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It All Comes Right Back To You

, , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: blackraindark | November 11, 2022

Living in Japan, you will see that most of the convenience stores have either Vietnamese staff or foreign workers from Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, etc. Service jobs are greatly understaffed there, so you will mostly see one Japanese worker and multiple foreign workers at the minimum-wage jobs.

I, an Indian, worked at a [Convenience Store] for three years part-time during university. In my third year there, I was made “leader of the night shift”, which meant running the whole store at night by myself. The night shift is very different from the day shift. Besides serving a large number of customers, you have to sort out the accounts, record and check the inventory, liaise with supply people, do deep cleaning of equipment, stock up, cook, etc.

Fast forward to a couple of years later. I am in the Japanese corporate world. I get an apartment in Azabujyuban, a posh, high-income district in Tokyo, famous for being populated by white ex-pats. It’s two in the morning, and I go to the nearby [Convenience Store].

It is a big store, and it’s full of irritated, drunk salarymen and rich brats. The only employee there (Japanese) is confused, panicking, and overworked. The supply truck guy is yelling. Salarymen are yelling. It’s mayhem.

The employee eyes me and yells:

Employee: “Hey, what took you so long?! Come and help me a bit.”

I almost lose my temper, but then I smile and think, “Let’s do this! Tomorrow’s Saturday, anyway.”

I first meet up with the annoyed supply guys. They have to bring their trucks to every store in Tokyo, so staying at one store for more than a couple of minutes will disrupt the whole schedule. I have the supply checked, dial in the records, get the Hanko from the usual place, stamp it, and finish the procedure.

Next, I call a taxi for some passed-out people and escort them to a safer place. Then, I take up a register, and in the next ten minutes, all the customers are served and the store is empty.

The employee gives a huge sigh of relief, closes his eyes, and gets on his knees. I quietly go to stock the ice cream supply in the cold cases. After a bit of a rest, my dude calls out:

Employee: “Thank you for the efficient help! By the way, you’re not wearing your [Convenience Store] jacket. Could you wear it, please? Otherwise, it would be super unprofessional.”

Me: “I don’t have a jacket. I don’t even work here.”

Employee: “What? Didn’t my manager send you as a replacement?”

Me: “Nope, I live in an apartment a block away and came here to shop. I used to work in a [Convenience Store] many years ago, so I’m familiar with the procedures.”

The employee was very, very embarrassed and said sorry and thank you in around twenty different phrases of polite Japanese.

Me: “Chill, man. I am gonna come here often so Yoroshiku ne.” (I am in your care.)

I felt good overall in the aftermath, and this reminded me that, as a senior guy in corporate headquarters, I must always be mindful of the mental and physical health of the people on the frontlines. They are the ones who represent the big company to the world and do the actual work.

You Don’t Get To Vet Other Customers, Lady

, , , , | Healthy | November 2, 2022

My husband and I are taking our dog to the vet. We can see by the number of people in the waiting room that it is going to be quite a wait, but we aren’t sure how severe our dog’s issue is, so we decide to wait anyway. 

I go to the counter to check in and see that one nicely-dressed old woman isn’t wearing a mask. Everyone still masks up indoors here, so I’m sure my displeasure shows on my face when we make eye contact. My husband and I decide to wait outside. 

Eventually, the waiting room is starting to clear out, and the old lady puts a mask on, so we move inside to wait. The old lady is talking exasperatedly to her dog.

Old Lady: “Do you want to sit on my lap or on the floor? Make up your mind! Okay, you want to go here?” *sigh* “Fine, then sit still!”

Some time passes and someone else is called up to see the vet. The old lady goes to the counter to complain about the wait, and the young staff apologizes earnestly and disappears.

A woman in scrubs comes out and approaches the old woman. 

Vet: “I’m really sorry about the wait, but you see, that person was before you. They came in and left their name and then went back to get their pet, so that’s why you didn’t see them. Also, the reason that there is a long wait today is that their pet died, so it’s taking some time. Thank you for your understanding.”

Old Lady: *Embarrassed* “Oh, it’s no problem… I understand…”

A woman in regular clothes came out then, her eyes red from crying and visibly distressed. The vet talked to her quietly for a bit and then the woman left.

I couldn’t help but glare at the old lady again. There’s never a good reason for a long wait at the vet’s office, and she could only think of the inconvenience to herself!

