A Crazy Lack Of Competence

, , , , , , | Healthy | July 27, 2018

(I’m Bipolar I and not medicated. We’ve tried a few different combinations of drugs for me, but unfortunately I either have side effects or it simply doesn’t help anything. While therapy has been helpful, it’s not perfect; I still need the occasional trip to a psychiatric hospital. For this particular incident, I am sent to a completely different hospital, which I later learn is more adequately equipped to handle patients seeking drug rehab. However, even that seems to be inaccurate, as I learn during my three-and-a-half day visit. On day one, a patient and the head of the wing are talking in a common area:)

Patient #1: “When do you think I can go home?”

Doctor #1: “Sunday. Your insurance lets us hold you another week.”

(For a little context, during a previous group session I had with [Patient #1], he mentioned he’s been here almost two weeks and the head of the group commented on how much progress he’s made. As my stay continues, it isn’t uncommon to overhear the nurses gossiping about how they can’t believe the doctors still won’t discharge [Patient #1]. Day two: one of the other patients is a new mother with apparently no thought filter. As a result, she frequently talks about how she has to pump if the subject even remotely drifts towards family or children. One of the other patients finally gets fed up with it and a fight nearly breaks out. Unlike the mother, the other patient is allowed to leave the wing to go have lunch in the cafeteria.)

Doctor #2: “Okay, [Patient #3], you just lost your cafeteria privilege for today.”

Me: “But doesn’t [Patient #2] have to stay up here, too?”

Doctor #2: “Of course.”

Me: “So, you’re going to lock them in the wing together when most of the staff is down in the cafeteria?”

Patient #1: “Besides, isn’t [Patient #3] getting discharged tomorrow?”

(After enough of us band together, the doctors finally agree the best thing they can do for both patients is to separate them. Also of note, a fourth patient is discharged at the end of day two, with a certain nurse helping her gather her things. On day three, though I’ve only had three or four sessions with her, I bid [Patient #3] farewell as she is gathering her things from the storage locker with the same nurse who assisted yesterday’s discharge. Just as I go to leave:)

Patient #3: “Where’s my backpack?”

Nurse #1: “Your what?”

Patient #3: “My backpack. I came in with a pink backpack from [Brand]. Where is it?”

Nurse #1: “We only had one like that. It was [Patient #4]’s, wasn’t it?”

Patient #3: “Wha?!”

Nurse #1: “She said that bag was hers. We gave it to her when she left last night.”


Nurse #1: “Sorry. We’ll call the police and report the theft.”


Nurse #1: “Calm down! It’s just a backpack!”


Nurse #1: “We can replace those things!”


Me: “Get the f****** police already, you dips***!”

(I didn’t know what else to do. The police do show up, though I have no idea how this story ends or if anything was done about [Nurse #1]. On day four — my release day — I’m sitting in the common area playing cards, waiting for my girlfriend to show up and drive me home. Needing a fourth for Hearts, one of the nurses agrees to join us.)

Nurse #2: “[My Name], you sure know how to pick ’em. Of all the weeks you could’ve shown up!”

Me: “I’m amazed, too.”

Nurse #2: “Yeah, but this ain’t even the worst of it. One patient last year always ran his mouth. ‘I’m in for bestiality!’ ‘I’m a member of the local KKK and they think this’ll cure me!’ and on and on. All cause he didn’t want to admit he tried to kill himself after his girlfriend broke up with him.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Nurse #2: “Yeah, he just kept making excuses to justify the cuts on his arms.”

Me: “You can’t tell us that! His medical records are still privileged!”

(I’ve never been back. I haven’t looked it up yet, because I’m truly frightened that it might still be open.)

Finally Managing The Manager Situation

, , , , , | Working | July 26, 2018

(I work at a large retail chain. As a result, we have many managers in the building, most of whom people can at least tolerate. One manager, however, is absolutely horrible and disrespectful with employees underneath him. This exchange happens on my way to my department one morning.)

Manager: *sees me from across a display in the middle of an aisle* “[My Name]! Why did you sign your initials on a task that wasn’t completed?!”

Me: “Okay, first off, you don’t raise your voice to me on the sales floor in front of customers, or ever, for that matter.”

Manager: “Well, I’m telling you now!”

Me: “No, you’re not telling me anything in this disrespectful manner. If you have a problem with my performance, you take me back to the office and we discuss it there civilly and professionally. Secondly, let me explain why I signed my initials–“

Manager: “No! What you did is an integrity issue!”

(Having had enough, I walk around the display and stand a normal, conversational distance from him in order to force the volume of the exchange back down.)

Me: “Actually, as it was explained to me by the department manager, you sign your initials next to any task you work on, whether it gets completed or not. If I was mistaken, or if that’s changed, then I’ll sign accordingly going forward. Regardless, you will not speak to me in this disrespectful tone.”

(With that, I walk off. As I arrive in my department, there’s the usual line of customers with the only two people available working with them. After we get the line down, before I even mention him, my coworkers tell me that [Manager] has already been there to yell at them for having empty spots on the shelves just a few minutes before he found and started yelling at me. I decide that enough is enough. I help my coworkers get to the point where the department isn’t falling apart more than usual before I head straight to the store manager.)

Me: “Hey, [Store Manager], can I talk to you?”

Store Manager: “Yeah, come on in. What’s up?”

Me: “Well, I know we’ve talked about him before, and I also know you’ve had several complaints about him from other employees, but I have to bring up [Manager] again. His behavior has gone far beyond acceptable at this point.”

Store Manager: “Yeah, I know he can get a little hot-headed, but you have to understand. Some of the departments he’s managing aren’t performing as well as they should.”

