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Ducking Out On Their Responsibilities

, , , , , , , | Working | June 15, 2022

Almost fifteen years ago, I lived in an apartment that could have been better managed by a pair of monkeys. Any type of maintenance request would take weeks and would have to be redone multiple times as it was either done incorrectly or they would state it was done but never came by to fix it in the first place.

I lived on the second (top) floor and started to hear some strange sounds in the crawl space in what would be an attic if there was one. I took a look in the maintenance hatch and came face to face with a duck!

There was a duck in my ceiling!

I contacted maintenance to let them know.

Me: “There must be a hole somewhere. A duck has taken up residence and is making a bunch of noise. Can you please fix the hole and remove the duck?”

They didn’t believe me. I sent over photos of the duck — and now a whole nest and a second duck. They finally opened a ticket.

I came home from work and it seemed that they had come over while I was gone. They had taken one of my boxes of personal belongings from the closet, dumped everything out on the bed, and left a note that they had taken the duck out from the “attic”.

I took a look in the hatch and there were two very angry ducks.

I called maintenance, a bit upset at this point.

Maintenance: “We removed the duck.”

Me: “Did you patch up whatever hole they’re coming in from? No? Because they’re back. Why did you use one of my personal boxes to remove a duck if you were not going to remove the way they were getting in?”

During this whole time of living with the ducks in my ceiling, I kind of got used to the noise, but when I would have friends over they would notice it. I would just say that they were my new neighbors upstairs and that I had called the front office multiple times about the noise.

My smarter friends would quickly figure out that I was on the top floor — so how did I have upstairs neighbors? My other friends, well… it was fun to clue them in on it later.

Maintenance never patched the hole.

A while later, I had itty-bitty little ducklings jumping off the roof onto the ground giving me a minor heart attack. All of them made it down safe, but it was a scary two or three hours or so while Mom and Dad tried to get them to come down, and I was disappointed in my fire department as they didn’t want to come out and help.

I moved out to another apartment in the same place to finish out my contract, with no moving fees due to the duck issue.

I was at the mailbox one day, and I saw a lady getting her mail from my old apartment.

Me: “How’s the duck issue going?”

She about blew up complaining about the noise and how maintenance used her good comforter to try to wrangle the ducks.

I don’t miss that place.

File Under “Stuff That Feels Illegal”

, , , , , | Working | June 8, 2022

Back in September, we noticed plumbing issues in our apartment. It took video evidence of the taps at full blast with no water coming out, a kidney infection, and six months for them to start looking at it. This is on top of about six years of our heater breaking down every winter. Needless to say, “emergency” is not a word in the maintenance crew’s vocabulary.

It hit a new peak when I noticed that my brand-new carton of ice cream was soup. At first, I thought that maybe the freezer’s door was stuck open just enough to let the cold out over the day, but when it was duct-taped shut for a day and everything began melting, there were no doubts that the freezer was dead. I called the emergency maintenance line and was told that because it was Sunday, nothing could be done about it until sometime Monday and that I should get a cooler full of ice.

H*** no.

All our meat for the week was thawing in the freezer and the fridge was at a nice, cool sixty degrees F. Salmonella likes to say, “Hello!” at forty. I have had food poisoning so bad I had to be hospitalized because I was blacking out while vomiting. I was not going to stand for this. I screamed, cussed out, and did everything short of threatening violence or having the guy fired.

Monday morning came and we were told that we would be getting a new fridge Tuesday, most likely at noon. Great! I mean, it sucked that we had to throw everything we had in terms of food away right when rent was due, but we’d have a freezer and fridge.

Yet Tuesday at four, it still hadn’t been delivered. Half an hour later, there was a knock on the door. The maintenance guy who I had been screaming at, who had let us down time after time, had important news. The fridge was on its way! Yay! He was done at 4:30, though, so he was leaving for the day, but he’d be back Wednesday morning to unbox the new one, set it up, and wheel away the old one.

So, we went from having a fridge with a dead freezer to a dead fridge and freezer to two fridges that we couldn’t use at all, and we had to rely on fast food because maintenance wouldn’t do any emergency work.

Meanwhile, my autoimmune-compromised roommate had E. coli all weekend and I couldn’t use my only toilet.

This Evening Has Gone Down The Toilet

, , , | Right | March 23, 2022

I have been working in the hotel industry since 2017. It is 2018 when I am working in an Apart-Hotel in the city centre. We have a group of journalist students from Germany visiting. They are very nice and respectful.

One evening, I am in the reception, and they have all left their apartments to go to the restaurant for a gala dinner.

Suddenly, I hear a noise from one of the apartments, like someone is trying to break the door or something. I am scared but, of course, can’t do anything but check up on it. I open the door to the apartment, and I hear someone’s voice from the toilet. It’s the coordinator of the group, and he’s stuck in the toilet.

Guest: “I am sorry, is anybody here? I got stuck, for God’s sake!”

Me: “Oh, sir, I am so sorry. Let me try to help you.”

Guest: “Yes, please! I am in a hurry; I need to go to the dinner.”

Me: “Sir, I am trying to push, but unfortunately, the lock is broken. I need to call the technician.”

Guest: “Oh, no. That is a problem! How long it will take?”

Me: “Sir, I talked to him. He will be here in around one hour.”

