Mismanaged Your Time

, , , , , | Working | September 13, 2017

(One summer, I do an internship at a popular independent radio station. We have gotten an interview with the lead singer of a reasonably popular British rock band. However, the band’s manager is a bit of a pain to deal with, and has a tonne of demands in regards to content that he is always changing. The DJ tells me this is the norm in this business, but this guy is just obnoxious. Each time he calls, he acts like he is doing us the world’s biggest favour. Not long before the interview, he calls the umpteenth time.)

Band Manager: “Now, listen here. [Singer] has a VERY busy day today, and you cannot keep him on the line a minute longer than necessary. Got it?”

Me: “Oh, yes, there’s nothing to worry about. [DJ] should be done in under 15 minutes.”

Band Manager: “There are to be no personal question about him or the band; is that clear?! He isn’t here to answer silly questions”

Me: “Don’t worry; we have a bunch of questions about the new album coming out, and that’s all we’re concerned with.”

Band Manager: “Make sure you do.”

(With that, he just hangs up. The interview goes very well, and the singer seems pleased with the questions the DJ asks about the new album.)

DJ: “Thanks so much for joining us, [Singer]; I hear today’s a busy one for you.”

Singer: “Oh, not really. I’ve been just chilling and playing [Video Game] today. I’ll probably stroll down to [Bakery] in a bit. Easy day.” *chuckles*

(The DJ and I were both fighting hard not laugh at this point, since this guy basically revealed his manager was lying. We could imagine the embarrassed look on the manager’s face when he said that. That was the only time we had this band on our show; we think the manager was too embarrassed after that one.)

If The Shoe Fits… BUY IT!

, , , | Right | September 12, 2017

(Our store works on the basis that you order the item and it is fetched from the warehouse. One customer has come several times and asked to try on work shoes from us. The third time, he brings his wife. This happens ten minutes before closing.)

Supervisor: “I’m sorry, but this is the third time this week you’ve come and tried these shoes, I’m going to have to ask you to make a decision.”

Wife: “So, you are telling us to make a decision now?!”

Supervisor: “I’m sorry, but that is merchandise, and we need it to be in decent condition for the customer who buys them. Your husband has been here twice already, and my colleague says you’ve tried the same shoe each time. Furthermore, we’re due to close soon, and we need to make sure everyone has been served and their items picked by then.”

Wife: “Fine, if you’re going to be like that, you can take your shoes back!”

(The husband takes the shoes off, puts them in the box, and slams them on the counter, but she’s determined to have the last word.)

Wife: “You’ve lost a sale!”

Supervisor: “I don’t mind!”

Wrestling With This Sale

, , , , , , , | Right | September 12, 2017

(I am a 17-year-old student, working part-time in a major supermarket chain as a checkout operator. Because of UK law, persons under the age of 18 must have approval from someone over 18 before they can sell alcohol, and my store requires that person to physically come to the checkout and type in their ID and password to authorize the sale. In this case, the customer is clearly old enough, ripped, and covered in tattoos.)

Me: “I’m really sorry to keep you waiting, but I’m afraid I have to get approval from someone over 18 before I can sell you this.”

Customer: “I’m over 18. Consider it approved.”

Me: “I’m afraid that it has to come from someone that works here, but I’ll have my supervisor over here just as soon as I can.”

Customer: *getting increasingly irritated* “Just put it through. They don’t have to know about it.”

Me: “I can’t sell alcohol without a code. My machine completely locks up as soon as it picks up alcohol, and I need someone over 18 to physically come here and override the lock-out. I promise you, my supervisor will just be a moment.”

Customer: “That’s a dumb-a** policy. Just type in their code or something.”

Me: “I’m afraid that’s actually the law. Section 153 of the Licensing Act of 2003 states that a responsible person is committing an offence if he or she allows a person under the age of 18 to perform the sale or supply of alcohol, unless the sale is approved by that or another responsible person. I don’t know my supervisor’s code, and if I was able to just sell alcohol, then the store could easily lose their licence, and both myself and all the managers could be fined.”

