, , , , | Working | October 23, 2017

(We monitor closed circuit television for various highrise blocks in our city. One of our blocks is almost entirely enclosed inside a high fence with two vehicle gates. One is to enter and is security fob accessible, and one is to exit, and automatically opens when you drive up to it from the inside. Unfortunately, this exit gate is extremely temperamental and breaks down at the slightest gust of wind. There is a reset button near the gates, but this can be as temperamental as the gates themselves. We also have wardens that we can dispatch to any of our blocks. On this instance, our gates have failed again, but the onsite staff has already notified us. Two of our wardens are on site, but are both quite new. They are, however, very eager and very hands-on. This conversation takes place over radio.)

Warden: “We just wanted to let you know that the vehicle exit gates have failed. Is there anything that can be done?”

Me: “The only thing we can do is to phone [Repairs] and report it. You could try the reset button.”

Warden: “Is that [location of button]? Will that do anything, though?”

Me: “Well, you can try it. The worst thing that will happen is nothing at all.”

(At this point, we can see them pressing the button on the camera and I feel a bit mischievous.)

Me: “Yeah. You’ll have to test it by pretending to be a car.”

(I could watch what they do next all day, but I quickly put them out of their misery.)

Me: “I’m sorry. I mean you’ll have to test it with a car.”

(It did resolve the issue, but I will forever have the memory of our two new wardens jumping up and down in front of the gates doing star jumps trying to get the gates open.)

Internet Screaming Provider

, , , , , | Working | October 15, 2017

(We hire a bunch of college kids to fill in during the summertime when people are on vacation. It isn’t that big a deal; they just have to run down the script, and if that doesn’t take care of the problem, they transfer the customer to the next level. One of the guys is something special. He is studying computer science and he, “doesn’t need no script to help people.” I am eager to put that to the test. I create an outage report for a customer area in our training system and create a customer in that area that I can be. Then, I am able to live every support tech’s dream: I can be the a**hole customer to a smart-a** know-it-all.)

New Guy: “Welcome to [ISP] Tech Support. My name—”


New Guy: “Yes, what lights are on on your router?”

Me: *louder* “Don’t talk that technobabble with me, sonny. Fix my Internet!”

New Guy: “I can only help you if you tell me—”

Me: *even louder* “Sonny, listen: you fix my Internet or you’ll be sorry!”

New Guy: “So, what lights are on?”

Me: “Huh? One is on and one is flashing every now and then.”

New Guy: “Ah, yes, so we’re getting a signal.”


(By now, the floor outside is filling with coworkers who want to see what the commotion is about.)

New Guy: “Could you reboot the router for me?”

Me: *huffing* “Fine!” *rebooting PC* “What now?”

New Guy: “No, not the computer, the—”

Me: *back to yelling* “What did I tell you before? Don’t do that technobabble with me; just fix my d*** Internet!”

(I let him suffer for another minute, and since I’m getting kinda hoarse from yelling constantly, I eventually take him off the hook, not without him muttering that “nobody can help that stupid git.” He hands the headset to a female coworker.)

Coworker: “Welcome to [ISP] Tech Support. This—”


Coworker: “Yes, sir, may I have your name?”

Me: “[Fake Name]! NOW FIX MY INTERNET! Stupid woman probably doesn’t know jack s*** about the whole crap, anyway. Why do they even try…”

Coworker: *mutes me while looking up the relevant info*

(I keep rambling while I can’t help but grin inwardly. By now I have to gesture to the coworkers on the floor to shut up their laughter.)

Coworker: *unmutes* “Sir? There’s an outage in your area. Your Internet will return in about three hours. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

(And then, Mr. I-Study-Computer-Science says the magical words that make the floor resound with laughter:)

New Guy: “Oh, c’mon. No customer is that stupid!”

Reaching Breaking Point

, , , , | Working | October 5, 2017

(In the fall, our store hires seasonal help. We hire a cashier who has a decent work ethic, but eventually he starts to have an attitude with the younger supervisors. This includes me, as I am in my early 20s, and he is in his 50s. All cashiers are expected to check the bathroom; it’s marked on the schedule sheet, and it’s supposed to be checked once every hour. When everyone is trained, they’re told to clean it sometime within 45 minutes after they’re marked to do it. The new hire happens to be scheduled to take his 15 minute break at 6:30, and he’s assigned the 6:30 bathroom check, meaning he can do it anytime between 6:30 & 7:15. After doing some stuff on the floor, I come back to the registers and see the new hire turning his lane light on, so I check the time.)

Me: “Oh, good, [New Hire]; you’re back from break.”

New Hire: “Oh, I didn’t take my break. I was just cleaning the bathrooms.”

