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When It Rains Coffee, It Pours Coffee

, , , , , , | Working | April 14, 2022

At Christmas 2020, one of our sons gifted my wife and me a monthly subscription from a fancy coffee roaster business near his home in Toronto. According to the card he gave us at Christmas, it was a six-month subscription for two bags of their specialty roasted coffees per month, with the first delivery in time for Christmas.

Like many businesses in 2020, this coffee roaster had to pivot to incorporate and/or ramp up more online sales for the Christmas season. Based on what happened to us, it seems they had some challenges dealing with the volume of orders for these subscriptions.

The first hint that this was not going as planned was a delay in the first delivery. Christmas came and went, but there was no initial delivery until New Year’s Eve day when a box showed up on our doorstep with not two but twelve bags of coffee: two different flavours, with six bags of each.

We contacted our son to let him know the gift had finally arrived, but not exactly as he had described it. He apologized, and we all wrote it off as an error when placing the order on their webpage. No worries, we said, we got what was intended, just all at once.

Fast forward to the third week of January. Another box from the coffee roaster company showed up, but there were only two bags of coffee this time. There was one of each flavour — the same two flavours as had arrived in the initial box of twelve. We mentioned the shipment to our son and he said he’d look into his emails about the order and sort out what had happened.

February rolled around, and… another box arrived. We got the same two bags of the same flavour coffee. We found that two bags a month matched our caffeine consumption, so we had only made a modest dent in the first box of twelve. As you might imagine, our pantry was slowly being overrun with coffee. Again, our son was surprised that they were still shipping more bags, but at that point, he basically told us not to worry about it and that if they billed him for the extra bags, he would take care of it.

So… lather, rinse, and repeat through March, April, May, and June. Each month, a nice little box of the same two flavours of coffee arrived. By now, the “bottomless coffee subscription” was a running joke within the family as we waited to see how long it would take for them to figure out the mistake, stop sending the coffee, and contact my son. But they never did.

We certainly enjoyed the coffee, but we confessed that we were getting tired of the same flavours and resorted to giving some bags to other family members as well as our son when he came by for a visit. At that point, we figured the original monthly subscription was done and that was it. But no.

On a Sunday in the middle of July, I was out packing the car with my wife in preparation for our departure on a two-week vacation. A small car rolled up to the curb in front of our house and a young woman on delivery stepped out and walked up the driveway with — you guessed it — another box of the coffees we had been enjoying for the last six-plus months. I thanked her, and we wished each other a nice day and tossed the box in the house before locking up and leaving.

To our muted relief, that was the final delivery. A total of twenty-six bags of coffee for the price of twelve was a good deal for us, and our son never heard a peep from the coffee roasters.

I hope that for Christmas 2021, they improved their internal controls and had better-trained staff picking orders!

Can’t Say You Weren’t Warned

, , , , , , | Working | March 18, 2022

We have a new hire at the start of our season. He’s one of the worst people I’ve ever worked with. He doesn’t have an entirely awful personality — we get on well and can hold a decent conversation — but his work ethic is poor. He’s always deflecting or making excuses for mistakes, and he doesn’t appear to have much in the way of common sense.

One day, I’m working near him. He has our cordless reciprocating saw out to cut through some tree roots in the way of the trench he’s working on.

He’s in a narrow stance, holding the trigger grip with both hands, manually making a sawing motion while holding the trigger down, and cutting toward himself.

Realizing that this is a worker’s comp claim waiting to happen, I go over and give him a quick refresher. I give him a better stance and grip, showing him to hold it steady and to not cut toward himself. 

Me: “…and always try to cut parallel, never toward yourself. That way, if it kicks or binds, it’s less likely to come up and get you.”

New Hire: “Cool, thanks!”

He immediately went back to exactly how he was doing it before.

You’re Hot, Then You’re Cold, You’re Yes, Then You’re No

, , , , , , | Working | March 2, 2022

I’m a woman with a genetic disorder where I don’t have a sense of the temperature around me. I can tell if I’m freezing to death or if something is too hot to the touch, but in a controlled building environment, I will never be uncomfortable as someone around me changes the temperature to something most find suitable. Until now.

