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Fries Cause Lies

, , , , | Right | November 25, 2022

It’s Black Friday. I’m working in the café at a department store, and I get visited by two customers who repeatedly make additions to their orders after I’ve rung up their purchases. Just when I think it can’t get any worse:

Customer: “These fries aren’t cooked!”

I clearly remember cooking them.

Me: “Sir, the fries are, in fact, cooked. If you want me to make them extra-crispy, I can.”

Customer: “No, you need to give us a refund.”

Me: “Sir, I—”

Customer: “And some free breadsticks.”

Me: “…”

This Thanksgiving, It’s All Gravy

, , , , | Right | November 24, 2022

I am finishing up a twelve-hour shift helping customers place their holiday catering orders right before Thanksgiving. I usually take on this role around this time of year as I’m known for my patience and customer service skills. However, even a saint will be wearing thin after twelve hours. This is my last customer of the night.

Me: “Hi there! This is our catering menu with all of our options for this year. Give it a look and let me know if you have any questions.”

Customer: “Yeah, just one. What’s the difference between the turkey gravy and the mushroom gravy?”

My brain-to-mouth filter finally snaps.

Me: “Ma’am, I don’t know how to answer this question without sounding like a smart aleck, so I’m just going to be straightforward: the turkey gravy is made with turkey and the mushroom gravy is made with mushrooms.”

Customer: *Pauses* “Oh. I probably could’ve figured that out on my own, couldn’t I?”

It’s Like The Days Of Radio Dramas

, , , , , | Working | November 15, 2022

I’m sitting at the gate at the airport. I’ve been largely ignoring the PA since they’ve been making boarding announcements for another flight at a neighboring gate. Then, I hear something over the PA that catches my attention.

Airline Employee #1: “I didn’t know you had friends.”

A few people in the waiting area laugh. A few moments later, we hear another announcement.

Airline Employee #2: “I have a lot of friends!”

More laughter.

Airline Employee #3: “Only someone without friends would say that.”

Airline Employee #1: “How much do you pay the ones you have?”

I repeat: this entire conversation happened OVER THE PA, broadcasted to everyone in the multi-gate waiting area. Much to my disappointment, at this point, the employees stopped using the microphone to joke around, but it certainly did break up the monotony of waiting for my flight.

And Nothing Of Value Was Lost

, , , , , , , , | Working | November 10, 2022

I was nineteen and had just entered the world of retail after graduating from high school. I knew that customers would be very immature and entitled, but I never expected one of my coworkers to be like that, as well. Unfortunately, I would learn that I had a lazy and entitled coworker — but mostly lazy.

[Lazy Coworker] was not very well-liked by anyone in general, and it was plain to see why. He would often ignore his task of attending the registers and would find anything else he could do to occupy his time. He would process film that was either going in or out, which was fine, but he would do this when customers were present. He also liked to fill the cigarettes, but the problem was that you only opened a new carton when there were two or fewer packages in a slot. [Lazy Coworker] would fill every spot, whether or not it needed to be filled. If he ran out of room, he just put them in the next spot, lather-rinse-repeat.

Another thing about him I hated was that he ignored our protocol about calling for backup when we had three or more customers in line. I would go to do something and come back to see that he had a line of at least half a dozen customers, yet had not once bothered to call for backup. He was very slow with how he did transactions and was even notorious for rounding off with change amounts.

To round things out, he was notorious for making personal phone calls on the clock. Initially, he would ask to make a “quick phone call”. From there he would call one of his friends and chat with them, and then he’d disconnect and call another friend. He would do this numerous times during his shifts, and eventually, he got so comfortable doing it that he stopped asking permission.

Worst of all, he always seemed to target me with his unusual form of workplace bullying. He was very condescending and treated me like a child who didn’t know what they were doing, such as telling me which buttons to press, what type of tender he was using, etc., all while scanning his own items, which really felt demeaning. He also called me goofy nicknames that I did not like at all.

His other method was trying to get me to work his extensively long shifts — like ten hours long — or stay until closing when I was supposed to get off before him, all because he had some kind of emergency situation that he had to take care of. If I said no, he would beg me continuously until I caved in. After several times, I put my foot down and vowed not to cave in anymore.

Unfortunately, despite supervisors telling him not to ask me to work for him, he never got the message and continued pleading with me to work his shifts. One time, I tried explaining that he would have to switch shifts with me and he threw a tantrum. I was shocked; here I was, a high school graduate who was more mature and had more common sense than this guy who was at least twenty years my senior.

