Kind Gestures Create Lasting Memories

, , , , , | Working | February 11, 2021

I have been working at my store for fourteen years. I’ve seen new babies and children growing up, but sometimes I forget just how long I’ve been here.

One day, I am sitting in the breakroom and a bunch of new hires come in on break from their tour of the store. One of the teenagers comes over to me.

Teen: “Hey, [My Name]!”

I’m still wearing my nametag so I just assume that is how he knows my name. I smile at him.

Me: “Hey! Welcome to the store.”

Teen: “You probably don’t remember me, do you?”

Me: “Um… no… I’m sorry.”

Teen: *Grins* “I have been coming through your line since I was about five years old.”

And then I felt old! But I eventually did remember him. When he was five or so, he came in with his mom to buy groceries. He had this little toy horse that was on wheels that he could pull behind him. The mom was $1 short in order to get it and she told him he would have to put it back. He didn’t scream or throw a fit; he just looked heartbroken as he handed me the toy. I felt so bad that I gave her the $1 she needed in order to afford her groceries and the toy. Apparently, he never forgot. He’s still a super sweet guy.


This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for February 2021!

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Try Before You Buy

, , , , | Working | January 28, 2021

My boss asks me to help review suggestions for improvements from the team. I have a lot of experience and he values my professional input.

Very quickly, the team cottons on and asks me to check their ideas before they send them. I happily do so. I help them if they get stuck and weed out any ideas that really won’t work. A new member of the team seems to think he knows better and doesn’t need my help, despite the many offers.

I sit down with my boss to look at the suggestions.

Boss: “What about this one?

Me: “I don’t know about this. What is it?”

Boss: “It’s from [New Team Member]; have you not discussed it?”

Me: “No. I mean, I’ve offered to, but he hasn’t approached me with this.”

Boss: “Okay, it’s for a new measurement machine. He reckons that it will be much faster and more accurate.”

Me: *Pause* “Okay, yeah. I wondered why I hadn’t considered it myself. Look, the accuracy is terrible; we need it to be ten or twenty times what it is.”

Boss: “Really? [New Team Member] was so sure it would work. He has already arranged the demonstration for tomorrow. Can you join us?”

Me: “Sure, I will bring a part and they can prove if it works or not.”

The day comes and the salesman gives an excellent demonstration. I can see everyone around the room nodding enthusiastically. My teammate is looking very smug. I reluctantly give the salesman our sample.

Me: “This is a typical part with a typical feature. Can your equipment measure it?”

Salesman: “No, I don’t think so, but we can try.”

He tries and fails, and the mood in the room changes. A number of senior staff look disappointed. We wrap up the demo quickly, as many senior staff members have left abruptly. I wait around to get our part back.

New Team Member: “How could you do that to me?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but the equipment isn’t suitable. I did tell you this is what I was going to do.”

New Team Member: “But why did you have to show me up?”

Me: “You were sure it was going to work. This is a demonstration; they needed to demonstrate it actually working.”

New Team Member: “I won’t forget this!”

I felt bad the rest of the week, but I genuinely didn’t know what he expected me to do — have the company spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on something that would never work just to protect his pride?

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“My Job, [New Hire]. My Job.”

, , , | Working | January 26, 2021

I work in a big box store. I’ve been working there for about a year when they hire a part-timer who is maybe seventeen. This is almost definitely her first-ever job and she is, to put it delicately, not very good at it. Unfortunately, due to my tendency to be friendly towards new hires — innocent until proven guilty and all that — she gloms herself onto me whenever we are on shift at the same time. This isn’t necessarily a problem, since I don’t mind doing some training, but she winds up being… a little grating.

No matter what I am doing, she comes up to me and asks the same question, always in the same incredulous tone, resulting in variants of the following conversation almost every day.

New Hire: “What are you doing?”

Me: “I’m printing new price tags.”

Or:

New Hire: “What are you doing?”

Me: “I’m downstocking.”

Or my personal favorite:

New Hire: “What are you doing?”

Me: “I’m checking the schedule.”

New Hire: *In the same incredulous tone* “Why?”

Me: *In my head* “Well, it changes every day, you see.”

Me: *Out loud* “To see who’s working when…”

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Are You Sure The Previous Jobs Were The Problem?

