You Can’t Buy Trust

, , , , , | Working | January 22, 2018

(I work at an extremely popular chain bakery and cafe. We have recently gotten a new manager: a woman who has been bounced from cafe to cafe because of all the complaints that have been filed against her by employees and other managers. The company refuses to fire her because she is very good with customers and receives glowing reviews from them. A customer comes up to me in the middle of lunch rush.)

Customer: “Excuse me? All of the paper towels are out in the women’s bathroom.”

(I run off to get the paper towel dispenser key, which is kept in the office. I try to get in, but find the door locked. I go up to the new manager, who is swamped with sandwich orders.)

Me: “[Manager]? I need the bathroom keys, but they’re locked in the office. Can I borrow your keys to go get them?”

Manager: “No.”

Me: “I… What?”

Manager: “No, you cannot. There’s money in the office, and nobody is allowed in there when there is money in there.”

(This is correct, but only in stores that do not have cameras installed in the office. Ours, however, does have a camera installed.)

Me: “[Manager], we don’t have to follow that rule here. Please? I only need the keys for a second, and I can see through the office door that the only money that isn’t locked in the safe is change. It probably totals about $10 at the most.”

Manager: “No. I don’t trust you. Wait here while I finish what I’m doing, and then we will get them together.”

(I am taken aback. Not only have I not given this manager any reason not to trust me, but I also know that the general manager holds me in high regard, and that I have a reputation for being an extremely trustworthy person. Nonetheless, I stand and wait for her to finish the five or so sandwiches on her board. While standing there, I am approached by no less than five more customers, all telling me that the paper towels are out. Finally, the manager finishes.)

Manager: *unlocking the door* “All right, tell me where the keys are.”

(I move towards the doorway, fully intending to grab the keys myself. She SLAMS the door in my face, and yells through the door.)

Manager: “Tell me where they are!”

Me: “Do you see the tan box on the wall?”

Manager: “No.”

Me: “It’s a tan metal box with a lock on it. There’s a keychain hanging off of the knob with three skulls on it. It’s right next to the door. Do you see it?”

Manager: “No.”

(I try and fail to direct her towards the keys several times before she gets flustered and opens the door. I reach around the door, open the box, pull out the keys, and close the door behind me. The only part of me that enters the office is my arm up to my shoulder, and I don’t even need to look. I also don’t come within five feet of the money the entire time. On the way back out, the manager drops this gem.)

Manager: “It’s just, I really don’t trust you around money.”

Me: *muttering under my breath* “Well, that’s going to cause an issue, because I’m a cashier.”

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Has Mixed Feelings About HR

, , , , , , , | Working | January 22, 2018

(I am of mixed race — my mom is black and my dad is white — but I have predominantly Caucasian features. I get called into HR after a verbal fight I had with another mixed coworker. She is accusing me of being racist towards her. I have a generic first and last name, so unless I choose to disclose my parentage, I can easily pass for white.)

Human Resources: “Hello, [My Name]. Thanks for coming. This is a safe space to share our feelings in, so no one feels attacked here.”

(My coworker sniffles and glares at me as I sit down.)

Me: “Okay.”

Human Resources: “So, let’s discuss what happened on Thursday, and how we can move forward. [Coworker] feels like you’re singling her out for being mixed and are purposely giving her easy work and putting her down in front of the boss due to her race.”

Me: “Now—”

Coworker: “I just feel so unsafe at work.”

Human Resources: “Don’t worry, [Coworker]; we are here to change that.”

Me: “Can I say something?”

Coworker: “You’ve said enough. It’s clear how you feel about black people.”

Human Resources: “Now, now, let’s stay calm. It’s a safe space. Now, [My Name], since is the first altercation, you won’t be fired.” *Yes, this is literally how she started the conversation* “But—”

Me: “Uh, excuse me? Aren’t you going to ask my side of the story?”

Human Resources: “Uh, well, sure, but—”

Me: “I hope you aren’t just taking her side because she’s more black than I am.”

Coworker: “YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW HARD IT IS BEING MIXED!”

Me: “NEWSFLASH! I’m mixed, too!”

Coworker: “What?”

Me: “I look white, but my mom is black. So, let’s go back you accusing me of being racist towards you for being mixed. Now that it’s clear I’m mixed, too, please explain to me how I’ve been demeaning to you because of your lineage. I’m sure my parents want to know where they went wrong with me.”

Coworker: *rushed* “Maybe I overreacted.”

Human Resources: “Okay, due to this turn of events, maybe we can settle it.”

Me: “Yeah, thanks to you finding out I’m mixed, all of a sudden I’m not the bad guy, huh? What if I hadn’t been mixed? You weren’t even going to hear my side of the story! You would’ve just taken her at her word, and I might’ve been out of that supervisor promotion I applied for. You could’ve ruined my future at this company all because I ‘look white.’”

