The Key To Progress

, , , , | Right | July 26, 2019

(I have been managing a key shop since 1970. When I started, all the shops — I work for a chain — were managed either by retired hardware workers or retired locksmiths, all men. They hired high-school or college students to work part-time, again all men. After a while, one of the part-timers that was there when I took over quit and it was time to look for a replacement. I took applications and did interviews and I hired a female student. She was the only woman out of 40 shops with a total of about 120 employees. The managers of the other shops thought that I was nuts and would drive from their shops when she was working to pretend to be customers just to see a woman cut keys. The following happened often when we worked at the same time. A customer comes in:)

Female Coworker: “May I help you?”

Customer: “I would like two of this key and one of that key.”

(She starts to look for the key blanks to make the keys.)

Customer: “Wait, what are you doing?”

Female Coworker: “I am looking for your blanks so I can cut your keys.”

Customer: “No! You are just a girl; you can’t make keys. He has to do it.” *pointing to me*

(I have been making keys for several years while my assistant has been doing it for six months, but the customer does not know this. I am three years older.)

Female Coworker: “Okay. Here, you try to do this.” *hands the keys to me*

Me: *to female coworker* “I think I know this one, but can you help me find this one?”

Female Coworker: “No, that is the wrong blank use this, and the other one is that one over there.”

Me: “Oh, thanks. They all look so similar.”

(I step up to the machine and she stands next to me pretending to watch what I am doing.)

Me: “So, the customer’s key goes on the left?”

Female Coworker: “Yes, that’s right. But you have it in the clamp too far; move it out a little.”

(This goes on with more instructions from her for about a minute until…)

Customer: “Oh, forget it. Just let her do it.”

(She cut the three keys in about 45 seconds and rang up the sale. The customer left. Five customers later, we did this again. Fortunately, times have changed in the last forty years and I can no longer play this game.)

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Doing Your Job Is The Key To Receiving Paychecks

, , , , , | Working | March 28, 2019

(I am a manager of a key shop and I usually have three young, part-time employees. To try to be fair, I usually give each employee the same schedule each week so that they can plan their lives knowing what days they will have off in the future, and I also give each one about the same number of hours each week. A longtime employee has moved on and I have replaced him. This is the new guy’s first job ever. It is explained to him that this is an hourly position. Things are going fine for about two months, and then the new guy decides to take off for about half his scheduled hours in the same week for personal stuff. This is not a problem because the others are fine with covering his hours. However, on payday the following week, the new guy has a serious problem…)

New Guy: “Hey, boss, why is my check half of what is usually is?”

Me: “Because you took off two days that week.”

New Guy: “But I was scheduled to work.”

Me: “Yeah, but you didn’t work.”

New Guy: “What does that have to do with it? I was scheduled.”

Me: “Yes, but you only get paid for what you actually work.”

New Guy: “So, you are telling me that if I don’t work my schedule I don’t get paid?”

Me: “Bingo.”

New Guy: “You didn’t tell me this when I was hired.”

Me: “I didn’t tell you that the sun comes up in the morning either, but it still does. ‘Actual work equals actual pay’ is something everyone is supposed to know.”

New Guy: “This can’t be right; I need the same pay every week.”

Me: “Then work your hours.”

New Guy: “But sometimes I need a day off.”

Me: “Then you get paid less.”

New Guy: “This is not fair. I’m going to talk to my dad about this.”

Me: “Enjoy. I wish I could be there.”

(The next time I saw him he had a firmer grasp upon reality.)

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I Got 99 Problems And Your Change Is One

, , , , , | Right | May 9, 2018

(A customer comes in to buy a key for a car. I make the key, and the total comes to $5.01, and he gives me $6.00. I ask him if he has a penny or nickel so that I do not have to dump a lot of change on him. He says no, so I give him 99 cents in change. Less than five minutes later, he returns.)

Customer: “That key worked really well. When I went elsewhere they could not get one to work, so I want another one.”

(I make another key, and of course it is the same price.)

Customer: “Here is six dollars.”

Me: “Can you give me a penny?”

Customer: “I have no change.”

Me: “Didn’t I just give you 99 cents in change?”

Customer: “Oh, right.” *hands me a penny*

(I have no idea what he was thinking.)

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Mission: Impossible

, , , | Right | August 3, 2017

Customer: “I just locked my key in my car in front of the shop.”

Me: *I pick up some stuff* “Not a problem. I’ll pop it open for $5.00.”

Customer: “What are you going to do with that stuff?”

Me: “Open your car.”

Customer: “It’s a brand new Mercedes. I just drove it here from the dealer. You can’t touch it!”

Me: “Then how do I open it?”

Customer: “That’s your problem.”

Me: “Actually, it’s not; I didn’t lock the key in your car.”

Customer: “You have to open it.”

Me: “Watch me not open it.”

Customer: “Okay, then, but if you make any scratch or mark at all then you will have to pay Mercedes to repaint the whole car. That will cost thousands.”

Me: “So, if I’m successful I get $5.00, but if I make the smallest error it will cost me thousands of dollars?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “Your car might just be there forever.”


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Not Much Assurance About The Insurance

| Right | November 8, 2015

(After working for another company for 45 years, I have purchased a key shop and am now the owner. Needless to say all contacts with my previous employer are gone. My cell phone rings.)

Me: “This is the key shop. I am [My Name].”

Caller: “Has your insurance changed?”

Me: “Pardon? What insurance?”

Caller: “Your insurance. Has it changed?”

Me: “What insurance?”

Caller: “Has your insurance changed?”

Me: “What kind of insurance? I have just started this business. Are you asking about my business insurance or my locksmith insurance? I just received my locksmith insurance renewal notice last week but have not opened it yet.”

Caller: “No, no, your insurance. Did it change?”

Me: “What kind of insurance are you asking about? I have two cars with insurance on them, home insurance, life insurance, and others, but my wife takes care of them.”

Caller: “Your insurance. We need to know if it changed.”

Me: “And who is ‘We’? Who are you?”

Caller: “I am from [Medical Office]. You have an appointment next week so we checked your insurer and they told us that you no longer have a policy with them.”

Me: “Well, no. I no longer work for the company that contracts with them for employee medical insurance.”

Caller: “So are you canceling your appointment?”

Me: “Nope, I am 65 and now have Medicare and also supplemental insurance. I am bringing my new cards to my appointment with you.”

Caller: “Why didn’t you just say that before?!”

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