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Some Coworkers Suck, But This One Really Blows

, , , , , , , , | Working | August 22, 2023

I sacked someone for blowing his nose. To this day I still feel a bit bad about this, though to some extent it was accidental.

I was the manager of the Assembly division of a small business that produced something very seasonal. I don’t want to say what because it was very niche, so let’s just say it was deckchairs.

For most of the year, most of the staff would make the parts for the “deckchairs”. Come the busy season, almost all the staff would be reassigned to my division to assemble deckchairs at high speed. I would supervise and do tons of paperwork.

One person assigned to me was assisting with the paperwork, so he sat at my bank of desks. Once or twice an hour, he would whip his hankie out and blow his nose. This was not normal nose-blowing but very loud and very prolonged blasts. I was quite startled the first time but didn’t say anything. After a few more times, I lightheartedly said to him, smiling as I did, “Must be some dust in the air.” He just looked at me blankly as if he had no idea why I’d said that.

After another day of this, I was starting to get very annoyed. You see, it would completely put me off my stride, and I would be unable to function for a few minutes. I would forget where I was in my paperwork, and I’d take a few minutes to recover. It used to totally drive me up the wall, and I’d be quite stressed at the end of the day. I recognise now that I have misophonia (hypersensitivity to certain sounds), but in those days (the 1970s and 1980s), one was not meant to admit to such things.

I tried various things: privately asking him if he had a medical condition, asking him if he could go to the toilets if he needed to blow his nose, etc., but he seemed to be baffled about my enquiries, apparently unaware it could be a problem.

However, I had noticed that a female staff member sometimes made a face when the noise machine started up, so I asked her if the blasts were getting on her nerves, and she said yes. I went to management and told them I no longer wanted the nose-blaster in Assembly because he was disrupting our work. He was reassigned back to Engineering, but a few weeks later, I discovered he’d been let go. I was told they couldn’t find work for him to do in Engineering.

I then realised that I had the de facto power to sack someone by simply having someone reassigned back to Engineering. However, after this, I only once more sacked someone in this way, though rather more justified, but that’s another story.

Creative Solutions For Combative Customers

, , , , , , | Right | August 16, 2023

I am standing in line at a fast food restaurant. The restaurant is very empty; the only people immediately visible to me are the cashier and one customer in front of me in line. It’s a far cry from busy.

The customer in front of me places her order and then goes to sit at a nearby table.

Then, my turn comes up to order. I just so happen to be ordering the exact same thing as the previous customer, right down to the drink and side. I, too, find a table and seat myself.

After a few minutes, the cashier walks into the kitchen, and comes back out with a tray of food. She then calls out the order.

Cashier: “Sir, your order is ready!”

I am literally the only male in the restaurant. The other customer is a woman. Going by the process of elimination, I walk over to the counter to pick up my order. The other customer comes following.

Customer: “Hey! What’s the big idea?!”

Cashier: “I’m sorry, ma’am?”

Customer: “I ordered before he did! Why is he getting his food first?!”

The cashier stammers for a bit and then comes up with this gem.

Cashier: “His order is different from yours.”

Customer: “No, it isn’t! He ordered the exact same thing as I did!”

At this point, I’m actually willing to relinquish my order to placate this customer. Even though it’s technically not my business, I have to admit that it’s a little weird that I’m getting my food before she is. Before I can intervene, the cashier decides to roll the dice yet again with her damage control.

Cashier: “Actually, ma’am, he ordered the spicy version of the combo. You got the regular.”

Customer: “Oh. Okay.” 

Crisis averted, just like that. That was unbelievable, for two reasons. First, there is no spicy option for this particular combo; our orders were literally the exact same. Secondly, the fact that the cashier was able to come up with such a bald-faced lie in spite of all the evidence (one look at the menu and you’d know there was no spicy option) and having it work was just amazing.

A Font Of Misunderstanding

, , , , , , | Right | August 13, 2023

After a weeks-long search for the perfect unique, eye-catching font for my client’s project, he spotted one he loved on some website. He tried to show me by copying some text and pasting it into our chat window.

Of course, when you do that, the text loses its formatting and reverts to Arial (or whatever the default chat font is). Despite my repeated attempts to explain this, he just kept getting irritated and pasting the same thing again.

Eventually, I convinced him to just give me the page’s URL so I could see this font myself.

The font turned out to actually be Arial.

