Hit The Road, Not-So-Sweet Sixteen

, , , , | Working | November 6, 2019

(I’m twenty-six years old. Due to my Asperger’s Syndrome and a number of other factors, I haven’t been able to get my driver’s license until now. This takes place at work the Friday after I pass my road test. One of my coworkers, who turned sixteen a few months ago, comes in singing.)

Coworker: *singing* “Guess who just passed her test?”

Me: “You?”

Coworker: “Yep! I’m now a licensed driver, see?”

(She proudly displays her new driver’s license.)

Me: “Awesome, I got mine on Tuesday!”

(I show her my license. She glances at it, then looks incredulously at me.)

Coworker: “Wait, you’re that old and you only just now got your license?”

Me: “Well, yeah. What about it?”

Coworker: “Oh, my God, you’re such a loser! Why would you wait so long?”

Me: “Umm, why does it matter when I got my license?”

Coworker: “Because normal people get their license at 16 like me! Only losers wait until later!”

(The manager comes in at this point. She has overheard the whole exchange.)

Manager: *to my coworker* “Clock out right now and go home. We’ll discuss your behavior in my office first thing tomorrow morning. Oh, and for the record, sweetheart, I didn’t get my license until I was thirty. Were you planning on calling me a loser, too?”

(My coworker opened her mouth but didn’t say a word, and then punched out and left. She quit the next day, claiming that she wanted a job where she didn’t have to work with losers who didn’t get their license at sixteen — good luck with that. My now ex-coworker lost her license two days later when she failed to stop for a school bus.)

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They Want It For Free And Give Nothing Back

, , , | Right | October 22, 2019

(I work for a company which handles large groups and conventions coming into town. It is not uncommon for people to request lots of free items. Normally, I send these calls to someone in sales; however, the entire sales department is away for a site visit, and I’ve been instructed to provide callers with the email address of the relevant party, instead.)

Me: “Good morning, [City] information. How can I help you today?”

Caller: “Yes, hello. I probably shouldn’t have waited this long, but I’m coming into town next week for a family reunion and I was wondering if the center would provide some little items that we could put in our goodie bags, like pens or something. There will be 65 of us.”

Me: “All right, currently the entire department is out of the office for an event. I can give you my colleague’s email address, though, and he’ll be able to respond to you promptly.”

Caller: “Can’t you give me a phone number? I don’t want this mailed to me; I want it delivered to my hotel. Your office is at [incorrect address], right? How far is that from [Hotel]?”

Me: “Our office is at [correct address], and it is about a 25-minute drive from [Hotel].”

Caller: “Oh, so it’s in a different area? Well, can you have them deliver these items to us so we don’t have to drive all the way down there?”

Me: “Like I said, the entire department is out of the office and I cannot give you their personal phone numbers. I can give you an email address and they will respond promptly, or I can transfer you to their voicemail and they will get back to you when they return to the office tomorrow.”

Caller: “Could you send me to their voicemail? And who is the party I will be talking to?”

Me: “[First Name] Polyachenko.”

Caller: “Chenko?”

Me: “No, Polyachenko.”

Caller: “Panko?”

Me: “Po-ly-a-chen-ko.”

Caller: “How do you spell that?”

Me: “P-O-L-Y-A-C-H-E-N-K-O.”

Caller: “Oh, so the P is silent?”

Me: *giving up* “Sure.”

(I ended the call thinking she’d leave a message and that would be that. Nope; she called back ten minutes later and got my coworker. She complained that I had sent her to the wrong office, even after my coworker explained everything I had just told the caller a few minutes before. My coworker transferred her to someone else in the sales department, who is, of course, also absent from the office until tomorrow. Customers like that are what drive me to drink before noon.)

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Think They Can Use Those Shoes To Walk All Over You

, , , | Right | October 11, 2019

(I’m an assistant manager at a popular shoe store chain and am cashing out an old couple. It had been relatively busy all day and we have been short-staffed, so I have spent most of the day at the register while my coworker was in the back unloading a shipment of shoes. We are required to ask about loyalty, ask if customers want to donate to a cause, tell them about optional surveys, AND try to get them to buy accessories on top of this to keep our jobs. This interaction happens shortly after I go through the requirements checklist.)

Old Woman: “Oh, for the love of God, stop trying to sell us s***! It’s very rude, you know! Also, [Husband] and I might have made a little mess when trying on shoes; hope you don’t mind cleaning it up for us.”

