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Unnecessarily Gendering Things Will Make You Purple With Rage

, , , | Working | September 15, 2021

This takes place in 2018. I am a man and I love the colour purple. Purple clothes for men are quite rare, so I am pleased to find a pair of bright purple sneakers in my size. I look for an employee.

Me: “Excuse me, could I try these on, please?

Employee #1: “Oh, I’m sorry, they must have been misplaced. These are women’s shoes.”

Me: “Oh, that’s okay. I really like them.”

Employee #1: “But… they are women’s shoes!”

I am allowed to try them on and I decide to take them. I figure the employee is just a one-time fool and I go on with my day.

A month or two later, I head out to get a new pair of glasses. I find a lovely purple frame. I look for an employee.

Me: “I really like this frame.”

Employee #2: “It is a superb frame. Let’s get you one in a more suitable colour.”

Me: “No, no, I like the purple one.”

I see the employee freeze and stare at me. I sigh in silence.

Employee #2: “But… this colour is from the women’s collection.”

Me: “I don’t mind. I really like purple.”

The employee helped me get my glasses but checked twice more if I didn’t want to try one of the other colours.

I can’t wait for the day that purple becomes a fashion colour for men. I could have turned away from these employees, but then I wouldn’t have my purple sneakers and glasses.

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You Catch More Flies With Truthful Honey

, , , , | Working | September 15, 2021

Yesterday, I got a postcard from a “beam” Internet company that deals with rural areas. I have DSL, and while slow, it’s dependable and cheap (for around here) and streams movies and allows most/all Internet stuff.

But this postcard was offering FIFTEEN TIMES the speed for the same price! It looked AWESOME! I decided that I’d give them a shot and pay them for a few months without cutting the DSL to make sure that they were above-board and stable.

I filled out paperwork online. They wanted my name, address, phone number, etc. One question was, “How do you want to be contacted? Email or phone?” I chose email because I hate dealing with voice and I like that email leaves a paper trail. 

Thirty seconds after I hit “submit”, my phone rang. The caller ID said it was the beam Internet company. 

I was torqued. 

Representative: “Did you just submit an inquiry about our service?”

Me: “Yes, I inquired and I specifically stated to contact me by email.”

Representative: “For the initial setup, it has to be voice.”

Me: “I’m no longer interested. If you are going to lie when trying to get customers, what happens next?”

She was surprised and seemed shocked that I wouldn’t talk to her after being deceived. Don’t tell me that we will set this all up online and then call. They haven’t tried calling back, though. 

I’ll stick with my slow-but-very-steady $64/month DSL.

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, , , | Working | September 14, 2021

I go through the drive-thru of a popular burger chain just after the dinner rush. I’ve had minor issues with popular items being unavailable here before, but nothing too bad… until now. I pull up to the speaker.

Employee: “Hi there! We unfortunately cannot sell you any food as we ran out of everything.”

Me: “Everything?!”

Employee: *Sighs* “Yes, aside from burger toppings, we are sold out of everything.”

Me: “Wouldn’t it be easier for y’all to close?”

Employee: “It sure would be.”

I ended up going to their competitor across the street. The next day, a friend mentioned going by and the same place being out of food but still being open. Apparently, their shipments never came in.

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Fishing For A Reason To Fire Him

, , , , , | Working | September 14, 2021

I think I’m a good boss. I look after my team, I’m fair with them if they are fair to me, and we all get on really well… all apart from [Employee #1]. [Employee #1] hates anyone with a “manager” title; it’s the same with the whole management team. In his words, we are “all out to get him.”

Employee #2: “Oh, [Employee #1] texted me and said he’s sick.”

Me: “He needs to call in to Human Resources.”

Employee #2: “But I’ve told you already.”

Me: “I know, but they deal with his pay and make sure he gets his sick pay. They also are the ones that mark him as absent. You need to call them ASAP if you don’t want to be marked as late or AWOL.”

Employee #2: “Oh, yeah, that makes sense. I will tell him.”

The day goes on. With a man down, everyone has to pitch in. I end up doing some of [Employee #1]’s work to get us through. I get a call from HR telling me [Employee #1] hasn’t clocked and hasn’t called. Instead of just having a sick day, he now has to have a disciplinary as it’s not the first time.

