The Baby You Need, Not The Baby You Deserve

, , , | Right | November 28, 2017

(I work at a toy store that sells three-foot-tall Batman figures. I am reorganizing the aisles and as I finish with one, I move on to the next. There is a little girl, probably two years old, standing there holding one of the aforementioned Batman figures — which is barely bigger than she is — in a hug. She notices me coming around the corner and says this:)

Little Girl: “This is my baby!”

Me: “Batman’s your baby?”

Little Girl: “Yes!”

(Easily one of the cutest moments I’ve ever seen in that store.)

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Let’s Try A New “Approach”

, , , , | Working | November 28, 2017

(We have a new manager transferred in. His old store is more than twice the size of our store and much busier than ours. He starts working during the first day of our in-house inventory, so we have our whole staff in for a meeting.)

Manager: “My first goal here is to make our customer service polls the highest in the company! In my old store, we had a ‘ten foot rule.’ If a customer is within ten feet of you, you must approach them and ask them how they are doing or if they need any help. From now on, this is the rule of this store! Approach every customer, whether you are here on your normal shift or helping with inventory.”

(For the first couple hours we are open, he coaches us on this ten foot rule, scolding us for not doing it even when customers have just spoken to different employees. His rationale is that maybe the customer didn’t want to talk to one employee, but would feel more comfortable talking to a different one. He has us re-approach customers who stepped out of the ten foot radius and came back. He has us approach customers who are actively being helped by another employee. Soon, every employee is dropping counting stock dozens of times to greet each customer, and the new manager seems happy. The next morning though, he is upset at the staff meeting.)

Manager: “I’m really disappointed in you guys. I did informal interviews yesterday on customers leaving the stores, and I got a ton of complaints about the same thing! Customers felt hassled by the sales team. Here, let me read you this comment card: “Every few seconds an employee was talking to me. I couldn’t shop because I couldn’t think.” Plus we are way behind on our counts for inventory. Now, I have no idea why this happened, but I’m willing to take suggestions.”

Me: “Well, it’s probably because you have a 600-square-foot store with twelve employees working who are all talking to every customer multiple times.”

(The other employees agree with me.)

Manager: “Are you saying this was my fault? Okay, I’ll tell you what. We will do things your way today and see how well it works, but when this fails, there will be consequences!”

(We did so. Sales staff helped customers, inventory staff worked on inventory and directing questions appropriately, and we scored a near perfect on our customer polls that day. The manager retransferred soon afterward.)

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This Stuff Sways In The Family

, , , , | Related | November 28, 2017

(My entire family has managed to come down with something all at the same time. With Mom, it manifests as a mild head cold, but my Dad and I are both dizzy on top of that. Several years ago, I had 18 months of near-constant vertigo, and got used to working around it. This dizziness is a lot milder, so it slows me down but isn’t severe enough to stop me from doing little things, like getting a drink or taking care of my pets. This happens while I’m making my wobbly way to the sofa. Dad is sitting in the room, watching me.)

Me: “We’re quite a pair today, aren’t we?”

Dad: “What’s that they say? ‘The family that sways together, stays together.’?”

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Wish You Could Throw Customer Service Out The Window

, , , , , , | Right | November 28, 2017

(I work front desk at a hotel and I get a call from an in-house guest.)

Customer: “Yeah, I’m in 417 and all my light bulbs are burnt out. I have no light in here and I’ve got work to do. Can you send someone up here to fix them, please?”

Me: “Absolutely, ma’am. I’ll be right up.”

(I highly doubt that all of her bulbs are burnt out, so I grab only two spare lights and head upstairs to see what the problem is. I get to her room and knock.)

Me: “Hi! So, which lights are not working?”

Customer: “None of them! They won’t turn on; I’ve tried everything.”

(I walk over to the first lamp, turn the switch, and the light comes on.)

Customer: “Oh…”

(I go to the other lamps on either side of the bed, turn the switches on each of them, and they both turn on. I repeat this with each light in the room, turning knobs and flipping switches; they all work.)

Customer: “Well, I feel stupid now.”

(In my mind I’m thinking, “Well, that’s because you ARE stupid,” but of course, I don’t actually say that.)

