Wishing The Boss Was ‘Not Here’

| Alphen a/d Rijn, The Netherlands | Working | July 31, 2017

(The history park/open air museum where I used to work has several bedrooms in case school classes or re-enactors have to stay for several nights. However, this all has to follow strict requirements due to safety, in case of emergency. When a huge group comes over, some of the bunk-beds have to be moved from storage to an approved room. When a group leaves, we put the beds back into storage, so that they won’t absorb too much space unnecessarily. One day, we are doing that again, while suddenly the park’s director comes in.)

Director: “Don’t put those here! You can’t put those here! This isn’t the right place! They have to be put somewhere else!”

(Nothing new. The man is a very loose cannon, always changing plans at the last moment and interfering without knowing all the facts. Also, he isn’t very resistant to stress.)

Colleague: “All right, where do we have to put them, then?”

Director: “Not here!”

Colleague: “Yes, but where do we have to put them?”

Director: “Not here!”

Colleague: “Where, then?”

Director: “NOT HERE!”

(In the end, we just put it in the next room, hoping he wouldn’t return to mess us up again.)

Window To A Different World

| IA, USA | Learning | July 28, 2017

(I’m giving a gallery tour to a group of kids from a nearby middle school, and a few of them are beginning to get bored and act out.)

Student: *pointing* “What I don’t get is how THAT is supposed to be art.”

Me: “Well, that’s because that is one of our window shades.”

Verily, A New Hope

, | Stratford-Upon-Avon, England, UK | Right | July 27, 2017

(I work in the gift shop of one of the Shakespeare houses in Stratford, and we sell the Shakespeare’s Star Wars books by Ian Doescher. These are the Star Wars movies, but written as plays in Shakespearean language. They quite clearly have the author’s name on the front cover.)

Customer: *noticing the books* “Oh, so, did Shakespeare write Star Wars, then?”

(She turned out to be completely serious.)

Not The Time To Ask For A Job

| Stockholm, Sweden | Working | July 10, 2017

(I work as a receptionist at a museum. I’m from Sweden and have a pretty common Swedish appearance. A customer stands right outside the glass door, staring at me, while I get ready to open. A couple of minutes before opening the door to get out to place the street signs outside, the customer grabs the door and tries to force himself in.)

Me: “I’m sorry, we open in a couple of minutes.”

Customer: *looks me up and down and says with a snarky voice* “Well, here in Sweden we are punctual.”

(Too baffled to answer, I just walk past him and place the signs outside. I go back in, put the last thing in order, and get seated at the reception. The customer walks confidently up to the counter.)

Customer: “I want a job here!”

Common Sense Not Included

, , , , , | Working | June 21, 2017

(I work in the souvenir shop at a museum. Aside from sales, our responsibility is to be knowledgeable of everything inside the museum, both exhibits and the products we are selling, which isn’t hard if you make the effort. Generally, everyone I work with is enthused by the museum theme and knows a lot about it but in the last year or so my line manager has been hiring people don’t know anything about what we do and don’t want to learn, which is pushing down targets and satisfaction. One day one of the recent hires and I are serving a group of people at the tills and I overhear the following exchange.)

Coworker: “Hi, how can I help?”

(Coworker begins ringing through the customer’s goods.)

Customer: “My daughter wants to know if she needs to buy batteries for this products or if they are included?”

Coworker: “I don’t know; I’ll just ask my colleague.”

(Coworker refuses to acknowledge large obvious ‘batteries not included’ signage.)

Coworker: *to Customer* “I’m so sorry, I’ve only been here three months!”

Customer: “What do you mean? You work in a toy shop don’t you?”

Me: *pointing to battery information signage* “[Coworker], it’s right here. Batteries not included.” *to Customer* “Did you want to by some batteries with this today?”

Customer: “Yes, please!”

(I hand batteries to my coworker; the transaction goes through and the customer departs.)

Coworker: *to me* “Wow, you’re really brainy. How do you know so much about products?!”

Me: “We’re supposed to. It’s our job.”

(This isn’t the only example. Another one of our coworkers who used to work with her has been working with us for over a year. When I supervise them I frequently get tales about management ‘being mean’ to them; not allowing them to have access to drinking water, for example. It turns out management caught both of them leaving open cups of drinking water right near electricity outlets, putting the whole workplace at risk, and they construed this as an attempt to deny them human rights. I shouldn’t have had to explain the risk to 30-somethings but not only did they not get it, they told me it was ridiculous.)

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