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Two Guys, A Girl, And Two Pizza Places

, , , , , , , | Right | January 12, 2023

I used to be a night-time manager at a pizza place downtown. We were literally around the corner from a direct competitor. They had a carryout window and offered that service all night. We did not; we closed our doors at 10:00 pm and only offered delivery service after that.

We were quite friendly with the local police department, and they frequently sat in our parking lot at night to catch up on paperwork, watch for drunk drivers, etc.

One night at about 11:30 pm, I had a woman and a man start banging on our door. I spoke to them politely but loudly through the door.

Me: “We close carryout at 10:00!”

The woman went ballistic and started screaming and hitting the door, while the man just stood there watching trying to look hard. I asked another employee to keep an eye on me in case the situation escalated, and then I stepped out a side door in order to be able to actually converse with the couple.

The woman was absolutely nuclear at this point.

Woman: “We ordered our food! Where the f*** is our food?!”

Me: “If you called and ordered, it was probably our friendly neighbors with the carryout window.”

Woman: “You calling me stupid?! I called you guys!”

Me: “Can I ask you to check your phone and tell me which number you called?”

Woman: “I don’t have to! I know I called y’all, and it was you that took my order!”

Me: “There is absolutely no way I took a carryout order after we closed carryout.”

At this point, the man joined in and started taking a very aggressive posture and tone with me.

Man: “You’d better let us in and get our food!”

Me: “No.”

Then, the man shoved me and I stumbled back about three feet. He tried to swing at me and missed. At about the same time, the woman attempted to rush me, and there was a sound of “WOOOP! WOOOP!” and the flashing of blue lights behind them.

Astonishingly, this didn’t stop them from continuing to try to assault me; however, the two uniformed police officers that happened to have just pulled in took care of that very quickly.

Another squad car showed up. The couple was cuffed and placed in the cars and the officers were given a copy of the security footage. I asked the officer I was talking to if, for the sake of curiosity, he could possibly try to convince the woman to tell him the phone number she had called. He walked me back out to the car she was in and somehow convinced her to do this.

Woman: *Glaring at me* “[Number ending in 7272], you stupid f***!”

Me: *Smiling* “Our number is [number ending in 3030]. You called the number for Papa John’s. That’s why 7272 spells out ‘Papa’.”

Next, It Will Be Apple And Raspberry Pie

, , , , , , | Right | December 26, 2022

It’s December 26th, and my mom is shopping with some gift cards she got for Christmas. I have gone with her as I need to translate for her, but not for reasons you might think. She speaks only English, but… well…

Mom: *To an employee* “I need a screen with buttons.”

Me: “She needs a smartphone.”

The employee is relieved and walks us over to the section.

Mom: “I want a blueberry with teeth.”

The employee looks at me, again.

Me: “Blackberry, BlueTooth.”

Good thing I can speak fluent Mom!

Haven’t We Destroyed Pizzas Enough?

, , , , , | Right | November 4, 2022

I work at an Italian restaurant as a waitress.

Customer: “You got my order wrong!”

Me: “Sorry to hear that, ma’am. What is wrong with your order?”

Customer: “I ordered a Hawaiian pizza, and this isn’t a Hawaiian pizza! The toppings are all wrong!”

It has diced tomatoes, pineapples, and ham, exactly what the menu states. I explain this.

Customer: “What are you talking about? These are yellow! Pineapples are orange!”

Confused, I get my manager.

Manager: “Ma’am, pineapples are quite yellow, not orange, but if you don’t like it, you can order something else on the house.”

Customer: “No, I want this but with the right pineapples.”

She starts explaining what they look like. She completely describes oranges.

Me: “Wait, do you mean oranges?

Customer: “No, pineapples!

She starts describing oranges again. At this point, I take my phone out, look up oranges and pineapples, and show her. She points at the oranges and yells at the top of her lungs:

Customer: “Yes, those! I want those.”

My manager told her we did not have those and that she could either pick something else or eat what she had. She left.

When You Have Good Aisle Style

, , , | Right | June 3, 2022

I am shopping in a crowded supermarket. I find a few items I am looking for, add them to my cart, and keep shopping.

Not far down the aisle, I see the same type of items at a better price, so I decide to swap them for the items I have already put in my cart. I then leave my cart where it was and walk the short way back to the place where I had taken the original items off the shelves. It’s a maximum of three metres or so.

I start placing the items I’m not buying back on the shelves in the correct places. A store manager is walking by.

Store Manager: “Ma’am, what are you doing?”

Me: “Oh, I saw similar items a little down the aisle that I decided to buy instead, so I’m just putting these back where they belong.”

He looks stunned and starts absolutely GUSHING:

Store Manager: “Oh, wow, ma’am, thank you so much! It’s so incredible that you’re putting the items back instead of leaving them in some random place in the store for an employee to find and return to their place! Thank you so much, really!”

I’m pretty sure he was gushing partly to make an impression on the other customers, because clearly, my (responsible) behavior was outside the norm, but I think I made that poor man’s day by taking less than ten seconds to make his job just a little less awful.

