They Need To Be Sharper With Safety Hazards

, , , , , , | Working | June 15, 2018

(I am looking at some small items on a lower shelf in a craft store, and am therefore leaned over pretty far to get a good look. Suddenly I feel a heavy, sharp blow of the back of my head. Slightly dazed, I look around and see a package has fallen from peg on the shelf above where I was looking. Picking it up, I see it’s a package of several dozen thin sheets of copper-meant for embossing projects; it’s heavy and with a sharp, small edge. I take the package to the front of the store and approach a cashier.)

Me: “Hi, um… This fell off the shelf and hit me in the head…I wanted to tell somebody that you need to hang them differently or something.”

Cashier: *looking at package skeptically* “You’re saying this fell on you?”

Me: “Well, yeah, I was leaning over looking at something. See? It has a hanging tag on it, but a little tag like that couldn’t hold all that weight. It’s ripped in half, see? It ripped off under its own weight and fell.”

Cashier: *blank stare*

Me: “I just think they shouldn’t be displayed like that. Someone could get hurt. I mean, I got hurt, but someone could get really hurt.”

Cashier: “Hey, team lead!”

(The team lead walks over:)

Team Lead: “Is there a problem, ma’am?”

(I repeat the story, holding the package and lightly tapping it on the counter to show that it is, in fact, heavy, sharp sheets of metal. Both the cashier and team lead step back.)

Team Lead: “Ma’am, I’ll get the manager, but you need to calm down!”

(Baffled, I stand there while the cashier glares at me and turns her register light off. There are no other lanes open, and a line is forming. The team lead comes back and stands with the cashier. Neither move to open another lane or ring up any customers. Thinking I’m in the way, I scoot a few steps back.)

Team Lead: “MA’AM! You need to wait here for the manager!”

Me: “Look, I was just trying to tell you guys that there’s a problem. How long do I need to wait?”

(The team lead stomps off and returns with a flushed-looking older man.)

Manager: “Ma’am, I’m sorry you’re upset, but…”

Me: “I’m not upset. I’m just trying to tell you guys you have a safety hazard in your store…” *I repeat the story*

Manager: “And you’re saying that this fell and hit you in the head?”

Me: “Yes.”

Manager: “Are you bleeding?”

Me: “No, just a sore spot…”

Manager: “Do you need me to call an ambulance?”

Me: “No…”

Manager: “Then I’m not sure what you want from me. I’m not giving you that for free.”

(He grabbed the package and stormed off, muttering about me “wasting his time.” Baffled and ticked off, I went about my day. I was in that store again a few weeks later and, of course, they hadn’t moved or changed how they displayed those copper sheets. But there were several on the floor, leaning against the shelves, with the same torn hanging tags as the one that hit me. Here’s hoping no one gets really hurt.)

A Toast To School Life

, , , , , | Learning | June 13, 2018

I am in fourth-year in secondary (high) school. The sixth years — the 17- and 18-year-olds — in our school have their own small kitchen in the school for cooking instant noodles during after-school study, making cups of tea, etc. It doesn’t have an oven or a cooker; there are only small appliances, such as a kettle, a microwave, and a toaster… or, at least, there used to be a toaster.

The story, from what I can recall, begins with us in class. It is a regular old maths lesson and I, as per usual, am daydreaming. All of a sudden, the fire alarm goes off, scaring the bejaysus — “bejesus” with an Irish accent — out of us. We immediately follow the drill of pushing our chairs in, lining up at the door, and filing out onto the sports pitch. I assume it’s just the usual stupidity: someone in the chemistry lab lighting a bunsen burner under the smoke alarm. In fact, this incident took it to a whole new level, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out who caused it. One of the sixth years decided to cook a frozen pizza in the toaster. The pizza, of course, caught fire, and subsequently so did the toaster. After having evacuated the entire school and lost roughly 45 minutes of valuable class time — near exam time, no less — it was decided that the sixth years’ toaster would be permanently confiscated.

The story doesn’t end there, however. Our year, the fifth/incoming sixth years, did some things for the sixth years to help them de-stress before their oncoming leaving cert exams, e.g. throwing them a surprise party. At the leavers’ ceremony this week, the head girl announced that, as a thank you, the sixth years had bought our year a toaster as a sort of house-warming — kitchen-warming? — gift, as well as a swing-tennis set. Luckily, I think we’ve all learned the moral of the story: don’t cook non-toastable things in a toaster.