Sometimes Karma Really Hurts

, , , , , , , | Healthy | July 28, 2022

This story was told to me by one of the participants. There is a lot of background and associated internal politics and policies that I’ll not go into for the sake of brevity.

In a Japanese private hospital in the 1990s, there is a doctor — let’s call him Dr. Painful — who firmly believes that all painkillers, and especially the stronger opiates available, are not necessary and are even harmful. He either doesn’t prescribe any or seriously under-prescribes. Despite protests from the nurses and other doctors, he persists in this belief. His direct management, as well as their manager, are spineless toadies who refuse to overrule this doctor’s decisions, and his colleagues aren’t allowed to directly interfere.

One day, a patient is admitted claiming extreme pain in the abdomen. Dr. Painful claims it can’t possibly be that bad and predictably refuses to prescribe sufficient painkillers. This woman is crying in pain, but he won’t budge, despite the protests of the patient, the nurses, and other doctors. Finally, one of the nurses loses it and jumps several levels of management to browbeat the director into taking action.

Another doctor from a different department overhears this conversation and volunteers to take the patient for an MRI, where they discover a cancerous growth. Yes, its location would cause extreme pain. At this point, the patient’s mother has already moved the patient to another hospital, so there’s no follow-up. The nurse is reprimanded for daring to jump over direct management, despite an acknowledgment that nothing would have happened had she not done so. Nothing happens to Dr. Painful, as far as anyone knows.

Sometime later, Dr. Painful is admitted to that same hospital for a hernia. He’s in a lot of pain. The doctor he’s assigned to writes his prescription, quote: “Dr. Painful special treatment: no pain medication.” Dr. Painful is crying in pain and begging for painkillers, but the nurses and the other doctors refuse to give him any. He is shown the prescription, saying that he’s receiving the same treatment he gives to his own patients, and they wouldn’t want to insult him by doing anything different. They quote him at every turn, using his own excuses against him each time he asks. Lucky for him, the hernia is shortly resolved and he’s discharged.

Dr. Painful never stinted on painkillers after that episode. Seems pain can teach empathy after all.

Jumping To Conclusions In The Worst Possible Way

, , , , , , , , , | Romantic | July 19, 2022

Content Warning: Domestic Abuse


One night, I hopped on Facebook Messenger and left my sister a brief pick-me-up message.

Me: “Just wanted to check in with you. Know that I love you, and any time you need someone to listen to you, I’m right here!”

I then noticed I’d hit the wrong contact who had the same first name as her and sent the message to her. I corrected myself.

Me: “Oh, snap! Wrong [Name]!”

I sent the message to the intended recipient and went on about my day.

A few days later, I casually open my Facebook to see a message from someone I didn’t recognize. The letter was in all caps and laced with copious amounts of profanity. Thinking it was some moron who didn’t like a comment I’d made on a political video, I deleted it without reading it, blocked him, and moved along.

The following day, I got a message from the person I’d mistakenly sent the message to.

Friend: “Hi, I know that message was intended for your sister after she lost her job. I need you to do me a favor, though. Tell my soon-to-be ex-husband that (as well as the nature of our relationship) so that he knows what he backhanded me onto the floor over, subsequently ending a total of eight years together with three kids, since I’m not going to stay with any man who puts his hands on me. He’s actually the guy who sent you that message.”

It was one of those “I’m going to h*** for laughing at this” moments. Unblocking him, I simply wrote:

Me: “Bro, I have no idea what’s going on, but that message you saw was a misfire. I meant to send it to my sister. I don’t know your wife personally at all; I met her on a programming forum about six months ago. If you’d taken the time to read our chat history, our topics have included coding, cats, anime, ‘Final Fantasy’, and cleaning skunk odor off my dog. This is aside from the fact that I live abroad as an independent contractor (currently in Tokyo) and haven’t even been back in the US for going on fourteen years. Good luck with your divorce, though. Maybe some anger management courses might be in your best interest?”

He didn’t answer, but true to her word, his wife took the kids and divorced him. I really hope he feels like a genius.

This Shouldn’t Be A Workplace Hazard

, , , , | Right | May 18, 2022

I see a sign inside a Tokyo restaurant:

Sign: “Do not touch our waitresses, ask for their contact information, or wait for them outside. This restaurant will not be responsible for any injuries happening to anyone who ignores this warning.”

Duly noted, yikes!