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Secretaries Run The World

, , , , , , | Romantic Working | June 22, 2022

This happened in the mid-1990s when having a cellphone was pretty much unheard of. I own a car repair shop in a small town, and one day, a woman came in visibly distressed. As she was turning off the highway, she heard a pop sound and it sounded like her tire. It actually wasn’t; it was her tire axle, which is a completely different thing and a bit more costly.

After looking at the amount of work it would take, what it would cost, and whether we had the part in stock (surprisingly, we did) I went back out to talk to her sitting in the waiting room. Or at least, that was where I had left her. Instead, I saw her standing behind the desk answering the phone and writing notes for the mechanics, and my front person was nowhere to be found.

When she hung up the phone, making another note, she caught my eye. When I started to ask her what was going on, the phone rang again, and she sighed and picked it up again. She gave our answering spiel and then also started asking what vehicle the customer was talking about. When that call was done, I quickly asked her what was going on.

She laughed and shrugged her shoulders.

Customer: “About forty-five minutes ago, your front office person told me he needed a smoke and walked out. Then, the phone started ringing, so I just answered it; I’m a receptionist and I know how important it is for the customer to be heard! Don’t worry; I’ve been telling everyone that I’m brand-new but I’d get all their questions to the proper people. That’s what this notepad is filled with!”

My front office person strolled back inside as I was letting the woman who had graciously helped out know what was going on with her car. The front office guy had the gall to tell me that he thought he might need to go home early. I let him know that he could go home early as in right now, and then I let him know what I thought of him leaving a customer alone at the front desk for over forty-five minutes.

Employee: “This place will go to pieces without me!”

Then, he took his stuff and stormed out. I turned to the woman who had helped me already so much.

Me: “I’ll give you a free replacement on your axle if you can help me out with the phone for the rest of the day.”

Customer: *Laughing* “Only if you buy me lunch; I’m starving!”

After getting her lunch and getting her car roadworthy, I walked back to our front office to find that in between calls, she had wiped down everything, made piles/folders for pressing issues, reorganized the call system to make more sense, and even managed to hang up a notification system for all of the mechanics.

Me: *Jokingly* “Are you looking for a job? Because you can have one with me any time.”

Customer: *Laughing* “I’ll think about it!”

And now, nearly thirty years later, she still laughs when people ask how we met and tells them, “I came in for a car repair and found a job and husband.”


This story is part of our Halfway-Through-2022 roundup!

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Why Libraries Should Outlive Us All

, , , , , , | Right | May 10, 2022

I have been a librarian for over thirty years. We are a relatively big library in our town, and one of the more conveniently located libraries — right across from a middle school, by a major store, and near a dog park. But when the health crisis hit, we went from being in person to being only pick up in the car. Our state considered us essential. People for the most part were understanding about it, though we did have some interesting people. The absolute best patron, though, was one who remembered our names.

She would drive up, and when we came out, she would always have a smile and try and make conversation. This girl would constantly check out ten to twenty books every week and return them promptly every Monday. The odd thing was that the books were all over the place; some days it would be mysteries and sometimes it would be classics or nonfiction.

When we finally opened back up, she was there that Monday afternoon with a big plate of cookies and donuts from the local bakery with a card letting us know how much she appreciated us, especially since she knew that we had a lot of work to get out all her books. I finally asked her if she was reading all those books, because honestly, we were always curious.

Customer: *Laughing* “I read some of them, but I didn’t want the library to go under during this, so I figured if I could get as many books as I could checked out, they would see that this was a necessary thing.”

I admit my eyes were a little teary. And now, nearly six months after we have fully opened, she still checks out that many every week.

That’s A Wrap On The Chicken Salad Wrap

, , , , , | Working | April 20, 2022

There is a restaurant right behind my office. The food is generally good but the service has gotten slower and slower. During the health crisis, when they offered curbside service, I’d order from there about every other week. They have three different chicken salads, one of which I am gaga for.

Once restrictions started to be lifted, my kids swung by my office as I was getting ready to go and suggested we eat out. I suggested the restaurant behind the office so that none of us had to worry about driving or parking.

We got there to find only five tables filled. We were seated and proceeded to order our drinks. Once the drinks got there, we were ready to order, but the waitress almost danced off, saying:

Waitress: “I’ll give you a minute.”

Me: “No, we’re ready.”

Waitress: “Oh, okay. What would you like?”

My son ordered something, I ordered something for my daughter (who doesn’t speak), and then I ordered my favorite chicken salad as a wrap.

