Enough To Make You Hit The Ceiling

, , , , , , | Working | March 31, 2020

I work cleaning and maintaining water tanks and systems for various properties. I was supervising a group of coworkers on site, even though at the time I was the lowest ranking as a Casual.

Monday – Day 1

I had a two-man team cleaning a pair of tanks in a block of flats when one put his foot through the floor of the loft space to the flat below. As the “ranking” worker, it was up to me to get photos, take measurements, and fill out the paperwork for the insurance, etc.

I asked a coworker to get my laptop from my van parked in the flat’s car park. He went and got it and I started to sort out the mess.

Then, I asked my coworker for the van key… and he couldn’t find it. We searched all round and there was no sign of the key. It was getting late, so I called the office to get them to send the spare key and I got a lift home from the other team.

Tuesday – Day 2

Luckily, I had access to another van, which I used to get back to the main van… only to find that the parking permit was missing. Yes, someone had used the missing key to steal the permit and then relocked the van. I called the police, and while waiting for them, I got the call from the office: there was no spare key. And then, the other team I had working told me they’d put their foot through another ceiling.

Wednesday – Day 3

I was told the main van would be picked up and towed to the office, but I needed to be there to arrange the pickup. I was at the van from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm waiting for the pickup. Finally, they arrived, but the low loader couldn’t manoeuvre in the car park, and since I’d put on the handbrake and the steering lock — as you do — there was nothing he could do.

Thursday – Day 4

I was told that they were going to get the AA “Kerbside Key Service” in that Friday to replace the key and get the van back. Great, I thought. I could concentrate on the job, which had now moved to another area… until I got the call that there was an AA member and a towing guy heading to the van to break in, break the steering lock, and move it — damage I’d be liable for.

I drove over and headed this off and explained that the AA was going to get a key sorted the next day.

Friday – Day 5

I got a lift to the van, and bright and early the AA guy arrived. Within 30 minutes, he’d made two brand-new keys and programmed the locking.

Opening the van, we found that the only thing missing was the Parking Permit. All my tools in the back were untouched and they even left a fully filled-up [Restaurant] coffee card.

And yup, my manager blamed me for the whole mess, and I was threatened with the sack at least four times. 

I’m glad to be working elsewhere now.

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What A Lazy (Gl)Ass

, , , , , , | Working | March 6, 2020

I am working in a department that relies heavily on speed. It is one of those newer ones that takes online orders and gets customers groceries for them so they don’t have to enter the store. 

On one of these days, we all are rushing trolleys to meet our next deadline and one of the aisles ends up having a broken light bulb shoved onto a lower shelf, spilling shards on the floor. This causes me to stop immediately and radio for someone to call over a janitor. To ensure no one gets hurt, I have to wait there now and warn people about this, so I turn off my system to avoid being timed.

When I turn around, I also note that there is a large puddle of water and radio them about that, as well. So now, I’m standing here warning everyone about water and broken glass, waiting for help. The entire time I watch, the time we have to get this order ready slowly dwindles away. They definitely called for the janitor; it was over the intercom several minutes ago. 

Normally, this would be okay; maybe he was doing something more important. But over ten minutes later, he shows up casually facing items at the other side of the aisle. I attempt to call him over so I don’t leave the area. It doesn’t really work, so I walk over to alert him.

He seems surprised that there is any mess at all and follows me over to the water and glass. I point them both out and he grabs a mop and starts cleaning the puddle. Thinking it’s over, I go back to getting my items, only to see him go back to facing immediately after dealing with the puddle. I have to ask him, “What about the glass?” and show him the glass again. 

He gets that cleaned up and I see shards on the floor still, not even very far from where the glass was. He only swept the immediate area. I have to walk over with my time on and ask for his broom to do it myself. He ends up following me and watching as I sweep up the remaining shards for him.

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Play Possum Until It’s Gone

, , , , , , | Right | November 23, 2019

(I work maintenance for a property management company and often carry a work phone to take after-hours maintenance calls.)

Me: “[Company] repair line, this is [My Name]; what can I do for you?”

Tenant: “Miss [My Name], you aren’t going to believe this. There’s a baby possum in my house. Can you send someone out to come to get him?! I’m scared he’s gonna come up my stairs and climb in my bed or something while I’m sleeping!”

Me: *trying not to laugh* “Unfortunately, ma’am, due to state laws, none of our pest control specialists can remove it. You’re going to have to call the Department of Fish and Game and see if they can come out and remove him.”

Tenant: “Are you sure you can’t send someone out sooner?”

Me: “I’m sure, ma’am. It would be illegal.”

Tenant: “Okay. I don’t think they’re open right now so I guess I’ll have to call them in the morning. Miss [My Name]?” 

Me: “Yes, ma’am?”

Tenant: “Possums can’t climb stairs, can they?”

Me: “I think you should be safe if it’s small enough.”

Tenant: “Okay. Okay, thank you, Miss [My Name].” 

(She called me the next morning to tell me the saga of how her neighbor came over and managed to herd the baby possum out of her home.)

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Your Number One Is Not Their Number One Priority

, , , | Working | June 25, 2019

(I’m in my office, taking a toilet break. I’m just sitting there, doing my business, when I hear the janitor come in. It’s a small washroom with only two stalls, so it’s not long before she reaches mine. She pushes on the door and sees it’s in use, so I assume that’s it. Less than twenty seconds later, she shakes the door, muttering something angrily.)

Me: “Sorry, I’m in here!”

Janitor: *shakes the door again*

Me: “Just a moment, I’m still going.”

(I hear more angry muttering. I get about five seconds of respite… and then she sticks her hand under the door with a rag, trying to clean the floor despite the stall still being in use.)

Me: *quickly pulling my legs back* “Yeesh, okay!”

(I was not done, but I quickly finished up anyway and left. The janitor pushed in the moment I was out. She kept glaring as me as I washed and dried my hands. I get that she was probably on a schedule to get the washrooms cleaned, but can’t you give someone a minute? Or at least ask nicely?)

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He Has An Amazing Station In Life

, , , , , , , | Hopeless | May 29, 2019

I take the commuter rail to work every day. The station I get off at is extremely busy. It is right in the middle of a college campus — people actually walk through the station to get from one side of campus to the other — and has connections to about six different bus lines, a subway line, and shuttle buses to a local medical area. The neighborhood is okay, but not stellar, and lots of students walking through tends to mean a lot of dropped trash and such. The roof is leaky, and sometimes the doors don’t close all the way, so dirt, leaves, and rain get in.

However, this is the absolute cleanest station on the line because of one janitor. This man is a machine. He is constantly sweeping, mopping, cleaning handrails, and picking up trash. Even on the most crowded days, there is hardly anything on the floor. I’ve been seeing him every day, just quietly doing his job more thoroughly than the (higher paid) janitors at the college I work at.

One cold day, I decided that his guy needed some sort of recognition for his work. I got him a $40 card to the local coffee and donut shop and gave it to him, explaining how grateful I was for his efforts. He looked surprised, but then his face lit up with the biggest grin I had ever seen on him. I wave at him all the time now, and I’m glad he knows that at least one of the ten gazillion people rushing by notices his amazing work.

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