I give him a call to see if I can get him to call HR and save himself. No answer from the house phone and no answer from the mobile phone. Out of interest, I check his Facebook, and a picture of him fishing — this morning — was added thirty minutes ago.

I have to pull him into a serious disciplinary meeting, where he admits faking being ill, calls us all Nazis, and storms out.

We fire him that month.

Employee #1: “You’ve always been out to get me!”

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No Nonsense, No Cut Corners, No Worries

, , , , , , , | Working | September 11, 2021

To put myself through college, I worked fraud protection for a retail store’s credit card. We would call out to people with suspicious charges or take calls from people we had blocked and basically try to confirm that the person on the other end was who they said they were and that their purchases were legitimate.

The job jumped between hectic times of non-stop calls and complaints, during peak hours, and extremely boring times later in the day leaving messages on answering machines. To try to alleviate the boredom a little, I made a game out of figuring out how to be as fast as possible, and I came up with lots of tricks to try to make myself a little faster.

At one point, our manager was dragged away on short notice to work on a new team, leaving us without a manager. We went a good five to seven months without a proper manager. The employee with the most experience on the floor acted as a quasi-manager when customers inevitably demanded to speak to one.

Eventually, we got a somewhat strict woman who had just retired from the military. Others complained about her no-nonsense approach, but I’ve had enough military friends to recognize it as pretty standard officer behavior and didn’t take offense. That being said, I did get an odd feeling that she didn’t like me whenever I talked to her, more than just her usual no-nonsense behavior, but too ambiguous for me to place exactly what it was or if I was imagining it or not.

A few months after she started working, I noticed this new manager standing a bit behind me. I glanced back, but she didn’t ask me for anything, so I went on with my business at first. When she didn’t move, eventually, I asked her if she needed anything, but she insisted she was fine and I should just go back to work. I tried to do so, though I couldn’t get past the odd feeling of being watched with my manager hovering behind me for so long, even if she claimed everything was okay.

A week later, one of my fellow employees was escorted out of the building. Management wouldn’t say exactly why she was escorted out, only that she wasn’t coming back. About the same time, the strange hostility I had been sensing from my manager disappeared; in fact, now she seemed to really like me, though I still didn’t know why.

That is, until our monthly team meeting came up. During that meeting, the new manager suggested that there were a number of steps she thought everyone should learn to help improve their speed at handling calls, and she suggested that I could potentially give tips to other employees. Eventually, she even had me do a brief twenty-minute visit with each of the slower team members to give suggestions for helping them to improve their rate at handling calls.

It was around then that I finally put together what had been happening. During the time we were unsupervised, two employees had noticeably higher metrics for their number of cases handled compared to everybody else: me and the woman who was escorted out of the building. I realized the manager likely suspected that both of us had taken advantage of the lack of managerial supervision to find a way to cheat the system to get our numbers high enough to earn rewards associated with high call volume.

In the case of the woman escorted out of the building, I’m quite sure she was “cheating.” She would publicly announce that she didn’t want to handle some of the more annoying — and thus slower to process — accounts and was going to skip them. In her defense, I don’t think she realized how much skipping them was artificially inflating her metrics or why that was such a bad thing. Surely she wouldn’t have been quite so blatant at admitting to everyone what she was doing if she had?

In my case, my high numbers were warranted. My tricks gave me a decent boost to the rate I could handle accounts in the later evenings. As an accidental side effect, my ability to make calls out so quickly resulted in my rarely getting the much slower to handle inbound calls during the evening, further inflating my metrics.  

I assume it was only after my new manager watched me working for a while that she saw what I was doing and generally decided that I had earned the numbers my metrics showed fairly. Thus, I got to stop being a suspect to her and instead became a manager’s pet that could help boost team productivity by sharing my “secrets” with the rest of the team.

I left only a few months after that to focus more on school work, and I got a much better paying job once I completed my degree, but after my many years’ — and managers’ — worth of work experience since then, I still occasionally find myself wishing that I could have that no-nonsense woman, who made sure that employees who met standards were rewarded and those that slacked off punished, as a manager again.

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