The Best Time To Play The Grandma Card

, , , , , | Working | November 10, 2020

I want to earn my own money, so during summer vacations in high school, I work at a small coffee shop which also sells tokens for all kinds of attractions, like trampoline jumping, mini-golf, etc., in the area.

In my final year there, another young man joins our shop. He is barely fourteen years old, but being the manager’s best friend’s son grants him his permission — or so he thinks — to act like the manager himself at times.

Although he helps us out in one tight spot or another with a lot of customers, most of the time he is annoying, loud, and all in all more of a hindrance than a help.

Around this time, news around the world reports certain groups being involved in terrorist attacks, so the boy thinks it’s HILARIOUS to greet people with certain hand gestures, greetings from different languages, and jokes heard from the news or read on the Internet.

It’s pretty tasteless. Some parents with their (rather young) children complain about him, but they are always laughed off by the manager.

Manager: “Oh, boys his age, you know?”

Having had enough, I tell him to stop multiple times, which only leads him to sulk somewhere for a few minutes and start again when none of us can hear him.

The manager’s response?

Manager: “Figure it out between the two of you! I can’t just keep holding your hand, you know!”

So, I look up the boy’s last name in the local phonebook, call the first person I find… and get his grandmother on the line.

After I describe his behaviour, she goes quiet on the other end of the line, but she ends the call with:

Grandmother: “Thank you. You can be sure that I’ll have a word with him.”

The next week, the boy is in a foul mood, a mix between angry and sad, but rather quiet without any more of his jokes. The manager, though, takes me to the side.

Manager: “Did you seriously call his relatives? How could you?! Don’t you know that he has a hard time with his parents and their current situation?”

Me: “You told me to figure it out between the two of us, so I did just that!”

I got a pretty nice tan from all that work under the summer sun, but that was about the only nice thing I took with me from that job.

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Communication And Camaraderie

, , , , | Working | October 30, 2020

I overhear the following conversation between two workers: one is an old-timer that nobody gets along with, and the other is a newly-hired temp whose contract is about to expire. He has already politely inquired with the offices whether the company is extending his term or letting him go, to no avail.

New Hire: “Has anyone had any idea of where I’m assigned as of next week? 

Old-Timer: *Chuckling* “Why do you bother asking? The company isn’t hiring indeterminate contracts anymore!”

New Hire: “If you were the last one, I see why they wouldn’t.”

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Thank Goodness Some Criminals Are Stupid

, , , , , , | Legal | October 30, 2020

We recently hired a few new employees. One of them seems a little fishy to us from the beginning, but we assume it’s just his personality and he will find his place in our team someday.

Soon after that, we have several occasions where money is missing from the tills. First, we think one of the new employees is still unsure while cashiering and makes mistakes in giving change, and we talk to all of them.

At this point, I have to note something. In our bakery, we each have our own account on the tills so they can be used simultaneously by several employees, but we all share the same four tills, constantly switching between them, which means we’re not able to point out at what point the money went missing. It could be mistakes after all and it could have been anyone.

Still, the company has the stupid rule that it’s only the employees who were closing those days who have to sign the reports of missing money.

After the fourth time, we start getting suspicious, because the aforementioned new employee is the only one who was present on all of the occasions. Yet we can’t prove anything, as we don’t have cameras.

After the fifth time, the accounting department puts us on counting probation, which means we have to assign each present employee one till and count it before they leave, so it will become obvious if someone doesn’t have the amount that should be there. However, our new employee’s till comes up spotless every time.

At about the same time of that fifth incident, another location calls us for help; they have several employees out sick and have a bunch of shifts that need to be covered. The new employee and I each get assigned a few shifts. On my first shift there, I spot the manager on duty running around frantically, checking cash logs and talking on the phone with what I assume is the accounting department. After he hangs up:

Me: “What’s wrong?”

Manager: “We had close to 100€ missing from the tills two days ago and it was me closing that day, which means I have to sign that stupid form. But I’m thinking someone might have been stupid or out of it enough to have a customer pay with a 10€ note and give them change for 100€, so I was trying to find who entered they took a 100€ into the system that day. I called accounting and they said [Long-Term Employee of their location] and [Aforementioned New Employee] took 100€ notes that day. He is from your location, right?”

Me: “Yes… and you know what? We’ve had five incidents of missing money of varying amounts this month alone, too. We’re even on counting probation now. And [New Employee] was the only one who was present on all of those days. I think I need to talk to [My Boss].”