Guest: “Oh, no. What should I do? I don’t even have my phone with me. This is going to be very boring.”

Me: “Don’t worry, sir, I will be here until they come.”

Guest: “Thank you. Maybe you can sing for me?”

Me: *Laughing* “Sorry, sir, my voice is horrible, but maybe I can tell funny hotel stories for you?”

I told him a couple of stories until the general manager and the technician arrived. He told me that he would have complained if not for my stories that made him feel better, so it was a really interesting day for both of us!

We’re Getting A Sinking Feeling

, , , , , , , | Working | January 27, 2022

Back before the Internet killed bookstores, I worked in the cafe in one. We had a small kitchen in the back, dominated by an oversized commercial sink. Below the sink was a grease trap, a box the drain water goes through to catch grease and prevent it from clogging the sewers. We were told that it was big enough to handle a greasy fast food restaurant. It took up the entire area below the enormous sink.

After the store had been open for a decade or more, the cast metal grease trap sprung a leak. It was full of congealed sewage inside, and it stunk. It wafted into customer areas, and we started baking trays of wet, cinnamon-covered paper towels to try and cover it up. It was reported to the store manager, and we dealt with the foul miasma for almost a month.

Corporate finally called in the approved maintenance service to replace it. The work was done overnight due to the stench that opening the trap would unleash.

The old grease trap was a hard-to-find size: low and wide to fit under that sink. Some corporate drone sourced a new trap of the same capacity, just narrower and taller. The techs installed it, and now the sink wouldn’t fit on top. Corporate was contacted, and they had the techs add extensions to the legs of the sink, raising it about eight inches. The techs were not happy with the final product, but it was the solution corporate wanted.

This raising of the sink creates problems that the staff encountered the following morning. Several employees couldn’t reach the bottom of the now too-tall sink. Our five-foot-tall sprite of a manager and I started doing dishes standing on a step stool — not an ideal or safe solution. The store manager was informed but took no action, as usual; she’s awful.

Weeks later, a district manager saw this stupid and dangerous situation and promised to fix it.

Corporate maintenance came again and built a platform in front of the sink. It was shiny and new, painted bright yellow for safety. Hooray! Those of us with T-Rex arms could reach the dishes again! This caused a new problem, though. The platform blocked access to the mop sink. The industrial mop bucket had to be lifted and carried across the platform, which some employees couldn’t manage due to the weight and sloshiness. Also, the gloss-painted top of the platform was dangerously slick when wet. There was a minor slip and fall due to it, and the store manager finally took it seriously.

Corporate was called again, and they sent out the maintenance team. They ripped out all their original work and installed a new grease trap that was a smaller capacity and fit properly. They lowered the sink to the original height, and all was now right in the world.

Corporate ineptitude cost the company several thousand dollars to rectify a problem that any non-plumber could have seen and prevented, and that was brought to their attention before the original job was completed.

Convenient That You Want To Be Productive NOW

, , , , , | Working | December 9, 2021

I’m a school custodian. During the summer, the crew and I deep-clean the entire school — cleaning furniture, shampooing carpets, replacing damaged ceiling tiles, everything that goes into preparing the building for the next school year.

One of my coworkers, [Coworker #1], is not fun to work with. He wastes a TON of time playing games or watching videos on the office computer instead of working, and when someone does try to help him catch up, he criticizes their work instead of thanking them for the help. He also “reports” all of his criticisms to our supervisor, who largely blows him off but doesn’t actually do anything disciplinary. Here’s a recent example.

[Coworker #2] and I have removed all the furniture from one classroom where the summer school teacher works. This is pretty much the only day all summer when we can do this particular classroom because, otherwise, it’s in use for summer school. Everybody in the building knows this, including [Coworker #1].

As we always do, [Coworker #2] and I have stacked all the furniture from the classroom in the hallway so we can shampoo the entire carpet in one go. We leave a walking path so people can still get down the hallway, but otherwise, there’s not much room. About ten minutes into the shampooing job, [Coworker #1] pokes his head into the classroom.

Coworker #1: “Hey, guys, you can’t just stack everything in the hallway like this. I need to vacuum the hallway, and I can’t do that with all this stuff in the way.”

Coworker #2: “Well, you’re gonna have to wait until tomorrow. This is the only day we have to get this room clean, because [Summer School Teacher] has class tomorrow again.”

Me: “Aren’t you supposed to be working on [his own actual assignment in a completely different part of the building] today anyway? Why aren’t you down there?”

Coworker #1: “I’m waiting on [whatever] before I do that. I’m vacuuming hallways until I can get to it, but I can’t vacuum with everything out here.”

Me: “[Coworker #2] and I can do the hallway tomorrow when we put everything back in the room.”

Coworker #1: “Well, vacuuming hallways is part of my job, so I’d like to get that done myself. I can’t do it every day, but I have time now, so…”

Me: *Interrupting* “NOT TODAY! You’ve heard [Coworker #2] and me saying for weeks that this is the only day this summer we can get this room done because they have summer school classes every other day. Either wait until tomorrow or leave it for [Coworker #2] and me to do it later.”

[Coworker #1] sulked a bit and made a grand show of vacuuming the lone walking path between all the furniture before disappearing. Later that day, when [Coworker #2] and I were on our break, we walked past our supervisor’s office and heard him chewing out [Coworker #1] for getting in our way instead of working on his own assignment.