Not Shielded From Your Sarcasm

, , , , , | Learning | June 9, 2018

(I work at the largest university in Alaska, and we frequently have earthquake drills and, of course, the required fire drills. I am designated as one of our building safety personnel in charge of evacuating the building and getting people to the designated “safe” area away from the building, a large portion of which is floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows. The meeting area is located safely behind the cement parking garage, a good distance from our building. However, people get weirdly stubborn about moving to the correct area, even as I wave and point and usher them. I start becoming very creative in handling these recalcitrant evacuees.)

Me: *in official vest and over bullhorn* “Please step this way behind the parking garage, towards the designated meeting area!”

(A few people move.)

Me: “Folks, please be sure to thank those people over there—” *indicates the people still stubbornly standing right next to the giant glass building* “—who have bravely volunteered to be a human shield for you in the event of a fire or other disaster in which our building, made entirely of glass, could potentially explode outward.” *pause for effect* “Their sacrifice in protecting you from the explosive shrapnel will be much appreciated!”

(The human shields eschew the honor and glory, and move to relative safety behind the parking garage, glaring at me all the while.)

Me: *mentally shrugging; it’s part of my job and I can’t get fired over this* “Thank you for playing the ‘How to stay alive during a natural disaster’ game! Herb, tell them what they’ve won!”

(Most people were laughing pretty hard at this point. The few holdouts glowered at me the entire time.)

I Love The Smell Of Ineptitude In The Morning

, , , , , | Working | June 3, 2018

The office where I work processes mail for several big corporations, by opening the envelopes and entering the data into the digital systems. Since these companies are quite big, there is, of course, the occasional angry ex-customer who tries to get back at the company by sending them nonsensical stuff — nude pictures, etc. — as if that would do anything to the company. However, in some cases, a joker goes much further by sending an envelope filled with powder, in order to create an anthrax hoax. Procedure is to put such an envelope down and warn everybody, after which no one who enters the room is supposed to leave.

One day, a coworker who works in a different room — and is known to be not very smart or hard-working — finds such an envelope. Instead of following procedure, he throws the thing into a garbage bin and takes the bin downstairs where he shows it to our manager in order to ask what to do with it. Afterwards, the coworker is berated by the senior emergency response officer (ERO) for not following procedure.

A few days later, I overhear the coworker talking with a few of his colleagues. As always, he is moaning and complaining about how he is treated. “Yes, there is a guideline, but you can’t expect me to read it every day.” The other coworkers seem to support him, with one of them even claiming she will go outside if it ever happens again — which you never should do. All of them speak demeaningly about the ERO, claiming he just wants to be important. I know the man as a very calm and friendly guy.

Several months go by. I am sent to the warehouse with one of my coworkers. The ERO is in charge of the task we are supposed to do, so he walks along to show us. On our way, we see the whiny coworker, who is working through the mail of another client of ours. He is doing this wearing gloves, which he always does; he’s the only person in the company who does this. The other coworker makes some small talk, asking what the guy is doing.

“With gloves on?” she asks.

His answer: “Yes, that’s necessary. You never know what’s in these letters.”

I couldn’t help but whisper to the ERO, “And if he finds something, he will walk through half the building with it.”

A few months later, I find an anthrax hoax myself in my department. We sere complimented on how well we handle it. At least the coworker’s blunder had some good use.

Might Need A Stone For Him Very Soon, Too

, , , , , | | Right | May 23, 2018

(We have a family business that sells gravestones. My husband is manning our shop when an elderly man walks in.)

Husband: “Good afternoon.”

Customer: “I want to order a stone for my wife.”

Husband: “If you’d like to come through to the office, and take a seat, I will show you some samples, and designs.”

(The elderly man walks very carefully, feeling his way with his stick, up to the two steps and into the hallway. After half an hour or so, the transaction is complete and the man stands up.)

Customer: “Where are the steps? How many are there?”

(He feels his way slowly down them, walks to the door, and asks:)

Customer: “Wasn’t there another step here?”

(My husband is concerned as to how he will manage to walk up the road, as there are a number of roads to cross. He mentions this to him, only to be told:)

Customer: “Oh, its all right; I have my car keys here.”

(He walked over to the car outside, got in, and drove away.)

 

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