Me: “I’m going to stop that line of discussion right there. Last time we spoke about him, I already said that I understood his frustrations as a manager. That doesn’t excuse anything or make his actions anywhere near acceptable. This morning, he shouted at me in front of customers over a simple misunderstanding, almost immediately after having shouted at my two coworkers for not having all the empty spots on the salad and sandwich wall filled. So, I have a question. If one employee is in the middle of making salads while also serving a line of customers at the cold cut station, while the only other employee is cooking food and serving customers at the hot case, how exactly are they also supposed to be producing so much that they’ve filled the shelves before the store’s even been open for an hour?”

Store Manager: *pausing for a moment* “I don’t know.”

Me: “If you have employees already under pressure because they’re trying to juggle filling a wall and serving customers, as well as all of the other regular things one has to do when opening the deli department, and [Manager] comes along and the first thing he does is to start disrespecting them openly in front of customers, what happens to morale?”

Store Manager: *pausing again* “It drops, and if anything, they slow down because of the unneeded stress and frustration.”

Me: “Exactly! Now, I honestly feel that I should have gone to corporate about [Manager] last time I had a complaint, but since this is your store, out of respect for you, I’m giving you one last chance to handle this. What he’s doing is acting like a bully, which is high school nonsense. This is the adult world now, where there’s no place for that foolishness. If this problem isn’t resolved this time, I will go to corporate. If they do nothing, then I’ll move myself from his side of the store or I will walk out. I have more respect for myself than to allow myself to be treated like that.”

Store Manager: *nods slowly* “I understand.”

(With that, I thanked him for his time, shook his hand, and got back to work. I believe my complaint may have been one of the final straws, since not long after, [Manager] was moved to a smaller store.)


They’re Not Always Alt-Right

, , , , , , | Working | July 25, 2018

(I became a manager in the post office back in the early 1980s, and quickly gained a reputation with the union workers. One of the more memorable incidents that forged it came with a dispute between two women. One is tasked with loading the mailbags into the trucks. The other drives the loaded trucks and delivers the mail. The problem is simple: the loader consistently fails to load the mailbags when she is working with the driver. I call them both into my office to settle this, but only after doing a little of my own diligence. In this case, that means going over their history. Turns out both women are still on their 90 days; basically, the contract signed by both USPS and the union states that within the first 90 days of an employee’s term, management can let them go for any reason — downsizing, too many sick days, bad chemistry with the team, arrest, anything. The meeting goes as follows:)

Me: “So, [Loader], [Driver] tells me you’re not loading mail into her truck.”

Loader: “That’s right.”

Me: “Y-You don’t deny it?”

Loader: “No, I’m not loading mail for her. She can load her own mail! I don’t load mail for a [racial slur]!”

(The driver and I just sit there with our mouths agape for a moment. Thankfully, I gather myself together first.)

Me: “Pack up your stuff and get out. Don’t bother finishing up today. And don’t come back tomorrow, or ever again. Your racism just cost you your job.”

(Their reactions to my words make me thankful for two reasons. First, [Loader]’s look of pure shock and rage is amazing, but doesn’t extend beyond that; she packs up without a scene. Second, [Driver] doesn’t revel in it. Not then, not ever. I assume this is going to be the end of it, but then the next day rolls around. Just after I get in, [Loader] came into my office on the heels of a man. I happen to recognize this man as a union rep.)

Rep: “[My Name]?”

Me: “Yes. How can I help you?”

Rep: *pointing to [Loader]* “Is it true you fired [Loader] yesterday because of what she said about [Driver]?”

Me: “Yes.”

Rep: “You can’t do that. The union’s contract says you can’t fire her for what she said. She has to get her job back right now, or…”

Me: “No.”

Rep: “What?”

Me: “She’s not getting her job back.”

Rep: “The contract says…”

Me: “The contract also says, in black and white, that we can release any employee for any reason within the first 90 days of employment. She was still on her 90 days. I can fire her for whatever reason I want.”

Rep: “No, you can’t!”

Me: “Of course I can. ‘ANY! REASON!’ If you’ve got a problem, go over my head! Now get out of my office before I throw you out!”

(Both of them left, with the rep cursing every other word. Nothing ever came of their threats, so I assume either the union finally realized she had also confessed to allowing her bigotry to take priority over doing her job, or my superiors laughed them out of the building. Regardless, I noticed I got a lot more respect from my employees — including the union workers — after the rep walked out.)

We’re Beginning To Worry About That Dog

, , , , , | Right | July 25, 2018

(A customer comes in to purchase a dog license for the year. When told she needs $10.00, she goes into the following rant:)

Customer: “I need money for my dog license? Ohhh, nooooo! Ohhhh, noooo! I forgot about that! You know what? The food industry is killing us. Prices are through the roof. We can’t afford anything anymore. It used to be the food industry. Now it’s politics. Who needs the chema-caca-whata-toli-osis-ium that they put in the food? Right? Who needs that? You know Hillary is gay, right? Whether or not you want to believe it, she is gay. You can see it in her haircut and what she wears. I’m going to vote for either Bernie or Trump, but I don’t know which is the lesser of two evils. One of them is going to be president. I just hope they fix this country. The food industry is out of control. I have to go get money for my dog licenses.”

Don’t Talk About What? Exactly!

, , , , | Working | July 25, 2018

(This is the exchange during one of our employee meetings at the start of our shift.)

Manager: “Okay, everyone, so… something big happened over the weekend that affects our customers. We can’t talk about it right now, so don’t mention it to the customers. Just don’t talk about it in general.”

Coworker #1: “What are we not talking about?”

Manager: “Just don’t talk about it!”

Coworker #2: “How do we know what we’re not supposed to talk about if we don’t even know what it is?”

Manager: “Look. Just don’t talk about it and don’t mention it to the customers. Now get to work!” *walks off*

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