Waitress: “Is that on the back of the menu?”

Me: “No, it is right here.”

I pointed to the center of the inside page showing this chicken salad wrap with one side.

Waitress: “Oh, okay.”

She started to walk off.

Me: “I’d like the fries for the side.”

Waitress: “The side?”

Me: *Pointing again* “Yes, it says it comes with one side.”

Waitress: “Oh, okay.”

She took the menus and left. My son and I chatted. My daughter and I went to the restroom. We returned and chatted some more. And some more.

After fifty minutes, my son’s meal was brought out (soup and salad). After another five minutes, my daughter’s was served (mac and cheese). A few minutes after that, the waitress came and put a plate before me.

Waitress: “Is this what you wanted?”

But she left before I could even turn the plate around to see what was inside the wrap. It was NOT what I wanted. It was not chicken salad at all. It was a breaded piece of chicken, wrapped in a tortilla. There was nothing in the tortilla but this chicken puck.

I was hungry and am not a picky eater so I figured it would just have to do. I took a bite, though, and realized it would NOT do. It was hard, cold, and dry. It was disgusting. I put it down and nibbled the fries and drank the soda.  

When my daughter’s soda went empty (long after mine did), the waitress returned.

Waitress: “How is everything?”

Me: “This isn’t what I ordered and not even edible. Please remove it from the bill.”

Waitress: “Oh, I’m sorry. I can bring you something else.”

Me: “No, thank you. Just remove it from the bill.”

Waitress: “I can get you something else.”

I just pointed at my watch and again said, “No, thank you.” She disappeared for about fifteen minutes and finally came back with the bill.

Shortly after, the chef came out.

Chef: “You wanted the chicken salad wrap, didn’t you?”

Me: “Yes. This wasn’t that.”

Chef: “But that’s what you wanted?”

Me: “Yes, but I don’t want it now.”

By now, it was almost eight and I just wanted to go home and make myself dinner

Chef: “Okay.”

I looked at the bill. It clearly said, “[Menu Name for the chicken salad wrap],” and showed that I was being charged the $15-ish for the meal.

I looked for the waitress and didn’t see her. I put my credit card away, pulled out cash, and laid down only exactly enough for my son’s meal, my daughter’s meal, our drinks, and a side of fries, right down to the penny, and left.

It’s been months and I haven’t been back or ordered to-go since.

Apparently, He Didn’t Leave An Impression

, , , , , , , | Working | April 6, 2022

My company hired a young man who took a desk near mine. He’s very personable and easy to talk with. One day, I’m called in to the boss’s office.

Boss: “[Coworker #1] was six hours overdue with what he was supposed to get done. He said you were distracting him by talking. Were you doing that?”

Me: “He’s a nice guy and we exchange some small talk now and then, but not six hours of it. Besides, I have my own work and I got it done.”

Boss: “Yeah, I guess that wouldn’t account for six hours.”

Me: “No, but I’ll watch that any talk doesn’t get out of control.”

Fast forward many months. We move to a new office and I am no longer near [Coworker #1]. Then, I wind up in the hospital, and when I return to work, I am buried. Finally, things slow down. I need to stretch, so I go to visit another coworker. It is a Friday and numerous employees take off alternate Fridays, so there are only a few people in the office. I look at the empty desk that I know belongs to [Coworker #1].

Me: “Where’s [Coworker #1]?”

Coworker #2: “We fired him a couple of months ago.”

Me: “Seriously?! Wow! I’ve really been out of it the last couple of months. Why was he fired?”

Coworker #2: “He was too slow. He was taking hours and days to do things that should take minutes.”

Me: “Back when he first started, he threw me under the bus. He blamed me for delaying him six hours on a project.”

Coworker #2: “Yeah. I’m not surprised. It was always someone else’s fault.”

But, seriously, despite an illness, how did I manage to not notice someone gone out of an office of only a dozen people?

From Offspring To Human Meat Shield

, , , , , , | Related | April 6, 2022

This happens when I’m around fifteen. My family is looking to move into a new house and are looking at some options. We’re looking over a lovely house in the country that has a fantastic view of a nearby river. Despite the fact that it would have very poor Internet and the river has been known to flood, my mom seems to be warming up to it.

Suddenly, though, we round a corner of the house and she SHRIEKS and simultaneously jumps about ten feet backward while shoving me forward. We all look at her like she’s lost her mind.

Her defense?

Mom: “I just saw a huge snake!”

So much for parental protection instincts!