Shifty Behavior

, , , , , | Working | March 5, 2019

(I’m on the bus on my way home when I get a call from work.)

Me: “Hello.”

Supervisor: “Hi, [My Name], this is [Supervisor]. I was wondering if there’s any chance you’d be able to work tomorrow?”

Me: “Um, I’m actually already working tomorrow.”

Supervisor: “Really? What time?”

Me: “Ten to three, same as every week.”

Supervisor: “Oh, that’s the shift I wanted you to work. I guess [Department Manager] cut your shift and didn’t tell you. We need someone to work it. Can you do it?”

Me: “Sure.”

What Is In That Beer And How Do We Get Some?

, , , , | Right | March 2, 2019

(I work in a bottle shop in a suburb posh enough to be somewhat isolated. People can be a little uptight around here, so my being naturally chatty and friendly seems to break down some barriers. It has been a slow winter’s night, especially as I’m the only one working. A man walks in as I’m trying to find something to listen to on the radio. He seems stone-cold sober. He walks up to the counter with a pricey bottle of European beer. As I’m ringing him up, I start chatting.)

Me: “Gosh, there’s absolutely nothing on the radio!”

Customer: “Oh, mate, is there ever anything on the TV, either?”

Me: “Not at the moment.”

(I refer to a TV used to advertise specials in the store, currently turned off, thinking that this guy will give some good banter. The joke goes way over his head.)

Customer: “You see, the government, right, they just want to dumb you down like… with what’s on the radio and stuff… like, what they want to do is, like, they can’t go door to door, right?”

(While not as passionate about what he is trying to say, the guy is… interesting, to say the least. He seems pretty eloquent, so I coax more out of him.)

Me: “Like… with what we watch?”

Customer: “Yeah, with, like, what’s on the TV and the radio. They just want to dumb us down. It’s not like they can go door to door dumbing us one by one, so they, like…”

Me: *still weirdly interested* “They, like… target the whole collective?”

Customer: “Yeah, exactly… You have a good night.”

(He walked out of the store. I heard the bottle cap of the expensive beer bottle clink to the ground, and he walked off. I sat dumbfounded for a minute, unsure why exactly the government wants to dumb us down, or how I triggered that exchange.)

Management Has Hit Its Bullying Target This Week

, , , , , , | Working | February 27, 2019

(We have a young staff member who only works on Sundays and always seems to get jobs that keep her away from the register. We are supposed to sign up a specific number of new customers per shift, and she rarely hits the target. Both the store manager and I work alternate Sundays with her; it’s the Friday before my weekend on.)

Manager: “[Coworker] hasn’t reached target again this week; she has to hit four new signups but is lucky to get one each shift.”

Me: “But she always has work that keeps her away from the counter and only has a four-hour shift.”

Manager: “Well, she’s just going to have to make more of an effort. She’s got to get to that target or I’m going to have to give her a written warning.”  

(It’s Sunday and my young coworker has come to the counter in time to see me put through a signup. She serves a customer who refuses her offer of a signup.)

Coworker: “I don’t get it. I ask every time I serve someone and always get told no. How do you do it? [Manager] told me that if I don’t hit target this weekend, I could end up with a warning.”

Me: “I don’t always get a yes, so don’t worry yourself too much. I’ll make sure you don’t get a warning.”

(About fifteen minutes later she comes back to the counter to collect some stock that she needs to put out. I am serving a customer who is filling in the form for the customer signup., I put my sale on hold and sign out.)

Me: “[Coworker], can you sign in on the register, please?”

Coworker: “Why, is there a refund?”  

Me: “No, it’s for this.” *starts entering the signup under her name*

Coworker: “Oh, my God! You’re doing that for me? But what about your target?”

Me: “I’ll make up for it on other shifts, and I still have four hours after you’re gone.”

(I managed to sign up two more customers for her, and then she signed one up for herself which made her target. I noticed she was no longer tense when asking customers. It was obvious they noticed, too, because she made one more sign up before she left and even made more the next weekend. She did thank me. I just don’t like bullying tactics foisted on staff by management who won’t nurture and help young staff members find their confidence. Neither of us lasted much longer at that job; she left before I did.)

A Walkman Through The Past

, , , , , | Related | February 8, 2019

(I’ve bought some old home movies on VHS tapes over to my mum and step-dad’s so he can transfer them to DVD. My sister and eight-year-old nephew happen to be visiting at the same time.)

Nephew: *looking at the tapes* “Hey, what’s that?”

Me: “They’re videos; Grandpa is going to put them onto DVD for us.”

Nephew: “What’s a video?”

Me: “Before DVDs were invented, movies came out on video.”

Nephew: “Oh, my God. There was something before DVDs?”

Me: *laughing* “Yep, and before videos, there were eight-tracks.”

Nephew: “Wow, that’s trippy.”

Me: “You know that before mp3s, there were CDs, right?”

Nephew: “Yep, when Mum got rid of hers, me and [Nieces] used them for frisbees.”

Me: “Well, before CDs, there were cassettes. I think Grandpa might even have some, along with a Walkman. We could see if we can find them.”

(He readily agreed, and we found some old cassettes and Walkmen, along with our old super Nintendo and games. Everything still worked. After hooking the gaming system up to an old TV, my nephew and I spent the rest of the day reliving my childhood. While it made me feel incredibly old — I’m 32 — it was a great day reliving the past and showing him things that had been lost to the younger generation.)


Trying To Comic Con You

, , , , | Right | February 6, 2019

(I volunteer at a few of the different pop culture conventions that roll through town each year. This year I am working guest management at one, which involves working closely with the VIP guests — TV/movie celebs — and ensuring that patrons are lined up correctly and, importantly, not taking photos of the guests. This a rule from both guests and management. Some guests, for an extra $20 or so, will take a selfie with you, but most would prefer you pay for the professional photos. Most patrons are okay with this rule and when I’ve photobombed their camera and reminded them of the rule they apologise and walk off. Not this guy.)

Me: “Hi. Just so that you’re aware, there are no photos of this area behind me at all.”

Patron: “I was only taking a photo of the lines.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but as long as there are guests in the autograph booth, not even a photo of the lines is allowed.”

Patron: “Well, you didn’t even ask me if I was taking a photo! I could have been using Wikipedia, for all you know!”

Me: “That’s why I advised you of the—“

Patron: *now yelling* “NO! YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!”

Me: “Actually, mate, I can.”

Patron: *now getting closer to me, looking like he’s going to burst*

Me: “I think you need to move along now.”

Patron: “FINE!”

(He then grabs my lanyard from around my neck with my volunteer photo ID and name.)

Patron: “THANKS, [MY NAME].”

(He then threw my lanyard back at me and walked away. I’ve heard all the smarta** remarks about the “no photos beyond this point” rule, but never in three years of volunteering have I had someone get so in my face and practically assault me. It was an adrenaline rush, and I enjoyed being salty with a smile on my face the entire time.)

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