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You Can’t Help Those Who Don’t Want To Be Helped

, , , , , , | Working | January 12, 2022

During the last recession, I took a job at a company that makes special washers, springs, etc. I previously worked in high-accuracy, high-tech companies, and this is some of the most basic engineering I have worked with, but I am genuinely happy to have a job.

It is clear straight away that the team I am working with has been there forever, they’re all set in their ways, and they don’t like change. None of them speak to me and they all complain constantly. 

The current winge is about their office; it has shrunk slightly because the business needed the space. The office is still 40% bigger than it needs to be, but they complain anyway. 

This carries on for months until I’ve had enough. I suggest some ways we could make the space work better — new equipment that takes up less space and is easier to use, changing an empty desk into a work area, etc. It’s all stuff that I have seen working before and will make their lives easier.

The team hates every idea I give and responds with nonsense excuses or just refusing to listen. Knowing this is a dead-end, I shut up and get on with the work. They seem happy being miserable.

Months later, the same original gripes and complaints keep on coming. What is worse is that some of these old ways of working are affecting the customers, and now I am getting complaints from my boss, expecting me to stop them.

My boss brings me into a meeting room to discuss it.

Manager: “We are getting a lot of complaints about missing parts.”

Me: “Yes, they are being counted by hand, and mistakes will happen as long as we do this.”

Manager: “So, how do we improve?”

Me: “Stop the problem at its source; change from manual counting to a machine. It is inexpensive and will pay the company back in costs within a few years. It is simple to use and implement.”

Manager: “Great. So, why haven’t you said this before?”

Me: “Every suggestion is shot down by the team. When I try to encourage improvement, I get complaints. Then you discipline me for not working together with them and tell me to ‘toe the line’.”

Manager: “Ah, okay. Well, the next issue, then? Marks and damages. Lots of complaints here.”

Me: “I believe we have discussed this one, too. I wanted to test out some new worktops. But—”

Manager: “Oh, yes, there were some complaints from the team and we dropped it.”

Me: “I don’t know what to tell you. You employ me to fix these issues. I have given you multiple cost-effective options to do so, all proven with little to no risk. But the operator is telling you that he doesn’t want to even try, so we just don’t?! And the problems stay here forever. I have tried reason, I have tried demonstrating the savings and benefits, and I have tried bringing the team with me and hearing their ideas, but they don’t want to change. They are actively stopping progress and improvement.”

Manager: “Yes, a tricky one… Okay, so, the next issue.”

We went through the list and it was all the same. I’d make a suggestion, but the team wouldn’t like it or would refuse to try. The manager would like the idea but refuse to help.

I knew then that I was wasting my time in this job; nothing I would do could change anything. The company would rather lose thousands a month, and potentially customers, than ask the guy whose job it was to put parts in a bag to try something slightly different. I quit that month.

Arguing With An Irish Mammy Is Cents-less

, , , , | Right | December 22, 2021

My daughter and I are out shopping. A lady in front of me at the trolley bay is struggling with something, and since I know a few tricks with them, I speak up.

Me: “Are you okay?” 

Lady: “I don’t have the right change for the trolleys.”

Most supermarket trolleys in Ireland have a coin slot to unlock them, and they usually take a €1 coin, but sometimes if it’s an older lock you can fudge it with a smaller 20c coin.

Me: *Already sorting my change* “Here, sometimes this works.”

I put a 20c coin into the nearest trolley, which works fine. I pull it out and pass it back to her.

Lady: “Oh, thank you! How much did you put in there?”

Me: “Don’t worry about it; it’s just 20c. Happy Christmas!” 

She then pushes the €5 note she’d been carrying into my confused daughter’s hand. Cue the usual Irish Mammy’s argument about taking money, which we eventually ceded.

My daughter spent it on a charity fundraiser teddy, so we still got to spread some seasonal goodness.

Cheese-Louise!, Part 3

, , | Right | August 24, 2021

Barista: “Is that everything?”

Customer: “Yeah. I was gonna get a ham and cheese sandwich, but there are none left.”

Barista: “There’s one right here.” *Points to a sandwich*

Customer: “That’s ham and cheddar. What’s cheddar?”

Cheese- Louise!, Part 2
Cheese- Louise!

Should Have Called The Police: He’s Toast!

, , , | Right | July 28, 2021

The store is running a promotion on toasters for only €5. One customer waiting in line to buy one is muttering that it’s probably useless, won’t work, etc. When I serve him, he says the same to me — it’s probably cheap rubbish, etc. I smile and assure him that it still comes with a twelve-month warranty; it’s just a special we are running. He just grunts and leaves with his toaster.

Two minutes later, he bursts back through the door, yelling and screaming.

Customer: “I knew it wouldn’t work! It’s just rubbish!”

He’s now red in the face with rage. He throws the toaster across the counter. It narrowly misses me and it breaks with the force. All the customers in line are horrified.

Customer: “I demand a refund! And I’m going to report this store for selling faulty goods!”

I remain perfectly calm throughout the whole episode, waiting for the tirade to finish. Finally, I get my chance to speak.

Me: “How do you know it doesn’t work, sir?”

Customer: “I took it out of the box in my car and nothing happened when I tried to push the button.”

Me: “So, you have a domestic electrical socket in your car?”

The customer’s face went blank as he slowly realised what he’d done. Some of the customers in line were chuckling. I picked up the broken toaster off the floor and offered it back to the customer. He slowly took it and the pieces that had broken off and left the store with his head down and face bright red. Best day ever!

I’ve Got That Feeeeeeling, It’s So A-Peeeeeeling

, , , , , | Friendly | July 23, 2021

I’m at a party and we are playing Thirty Seconds, where you have to describe five terms on a card and your team has to guess them in thirty seconds. It is my team’s turn.

Team Member: “It’s a phone. It’s also a fruit.”

Me: “Bananaphone!”

The entire room erupted laughing and I didn’t live it down for years. The word was “blackberry,” by the way.