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Freakishly Linked To The Concept Of Time

, , , , | Working | December 20, 2022

I am the author of this story.

A quick update: the coworker from the previous story has left, and the one in this story is his direct replacement. Also, the six-day workweeks have ended for my production cell, for anyone curious.

It’s the end of the night, and I have to begin my cleaning procedures and starting paperwork. We’ve missed our goal count, which isn’t unusual, and with all the problems production had, there’s no physical way to make the goal at this point, so I just begin shutdown three full minutes early.

Me: “Count was 241 tonight.”

Coworker: “[Coworker #2] is still going, though.”

Me: “I don’t know why you said that like it matters or something. We’re done.”

Coworker: “Don’t you wanna clear off the line?”

Me: “For five? No. We’d still be more than twenty off count. We made 241. We’re done.”

Coworker: “You do know it isn’t even 10:00, right?”

Me: “It’s 9:57. That’s the same thing.”

Coworker: *Laughing* “What the h***? It’s not 10:00 for another three minutes!”

Me: “Listen to me: 9:45 is ‘almost 10:00’ and 9:50 is ‘10:00’. Time is a meaningless construct, and if I don’t keep time like that, it loses all meaning to me and I’ll be here until Monday without realizing how long it’s been.”

Freakishly Linked To Your Coworkers

A Tornado Of Stupidity

, , , , | Working | December 18, 2022

One evening at work, we have a massive thunderstorm come through, which is soon followed by a tornado warning and reports of a tornado on the ground just a few miles away. With the sirens going off and the intercom blaring the tornado warning alert, my partner and I, as well as the security guards on-site, make sure everyone is in the designated storm shelter location.

The problem is keeping people there.

Actual phrases that I hear while chasing people down to guide them back to the designated safe location:

Worker #1: *As golfball-sized hail is falling* “I just wanted to check on my car.”

Worker #2: “This is stupid. I have better things to do.”

Worker #3: “I was just going to have a smoke.”

Thankfully, the tornado missed us, but it was almost an hour of feeling like I was herding cats.

A Whole Pallet Of Unearned Praise

, , , , | Working | December 2, 2022

While a full-time student in college, I was a full-time employee at a beef packing company. I worked the second shift, one of over 400 employees per shift.

At the time of this story, I was running a rib and plate saw that was at the beginning of the conveyor. The meat was processed and then vacuum packed, put in labeled boxes, and palletized at the back of the plant. From there, pallets were either forklifted to coolers or loaded into reefers. Palletizing was always getting backlogged, with boxed beef stacked on rollers waiting to be put on the pallets.

We were paid for eight hours, but we saw boys usually finished in six. Because we were the first to finish, we were always sent back to help catch palletizing up. Because I wasn’t getting paid extra for the time spent back there and I had to get home and to bed for my 7:30 class, it was getting really irritating. I eventually came up with what I thought was a workable plan that would keep palletizing from getting behind and keep me from being sent back there.

Me: *To my foreman* “How about sending half of palletizing to supper thirty minutes ahead of the rest of the plant? Then, when we go to supper, they will have that amount of time to catch up since the chain is shut down and nothing is coming their way.”

Foreman: “I will take that to the plant superintendent.”

A couple of days later:

Foreman: “The super said that was like putting a bandaid on cancer; it won’t solve the problem.”

Me: “Well, it would at least help until someone finds a solution, but okay.”

The next week’s half of palletizing was sent to supper thirty minutes ahead of the plant. And I found out that my foreman got a bonus for HIS bright idea.

All I could think was, foreman, you are stuck here until you retire. After I graduate from college, I’m leaving. At least I didn’t have to go back there anymore.

That’s One Hot Potato

, , , , , | Working | November 25, 2022

The logistics department forgets to unplug a forklift during a stormy night. When we arrive in the workshop; there is a smell of gas and sulphur because of the hydrocarbons. Because of the smell and the risk of explosion or fire, we have to evacuate.

[Coworker 1] has just arrived (slightly late).

Coworker #1: “Oh, it smells like tartiflette.”

Tartiflette is a dish with potatoes, pork fat, and onions, among other ingredients.

Coworker #2: “Uh, it’s a gas smell. Don’t come in.”

Coworker #1: “But it really smells like tartiflette.”

Me: “It would be nice if someone would play a joke on us and prepare a surprise tartiflette party, but that’s not the case here.”

Coworker #1: “Not a surprise tartiflette party — more like if our supervisors wanted to make a tartiflette without us.”

Coworker #3: “[Executive Secretary] has just informed us that [Boss] has called the fire department to check the security of the place. They’re on their way. If it’s just to hide the fact that they’ve been eating tartiflette on the sly, the firefighters will appreciate it.”

Coworker #1: “But—”

Coworker #2: “I know you love tartiflette, but either you stay outside and if you’re right you miss a tartiflette and if you’re wrong you stay alive, or you go back in and you’re right and you get a tartiflette or you’re wrong and you risk dying.”

Fortunately, [Coworker #1] finally decided to stay out and stay alive. When we got back to the workplace, she found that there was no tartiflette. So, remember, your life is worth more than the possibility of having tartiflette.

