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Giving Mom Some Pretty Strong Smoke Signals

, , , , , , , | Related | February 26, 2018

For his whole childhood, my dad’s mother smoked cigarettes in the car, in the house, and anywhere else you could smoke. He always complained about it to her, and she would tell him that when he had his own house, he could make the rules.

When he was old enough, my dad worked and saved his money to buy a car while in high school. He was really proud of that car, and did his best to keep it in good order. One day, it had been raining and he was told to drive his mom someplace. They hit the road, and as he got on a highway, his mom lit up in his car. My dad rolled his window down, quick as a flash, snatched the cigarette from her mouth, and threw it out the window. He said she yelled at him for doing that, and he calmly pointed out that it was his car, his rules. He always ended the story with two points:

1) It was one of the best days of his minor life, being able to put his mom in her place.

2) He only threw it out the window because he knew it was too wet to burn. Don’t start grass fires, kids.

How To Attack The Push-Back

, , , , | Working | February 22, 2018

(I work for a company that at one time had a posture of measuring employees’ performance by “productivity,” or how many customers they could process in a day. As a result, many people would look for ways to pass as many calls as they could off to another department to improve their throughput. Many of our customers use our equipment. If customer service sends equipment out the customer is billed for it, but if repair service sends out a repair replacement there is no charge. Repair is notorious for not wanting to handle repair replacements, so in customer service we get a lot of “pushback” from them trying to get us to do their job for them. One day I figure out a solution.)

Me: “Hello, [Repair], I have a customer needing a repair replacement for [equipment].”

Repair: “That’s your job; you can do it.”

Me: “Oh, okay. Could you give me a repair ticket number, please?”

Repair: “You don’t need a repair ticket number.”

Me: “Could I get you to pull up the equipment page and help me fill it out, please?”

Repair: “Why?”

Me: “I’m having a little trouble with the form.”

Repair: “Okay.”

Me: “On your screen, could you click the box that says, ‘repair replacement.’”

Repair: “Okay.”

Me: “Did you see the little box that says, ‘repair ticket number’?”

Repair: “Yes.”

Me: “The system won’t let me submit this form until I enter a repair ticket number, so could you give me one, please?”

Repair: “I can’t issue a repair ticket number unless I am talking to a customer.”

Me: “Would you like me to transfer the customer to you so you can do your job like you are supposed to?”

Repair: *resignation in voice* “Yes.”

(I passed this technique to everyone in customer service and it was the end of pushback from repair.)

And That’s How The Scam-Cookie Crumbles

, , , , | Right | February 22, 2018

(My store has a double money-back guarantee on all store brand products, which includes bakery items. Many customers take advantage of this generous refund policy, and in particular we have a customer who will buy our most expensive on-shelf bakery item — 48 cookies for $20 — and then return it minutes later saying the cookies are undercooked. Cashiers are not allowed by policy to call out people on bad returns like this, but my supervisor has finally had enough and tells me to call him over if she tries her scam again. Two days later she does, of course, so I call him over and take a step back from the register to let him handle it. I see my supervisor shove something in his pocket on his way over.)

Supervisor: “I understand you want to return these cookies? Again?”

Customer: “What? What do you mean, ‘again’?”

Supervisor: “This is the fourth time this week you’ve bought our cookies and returned them not even ten minutes later.”

Customer: “That’s absurd! I haven’t been in this store in almost two weeks!”

(My supervisor reaches into his pocket, and I see what he had hidden there: a photocopy of all of her purchase receipts that week — we keep receipts after a refund — including the refund receipts, and wordlessly holds it out for her to see. She reads the paper, growing more furious with each word.)

Customer: “Well, so what if I’ve returned these cookies before this week?! It’s not my fault you have bad cookies!”

Supervisor: “You’re more than welcome to buy a [Name Brand] package if our own brand isn’t satisfactory.”

Customer: “NO! I want these!”

Supervisor: “Then take them. If you want them, then you don’t need a refund right?”

Customer: “No, I do! I want these cookies, but they’re always undercooked and soft!”

(My supervisor flips open the box, grabs a cookie, and holds it at eye level. Right in front of the customer, he breaks the cookie in half with an audible snap.)

Supervisor: “Hmm, weird. They seem perfectly cooked to me. Maybe even overcooked.”

Customer: *shrieking* “Get me the manager right f****** now!”