(At this point the customer loses it. It’s been less than two minutes since this entire exchange began, but he leaps at me over my checkout, grabbing me by the collar of my shirt and pulling me towards him.)

Customer: *shouting* “Listen to me, you f****** b****. I didn’t come here looking for a f****** lecture. Do you know who I am?”

(He shakes me a bit and moves right in my face, our noses about a centimetre from touching. A lot of people are watching, but none step in. I’m actually a black belt in three different martial arts, and more than capable of defending myself, but given that I am relatively new to the job and can see my supervisor on his way, I decide not to lash out.)

Customer: *as loud as he can* “I’m the f****** national wrestling champion. I’ve got hundreds of trophies, dozens of medals. What the f*** have you got you whiny c***?

(My supervisor arrives, taps the guy on his shoulder, and nuts him straight in the face. He drops to the floor clutching a bleeding, and probably broken, nose. My supervisor flips him onto his front and pulls both his hands up behind his back, zip tying his hands together, and pulling his phone off his belt.)

Supervisor: “Hey, when you’ve got a minute, can you get the police down here? No rush.”

(I love my supervisor.)

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Laziness Is The Sister To Bickering

, , , , | Working | September 12, 2017

(I work in a small shoe shop with three different storeys to store the shoes. It is a very old building with a lot of stairs. A customer wants to try on a pair of shoes that is stored on the top floor. There are only two of us working.)

Me: *to my colleague* “You go get it; I went up last time.”

Colleague: “Why should I go and get it? You go.”

(We bicker for a moment, and I realise how this must look to the customer. I turn to address her.)

Me: “We’re sisters.”

Customer: “Ah, that makes sense.”

Unequal Ethos

, , , , | Working | September 12, 2017

(I have received a request for a pay rise from a relatively new employee. She cites the gender pay gap as a reason for her lower pay in comparison to a male employee [who, for whatever reason, decided to share his wages with her], and demands that we resolve it. I am also a woman.)

Me: “Your request has been denied for the time being. It has been decided that matters of pay inequality are not a contributing factor in your pay being unequal to [Male Employee].”

Employee: “And how did you come to that conclusion? It’s seems pretty obvious that the reason [Male Employee] is paid DOUBLE what I make is because I have a vagina.”

Me: “Firstly, he isn’t paid double; he is being paid 31% above what you earn. And to answer the question, he has worked here for nearly 20 years. The pay increase is proportional to that period of time. You, on the other hand, have only worked here for six weeks.”

Employee: *leaning in* “You don’t believe that do you? They’re pulling your leg.”

Me: “Who?”

Employee: “Your bosses.”

Me: “My bosses have nothing to do with this meeting, or the decision to deny your request.”

Employee: “Then you made the decision?”

Me: “Yes.”

Employee: “BUT YOU’RE A WOMAN, TOO! Do you want to them to treat us like dirt?”

Me: “[Employee], I have no doubt the gender gap exists elsewhere in the world; perhaps even in other areas of this company. In this department, however, it does not. I will not allow you to undermine 20 years of hard work and commitment just because [Male Employee] has a penis.”

Employee: “That’s UNREASONABLE! Are you accusing me of sexism? A woman?”

Me: “I’ll tell you what; let’s make a deal. Demonstrate that you have the same level of competence and commitment as [Male Employee], and I’ll reconsider.”

Employee: “Okay, what do I need to do?”

Me: “[Male Employee] has been working in [Department] long enough that he understands every aspect intimately, and covers for anyone who is on leave, with the exception of myself. I expect you to demonstrate this for one month. It is in no way a contractual obligation, but I expect you to work by his ethos. I will give you a month to get up to speed with the department. Then, the following month, you are expected to cover for anyone and everyone.”

Employee: “Well, there’s only five people in [department]; that doesn’t seem too hard. But that’s two months that I will be stuck at my current pay. I expect it to be backdated.”

Me: “Of course.”

(I wrote up a local agreement and we both signed it. She gave up one week into the two months. Literally during the process of learning what she needed to do, not actually covering, she gave up. I haven’t heard a peep about gender inequality since.)

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