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A Painful Sign That Management Doesn’t Care

, , , , , | Working | December 8, 2022

I once worked at a veterinarian’s office as a receptionist. One of the receptionist’s duties was to drag a large hanging sandwich-style sign across the building, across the parking lot, and up a hill and position it by the road. When we closed, we were to drag it back down the hill, across the parking lot, and back into the building, where we were supposed to clean it and put it away for the night.

Though made of plastic, this sign weighed quite a bit, and though it had wheels on one side, there was no way to really steady it when going uphill, especially when the wind kicked up.

I worked there for a very brief period one winter. My first write-up was for not putting the sign out by the road on my first morning opening. I hadn’t been told it existed, so I hadn’t known to do it. My write-up was excused.

I soon learned that every worker tried their best to not take the sign outside in the winter because its incredibly clumsy design would cause it to flap around wildly in the wind. When the hillside was icy, the sign would often get away from you and go tearing off toward a customer’s parked car. Several times, I slipped, fell, and skidded across the parking lot trying to wrassle the sign down the hill at night.

The entire reception staff had bruises and cuts from the sign. One person had a large slash across her neck from where she got tangled in the sign as they fell down the hill. I sliced open a finger on the sharp edge of the sign. I watched a coworker slide across the parking lot like a curling stone on one knee as the sign sailed gracefully into a parked and very much still-occupied car. Mercifully, the damages to the customer’s car were negligible.

Just to add some gravy to this insult entree, we also had to endure complaints about the sign. Sometimes the wind would blow it into the road, so we’d have to dodge heavy traffic to retrieve it. We also had city representatives come in frequently to tell us that signs like that were against city code. We’d keep it inside for a few days, and then the order would come down that we needed to drag it back out again.

Every other week, we had a team meeting, and at every meeting, the entire staff lobbied against the clinic owner and his wife to have the sign removed. They refused because it was “important to bring in new business.”

The twist, you see, is that we were already overbooked two months out, and aside from three blocks of time set aside for emergencies, we couldn’t accommodate new business. Two local practices had just closed and we had absorbed their clients, and one of our three doctors had left the practice. The remaining doctors were incredibly overwhelmed, working open to close seven days a week. They were very much proponents of removing the sign, but even they got shut down. The owners insisted that we needed more business, and they even threatened to get divorced if we didn’t increase profit margins.

None of us actually cared if they got divorced, so the sign would go out during daylight hours only if we felt like it. The owner was too busy to notice, and his wife was busy watching the contractors work on their home renovation.

But, they did occasionally notice. Eventually, it got to the point where they threatened to short the entire staff’s pay for each day the sign was not out or for each day the sign was left out overnight.

I quit for other reasons before this policy went into effect, but thanks to social media, I saw that the entire reception staff and tech team (both teams in charge of the stupid sign) quit within two months of my departure.

Was it all due to the sign? No, of course not. But if you work in a place that is that indifferent to the wellness of their human staff because the owner’s wife wants more money… perhaps moving along is in your best interests.

Makes You Want To Screen Loudly

, , , , , , | Right | December 8, 2022

Caller: “I bought one of them TVs off of you because my old one broke. Now I’m turning it on and I get nothing on the screen! I’m missing my football!”

Me: “Sorry to hear that, sir. What brand is your TV?”

Caller: “It says, ‘HP.'”

Me: “Sir, that means Hewlett Packard. That’s a computer monitor, not a TV.”

Caller: “But it’s a screen, ain’t it?”

Me: “Yes, but it’s not a TV. It’s just designed for computers.”

Caller: “I don’t get it! It’s a screen! I should be able to turn it on and see the football!”

Me: “Not all screens are TVs, sir. Some are designed to work with computers only. I’m sorry, but I can’t help you get a TV signal on the monitor all by itself.”

Caller: “But… it’s… a screen!”

Me: “Sir, there are lots of devices with screens that are not TVs.”

Caller: “Then what’s the point of making them if they’re not TVs? All screens should be TVs!”

Me: “Sorry, I can’t help you, sir.”

Caller: “D*** it! I’m missing my football! Wait, I got one of them… them sat-nav thingies! Can that play TV?”

Me: “It’s probably not a design feature to allow drivers to watch TV while driving, sir.”

Caller: “But… it’s a screen!”

He did not get to watch his football.