Me: “Oh, no worries; those lights can be pretty tricky sometimes. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Customer: “Yes, actually, can you close that window for me? I had trouble getting it to open all the way, and now I can’t close it.”

(I go to close it and notice right away that the window is open ABOVE the little plastic piece that normally keeps the window from opening more than seven inches.)

Me: “Well, this is odd.”

Customer: “Yeah, I had to force it open; I hope I didn’t break it.”

Me: “Yeah, I’m going to go grab a screwdriver to try to fix this. I’ll be back in a moment, okay?”

Customer: “Sure, no problem. I really hope I didn’t break it.”

(I go put away the two unused light bulbs, grab a screwdriver, and head back upstairs. As soon as I try to fix it, I see exactly what the problem is.)

Me: “Well, it looks like someone forced this window to open above the plastic guard. See that plastic bit that the window was resting on? That is supposed to stop the window from opening any further. Somebody forced the window up past it, and now the mechanism is broken. See here?” *I point to a large, cracked piece of plastic on the window itself* “It’s cracked and broken, and the little mechanism inside is stuck. I won’t be able to close it. I think you did, in fact, break it when you forced it open, so most likely you will be billed for the damage.”

Customer: “Oh, but I never forced anything! It was already like that when I checked in; the window was already open!”

Me: “But you just told me you hoped you didn’t break it because—”

Customer: “No, I never said I had trouble opening the window, or that I forced it. I never told you those things earlier. So… Can I get a new room?”

Me: *sigh* “Yes, ma’am, I will get you a new room.”

(We only had one other room of that kind available, but the customer didn’t like it because there was no desk in it. She insisted on a room with a desk, so I ended up upgrading her and increased the price accordingly. She fought with the manager the next morning, and eventually my boss gave the upgrade for free and decided not to bill her for the damage. His logic was that the guest would be happy and come back. She ended up leaving a very negative and false review of our hotel, and she never came back. She was a one-shot guest who caused more trouble than she was worth.)

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Frustration Plus Anxiety Is Adding Fire To The Fryer

, , , , , , | Working | November 28, 2017

(I work at a fast food restaurant. I typically work weekends and one or two school nights a week. One night, I am working with a manager who is notorious for being difficult to work with. The manager will have good days in which he is very understanding and relaxed, even during rushes, but other days, he will scream at all the workers throughout the shift. I have generalized anxiety disorder, and on the good days, he is very understanding. When the manager is in a bad mood on a day my anxiety is already strong, it always makes for a rough shift because the yelling often makes it worse. Due to being a minor and under curfew, I cannot work past 10:00 pm on school nights, but this manager never honors this. I usually work the register because the restaurant believes I have good customer service skills, and I am most comfortable in that position. However, on this night, I am on the fry station, which is a station that I do not like working, and I tend to struggle with.)

Manager: “Gang! We have ten more guests coming up front. Keep moving! [My Name], drop more nuggets and fries!”

Me: “Yes, sir.”

(A few minutes pass and we run out of fries. I immediately drop more. I am waiting on fries when the nugget timer beeps. I go over to get the nuggets while the fries are cooking.)

Manager: “[My Name]! Where the h*** are the fries? I need two mediums!”

Me: “They’re cooking. They should be out in about 30 seconds.”

Manager: “Well, I don’t have 30 seconds, sweetie. You need to be on top of this more.”

Me: *starting to feel overwhelmed, and feeling my anxiety kick in* “Sorry.”

Manager: “Don’t f***** apologize! Just do your job! Your fry timer is beeping, and I need more nuggets down because somebody ordered two large packs. Quit standing around and do your job!”

(By this time the general manager comes out of the office from taking a phone call, and I breathe a sigh of relief because she is very understanding with my anxiety. She then takes orders in the drive-through. Meanwhile, the manager keeps shouting at the kitchen staff and me for the next ten minutes. I am very close to crying at this point.)

Manager: *to me in a disgusted tone* “What is that?”

Me: “Sorry. Did I do something wrong?”

Manager: “Yes! You did! Do I really have to tell you?”

(I am completely baffled, as I have plenty of food out and cooking to keep up with the rush, and I am caught up on all my orders.)

Me: “What did I do?”