Always Read Before Signing Or Karma Will Unload On You

, , , , , | Working | CREDIT: Aero-the-Observer | October 27, 2022

I was a trucker for a while, and that comes with plenty of stories of crazy things in so many places. One of my favorite stories, however, comes from a piece of malicious compliance that came together just perfectly.

I tend to be a bit on the lazy side when I can get away with it, and I searched for quite some time to find a company that would keep me far away from unloading the trailers myself. I found a good one that had a 95% drop and hook rate. (Drop off a trailer full of goods and then grab a new one that’s either loaded or to take to the next pickup.) 4.9% of them are either handled by the receiving dock or by lumpers — dockworkers hired by warehouse companies specifically to unload trucks.) That last .1% is a list of places that just want to watch you work or be convinced that you really shouldn’t operate their lifts.

In my contract, I saw that there was a place where your hourly rate for unloading was stated. That was not for the hours that you were sitting and waiting to be unloaded but for when you were the one unloading your own trailer. I also saw that the contract allowed for alterations to be made to the price of this service to be charged to the customer. As a joke, I put in not one but two extra zeroes. $1,500 an hour for unloading a trailer should deter most people. Most people saw that, got a good laugh, and then pulled in someone to unload for me.

Most people, like I said, were smart. This run was set to arrive at 03:00 to a certain clothing store in the mall. I’d been to this store a few times before and it was always the same manager, [Manager #1] receiving me, and it was always the same runaround. If I wanted to get unloaded, I had to wait for someone to get there, then I’d have to sit and wait while the poor kid back there got the load off, and then I’d have to wait for traffic to ease up to get out since it was always almost 10:30 by the time I finally left, leaving me with only a couple of hours left on my clock to get to a truck stop for the day.

I got there and, yep, [Manager #1] had come in to accept the load. It was always hard to be smart at 03:00, and I can only imagine that was part of [Manager #1]’s usual runaround. This time was a bit different for a few reasons. One, he smelled like there was a bit of an herbal calming remedy about him to settle his nerves for the night. Two, he said that he was completely understaffed and there was no one around to unload me, so I’d have to do it myself. Three, I couldn’t stay until my usual time because he had to leave before 05:00.

To be fair to him, I did try and say:

Me: “Sure, but my contract says—”

Manager #1: “I don’t give a d*** what your contract states! I don’t have anyone in until the store opens, and I’ve got an appointment that’s more important than some trucker’s contract! Just unload it yourself!”

I considered it for a moment and then went back up to my truck to get my tablet. (This was in 2019, before the global health crisis, and the company had just swapped over to tablets for certain things, like signing off on expenses or getting permissions.) [Manager #1] was fuming when I came back and handed him the tablet.

Me: “Just read through and sign with your finger.”

He didn’t read through. I had twenty pallets at one-and-a-half thousand pounds each. The only available tool to unload was a manual pallet jack. I started my work clock and began unloading at 03:15. At 05:00, [Manager] looked on in satisfaction to see me about three-quarters of the way through as he was out the door. At 05:15, [Manager #1]’s replacement, [Manager #2] of the day shift, came running in with his face as white as a sheet to see me taking off the fourth to last pallet.

Manager #2: “Please tell me that I’m reading this wrong.”

Me: “I wish I could.”

I lied, knowing that [Manager #1] was about to be up a muddy creek with a spoon.

Me: “I even tried telling [Manager #1] what he was getting into, but he just skimmed and signed.”

Manager #2: *Slumping* “Wait here. I need to call my district manager.”

Me: “Better be quick. I want to be out of this lot by 06:30 to beat the morning rush and get a good breakfast.”

He ran back and I continued unloading. When I finally got the last pallet off at 05:50, I turned off my time clock as the district manager came in, followed both by [Manager #2] who was looking somewhat relieved, and by [Manager #1] who was somewhere between terrified and furious.

[District Manager] spoke to me, holding a printout and looking at it for my name.

District Manager: “You’re Mr. [My Name]?”

Me: “That’s me. I take it they sent over the contract [Manager #1] signed?”

District Manager: “Yes, and that’s just it. [Manager #1] is accusing you of forging his signature on this since there’s no way he’d sign off on a multi-thousand-dollar contract just to unload a trailer — especially since he claims you insisted on unloading it yourself.”

I whistled.

Me: “That’s a heck of an accusation. Hey, is that CCTV I see up in that corner over there?”

I asked, knowing full well that the entire loading dock was covered by a slew of cameras. The one I pointed out was positioned just right to catch the whole conversation at the door.

District Manager: “[Manager #2], get the footage. We don’t have audio, but we do have visual on them.”

[Manager #1] lost his fury and now just looked petrified.

One review later, [District Manager] turned to me.

District Manager: “You can go, [My Name]. [Manager], go wait in the office. Now.”

I got going while the going was good and grinned like a loon on the way back to my truck. I called my manager, booked some home time, and walked away with enough money to last until the end of the month.

The next time I went into that store there was a new, much more sensible manager who always had a man on staff to unload the trucks.

Yes, I admit I milked it a bit. As I said, I was regularly there from 03:00 to 10:30 at the latest. Throw on top of that the fact that I’ve never been the healthiest of individuals and it took me that long to keep from hurting myself. This was during the summer in southern California, and even at night, it was still around 90F (32C) outside and hotter in the trailer without any air conditioning. A fat man with no AC is going to take all the time he wants.