Another Case Of Wifitis

, , , , , , | Working | August 13, 2017

(We’re due to have a new member of staff; they passed the interviews all fine and we’re just making sure that their workspace will be set up a-ok. Keep in mind we’re an Internet software company. As part of this we ask if the employee has any special needs for their workplace; for instance I’m disabled due to arthritis so I require a special chair and keyboard set up. I got a phone call from the new employee about a day before she was due to start:)

New Starter: “Hey, yeah, just calling about my workplace set up. I do have a few requirements.”

Me: “Okay, no worries; do you want to go through them now or send them via email or post?”

New Starter: “Nah, phone is fine. I need an ergonomic keyboard and mouse because I have RSI.”

Me: “No problems at all; I’ve got a setup like that myself so we’ll get those installed for you.”

New Starter: “Right, and I’m deathly allergic to WiFi, so you’ll need to shut off anything wireless in the office.”

Me: “…pardon?”

New Starter: “Yes, I’ll die if I’m near a wifi signal. You need to shut down anything that works wireless.”

Me: *noticing at this point she’s calling me from a MOBILE PHONE* “Erm, that may pose a real problem as a lot of our systems and phones work on wireless.”

New Starter: “Tough. Disable it. Rewire it or whatever you have to do. I’ll die if I’m near anything wireless.”

Me: “Can I ask a question?”

New Starter: “Yes.”

Me: “How did you protect yourself against the signals when you came in for your interviews then? That meeting room actually houses two of the main wireless points for the office.”

New Starter: “I’m going to sue.” *hangs up*

(She DID in fact call a lawyer to claim we were refusing ‘disability accommodations’ who then called our corporate office to complain. We’d already sent the notes from my phone call up so they knew about her ‘issue.’ We never heard anything further aside from a single note from HR saying we’d withdrawn the job offer ‘on agreement with the interviewee.’)

Pranking You From The Basement To The Attic

, , , , , | Working | August 12, 2017

(I work for an ice cream parlor with a 1920’s style. It is a fun place to work, but we have our share of pranking. I am leaning on the counter of the main soda fountain.)

Jerk: “Hey, [My Name], don’t lean on the counter! It warps the marble.”

Me: “Oh, BS. No, it doesn’t.”

Jerk: “Sure it does. Look at the surface!”

(He gets his eyes level with the marble counter top so I mimic his behavior to look for myself, but unknown to me he’s armed with a whip-cream can almost on empty so it’s capable of spewing foam like a squirt gun. I got a face full of whipped cream from across the counter. Oh, and “Jerk” is the job title for a soda jerk. Come to think of it, he was just a jerk. Other times we would get a new hire to go hunting in the back room for blueberry topping. Plausible, I suppose, but there was no such thing. One time the rookie managed to get two others helping him look. Sometimes we would send a new guy looking for something in the basement. The restaurant was built on a slab and it was obvious (I certainly didn’t bite when it was tried on me). Eventually the new guy would discover that a basement was impossible. But to complete this prank, you needed a manager’s help. It went a bit like this:)

Employee: “Hey, the manager says to get a box of straw hats from the attic.”

New Hire: “Yeah, right. Pull the other one. I already got taken by the basement gag.”

Employee: “No, seriously, the manager said to get them from the attic.”

New Hire: “Go away!”

Employee: “Suit yourself”

(Shortly after that the manager storms up to the new hire.)

Manager: “You were supposed get hats from the attic.”

New Hire: *stammering* “But there’s no attic!”

Manager: “Come here!”

(The manager leads the employee to a conspicuous chain by the break room and tugs down the ladder. The employee turns red, but never actually gets in trouble. On one of my last days there, late in the year, one other employee (also about to quit) tells me he’s put liquid detergent in the gas tank of the lawnmower. That sucker was never going start. I pitied the poor employee who got the task of trying to start that thing in the spring. The last I checked, lawnmowers don’t run on soap suds.)

A Write Up To Bring You Down

, , , , , , | Working | June 29, 2017

(The bakery department in my store closed earlier than usual today. Since I work in the next department over, a customer asks if I know of anyone who can answer a question for her. I know very well that I don’t know the first thing about that department, so I tell her to wait by bakery as I get on the phone and call for the manager.)

Manager: “Well, have you tried helping the customer? How about trying that?”

Me: “Well, I’d be glad to, but the issue is I don’t know anything about bakery, so I’d rather ask for someone who knows the area first.”

(The manager hangs up, so I realize that I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and hope I can produce the answer somehow.)

Me: “All right, looks like I’m the one helping you today! I just ask that you bear with me, because I don’t really know this department very well, but I’ll certainly do my best! How can I help you?”

Customer: “This cake on display here, without a price tag, how much is it?”

(Sure enough, I haven’t the foggiest clue. However, after a moment of thinking, I head into the back room and start flipping through all the books stored back there. Finally, after a fairly large amount of time for so simple a question, I find the order guide and then the page with the picture of the exact cake the customer wants. I walk back out and tell the customer the price. The customer walks away thanking me for my help. The following day, the manager calls me over.)

Manager: “I’m writing you up for yesterday.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Manager: “I shouldn’t have had to tell you to help that customer.”

