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Don’t Ask For Opinions If You Don’t Actually Want Them

, , , , , , | Working | October 21, 2021

We have been asked to make a presentation of our department to share with the other factories in other countries. It’s going to be written in the company magazine and translated into different languages. Some people are pretty excited.

I get lumbered with the editing and presenting of employee comments that will make up the majority of the prevention. Even worse, rather than picking the ones that will be chosen for the magazine, my boss wants me to rewrite all of them before he chooses.

I submit the first dozen or so.

Boss: “These are terrible. Half of them don’t make sense.”

Me: “I have corrected the spelling and grammar errors, but I kept to the original intent of the comments.”

Boss: “No, no, no. We can’t have other sites thinking we are all idiots. Can we ask them to write them again?”

Me: “I doubt it. Even then, what would we say? These aren’t professional writers; they are normal people sharing their opinions.”

Boss: “Well, you will need to jazz it up a bit. Send some more over.”

I rewrite the next ones and then rewrite them a little more. I use better descriptions and more complex language.

Boss: “I can see where you’re going, but you’re not quite getting it. Let me show you.”

He takes the next comment and rewrites the first half. He adds a sentence on the back and then deletes the original second half.

Me: “You’ve just replaced that with your own words. That doesn’t even look like the original.”

Boss: “I know, but look how much better it is!”

Me: “You don’t think people will be annoyed when they see what you’ve done?”

Boss: “Well, make some names up! Do I have to think of everything?”

So, we had fake employee opinions with fake names, all in aid of helping employees get their voices heard and promoting “open” communication. My complaints were ignored and the comments were published. People were angry. When they sent the request around again a year or so later, the comments were very different — one or two even got published.

Not Taking Anyone’s S*** Today

, , , , , , | Working | October 21, 2021

About fifteen years ago, I worked for an HMO (health maintenance organization) as their mail processing clerk. My job, in addition to sorting and delivering the mail within my building, was to drive around to their eight sites located in neighboring cities to pick up and deliver interoffice mail and packages, and bring mail to the post office, etc. 

One day, after returning from my rounds, I’m in the mail room placing postage on the outgoing mail when I hear a bustle going on out in the corridor. I stick my head out to see what’s going on. There are about a half a dozen employees milling about, talking sort of frantically about something. Everyone is discussing whose job it is to do a certain task; no one wants to do it, but someone’s got to take care of it.

Me: “What’s going on?”

Colleague #1: “Someone took a dump in the middle of the men’s room floor!”

The only people that can get into this area of the building are either employees or delivery staff; no patients can get onto this particular floor.

Colleague #1: “We’re trying to decide who’s responsible for cleaning it up.”

This baffles me; I figure the only answer would be the building janitors, who are employed by the HMO, not a cleaning company.

Me: “Why is there even a debate over this? Isn’t this obviously a janitor’s job?”

Colleague #1: “I thought so, but our janitor is off today, and the guy covering won’t do it.”

During all the back and forth discussion, I learn that the guy covering is from a temp agency; he was brought in to cover for our regular janitor, who is on vacation this particular week.

Me: “What? He’s a janitor! Gross as it is, it’s his job, isn’t it? I don’t get why this is such a big deal!”

Colleague #2: “Hey, guys, I just heard that [Senior Manager] asked [Temp Janitor] to clean up the mess and he refused.”

Colleague #1: “He refused? Like any of us would get away with that!”

Me: “Yeah, no kidding. What’s [Big Boss] going to say when she hears about this?”

Colleague #3: “I understand she went to him and told him it was part of his duties to clean it up and that he had to clean it up, and he supposedly told her, ‘It’s not my job to clean up some filthy dirtbag’s s*** off the floor.’” 

Just then, my boss’s manager calls me over.

Manager: “Hey, [My Name], come with me for a minute!”

She wanders off, indicating that she wants me to follow her. She heads to said men’s room.

Manager: “I hate to ask, but can you please clean this up?”

Me: “Sorry, no. My job is a mail clerk, not a janitor. The janitor should be doing this.”

Manager: “But as a mail clerk, your job has wide-ranging duties, which were explained to you.”

I point to the crap on the floor.

Me: “Yeah, but it did not ever include me cleaning up that or anything to do with janitorial duties.”

Manager: “But we’re in a spot here. I need your help. You just need to do it.”

