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Working At A Bar Isn’t As Glamorous As It Sounds

, , , , , , | Working | September 10, 2021

Many years ago, I worked in a trendy bar in the centre of Glasgow. The team was very cliquey and would often stop to chat between themselves and customers, even when we were really busy. It got to the point where I was the only person trusted to leave the bar area, do a job, and come back without wasting time. That’s how it fell to me to take all of the bins out, collect glasses, and replenish the stock.

One day, I was putting some rubbish bags in our holding area and noticed one of our metal buckets — used for serving multiple bottles of beer — balanced precariously on top of a number of bags. It started to tip toward me, but I caught it before it fell, which turned out to be extremely lucky because it was filled with vomit.

I took it inside and tipped the contents down the toilet before disposing of the bucket and starting to make enquiries about who was responsible for this. Eventually, someone directed me toward [Coworker] and we had this little chat.

Me: “Hey, [Coworker]. Did you have to clean up someone’s puke earlier?”

Coworker: “Oh, hey, yeah. It was disgusting, but y’know, I was the only guy on duty and it was in the gents, so needs must.”

Me: “Yeah, that makes sense, but why did you use one of our good beer buckets?”

Coworker: “[Manager] told me to do it.”

Me: “Ah, right. Did [Manager] tell you not to empty it and to stack it on top of a pile of bin bags?”

Coworker: “Erm, no. I just didn’t think.”

Me: “Okay, you’re a lucky guy, then.”

Coworker: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Well, when I took the bins out, the bucket nearly fell on me. Let me tell you, if it had, then you and I would be taking this outside right now. As I said, you’re a lucky man.”

[Coworker] stared at me until he realised I wasn’t joking and then pretty much ran off. I’m not a particularly violent or scary guy, but I think my anger was quite apparent. Whatever. It never happened again.

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Unlike Windows, This Never Gets Old

, , , , , , , | Right | September 10, 2021

My auntie’s friend struggles with using computers and technology. She tries her best but finds it very difficult, so she will sometimes ask me for help. Sometimes her requests are quite simple, but she tries her best so I don’t mind helping. She has recently been upgraded to Windows 10 which reminded her of this story that took place in the early 2000s.

She had bought her teenage son a new computer for his birthday but was having difficulty setting it up. She managed to get it plugged in but struggled with creating accounts and setting up a new user.

So, she decided to ring the computer company for help. During the call, the advisor asked her what Windows she had. Wondering why that had anything to do with the computer, she happily replied, “Double glazing.” 

She told me the tech guy explained what “Windows” meant in terms of technology. But nonetheless, they had a good laugh, and she now has a funny story to tell.

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Literally Nobody Is Having A Good Time

, , , , , , | Working | September 9, 2021

I work in public healthcare admin in the next town over from mine. There’s no direct bus, so I take a train. I get to and from the bus station by local bus, and things are generally quite efficient.

I was doing this job when the health crisis hit, so getting a new job is virtually impossible, and by the time of this story, I’ve been commuting for almost a year under the conditions. I’m exhausted, I’m paid very little compared to the people who get to stay at home, and I am a month away from a broken ankle due to the stress of it all. At the other end, when traveling from work to the station, I get off work at the same time as the kids get out of school, and with social distancing on buses, I often sit there for half an hour until there’s a bus with enough space on it. Fair enough.

The station is full of posters that demand to know if your journey is necessary, even though a sizeable proportion of the population has no choice but to go out to work to keep the other part able to stay home.

It’s the typical British winter — raining cats and dogs — so this isn’t a good day at all.

I see my bus disgorge the passengers, and when they’re clear of the bus, I try to get on. The driver looks daggers at me.

Driver: “Wait there.”

I step back and he shuts the doors. Five minutes later, he opens them again after rearranging his cash boxes. Most drivers allow passengers on with app tickets, which we simply show to the driver, so it’s not necessarily an accounting problem. But fair do’s, this guy prefers to set up the next trip without passengers on board. Makes sense.

When I go to get back on after he opens the doors, I apologise for my hastiness. He snaps back at me.

Driver: “I choose when people get on, not you.”