, , , , , | Working | January 20, 2021

I interview a guy down on his luck, out of work following a redundancy in a job that he took because he was made redundant in the job before that. He tells me that in every job he’s had since, he hasn’t had much luck; either the company loses work or has bad working conditions. He seems like a good guy and I hire him.

A few months in: 

Employee: “I think I deserve a pay rise.” 

Me: “You haven’t even gotten through your probation yet! We don’t discuss pay until the end of probation periods. You took the job aware of the offered pay; that is what it is until you prove you are worth more.”

The day before the probation review:

Employee: “You said we can talk about pay now.”

Me: “At the probation review. You have the invite already. It’s for tomorrow!”

At the review:

Employee: “About my pay…”

Me: “Fine. We normally do this at the end of the review. But go on about your pay.”

Employee: “I have been working very hard and I have seen other jobs paying a lot more.”

Me: “I am pretty happy with your work, but I have noticed some improvements I was going to plan in before I am totally happy. I know pay has been on your mind, so what I want you to do is take this list of actions, work on them, and come back to me once I can see improvement. In the meantime, send me these jobs that you think are the same as yours but pay more.”

Employee: “Thank you, thank you.”

A few more weeks passed, I checked on his progress, and he seemed to be slowly getting better. He sent me the jobs that he thought showed that the job is underpaid.

One was basically my job, not his, one was the same job but was a night shift role, so more money, and the last was for the market leader everyone wanted to work for and on the other side of the country. 

None of them were relevant to what he was doing now, and all of them were more money than even I made. 

I talked him through all of this and his attitude changed. For the next few months, his performance was way below what was needed, even after some one-to-one support, and we had no choice but to let him go.

I don’t know who takes a job for a good rate of pay and then immediately expects loads more money and sulks when they don’t get it.

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How Do These People Keep Getting Hired?!

, , , , , | Working | January 17, 2021

In my company, you can leave early on a Friday if you don’t take a lunch. I really like leaving early on a Friday; not only do I get more time at home, but I miss a load of traffic leaving early.

However, before I go, I have to fill out some reports. They must be done on a Friday or the weekend shift won’t know what to work on.

A new guy has started and it’s his job to pull the data together that I use to allocate the work. I’ve heard bad things about this guy, so I decide to chat with him early on.

Me: “Hey, [New Guy], are you working late this Friday?”

New Guy: “Nah, I’ll probably work through my lunch and leave early. You?”

Me: “Yeah, same. I have to do the weekend report before I go; I need the data from you for that. You know what to do with it?”

New Guy: “Yeah, easy. Come see me Friday and I will have it ready for you.”

Friday comes around. I go and find [New Guy]; he hasn’t done it yet but will “definitely have it by lunch.”

Lunchtime comes and he is not there. One of the guys tells me he went to lunch. Fair enough; he is entitled to a lunch break if he wants it.

At 12:30, no show. He should be back by now.

At 13:00, no show again. I need to leave soon if I want to get out on time. I put a note on his desk, send an email, and try his phone. Nothing.

At 13:30, I go again to find his PC off. One of the guys tells me he left early. 

I spend the next hour trying to piece together the data. I have no idea what I’m doing but manage to put something together.

I leave late and run straight into a massive traffic jam.

Saturday comes around and the weekend shift is angry. The data I got was wrong as many of the jobs [New Guy] was supposed to close down weren’t, meaning the jobs I assigned aren’t ready and they can’t start the next stage as the system won’t let them.

A dozen people lose overtime pay and have to go home as there is no work they could do.

Monday, I have it out with [New Guy] about the missing data, him taking a lunch but leaving early anyway, losing people money, and not doing his job.

New Guy: “If I want to take a lunch I will, and if I want to leave early I will do that, too.”

Me: “You lost people money and you screwed me out of a lunch and early finish. I had people shouting at me for your mistake.”

New Guy: “Sheesh, I don’t care ‘bout that.”

I ended up reporting him. He lost all early finishes and was put on report. The next Friday, I checked, and he hadn’t done the data again. His boss forced him to do it as he watched; it turned out to be all wrong and another weekend was lost.

With the schedule massively behind, people up in arms, and [New Guy] seemingly not caring, he was fired before the end of the month.

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