Me: “No, this job is clearly the duty of the janitor. Sorry, you know I help out in a lot of things, and I’ve always been very cooperative with all of you here, but this crosses the line. I’m not cleaning someone else’s crap off the floor. You have a janitor on duty, and it’s clearly his job to clean this up, not mine.”

I turn and go back to work in my mail sorting room.

A few minutes later, my direct boss comes into the room to talk to me.

Boss: “[My Name], I know this is a really off-the-wall request, but someone’s got to clean that up and we need cooperation here.”

Me: “I appreciate that, but as I told [Manager], that is not even close to being part of my job. There’s a janitor here on duty. Why is no one telling him to do his job? Why is everyone on me about something that is very clearly not my job?”

Boss: “Well, he’s being difficult, I guess. His boss is the maintenance supervisor, and I guess no one can get in touch with him. Can’t you just do it? Refusing this is the kind of thing that can hold up raises, you know.”

Me: “What just a minute right there. I will not tolerate threats like this; cleaning up s*** in a bathroom is not my job. Excuse me.”

I left and immediately headed upstairs to tell the human resources manager what was going on, including the threat to withhold my next raise and whatnot. He looked at me, stunned, as if he couldn’t believe someone had actually done this. He assured me that I had nothing to fear.

I went back to work. The rest of the week was uneventful, but my boss was unusually kind with me all week. I took that to mean that the HR manager must’ve told him off or something. I never heard about the matter again. I still can’t believe they expected me, a mail clerk, to clean up someone’s s*** off the floor.

Incidentally, as far as I know, they never found out who did it.

Jalapeño-No-No

, , , , , | Right | October 21, 2021

A customer has come in who I refer to as the “freebie guy.” He basically comes in once a month during matinee hours, spends $5 on a ticket, and then demands you give him free food at the concession stand because he’s “spending so much of [his] money on tickets.” We tell him every time that he can’t have free concessions, but it doesn’t stop him.

I decide to have a little fun with him one day. We offer free jalapenos for our nachos at the concession stand.

Freebie Guy: “Give me something for free! What can you give me for free? I just spent a lot of money on my ticket!”

Me: *With a giant smile* “You know, we actually do have something I can give you today for free! Do you want it?”

His eyes widen in excitement, as this is the first time his ruse appears to have worked.

Freebie Guy: “Yes! Absolutely!”

I run into the back and come back with a big bowl full of jalapeños.

Me: “Here you go!”

Immediately, his excitement fades.

Freebie Guy: “What the h*** is that?”

Me: “Jalapeños! It’s the only thing we have for free now.”

Freebie Guy: “Just jalapeños?”

Me: “Yup! Jalapeños! We finally found something we could give you for free!”

He seems to have some sort of internal debate with himself. Finally, he picks up the bowl.

Freebie Guy: “Um… do you have a spoon?”

Me: “Nope!”

He slowly walked away from the stand looking utterly confused. A few minutes later, I saw him throwing away the bowl of jalapeños, and he stormed up to the concession stand and bought a drink because his mouth was burning from actually trying to eat them. I consider this to be a big win, and he hasn’t tried his “Give me free stuff!” schtick ever since.

The Dress Must Come With A Pointy Hat And A Broomstick

, , , , | Right | October 20, 2021

I am a manager at a bridal dress shop and have gotten the brunt of the calls every time this customer calls, yells, and gets escalated.

Me: “Hello, [Store], how can I serve you?”

Mother Of The Bride: “I’m really upset! I ordered a mother-of-the-bride dress for my upcoming daughter’s wedding and it hasn’t arrived yet!” 

Me: “I’m sorry about that; let me look into this.”

I do some digging and find some info for her.

Me: “Miss, the dress you ordered is being specially ordered. It will arrive in four weeks, which will be around [date]. Will this be an inconvenience? We can cancel your order and try to find something suitable in time for your daughter’s wedding.”

Mother Of The Bride: *Suddenly calm* “No, no. I really want that dress! How come it takes so long?”

Me: “It is a limited-edition item. The manufacturer only made a small amount from the factory as a seasonal purchase. The company is sold out, I’m afraid, but it looks like we had to special order it for you. That is why it takes four weeks for delivery.”

Mother Of The Bride: “That is fine. Just call me when it arrives so I can pick it up.”

Me: “We certainly will, in four weeks.”

One week later, the phone rings.

Mother Of The Bride: *Yelling* “How come no one called me that the dress is here?”

Me: “It has only been one week, miss. It is a special order that takes up to four weeks to arrive. You won’t hear from us until sometime around [date]. If this is too long, we can help you find another dress to wear for the wedding.”

