Don’t Be A Boob; Be Sweet, Instead

, , , , , | Working | April 16, 2021

This happened over ten years ago. I worked in a call centre. We had a coworker whose son used to be the Operations Manager at our call centre. Why is he no longer the Ops Manager, and in fact no longer employed there at all?

[Son] was not liked at all. He was smug, superior, and dismissive of everyone at or below his level in the call centre. His mother used the fact that her son was the Ops Manager to bully people. If you scored well when you were having a call monitored, you could earn a bonus. She scared all the supervisors into always giving her the bonus, even on days when she didn’t really deserve it.

One day, [Son] needed to speak to one of our supervisors. He called out to her, “[Supervisor #1].” She ignored him. He called out again, “[SUPERVISOR #1].” She continued to ignore him.

[Supervisor #1] had an ample chest, and when she crossed her arms, they tended to rest on top of her chest, so seeing her arms crossed, [Son] took his pencil and turned it around with the eraser end out and poked [Supervisor #1] in the side of her chest just under her arms. “[SUPERVISOR #1]!” 

Up until that point, the company had never made us watch anti-workplace harassment videos, which included a segment on how to recognize sexual harassment and what to do if there’s sexual harassment in your workplace. Because of what [Son] did to [Supervisor #1], we all then had to spend one day watching that series of videos and signing forms stating we understood what we just watched and agreeing to abide by the anti-harassment rules. [Son] was, of course, fired for sexual harassment.

Since her son was fired, [Coworker #1] had far less power, but she was still d***ed intimidating and some supervisors remained afraid of her and gave her high marks anyway, whether she earned them or not. She was bitter about [Son] being fired like that and made it clear all the time.

One day in my phone cubicle section, where a group of people on the phones would be managed under one supervisor, I got to sit with a really lovely lady we’ll call [Coworker #2]. She was funny, intelligent, and really nice. She had brought a bag of hard candies to work and went up and down our cubicle section, laying a piece of sanitary, individually-wrapped candy at every station so that every person would start their shift with a little bit of happiness. She made sure to give a piece of candy to our supervisor, [Supervisor #2], too. She then went to her locker to go put the candy away and get ready for work.

It was just me and [Supervisor #2] when [Coworker #1] walked up, and I saw she would be in our section. I secretly groaned. [Coworker #1] picked up the piece of candy at her desk and her eyes grew wide. She then suddenly barked out, “Who did this?!” waving the candy menacingly. I gave her an “I don’t know” face and looked away. There was no one else at our section yet and [Coworker #2] was still back at her locker, so [Coworker #1] marched up to [Supervisor #2].

Coworker #1: “Who did this?!”

Supervisor #2: “Who did what, [Coworker #1]?”

Coworker #1: “Who put candy at my desk?!”

Supervisor #2: “I don’t know, [Coworker #1]. I wasn’t here when it happened.”

He knew better than to say anything or [Coworker #1] would go on a rampage after [Coworker #2].

Me: “There’s a piece of candy at every desk. I don’t think someone was trying to bother you.”

[Coworker #1] narrowed her eyes at me and then ignored me.

Coworker #1: *To [Supervisor #2]* “This had better not happen again! Do you hear me?!”

She then threw the candy away in the trashcan under [Supervisor #2]’s desk and went off to the bathroom, out of sight. In that time, [Coworker #2] came back to the section and my face was nearly splitting in half from trying to hide my laughter. She asked what was so funny and I filled her in entirely on [Coworker #1]’s reaction. [Coworker #2] got this evil, Grinch-like smile on her face, took the piece of candy she meant to keep for herself, placed it on [Coworker #1]’s desk where the original piece had been placed, and waited, schooling her expression to be everyday-bored like most of us had while working there.

More people had begun to show up in our section, so it wasn’t really obvious who put the candy back on [Coworker #1]’s desk. When [Coworker #1] came back, her eyes popped out of her head so widely I’m surprised they didn’t push her glasses off of her face. She picked up the new candy piece, SHAKING WITH RAGE. She marched right up to [Supervisor #2] and began barking at him louder while waving the candy right in his face.

