New Guy, Old Problems

, , , , | Working | February 17, 2020

(I am three weeks into my new job. My colleagues have gone on their morning coffee break and I join them when I finish what I’m doing. My boss is sitting at a table with another manager, one of my colleagues, and someone I don’t recognise. I sit down.)

Boss: “Hey, [My Name], this is [New Colleague].” *gestures to the colleague I don’t know* “He just started this morning!”

Me: *pretending to be upset* “But, but does this mean that I’m not the new guy anymore?”

Other Colleague: “Yep, you don’t get to be the new guy anymore!”

Me: *laughing* “Right, so I’m guessing that means I can no longer use ‘I’m the new guy’ as an excuse for not knowing what I am doing?”

Other Manager: “Yes, and it also means that we can start blaming you when things go wrong!” *grins*

The Telephone Line Is A Hard Border

, , , , | Right | February 12, 2020

Me: “Can you bring photo ID, like a passport, to one of our stores?”

Customer: “I know; I’ll email you a copy of my passport.”

Me: “There are two problems with that. Number one, I can’t receive emails, let alone attachments. Second, I can’t see you down the telephone line.”

Customer: “Fair point.”

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An Interruption Combustion

, , , , | Working | January 9, 2020

(My local hardware store sells rope by the metre. You pull off however much you need and cut it with a device bolted to the shelf, something like heavy-duty scissors. Unfortunately, they never seem to work and I always have to ask staff to cut it. I have been a regular here for over two years.)

Me: “Hi. Is there a shift manager or someone I can speak to? I have a complaint.”

Cashier: “Sure, one second.” *on tannoy* “Duty manager to customer service, duty manager to customer service.”

(A young man my age appears. I read his name tag.)

Me: “Hi, [Duty Manager], I’m [My Name]. You see the lengths of rope charged per metre in aisle—”

Duty Manager: “Yeah, those?”

Me: “Every time I try and buy some rope, which I’ve done about six times, the scissors on the shelf—”

Duty Manager: “You need a staff member.”

Me: “I figured. What I was going to say was, there never seems to be a blade in those scissors and—”

Duty Manager: “Health and safety; no sharp objects on the shop floor. Do you need rope cut?”

Me: “No, I’ve already—”

Duty Manager: “So, we’re good here?”

Me: “Look, no offence, mate but can I please explain my perspective as the customer without being interrupted?”

Duty Manager: “I know what you’re going to say.”

Me: “No, you don’t, but even if you did, I am the customer. You should listen to what I have to say.”

Employee #2: *to me* “Excuse me, sir.” *to the duty manager* “Hey, [Duty Manager], can I ask…” *asks a simple question*

(The duty manager supplies a one-line answer.)

Employee #2: *to me* “Apologies, sir.”

Me: “So, as I was saying: the fact that the rope obviously needs to be cut, the scissors are there, but never have blades—”

Duty Manager: “Like I said, health and safety.”

Me: “Could you please stop interrupting me?”

Duty Manager: “I’m getting to the point.”

Me: “Whatever. If the scissors aren’t going to be there, they shouldn’t be there in the first place. Why don’t you have a sign for—”

Duty Manager: “We haven’t put one up yet. Is there anything else?”

Me: “Can I speak to somebody else, please?”

Duty Manager: “No, I am the duty manager. Why are you being aggressive?”

(Bear in mind, this conversation happens in full view of customers at the main entrance.)

Me: “Huh? Look, mate, no offence, but I’m not happy with your attitude and how you are handling my complaint.”

Duty Manager: “I’m getting to the point. Stop being aggressive.”

Me: “Aggressive? That’s a serious allegation to make against a customer with a legitimate complaint. On what grounds do you feel that I am being aggressive? Have I raised my voice?”

Duty Manager: “It’s case closed. If you want rope cut, ask a staff member.”

(A young female sales assistant, [Employee #3], is waiting to speak to the duty manager.)

Me: *to [Employee #3]* “Excuse me, miss, could I ask you to—”

Duty Manager: “I outrank her.”