It still shocks me when I’m in a store with a friend and they decide to just leave something in a random place and say that it’s someone’s job to pick up after them.

Sometimes Employees Know How To Manage Themselves

, , , , , | Working | December 10, 2021

I work as a software engineer — AKA code monkey — for a contracting company. Programmers get a lot of flexibility in our work hours; so long as we get in forty hours a week and are available for a few hours midday for meetings/discussions, we can pretty much work whenever we want.

I take advantage of this by taking many non-productive breaks during the day to goof off online. I’m on one right now as I write this story. I use the stopwatch on my watch to track exactly how much time is spent on these breaks and always work later to compensate for the break time so I get in a full eight hours of productive work. For reference, my extra breaks usually add up to one or two hours over a day, so not a trivial amount of time.

I should also explain that my company contracts me to the government. That means I have two lines of bosses: the government manager and above who I am contracted to and work for daily, and my company management who, ironically, I see far less of.

One day, my company manager shows up and drags me into a room with some HR people for a talk.

HR Person: “[Important Government Guy not on our project] reported that he saw you looking at comics at work. Is that true?

Me: “Yes, I probably was. I take breaks during the day to do stuff online, but I don’t charge that time.”

HR Person: “But you are being paid to work, not spend time online.”

Me: “I’m not being paid to be online. I told you, I track that time and don’t charge it. Studies show that occasional breaks improve productivity, especially in more mental fields like programming, so if anything, the government is getting more work out of me by my taking breaks.”

HR Person: “But it’s against policy to use government systems for personal use.”

Me: “It’s only unauthorized personal use that is against policy. [Government Manager] knows I take unpaid breaks and doesn’t have a problem with it, so I would say it’s not unauthorized.”

Company Manager: “[Government Manager] knows you’re taking breaks online?”

Me: “Yes. I explained it all to him the first week here and got his approval before I started doing it. He doesn’t mind so long as I don’t charge it and I get my work done.”

HR Person: “It’s still timesheet fraud to not claim hours you’re at work.”

Me: “But I’m claiming eight hours of work and I do eight hours of work. My timesheet never says which hours I work, only that I did eight hours.”

HR Person: “If you’re in the building, you need to charge the hours.”

Me: “So, if I log off and walk out that door, I can get on my phone and play around all I want, but because I do the exact same thing sitting in this room, it’s somehow fraud?”

HR Person: “Just stop reading comics at work. It makes us look bad to the customer.”

Me: “It’s important for me! I have ADHD; I can’t always control when my mind wanders. If I can’t take breaks when distracted, I’ll still be distracted; I’ll just be charging the government for it and being unproductive.”

HR Person: “Everyone else has managed without playing games on the Internet. I’m sure you can, too.”

At this point, I’m honestly getting a bit flustered and upset. I know these goof-off breaks may seem trivial to most people, but they really do help me. The real reason has more to do with something called hyperfocus than how I explained it to the managers, not wanting to get into the nitty-gritty of ADHD, but the point is that it’s an effective strategy that helps me. I know from experience that I’m far less productive without my breaks and that, when that happens, I feel guilty for not being productive and try to make up by staying late, which just leads to burnout and a downward spiral of productivity in the long run that I want to avoid.  

In fact, this is important enough to me that the possibility of changing companies is already running through my head. Given the lack of programmers and certain qualifications I have, I know finding a new company won’t be hard. I can quit this moment and have a new job in two weeks without difficulty, quite possible with a higher salary. So, there isn’t that much tying me to my current company if they are going to make my life terrible.

Me: “But I know from experience that I do need them! I’m a far worse employee without them. I’m not charging it, [Government Manager] is fine with it, it’s not hurting anyone, and it’s important for me!”

HR Person: “It’s making us look bad to our customers.”

Luckily, I think my manager can hear the desperation in my voice because he steps in.

Manager: “Hold on. [My Name], have you been officially diagnosed with ADHD?”

Me: “Yes, since I was in first grade. I even keep some knock-off Ritalin at my desk in case I forget to take it at home.”

Manager: “Then, as I understand it, you would be covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and I’d say being allowed to take unpaid breaks at your desk would definitely qualify as reasonable accommodations, right, [HR Person]?”

The HR guy seems shocked at having his own rules thrown back at him like that.

HR Person: “Umm, possible, but we still need to do something about how he looks to our customers.”

Manager: “Let me verify with [Government Manager] that [My Name] has already talked to him about his breaks. If he’s fine with it, then before we ask [My Name] to change a system that works for him, why don’t you let me talk to [Important Government Guy] and explain why he is taking breaks and see if that satisfies him?”

I got excused from our little meeting shortly after that. Even more amazing, the important government guy that originally complained about my being on the Internet even spoke to me a bit later and basically apologized for leaping to conclusions and told me he didn’t have a problem so long as I didn’t charge the hours I was playing online.

Thanks to that manager, I stayed with the company for a bit over half a year longer, at which point I’d stayed long enough that it made sense to jump companies for the salary boost I’d get. Still, I appreciate my manager standing up for me and fixing the problem.