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I Hope You Like Your Eggs Steam-Poached

, , , , , , | Working | January 5, 2023

We’re at the tail-end of a week-long heatwave here in the wonderful state of New Jersey. High temperatures are between 95 and 101F (about 35 to 38C), and the humidity is so thick you need SCUBA gear to walk to your car.

One of our new hires is actually from southern Alaska, and while it’s not the wasteland of the northern parts, he is NOT used to this sort of heat.

We’re sitting around the lunch room, discussing how glad we are that the central AC for the office was just fixed, when the new guy gets up to throw out his trash and glances out the window.

New Guy:Uhh… Why is the parking lot on fire?!”

This triggers a few panicked folks running to the windows, followed promptly by laughter. I put my arm around his shoulder.

Me: “Well, [New Guy], you ever hear the phrase, ‘so hot you can cook an egg on the asphalt’? That’s what happens when the phrase is literal, and then we get a little afternoon shower.”

Sure enough, there had been a little five-minute bit of rain before, just enough to leave a thin, wet coating on a scorching hot parking lot that quickly steamed away when the sun came back out.

New Guy: “How… do you all live like this… on a normal basis?”

Three of us, almost in sync:

Us: “AIR CONDITIONING.”

The Seasoned Old Newbie

, , , , , | Working | January 4, 2023

In my college years, I worked in a souvenir shop in a large theme park. I had seven seasons under my belt when I took a gap year to live and work in the USA. The summer after, I returned to my old job.

Every new employee got a basic course in hospitality in their first few months, and I had already had mine. To my surprise, I got a call to do my hospitality course. Apparently, my gap year made me a new employee. I considered not going, but it was paid and I had nothing better to do, so I went.

The guy teaching the course made us all briefly introduce ourselves — name, location in the park you worked, and age. Everyone was a newbie. Then, he came to me.

Me: “I am [My Name], I am twenty-four, and this is my eighth season.”

Trainer: “Why are you even here?”

Me: “Don’t know, but yeah.”

The trainer takes a breath and smiles lightly.

Trainer: “Do you mind if I use your experience?”

Me: “Not at all.”

I then spent the next hour or two both playing the employee dealing with Entitled Jerks and playing the worst of Entitled Jerks. I had a blast, and those real newbies got a proper taste of what they could expect.

Maybe The Fever Killed His Common Sense Brain Cells

, , , , , , , , | Working | January 4, 2023

This story contains content of a medical nature. It is not intended as medical advice.

When I worked at a pizza store, we got this new worker right out of high school. This kid was a moron. Other than trying to annoy my coworkers and me to the point of at least three different altercations, this guy was just… dumb.

But the straw that broke the camel’s back was after he got transferred to another store.

This takes place during the cusp of the global health crisis becoming an actual issue that people were taking seriously.

This business being a franchise, the managers have a group chat to keep up to date on each other’s stores.

[New Worker] calls out sick… with a fever of 105F. Okay, you are having brain issues at that temperature, but the manager (of the other store) is willing to give him a pass.

But then, [New Worker] wanders into my store. We had heard about “105 Kid”, and to see him walk in is a surprise.

The kid genuinely thought he could just hang out with his old coworkers for the day. The kid can’t understand why everyone in the store is yelling at him to go home and stay away.

He’s sick. Go HOME!

Oh, but he just lied because he doesn’t want to work at the other store. He’s bored.

Well, I hope he can fix his boredom while being unemployed.

They Keep Asking For A Manager Because It Keeps Working!

, , , , , | Right | January 2, 2023

I work at the Member Services counter at a members-only big box store. My coworker is relatively new to this job, despite being in her mid-sixties. She and her husband used to own their own successful shop but sold their shop and took part-time jobs to supplement their semi-retirement.

One day, I see a known troublesome customer approaching our counter. He’s the type of guy who has tried every scam in the book, and he keeps trying because our managers give in to him often enough to make it worth it. I warn my coworker about him and his scams, and she says to let her deal with him. Despite my doubts, I let her approach him when he gets to the counter.

Coworker: *Sweetly* “Hello, how can I help you today?”

Customer: “I want to return this toaster. I got it home and it didn’t work. I can’t believe you people keep selling this kind of junk.”