(I stormed out of the office and found the nearest office with the words supervisor on it. I was led to the supervisor of the HR rep, and he listened to me rant for at least an hour before, calmly, helping me find a solution. Neither the HR rep or my coworker were fired, but the HR rep was unofficially demoted and my coworker was moved to a different floor. I haven’t had any trouble since, and although I got passed over for supervisor, my current boss practically told me I have her position when she goes on maternity leave. After this altercation, my mom half-jokingly told me to leave a picture of all of us on my desk in case of future misunderstandings of my race.)

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The Wheelchair Affair

, , , , , , | Healthy | January 22, 2018

(Our office occupies the bottom two floors of the building. There is a medical office on the fourth floor which is accessed by an elevator in the main lobby. Recently, there has been construction in front of the building’s main door, but pedestrians can still access the door. I am in a meeting when I am called to one of our side entrances to deal with an irate couple, a man and a woman.)

Me: “Can I help you?”

(I see that the woman is walking with a cane.)

Woman: “I want you to let me in so I can get to the elevator. I have an appointment!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but this is not [Medical Facility]. We can’t let you in because this area is restricted. If you want, I can walk you over to the main entrance and you can use the elevators there.”

Woman: “I can’t walk that far!”

(A coworker arrives at this time.)

Coworker: “It’s the same distance, either way. We can’t let you in.”

Man: “Well, we can’t go that way because of the construction! Unless you want to carry her, or you have a wheelchair, we need to get in this way!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we can’t do that. You can get around the construction; I promise.”

(This goes on for several minutes. After a while, the woman goes to use a phone that’s near the door.)

Woman: “Give me the number for [Doctor]!”

Coworker: “Ma’am, that phone connects to the office I just came from. We aren’t [Medical Facility]. We don’t have the number.”

Man: “Do you have any wheelchairs?”

Me: “No, we don’t.”

(The two finally leave, but not before…)

Woman: “You need to figure out how to handle cases like this better!”

Me: “You have my deepest apologies, ma’am.”

Woman: “What good’s that going to do me?!”

(They walk outside, leaving my coworker and me behind.)

Me: “They seriously want us to stock wheelchairs for people who can’t be bothered to use the main entrance?”

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Hot-Headed About The Cold

, , , | Right | January 22, 2018

(I am the guest services manager at a hotel. One morning I’m asked to come speak with an irate guest.)

Me: “Good morning. What seems to be the problem?”

Customer: “The problem is I nearly froze to death in that room last night! Do you guys not know how to maintain your heating systems?”

Me: “I’m so sorry. Was the heat just not kicking on?”

Customer: “No! I kept setting it warmer, and the air kept getting colder. Every time I tried turning it down, the air got colder. This is ridiculous. You need to give me my money back or something.”

Me: “I’m sorry. You say you turned it down? As in, the number on the display screen was getting lower?”

Customer: “Yes! I set it to warm, and turned down the temperature, and it just got colder!”

Me: “Well, sir, lower temperatures are colder. You have to raise the temperature for heat. Did you try calling the front desk to ask for assistance with the heating system?”

Customer: “No, of course not. I just wanted to sleep. But I turned the heat up. I put it to warm, and put the heat up. Your air conditioner is not working. I demand compensation!”

(I give in and give the guy a 10% discount, and a further 20% off his next visit, promising to have maintenance “repair” the faulty A/C. Before leaving, however, he insists that I come to the room so he can show me the problem. We walk into the room, which is freezing cold. I take one look at the display screen and see the problem: the A/C is on and cranked to full blast with the temperature at its lowest setting. I press the button marked “heat” and raise the temperature, and hot air immediately starts blowing out of the unit.)

Me: “Well, it looks like the heat was never turned on. Glad to know we could resolve this problem before the next guest checks in here. Anything else I can—”

(With that, the guest turned red and ran from the room. He hasn’t been back yet.)

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Not Quite A Fountain Of Common Sense

, , , , , , | Right | January 22, 2018

(I work at a well-known pizza chain. One of our customers, a lady in her mid-thirties, is a fairly regular visitor. She often makes strange or outrageous requests, but today she targets me specifically. She comes up to the counter to pay for her dine-in order.)

Me: “How was everything?”

Customer: *grumbles*

Me: *after scanning her credit card* “Okay, all I need is your signature, and you’ll be all set!”

Customer: “I can’t sign with that pen.”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Customer: “Your pen. It isn’t legal.”

(My pen is a fountain pen that I bring from home, because it writes more consistently and smoothly on receipts. As far as I know, there aren’t pen restrictions in my line of work.)

Me: “Not legal?”

Customer: “Yes! You can’t make me pay if I sign with that! I need one like I use in the bank!”

Me: “Okay… Do you have such a pen with you?”

Customer: “No! I need a bank pen! Yours isn’t legal!”

Me: “I’m afraid this is the only type of pen I have available at the moment. If you happen to have another, you’re more than welcome to use it.”

Customer: “Stop being stupid! I don’t carry a bank pen!”

Me: “Then, I’m afraid that my pen is your only choice.”

Customer: “But it isn’t legal!”

(She dug around in her purse and pulled out a pencil. I don’t think she knew that signatures in pencil are even less “legal.” Interestingly, in all the times I’ve seen her since, she’s had nothing to say about my pen.)

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