This Is What Happens When The Couriers Drive TARDISes

, , , , , , | Working | May 20, 2021

I have been ordering a lot of things online over the last year for fairly obvious reasons. On this occasion, the delivery company provides tracking updates by email. At 1:30, I get an email saying that the package is with the local delivery agent and they will be delivering it between 2:00 and 5:00 pm. At 3:30, I get an email saying that they failed to deliver for the third time and will be returning it to the sender. 

I have been having issues with the wireless doorbell for my top floor flat, so I’m not too surprised at missing the delivery, but that was a first attempt, not a third. I decide to email customer services. Unfortunately, the company has made their customer service email address rather hard to find, so I am very annoyed by the time I find it. I try to remain polite in my email, I state my tracking number and what happened and then I ask if they intend to claim they tried to deliver three times in an hour and a half, which defeated the point of redelivery, or if their delivery staff were just being lazy.

I never get a direct reply to my email or any response indicating it has even been read, but the next day, I get a tracking update telling me there will be a delay in my package. The day after, another tracking email says it will be delivered the next day.

By this point, I have bought and installed a new doorbell, so the delivery goes smoothly, but when I get back to my flat, I notice that a new delivery sticker has been placed over the original one and the delivery instructions read, “3 comes after 1 and 2.”

I guess my email did get read after all!

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Socially Distancing Herself From The Rules

, , , , , , | Right | May 20, 2021

Our self-scan checkouts are quite close together. When social distancing is required, we are not able to move them further apart, so we have big screens put in place between each checkout. It’s a squeeze, but everyone is able to stay safe.

A customer at till four calls me over as the till is claiming her bags need authorising, even though everything seems fine. I head over to till four and stand by till five, since the buttons I need to press are on that side. I scan my ID and tell the till to accept the bags, and the customer is very grateful. Suddenly, the customer at till five speaks up.

Customer: “Excuse me! You are far too close! Two metres!”

In her defence, I did not see her when I walked over. I very quickly move out of the way, apologise, and after making sure the customer at till four is fine, walk off back to the attendant stand. The customer at till five is still complaining and tells another customer to keep their distance. Eventually, she grabs her shopping and starts to walk off.

Customer: “How do I get out?”

Me: “Turn left here and follow the arrows, and you’ll get to the exit.”

Customer: “That’s a long way! Why on Earth do I have to go all the way over there?”

Me: “We have to have the one-way system for everyone to get out safely.”

Customer: “I’m not walking all that way!”

She walked toward one of the main, manned checkouts which had a narrow aisle full of queuing customers and squeezes her way through them in order to get out “quicker”. She stormed off towards the exit. The customer at till four and I could only watch with “That just happened, right?” expressions. Do as she says, but not as she does, I guess!

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“Just Go Get A Job,” They Say

, , , , | Working | May 18, 2021

During eighteen months of unemployment, I try to figure out new ways to increase my chances. I get a lot of generic advice from people around me, like, “Look beyond the qualification list!” and “Try every possibility!’” and “Why don’t you just do [something that doesn’t make money at all]?” You get it. Getting desperate, I try some of this advice after all, only to find out that they are completely useless.

One piece of advice I see on several websites and hear from several people is, “Making a phone call still is the best way!” This seems a bit outdated to me, but it also isn’t a good combination with my shy personality and autism. At some point, I decide to try it anyway. In the case of a few vacancies, I try to call the person who is mentioned as a contact for questions. The problem is that I am not very good at finding real questions about the jobs, so the phone calls feel forced. After some time, I realise it isn’t working and I quit making forced phone calls in the hope of making more personal contact.

There is, however, one very interesting case. I call the contact person for a vacancy at a museum.

Me: “Good afternoon, this is [My Name]. I want to ask you some questions about the vacancy for [job].”

Contact: *Somewhat mockingly* “Really? That’s a bit strange. The text is quite clear.”