Manager: “Why the f*** do you have so many spicy nuggets available. I want to see 12 maximum; otherwise we waste food.”

(Just then, we get an order for two six-piece spicy nuggets in the drive-thru. I have only eleven available. I alert my general manager, and she tells me not to stress about it.)

Manager: “Are you kidding me, [My Name]? Drop more nuggets and fries right now! I don’t know what you are doing right now, but if you think you are doing your job, you are not doing a good job. If [District Manager] were here right now, I would try and have you fired because you are not doing your job!”

Me: *almost in tears* “Yes, sir.”

Manager: “Tell me: what is it I have to do in order to get you to work? You are holding everybody up because you do not have the necessary food available when we need it! Why can’t you do your job?”

(At this point, the general manager has had a break in cars and hears the manager screaming at me.)

General Manager: “[Coworker], take orders for me, please. I’m going to help the fry station.”

Manager: “[My Name], how many times do I have to yell at you before you will do your job?”

Me: *in tears* “[Manager], please. I have anxiety—”

Manager:I know! Why are you using your anxiety as an excuse?”

General Manager: “[Manager], I’ll handle this.”

Manager: “No way! We are so far behind, and [My Name] is not doing her job and keeps crying about me yelling at her!”

General Manager: “Then don’t yell at her! [My Name] is one of our best workers, and the way you have been yelling at our employees is intense enough to make them cry, whether or not they have anxiety.” *to me* “Are you okay?”

(Before I can answer, the manager screams.)

Manager: “This is ridiculous! Are you allowing [My Name] to have a temper tantrum?”

General Manager: “No. She has anxiety, and is probably feeling a little overwhelmed.”

Manager: “Well, if she has anxiety, then why did she take the job? I think she should be fired right now!”

General Manager: “Options for people her age are very limited, and many of them need money to pay for schooling. Now, [Manager], please, go take a break. I’ve got this rush under control.”

Manager: “Fine! But, [My Name], stop your f****** crying. You deserve getting yelled at for being lazy and not doing your job!”

Me: *extremely close to walking out due to frustration, still crying* “Yes, sir.”

General Manager: *as soon as the manager leaves* “Hey, sweetie, can you get me two medium fries, please?”

(I have enough for one, but I need more and the baskets I dropped still have another minute to go.)

Me: “Fries will be up in a minute. I’m sorry.”

General Manager: “Oh, honey, it’s okay. I know that it has been very busy, and you are doing the best that you can. Are you okay?”

Me: “I’m just very overwhelmed, and my anxiety is bad right now.”

General Manager: “Then go take a breather. I’ll prepare your usual meal. You’re doing great.”

Me: “Thanks so much!”

(After a ten-minute breather and meal break, I begin to feel a little better. I return to the fry station and the rush has died down. However, my manager returns.)

Manager: “[My Name]! Where were you?”

Me: “[General Manager] sent me on break.”

Manager: “I’ve had enough of your attitude! I am about to report you to [District Manager], and I will make sure he fires you in a heartbeat. Now, go take the front register. You are closing the dining room tonight, because you obviously can’t do the fry station.”

(If I were to close the front, I would have to stay until 11:00 pm, which would violate curfew. I try to explain this to my manager, but he is stubborn.)

Manager: “Don’t you sass me, hon! Are you trying to get fired? Because I will call

[District Manager] right now!”

General Manager: “Actually, [Manager], I have the authority to fire employees, including you. I could fire [My Name], but there is no reason because she is a great worker.”

Manager: “No, she isn’t! She was falling behind on the fry station!”

General Manager: “Because she needs more practice on the fry station, but your yelling does not help. I heard you yelling profanities at her, and that is never okay. Yelling at people, particularly those who get stressed easily, will often make them frustrated. Now [Regular Customer who is good friends with the district manager] came in during that rush and witnessed your behavior towards [My Name] and all the employees. He told me he would contact [District Manager] tonight. Furthermore, I will also report your behavior to him tonight.”

(The general manager’s shift ended before mine did, but on her way out, she gave me a hug and told me to hang in there. She, along with the regular customer, reported my manager’s behavior to the district manager. A couple weeks later, my manager was fired because he started cursing out the district manager.)

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