Coworker #1: “You know what this is, [Supervisor #2]? Do you know. What. This. Is?!”

Supervisor #2: “No, [Coworker #1]. What is it?”

Coworker #1: “This!” *Shakes it more violently* “This is sexual harassment!

[Coworker #2] and I were about to DIE but we kept our faces straight as best we could. [Coworker #1] had so focused her anger on [Supervisor #2] that she didn’t even notice us anyway.

Supervisor #2: “No, [Coworker #1], this is not sexual harassment; it’s a piece of candy.”

Coworker #1: “No! It is sexual harassment!”

[Supervisor #2] had had enough by this point.

Supervisor #2: “You either need to sit down, [Coworker #1], or you can go home and we will mark you as a no-show, but this stops now.”

She finally shut up, sat down, and got ready to work, but she grumbled the whole rest of the day.

[Coworker #2] and I had the best break time ever that day, secretly snickering about all that.

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Fresh Tomatoes Are Really Exciting

, , , , , , , | Healthy | April 8, 2021

Many years ago, I was shopping in a Canadian grocery store. As I wandered down the veg aisle, a lady in front of me started making weird, guttural noises. Then, her knees went all funny and I leapt in, caught her, and helped her to a bench.

Her face was red and she was sweating and, having just finished my first ever first aid course, I was sure she was having a seizure, so I checked her pulse — rapid — and prepared to call her an ambulance. But as I went to rush off, she grabbed my sleeve and told me not to.

I tried to explain that she was having a seizure and that she needed help.

I. Was. Wrong.

And this woman was so embarrassed that she accidentally told me the truth.

A friend of hers had given her something called a “love egg” and told her that it would give her a mild “happy” while she did the groceries. Instead, she went full O-face in the salad aisle. That explained the noises she was trying to suppress and that was why her knees had failed.

I was barely twenty at the time and had no idea what to do so I got her a glass of water and legged it. I hope that she learned from this experience, but I’m also kind of jealous; I mean, I have never once, in all my years, enjoyed a shopping trip that much.

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Burst Pipes And Expectations

, , , , , | Right | April 1, 2021

I work for a computer and telecommunications company in downtown Toronto as a records manager. Although we do have electronic records, we keep paper copies for legal purposes.

A pipe bursts on the twelfth floor of the building and causes a considerable amount of water damage to offices on the floors below. None of the paper records are damaged, but it will take over five months before repairs to the damaged offices are completed. During that time, my coworkers and I are displaced and relocated to our branch office in the west end of the city.

Only two days after the “flood,” I receive this phone call.

Me: “[My Name], how can I help you?”

Caller: “Thank God you answered your phone! I left you a voicemail yesterday and you didn’t respond!”

Me: “I’m sorry about that. I only just got settled in at my new desk, and I didn’t have a phone until late afternoon.”

Caller: “I need to borrow the [Vendor] file.”

Me: “Okay, I can send you an electronic copy.”

Caller: “No, I don’t want an electronic copy. I need to see the paper copy.”

Me: “Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the paper copy. I’m working out of another office at the moment.”

Caller: “Why? I thought your desk was on the tenth floor?”

Me: “It was, but I’ve been displaced because of the water pipe bursting.”

Caller: “The water pipe?! I’m on the eighteenth floor and I haven’t moved!”

Me: “Yes, but I’m on the tenth floor and our office was badly damaged.”

Caller: “I need that file; can you get it for me?”

Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t.”

Caller: “Why not?”

Me: “Well, because I’ll be working out of this office for the next few months until the damage is repaired. I can send you an electronic copy.”

Caller: “No! I absolutely must look at the paper copy. This is very urgent! Can’t you come over and get it for me?”

Me: “I don’t think I can do that.”

Caller: “Why not?”

Me: “First of all, it would take me more than an hour to get there from where I am now. I would need to take a bus, a streetcar, and the subway. Plus, the tenth floor is closed off and under construction. It would be a health and safety risk if I tried to get in.”