Me: “Well, I still have some questions. For instance, it’s a bit vague on salary. It says—”

Contact: “Right, hang on. For questions like that, you’d better contact our financial department.” *Gives contact information* “Anything else?”

Me: “Ehm… No.”

Contact: “Okay. Goodbye, then.”

Me: “Yes, goodbye.”

I felt baffled. Why is there a phone number for questions if you don’t want to answer them in the first place? At least I learned two things from this phone call. First of all, I need to have real spontaneous questions instead of calling in for the sake of contact. Secondly, I learned that I didn’t want to work at a place where a stranger is treated so rudely. I became unemployed after years of working for a rude, ungrateful man-child, and I was not about to make the same mistake again.

So, to some extent, the phone call served its purpose after all. I came into personal contact with the people there and might have dodged a bullet by doing that.

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Not-So-Smashing Candy Smashing

, , , , , | Working | May 18, 2021

A friend of mine is having a rough time at the moment, and I figure a big bar of chocolate might raise her spirits. I manage to find one in a flavour I think she’ll like. As I walk away, I realise that the bar has been smashed into little pieces inside the wrapper.

Luckily, I see one of the workers restocking the shelf, so I approach him.

Me: “Sorry, can I grab a fresh one of these?”

Worker: “What?”

Me: “I just want to replace this.”

Worker: “Oh, I have a fresh box here somewhere.”

He grabs the full boxes of chocolate out of the cage and drops them one by one on the floor. He gets to my box and drops that as well, and then he rips open the box.

Worker: “How many do you want?”

Me: “You know what? I will buy something else.”

I’m sure it would taste the same, but I decided to get a bunch of flowers, which were well received.

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You Can Lead A Horse To Tools…

, , , , , | Working | May 17, 2021

Part of my job is to take the complaints made by customers and prevent them from reoccurring.  This can be as simple as stopping the packing guys from dumping their breakfast wrappers in the boxes going to the customers or as complex as helping devise a new machining method to improve the accuracy of parts.

A major complaint comes in from the main customer; potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds of stock are affected by an issue that’s almost impossible to detect after it leaves us. We should be catching it, yet they are finding more and more issues. This could be serious.

I quickly find that the root of the issue is the way the guys are checking the parts. It just isn’t good enough and it’s the reason why we kept sending bad parts through. I call the team together.

Me: “Okay, everyone. We have had some major issues reported by the customer. It’s affecting potentially thousands of parts, it’s about the height of this part.”

I can see several of them not listening and rolling their eyes. One is chatting at the back.

Me: “Can we pay attention, please? If this isn’t resolved quickly, we could have a massive issue; if they send all the parts back, it could close us down!”

They begrudgingly start to listen.

Me: “The new way to check these parts is with this new tool and doing it this way.”

I demonstrate.

Worker: “That will take too long! I don’t have time for that!”

Me: “This is the new process. If we don’t do it and we keep sending scrap to our customers, you will have all the time in the world, as we won’t have jobs! Everything is described on this single page, which is laminated and stuck to the machine. I have placed a tool at the machine and with the team lead. Understood?”

They just stare at me in apathy. They don’t care that this is such a huge problem, or they don’t believe me. I decide to check on them in a week’s time.

Me: “How is it working out?”

Worker: “Yeah, okay.”

Me: “This is the old tool. Why are you not following the process?”

Worker: “The new one got lost.”

Me: “So, you didn’t ask or report it?”

He shrugged his shoulders. I found a replacement tool and removed the old one from him. 

I decided to check on him in a few days and found him using the new tool but the old way. After another few days, someone had ripped the instructions down and “lost” the tool again. 

The customer kept finding more and more issues, even on the ones that we said should now be good. The next year, the customer didn’t renew their contract, and the company slowly collapsed as no other new work came in.

I found a new job before it went completely under; some stayed to the end. I later saw a newspaper article about the company closing. The same faces were there saying they were devastated the company closed, blaming the company for not doing more, etc. Some people will find blame anywhere but themselves.

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