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Plumbing The Depths Of The Cashier’s Knowledge

, , , | Right | CREDIT: Distilled_Dreamer | May 11, 2022

I’m a cashier where I work, so you can imagine all the crap I deal with on a daily basis. It’s not a physically demanding job, but it is extremely taxing mentally. One thing I deal with on a pretty regular basis is customers expecting more of me than I’m able to provide — not so much because I don’t know certain things but because I’ll be reprimanded if I do.

The other day at work, I had just rung up a customer when I greeted another one who came in. He immediately came up to me holding something. He didn’t greet me back.

Customer: “Where can I find another one of these?”

Me: “I don’t recognize that; what is it?”

The man’s head jerked back and he looked at me like I had asked him a stupid question.

Customer: “What do you mean, you don’t know?”

I blinked.

Me: “Um, because I’ve never seen that before? But if you tell me what it is, I can get someone—”

Customer: *Interrupting* “I’m asking you. It’s your job to know this stuff to help customers.”

I raised my eyebrows (a natural reaction, I can’t help it) and slowly corrected him.

Me: “No, sir. It’s not my job to know. My job is to ring up customers at my register and occasionally look up items missing barcodes. Now, if you tell me what that is—” *points to the thing in his hand* “—I can get someone whose job it is to know and where to find it.”

At first, the customer looked like he was about to give a half-baked rebuttal but thought better of it. He apologized and told me what the thing was: part of a toilet that he needed to replace. I called a plumbing specialist on the work phone and she told me exactly where it was. I told the customer the aisle she said it was down, and he walked off without another word, not even a thank-you.

Have You Tried Asking Them To Turn It Off And Then On Again?

, , , , | Right | May 11, 2022

I was at a party when a client’s business partner approached me. 

Partner: “Hey, [Client] tells me you could answer a computer question for me.”

Me: “Depends. What’s the question?”

Partner: “My computer stopped working the other day. The light comes on but nothing happens.”

Me: “Well, it’s hard to say what might be the problem from just that. It could be something simple, but it could be that something needs replacing.”

Partner: “Pfft! That’s the best you can come up with? What a waste of my time.”

But Did You Ever Get Your Five Grand?

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: Brother_p | May 10, 2022

As a former school board privacy officer, I dealt with many Freedom Of Information requests from the public that dealt with anything from salaries of senior employees to the value of contracts awarded to emails about routine business.

Occasionally, someone would submit a very complex request that would require a lot of time to complete. So it was with one parent who wanted thousands of emails, committee meeting minutes, reports, and the personal notes of a dozen different school board employees. The reason? She had requested that her children’s bus stop move from the entrance of the cul-de-sac she lived on to right in front of her house. While the difference was only about 100m (109 yards), the request was denied because the circle at end of the cul-de-sac was too small for the bus to turn around.

After I’d worked on the request for more than a month, the parent grew impatient and demanded to know what was taking so long. I tried to explain I was a one-man operation, but she started making accusations that I was part of a conspiracy against her. She demanded that I produce all the records immediately or, “I will contact my lawyer!”

Now, I’m smart enough to know that anyone who says, “I will contact my lawyer,” doesn’t have one, especially not one who specializes in Freedom Of Information requests. But, playing along, I said, “Oh, we don’t want it to come to that. I’ll finish this today,” and hung up.

So, I did. The legislation requires that we charge $7.50 per fifteen minutes of search time for records, plus $7.50 per fifteen minutes of preparation time (redacting personal information, eliminating non-responsive info, etc.), plus other incidental costs (copying, printing, etc.). Because I had to have ICT help with the emails and computer records, the charges added up rapidly. I called the parent back the next day and told her the first batch of records would be ready by the end of the week. Then, I asked how she’d like to pay the costs.

Parent: “The costs? What costs? How much?”

Me: “$4,870. As I’m sure your lawyer will explain, 50% is payable up front before we proceed any further with the request. Then, we can start on the next batch.”

There was dead quiet on the other end of the phone.

Parent: “You haven’t heard the end of this! I’m calling [Local News Station]!” *Hangs up*

It is now three years later. I’m still waiting.

How You Tray-t Your Customers

, , , , , | Right | May 10, 2022

We had an old lady who would come in and get a sandwich and coffee. In the coffee, she wanted about an inch of water and two creams. Regardless of how many times you had taken her order, she would iterate that she wanted an inch of water and “twoooo creeeaaaaams.”

