Retail Staff Could Write Books On It

, , , , , | Right | June 3, 2021

I work in a small independent bookshop. Due to the current health crisis, it is recommended that any merchandise touched by customers should be quarantined for seventy-two hours before being offered back for sale. We have set a couple of large baskets in the middle of the shop, and there are hand sanitisers in several places along with large signs asking people to sanitise their hands and to only touch books they want to buy, and if they decide not to buy a book they have touched, to place it in the basket so we can quarantine it.

A customer comes in and browses for a minute or two, then pulls a book, looks at it, and puts it back on the shelf. I go over and take the book and drop it in the basket.

Me: “Hi, sir, if you touch a book can you please put it in the basket?”

Customer: “What? Why?”

Me: “If any books are touched, we need to quarantine them for three days. It’s fine if you want to look at books; just please put them in the basket when you’re done instead of back on the shelf.”

Customer: “I used sanitiser.”

Me: “I’m sure you did, but I’m afraid we still need to quarantine anything that’s been touched.”

He looks into the basket, which has about a dozen books in it.

Customer: “So what if I want one of those books?”

Me: “Well, if there’s one on the shelf, you’re welcome to buy it.”

Customer: “What if it’s the only one?”

Me: “It will need to be quarantined.”

Customer: “So I can’t buy it?”

Me: “No, I’m sorry, but any books in the basket are not for sale.”

Customer: “Well, that’s just stupid.”

Me: “Sorry, sir, it’s the rules.”

Customer: “What about this, then?”

He walks up to a shelf, rubs his hands over his face, and then rubs his hands all over all the books.

Customer: “Are you gonna quarantine all these, then?”

Me: “Yes. Yes, I am. Thanks for that.”

I started piling the books in the basket. He just stared at me and then left quietly.

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And We Thought Ostriches Had Tiny Brains

, , , , | Right | June 2, 2021

My partner and I are on a safari ride at a local zoo, which takes the visitors past various animals. There is a family on board the safari truck who are being very loud and obnoxious — swearing, shouting at the animals, etc.

We see a couple of ostriches in the distance. The tour guide points them out over the intercom. The mother of the family either doesn’t hear or doesn’t care.

Mother: *Loudly* “Oh, look, kids! What’s that? I’m gonna call it an emu! HI, EMU!”

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Stubbornness Will Be Your Downfall

, , , , , , | Working | June 1, 2021

I’ve trained one of my coworkers to use some software. It’s not exactly hard, but you need to do things in precise order or the software won’t work quite right.

Me: “Hey, [Coworker], just noticed a few blips in the data you sent over.”

Coworker: *Abruptly* “Well, I did it right!”

Me: “I’m not saying it’s wrong; it just maybe needs looking at, tweaking maybe. Let me show you.”

She sighs dramatically. I try to show her on her screen but she does all she can to not look. It’s a bit pathetic and more like a child being told off than a forty-something woman.

Me: “Instead of copying the data from there, if you copy from here, it will be formatted properly.”

Coworker: “Yeah, yeah.”

I leave it there. I don’t need her rudeness. She has had as much training as me; I shouldn’t even need to train her. The next week, more data, more issues.

Me: “Could you please resend that data? It’s not formatted properly.”

Coworker: “No. If you want it a certain way, then you do it.”

Me: “Okay, fine. Don’t say I haven’t made every effort.”

She mutters something under her breath. I ignore it and manipulate the data by hand. It’s not a big deal but annoying and time-consuming. I jot down everything she said and the times and dates for everything, because I know what is happening next.

The following week, I am on holiday. The reason I deal with the data after [Coworker] is that it is needed by a senior manager. I tidy it up more as a favour to him as we get on well, and that I know he is stupid busy.

I come back in from holiday to find several emails from my boss.

Boss: “[My Name], what is this mess of data? I know you help me out, but half of it isn’t even spelt correctly.”

Boss: “Sorry! Just saw that you’re on holiday and this didn’t come from you. I will address this with the right person.”

The third and fourth emails are to my coworker but I get copied.

Boss: “[Coworker], this data is not up to the standard that is expected; there are a number of basic mistakes that are not acceptable. Please redo this immediately and send this to me by the end of the day.”

The next day:

Boss: “I didn’t receive the data yesterday, despite making it clear that it was needed. Please send this ASAP or I will have to discuss this with your boss.”

[Coworker] took a few days off due to “stress” following this. Of course, she blamed me for it all. No one believed her, as I’ve trained many others without issue, and the fact that I documented everything just was the icing on the cake.

She continued to blame me and refused to be trained by me. As I was the trainer for many of the tasks, this just meant she couldn’t learn anything new. In one case, I had to train someone solely to train her. As all pay rises are directly linked to performance and the number of tasks able to be completed, she was just hurting herself.

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I’ll Keep Doodling; You Keep Projecting

, , , , , , | Working | June 1, 2021

I like to draw. I’m not very good but I enjoy doodling, mostly landscapes. If the weather is miserable, sometimes I take my break at my desk and draw.

