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The Only Thing Broken Here Is That Marriage

, , , , , , , , | Learning | August 25, 2022

Back when I used to work at an indoor soft play and cafe, we had to fill out paperwork if someone got hurt. One day, an eleven-year-old girl and her father approached me for first aid. She had changed her mind about the direction she was going and fell over her own feet and twisted her ankle. I gave first aid and filled out a report with her father. The girl was fine and her ego bruised more than the ankle as her dad was laughing at her fail. Ten minutes later, she was off running around again.

The next day, I got a phone call. I was increasingly suspicious throughout, but I was sincere and apologetic until the end.

Woman: “Hello. I need to make a complaint.”

Me: “Oh, I am sorry to hear that. What can I help with?”

Woman: “Your venue is dangerous. My daughter got her leg caught in the netting yesterday and broke her ankle.” 

Me: “Gosh! I hope she is okay. But, um, can you give me any more information about where and when it happened and who gave first aid?”

Woman: “It was at the top of the ramp up into the playframe. The woman at the front refused to give first aid because she was too busy.”

Me: “Wow! I am sorry to hear that. Did anyone fill out a report or call an ambulance?”

Woman: “No report. We rushed her out straight away and took her to the hospital. Now, what are you going to do for me?”

Me: “Wow, well, gosh, I really am sorry. I hope she makes a full recovery soon. Now if you don’t mind, I’m afraid I am going to have to fill out some paperwork. Can I start with her name?”

Woman: “[Girl].”

Me: “Oh. And her father’s name was [Girl’s Father].”

Woman: “How do you know that?”

Me: “Because I was walking past and saw her trip over, and so did [Girl’s Father]. She tripped over her own feet and all three of us knew that. Also, I was the woman who went up the front to administer first aid, who filled out the report with her father about what happened, and who bid them farewell two hours later after she had continued to run around and play. Now, I am sorry that she is hurt, and if she has indeed broken her ankle, then that will be awful for her, but I don’t know that it was because she got caught in our equipment.”

Woman: “Oh. Nevermind.”

She hung up.

I got another call later in the day. 

Girl’s Father: “I am really sorry, but my dips*** wife has just told me she made a fool of herself calling you this morning, and I wanted to let you know that my daughter is totally fine and is walking around as if nothing happened. It wasn’t your fault what happened and [Girl] had a really good day there. You have a really nice venue with nice staff. My daughter and I are moving out this weekend, and my soon-to-be ex-wife can sit and stew about whatever bulls*** she can come up with next.”

“Random” Pandemonium

, , , , , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: ANONYMOUS BY REQUEST | August 12, 2022

Many years ago, I worked for an outdoor activity centre/playland in the retail department. Throughout the park, there were many different shops that we manned, and I absolutely loved working there despite it being hard work for little pay.

One day, I had a run-in with a manager who seriously berated me in front of the entire team along with others from different departments. I was advised by a manager from a different team to make a formal complaint, which I did. Others came out with similar complaints and the manager in question was advised to find employment elsewhere but not sacked. Now, unbeknownst to me, I triggered the chain of events that would lead to me leaving the company.

There were a few rules in place that were designed to prevent theft, including that no more than £10 in personal money was to be allowed on the shop floor, which was to be checked before your shift. Anything over this must be declared to management and left in your locker, and all staff had to agree to random locker/pocket searches.

In the two years that I’d worked there, I had never been picked for a random search. There were several hundred employees, so the odds were incredibly slim. As soon as our disgraced manager left, I suddenly found myself picked at random for a search. This involved turning out my pockets, removing my shoes/socks, and then being escorted to the locker room to empty the contents. Nothing was found, so I was sent back to the shop floor. The following week, I was again picked at “random” for a search, which again turned up nothing.

Rumours soon started making the rounds that I had upset my department’s remaining management team after instigating the action against my former manager, and they were going to force me out using any means necessary. I realised that I needed to act, so I started job hunting and then began my malicious compliance. I started taking a backpack to work filled with £20 in pennies. Every morning, I declared the amount in my locker as required and, sure enough, after a couple of days, I was once again selected for my weekly “random” search. I got paid to watch a security guard and supervisor count 2,000 pennies. As expected, I passed said search, and off I went. This happened a second time with now £30 in pennies, and I decided to up my game.

At the start of the following week, I patiently awaited my “random” search with glee, knowing what awaited them. The day soon arrived, and off I was marched to the lockers, ready for their treat. I lifted out my backpack and passed it to the security guard and supervisor, who dove straight in without any gloves.

Oh, how they retched as they discovered what was in there. I had several pairs of my period-soaked pants waiting in there, especially for them. They were gingerly laid on the floor beside my bag as they counted my bag of pennies. The smell from the pants was unreal; they’d been festering in there for days in anticipation. Once again, the search revealed nothing, and off to work I went.

After that, I was not picked for another search again. I left after a couple more weeks for a new job. Keeping in touch with some people, I discovered that a new rule was introduced that tried dictating what you could and couldn’t take to work with you. This soon led to a mass walkout of staff, and after a year, the place shut down due to unrelated matters.

Ah, The Delegation From Snob School

, , , , | Right | January 20, 2022

I work at a kids’ entertainment center with lots of different roleplay activities. We’re not like a wide-open area theme park, and everyone has to queue and wait for their time slot for the activities. And because we have lots of different activities and we’re indoors, we do not encourage running as it’s very easy to just crash into someone.

I’ve been having a pretty normal day with kids from local schools who are here for an excursion and behaving relatively well.

Then, an overseas school clearly here on a school trip comes in, and the students start running around screaming like monkeys, scaring all the other kids, and literally pushing their way through.