The management understood that we didn’t like him, but they couldn’t fire him. They claimed that he was one of the few workers who could work the closing shifts, and unfortunately, because I had full availability, I had to deal with him a lot.

Things finally came to an end a little over a year after I started when he broke his ankle and was out of work while getting workman’s compensation. His entitlement and ego apparently got the best of him, since he was apparently looking at it like a paid vacation and never kept in touch with the store. They took that as a sign that he didn’t care about his job, so they let him go.

It still mystifies me how someone older than a teenager could act so immaturely. Another mystery for the times.

Repeated Failure To Make A Connection

, , , , , , | Working | October 28, 2022

I recently had an issue with my phone and Internet. The phone was operational but garbled with static, which in turn tricked my voicemail into thinking callers were leaving messages. As for my Internet, my speed was down considerably, and, according to the lights on my modem, the DSL connection would disappear every dozen minutes or so.

Once I convinced my ISP to send a technician, I got the basic line:

ISP: “Please ensure that someone is home between [Appointment Times] so our technician can have access to the property.”

Despite this warning, the technician never actually came to the door. Whoever it was worked outside on the lines the entire time and never even approached the door or picked up the phone to call us, effectively meaning I wasted a whole day for a meeting this person decided was unnecessary. I find this particularly egregious because at one point the technician packed up and left despite my having lost what little service I had. I gave the benefit of the doubt, and I was rewarded with a return; evidently, there was something related to the job that had to be done elsewhere. And since I got an email for a survey, I made sure to tell the ISP exactly how I felt. Thankfully, the problem was solved. For a month.

One month later, the phone was nothing but static with no hidden dial tone. Though the Internet’s speed was unaffected, the modem still said the DSL connection was dropping every dozen or so minutes. Once again, I got someone out after much manipulation. Once again, I got the line:

ISP: “Please ensure someone is home between [Appointment Times] so our technician can have access to the property.”

Once again, the technician never came to the door or called us. Once again, the technician packed up and left when nothing worked. Once again, I made sure the ISP understood that this was unacceptable. Once again, though, it was fixed. And once again, it only lasted a month.

This third time, nothing worked. At all. The phone didn’t even have static; it was just dead air. And the DSL connection was now so bad that it couldn’t be retained for more than a few seconds out of a dozen minutes. So, for the third time, I had to call my ISP. For the third time, I got the line:

ISP: “Please ensure someone is home between [Appointment Times] so our technician can have access to the property.”

However, due to how bad the situation had gotten, this time I turned my modem off and unplugged it from everything — the electrical socket, the phone line, and the computer. Also different this time, the technician actually came to the door and asked me to explain the situation.

Technician: “If the service is that bad, the lines are probably shorted out. The weather or an animal might be messing up the wiring. And since it’s been a recurring problem, I’m going replace the whole line and see if we need to get an exterminate out here.”

Later on, he came back to the door.

Technician: “I think I’ve got it set up. I just need to head back to the station to reset it, and then I’ll be back to check the connection strength. It’ll probably be an hour.”

True to his word, he came back within the hour.

Technician: “The outside lines say the connection’s strong — about what we can get in the area. I just need to check the inside.”

The phone worked again, with no sound effects. Then, we got to the modem. Once it was hooked back up, I powered it up. It took considerably longer than normal for my modem to power up and attempt to make a DSL connection. I made sure to mention this, just in case it was important.

Technician: “Wait. ‘Never that slow’? You’re sure?”

Me: “Absolutely. It normally tries to establish a DSL connection within three seconds.”

This was easily three times that.

Technician: “Hang on a minute.”

While my connection established, he pulled out his phone and called (I assume) his supervisor.

Technician: “This is [Technician], ID [number]. Can I have a work history for [my address] under account [My Name]?” *Pauses* “Okay, thank you.” *Hangs up* “Unplug your modem.”

Me: *Doing so* “What’s up?”

Technician: “The two guys who were here before also replaced your lines. From that and seeing your modem power up, I think the short is in your modem. The short’s taking the electricity from the outlet and sending it across the phone lines and frying them, which is also why it’s so slow to power up. If we replace the modem, the problem should disappear.”

Since I got my modem from the ISP, I gave it to the technician and he gave me a fresh one from his van. The new one powered up much more quickly, like my old one did before. After he confirmed that my Internet connection was back and up to speed, he marked my job done and went to his next one. And when that survey came in, I gave him a glowing review.

It’s been three months since that last technician came to fix my problems, and my lines haven’t yet shorted out. As such, I must conclude that his theory was correct. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why the companies ask you to stay home to greet their employees, and why it is so important for their employees to actually communicate with the clients.