You Gauge While I Rage

, , , , , , , , | Working | November 26, 2018

Shortly after I graduate from college, I’m working part-time in retail. I apply for a full-time event photographer’s position online and receive a call back. I’ve had several other interviews that didn’t pan out recently, so I quickly agree, despite the location in question being over an hour-and-a-half drive away, when the position listing had said it was more local. They inform me that they have multiple candidates to interview that day, and would like to meet on neutral grounds in a chain coffee shop.

Being a bit paranoid about traffic and not knowing the area well, I arrive early on the day and read in my car while I wait. About five minutes before my appointed time, I head into the coffee shop. The interviewer is clearly in view, with a laptop and large drink in front of her, and a small placard with her name on it like you’d see on someone’s desk in reception.

I walk up to introduce myself, and she points vaguely behind her without even looking up to see who I am, and informs me that there are two interviews ahead of mine, so I’ll have to wait.

A bit annoyed now that I was paranoid about being so early, I sit down. After half an hour, none of the interviews have started, and staff have pointedly come by to wipe my table down twice, so I get up and order a cold drink. After another fifteen minutes, the interviewer calls all three of us to her table and says we’ll just do some of the interview all together, to save time. She waits until we’re seated, turns her laptop around, and a video starts playing.

I can feel the other two candidates deflating next to me as the video plays: the job listing advertised for a professional event photographer for a new company, but is actually just a newly named branch of a well-known yearbook photography company, who has decided to expand into the market of preschools.

The video is all about their ideal candidate:

“Good with kids!” “Cheerful and punctual!” “Willing to go above and beyond!” “No photography experience necessary!”

The more we hear, the worse it gets compared to the original listing, and the more it sounds like a scam. They don’t compensate for driving time. They don’t compensate for set-up time. There’s a fee that acts as a deposit on the equipment that we apparently have to pay before we start. They pay a flat rate per school no matter how many kids, or how much time it takes. So on and so forth.

After we watch the video, we split up again for individual interviews. By the time it’s my turn, I’ve been at the location for roughly two hours, in addition to the drive to get there. By now, I’m considering whether to leave or stick it out. I decide to finish the interview, and do my best throughout, because a full-time position might still be better than my current job, even if it isn’t what I’d expected it to be. I put genuine effort into the interview, though the interviewer seems distracted and keeps looking down at her watch as we talk.

Towards the end of the roughly fifteen-minute interview, she asks if I have any questions, and I give the usual responses:

“What kind of training do they provide if experience isn’t necessary?” “What kind of equipment do they use?” “What is the deposit fee like?” “Are we expected to do retouching, or just straight photos?” “When can I expect to hear back about this interview, and when would I be expected to start if I receive an offer?”

She glosses over most of the questions, but sticks on the last one. Her expression changes entirely and she finally looks me in the face and says, “I don’t know why each of you has asked that. We’re not even hiring for the new school year yet. This was just to gauge the market.”

And suddenly I feel like screaming. I’m pretty sure my face turns bright red from holding in that sudden surge of absolute humiliated rage. I say that’s all I have, thank her for her time, and shake her hand. I then march straight to my car with my portfolio. By the time I leave, rush hour is starting, and the drive home takes two hours. The minute I get in the door, I find the nearest couch cushion, and finally scream into it.

I’ve never received a call about the interview, and even if I had, I think I’d have told them quite politely to shove the offer up their a**es.

Don’t Want Any Prize You Could Offer

, , , , | Right | October 24, 2018

(While I’m employed by a well-known grocery store, I work in a specific department that is only associated with the store by contract. I have the store name tag, but my uniform is red instead of the usual blue. Despite this, I have memorized where the “popular” items are — bread, milk, eggs, etc. I’m on break, looking at bathroom accessories I might want in my new apartment.)

Customer: “Excuse me, miss. Can you tell me where the deodorant is?”

(Despite not knowing the exact aisle, I know generally where it is.)

