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If There’s One Thing He Knows, It’s Trash

, , , | Working | August 16, 2021

I work as a receptionist in an office. Once a week, a garbage truck comes to collect our garbage. They need a key for the gate and they always come inside to pick up the key. I use this moment as an excuse to get off my bum and bring the key to them. It saves them maybe a minute and I get an extra five-minute break. This means I talk to many of the garbage men (and one woman).

One of the men I meet most is a man of around fifty years. I am in my early thirties. One day, the cleaning crew forgot to take out the trash, so I bring the two bags outside.

Me: “All right, which of the two do you want first? Left or right?”

Garbage Man: “How about the one in the middle?”

Me: *Taken aback* “I don’t think my husband would agree with that.”

I stay polite but remain short in what I say. After he leaves, I immediately tell the building manager.

Me: “It may have been a bad attempt at a joke, but I want this registered.”

Building Manager: “Have you had any issues before? Do you want me to call his boss?”

Me: “No, this has never happened before and this was all he said. Maybe it was just a slip of the tongue. I’ll let you know if he crosses the line again.”

Two weeks later, I see him again. I make sure to say nothing that can be interpreted differently.

Garbage Man: “Hey, we meet again! Look, I’m letting my beard grow!”

Me: “I can see that.”

Garbage Man: “So, what do you think? Don’t girls like you get horny from men with beards?”

Me: “No… I need to get back inside. You can drop the key on the desk for me.”

I keep an eye on the key but head to the building manager right after. The junior building manager is there, as well.

Me: “I don’t care if he considers me ‘one of the boys.’ That definitely crossed the line and I will not take the key outside for him anymore. The others, I don’t mind, but that man absolutely crossed the line.”

Building Manager: “I will take this up with his boss. Unfortunately, I can’t be here all the time. [Junior Building Manager], will you keep an eye open for him, as well? I want to avoid a ‘he-said, she-said,’ so it might be best if there is a witness.”

Junior Building Manager: “Of course. What a creep! Did he say anything else? Are you okay? Did he do anything? Did he touch you?”

Me: “I’m fine. As fine as you can be, anyway.”

Two weeks later, he returns and I stay at my desk. [Junior Building Manager] sees the truck coming and comes running (literally). I am also very glad that at that moment, the phone rings.

Garbage Man: “Hey, good morning, sunshine! We missed you outside!”

Junior Building Manager: “She’s on the phone. Here is the key. You can bring it back when you are done.” *Crosses his arms*

Garbage Man: *Less cheerful* “Eh, sure. Anyway, she always helps us.”

Junior Building Manager: “And she’s busy. It’s not her job. It is yours.”

The way he states it shuts up the garbage man. He takes out the trash and returns with the key. A day later, the building manager joins me and the junior building manager for coffee.

Building Manager: “Oh, we got a complaint from [Garbage Company]. One of the garbage men complained that the ‘young man next to the receptionist’ was very rude and hostile to him. I told the manager I would look into it and then asked if he had already looked into the harassment complaint I filed two weeks ago. He didn’t really give me a clear answer and said he would get back to me.”

Two weeks later, there was a new garbage man. He asked me the procedures, as he was new. He was a lovely man, always polite. The previous garbage man was appointed to a different route. Can’t say I miss him.

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Make It Work If You’re Not A Jerk

, , | Right | August 16, 2021

I am eighteen and have been working at my city’s bicycle parking for two years, so I know the rules and have learned to speak to people. After 10:00 pm on special nights (park concerts), we tend to have just one person present with the cash in the safe, because hardly anyone parks their bike after that time. Also, we tag bicycles with a piece of numbered paper and give one part to the owner to identify the bike when leaving.

Tonight, just after my coworker leaves, a man comes in and walks to his bike to unlock it. He then approaches me.

Customer: *Aggressively* “I lost my number, but I am still taking my bike with me.”

I am immediately done with his hostile attitude, and I feel brave. Yes, I saw him take the key from his pocket, but if he had simply come to me first, I would have walked with him and he’d have been on his way.

Me: “Sir, without your number, you cannot prove this is your bike.”

Customer: “But I just unlocked it.”

Me: “I could not see that to verify. You could have just come in and selected a bike that someone forgot to lock. If you knew your number was missing, why did you not come to me?”

Customer: “Listen here, you little piece of s***. I am leaving with my bike and you will let me.”

Me: “Then I will call for those cops and they will detain you to figure it out.”

There are cops present for the concert, having a good vantage point over the park from there.

Customer: “I want to talk to your boss.”

My boss is the city council member for traffic. He’s a good boss and I am allowed to call him, even this late. I call him and tell him what’s up, and then I hand over the phone.

He begins a tirade, insulting me, including a threat to knock me out. Then, my boss replies and the guy quickly goes quiet. He hands me back the phone, parks the bike, locks it, and hands me the key.

Me: “Boss, what did you tell him?”

Boss: “That if he uttered one more word, I would get him picked up for threatening a government employee.”

Me: “But I work through a temp agency.”

Boss: “You know that, and I know that, but he doesn’t.”

I wished him a good night and enjoyed the music from a chair in front of my little office. At 1:00 am, just before l locked up, the man returned. His bike was the last one left, as my boss instructed and I would have told him, had I had the chance. I handed him his key and wished him a good night with a smile.