When I’m back at my own location, I tell my boss about what happened on the shift I covered. She calls accounting, too.

The employee was let go a week later after he had an appointment with my boss and someone from the accounting department, who managed to have him confess he stole close to 400€ by pocketing it because he thought no one would notice, as we all shared the same tills and didn’t count the money in store.

If he hadn’t been stupid enough to steal at another location, we probably wouldn’t have realized this for a long time. After a while of everything being fine, the probation would have been dropped again and there wouldn’t be anything to prove. The employee in question took this job to pay for his college degree — in business administration. Sometimes I really fear for our future.

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He’s Getting Warmer… And Colder

, , , , | Healthy | October 26, 2020

I’m an IT technician in a factory. My female colleague is heavily pregnant at the moment and has been suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, so she’s doing a mixture of remote working and on-site working with significantly reduced hours. She only comes on-site if she feels well enough to do so.

Today is one of her better days, so she’s on-site. I’ve just come back from a job. My female colleague is nowhere to be seen, but all her stuff is sitting on her desk so she can’t be too far away. We have a placement student in our office at the moment, a lad in his early twenties. He’s a very capable IT technician but not yet very world wise.

Me: “Hey, [Student], where’s [Female Colleague]? Is she okay?”

Student: “She’s in the bathroom throwing up again.”

I flinch at his apparent lack of sensitivity and realise that, as the most senior person in our office, I may have to have words with him about this.

Student: “Hey, [My Name], I’m worried.”

Me: “Oh, about what?”

Student: “[Female Colleague] has been vomiting a lot. Every day she’s in, she keeps running to the bathroom to vomit. I’m worried about her; that’s not normal.”

Me: “No, [Student], you’re right. It’s not normal. But she has Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which means she’ll vomit a lot because of her pregnancy.”

Student: “But I don’t get it. When my sister was pregnant with my niece, she had morning sickness and it was nothing like as bad as this!”

Me: “Yeah, but this isn’t morning sickness, mate. It’s worse. A lot worse. Oh, and try and be a little bit more sensitive about it, yeah? It can’t be easy for her.”

Student: “Yeah, but it’s not normal!”

Me: *Sighing* “Of course, it’s not normal! That’s the point. She has… Look, just never mind, okay? Try and show a bit of sensitivity.”

I sat down at my desk, having given up trying to explain it to him. [Student] sat for a few minutes muttering, “It’s not normal…” until [Female Colleague] came back, red-faced, tearful, and feeling sorry for herself. I sat her down and got her a drink of water.

To [Student]’s credit, he DID later leave the room and come back with an ice lolly (popsicle) for [Female Colleague]! Clearly, in spite of his cluelessness, he’d been paying enough attention to realise that ice lollies were one of the few solids she was actually able to keep down. He later told me that he felt sorry for her and wanted to try to make her feel better. She seemed to really appreciate the gesture.

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Open Your Ears AND Your Eyes

, , , , | Working | September 21, 2020

This happens a number of years ago, back when I am working for a national electronics retail chain.

As I’ve been there a couple of years and want to progress, I sign up to the company-sponsored Retail Workers Accreditation scheme; it’s been so long now that I forget what it was actually called.

We have an external overseer come in who has to monitor my in-store work from time to time. On this particular day, I happen to be working at the checkout and one of our semi-regular customers comes up to the checkout.

I check him out in absolute silence, making hand gestures and writing down his total for him before checking him out.

After he leaves, there is a momentary lull in customers, so the overseer comes to talk to me about my last transaction.

Overseer: “Why did you not speak to that customer or offer any of the addons as per policy?”

Me: “I did offer the addons. He bought an item and I asked if he wanted to buy the batteries for it.”

Overseer: “Impossible. How could you have done that without speaking to him? This doesn’t bode well for you passing this module.”

Me: “What would be the point in speaking to him—”

Overseer: *Interrupting* “It’s important to speak to the customers to make sure they’ve got everything they need, and you need to offer the addons.”

Me: “But he’s deaf, and I know that because he comes in every couple of weeks. If you’d been watching closely, after I scanned the item, I pointed to the batteries, and he declined.”

Overseer: “Oh. Well, that’s different, then. I’ll just go rewrite this assessment form. Good job.”

Needless to say, I passed the module.

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