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All-Or-Nothing Housekeeping Service

, , , | Working | May 6, 2021

I am travelling for business: a supplier day-visit turned into a week-long event. It isn’t the holiday people think; I see the inside of a factory until it is dark, sleep in a hotel, wake, and go straight to the factory again. It isn’t fun. I barely sleep, and all the work I would be doing is waiting for me when I get back.

The hotel is pretty nice, at least. The rooms are okay and the food okay, but the staff try way too hard. I constantly have to stop them from topping up my drinks and even bringing me food I haven’t ordered. They still expect me to pay, and it all goes through work. I get a big telling-off if I spend or drink too much.

One afternoon, I return to the room to find the clothes I had laid out for the next day arranged with the towels into an animal. It’s late, but I stay up to re-iron everything again for the morning. On my way out the following morning, I stop by the front desk.

Me: “Sorry, but could housekeeping please not arrange my clothes?”

Receptionist: “Sorry?”

Me: “The towel animals — please don’t do that anymore. My clothes were creased and folded.”

Receptionist: “It’s all part of the service.”

Me: “Yes, but I… Look, please stop.”

Receptionist: “Oh, okay. I will let them know.”

I get back again, late. My room has not been cleaned and the toiletries are empty. I go down to reception, thinking there has been a mistake.

Me: “My room hasn’t been cleaned. Can I get some toiletries, please?.”

The receptionist checks her computer.

Receptionist: “You asked for housekeeping to not replace the towels?”

Me: “Yes, not for the room to be cleaned. Can I get some toiletries?”

Receptionist: “Sorry, we asked them not to do your room as you asked.”

I gave up. Her English was perfect but she couldn’t understand that I didn’t want people messing with what was clearly my work stuff. I couldn’t get them to clean my room, so I ended up buying what I needed instead. I made sure work knew not to book there again.

The Contrarian Librarian: The DVD

, , , , , | Working | April 20, 2021

Back in the early 2000s, I return some DVDs I’ve borrowed from my university library’s media counter. A few days later, I try to borrow some books from the main counter, but I’m told that there’s a block on my account because I didn’t return some DVDs. I say I did return them, and they ask me to speak to someone at the media counter.

Me: “Hi. According to the system, I didn’t return [DVDs], but I think whoever was working the desk when I returned them forgot to scan them or something.”

Librarian: “And I’m supposed to just believe you?”

Me: *Shocked* “Or… You could check if the DVDs are in the drawers behind you?”

Librarian: “Oh! Right.”

They were there. She didn’t say another word or even apologize. She just looked very embarrassed while she made sure to scan each DVD.

The Contrarian Librarian Runs Out Of Time
The Contrarian Librarian: The Childhood Years
Softening Of The Contrarian Librarian
The Contrarian Librarian: Looking For Work
Re-emergence Of The Contrarian Librarian

We’re Family… When It Suits Me

, , , , | Working | April 19, 2021

Back in 2018, I worked in a really well-known English shop that sold soaps. I was a Christmas seasonal employee and did not stick around when Christmas ended.

I was grateful because our manager was incredibly vindictive and loved to play favourites. He even bullied me in front of clients and coworkers because of my disability, claiming it had cost him two days of work — one was my free day, which he chose. But this wasn’t even the pettiest thing he did.

The pettiest thing was overheard while I was down in the small warehouse.

A bunch of us workers were clocking out already. One, [Coworker #1], had to take a train and needed to leave fast, so she just took her things, wrote down her hours, and ran for it. A coworker, who was still on her working time, was in the middle of putting some things in a box and, as it was a very small warehouse, [Coworker #1] apologized and jumped over her. When she was already on the stairs, [Manager] stopped her.

Manager: “Why aren’t you helping your coworker? She is down there in the ground and you just go and jump over her. That is terribly disrespectful and I cannot believe you would do that!”

Coworker #1: “Well, I already clocked out and I have to catch a train to my hometown. I have no obligation to help, and she didn’t need it.”

Manager: “But you are her coworker and as such should be more empathetic. We need team players; we are a family. I don’t care that you are running late for your train. You have to help your fellow mates.”

Coworker #1: “Again, [Coworker #2] didn’t need help, and I. Have. A. Train. To take. Can I leave already?”

Manager: “No, no. You don’t get it. You are being terribly disrespectful and I am super disappointed in you. I did not expect you to do such things.”

Coworker #1: “But I am—”

[Manager] cut [Coworker #1] off in the middle of her sentence.

Manager: “No, no, go catch the train now.”

[Coworker #1] tried to say something else, but [Manager] kept cutting her off and telling her, sarcastically, to leave already because she had a train to catch and, obviously, it was way more important.

[Coworker #1] left, huffing and stomping, rightfully fed up with [Manager].

Then, [Manager] went to the table where one of the administrative employees was and started chatting with her.

Manager: “You know, next year, when she asks me for holiday leave, I’m just gonna give her whatever day I want. And if she can’t see her family, tough luck. She shouldn’t be such a b****.”

So much for empathy and family, huh?

Fries Are Very Important, But Yikes

, , , , | Working | February 15, 2021

When I am twenty and still in college, I work at a fast food restaurant over the summer. This branch has a lot of staff turnover, so much so that at any given time, around half my coworkers are either on their two-month new hire probation or working their two-week notice period. Anyone who has been there for a few months is called “senior staff” and they speak of things that happened earlier that very same year as “the old times.”

Of course, the place is dysfunctional. I have a lot of problems with my “senior” coworkers, many of whom have an attitude problem. Things come to a head one day when I am on register along with two coworkers: a shift supervisor and an entitled “senior” employee who has been there for like six months.

At this store, when things are quiet, people on register are also responsible for the fries — putting them into the fryer, taking them out, and bagging them — when their line dies down. There isn’t a particular rota system; if the other cashiers were busy but you don’t have a line when the fryer goes, “Beep!”, you are now in charge of taking out the fries and bagging them.

The “senior” employee claims that she is attending to the fries a lot more than I am. At one point, while she has no one in line and I am literally in the middle of a transaction, with cash in my hands, she turns to me and says:

“Senior” Employee: “[My Name]! Do you not hear the fryer?!”

Me: “And do you not see that I have cash in my hands?”

The supervisor sided with the “senior” employee and completely lost it. She went off at me in front of all customers and staff, shouting and screaming about how she couldn’t believe that newer staff would “disrespect” “senior” staff. The shift manager had to come in, order her to take five, and almost push her into the staff room when she wouldn’t shut up about me.

I was speechless. I had planned to ask to switch from full-time to weekend shifts once my classes restarted in the fall, but I decided I didn’t want to work someplace where fries were such a contentious issue, so I gave in my notice as soon as the head manager came in for her shift.

And that’s the story of the one job where I have not been able to pass my probation period.

Thank You, Next!

, , , | Right | January 14, 2021

I’m working in the concession stand, where we also sell movie tickets on days we don’t expect too many people. A married couple approaches and I stop what I’m doing to serve them. The woman doesn’t even look at me and the man is the only one who interacts with me, not even saying, “Hello.” Everything goes okay until I give him his change.

Customer: *Deadpan* “You should say, ‘Thank you,’ you know?”

Shocked, I don’t know what to respond because, one, he didn’t give me the time to say anything, two, he is the one who should say, “Thank you,” as I’m the one providing a service, and three, he isn’t anyone to try and give me a manners lesson. In about five seconds, I recover enough and I answer.

Me: “Very well. Next!”

The next customer approached and he left without a word.