Me: “Okay, hold on. I had no problem attempting to help that customer, or any customer; I just figured it would be wiser to ask someone who knows the area to help the customer. What I was trying to avoid was me either being completely unable to help her or taking a much longer time to answer her question that it should take, which is what happened. Either one risks leaving an odd impression of our customer service on the customer, so to me, it was just better to try and direct her to someone more knowledgeable. Once I knew that no such person was available, I had no issue trying to help her. I thought quickly and ended up finding the answer she needed, so overall, I think I handled that situation as best as possible without any prior training in that area.”

Manager: “But I shouldn’t have had to tell you to help the customer!”

Me: “If you want me to always first try to help the customer before asking for assistance, that’s fine. However, this is a training issue, not a disciplinary issue. Four write ups in this store and you’re terminated. Do you really think that the act of being uncertain in an area I’ve never worked or trained for is so terrible that it should go on a list of reasons I should be fired?”

Manager: “It doesn’t matter. I’m tired of my side of the store getting the lowest customer service scores, so I’m not playing around anymore! If anyone’s customer service is not TOP notch, you get a write up! That’s it!”

Me: “And I don’t hold that viewpoint against you. What I’m saying is that there’s a difference between being incompetent and not having the training. If the employee never had the opportunity to first gain the knowledge, how can you then punish them for not having it?”

Manager: “Look, if you want to challenge this, take it up with the store manager.”

(I did just that. The store manager said that while I didn’t actually do anything wrong, the write up would still stay on my record.)

Not So Mental About This Rental

, , , , , | Working | June 29, 2017

(I am in college, and I have decided to try getting a part-time job. I see that the store for a national company that specializes in renting moving trucks and trailers is hiring, so I put in an application. At the interview, I am asked if I would be available to work weekends. I say yes, but I need 24 hour notice beforehand. I am assured that it won’t be a problem. I’m told that I am hired and would begin training soon. The following Saturday, I get a call from the manager that he needs me in in 15 minutes. I have not yet received any training.)

Me: “I can come in, but I’m half an hour outside of town. It’s literally not possible for me to make it there in 15 minutes.”

Manager: “Well, if you’re not here then, I’m going to have to mark you down as being late to work.”

(I made it there in, unsurprisingly, a half hour and was marked late. By this point I was already having second thoughts about the job. The manager gives me a pair of coveralls which he claims are clean but have obvious sweat-stains on them, which I point out. He insists that they are in fact clean, despite the visual evidence to the contrary. I end up wearing them. I’m instructed to help another worker do inspections of rental trucks that have been brought in, to make sure that everything is working.)

Me: “I don’t know what we’re supposed to be looking for.”

Other Worker: “It doesn’t matter. Nobody double checks, so we just mark that everything is good.”

Me: “I think I want to make sure that you’re the one signing the checklists.”

Other Worker: “No problem.”

(This is pretty much the only smart move on my part the whole day. After pretending to inspect the vehicles, I am given some other minor tasks that could actually be accomplished without training, then, once it gets dark outside, the manager has me come to assist with closing. After telling me to help a second coworker, he and the rest of the staff leave for the day. Since I haven’t even been given access to the cash registers, much less trained to use them, this means that I am stuck standing behind the counter looking stupid for the rest of the night.)

Customer: “Excuse me; can you unlock the propane line so I can fill my tank?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but this is my first day and I haven’t been given access to that yet.”

Customer: “That’s f****** stupid.”

Me: “Yes. Yes, it is.”

(By the time the day ended, I’d firmly made up my mind that I absolutely did not want this job and in the future would absolutely avoid renting a vehicle from them, so I turned in my badge and the “clean” coveralls (which I actually washed and what do you know, the sweat stains came out). Some months later, I found out that the manager and several of the workers had gotten into some serious trouble due to renting out a truck that had had turns signals that weren’t working.)

Engineering A Chip On Their Shoulder

, , | Working | June 27, 2017

(My father is a senior engineer for a national technology company. He has received notification that a newly hired engineer, fresh out of college, is being added to his team. He hasn’t met the engineer, but was given their name, which is one that could easily belong to someone of either gender. He goes to meet this new engineer in the lobby on the first day. He goes out and sees a woman waiting.)

Father: “Hello, you must be [New Engineer]. I’m [Father]; I’m the senior engineer on our team.”

New Engineer: “Bet you weren’t expecting a woman, we’re you?”

Father: “I wasn’t exactly expecting either a man or a woman. I was expecting an engineer.”

New Engineer: “And to you age 50+ engineers, engineer means man, right? Women can be engineers, too, you know. They are just as capable as men.”

Father: “I have no problem with female engineers. In fact, I’m married to one.”

New Engineer: “You mean a manufacturer who would have been an engineer if you let her.”

Father: “No. I mean she has a master’s degree in civil engineering.”

New Engineer: *scoffs* “How kind of you to finally let her go back to school and finally get the degree that matched her skills.”

Father: “She’s had her master’s degree since the early 80s. In fact, she had a master’s degree before I did.”

New Engineer: “Wow, really? She’s one of those trailblazing female engineers?!”

(She suddenly is bizarrely star-struck.)

New Engineer: “Oh, I have to meet her! Was she part of the founding of the female engineer societies?”

Father: “She thought about it. But she realized something that maybe you could learn from. She decided to stop trying to convince everyone that women could be engineers and just prove it.”

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