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Unfortunately, Comments Like That Tend To Stick With You

, , , , , , , , , | Working | March 22, 2023

I was around fourteen years old at the time of this story. Our high school arranged a special trip every four years for the band and choir kids (and some parents to chaperone) to go to Florida to perform at Disney World. The performances were just a tiny part of the trip; the rest of the week was basically just one big vacation for all of us. We caravanned in charter buses from Ohio down to Florida with our bandmates and choirmates and got to stay at a nice hotel and do lots of fun Florida activities.

I was always a loner in school. I was the smart, chubby, quiet girl with basically only one friend; my friend was a guy in my instrument section in band, and he was supposed to be my seatmate for the bus ride down. He bailed on me that morning when we all showed up at the school to load up because he had a crush on a pretty blond girl and wanted to sit with her for the bus ride.

I was a little upset, but as luck would have it, while we were waiting to load the buses, I somehow made fast friends with another loner kid who I’d somehow never really talked to before. (I still don’t really remember how that happened, but I’m grateful it did.) We spent the entire trip in each other’s company, palling around off the beaten path.

One day during the trip, it was arranged for us to spend the day at a big beach that was next to a nice hotel. All the students and adults were happily soaking up the sun, sand, and ocean fun while my buddy and I decided to avoid it. Both of us were pale and didn’t do so well in direct heat and sun, and I wasn’t comfortable in a swimsuit, so he and I found the hotel arcade and spent our “beach time” happily playing video games.

I got thirsty at some point and wandered over to the outdoor pool area to the juice bar to get a drink and maybe a snack. The server gal behind the bar was maybe in her early twenties, slim, blond, pretty, tan — all the things that I wasn’t. This was fine, of course… for me, at least.

Me: “Hi. Can I please get a bottle of water?”

Server: *Ignoring my request* “Why aren’t you in a swimsuit?”

I looked down at my dumpy T-shirt and jeans and then back at her. 

Me: “Oh, I’m not swimming today. My friend and I are spending our time in the arcade.”

Server: *Scoffs* “Well, you don’t have to swim to wear a swimsuit, you know.”

Me: *Starting to get uncomfortable* “I know. But I’m fine, thanks. Can I please have a bottle of water?”

Server: “You know, you could at least lay out and tan or something if you don’t want to swim.”

Me: *Feeling more and more insecure by the minute* “I’m just not comfortable with how I look in a swimsuit, I guess.”

She finally handed me my water and looked me up and down.

Server: *In a condescending sing-song voice* “Tan fat is better than white fat!”

I turned red, took my water, and scuttled out of there and back to my friend in the arcade. I told him what happened, and he was pretty upset on my behalf. He reassured me not to listen to people who say things like that.

He and I stayed friends for a long while after that — which was awesome; he was a great friend — and twenty-five years later, I still remember that conversation with that server, verbatim. And though I’ve slimmed down since high school and grown into my looks, I’m still very pale, averse to heat and sun, slightly intimidated by pretty blondes, and not comfortable in a swimsuit.

No Help To The Unhandy

, , , , , | Working | March 21, 2023

I am NOT handy around the house. I can do the bare minimum of replacing toilet seats, replacing doorknobs, hanging pictures, etc. But I loathe doing such things. Plumbing I really hate as it makes me nervous when things leak water. (Several incidents involving plumbing accidents in the house contributed to the trauma.)

We had a spray nozzle on our sink that began to leak badly. My son bought us a new nozzle, but I had to put it together and install it. So, I took a deep breath and began assembling it. When I finished and hooked it up, it sprayed, but it leaked. No matter what I did, I could not find the source of the leak. I assumed I’d put it together wrong.

A friend suggested I go to a local plumbing supply store and ask one of the guys there if they had any suggestions; maybe I was missing a washer or something. I’m not very comfortable in such places, and despite being a middle-aged man, I don’t think I give off a “Mr. Fix-it” vibe.

I went into the store with the nozzle in hand, approached one of the employees, and briefly explained the context. He was incredibly condescending.

Me: “I have this spray nozzle that I’ve put together, but it still leaks. Could you suggest anything I might use to deal with the leak?”

The employee barely glanced at the nozzle.

Employee: “The only thing you can do is contact the original manufacturer of your sink. This nozzle won’t work.”

Me: “The sink is over thirteen years old. I don’t even remember who we got the sink from. Can’t I just adjust this nozzle?”

Again, he didn’t really look at the nozzle.

Employee: “No, these things are customized to the sinks. You need to contact the manufacturer.”

