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There’s No (Meat) Countering Such Shocking Negligence

, , , , , , | Working | February 15, 2023

Back in the 1980s, I worked at a small-ish convenience store at the city center underground passageway. My job was to take care of the meat produce counter and cooler at the back of the store.

One morning, just after clocking in, I was leaning against the counter and felt a tingling sensation. Somewhat foolhardily, I pressed my thumb against the metal counter and my index finger (of the same hand) against a metal sink that was just about ten centimeters from the counter. Yep, I could feel a small electric current going through my hand. The counter was plugged into a grounded socket as it should be, so it was apparent that there was some internal problem with the counter electronics — and a risk of even fatal shock if that problem got worse.

So, of course, I mentioned it to the shift manager.

Shift Manager: “Oh, yeah, it has been like that for a while. Nobody has found what the problem is.”

And so, nothing happened. There was no replacement counter and no repairs. After a few days, I got tired of these small electric shocks I got every time I touched the counter and demanded to have at least a piece of wire. The shift manager got me a piece of old multiconductor cable that I taped between the counter and the sink with standard office sellotape. So, no shocks or tingling after that. But the counter was still faulty – but it kept its cool, so no problem for the managers.

The indifference of the management was just one of the reasons I quit just a week after. I didn’t visit the store for a couple of years, but when I finally did, I could see my sellotaped piece of cable still connecting the meat counter and the sink.

Driving Away Customers — Literally

, , , , | Working | January 26, 2023

After just turning eighteen and getting our driver’s licences, my friend and I, obsessed with cars, started visiting local car dealerships. We wanted both to lust after new cars with the vision of one day buying something like that and also to check out the used car lots for something affordable. This was over twenty years ago, so used cars on sale were not reported online yet.

We went to one dealership selling Volkswagens, not a specifically high-end brand back then, and we decided to check the new cars on display before heading to the used cars section. A new Passat was prominently on display, and we decided to sit in it and see what it looked like inside, as well. Big mistake.

A salesperson saw us, rushed to the car, and started yelling.

Salesperson: “Get out! You have no business touching that car unless you have money to show that you are prepared to buy it!”

Many years have passed, and many cars have been bought but not a single one from that dealership — not by me, not by my friend, and not by our friends and families, even though my current car just so happens to be a VW Passat.

If Only She’d Been As Sweet As Chocolate

, , , , , , | Right | January 12, 2023

I work as a cashier in a supermarket. A popular candy maker has just released a new chocolate which comes in bars, bags, and boxes. We have a separate stand for the new products with a special offer of four candy bars for 1€. The offer is clearly marked, and the word “chocolate bars” is written twice on the ad sheet next to the bars.

A grumpy-looking lady and her teenage son come to my register with a full cart. Everything goes fine, they pay, and then the lady looks at the receipt.

Customer: “This is the wrong price!”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, I will check that right away. Could you tell me which product it is?”

Customer: “This is always a problem here! Always! Your discounts never scan right!”

Me: “I am very sorry, I will—”

Customer: *Interrupting me* “I feel like you are trying to cheat me every time! Look here, I have four boxes of [Brand] chocolate. They were meant to be four for 1€, and you charged me the full price!”

That’s about 3.5€ per box.

Me: “I am sorry for the misunderstanding, but the ad clearly states that the discount is for four chocolate bars. Boxes are more expensive and unfortunately not part of the discount.”

Customer:No, it does not! It said all new [Brand] chocolate products are four for 1€. This is a scam! I can’t believe this! You have no idea about your own campaigns. I want you to go and check the ad next to the chocolate. It will prove that I am right!”

A long line has formed behind the lady and people are starting to look annoyed. I am not permitted to leave my register while it’s open, so I have to call and ask a colleague to go and check the ad.

Me: “My colleague will go and check the ad for you. Could it be possible for me to serve the person behind you while you wait? They only have a few items.”

Customer: No! You are serving me now. Unbelievable! They always try to cheat you about discounts…”

She goes on in a similar vein and tries to get the customers behind her to agree with her. My colleague calls and confirms that — surprise, surprise — the ad says, “Chocolate bars”.

Me: “I am sorry, but the ad clearly states that the discount is for chocolate bars. Would you like to return the boxes?”

Customer: It does not!

The customer’s son, who looks really embarrassed, speaks up.

Customer’s Son: “Yeah, it did, Mom. I saw it.”

Customer: *Pauses* “Well… I… The ad was placed misleadingly! It was right next to the stand with all the new chocolates. How was I supposed to know which are discounted and which are not?!”

Me: “Because it is written on the ad sheet?”

Customer: *Condescendingly* “Do you think that I have time to read all the ads? I would be here for hours!”

The customer behind her in line speaks up now.

Customer #2: “If it takes you hours to read the words ‘chocolate bar,’ maybe you should do less shopping and go back to f****** primary school?”

The lady just glared and left with her bags and full-priced chocolates. Unfortunately, she became our regular after that for some reason and was almost always as cheerful as in this story.

Extended Stupidity

, , , , , | Working | December 23, 2022

This happened to me eons ago, back in the days before mobile phones, when everybody at my workplace could be reached by calling the phones sitting on our desks. 

It was a quiet morning. I and [Coworker #1], with whom I shared the room, had been at our Macs for about an hour, focusing on whatever each of us was doing, blissfully uninterrupted, until her phone rang and she picked it up.

Coworker #1: “Hello… What? Uhh, okay, well, I’ll tell her. Bye.” *To me* “Hey, that was [Coworker #2]. He asked me to tell you to stop blabbering on the phone. He’s been trying to call you several times, but you’re busy all the time?!”

Me: “What the heck?”

I turned to check the phone just in case it was off the hook or something, but nope, everything was okay.

Me: “Weird. I wonder if there’s something wrong with the in-house systems.”

Coworker #1: “Yeah, well, maybe you’d better call him. He said he’s been calling 260 the whole morning without success.”

Me: “Yes, of course.”

And just as I picked up the phone and dialed, my brain latched onto what I’d just heard.

Coworker #2: “Hello?”

Me: “[Coworker #2], you dork… my extension is 270. Your extension is 260. You’ve been calling yourself!

Coworker #2: “Uhh… yeah… Well, no wonder the line’s been busy!”

There’s A Frustrated Toddler Inside Each Of Our Hearts

, , , , , , | Right | December 5, 2022

I was returning from a trip, on a bus from the ferry terminal to the train station. The bus was so full that some people had to stand. It was hot and crowded, and everyone was tired from the trip. One man in particular was frustrated. He claimed that some other passengers were cutting the line and being rude to him. They tried to move away, but it was impossible to escape as the bus was between stops. It almost seemed like there was going to be a fight… until…

One lady sitting next to the angry standing man started to talk to him. She asked where he lived, how long he had been living there, how he liked the place, if he had been on vacation, etc. Little by little, he started to calm down. When he tried to complain about the other passengers’ behavior, the lady just calmly stated:

Lady: “I guess we are all tired from the trip. This is always the worst part of traveling, don’t you think?”

After a while, they were joking and laughing, and everyone relaxed.

When the man got off the bus, one of the passengers thanked the lady. She replied with a smile:

Lady: “Distraction techniques for children are often useful with adults, as well.”

I have since found out that she was right!