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Taking The Long Way To A Solution

, , , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: Pr2nnu | May 3, 2022

I used to work as an attendant for the largest gas station company in my country. At the time, I’d been working there for about two and a half years. The job itself was actually really enjoyable and I loved my time there. Currently, I am working at the same company as a recruiter, and whenever I am offered shifts as an attendant, I always accept them.

I was finishing up one of my last shifts as an attendant, cleaning the oven, doing the dishes, mopping the floor, etc., when a Russian-speaking man came in and wanted to fill up his truck. I tried my best to tell him, in my broken Russian, that we are a fill-first-pay-after-type of gas station. And with the help of a regular customer, we managed to get the point across.

He then went and filled up his truck, the total was about 350L (approximately 92,5 gallons). It was an hour until the end of my shift when he came in to pay. After he entered the PIN for his debit card, the terminal gave an error. After two more unsuccessful tries, I decided to contact our in-house IT team.

It turned out that his bank did not have a contract with our service provider; hence, he couldn’t pay with his card. All that time, the regular stayed there and helped me as a translator.

By that point, I was all out of ideas. I had the regular tell him to wait for a bit until I could get a hold of my station manager. Unfortunately, she didn’t answer the phone, so I decided to call the regional manager.

Regional Manager: “Call the Head of External Partnerships; he has more experience in dealing with foreign banks.”

Unfortunately, that was a dead end because he hadn’t even heard of the customer’s bank. So, off I went, calling the regional manager once again.

Meanwhile, the truck driver had called the owner of his company and told him about the whole ordeal. The owner requested to speak to me. Thankfully, he spoke a bit of English.

Company Owner: “Is there a way for you to bill us and have the charge paid via a bank transfer?”

That lit a bulb in my head. We have a debt certificate form we can fill out, which basically says that the customer agrees to the charge and agrees to pay it by a certain date.

As I was finishing up filling the forms, my station manager called me back, and after I explained the whole story, she told me to call the head of security at our company. He, on the other hand, said:

Head Of Security: “The debt certificate is a bad idea since the company and the driver are from Poland; if they decide to not pay, it would be too expensive to seek legal action. Why didn’t you just tell him to use a nearby ATM to retrieve cash from his card?”

I literally facepalmed in front of the customer. How had I missed the simplest solution to the problem at hand?

I had the regular tell the truck driver to follow me, and I drove him to the ATM. The driver successfully retrieved cash. While driving back, we chatted a bit — as much as I could, at least. He boasted to me how his boss had wired him so much money for the trip that he could buy three cars just like mine with it. He also told me that the first thing he’d do when he got back to Poland was go to his bank and make them sign a deal with our company’s provider.

When we made it back, the regular left, the truck driver paid for his fuel, and all was well.

I gave both the regular customer and the truck driver a free coffee and a pastry of their choice for the inconvenience. In the end, I had spent almost three hours and made a dozen or so phone calls to help the customer. Thankfully, the truck driver was understanding the whole time and didn’t make a fuss about the whole ordeal.

But I learned a lesson: always try the easiest solutions first.

Good Samaritans Spreading Good Cheer

, , , | Right | May 3, 2022

I worked at a large retail chain, and I got to meet one of the many good Samaritans who help pay off layaway.

Good Samaritan: “I want to pay off things for kids, like bikes and such. No video games — I want to pay for things that keep kids playing.”

Then, after we went through all those tabs, they still had money left.

Me: “What’s next?”

Good Samaritan: “You decide.”

I picked tickets for customers who I knew were elderly or on a tight budget and let the person decide. That was seriously one of the best times ever. They wanted to just quietly come in, pay off useful tickets, and help others.

When I got to make the list of calls that tabs were paid off, some of the people wanted to know who did it so they could thank the person. However, the good Samaritan made me promise not to call any of them until I was done and they left the store. And to this day, I’ll never tell anyone who it was. But the joy for some of those people was amazing that I even cried with a couple when they came to get their items.

