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More Hindrance Than Help

, , , , , , | Related | December 31, 2021

My husband and I were living temporarily with my parents when I had my third child by cesarean after a high-risk pregnancy. She was born a little premature (36.5 weeks) but healthy. I couldn’t say the same for me; I had acute bronchitis that led to severe coughing fits anytime I even considered laying down. 

Between the coughing and surgery, taking care of the newborn, and being unable to lie down to sleep, I was basically a complete zombie for the first month and lived on the couch so I could sleep sitting up. My husband did try to help with the older kids, but he had to work full time and couldn’t be there all day. My dad also worked, but my mom was retired and had nothing outside of the house to do, so she was there all the time to “help out”. In theory. But she has always treated everyone like their problems weren’t as important as her problems.

My one-week-old was asleep on my chest and I was trying to get some desperately needed sleep myself when my mom came loudly stomping into the room. I opened my eyes to see her pulling my five-year-old along with her.

Mom: “You need to go look at the mess your daughter just made! Her crayons are everywhere!” 

Me: “So? Just ask her to pick them up. [Daughter], can you please pick up your crayons?” 

[Daughter] nodded and skipped back to her room, and I tried to close my eyes again.

Mom: “No, you need to see this! She broke her crayons into pieces! On the carpet!”

I rolled my eyes and very carefully stood up from the couch, trying not to pull on my stitches or wake the baby. Then, I slowly followed my mom into the back room while she ranted about having to get crayon out of the carpet.

Mom: “See?! It’s everywhere!” 

There were a dozen or so crayons with the paper torn off and broken into pieces, most of which were on the notebook my daughter had been using, but yes, some of it was ground into the carpet. My mom then walked off — I assumed to get a trash bag — so I told my daughter it wasn’t nice to make messes and asked her to help Grandma pick up the pieces.

When my mom returned, she actually had a hot washrag and a bottle of carpet cleaner, which seemed reasonable, so I turned to head back to the living room. But before I could react, she put the cleaning supplies down on the floor, grabbed my sleeping newborn from my arms, and flounced back to the living room, shouting over her shoulder:

Mom: “She’s your daughter, so you get to clean it up!” 

I was too exhausted to fight it, so I just got down and cleaned. This, of course, caused a coughing fit, which pulled on my stitches, which made my eyes water from the pain, which caused my five-year-old to ask why I was crying. By the time I had finished, the baby was awake, so I didn’t get to nap, either. I ignored my mom for the rest of the day out of spite.

Later, when my dad and my husband each got home from work, my mom, of course, went on and on about the “horrible” mess that was made and how hard it is to get out of carpet, saying that I was being “extra grumpy for no reason,” conveniently glossing over the fact that she’d made me clean it up.

And she wonders why we moved three states away.

Naive Employees And Stupid, STUPID Customers

, , , , , , | Working | December 2, 2021

My immune system is busted, but I can’t tell if it’s reacting too much or not enough, so to stay safe, I’m steering clear of people for now. I’m also steering clear of the smoke so thick it looks like fog, which is enveloping half the West Coast as of August 2021 and, apparently, for the rest of our existence.

Part of avoiding people involves getting my groceries by ordering online and coming to pick them up. I do my thing, order my groceries, go to pick them up, present my card for the purchase… and it doesn’t work with the mobile card reader.

The young employee tries again. And again. Still busted. This is annoying, but whatever; clearly their Wi-Fi is kicking a fit, and it’s not like I don’t know how computer problems go.

Employee: “Okay, let me just take down your card number so I can run it in the store.”

I’m thinking, naively, that this means the number on the front of the card.

Me: “Oh, here.”

I hand my card over.

Employee: “Uh… No, the number.”

I suddenly have a horrible suspicion.

Me: “Do you mean my PIN?

He responds as if this is totally normal.

Employee: “Yes.”

My soul leaves my body at about this point.

Me: “Sir, I am not giving you my PIN.”

Employee: “Uh. Sure.”

Somewhere in our wrestling match with the mobile card unit, the employee explained that some customers had been insisting that he take their PINs to avoid having to get out of the car. When we eventually had to go in, I let the manager know EXACTLY what some jerks were bullying a poor high schooler into, and that the poor kid was going to end up giving his own PIN away and not have any money after that.

Eventually, I was able to pay and leave, and hopefully, that manager has just learned why we say “no” to problem customers.

