You Don’t Need A Six-Pack To Smile

, , , , , , | Working | March 4, 2019

(I am in a liquor store purchasing some items for me and my fiancée. We have been on a hard iced tea kick lately, and the store has a “make your own six pack” special going. I build a six pack and also grab two boxes of packaged drinks. The cashier looks to be a man in his late forties or early fifties. The economy has been terrible in my province lately, and I speculate to myself that he’s been laid off from a previous job and has taken this to make ends meet.)

Cashier: “Hi there. How are you today?”

Me: “Fine, thanks. How are you?”

Cashier: “Oh, not too bad. This is everything for you?”

Me: “Yes, thanks.”

(He picks up one of the sealed packaged boxes, scans it, sets it to the side, and then notices my pick-your-own set. He immediately looks nervous.)

Cashier: “Oh, I’m so sorry. I’m not totally sure why, but we’re supposed to scan those ones first; I think it’s so you get the discount. I’ll need a supervisor to start the transaction again.”

Me: “No problem.”

(The cashier tries to flag down the supervisor on duty, who is chatting with other customers, assumedly family or friends as she is holding their baby and they are all laughing. She is totally oblivious that the cashier needs her.)

Cashier: “I’m so sorry. I’m new and I don’t have the authority to override.”

Me: “It’s no problem, really.”

(He keeps waving and calling her. Still no response. He turns to me looking nervous.)

Me: “I have nowhere else to be. Honestly, it’s okay.”

(Finally, the supervisor notices the line not moving. She comes over and voids the transaction so he can start again.)

Cashier: “Thanks for your patience. Some of these systems just… They’re a bit difficult.”

Me: “New jobs are always tough. You’re doing great. Thank you for making sure I got my discount. I hope to see you again!”

Cashier: “Thank you so much. Have a great day.”

(The poor guy. I wonder if other customers had been hard on him or if he was just nervous that he would do a poor job. A job is a job these days; I commend anyone who has to take a less paying job to make ends meet after being laid off. I hope he’s had a better experience since that day!)

Doesn’t Get How References Work

, , , , | Working | February 25, 2019

(I am a store manager at a coffee chain. Our employees are hired by a separate HR and recruiting department. I need new people so they send me twenty-year-old who has passed the interview process and seems eager to start working. I tell her the basics, give her her shifts for the next four weeks — in Finland you are required to give employees their shift lists quite early, so they can plan their lives outside of work: childcare, studies, hobbies, etc. — and start training her. Training lasts two shifts and goes okay. After those two first shifts, she stops coming to work. She does not show up for her next shift and does not answer her phone or emails. After a week and five missed shifts, I decide to email her and let her know that, since she was on her trial period and had not given any explanation for her absence, she is fired. A week after the email she shows up for work as if nothing happened and asks where her apron is. I ask her to come to my office.)

Me: “Did you not see my email or the message I sent to your phone? You failed to show up on your shifts for weeks — shifts that you agreed to take, by the way — and did not answer your phone for over a week, so I’m terminating our contract. You are no longer employed here.”

New Starter: “Come oooon! I’m sorry, okay, but I was so busy with, like, studies and other stuff and did not have time to come to work. I have time now, so I can work the rest of my shifts this month. It’s not that serious. You are a student, too; you should know what it’s like when you are busy. You can’t just fire me!”

(But I can and I do, even though she kicks up a fuss, seems to think it’s super unfair, and even threatens to spam our Facebook with bad reviews. Fast forward five months: I get a call from a recruiter for another coffee chain.)

Recruiter: “Did you have an employee called [New Starter] working for you?”

Me: “Oh, her. Yes, we did. Why?”

Recruiter: “Well, we are considering hiring her and she used you as a reference on her CV. She said she worked for you for four months; is that accurate?”

(The effing bonehead had actually used me as her only CV reference, with the right phone number and everything, and made up a work history where she was an appreciated member of our team, a reliable worker, and a customer service specialist. I had fun correcting these mistakes, and I do not think she got the job at the other coffee chain after I told them about her work ethics. Lying on your CV is a delicate skill, people, and HR actually does occasionally check the references.)

Of Coffee Slips And Well-Timed Quips

, , , , , , , | Working | February 21, 2019

I work as a producer for a video game publishing company. Recently I met up with a former employer for lunch. I left the company on good terms, and he essentially got me started on my career, so even though I don’t work for him anymore I still consider him a mentor and am eager to show him how well I’ve done and how far I’ve come. With me is another colleague, and a young intern we have working with us.

Lunch itself goes great. I’m happy to see him and catch up, and my coworker says great things about me to him. Towards the end, he’s chatting with our intern, encouraging him in general but also saying, “Don’t worry. Just stick to [My Name] and learn from her and you’ll be just fine.”

Even though it’s obviously just kind flattery, I beam at him, go to set down my mostly-full coffee cup… and miss the edge of the table entirely so it drops to the floor and shatters, spraying coffee everywhere. There’s a moment of horrified silence, and then the intern looks at my former boss and deadpans, “Don’t worry. I’ll do as she says, not as she does.”

At least I know our intern is quick with a quip, and that I can always rely on the universe to put me in my place with perfect timing if I ever get too big a head.

 

The Retail Equivalent Of Breaking Up Via Text

, , , , , , | Working | February 19, 2019

(I am the electronics manager at a big-box retailer. One of the new hires in my department is the practical epitome of a poor worker; he frequently shows up late, is rude to other employees, and often sits around doing nothing instead of fulfilling his duties. He has had multiple write-ups and is fresh off a suspension for making a rude remark to his immediate supervisor. Lo and behold, he shows up an hour late on his first shift back from suspension, and I spot him loafing around in the in-store cafe. I decide enough is enough and he has to be let go, but I’m very busy and cannot talk to him in person. So, I decide to be a little creative…)

Me: *over the PA* “[New Hire], if you can hear me… YOU’RE FIRED!” *pause* “Please head to the store manager’s office to pick up your termination papers.”

(Soon after, the new hire storms towards the office, cursing loudly. Several customers are looking at me in disbelief.)

Electronics Supervisor: “I gotta say, that was one h*** of a way to let that guy go!”

(Thirty minutes later, I was called into the store manager’s office and written up for not following termination protocol properly. Totally worth it, given how much of a jerk that new hire was to begin with.)

Needs To Reorient Your Hearing

, , , , , | Working | January 14, 2019

(A new starter has been assigned to my team. I am trying to get him logged into our computer to process customers’ to-store deliveries, when the system refuses to let him log in. I recognise the error: he hasn’t started his shift yet — we use an electronic time-booking system that also prevents user accounts from being logged into unless they are on the clock. I advise him that he needs to clock in, and escort him to the machine in case he forgot where it is. He stops as we approach the staff door.)

Me: “Is there a problem?”

Starter: “I can’t go in there.”

Me: “Why not?”

Starter: “The gays are in there. [Manager] said I’m not allowed.”

(I have no idea what he’s talking about, but reassure him that he is, indeed, allowed beyond the threshold. He adamantly refuses to enter, and wants me to speak to the manager about it. I tell him he risks not being paid for his shift, which he accepts. I assign him to something not needing computer access and wait for the manager to come in. She is equally confused and speaks to the starter. She gives me this gem when she returns.)

Manager: “He apparently misheard me when I told him he had to be escorted in the admin office because the keys are in there.”

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