In the bullpen office where I started a few months ago, I was fine all summer with the air system humming along and keeping the place consistent. Now, as autumn hits, the computer has a hard time reconciling the outside and inside temperature — so I’m told. I really can’t tell the difference between 20° or 30°.

The problem lies in that the temperature control is behind my desk, and I have to move if someone else wants to access it.

At first, a few weeks ago, I would get a visit every few hours from different coworkers throughout the day.

Coworker #1: “Aren’t you cold?”

I’ve learned that the answer is always, “Yes.”

Me: “Oh, yes, of course.”

I grab my trusty sweater and pull it on. It became clear early in my life that people feel uncomfortable around you if you’re not experiencing the same things they are. But that question wasn’t about me directly; it was a hint about turning up the heat, which she had to say in so many words.

A few hours later:

Coworker #2: “Aren’t you hot?”

Me: “Oh, yes. For sure.”

I pull my sweater off, but they look at me expectantly.

Me: “Do… you want the heat turned down?”

Coworker #2: “Only if you’re too hot.”

Me: “Umm… okay.”

I turn the heat down.

It’s taken weeks but now, when someone — anyone — starts looking in my direction, I leap up and look at the temperature. If it’s near 20°, I turn it up; if it’s near 25°, I turn it down.

I can’t wait for winter to arrive and the building’s temperature to even out, but jeez, if I only had a five-degree comfort zone, I’m pretty sure I’d hate my life.

This Receptionist’s Days Are Numbered

, , , , , , , | Working | February 8, 2022

I work in the immigration industry. My team is in charge of processing work permit applications for a corporation that employs foreigners working in a very specialized field.

Because we process a high volume of this type of application, management has assigned the receptionist to help us out with document retrieval from the representative portal. All notification emails regarding status updates are automatically forwarded to the front desk email. She has to search for the application number on the portal, download the correspondence, and email it to the person in charge of the file.

From time to time, there will be a lot (100 to 200 or more) of document retrieval requests to complete. I was told to help her out if that was the case. In order for me to determine whether I need to step in, I have to ask her how many notifications are there. The following exchange happens practically every time I ask her.

Me: “Hey! How many portal emails have you got?”

Receptionist: “A lot!”

Me: “Oh, fun! How many exactly?”

Receptionist: “I just said a lot.”

Me: “Yes, I know you said that, but can you provide the number?”

Receptionist: “About a hundred.”

Me: “Okay, thanks.”

When this exchange occurs, I have to call her supervisor (which I shouldn’t) to get that information.

Me: “Hi, [Supervisor]. I’m so sorry to bother you, but would you be able to tell me how many portal notifications you guys have?”

Supervisor: “Yes, of course! We currently have 158 to clear up. [Receptionist] is at the front desk working on them. You can always call and ask her.”

Me: *Sigh* “Yes, I did. I just got off the phone with her, but she was hesitant to give me the exact number. This has been happening frequently. Just to make sure that I am not going against any protocol, I am allowed to ask for the numbers, right?”

Supervisor: “Yes, that is correct! You are only asking for the number; you are not breaking any rules here. If that was the case, you would have heard something from me.”

Me: “Thank you for confirming.”

Supervisor: “I need to have a talk with her because you are not the only one that she has been giving issues to.”

Me: “Oh, okay.”

About a week after that, I heard that management had a meeting with her about her overall performance. Apparently, some of the senior caseworkers said that she needs to learn how to speak to clients properly. She lacks pleasantry when it comes to customer service.

Sounds Like Sunshine, On A Cloudy Day

, , , , , | Right | November 10, 2021

Me: “You have reached [Hotel]. My name is [My Name]; how can I help you?”

Caller: “Hi, I’m trying to get in touch with my girl. Can you put me through?”

Me: “I’m sorry, I will need to know the guest’s name in order to forward your call.”

Caller: “I just told you, my girl.”

Me: “I apologize again but I will need to know your girl’s name if you would like to reach her room.”

Caller: “Her? Girl? What?… I’m trying to reach Mike Earl. Michael Earl!”