Me: *Getting a little frustrated* “You mean there’s nothing I can do except contact the manufacturer? I mean, in this whole store, there’s nothing that can help with this.”

Employee: “That’s the way it is.”

I was not happy. I didn’t expect him to play plumber, but he could have at least looked at the nozzle. It was obvious to me that he’d sized me up as a know-nothing (not really inaccurate) and didn’t want to be bothered with my penny-ante problem.

I left and called a plumber. He came the next day and I gave him the nozzle. Fifteen minutes later, he had it working and not leaking.

Me: “That was fast. What was wrong with it?”

Plumber: “Nothing really. Everything was put together fine; I just needed to tighten everything up.”

The nozzle has worked fine ever since. I still loathe plumbing.

What Do You Gain From Behaving This Way?

, , , , , | Working | March 21, 2023

I’m a delivery driver. The restaurant I’m picking up from allows us to go through the drive-thru, so I do.

Me: “Hi. I’m picking up an order for [Delivery Service].”

Employee: “Okay. Go wait in the parking lot and it’ll be brought out.”

So I do. And I wait and wait.

Finally, after fifteen minutes, I’m about to leave when the guy comes out.

Employee: “What are you doing?”

Me: “I’m waiting for food.”

Employee: *Snickering* “You’re supposed to go through the drive-thru.”

Me: “I did, and you told me to wait here.”

Grinning, the guy shook his head and went back inside. I drove around and peeled out of there. I canceled the delivery, and I could see the guy waving me down.

If they can grin and laugh about being so dumb, they can deliver their own food. I reported them and decided to never pick from fast food restaurants again. So far, it’s been great.

A Most Receptive Receptionist, Part 2

, , , , , , | Working | March 21, 2023

I work for a company with mentally challenged clients. They can do very basic things and hold simple jobs but will be forever dependent on government support financially. While not all clients achieve it, our goal is that they get their own apartments.

One of my clients shows great progress in responsibility and self-care and will move on from his housing group to his own place. Don’t worry; we don’t throw them out. We rent the place — fully furnished — and we check up on them regularly. Usually, I pick up the keys on my own, but this time, my client goes with me to the renting office.

Me: “Hello, I’m here to pick up the keys for [address].”

The receptionist is one I’ve never seen before.

Receptionist: “Oh, hello. I have them ready for you!”

She gets the keys and then asks, hesitating:

Receptionist: “Is your name [Company]?”

Me: “Haha, no, that’s the company I work for. Here is my work ID. We just rent the place, but my client here is going to live in it.”

Receptionist: “Oh, will he? Well then, I must discuss this with Mister personally.” *Turns to my client* “Sir, congratulations on your new home! You must be very excited. Let me check the keys for you before I hand them over.”

She checks the keys with the keys listed and then starts explaining things and giving instructions. She doesn’t dumb things down, but she’s explaining them in a way my client can easily understand. 

Receptionist: “Let’s make it official, then. Please sign here to accept the keys.” *Points to an empty piece of the paper* “And now I also need a signature from [Company].” *Points to the “sign here” piece* “Well, sir, congratulations again! And if there is anything wrong, don’t hesitate to contact us or [Company]. And here is a little gift from [Renting Office]. Do you have any more questions?”

My client shakes his head and we say goodbye. When we are outside: 

Me: “Well? What did you get?”

Client: *Visibly happy* “A tea towel! I have my own tea towel! I never had my own tea towel before! And she called me ‘sir’!”

Me: “Yes, she was nice, wasn’t she? Well, now you can invite me for a drink!”

Client: “And I’ll use my new tea towel!”

The next time I see the receptionist, I’ve got to thank her for making my client feel so special.

A Most Receptive Receptionist
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 20
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 19
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 18
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 17

Dear God, We Hope They Get Overtime Pay

, , , , , | Working | March 20, 2023

I work at a popular and busy fast food restaurant. At this point in my work week, I’m overworked and exhausted. I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in weeks and my autopilot is kicking in. I’ve been in the drive-thru for basically all my shifts, so being a robot is easy.

This shift, I’m ringing in orders on the counter during the lunch rush.

Me: “Is there anything else I can get you today, sir?”

Customer: “No, that will be all.”

Me: “All right, your total will be [price]. Please pull forward to the first window.”

Customer: “Long shift?”

Me: “Yeah. I’ve been here since 10:00 last night.”

Customer: “When are you supposed to get off?”

Me: “Four hours ago, so your guess is as good as mine.”

I started having my parents pick me up from work after that so I could get off on time and actually get sleep.