A Bag By Any Other Name…

, , , , , | Working | December 8, 2022

I used a fast food bakery’s app to order soup for my mother and a salad for me. I walked into the bakery, saw a bag with my name, checked the list on the bag, and took it to my mother’s house. We sat down and opened the bag and pulled out a mac and cheese and two steak sandwiches.

After checking the tag again and seeing my name and my order, I decided I should call and let them know what happened as there would be an upset customer who paid more than I did and got less food.

Employee: “Hello, [Bakery], how may I help you?”

Me: “Hi. This is [My Name]. I wanted to let you know that I got the wrong order. It had my name and my order listed on it, but it’s two steak sandwiches and a mac and cheese.”

Employee: “You must have picked up the wrong bag.”

Me: “No, it has my name on it and my order.”

Employee: “I have been filling orders for six years. I know what I’m doing. You picked up the wrong bag.”

Doubting myself, I check the paper again.

Me: “No, I’m looking at the paper and it has my name and my order on it, but it was someone else’s order.”

Employee: “You must have picked up the wrong bag.”

Me: “I picked up the bag with my name on it.”

Employee: *Sighing* “Well, I suppose I’m going to get another call.”

Me: “Yes, I just wanted to let you know.”

You Snooze, You… Don’t Lose… Apparently

, , , , , , , | Working | December 8, 2022

I used to work as a team lead for [Major Retail Chain]. This is the story of how I lost my job.

One day, we’re getting the regular shipments in. Today, we have several shipments coming in at once. All of the trucks are on time except for one. I wait on the loading dock, pacing back and forth, waiting for the last truck. 

There’s still a lot to do, so I also lead the unloading of the other trucks.

Eventually, around 12:00 — four hours after their intended arrival time — we’re out of trucks to unload, and I head out to the parking lot to take a look around.

I find the missing truck sitting in our parking lot. The driver is slumped over his dashboard. His windows are open, and I can hear him snoring.

I knock on the door and wake him up. Groggily, he drives his truck into the bay, and we unload it. Then, he leaves. I expect this to be the last I hear of it.

Around 3:00, the driver of the truck shows up again. He’s roaring angry and insists that I sign some paperwork for him. The paperwork claims that he was in on time. I refuse to sign it because it’s incorrect.

I start getting ready to go home; I’m scheduled from 8:00 to 4:00 today. My manager intervenes and insists that I sign the driver’s papers before I can go home.

Me: “The time of arrival listed on the papers is wrong, the man did not show up on time, and I had to wake him before he was able to unload.”

My manager didn’t care.

Under my manager’s supervision, I signed the papers. I attempted to change the time listed, but my manager yelled at me again — she was watching over my shoulder — and insisted I sign them as they were.

About a week later, the driver sued [Major Retail Chain] for “making him late” for his later deliveries that day. Because of the paperwork that I was forced to sign, he won in court, despite my testimony that my manager forced me to sign incorrect paperwork. (My manager testified that I signed it on my own, that backstabber.)

I was fired as a result of these events. Fortunately, [Major Retail Chain #2] was hiring.

The lesson I learned from these events has stuck with me forever. Record everything. Leave a paper trail of everything. Cover. Your. Butt.

Though it took me some time to work my way back up my ranks, I am now managing the store that hired me. My old manager, last I heard, had also gotten promoted to manage the entire district at the old place I worked. And she’s still up to the same old backstabbing, last I heard.

And People Said That Trick Was Useless…

, , , , | Related | December 8, 2022

My family has owned American Hairless Terriers (AHTs) — rat terriers who’ve been bred to be hairless — for decades. This is a story about one of the first we owned.

Sofie was a typical AHT. She was about mid-shin in height, and she had the run of our fenced-in yard in Maryland. One trick I taught her was “Belly Rub”. I’d shout that at her, and she’d flop on her back. I would then rub her exposed belly, much to her delight.

We never let our dogs roam free; any time we took them for walks, we would have them in harnesses and on leashes. One time, as I was about to take Sofie for a walk around the neighborhood, I stopped to talk to a neighbor. Sofie was impatient, pulling hard on the leash.

Then, suddenly, she slipped out of the harness and started running down the (thankfully not busy) street as fast as she could. (This breed is amazingly fast.)

I started chasing her but wasn’t gaining on her because I was wearing sandals. I then had an idea.

Me: “Sofie! Belly rub!”

Sofie quickly ran onto someone’s lawn and then flopped onto her back to await her belly rub. Her quick escape was foiled by conditioned training.