When A Thief Is Not A Thief

, , , , | Working | May 2, 2022

I used to work for a large office supplier. Once, at a party, I was commiserating with another attendee who also used to work for the same place. During our swapping of horror stories, he relayed this wild ride to me.

His store had a spate of stolen printers — expensive ones. Hundreds of dollars per printer were apparently just walking out the door, and no one could figure out how. They watched for any break-ins on the camera or for any customers making a suspicious number of trips to the store, but nothing stood out as out of the ordinary.

Finally, they caught a break. One of the cashiers went on maternity leave, and the thefts immediately stopped, only to resume as soon as she returned. So, they had their culprit, but how was she doing it?

Relevant to this story is that this chain offers protection plans for hardware, especially printers. They really want their cashiers to push those protection plans, and they offer incentives for selling them. However, the way this is tracked is by having the customers sign a contract and putting that in the till with your name on it; it’s not actually tracked by the POS system. This is important.

Management started watching this associate closely, and when they saw how she was “stealing” the printers… Well, it turns out she wasn’t stealing at all.

Apparently, she really wanted those incentive payments for the protection plans, and she was pushing them just as hard as management told us to. (Most of us didn’t because, frankly, most customers didn’t want them and got mad when you tried to sell them on it.) The problem was that she got so focused on selling the protection plans that she forgot to actually scan the printers they were attached to. So the customers would purchase the protection plan but walk out with free printers. 

Had this been caught after just a few instances, she just would have been retrained, but by that point, she’d lost the store thousands of dollars in revenue, so she was let go instead.

Honestly, I sort of felt bad for her.

I Forgot To Care About Your Request

, , , , | Working | May 2, 2022

I work for a fairly small, newer branch of a much larger company. One of my coworkers — a low-level manager — has a habit of asking people to purchase things for the company and then “forgetting” to send them along when payroll comes around. This results in a whole circus of arguments and frustration from everyone.

One day, he reaches out to me via the company messaging app.

Coworker: “Hey, can you go get [specific expensive ink]? I’d go, but I have a mountain of work to do.”

Me: “Did you place an order?”

Coworker: “No, just go pick it up for me.”

Me: “And you’ll pay me back?”

[Coworker] calls me.

Coworker: “Are you going or not?”

Me: “Are you paying me back?”

Coworker: “It’s for work!”

Me: “So, just say, ‘Yes, I’m going to approve the expense,’ and I’ll go get it.”

Coworker: “Jesus, [My Name], just go!”

Me: “No.”

I hang up. He goes back to messaging me.

Coworker: “We really need that ink.”

Me: “Then you go get it. I’m done with this conversation until I have it in writing that I will be reimbursed.”

He stopped talking to me. He convinced someone else to go instead and “forgot” to tell payroll. Several people have gone to Human Resources about his forgetfulness, but nothing has been done yet. I suspect it’s because every time he doesn’t submit an expense, the company hopes they will be able to keep the money and [Coworker] looks like he has a great handle on the budget.

Don’t Bank On Cashing Out

, , | Right | May 1, 2022

I work at a bank, and if you didn’t know, banks do not keep a lot of cash on hand like you see in the movies. Otherwise, we would be robbed every week, which is bad for business. We don’t issue cashier’s checks for non-customers or brand-new account owners.

A man in his thirties comes in and hands me a check.

Man: “I’d like to cash this check, please.”

Me: “Okay, do you have an account with us?”

Man: “No, I don’t.”

I look down at the check. It’s for $210,000.00!

The check is from our bank, and I’m able to verify it with our customer who wrote it, but as I stated, we don’t have that cash on hand. Even if you totaled the cash at all the branches in our area, we couldn’t cash the check for him.

I explain that to the man.

Me: “Sir, the earliest we could get you that much cash would be a week. We’d have to order it in.”

Man: “Fine. Then I’ll open an account and close it in a week.”

We were hesitant to order the money at all; it is a big risk to have that much money coming in and for him to have that in cash.

It took an hour to get him to understand that there was no way he was getting cash for his check that day.