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.

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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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Working Here Is The Bomb

, , , , , | Working | May 22, 2018

(One day I discover that the door to the chemicals cabinet in the lab is unlocked. Assuming this is an oversight, I inform one of the chemists who I am friendly with.)

Me: “Hey, [Chemist], I just wanted to let you know the door to the cabinet in that room is unlocked.”

Chemist: “Oh, that’s always unlocked.”

Me: “Really? But everyone who has access to this building can just walk into that room. Isn’t there really dangerous stuff in there?”

Chemist: “Oh, yes. You could make TNT with the stuff we have here.”

Me: *looks shocked*

Chemist: “What you do is—” *starts telling me the recipe for TNT*

Me: “I don’t need to know! But seriously isn’t that dangerous? A lot of people have access to this building.”

Chemist: “Ah, but you see, the trick is to make it without blowing yourself up. Most likely they’d kill themselves.”

Me: “Ah, they should make plastique. It’s nitroglycerin, basically, but it’s a bit more stable. I learned to make it when I was a kid.”

Chemist: *looks shocked*

Me: “That’s a quote from Terminator. I don’t actually know how to make a bomb.”

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Couldn’t Just Come Out And Say That

, , , , | Working | April 30, 2018

(I work with two guys who have a compulsion to always be right. Whatever you say, whether logic is with you or not, they’re right, and you’re wrong. We work at height a lot.)

Coworker: “We need some eye bolts to tie the ladder to when we’re going on that roof next week.”

Me: “I’ll get some at the weekend.”

(Monday rolls by.)

Me: “I got the eye bolts. They didn’t have the ones for the plastic plugs, so I got all metal, instead.”

Coworker: “They’re not big enough.”

Me: *I’ve read half a page ahead* “That’s okay. Here. I got the next two sizes up, as well.”

Coworker: “They’re… too strong.”

Me: “You’re going to be 30 feet in the air, and these eye bolts could save your life if something went wrong, and they’re too strong?”

(Pause:)

Coworker: “I already bought some.”

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Not Too Chicken To Confront Them

, , , , , | Working | April 3, 2018

(I find a Chinese takeout place very near to me that is inexpensive and can deliver very quickly. The second time I order, they give me deep-fried chicken balls that are slightly undercooked. I don’t think they are dangerous, and they taste fine, but they are definitely more pink in the middle than normal. I call them to report it and they give me some free soup. Pretty normal interaction. A couple weeks later, though, there is a repeat incident.)

Me: “Hi, I’m calling about the order you just delivered to [address]. The chicken balls were very undercooked; one was actually raw in the middle.”

Employee: *a very young-sounding girl* “Yes? Hello?”

Me: “This is [Chinese Takeaway], yes? I’m calling about the order to [address]. The chicken balls were undercooked.”

Employee: “You want an order?”

Me: “You just sent an order to [address], correct?”

Employee: “Oh. Yes? Problem? No arrive?”

Me: “It arrived, but the chicken balls were very undercooked.”

Employee: “Uh…”

Me:Undercooked. Raw. The chicken! The chicken was not properly cooked!”

Employee: “Wait. [Indistinct], get boss!”

(Almost a minute of silence passes.)

Employee: “Yes, hello? You cannot make problem. We [indistinct] cook the same and you always have problem.”

Me: “I’m sorry? I’m not trying to make a problem; I’m telling you that you can’t sell raw food, especially chicken!”

Employee: “Our food is fine! You always call with problem!”

(Keep in mind I have only called once before and I didn’t even ask for free food; they just offered it.)

Employee: “We are not giving you anything!”

Me: “I’m not asking for anything! I can put these in my oven to finish cooking! But you cannot give people raw food!”

Employee: *click*

(I call back.)

Employee: *the same girl* “Hello?”

Me: “Yes, it’s me again. I’m not trying to get free food. But I need you to acknowledge that your chicken was raw. You could kill someone.”

Employee: “Stop making problem! If you don’t like how we make, don’t order!”

Me: “You know it’s illegal to sell undercooked chicken, don’t you?”

Employee: “Don’t order here again!” *click*

(I report them to the Food Standards Agency. The best part? Not three days later, I get a phone call.)

Government Worker: “Hello, is this [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes, that’s me.”

Government Worker: “This is [My Name] with the FSA. I’m just calling about your report about [Chinese Takeaway]. Could I ask you a few things?”

Me: “Oh! Of course.”

(She confirms that what I wrote is about the correct place, and asks for the whole story, which I give her.)

Government Worker: “You should know that you’re not the only person to report this place. We’ve already given them a warning in the past, so now we’re probably going to have to inspect them in person. That usually scares them into doing things properly, but I wouldn’t order from them again, in any case, if I were you. I could give you a call to let you know if and when we take action, and the outcome?”

(I assured her that wasn’t necessary. It was just nice to know that when you report bad businesses, sometimes the authorities actually take notice.)

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