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The Daddy Of All Phrasing

, , , , | Learning | September 8, 2017

(In year-seven Spanish, our teacher is going through the translations of family members.)

Teacher:Padre means father, dad, or daddy.”

Student: *out loud* “The Internet has ruined the word ‘daddy’.”

Drop Bad Management Or Drop Calls

, , , , | Working | September 7, 2017

I work in a call centre that runs two main services, and our clients pay us to take calls from their customers on their behalf. Service A is very generic, used by most of our clients, and everyone is trained on it by default. Service B is more specialised, and each client has it tailored to their individual business needs, so any agents dealing with service B need in-depth training for the individual client before taking calls for them.

Usually all but two colleagues leave at 6 pm, then the last people leave at 8 pm when the call centre closes. On this Monday afternoon, however, and for the whole week, everyone else was scheduled to leave by 5:30, leaving one colleague dealing with two busy channels, by herself, for two and a half hours. Around mid-afternoon, she started feeling a bit unwell, took some over-the-counter drugs, and hoped for the best. Towards five, she was feeling very unwell, and asked if anyone else would be willing to cover her shift, but as they would be effectively doing 11.5 to 12 hours in a day, no one was willing. She let a manager know, but they, too, were unable to find anyone who could cover the evening shift, and she was told she would just have to deal with it.

By 6:15, she was shaking and holding her head in pain. She put a customer on hold and started crying as she stared at the screen, trembling like crazy, so we decided to call a team leader over, as we weren’t sure if she was able to do so herself. We couldn’t hear much of what she said to the team leader, as we were a bit far away and she was struggling to get words out, but we gathered that her head felt like it was on fire, and she could no longer read what was on the screen. The TL started to panic, as our colleague clearly wasn’t able to continue, all the other service B lines had closed before 6 pm, and there wasn’t anyone else in the call centre who was trained for it. Since this line was for our biggest client, we could not just close it. In the end, the TL found someone who had about half a day’s training on service B for this client, instead of the usual two-week training required, (and no training whatsoever for the other clients our colleague was covering). They were asked to do as much as they could, and arrange callbacks for the rest of the team the next day. Our ill coworker went home and did not return until Wednesday.

Despite this situation, and the importance of this client, when the new rota was released later that week, management refused to go back to the old system of having two people present until 7, and kept arranging for everyone, save one, to leave by 5:30, or 6 pm about twice a week. They also refused to “waste resources” training up late-night back-ups because of the greater call volumes for service A. This pattern continued for another six weeks, with one more person getting ill on the day they were due to do a late shift, and another person quitting because of it. After six weeks, the big client decided to terminate the service B contract with us, due to the number of complaints they had regarding excessive wait times and being an inability to get through to anyone after 6 pm. Most of the team lost their jobs, but the manager responsible for setting rotas and monitoring incoming call wait times and dropped calls did not.

Don’t Let The Doors Hit You On Your Way Out

, , , | Right | September 7, 2017

(A customer comes to the counter.)

Customer: “Excuse me, do you know who wrote Light My Fire?”

Me: “Yeah, The Doors.”

Customer: “HA! Everyone thinks that, but The Doors covered it. I need to know who did it originally.”

Me: “Um, I’m pretty sure it was The Doors.”

(He’s so sure I doubt myself, so I go and get “The Best of The Doors” from the rack and check the writing credits.)

Me: “Um, yeah, there we go, that’s The Doors on the writing credit.”

(It turned out with some quizzing he thought the comedy version by British Novelty act Mike Flowers Pops, released in 1996, was the original.)

Dumping Everything On You At The Funeral

, , , | Friendly | September 6, 2017

Friend: “I’ve got something really important to tell you.”

Me: “Oh, okay.”

Friend: *deep breath* “All that chocolate you gave me…”

Me: “From last year?”

Friend: “I ate it all before coming over. And it feels like it’s pulling on my intestines.”

Me: “…”

Friend: “I think I need the toilet, REALLY BAD.”

Me: “Well, go?”

(He told me this, at full volume, at my brother’s funeral. Everyone heard. He was in the toilet so long, we were billed for extending the service.)

When Life Gives You Lemons, Don’t Hire Them

, , , , | Working | September 6, 2017

(I’m a supervisor in a store and we hire a new employee. I agree to train her on the tills as I often operate them myself, have previously trained other new staff successfully, and will be working the same shift as the new employee most weeks. I am also shift manager the day she comes in for her first training session, and have been given instructions to arrange a second and maybe even third training shift the following week, as the cashier she is replacing leaves the week after. After two hours on the till with her, she’s struggling, but no more than some of the others.)

Me: “You did really well today, so I just need to know when you can come in next week for your next training shift.”

Employee: “I can’t. I’m on holiday next week. I was under the impression that I started the week after.”

Me: “We really need you to do more training, since you’re expected to be able to work independently by your first official shift.”

Employee: “Well, I can’t. I’m sure I’ll be fine. I have to go now; my flight is this evening, so I’ll see you when I get back.”

(I call the managers who, as suspected, were unaware that she wasn’t available to train. But there’s nothing we can do. A week later I’m shift manager for her first full shift. An hour after start…)

Employee: “My back hurts, I need to go home.”

(I have to let her. The next day she comes in again when my manager is in. I spend another hour going through everything with her. Ten minutes after I leave to get in with a job, the bell rings for a supervisor to the till.)

Employee: “How do I ring up lemons?”

Me: “Well, the easiest way is if you press this button that I showed you earlier, type in ‘l-e’ for lemons, and select it from there, but there’s also this list printed by the till with the common produce codes, see?

Employee: “Okay, got it.”

(Five minutes later, the bell rings again.)

Employee: “How do I ring up limes?”

Me: “Same way as the lemons.”

Employee: “And how do I do that?”

(I showed her again. Five minutes later, the bell rang and she needed help with something else I had already shown her. Then ten minutes passed before she needed help with the same thing again. This continued the rest of the shift and for my next three shifts; I really struggled to keep my patience. The managers, another supervisor, and another cashier all tried explaining things to her as well. At the end of the week, I left for a booked week off, and when I got back, she wasn’t there anymore.)