Caller: “I’m on the eighteenth floor; the water pipe didn’t cause any damage up here!”

Me: “Yes, well, since water flows down and not upward, I’m sure it didn’t. But it has caused damage to my office and I don’t have access to the paper copy. I can send you an electronic one if you’d like.”

Caller: “Oh, just forget it! I’ll take a look at the paper copy when you come back!”

I hope her request wasn’t too urgent. We were displaced for over a year and a half!

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So Simple A Newborn Could Do It

, , , , , , | Working | March 4, 2021

My wife and I are having our first child soon so we are trying to get the essentials bought as soon as possible. The most important, or at least the most expensive, is the stroller.

We go shopping at a baby store that sells cribs, car seats, and strollers. Once we get there, the salesman immediately comes over to greet us. He says a warm hello to my wife and her mother and then takes them off to see the strollers, leaving me to trail behind them.

The salesman is very enthusiastic and shows us a few strollers in our price range.

Me: “This one seems to be the best option, as far as I can tell. How does it fold up?”

The salesman reaches down and folds it up in one quick fluid motion.

Salesman: “Ta-da!”

Me: “Okay, but how exactly did you do that? It was too quick for me to follow.”

Salesman: *Turns to my wife* “He’s not so on the ball is he?”

Then, he turns back to me and speaks slowly, as if to a child.

Salesman: “You… hold… here… and… pull… up… on… the… handles… here.”

Then, he gave me a smug look and went back to talking to my wife. I didn’t bother asking any more questions about the stroller and went home steamed about the whole encounter. We did end up buying it, though.

Once the stroller got delivered, wouldn’t you know it, none of us could figure out half the things it did. Once the car seat was attached to the stroller, no one could figure out how to get it off. After an hour and several instructional videos online, we discovered that the detach buttons were actually invisible and hidden under a layer of padding. 

If only there had been someone whose job it was to demonstrate how it worked.

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She May Call You Honey But She Isn’t Sweet

, , , , | Right | January 27, 2021

I am training two new cashiers. An elderly customer decides to cash out at the register we are training on. We respect the rules of social distancing, but when we have three people on one register, the best we can do is to at least be a metre (about three feet) apart so we’re all watching and learning from each other. I’m in the middle, watching [Trainee #1] scan their items, and [Trainee #2], on my left, is watching from a decent distance.

While the customer’s items are being scanned and I’m watching, the customer is staring at [Trainee #2] and me.

Customer: “Neither of you is social distancing! [Trainee #2] needs to move back away from you!”

He has nowhere to go, so he just takes a step back and she shakes her head in disbelief.

Customer: “Oh, honey, that’s not far enough. Do I need to call the manager to teach you how to social distance?”

Trainee #2: “The manager has gone home for the night.”

Customer: “I don’t like your attitude.”

I step in and explain.

Me: “All three of us are training and he wasn’t giving any attitude; he just has nowhere else to step back toward.”

Customer: *Fake tone* “Oh, I’m not trying to argue with you, honey.”

She continues on spewing her nonsense about social distancing and getting management involved and then starts yelling at me loud enough for the whole store to hear.

Customer: “STEP BACK AWAY FROM HER!”

She gestures to [Trainee #1].

Customer: “MOVE BACK! MOVE BACK! MOVE BACK!”

Customers and coworkers are all staring in our direction. I’m shaking my head at her and she’s appalled that I’m taking her tantrum as a joke.

While this is going on, I notice that three of my other coworkers are gathered by the exit doors, talking to each other, definitely not two metres apart, and I bring it up to the customer.

Me: “So, if you’re going to tell us to social distance, then does that mean you’re going to tell them to do so, as well?”

Customer: “I’m only looking at you, honey.”

Me: “Well, you can’t be selective on who to tell to social distance.”

She had no reply. She paid for her groceries and left.

In the end, [Trainee #2] and I came to the conclusion that she was a passive racist because he and I were the only tanned ones there and we were the only ones she was giving trouble to.

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