Supervisor: *gleefully* “No, I don’t think I will. You’ve stolen over $100 from us this week alone, and now you’ve sworn at me. You need to leave.”

Customer: “YOU B******!”

Supervisor: “Get out of my store or I’ll carry you out.”

(My supervisor is not a small man, and the customer can clearly see that. She hesitates a moment longer, then lunges over the counter and SPITS on the cookies before sprinting out of the store. My supervisor tosses the cookies in the trash and turns to me, grinning.)

Supervisor: “I guess that’s how the cookie crum–“

Me: “Don’t you dare. I’m just glad she left. So, you think she’ll try it at [Sister Location]?”

Supervisor: “Hopefully she’s not that stupid, but I’ll call them.”

(She was that stupid, of course, and when I went to our sister location to do my own shopping a week later, I was informed that she had been banned from not only us and them, but from every store in our district; that’s 24 stores that she can no longer steal from!)

Pumping Mad

, , , , | Friendly | February 19, 2018

(I arrive at the petrol station to fill up my tank. There are three cars ahead of me, including two who are already at the pumps. When the cars leave, the car ahead of me moves forward, but instead of moving to the first pump so I can go to the second one, the driver stops at the second, essentially leaving the pump in front of her unoccupied and me stuck behind her unable to access it. I wave at her when she exits her car and politely ask:)

Me: “Hi, would you mind moving your car forward, so I can use this pump and you can use the other?”

Woman: “No, I won’t be long. And you can just go around the station and reverse to the first pump, if you’re in a rush.”

(She then turned her back to me and started pumping petrol. I was pretty annoyed, as she would just have needed to move her car forward a few meters so we could both pump, instead of me having to reverse, drive around the station, and then reverse again to access the first pump because of the one-way system in place. I was in no rush, but I decided to do exactly what she advised, because she obviously did not think it through. I went around the station and parked in front of her, effectively blocking her exit, and started taking my sweet time pumping. I could see her waiting for me to finish, so she could exit. Once I was done, I slowly walked toward the station to pay. There was a queue at checkout. I could see that lady through the windows, growing impatient because she couldn’t leave. In the end, she decided to awkwardly reverse and drive all around the station to be able to exit it. That may have been petty of me, but I have no regrets. Maybe next time, she’ll consider the people behind her.)

Gives As Good As You Get

, , , , , | Working | February 19, 2018

(Aside from the regular kitchen staff, we employ a “helper” who comes in during the weekend to do basic prep and clean-up for the coming week: an elderly friend of the boss who is bored from being retired. His German is quite broken, since he’s an Iranian immigrant, and he’s a lot older than our kitchen staff. I get along with him very well, though, and we chat a lot when we work together, even if it takes a bit of effort to understand each other. Another coworker, however, doesn’t seem to like him and complains to me one day.)

Coworker: “Ugh, I really don’t want to work with Mr. [Helper] this weekend. He’s so much trouble to deal with.”

Me: “Trouble how?”

Coworker: “He never cleans anything after finishing a task; his area is always a mess! And he doesn’t even notice our dishes piling up; you’d think he could help with the dishwasher once in a while. He’s more hindrance than help!”

(I’m surprised by this, because whenever I work with him, his area is spotless, and he makes it a point to not leave until he’s cleaned up everything around him, even if his shift is long finished. He also helps out with many tasks without me asking. The next time I work with him, I decide to ask.)

Me: *jokingly* “So, Mr. [Helper], I heard from [Coworker] that you were a little troublemaker. What’s this about you not cleaning up anything nor helping out?”

Helper: “Oh, that man!” *looks around to see if anyone else can hear us* “I give him trouble, yes? He give me more! Pushing me away, never talk to me, just drop things to clean on my table, shoving things in my way so I notice. Well, I decide not to notice.” *now whispering quite sadly* “He never even say hello to me. One time he say to someone else that I am disgusting. I know not why, but now I make sure I am disgusting! For him! He treat me like dog, I will poo on his floor like dog!”

(He’d purposely given the coworker trouble for mistreating him. Everybody else treated him very kindly, so there weren’t any problems with anyone. The complaining coworker left us pretty soon after, and I never heard another bad word about our helper. In fact, he went out of his way to get everyone flowers for their birthdays and other little favours. I suppose the love you take IS equal to the love you make!)