Please Bring Downstairs Upstairs

, , , , | Right | September 2, 2019

Customer: “Excuse me. I’m looking for children’s clothes.”

Me: “The children’s department is downstairs. If you take this escalator down, it will be directly on the left.”

Customer: *expectant pause* “Well?”

Me: “Well… what?”

Customer: “What are you going to do about this?”

Me: “Would you like me to walk with you there?”

Customer: *huff* “No! Forget it! Unbelievable!”

(She stormed off in the other direction.)

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When Social Media Is Unsocial

, , , , , | Working | August 30, 2019

(I am the business manager for a small music store. I am a young female in my early twenties. I am in charge of finances, hiring and firing, marketing, etc., along with being the second in command after the owner. It is a small company, so I know everyone in the store and sometimes work the retail portion during particularly busy days. We’re also a pretty close workplace, so it is not uncommon for us to hang out after work to grab drinks. One day, the general manager, the person below me in the chain of command and in charge of overseeing retail employees, comes to my office with an unusual situation.)

General Manager: “Could I talk to you about an issue I’m having?”

Me: “Of course; I’m happy to help.”

General Manager: “[Employee] came into work today wearing a slightly inappropriate outfit, and I’m not quite sure how to address it. I’m worried that me, a man in my mid-forties, trying to have a conversation about appropriate work attire with a 22-year-old female will come off as creepy and rude.”

Me: “I understand completely. Why don’t I go up to the register and check it out, and if I find what she’s wearing to be inappropriate for the workplace, I’ll have a conversation with her about it?”

General Manager: “Thank you. I thought it might be better coming from you, especially since you two go out for drinks together often.”

(I finish what I am working on and then go to the front of the store to check out the situation. As I am relatively good friends with this employee, I don’t expect her to wear anything truly inappropriate, and never by intention, so what I find is quite shocking. She literally looks like she is about to go to Coachella; she’s wearing a woven crop top that only covers a small portion of her chest and leaves nothing to the imagination, a bright, neon yellow bra underneath, and a pair of very short shorts. It’s more than a little too risqué for our work environment.)

Me: “Hey, [Employee], can I talk to you for a moment?”

Employee: “Yeah, sure!”

Me: “I want to start off with saying you are not in trouble.”

Employee: “Is everything okay? I’m not being fired, am I?”

Me: “No! Of course not! I just want to talk to you for a moment about what you’re wearing.”

Employee: “Isn’t it cute? I just got it the other day!”

Me: “It’s very cute, but it’s not appropriate for the workplace. Now, I’m not going to send you home today, but I need you to assure me you won’t dress like this again.”

Employee: “Oh, I’m sorry. I thought we had a laid-back dress code here.”

Me: “We do, but that means jeans and a T-shirt are the most casual things you can dress in. We still need to maintain professionalism here. Also, we have music students of all ages coming in here, not to mention that you and I both know how inappropriate some of the male customers can be already. Bottom line, you’re not in trouble; I’m just going to need for you to agree to have your midriff and cleavage covered in the future. You’ve always followed the dress code up until today, so I don’t think it should be a problem.”

Employee: “Oh, okay. I’m so sorry. I just need to do laundry tonight and I wasn’t thinking about it and I didn’t think it would be a problem since we have a casual dress code. I guess I didn’t think about it. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again. But out of curiosity, why are you the one telling me this? Isn’t it usually [General Manager]’s job to deal with little things like this?”

Me: “Normally, it is, but he felt a little uncomfortable trying to talk to a woman fifteen years his junior about what’s appropriate for her to wear, so I agreed to check it out and talk with you if I agreed with his initial thoughts.”

Employee: “Okay, that makes sense.” *laughs* “Yeah, that definitely would have felt a little creepy.”

Me: “Yeah, I’ve known him long enough to know he wouldn’t have meant anything by it, but you have only been here a few months, so we didn’t want to make it weird.”

(The rest of the quick conversation is uneventful; we happily discuss getting drinks the next day after work, and then we both go back to our respective tasks. Later that night, I’m scrolling through Facebook and see a post from the employee from earlier.)

Employee’s Post: “I’m so fed up with how working conditions are these days! Like, my creepy old male employer had the nerve to try to tell me how to dress today, and then tried to imply that if I dress in a way that he finds inappropriate that I’d be inviting men to harass me, which would then be my fault for my attire. I’m so tired of slut-shaming in today’s society and how we victim-blame. It’s disgusting and wrong. I should be able to dress however I want without being judged or having to worry I’ll be assaulted.”