Me: “Certainly! It’s—”

Customer: *makes a loud buzzing sound, like a wrong-answer buzzer on a game show* “Too slow! You lose! You could have won a wonderful prize! But now I have to find it by myself, since you don’t know!” *wanders off*

(I’m stunned into silence. A coworker walks over, having heard the whole transaction. He raises an eyebrow in question.)

Me: *mystified* “I work in the cheese department….”

Singing Comebacks In The Rain

, , , , , , | Friendly | October 16, 2018

(I’m about to leave the office building where my company is located to go get lunch. We’re an online marketing and web design company, so we can wear pretty much whatever we want. If I’m not meeting with potential clients, I usually wear skinny jeans and band t-shirts, with big hoodies. It’s pouring when I step outside to go get lunch, but before I can open my umbrella, a well-dressed, little old lady tries to JERK my umbrella out of my hand!)

Lady: “You kids should respect your elders more! You don’t need that umbrella, and if you don’t give it to me right this second, I’ll report you for being truant from school!”

(I’m 26, but look much younger, but this is the first time someone has threatened to report me for truancy.)

Me: *politely but firmly* “Ma’am, this is my umbrella, and I do need it. You can also report me, but I’m a computer science major at [College], not a high-schooler, so it won’t get you anywhere.”

Lady: *stuttering* “Well, you’re still a student, young lady, so I demand you give me your umbrella!”

Me: “Fine, that’ll cost you $1,500.”

Lady:What?! Why should I pay you that much for a stupid f****** umbrella?!”

Me: “Because that’s how much it’s going to cost to replace my [expensive laptop that I bought for school and work that I’m currently carrying in my bag] if I give you my umbrella, and I have class tonight. I’ll take cash, thanks.”

(The lady gave me a dirty look and went back inside the building, cussing me out as she did. I was taught to respect my elders, as most Texans are, but I was also taught that I’m worth just as much respect!)

Sounds Like They Really Need The Coffee

, , , , , | Right | August 28, 2018

(A lady calls on the phone.)

Caller: “Hi. Is this [Coffee Shop]?”

Manager On Duty: “Yes, it is. How may I help you?”

Caller: “Can you tell me what your dinner special is?”

Manager On Duty: “Ma’am, this is a coffee shop.”

Caller: “So, you don’t have dinner?”

Manager On Duty: “We have some sandwiches and snacks, but we mostly have coffee.”

Caller: “Oh, so, you sell coffee there?”

Manager On Duty: “Yes, ma’am.”

Caller: “Do you sell mattresses?”

Manager On Duty: “No, ma’am. Coffee.”

Caller: “Oh. Okay.”

You’re Going To Pay A Price For This

, , , , , | Right | August 8, 2018

(I am ringing up other customers, while also helping my assistant manager count cigarettes for inventory. A customer walks up with some of our air freshener products that have been marked down due to the department shrinking in size. We’ve had some trouble in the past few weeks with other customers putting items in the wrong place or new employees not knowing where to put them.)

Customer: “Hi! How are you?”

Me: “Doing fine. And you?”

Customer: “I’m doing great; thanks for asking. I wanted to make sure that these all rang up at the right price. Could you check them for me?”

Me: “I certainly can!”

(I start ringing up the items, watching each one and telling her the price of each. Three of the air freshener products come out on sale, but not at the price SHE wanted.)

Customer: “Why aren’t those on sale?”

Me: “These are on sale already at $6.99, which is better than the $8.19 price they originally were. Was there another price there? Maybe a clearance tag?”

Customer: “I understand they are on sale!” *at this point she’s yelling* “But they aren’t at the price I wanted them at!”

Me: “Let me get someone to go and check the price, then.”

(I call one of my associates over and ask for her to go check the three products. She goes and checks, but not any of the three are on sale.)

Me: “None of the three are on sale; did you still want to get them?”

Customer: *sigh* “No.”

(I continue ringing her up, and at the end of the transaction, my associate apologizes for the inconvenience.)

Coworker: “I’m sorry for the inconvenience, miss.”

Me: “We are trying to make sure that all clearance items are in the right place. I thank you for your patience.”


(Both of us looked at each other as she walked out the door, shaking our heads in disbelief.)