Fine, annoying, but we all knew her well enough to have her coffee ready by the time she made it to the counter.

In pre-health-crisis times, when we had trays for our customers, she would demand that someone bring her food to her table because she had a walker and couldn’t possibly carry it, especially with the coffee. Okay, valid, but she could’ve been so much nicer about it.

My problem with her excuse was that when she was ready for a refill on her coffee, she would bring her empty cup up and take her full cup back to her table. We offered to put her food in a bag to make it easier for her, as she could put the food in the bag on her walker, but she insisted on the tray and added that she couldn’t carry the coffee.

There was one time that we were exceptionally busy, and she made her usual demand. I told her I wasn’t sure if I would be able to bring her tray to her because of how busy we were. She said that we always did it and repeated her reason for not being able to carry it herself.

The most annoying part was that after we got rid of the trays for health reasons, she had no problem whatsoever carrying her coffee and her food to her car.

Barely Keeping It Together

, , , , , | Working | May 9, 2022

I work on the manufacturing of an experimental biotech product. When we manufacture our product, we have to maintain careful batch records, which are a series of handwritten documents attesting to the quality of the product. The documents are, for good reason, very carefully controlled.

The particular batch of records I’m in charge of maintaining and submitting is a stack of about fifty sheets of paper by the time we’re done. For years, I’ve been submitting them to Quality Control with a paper clip or binder clip holding them together. This seems to work fine, and no one has ever suggested I do otherwise.

Then, some of the documents are lost. Now, pretty much everyone at the company knows how they were lost: our terrible head of Quality likes to bring documents home, where she promptly loses them. This happens over and over, and nothing happens, because she’s BFFs with the head of manufacturing. In fact, every time documents go missing, the question is not where they could possibly be; the question is where they could possibly be other than the head of Quality’s dining room.

So, when part of my batch records go missing — batch records that I submitted months ago — the hammer falls on my group and how we must have lost the documents.

Head Of Manufacturing: “I don’t understand. Where are the batch records now?”

Me: “Well, I turned them in to Quality on [date], and—”

Head Of Manufacturing: “You’re blaming Quality? You’re blaming Quality for your mistake? I just can’t believe you wouldn’t take responsibility for your own actions.”

Me: “I’m not saying it’s Quality’s fault. I’m just saying I turned them in—”

Head Of Manufacturing: “And these batch records. Were they stapled together?”

Me: “Uh, no? We never do that. It’s, like, fifty sheets of paper. I don’t even think we have a stapler at the company that could do that.”

Head Of Manufacturing: “So, these were lost because you never bothered to staple them.”

Me: “That’s not really—”

Head Of Manufacturing: “From now on, staple the batch records! Staple them! How hard is it to do that?”

Me: “Fine. We’ll staple them from now on.”

I figure this is over. Not even close. She emails my boss and tells him that, from now on, we have to staple the batch records. She tells him to make sure the entire team understands this.

Okay, we get it. We find a special stapler in a closet somewhere that can handle fifty sheets — not without jamming every stupid time, but still. My boss emails our entire team, six people, to let us know that, from now on, we staple.

Not good enough! The Head of Manufacturing finds my boss in his office.

Head Of Manufacturing: “You sent an email telling your team to staple the batch records.”

My Boss: “Yes.”

Head Of Manufacturing: “That isn’t enough! We can’t afford to lose these batch records! This is too important!”

My Boss: “So, what do you want me to do?”

Head of Manufacturing: “I want you to look your entire team in the eye and tell them to use the stapler. I want you to have a training session.”

My Boss: “A training session… on… the use of a stapler.”

Head Of Manufacturing: “Yes! And I want the training session documented, with signatures!”

And that’s how my team — all of us with advanced degrees in molecular biology or biomedical engineering — ends up having to have formal training on how to operate a stapler.

The kicker: the first time I turn in batch records after the training session, I staple them and hand them into our Document Control person. The next day, she pulls me aside.

Document Control Person: “Hey, could you not staple these batch records? I noticed you started doing that, and it’s a real pain because the first thing I need to do to scan them is remove that staple — and it’s really hard to take off.”

Apologetically, I told her the story of the stapler training, and how, despite it making her job harder, I would be using that stapler from now on. From then on, every time, I’d staple the batch records, hand them to her, and she would begin the process of trying to pry out the staple.

I am so glad I no longer work there.