Coworker: “Oh, dear! That certainly doesn’t sound good.”

She grabs the very-clearly-never-been-opened-before box to inspect the toaster oven.

Coworker: “Hmm… it doesn’t look like the box has been opened yet. Are you sure you tested it?”

Customer: “Of course, I tested it! Just give me my money back, will you?”

Coworker: “Of course, dear. Do you have your receipt?”

Customer: “No, I tossed it already.”

Coworker: “Did you pay with a credit card or with cash?”

Customer: “Cash.”

Coworker: “Well, in that case, I will only be able to give you the lowest cost for this toaster oven in the last sixty days. Looking up the price…”

Customer: “No, I paid full price, and I want the full price back.”

Coworker: “Hmm… Well, there is one other option. If I can see your membership card, I can look up what price you paid. May I please see your card?”

Customer: “Yeah, right here.”

He takes his membership card out of his wallet and hands it to her. My coworker enters his membership details into the computer and then hands his card back to him.

Coworker: *Still sweetly* “Okay, Mr. [Customer]… I will say this once. This box has very clearly never been opened, so you are trying to get money for something you never paid for. That is theft. You can either leave the store right now, leaving the toaster oven here with me, or I can have the police called. And before you decide, remember that I have all the details from your membership card right here on the computer. Now, which would you prefer?”

She gives him the sweetest-but-sinister smile at the end. The customer stammers for a bit but eventually realizes that he’s been had and scampers off. I turn to my coworker in shock.

Me: “Wow. [Coworker], that was awesome! I’ll need to remember that one for next time.”

Coworker: “Of course, dear! If [Her Husband] and I hadn’t learned all those kinds of tricks to stop scammers, our shop never would have made it off the ground. I’ll make sure to teach you and the others all of those tricks before I fully retire!”

True to her word, she taught all of us who worked the Member Services counter all of her tricks. For a few months, we were able to stop all of our regular scammers in their tracks. Of course, with spineless managers, everyone learned to go straight to management for their “refunds” and “exchanges” and other scams, so the celebration was short-lived.

Our coworker finally quit when she got frustrated with the spineless managers, and she is now enjoying full retirement with her husband.

I’m Sorry, He Did WHAT With The Leftovers?!

, , , , , , , , | Working | December 26, 2022

When I was a teenager, I worked as a busboy and dishwasher at a family-style restaurant. It was hard, grimy work, but I was good enough at it that I “moved up” to prep cook. It was a much easier job as I could come in when I wanted to shred lettuce, make onion rings, and other similar tasks. As a result, I got to know many of the dishwashers that came through. A good percentage didn’t last because of the nature of the job — low pay and hard work.

But I’ll never forget one particular coworker who was working his first day when I was there doing prep work. He was older than me, gregarious, and friendly. He talked nonstop about his future plans, his girlfriend, etc. It was a bit annoying as I just wanted to get in and get out, but I tried to politely listen as I did my work. He also sang and danced a bit while working, which was definitely annoying but, again, didn’t impede the work I was doing.

But things got weird when he started eating off the plates of leftover food that came back, gleefully saying how great this job was. I don’t think I’ve ever been more disgusted than watching him joyfully finish a half-eaten waffle or snarf down leftover fries.

One of the waiters came back while he was doing this and looked at me as if to ask, “What is this guy doing?” I just shrugged.

Then, the restaurant got hit by the lunch rush and the new guy was quickly overwhelmed. Having been a dishwasher, I knew that one person could get through it; you have to just work fast and be focused. But fast and focused was not this guy. His perky demeanor got more and more somber as the reality of the job hit him and dishes started piling up.

He started hinting that I should help him. And then he began to outright whine that he needed help. I have helped busboys in the past if things get tough, but I had quite a few items to prep and some plans after work, so I said I couldn’t. I knew he wouldn’t get fired and that if things got really bad the manager (who was a good guy) would step in to help particularly given that it was his first day.

He stopped talking, and out of the corner of my eye, I could see him looking daggers at me. I was glad to finish my tasks and get out of there.

I heard later that he quit after the first day, and I never saw him again. I was not surprised.