No Trend Towards Blend

, , , , , | Working | April 20, 2018

(My husband and I decide to try a new independent coffee shop that everyone keeps talking about. It is a hot summer day, and I usually don’t order blended coffee drinks, but the shop has a large selection that sound good and a sign advertising them as a great way to cool down in the heat and humidity. It is around one in the afternoon, so it’s not right after opening and not anywhere near closing, and the shop isn’t busy.)

Barista: “Hi, welcome to [Coffee Shop]. What can I get started for you? Our blended drinks are great for this weather.”

Me: “Yes, they sound perfect. I’ll try the [Blended Drink].”

Barista: “Oh, well, I’ll have to get the blender out.”

(The barista stares at me. I stare at her. After several more seconds of uncomfortable staring…)

Me: “Well, I guess I’ll just have an iced latte.”

Barista: “Great! I’ll get that started. Next time, you really should try one of our blended drinks!”

Me: “…”

Their “Pretty Woman” Moment

, , , , | Working | April 20, 2018

(I need a new dress for my high school graduation ceremony. My mother will pay for it, but since she does not have much free time, it is decided that my older sister and I will go to our favourite fancy clothing store, look through their collection, put a reservation on our favourite dresses, and return the next day with our mother. I am 18, and my sister is 20. When we reach the store shortly after opening on a weekday, we enter the floor that has what we are looking for, only to find it completely empty of other customers or employees. There are, however, signs everywhere stating that you are not allowed to try on dresses without an employee present, so we go and search for one. On the far end of the floor, we find two women in their 50s behind some registers.)

Sister: “Hi, we are looking for a graduation dress!”

Employee: *stops talking to her colleague, looking rather annoyed* “Sure, come with me.”

(She leads us back out onto the floor. While walking, my sister tells her what we have in mind:)

Sister: “We need a graduation dress for my sister. The ceremony is at [date], and since it will be warm, we need something that has a fabric that is not too heavy. We thought about something with [sleeve style], maybe combined with [skirt style].”

(While my sister is in the middle of describing what we are looking for, the woman stops in the middle if the floor, next to one of the signs, and points to a connecting room.)

Employee: “Cocktail dresses are over there.” *walks away*

Me: “But wait!”

Sister: “Well, we tried! Come on. Let’s check out these dresses.”

(We spend the next hour in the room trying on dresses. The woman does not check on us or offer to help even once. With our two favourite dresses, we return to the registers. The woman is again chatting with her coworker and throws us a nasty look when she sees us. When we ask her to reserve the dresses for us, she complies but throws a look at her coworker that clearly says, “Who are those annoying brats trying to fool?” At home, we tell our mother about the woman’s behaviour. It’s clear to us that she did not deem us worthy of her time, thinking we would not buy anything. Since we are young adults looking for a dress for a specific occasion only a few weeks away, with clear ideas what we are looking for, we do not understand where she would get that idea from. When the three of us return the next day, the same woman is at the register again. We point her out to our mother.)

Mom: “Hello. My daughters reserved some dresses. I would like to see them.”

(The woman recognizes us, but quickly covers her shocked expression with a big smile.)

Woman: “But of course! Your lovely daughters were here yesterday! We looked at so many dresses, and they picked out some really nice ones!”

(She brings the dresses and keeps blabbering to my mother about us and the dresses, acting as if she had been helping us the whole time yesterday. She actually turns out to be really helpful when my mother wants to see some other dresses, finding one that was exactly what we have been looking for and looks perfect on me. We did not find it the day before because it was in a completely different room! My mother buys the dress, but does not leave a tip as would be usual in a store like this. The woman’s face drops when she sees that. Later, in the car:)

Mom: “Well, can you believe this woman? Does she think you do not talk to me? I would have given her a big tip for her help, but not when she treated you that way yesterday!”

(I hope that woman learned her lesson: even if you do not think someone is going to buy something, do the job you’re getting paid for!)

Needs A Change Of Parent

, , , , | Right | April 19, 2018

(I am what they call a “floater” — basically a substitute — at a local day-care. This means I might work with different age groups each shift I am called in to work. Today, I am working in the one-year-old room. We have a schedule for when we change the children’s diapers, but they are also periodically checked throughout the day. A coworker and I have our group playing outside in the fenced-in area. A mom comes up to the fence to pick up her baby after signing her child out of the office. I hand the child over the fence to the mother, then go in to get her child’s things. She takes her child and the things to the car just a few feet away, so I think nothing more of it. A minute later the mother comes back to me, holding her child out in front of her as if she is disgusted by her.)