Mother Of The Bride: “No, no. I want that dress. Just call me when it arrives.” *Hangs up*

Second week. The phone rings.

Mother Of The Bride: “Okay, now I’m really mad! No one is calling me that the dress is here!”

Me: “Miss, I told you that it’s a special order that will arrive now within two weeks since you last called. Look, this dress won’t arrive until that time. Why don’t we get you a different dress? Or I can cancel the order and refund your money.”

Mother Of The Bride: “No, no. I really want that dress. Just call me when it arrives!” *Hangs up*

Third week…

Mother Of The Bride: “This is ridiculous! What kind of business are you running? No one is calling me about my dress order arriving! I’ve talked to six managers in your store, and they keep telling me that the dress is not there yet? I want answers!”

Me: “Miss, you talked to six different managers and the answer is still the same. The dress will be delivered around [date] and no sooner, because it is being specially ordered for you.”

Mother Of The Bride: “At least check to see where it is now!”

Me: *Sighing internally* “Let me see what I can do.”

I phone the Special Ordering department to see the progress of this dress, and do you know what I discover? SHE CALLED THEM AND CANCELLED HER ORDER! I’m furious, because now she’s just playing mind games with us. We’ve had her screeching in our ears every week, and she cancelled her order but somehow still expects said order to arrive?!

I phone her back.

Mother Of The Bride: *In a fake sweet voice* “Hello.”

Me: “Miss, I just called the Special Ordering department. They informed me that you called them and cancelled your order on [date two days ago]. Obviously, it is not going to arrive.”

Mother Of The Bride: “What?! That’s a lie! No, I didn’t! I need you to reorder it so I can have the dress in time for my daughter’s wedding! You have to reorder it again!”

Me: “Let me get this straight. You want the dress after all? At this point, we will have to charge you a rush fee.”

Mother Of The Bride: “I don’t care! Just get me that dress and get to me fast!” *Click*

In the end, we reordered the dress again for rush delivery and received it. She got her dress, and it still took EXACTLY four weeks of waiting for it to arrive.

I feel bad for the future groom, since he is marrying into the family with a crazy mother-in-law who enjoys playing mind games with people. If you read this, run, buddy! Run!

Sounds Like They Need Life Insurance, Too

, , , , | Right | October 20, 2021

I work in customer service for a healthcare insurance company. Healthcare insurance is mandatory in the Netherlands, so everyone has it — except if you object because of religious reasons, but then you have to pay for every form of care yourself, which is extremely expensive.

Because it is mandatory, we get a lot of calls from people asking what actually gets covered and what doesn’t get covered by their insurance, as they haven’t really looked it up. A lot of weird things get covered at this time, including stuff like reincarnation therapy and bleaching your teeth, so nothing really surprises me.

Me: “Hi, [Healthcare Insurance Company]. What can I help you with?”

Caller: “Hi. I was wondering if installing a new cover for my chair will get covered by my insurance? I pay a lot, you know.”

I look it up in the system, and guess what, there is actually a way to get this compensated.

Me: “Do you perhaps need a chair cover that’s made of anti-allergic material? Because that would get covered as long as you can provide a doctor’s note showing you are extremely or deathly allergic to certain materials and need a special cover.”

Caller: “No, I am not. The chair is dirty and needs a new cover.”

Me: “Ah, I’m afraid that won’t be covered by healthcare insurance. I’m sorry.”

The caller suddenly starts screaming at the top of her lungs.

Caller: “You are killing my son! You are killing him!

Me: “I’m sorry, is your son allergic? I don’t understand—”

Caller: “My son won’t eat if he’s sitting on a dirty f****** chair! If he doesn’t eat, he dies! You’re killing him!

Me: “Um… I…”

Caller: “I cannot change the chair cover myself as I am rheumatic, so you had better make sure I will get a new cover compensated and installed!”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that, ma’am, but it would only get covered if you or your son were extremely or deadly allergic to—”

Caller:No! You will get this compensated for me!”

Me: “I’m really sorry, but that’s not possible. I don’t want to sound rude, but isn’t it possible to ask a friend or family member to change—”

Caller:You are the reason my son will be dead soon! You are a child killer! I hope you die!*Click*

Either teach your son that sitting on a dirty chair is no reason to stop eating or ask someone else to change the cover for you. Let him sit on the couch, instead, or buy a new chair. There are so many solutions; wishing someone dead is not one of them!