(She has my store as her employment in her bio, so I’m immediately worried by the false implications she’s throwing against my store. I’m reading through the comments and I see a lot of outrage and people agreeing with her. Being her friend — and boss — I decide to comment myself:)

My Comment: “[Employee], I’m terribly sorry that the conversation you had with me, your 23-year-old female employer, went so negatively in your mind today. I was under the impression it had gone well since you and I agreed to get cocktails tomorrow night. I also know that your older male GM had to leave right before our conversation today, since he had to pick his son up from school. So, if you could just privately message me which employee had this conversation with you, I’d be happy to follow up on it, because what you described is not behavior we condone at [Store]. I agree with you that no woman should ever have to worry that what she wears could open men up to believing she is deserving of assault. I agree that society is not painting assault victims in a pretty color at the moment and that there needs to be a change in our society. However, we at [Store] do not condone slut-shaming, victim-shaming, or strict dress codes. We always stand up for our employees’ desire to express themselves through their unique attire, so long as it is workplace appropriate. Unfortunately, I have to say that your macrame crop top and neon yellow bra combination just didn’t feel workplace appropriate for our store. We did not send you home to change, we did not write you up for an infraction, and we did not in any way bully, shame, or punish you for your choice of outfit today. I simply asked that you not repeat this outfit or anything similarly revealing. I also wanted to remind you that last week when a customer got particularly brazen and started to cross the line with you, we had GM escort the man outside and wait with him until the police arrived, as we had every intention of having him arrested for harassment for how he acted and the things he said to you. We have always taken our employee’s sides when it comes to harassment and will never condone that kind of inappropriate behavior. I’m terribly sorry if you were given the wrong impression today during our conversation. Please reach out to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss anything further.” 

(When I woke up the next morning I had 15+ notifications from Facebook. When I checked, it was people either liking or commenting on my response. By the time I went in to work that morning, she had pulled down the post as the comments had all shifted from her side to mine.  She avoided me for her entire shift that day and we did not go out for drinks after work, either. She later apologized and we remained friendly during her time working for my store. It wasn’t until a few months later that she had to be fired for starting an affair with a married coworker — not the general manager! — trying to steal music students to teach privately, and for baiting customers into having heated arguments with her so that it would look like the customer was verbally attacking her and the general manager would escort them out. All of this happened during her final week, so I guess she wanted to go out with an eventful bang of a week.)

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Phone Calls For Lunch!

, , , , , | Working | August 29, 2019

(I’m a draftsman at our engineering office that also does secretary work, as the company is very small with less than five employees in the office. Due to this, we do many different other jobs. I am on lunch break. We all get an hour, but I typically only take a half-hour lunch break so I can leave early. This has been agreed upon by the company’s former president, the current president, and vice president. I typically eat lunch at my desk since I can browse the Internet during lunch. If the phone rings or a client walks into the office, the Vice President — who also does secretary work — will be the first to help them. However, today is a bit different. I sit down at my desk and start to eat my lunch. As I do, the phone rings. I look over to the Vice President and she is on the phone. So, I put down my lunch and answer the phone. I am on the phone for roughly twenty minutes. During this time, the Vice President goes downstairs. After that phone call, two more clients walk into the office. So, at this point, I’ve only taken three bites of my lunch. I talk to our new clients for about ten minutes before I bring out the President to talk with them, as they are his clients. I am finally able to eat lunch. The clients leave and the President walks back to his room. About five minutes after the clients leave, the Vice President comes back upstairs and sees me finishing up my lunch.)

Vice President: “You took an hour lunch today.”

(I think she is joking, but this time she is serious.)

Me: “I was talking to some clients on the phone, and then some of [President]’s clients walked in while you were on the phone and downstairs. I only had five minutes of my lunch break in a half-hour window as I had to help you answer the phone and the clients in the office.”

Vice President: “Well, when you open your lunch up, it starts your timer.”

(This is very unfair, as she has done the same thing and everyone else does the same thing. During this discussion, the President walks out for unrelated business and overhears.)

President: “[Vice President], just give him his half-hour lunch and be done with it.”

(I have started eating out of the office after this. If I eat in the office, I take my laptop to another room with no phone.)

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Better Start On Those One-Armed Pushups

, , , , , | Working | August 26, 2019

(My job is in a small wardrobe room for a business and I do the closing shift alone most nights. I recently had a minor surgery on my left arm and was told not to lift anything heavy with it for a few days to allow the incision to heal. My supervisor was informed of this ahead of time and I remind him of it, as well, when I come into work for the day.)

Me: “I can do the regular work; I just can’t lift any of the boxes or really heavy things for the next three days.”

Supervisor: “Okay, we’ll work around it.”

(Five minutes later.)

Supervisor: “Oh, they decided they want to repaint the room after we close tonight. Since you’re closing, I need you to move all the racks to the center of the room, and take all the things off the computer desks to the center table.”

(This includes several desktop computers, printers, and heavy heat presses. I point at my bandaged up arm.)

Supervisor: “Can’t you just lift them with one arm?”

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Unfiltered Story #160924

, , , | Unfiltered | August 26, 2019

*I’m standing in line at a popular, drive in restaurant. There’s a customer next to me leaning against the wall, obviously impatient.*

Customer: *huffing* “Come on! How long does it take?”

*15 seconds pass*

Customer: “My GOD. Are you serious?!”

*Another 30 seconds pass*

Customer: “It’s just two bags of ice!”

(Note that the restaurant is extremely busy, with a line to the exit door.)

Customer: “Come on! Get off your a** and get me the f****** bags of ice!”

(At this point the cashier, who’d been extremely nervous, abandoned the line to go back and ask again for the ice. She brings it out, the man grabs it, and storms out of the restaurant.)