I’m Not Horsing Around Here

, , , , , , | Working | November 25, 2019

(When I am around eight, the Girl Scout camp near my house offers horseback riding lessons. As I’ve been to day camps before and had a fairly good time riding, my parents sign me up and take me for months. At this point, I’ve just become proficient enough to try galloping at my last lesson, and I’m excited to try again. This time, the instructors put me on a different horse, a stallion who has just arrived at the stable. I’ve ridden various horses over the course of my lessons, so I’m not particularly concerned as we start the warmups. However, after a few laps, the horse begins to stop every so often. I have to nudge him to start walking again, but a few feet later, he stops again. Finally, I voice my concerns to one of the instructors.)

Me: “I don’t think this horse is listening to me.”

Instructor: “You’re not being forceful enough. You can’t let the horse guide you. You’re in charge.”

Me: “But none of the other horses I’ve ridden have done this.”

Instructor: “Just keep trying.”

(I agree, and we continue with the lesson. The horse cooperates a little better, though he still seems to be fighting me. When we reach the galloping portion, he suddenly takes off running towards the open stable doors. We’re about a mile outside of town in the woods, and it’s a dark, cool night. Out of panic, I scream. Just before the horse reaches the doors, the instructors manage to grab the horse’s reigns and stop him. They take me off the horse, calm him down, and put him back in his stall. Afterward, they start to scold me while I’m still crying out of fright.)

Instructor: “You should never yell while on a horse! It frightens them!”

(Eventually, my mother stepped in to defend me, but I was so scared I don’t remember what she said. After I calmed down, the instructors and my mom convinced me to get on another horse to finish the lesson in hopes that I wouldn’t be scared of horses. Unfortunately, I was no longer interested in lessons, especially not with people who wouldn’t listen when I said something was off about the horse.)

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Don’t Use Him As A Reference!

, , , , , | Working | November 13, 2019

My parents are hard-working, no-nonsense people. During spring planting a few years back one of their employees didn’t show up for work in the morning. Nor did he call. My dad didn’t waste time calling him but organized those who were there and got to work. Same thing the next day.

On the third morning, the missing worker pulled up as my dad was heading out to the fields. 

The man sheepishly apologized for missing work and admitted that he’d been looking for another job. 

My father shrugged and told him, “Well, you’d better keep looking, then.”

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You Know Nothing… About Snow

, , , , , | Working | October 2, 2019

(I’m working at a farm in rural Vermont in the dead of winter. Sugaring — making maple syrup — season is coming and my boss wants me to shovel the snowy doorways to his sugarhouse — building used to collect tree sap and boil it in to maple syrup — for an open house he is hosting. It’s not the type of stuff I was hired for but I’m broke and it’s paying so I do it. I shovel the doorways and my boss comes over with his tractor, scooping the biggest piles of snow away with the bucket. Together we make the sugarhouse look nice and neat. I finish the rest of my work and go home. The next day I get to work and he greets me.)

Boss: “How come you didn’t shovel out the doorways?” 

Me: “Huh?”

Boss: “It looks a mess.”

Me: “What are you talking about?” 

Boss: “When I ask you to do a job, I expect you to do it and to do it right. If you can’t do your job then what am I paying you for?” 

Me: “Why don’t you show me what I did wrong and I’ll fix it?” 

(We start walking toward the sugarhouse. I am confused since I did clean the doorways and he watched me, he was right there helping me too. His directions are confusing sometimes and often he will switch topics mid-sentence and not even know it so his directions sometimes get muddled.)

Boss: “I shouldn’t have to be doing this with you. I shouldn’t have to do your thinking for you. You’re a big girl now and you need to be thinking with your adult brain.”

(I knew him when I was a kid but I’m 25 at this point. I am blown away by his rudeness, but I know if I say anything it will devolve into an argument I’m not going to win, so I grin and bear it. We get to the sugarhouse and I see the problem. It snowed in the higher elevations the previous night and the added weight made all the snow from the roof drop into the previously clean doorway. It now looks as if it were never cleaned at all.)

Me: “I see the problem here. The snow fell off the roof. That’s what happened.” 

Boss: “Oh.” 

Me: “How’s that adult thinking for ya?” 

Boss: “Well, why didn’t you say anything?” 

Me: “You watched and helped me yesterday; I just assumed I’d done something wrong.” 

Boss: “Well, don’t do that.” 