I didn’t argue, and I understand other people are grumpy, too, but in seven years in a business customer service role, I’ve learned never to take that grumpiness out on actual customers. I wasn’t even upset about not being allowed to get on at first; it was about being shamed for doing so later on. It just made things a whole lot worse unnecessarily.

Thankfully, I haven’t encountered that guy since. I didn’t complain, since I was just exhausted and I’d already registered my general discontent with the company earlier and gotten a sufficiently reasonable explanation for the problem, but someone else must have helped out there.

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This Employee Needs To Be Recalled

, , , , , | Working | September 9, 2021

With not a great deal of money, but a noticeably empty flat, I “umm” and “ahh” for weeks before picking out a really nice, if a bit pricey, lamp. Annoyingly, I find out it is recalled the following week; worse is that they cannot replace it with anything similar, only refund it.

I go down to the store and signs are everywhere — on the doors, hanging from signs, etc. It must be a pretty important recall for this bad publicity.

I get to the customer service counter.

Me: “I need to return this lamp; it’s part of the product recall.”

Worker: “Product recall? Well, do you have a receipt?”

Me: “No, I didn’t think I needed one.”

Worker: “No receipt, no refund.”

I know this isn’t true; recalls never normally need it. Then, it occurs to me.

Me: “Your signs clearly state otherwise.”

Worker: “Sorry, there is nothing I can do.”

Me: “You’re telling me you’re refusing to refund a faulty product, despite every sign in the place saying otherwise?”

Worker: *Scoffs* “What signs?”

Me: “Like the two behind you.”

I gesture to two large signs with a picture of the lamp in red letters instructing customers to return them. At the bottom, the signs say, “No receipt needed. Please bring the card used to purchase.”

Worker: “Hmm. I will have to call a manager.”

He disappeared for a long time before a manager returns and processes the refund immediately, apologising. I wonder how the worker was so unaware of everything around him.

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This Doctor Knows All About “Cold”

, , , , | Healthy | September 9, 2021

I’m twenty-three and I’m working in the UK for a year. English is not my first language, but I know enough to work in an English-speaking company so it’s not too bad.

One day, while I’m at work, I start feeling bad — fever, sore throat, coughing, etc. Since I am only here for a year, I did not think about registering with a general doctor, so I was not sure where to go to get seen by a doctor. My manager told me about “walk-in centers” where you can go without appointments. 

I check out of work, take a taxi, and manage to get to one of these centers. I wait for some time and then get to see a doctor.

I’m kind of shy and new situations can stress me a lot. I’ve never been to a doctor on my own at this point since my parents always had to drive me to the doctor’s office, and I had the same doctor from the time I was born.

I enter the doctor’s room. He barely looks at me and does not invite me to take a seat or anything.

Doctor: “What’s your problem?”

Me: “I feel like I have a fever and I feel pain in my throat.”

Doctor: “Okay, well, that’s a cold. What do you want me to do?”

I’m kind of shocked. In similar cases, my doctor always did the basic tests, like looking at my throat, measuring my temperature, making me breathe, etc. I try to insist.

Me: “Well, I just wanted to be sure it was just a cold.”

Doctor: “What could it be other than a cold?”

I’m thinking, “You’re the doctor; you’re the one supposed to know.” I try proposing an illness without knowing the English name — “angine” in French, which in English is called “Tonsillitis”.

Me: “Well, I really don’t know… It could be an angina? I’m sorry, I’m not sure of the English name.”

Doctor: “Nope, angina is a cardiac illness.”

Me: “Well, like I said, I’m not sure of what it’s called in English.”

He does not try to understand or do any tests. He just asks for my age and then says, in a very condescending way:

Doctor: “Well, you’re twenty-three years old and you never dealt with a cold before? Just get some paracetamol for three weeks. Goodbye.”

I went out of the center, and I almost cried out of stress and anger. I went home and called my parents, who helped me think and told me to go to a pharmacy to get a syrup for my throat. The syrup helped a lot — the weekend, too — and I recovered quickly.

I know this was a free consultation, I know doctors don’t have a lot of time allowed per patient, and I know the NHS has budget issues. But I was sick, living on my own in a foreign country, and just wanted to get something for the pain and to be reassured that it was just a cold.

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