Me: “I’m aware of that. I would like her to listen to our conversation as a witness.”

Duty Manager: “It’s best if you—”

Me: “Listen to me very, very carefully. Do you think this is an appropriate way to speak to anyone?”

Duty Manager: “I’ve told you how it—”

Me: “You know other customers, and your employees, can hear this, right? We’re at the main entrance of the warehouse.”

Duty Manager: “If you want rope cut, ask—”

Me: “I would like to speak to your manager, please.”

Duty Manager: “I’m the manager.”

Me: “I am sure that in a national chain, someone earns more than you do. Who do I complain to about you?”

Duty Manager: “Customer services.”

Me: “I want the contact details for the branch manager, or failing that, area manager.”

Duty Manager: “I don’t have to give you anything.”

(I’m not getting anywhere, and I give up. Two days later, I’m back. I ask for a “popular manager.”)

Me: “Hey, no offence, mate, but one of your managers gave me a truckload of attitude on Friday. Can I speak to somebody really high up?”

Employee #4: “You can speak to [Employee #5]. He isn’t exactly a manager, though.”

Employee #6: “Is this about [Duty Manager]?”

Me: “You heard about this?”

Employee #6: “Oh, yes, we all did.”

Me: “Manager or not, I want someone trustworthy enough that when they pass on my complaint, I will be believed.”

Employee #6: “Senior management will definitely listen, no matter your complaint. I’ll call them down.”

(A man aged about twenty-one appears.)

Employee #7: “Hello, Mr. [My Surname]. Would you like a coffee? I’ll take your details and email it in full to the branch manager.”

(He spent fifteen minutes taking my complaint in full, while I drank a cappuccino. Patience of a saint. A day later, I got a phone call back from the branch manager. He said he would use the incident as a “learning point.” That guy is still on the duty manager roster. He is still the manager of his department, working every day I am in the store. The staff suspect he won’t be there much longer.)

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Unfiltered Story #181137

, , | Unfiltered | December 26, 2019

(It’s late in the evening, and a student in her late twenties walks in and inquires where her classroom is as this is her first night. I am working reception.)

Me: “You’re on the second floor, room 57.”

Customer: “Thank you” *Looks at the stairs, which are about fifty feet away* “How do I get to the second floor?”

Me: “…”

(This was neither the first nor the last time I had been asked this question.)

Getting That To Fit Is A Pipe Dream

, , , , , | Working | October 29, 2019

(The waste pipe under my sink is leaking, so I need a component to join two pipes. It is hard to find what I need because the pipes are weird sizes. So, I go to a specialist plumbing store.)

Me: “I need a reducer to go from 36mm to 40mm.”

Cashier: “Huh? They don’t make them that size. We have a 32mm and 40mm if you like?”

Me: “No, that won’t fit. Have you a tape measure?”

Cashier: “Here you go. Come round the back and I’ll show you the reducers we have.”

Me: *starts measuring my pipes to check the sizes*

Cashier: “Look, I’ve been in the business 35 years. They just don’t make pipes in that size.”

Me: “All right, show me.”

Cashier: “Anyway, you shouldn’t go by measuring them with a tape measure.”

Me: *thinking* “Are you serious?”

(We go into the warehouse.)

Cashier: “This is what you need. This will go from 40mm to 32mm.”

Me: “Here are my pipes. Show me.”

(He tries. Of course, the 40mm fits. The 36mm doesn’t.)

Cashier: “Huh? Let’s try… Something’s not right here. That should fit in… How about [useless component #2]?”

Me: “Sir, I never questioned your experience. However, your experience doesn’t change the size of the pipes in my house. As I explained, my pipes are 40mm and 36mm across the inside diameter. See for yourself; here is your tape measure. Can you sell me something which will connect these two, or not? Or can you suggest a workaround?”

Cashier: “I think I have a 38mm to 38mm upstairs. It might fit if we force it.”

Me: “Go and get it.”

(We try and force it on. The fit isn’t perfect, but it works.)

Me: “Close enough; it will do. How much?”

Cashier: “£1.60, please.”

(My sink waste is no longer leaking.)

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