would have to figure out the system more or less by himself. One of the earliest projects Dave is given is creating a proposal for the annual IT budget. He takes an inventory, crunches some numbers, and submits a budget of $495,000.

A few hours later, one of the VPs drops by and asks him to recalculate his budget. Dave gets an anxious vibe from the guy, so he doesn’t ask too many questions and goes back to the drawing board. Figuring there must be some financial issues he is unaware of, he tries to find places where he can save some money and skimp on costs, finally resubmitting a proposal for $460,000.

The next day, Dave is called into a meeting with the CEO, the head of accounting, and two senior VPs. They’re concerned about his budget and ask him to review it with them and explain the numbers. My friend obliges. He points out the cost of equipment currently in production, expansion based on the company’s estimates for growth, and the standard wear-and-tear replacement cycle for the servers, plus padding of ~15% for unforeseen costs. They ask why he was using that inventory list and not the one they provided, and he responds that he never received an inventory list and had to make this one from scratch. Apparently, someone had forgotten to give it to him.

The execs talk among themselves for a bit, then decide they want to double-check the inventory. Dave had previously called the server centers and satellite locations to get inventory counts, but now they decide to check each location personally. Over the course of two days, Dave ferries one of the VPs from location to location, checking every item on the list. He actually finds that several items have been depreciated due to age and failure, so his list is even shorter than he thought. After all this checking and making sure nothing needs replacing and a final bit of calculation, he submits a final budget closer to $380,000.

By now, the execs are mad. They tersely thank Dave, and he doesn’t hear from them all weekend. By this point, he is extremely nervous that he has done something wrong and he is going to lose his job, and picking up a job like this isn’t exactly easy. When he gets in on Monday, he’s called into the CEO’s office yet again.

It turns out the previous administrator had been putting in budgets in excess of $700,000 for the past four years, with the last before his retirement just scraping over $1,000,000. They show Dave the inventory sheets and math the old admin had submitted and they showed an artificially bloated system that didn’t exist — literally hundreds of servers that the company simply didn’t own. Turns out the guy was making the purchases, showing the receipts to accounting, then selling them to friends and family for a fraction of the price and pocketing the profit, which is how he was able to retire at 40, and why he insisted his inventory sheet be given to his replacement. He had effectively embezzled nearly two million dollars that they could prove, and an unknown amount that they could not.

Regardless, they got the court to freeze the guy’s funds, got a warrant for his arrest, and put him in prison where he belongs. They weren’t able to recover most of their money since he didn’t keep records of who he sold to, but the reduced IT budget at least helped them absorb the blow.

And that’s how one misplaced inventory sheet made Dave into a big-shot at his company.

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