(I didn’t stay long after that. I got a new job and found out that a coworker’s grandson was working for the same guy, my old boss, a few weeks later. He said his grandson was fired for “back talking” to my old boss. Apparently, the backtalk was, “You’re being really rude right now.” Funny thing is, my old boss wondered why he couldn’t keep help for his farm. He surmised that it was because “nobody wants to work anymore.” No, people don’t like being berated for doing their jobs in 10F degree weather all winter for minimum wage. But I’m just a dumb girl who can’t think, so what do I know?)

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Unfiltered Story #168458

, , | Unfiltered | September 30, 2019

I work at a farm where the public can come visit to look at old farm equipment, see an assortment of different animals and birds up close, feed the goats, and play on big farm style playgrounds. We also have a cafe and gift shop as well as tractor-train rides and puppet shows. It costs $9 per person to get in but children under 2 are free. ( All of this information is on our website and the price per person is in big bold letters / numbers beside the front gate entrance where people pay.) A lady approaches the entrance gate with 3 children. She says one is under two, so I told her the cost was $27.00.

Customer: Okay I will pay cash and can I get a receipt please? That way I can get the parents to pay me back from my daycare.
Me: Of course, no problem! *Hands her receipt and change.*
Customer: *Holding receipt* Does it have the breakdown of cost per person?”
Me: *Motioning to the receipt in her hand and then to the sign beside her.* “Yes it does, and it is $9 per person but children under two years of age are free.”
Customer: *Blank stare*
Me “…. Is there a problem?”
Customer ” $9.00 per person!? Where does it say that? How am I supposed to know that before I come?!”
Me ” All of our information is listed online, and you are welcome to call ahead of time as well to inquire about pricing. The sign beside us also lists our prices and so does you receipt.”
Customer ” Wow, I didn’t realize it was so much money! That is really expensive. Why does it cost so much? Why is it $9.00 per person!?”
Me ” We have to pay our staff to be here, without them we could not run the place. We also have to feed all of the animals and ensure they are in good health, maintain the property so it is safe and interactive, and there are also property taxes, we have many acres here. Those are just a few of the reasons though. *Looks into her eyes and smiles*
Customer: “Ohh… right. Still seems expensive…Well I need to write down the number per person on the receipt so I can tell parents.”
Before I can respond she grabs the pencil out of my hand and writes $9 per person on the receipt, even though it already says the exact cost per person on it. I just stare at her as she walks away.

Two minutes later I hear someone knocking on my window. It is the same lady I just assisted, she is standing right beside our big bright sign that states the schedule for the train rides.

Customer: “What time is the next train ride??”
Me: ” Oh yes, the schedule is right beside you on that yellow sign actually!”
Customer: *Looks to her left*, (the sign is on her right) “Where?! I don’t see it??”
Me: “It is on your right side, and the next train is at 11:00am.”
Customer: * Still looking all around herself but not directly at the sign* “What time is it now??”
Me: 10:45am.”
Customer: “So, when is the train?”
Me: “…. 11:00am, in 15 minutes, you can line up at the fence to your left soon to be early. ”
Customer walks off in the opposite direction for the train without saying anything else or directly looking at the schedule.

Paltry Poultry Parenting

, , , , , | Legal | August 12, 2019

(I’m visiting a family-run petting zoo and farm shop. The animals here are for show only; none are for sale and can only be accessed when out for petting demos. We’re checking out with some jars of honey at the farm shop when we hear a big commotion in the petting area. A shouting man holding a chick runs out, followed by a crying child and a frantic farm worker.)

Man: “We just want a g**d*** chicken! Piss off and leave us alone!”

Farm Worker: “Please, stop! You’re hurting him! Put him down!”

(The cashier abandons our order and tries to block the exit as the man runs through, leaving his crying child in the shop area. Both employees run out after him; there’s shouting and pleading from outside. Then, there is the sound of doors slamming and a car speeding out of the car park. I walk over with my daughter and try and console the crying child who’s asking for his mum. After a few tense minutes, the employees come back with the chick, but no man. The farm worker takes the chick to be looked at, leaving us with the now-calm child.)

Cashier: “Uh, he just left? What do we do now?”

Me: “Do you know your Mummy’s phone number, sweetheart?”

Child: “Y-Yes, it’s [phone number], but D-Daddy said I can’t call her; she’s too busy for me.”

Cashier: “I’ll make the call. Can you stay with him?”

Me: “Sure. Come on, sweetheart. Shall we look at the picture books?”

(Within fifteen minutes, a frantic mum ran in and grabbed the child into a massive hug. Apparently, this was the dad’s first court-issued independent visit with the child since being released from prison, and she’d been worried sick the entire time he’d had him: only an hour and a half total. We all handed a written report to the police, and we were assured by them and the mum that it would be the last time the guy saw the child alone, if at all!)

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