Mother: “She needs to be changed.”

(I wordlessly stare at the mother for a few seconds before it registers to me that, yes, this is actually happening. Not wanting to cause a scene or fuss with the mother, I take the child back in, change her, bring her back out to the mother, and hand her back over the fence.)

Coworker: “Did she really just bring her child back to us just so we could change her?”

Me: “Yep.”

(Both of us stared at the mother as she drove away, wondering how in the world some people ever became parents.)

Treating You Like The Grunt Of The Litter

, , , , | Working | April 18, 2018


Boss: “There is a major project that needs done by next Wednesday. What do you need in assistance to get it handled?”

Me: “Can you cover the [day-to-day grunt work]?”

Boss: “You got it.”

(I decide to quietly go above and beyond and work all weekend. Come Monday morning, I gauge how much I have left to do and estimate I’ll have it done by the end of the day. An hour later:)

Boss: *has no insight into the extra work I did* “That project will be done today, right?”

Me: “Uh… We agreed on Wednesday.”

Boss: “I’m being aggressive with our timeline.”

Me: “Yeah. Today or tomorrow.”

Boss: “Good.”

(By mid-day, I start getting calls from other departments that are waiting on the stuff from [day-to-day grunt work]. I don’t want to throw my boss under the bus, so I say I’m on it and follow up with my boss later.)

Me: “Hey, [Coworker in other department] needs that [day-to-day grunt work] done by the end of the day.”

Boss: “Well, I’m caught up in phone calls all day!”

(I end up doing the [day-to-day grunt work], which makes for a 12-hour day after a full weekend, and a delay in my early delivery of the project. Tuesday:)

Boss: *working on something* “Would have been nice to have [project] done to make this easier.”

Me: *letting it slide* “I’m almost done.”

Boss: “I need you to immediately transition back to [day-to-day grunt work].”

(I do, and everything is three to four days behind. Wednesday:)

Boss: “Where are we with [project that hasn’t been discussed in a month]?”

Me: “I’ve been doing [project due today] and focusing on [day-to-day grunt work]. I’ve not had time.”

Boss: “Well, I need to see some progress on that. Don’t feel like you have to do [day-to-day grunt work] on your own; ask for help when you need it.”

Me: “…”

Don’t Get The Grilled Cheese

, , , , , , , | Working | April 16, 2018

(I work for a fast food corporation as an assistant store manager. Our store is going to have its 18-month inspection conducted by senior company management. In addition, the owner and senior management of our own franchise group will be present. Consequences for failing the inspection range from the store being put on probation to outright dismissal of any member of staff deemed to be directly responsible for the failure in severe cases. As a result of this, our store schedules for a considerably beefed-up evening shift that works until midnight to complete major cleaning tasks, and then a three-strong overnighter team to focus on specific areas and generally raise the standards as high as they can go. The opening staff also arrive at six rather than seven to allow for any last minute do-overs of anything deemed to still not be up to standards. The opening shift is lead by our most senior shift manager, and I arrive at seven, mainly to ensure all the needed paperwork is ready for the senior management when they arrive at eight. I arrive to find the opening staff in a frenzy, and my normally very relaxed shift manager red in the face with fury.)

Me: “What the hell’s going on? Almost all of what you’re doing should have been done by the overnighters.”

Shift Manager: “Yeah, I know. [Overnight Manager] basically had them do nothing all night, so far as I can tell; even drink cups and lids haven’t been stocked. And then he, [Female Crew Member #1], and [Female Crew Member #2] just walked right out as soon as we clocked in.”

Me: “Terrific. They’ll have to be dealt with later. Keep at it; I’ll ring everyone who’s due in at eight to see if they can get in earlier, and then I’ll come help. The paperwork can wait.”

(I ring all staff and get three of them to come in ASAP, and then help the shift manager get everything as sorted as we can in the 50 minutes we have left. At 7:30, the business manager arrives and also questions why it’s still such a mess, but also thankfully informs us that all parties of senior management are stuck in traffic and will be at least 45 to 60 minutes late. We eventually get everything just about ready at 8:15, just after we open to customers, and I retreat to the office to sort the paperwork. The business manager comes with me, leaving the floor to the shift manager.)