One of the teachers from the overseas school saunters up to my activity booth.

Teacher: “My students are from a well-known international school from [Country], and the students are excited to be here for their school trip. Is there a separate line for them so that they won’t have to queue and mix around with the local children?”

I literally gave her a blank stare for a moment and then put on my sweetest smile.

Me: “I am afraid not, ma’am. Over here, we encourage all children to be given a fair chance with one another, regardless of where they are from.”

I give a side-eye to their students running and screaming at the top of their voices like they own the place.

Teacher: “Oh.”

I kid you not, she literally walked away lifting her nose in the air.

My colleagues and I lost count of how many incident reports we had to fill out that day because the students from the overseas school were literally running around so much that they either fell down and bruised themselves or banged into other people.

Listen To Children… With A Grain Of Salt

, , , , | Healthy | August 28, 2021

My little sister and I are maybe six and thirteen, and we’re at an activity centre, thanks to a course that helps kids from disadvantaged families have a slightly more “normal” childhood. Usually, our dad drops us off, we spend the day doing fun stuff we don’t normally get the chance to do, and then he comes to pick us up.

Today, we have been dropped off a little early, and we’re playing tig while waiting for the other kids to arrive. My sister trips over a step and bangs her wrist. There appears to be a small cut, and she has tears in the corners of her eyes. The adults responsible for us ask if they need to call our dad, but I overrule them. I tell them it’s just a small cut; she’s being a crybaby and needs to get over it. She’s not even actually crying, just about to. The adults listen to me, but they really should not.

My dad has always been the kind of person who shouts at me whenever I cry, telling me off for crocodile tears and telling me I’m being ridiculous and such, so I’m projecting this onto my sister. My dad is autistic and the sound of us crying always causes him genuine pain, which means he can’t deal with us properly, but we won’t find this out for many years yet.

At the moment, all I know is that crying equals bad, and she needs to deal with the pain without crying like I have been expected to. Also, my sister has an incredibly high pain tolerance due to years of medical issues, so I should have known that if she’s feeling the pain, then the pain is serious. She can barely join in the activities that day because her wrist hurts so much, and one of the other kids makes her a sling from some of the material we have access to today. I just roll my eyes at this and continue playing as normal because, clearly, she’s being silly, and I’m not going to stop my fun to baby her.

Some hours later, our dad returns to collect us. The adults mention to him that she banged her wrist earlier but that it’s nothing to worry about. He removes her makeshift sling and her wrist is swollen. I don’t really get what he’s all upset about, but he takes us to the hospital to get it looked at, which I’m kind of numb to since we’ve been in them a lot, and I still don’t realise that this is serious. They find that her wrist is broken. 

Looking back at the situation now, I’m horrified that these adults just accepted the word of an autistic preteen girl instead of appropriately dealing with the medical emergency, and I’m disgusted at my own attitude towards my sister’s pain. On the bright side, my sister’s wrist is no longer broken, and she hasn’t needed to be in hospital since before the health crisis, though she will need another appointment soon.

This Party Is Just Getting Started

, , , , , | Right | February 20, 2021

To book a kid’s party room in our indoor soft play venue, a customer has to pay a non-refundable deposit. We have a kind of script memorised — since we take face and phone bookings — which mentions it being non-refundable on three occasions, and the customers have to sign a place on the paperwork to say they acknowledge it.

The law is on our side, too, since non-refundable deposits are legal as long as our policies are clear and the amount is reasonable to cover our costs. In our case, it is set in place to secure a room in a time slot, a character costume, equipment, and so on. If a customer cancels, there is no guarantee that the time slot will be filled, etc. We aren’t totally unfair to the customers, though, as the customers can spend the deposit amounts in other ways in the playland.

A couple comes in on a Sunday morning and cancels their party. They’ve booked the biggest package, invited all their guests, and only a few kids can make it. They then demand a refund.

I politely explain the policy and tell them that they can transfer the balance to a card they can use for other services in the playland — entry tickets, food and drinks, a different type of party more suitable for the number of guests they have, a character visit, and so on.

I spend a good five minutes outlining all the options. Apparently, all they hear is, “We’re keeping your money.”

Customer: “That’s not legal! We come all the time!”

I work five-day weeks on rotating days and have never seen them before.

Customer: “We want to speak to the manager!”

Me: “I’m the manager on duty.”

Customer: “The owner, then!”

Me: “The owner isn’t here on Sundays.”

Customer: “What’s their phone number?!”

Obviously, that isn’t going to happen. I know the owner won’t answer anyway because she is away with her family for a large birthday weekend camping, so she has no reception.

It really escalates quickly, with me repeating our policies and their options and the two of them ignoring me.

Customer: “We’re going to stand in the foyer until the owner comes!”

I do explain the days that the owners will be there and suggest that they can call or visit at any of those times, but they just ignore everything I say. While they are cranky and ignoring me, they are mostly just annoying. They aren’t otherwise aggressive or abusive. I don’t want to escalate it by calling the police or creating additional drama for other customers unless necessary, and they are separated from the children playing by security walls, so I try another tactic.

I remind them of their options and that they are only hearing what they want to hear, so there is no more I can do. I cheerfully offer them each a chair, I tell them our closing time, and I walk away to do my other duties.

They sit for a bit, arms folded.

Then, they sit for a bit, arms in their laps.

They pace a bit.

They leave. 

On Monday, I am scheduled off. On Tuesday, I speak to the owner.

Owner: “They came in and asked for a refund. I explained their options. They said you never told them they could spend the money on other things here.”

They happily booked in a smaller party that I had tried to suggest. Any time I saw them in the future, they looked at me cautiously for half a second and then were super nice.