Out of the blue, my boss and another manager approach my desk. They don’t look happy.

Boss: “Can we see your book?”

Me: “Err, no. It’s my property.”

Other Manager: *Sternly* “Come with us.”

They march me into an office. My boss motions for me to sit down. The other manager seems to be trying to be intimidating, but it’s not really working.

Boss: “A coworker has made a complaint about your drawing; they say you have been making fun of them.”

Other Manager: “That counts as bullying and we won’t stand for it.”

Me: “I just doodle; I don’t draw people.”

Boss: “Okay, but we cannot prove that without your book. We can’t force you to show it, but we might need to investigate, and that might mean suspension.”

Me: “Fine, whatever. Here, take the book.”

They search the book and find nothing, of course.

Other Manager: “He might have ripped out the page.”

Me: “Count them if you like; there should be 300 pages.”

They look at me, I guess to see if I’m being serious.

Me: “Go on. I haven’t taken any pages out; you can check.”

Other Manager: “I need to take this.”

Me: “No, that’s my personal property. If you want to count the pages, you can, but you do it in front of me.”

Boss: “I told you [My Name] wouldn’t do it. You can count the pages if you like but I’m getting a coffee. [My Name], you want one?”

I drink a coffee with my boss while the other manager sits and counts the pages. He finally finishes.

Other Manager: “Okay, 300. He was telling the truth.”

Me: “Look, I don’t know who complained, but it could have gotten me suspended. What are you going to do to them?”

Other Manager: “I guess I can have a chat with them.”

Boss: “No, you wanted to interrogate [My Name], so we do the same to them. After all, [My Name] might want to make a complaint, too.”

Other Manager: “Yeah, I suppose you’re right. We can do it now.”

I had a good idea who complained anyway, but it was confirmed when they took the office busybody away into a room. I couldn’t hear what was said, but it looked like a loud conversation.

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Check Out This Sweet Parenting!

, , , , , , , | Related | June 1, 2021

My mum was a firm believer in treats, but only in the right places; she didn’t want me to associate treats like sweets or chocolates with the wrong places, in case I started demanding them.

When I was two, my aunt and my cousin visited us from Australia for a couple of weeks. While they were staying, my aunt would do the shopping to give Mum a rest, and she would take my cousin and me with her.

My cousin is about five years older than me and apparently quite demanding. He would demand a chocolate bar from the display at the till, and if he didn’t get one, he would throw a tantrum. My aunt would give in and get him one, and so I wasn’t left out, I got one as well.

This was the first shopping trip Mum and I went on after our family returned to Australia. All was fine until we got to the checkout and I saw the display of chocolate bars. I pointed at them and asked for one.

Mum: “Not now. You can have one later after tea.”

I threw a tantrum. It involved me screaming, sobbing, and generally being a very annoying and very loud little snot. The queue was quite long, and it took a while for us to get served. In all that time, there was no let-up in screaming.

Mum felt like giving in. Even with the ear-splitting shrieks I was emitting, she could still hear a lot of tuts and “what a bad mother” comments from other shoppers to each other in the queue. She did come close to it, thinking it would be so easy to do so, but she told herself that if she gave in now, it would be harder next time.

In the end, she had to drag me kicking and screaming out the door. That wasn’t a turn of phrase, as by that time I had thrown myself onto the ground, having apparently decided to move onto the next level of toddler tantrum.

I don’t know how she managed it, but Mum did manage to get me to stop without giving in. I’m guessing I just screamed myself to exhaustion and gave up.

One week later, we were back in the shop at the checkout. I pointed to the chocolate bars and asked. Mum said, “No,” and just as my lips started to quiver and it looked like I was about to have another temper tantrum:

Mum: *Sternly* “Don’t even think about it.” 

It worked, as I didn’t have that chocolate bar tantrum. Not then, not ever. 

A year or so later, we were at the checkout. My new little sister was in her buggy, Mum was packing the bags, and I was looking at the chocolate bars. I’d started to recognise words, so I was telling Mum what all the various chocolate bars are. The customer behind us spoke up.

Customer: “You’re going to have trouble getting him away from them.”

Mum: “We’ll see.” *Finishing up and turning to me* “Come on, time to go”

I left the chocolates and walked out the shop with Mum and Sis, leaving a very surprised customer behind. 

Fast forward about eighteen or so years. I’m visiting my parents during one of my university holidays. Mum has just finished telling me about all of the above, as I was too little at the time to remember it. 

Me: “So that’s why!” 

Mum: “What do you mean?” 

Me: “All these years, I’ve always felt deep down that it was wrong to buy chocolate bars from the checkout display. I never knew why; I just felt it was wrong. Even when I was working at a supermarket, it just seemed wrong. Now I know why; it’s because of that tantrum!” 

Mum: “Well, the lesson certainly stuck!”

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