Me: *forcing a smile* “Of course, ma’am! Have a great day.”

(I handed her her receipt and went to go inspect the “mess.” My eyes nearly popped out of my head! They had each tried on 10 to 15 pairs of shoes and left them jumbled all over the aisle, many pairs completely separated from their boxes! It took coworker and I nearly an hour to separate boxes and pair up shoes and find where they all came from.)

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The Tortoise And The Scare

, , , , | Learning | October 11, 2019

(I’m on a team of environmental researchers. We’re operating a mobile laboratory platform that drives around multiple terrains and then stays on-site for weeks at a time. It’s nicknamed “The Tortoise” and has tank treads and is painted in camouflage to blend in with the environment. It looks very military but has “[SCHOOL] DEPT. OF ENVIRO RESEARCH” painted in orange letters on each side. We’re out in the field today moving The Tortoise to a backup site.)

Team Lead: “There’s a twist for today. We need to move The Tortoise across a road.”

Tech #1: “That’s fine. [Local Police] are okay with us blocking off roads. It only takes us about ten seconds to get across the road as is.”

Tech #2: “And last time, they said we should just go ahead and make the crossing. We’ve got hi-vis vests and cones in the truck.”

Team Lead: “Okay. [Tech #1], take [My Name] to the crossing point and get ready to block off traffic. The rest of us will get The Tortoise moving.”

(We get to the crossing point and unload the cones by the side of the road. The Tortoise is very slow-moving, so we’ve got some downtime. [Tech #1] has been on the team for years, and I’m pretty new.)

Me: “Do cars even use this road? No one’s driven by.”

Tech #1: “Technically, yeah. According to the map, it’s in use. I think the park service are the only ones who actually use it, though; it’s not like it really goes anywhere. That’s why the cops don’t care if we blockade it for a bit.”

Team Lead: *on the radio* “We’re almost there. Time to get the cones out.”

([Tech #1] and I don our vests and set up cones. As soon as we set up, the first car we’ve seen drives up. I hold up my hand in the universal “stop” gesture and the car slows to a stop.)

Tech #1: “Huh, just our luck. I wonder who’s out driving in this–”

(At this moment, the unmarked police car throws on its lights and an officer gets out.)

Sheriff: “Hi, folks. I’m with the [County] sheriff’s office. Mind telling me why you’re blocking off the road here?”


(The Tortoise, riding on a set of tank treads, painted in camouflage, and since no one bothered to properly clean it, covered in debris and mud, crawls out of the woods and across the road. The team controlling it follows soon after. Each one of them is so focused on the path ahead that they don’t notice the sheriff. After they roll back into the woods on the opposite side…)

Sheriff: “Uh. What was that?”

Tech #1: “Tortoise.”

(There is a long silence. We begin to gather up the cones.)

Sheriff: “Well… thank you for observing road safety.” 

(Days later:)

Team Lead: “Anyone know why the county sheriff thinks the school owns a tank?”

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Unfiltered Story #168988

, , | Unfiltered | October 7, 2019

I used to work at a retail store outside a popular tourist destination. A customer came up with a box that had a pair of boots in it. The following is the ensuing conversation.

Me: Hello Miss, did you find everything okay?
Customer: Yes I did
*at this point I’m pulling the plastic inserts out of the boot per company policy*
Customer: No I want those in the boots
Me: I’m sorry ma’am but per corporate directions and store policy I cannot include these in the sale. You are more than welcome to purchase a pack of inserts for only a few dollars.
Customer: No! Do you know who I am? I spend $20,000 a year here! I have a black Amex card! I can do whatever I want and because you work at this store, you work for me! Do I have to call a manager and report you?
Me: I’d be happy to call a supervisor for you , but she will tell you the same thing I am.
Customer: I don’t care, call her now.
*i call my manager to the checkout*
Manager: What seems to be the problem?
Me: *explains the dilemma*
Manager: Ma’am she’s right. Per store policy we take the plastic inserts out.
Customer: How dare you? You work for me and I can do what I want. And what I want is to have those boot inserts!
*now there is a huge line of people waiting to check out*
Manager: That’s just not possible. You’re welcome to buy a pair of inserts separately.

The customer is quiet and doesn’t speak for the rest of the transaction. I’m glad to say I never saw her again.