(Since he’s new, I let it slide, but explain how breaks take precedent over the bathroom checks. Then I reach over and turn his lane light off.)

Me: “I have to find someone to cover you, because [Coworker #2] has to take her dinner break right now. That’s why it’s important to stick to the break schedule. Go take your break.”

New Hire: “Oh, no. I’m okay. I don’t need one.” *he reaches up and turns the light back on*

Me: “You realize it’s a paid fifteen minute break, right? It’s not like you’re gaining anything from not taking a break. Anyway, [Store] is legally required by state law to give you breaks. You need to take one. Turn your light back off and take your break.”

New Hire: *he stares at me like I’m an idiot and walks away* “Oooookaaay.”

Coworker #1: “Did he seriously give you attitude because he gets a PAID break for working four hours?”

Me: “Yeah, he did. Where did he work before this? Has he never worked somewhere that was compliant with state labor laws? Can you take over for [Coworker #2]? She’s going to be on meal compliance if she doesn’t clock out for her meal. I’ll handle the service desk until I get someone from the floor over here.”

(After the new hire comes back from break and I let the sales floor coworker go back to their area, I go into the bathroom to find that it REEKS of bleach, like someone scrubbed every surface and then mopped with it. I am pregnant at the time, and I’m already sensitive to the smell of cleaning products, anyway, so I immediately get nauseous and have to step outside for fresh air. When I finally feel better, I go inside and approach the new guy.)

Me: “[New Hire]! Did you use bleach to clean the bathrooms?”

New Hire: *as if I asked a dumb question* “Well, yeah.”

Me: “Seriously? You know we have specific bathroom cleaner, right?”

New Hire: *again, he speaks down to me like I’m dumb* “Well, it was empty.”

Me: *I’m trying to be the better person and not give him the same attitude* “Next time, ask someone how to refill the bathroom cleaner. If nobody is able to help, just clean the best you can; fill the bottle with water to dilute whatever is left in there. Bleach is awfully harsh to use in a public bathroom. I know there are vents in there, but there’s not enough circulation.”

New Hire: *looks at me like I have three heads* “Oooookay.”

Me: “You’re on the schedule for bathrooms at 7:30, too, right? I’ll do it and refill the cleaner. Make sure you check in with me before you clock out.”

(Surprise, surprise, since I was cleaning the bathroom, he didn’t tell me when he clocked out at eight, and he didn’t clean up his register. There were other issues with him, like taking breaks that were too short or too long, and giving us attitude. Even when he was talked to about those things, he still didn’t listen. Somehow, he wasn’t quite bad enough to fire, but he wasn’t one of the seasonal workers who got hired on year-round. A few days before his last day, he just walked out on another manager and we never saw him again. Thank goodness!)

Will Be Here Until We’re Eighty

, , , , | Working | October 3, 2017

(I’m the dumb employee in this story. I’m working as a cashier, and having just started the new job a week earlier, I’m not familiar with all of it yet. The customer has a huge pile of paper trash bags that are tied with a string. I assume I have to count them all since each bag has an individual bar code.)

Me: “Do you know how many bags there are in this?”

Customer: “Sorry; no.”

Me: “I’ll just have to count them then.”

Customer: “Okay.”

(I start counting and am getting near to seventy when I’m interrupted.)

Customer: “I can the see the price tag on the shelf from here; it says 80 bags.”

Me: “Oh, thanks!”

(At this point, I finally read the barcode, not having done so before.)

Me: “Oh. It says 80 on the computer. I didn’t need to count them. I’m sorry!”

Customer: “New, aren’t you?”

(Luckily, they were understanding and didn’t start an angry rant.)

Time Zoned Out

, , , , | Working | October 2, 2017

(I work for a video game publishing company, and some of us work remotely from home. One of our developers is foreign, and we have weekly catch-up meetings via video chat with him to check in with the status of his project, see if there’s anything he or his team needs, and so forth. One of our new employees has just been brought into this process, and I wake up the morning of the weekly call to a slew of increasingly frantic messages from him.)

Coworker: “Where were you guys?! I’ve been waiting for you for eight hours!”

Me: “What? Why? That’s like… 1:00 AM.”

Coworker: “Uh, the meeting?! I mean, I guess [Developer] didn’t show up for it either, but this could have been a disaster. I didn’t have any of the information for him! That’s your and [Other Coworker]’s job! What if I’d screwed up?”

Me: “Well, the meeting is at 9:30 AM, EST.”

Coworker: “Yeah, but he’s in [Overseas Country]! Adjusting for time difference, that’s—”

Me: “Dude, he’s from there. He’s been living in [US City] for, like, 20 years, hence the EST meeting time.”

Coworker: “But… I thought… God, I’m so tired.”

(At least we know he’s a dedicated worker, if not detail-oriented!)

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