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Even Retirees Are Challenged By Work-From-Home

, , , , | Related | August 16, 2021

My dad may be retired, but he’s still involved in quite a few things — including local politics — that require meetings. Because of the health crisis, he has a lot of video meetings at home. My dad does not like headphones, and he likes the volume loud, so we can hear quite a bit of what is being said. On top of that, my dad’s voice is quite loud and carries quite far. It wasn’t too bad when it was still a bit cold and he had the door of his office closed, but now we’re in a heatwave and we can follow everything that is being said if we don’t put something on ourselves.

This particular evening, my dad has another video meeting and he has his door open. I have a little bit of a headache and my mum is sorting some paperwork, so neither of us are wearing headphones with sound on them. It gets on our nerves quite badly.

At one point, I enter my mum’s room and we start being a bit silly together. It doesn’t get that loud, but it’s a bit louder than our normal voices, and with my mum’s door now being open, it carries into my dad’s room. After a bit, we hear my dad come out of his room. 

Dad: “I can’t work like this!”

My mum said, “Sorry,” but both of us were trying our very best to hold in the laughter that we silently uttered when he’d closed the door. We got what we wanted, even if we didn’t expect it to happen.

My mum confessed she was being a bit loud on purpose, hoping he’d be disturbed and close his door, though this is definitely the first time that actually worked.

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Her Shift Is At Whine O’Clock

, , , , | Working | August 5, 2021

I work at a thrift store, and when I mean “work,” it actually functions more as a daycare for me, as I was deemed incapacitated due to a burnout that also gave me anxiety issues that manifest around stressful environments. Most of my coworkers are in similar situations, but we have a handful of higher-ups — the owners and store manager — who do this as their real job and are, let’s say, in a better financial place than the rest.

Our store manager has a granddaughter who is about fifteen who sometimes ”helps out” in the back. Today she’s working at my table and is instructed to polish all incoming silverware.

For the first hour, she pouts like a toddler and whines non-stop about how this ruins her nail polish and that her back hurts. All of us work standing up, but her grandmother rushes to get her a chair to sit on.

She also drops this gem.

Manager’s Granddaughter: “Eww, I can’t believe you people do this for a living! When I grow up, I will never do such low work. It’s pathetic!”

This makes me swallow the urge to punch this kid in the face, but she’s the manager’s granddaughter, so I gotta play nice!

She continues to whine and mope, and every ten minutes she treats us with a nagging:

Manager’s Granddaughter: “When is my break? Is it break time yet? Grandmah-ah-ah! Can I go on break yet?”

Come three o’clock, she jumps up and barks to our manager:

Manager’s Granddaughter: “Grandma. Come. Now. Coffee break.”

And grandmother replies:

Manager: ”Yes, my darling dear.”

The rest of the afternoon, she sits and does nothing except pout, sigh, and play on her phone. Her grandmother says nothing about it.

I happen to strike up a conversation with a coworker, and the topic goes to how my bicycle is currently falling apart and I’m contemplating whether to get a new one or repair this one. Little Miss Entitled cuts in.

Manager’s Granddaughter: “My daddy is getting me a new scooter when I turn sixteen! He let me pick it out already. It’s gonna be a pink one. It will match so cute with this helmet I saw, with sparkles on it!” 

But of course, dear, I think. I give her a “That’s nice” with a forced smile and turn back to my work, trying to ignore the continuous sighs and ughs coming from her side of the table. Yes, poor thing, it’s so hard doing absolutely nothing while I’m drowning in work!

Come the end of the day, her grandmother beams proudly.

Manager: “What a darling, isn’t she? Taking her time off her busy studying schedule to help us out! She’s going to university soon, you know. She’s so smart!”

I swear my tongue will cut in half from all the biting I did on it at this point.

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You Break It, You Bought It

, , , , , | Right | August 3, 2021

I get a call and go through the opening spiel.

Me: “How can I assist you?

Caller: “Yes, I am calling about my client, [Mr. Client].”

He gives information and I pull up the file. This caller is authorized to call upon his behalf. I do the security checks and ask what I can do for him. 

Caller: “[Mr. Client] received a bill and I want to appeal it.”

Me: “Let me look into it. It seems he got a bill for destroying [equipment]. Are you appealing because he didn’t break it?”

Caller: “No, he did break it.”

Me: “Then why do you wish to appeal?”

Caller: “My client has no money, so he can’t pay this.”

Me: “Oh, do you wish to make a payment arrangement?”

Caller: “No, I want you to cancel the bill.”

Me: “May I ask why you want this bill cancelled?”

Caller: *Sighs* “Because he can’t pay it. I just told you!”

Me: “Yes, I heard that, but he destroyed expensive equipment. If he breaks something, we will send a bill for damages.”

Caller: “Yeah, but you are a multi-million-company, so you can easily pay that.”

Me: “Sir, I scrolled through your client’s file. Are you aware that this is the fifth time it happened? And that we have been sending bills for this ever since the third time it happened?”

Caller: “Yeah, so? You can pay it. My client has no money for it.”

Me: “Then I am afraid you and your client will have to look for a solution. And maybe you can advise your client to be more careful, because each time he breaks this, he will get a bill.”

Caller: “I object to that! I will file a complaint with the Ombudsman! And I will get a lawyer!”

Me: “That’s your choice, sir, as well as your right. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Caller: “I hope you are getting paid good money for this, you b****. How do you even sleep at night?!” *Hangs up*

My manager laughed loudly when he listened to this call.

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