The Next NAR Avenger Villain: Madame Decibel

, , , , , | Right | August 9, 2023

I work the front desk at a furniture store. We have a woman come in one day who is just naturally loud, but she isn’t yelling. She makes several purchases that are all various accessories, and for whatever reason, she pays for us to deliver them the next day.

The next day, she calls first thing in the morning. This time, she is yelling; I can hold the phone a foot from my ear and have no issues hearing her.

Customer: “I need you to cancel my delivery for today!”

Me: “I can assist, but please don’t yell in my ear. May I ask why you need to cancel? Can we reschedule?”

Customer: *Now shrieking* “I’m not yelling at you! I’m just loud! And you need to cancel my delivery.”

Me: “Please stop yelling in my ear; I will disconnect this call. May I ask why you need to cancel?

She continues shrieking but her voice jumps about twelve octaves.

Customer: “You haven’t seen yelling! I’m not yelling at you! You just need to cancel my delivery now!”

I hang up on her. In my defence, it is early morning. I’m not actually supposed to be in because it’s supposed to be my day off, but my manager called me like twenty minutes ago claiming she won’t be able to make it. I am just tired of dealing with customers yelling at me for things I have no control over. (My manager is the queen of making various promises and then never following through, and when people call to complain, she blames me and makes me take the calls.)

The yelling customer calls back two minutes later, still shrieking.

Customer: “Why’d you hang up on me? I was not yelling!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m holding the phone away from my ear and I can still hear you clearly. Please stop yelling.”

Customer: “I’m not yelling! You’re just too sensitive! I need you to cancel my order now!”

I hang up on her again because I am not going to deal with it. Again, probably not the best course, but that job is so soul-sucking and I am just DONE. Her salesman happens to be nearby and knows she’s been calling, so when she calls back again, he kind of nudges me away from the phone.

Salesman: “I’ve got it.”

I get out of my seat and walk around the edge of the desk, leaning against the front of it. He answers and immediately holds the phone almost as far away as I did. I have no issues understanding what she is saying.

Customer: “Why’d that little girl hang up on me? I’m not yelling!”

Salesman: “Ma’am, you are yelling. Please calm down. How can we assist?”

Customer: *Barely dropping her voice* “I need you to cancel my delivery for this morning right now!”

Salesman: “Okay, may I ask why? Can we reschedule?”

Customer: “You just need to hold onto my stuff! I forgot I’m supposed to go out of town, and I have to be at the airport in an hour! I’ll figure out when I’m getting my stuff when I get back! Make sure you cancel my delivery! And tell that little girl who kept hanging up on me that it’s rude to hang up on paying customers! If she’s too sensitive to deal with customers, she shouldn’t be answering the phone! Make sure you tell her that and cancel my delivery!” *Click*

He called the warehouse and had our delivery guys put her order aside. She hadn’t called to reschedule (or cancel) by the time I left the job about four months later, so I have no idea if she was really out of town for that long or if she’d forgotten or what. I didn’t get in any trouble for hanging up on her, though, although I think that was because the salesman wasn’t going to say anything because he knew what I dealt with, and the customer wouldn’t have cared enough to file a formal complaint.

For Reference, This Is What Petty Looks LIke

, , , , , , , , | Working | August 8, 2023

I worked at a company that managed healthcare facilities. We got a new supervisor who didn’t like me for no specific reason. He gave me all of the s*** assignments in addition to my regular work.

I was a department of one in charge of a specific program. Since I was the only one working the program, I was the only one who had the password to the files.

I got a really great job with another company and put in my two weeks’ notice. I had been with my company for over ten years, and I felt like I was leaving in good standing, so I asked the supervisor for a letter of reference. He agreed.

Two days before I left, I still hadn’t received the letter, so I reminded him.

Supervisor: “I haven’t had time. Give me your personal email address so I can send it there.”

A few days into my new job, he called me.

Supervisor: “Can you give me the password for the files?”

Me: “You know, I still haven’t received the letter you agreed to write for me.”

Supervisor: “I’ll write it once you give me the password.”

I didn’t trust him at all, so I gave him the wrong password. He called me several times over the next week and left messages saying that the password was wrong. I still hadn’t received the letter.

After a week, I finally answered his call. He was livid.

Supervisor: “We need the correct password!”

Me: “I still haven’t received the letter you agreed to send me. I will give you the password after I receive the letter.”

The letter was in my inbox an hour later. It was very generic. I responded to his email with the correct password.

I’ve never used the letter as a reference.