Sounds Like Someone’s About To Get Sued

, , , , , , , | Healthy | August 19, 2021

I work for a major financial company. I was the manager of the branch in question. I worked long hours there. I was usually there from a few hours before open until significantly after close. I was the first person to arrive in the morning and the last to leave at night. It was exhausting.

We were running on (essentially) a skeleton crew, so I had to be familiar with every position from janitor on out and fill in for anyone who was sick.

We were in a dense commercial block, with small antique shops, restaurants, other financial companies, and even a theatre.

I started getting headaches at work. Some days, they were so bad I threw up in the bathroom before driving home. It seemed that the longer I was at work, the worse I felt.

I started seeing the gas company van parked on the block more and more often. In a local restaurant, while enjoying lunch, I overheard that all of the commercial spaces near ours were complaining about gas smell.

One day, one of our clients complained of a gas smell in our branch. I didn’t smell anything. None of my coworkers smelled anything. But the guidance was clear on what to do; we called the gas company and reported that there was a gas smell.

We were told to leave the building, so we did dutifully, complaining the whole way. The gas company showed up with their tester. As he brought the tester device near my office, it started clicking. It started clicking really fast. The gas company guy turned to us, quite pale, and asked how we hadn’t exploded yet.

They evacuated us a few more blocks away. I remember a fire company person asking me if I was dizzy or nauseous. I was, but it was normal for me, so I was confused and didn’t know how to answer. I wish to this day I had answered, because my spouse had apparently noticed that I was mentally deteriorating the whole time, and even now, five years later, I’m noticeably slower and less mentally capable than I once was. 

After they aired out the first floor with large vans that had large fans, I was brought back into the office to unlock the door to the basement, where the gas concentration was strongest. By now, I’d sent all my coworkers home with a promised full day’s pay.

I unlocked the door a bit nervously and was hustled away from it again while they went into the basement.

Earlier that year, in January, we’d gotten a new furnace. It turned out that they hadn’t joined the unions correctly and the furnace was leaking out gas at a prodigious rate. What actually saved us from an explosion was that there was very little oxygen down there, mostly just gas and carbon monoxide.

The basements of all of the commercial buildings on the block were separated by old crumbling brickwork, so the gas from my office was leaking into the neighboring commercial buildings, too. They all had to be aired out. All of the gas problems on the block were the fault of my faulty furnace.

And I was the one who’d suffered the most exposure to it, as we kept our secure documents in the basement, and I was the only one with the key, going down there every day, multiple times a day to retrieve or return documents.

I still work for the company, but in a different district far away. I still don’t know how to get compensation for any harm I may have suffered in those working conditions.

Rage-Tweet Defeat

, , , , , , | Right | June 16, 2021

The company I work for has a policy of checking the IDs of all people in a group if they shop together and buy alcohol. In my experience, that’s a pretty common practice. Unfortunately, quite often, those who don’t have their ID will ask if they can just step outside. The answer is still no, because we know they’re shopping together.

Two women in their early to mid-twenties come in together. My coworker and I see them shopping together, including going to the liquor aisle together. I have a strong feeling that one of them is underage, so I make sure my coworker checks both women’s IDs when ringing them up.

Eventually, I get called to the front. One of the girls is at the register and is visibly livid. As I suspected, the other girl does not have an ID. The sale was denied, and the girl at the register is furious that we won’t sell the liquor, even with her friend outside in the car. She throws a fit, demanding corporate’s number and my name to file a complaint.

While this is going on, a woman lines up behind them. I guess here I should point out that my coworker, this woman, and I are all white; the two women purchasing the alcohol are black. Despite hearing me explain to the first girl why the sale was denied, the other woman demands to know why the sale is denied. She clearly thinks we are being racist even though she doesn’t know about the other girl.

We never hear from the first two, but this woman goes to Twitter to express her rage at this racial injustice. Luckily, the security cameras show the entire scenario, and we see [Girl #2] handing [Girl #1] money to buy said alcohol. Case closed!

They Can Only Focus On One Number At A Time

, , , , | Right | June 2, 2021

We have a rewards program to get sale prices, discounts, and coupons. To use the rewards, we can scan the card or type in the customers’ phone numbers. When asking a customer if they are part of the program, I always say:

Me: “Do you have a [card] or phone number to enter?”

I long ago lost count of the number of people who say, “No,” but after I back out of that screen, they say, “But I do have a phone number!” Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t understand why they can’t put that answer all in one sentence!