Business Manager: “So, any idea what went wrong this morning?”

Me: “[Shift Manager] said he arrived this morning and it looked like the overnight shift did pretty much nothing and walked out as soon as he started. I really don’t get it; he’s normally a solid worker, and it’s not like we gave him a pair of idiots to work with.”

Business Manager: “Yeah, [Female Crew Member #1] and [Female Crew Member #2] are both in line for crew trainer promotions; I really don’t get it. I’m going to check the store cameras and see if I can figure out what happened.”

(A few minutes pass whilst the business manager logs into the CCTV system and starts fast-forwarding the recording. He gets to midnight, when the evening shift leaves without anything unusual happening, and at this point all three people from the overnight shift are visibly working. However, barely five minutes after the evening shift leaves…)

Business Manager: “I think I’ve found the source of the problem.”

(I turn to look at the screen to see the overnight manager go into the crew room to return with two six-packs of beer and a large bottle of vodka. He immediately cracks open a can and passes the vodka to the girls. The next hour of footage is the overnight manager going through seven of the cans whilst the girls go through roughly half the vodka, using the drinks machine for mixers. After around 90 minutes of them drinking, things are clearly starting to get a little ropy. The cameras don’t record audio, so we have no idea what’s being said, but one of the girls proceeds to peel off her work top, pants, and bra and does several laps of the kitchen in nothing but her shoes and panties, using a burger box to cover her chest. We already have more than enough evidence to sack all three of them, but we are worried as to how much further things went, since obviously we’re working with food and contamination is a serious danger. At this point, we have one of the women still only dressed in her panties, and the manager and other girl looking on; however, from here on, it only gets worse. The already mostly undressed girl encourages the other two to undress, and shortly after, both girls and the manager are stood all dressed only in their underwear. The business manager and I exchange very worried glances, because we know where this is going. We are simply dumbstruck at what we’re watching, but after a minute we get it together, and I march out to the shift manager on the floor and pull him aside.)

Me: “Okay, we found out what happened. I’ll need you for a statement later. Right now, I need you to fully clean grill two, and I mean a really good clean. I’m going to clean down [kitchen counter area] with disinfectant, and a lot of it.”

Shift Manager: “Sure. Do I even want to know why we’re doing this?”

Me: *after looking around to be sure none of the crew will hear me, whispering* “[Overnight Manager] banged [Female Crew Member #2] whilst she was bent over the grill.”

Shift Manager: *with a very shocked expression* “Sure. I’ll get right on it.”

(We decontaminate the affected areas, and after a discussion with the business manager, we opt to not turn the affected grill back on and just cite an electrical fault during the inspection. Then, we finally welcome the senior management when they arrive. The inspection goes just about all right, and we pass with a mark just slightly above the minimum requirement. The business manager at some point informs our group management that there was an “incident” with the overnight shift, but says it’s better discussed after the inspection. Once the corporate management leave, the business manager and I return to the office with our franchise group management to discuss the results. The owner is somewhat displeased with our results, given we got a significantly better passing mark for the previous one. In response, the business manager simply asks that they watch the CCTV footage for themselves. The senior management watch in disgust as we proceed through the drinking, to the stripping, and then on to the adult activities.)

Business Manager: “How should we proceed?”

Owner: “Obviously, fire all three of them right this instant. I cant believe anyone would be so depraved as to have sex on the grill; it’s utterly disgusting. I’ll reach out to my food safety contact and lawyer to see if, and how, we can press further punishment on them. Also, I’ll see if insurance will allow for a replacement grill; that one’s been soiled permanently, in my eyes. If we have to buy a new grill outright, then so be it.”

(Ultimately, all three members of staff were fired, and they then faced further legal action in the form of a lawsuit from the owner. It concluded in them having to pay between them for the cost of the new grill, which came to around £15,000. In addition, all three were blacklisted and have lifetime bans from working in the food industry in any capacity. None of them could ever provide a satisfactory explanation as to why they actually did what they did. The closest we ever got was that they planned to just have a couple of drinks to motivate them and it got out of hand. Given the amount of alcohol on hand, we obviously didn’t accept that claim.)

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