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Things Are Not Looking Up For Him

, , , , , , | Working | November 28, 2022

I’m helping to restock our items when our manager notices that we are short in the upstairs department, so [Coworker] takes a cart, stacks it up, and heads to the elevator. Going up is no problem. Coming back down, though, he gets stuck, and the elevator won’t open the doors. We have to wait two hours for the elevator service company to come over to see if they can get him out.

The first thing they ask when they get there is:

Service Staff: “Did you try pressing the ‘Open Doors’ button?”

My coworker is silent for a bit before the doors finally slide open and he’s standing there with a bright red face.

A little later, more of our group have shown up for work, and those that missed it are being told of the epic rescue, while [Coworker] is silently restocking and trying to ignore us.

When the story finally gets to the end, where all he had to do was press the button, he finally speaks up.

Coworker: “Come on, guys! You make it sound like I’m stupid!”

He then went to put an item on a lower rack, slammed his head on the upper rack, and fell flat on his back. This did not help his argument.

This Transaction Has Hit The Rocks

, , , , , , , | Right | November 18, 2022

I work as a night supervisor at a grocery store. It’s early afternoon when I oversee one of our newer cashiers having issues with a customer.

The man is maybe in his forties and almost definitely not sober. He is buying a single can of beer, which runs just over two dollars. The cashier gives him his total, and he hands her two dollar bills.

Cashier: “Do you have any change? I need a little more.”

The man digs around in his pocket for a moment and pulls out a handful of rocks, putting them down on the counter. The cashier is startled, but the man just makes a noise and digs around in his pocket some more, pulling out… more rocks, and like four coins mixed in. He sets this down on the counter, too. The cashier hesitantly digs through the rocks for a quarter and hands the man his change and his beer. He swipes at the rocks, getting most of them, shoves them back in his pocket, and leaves, leaving a small pile of rocks behind.

A few hours later, a customer comes in and asks for a supervisor. The other supervisor on shift comes over, as I am about to cover the cashier’s break, although I can still hear the conversation.

Customer: “Yeah, there’s a man in your parking lot yelling some really obscene things. I wanted you to be aware. It’s your call whether you do something about it, though.”

My coworker goes outside to check and then comes in and reports a man standing on the sidewalk — public property. He is yelling mostly nonsense, maybe some rude things mixed in. My coworker phones the non-emergency police line and gives a basic description of the issue.

Eventually, they send someone down to shoo the man away, or he leaves on his own.

Later, around 7:30, a man comes in and asks to use the phone. It takes me a few minutes to recognize him as the man with the rocks from earlier. He is still definitely not sober, and it’s a bit difficult to understand him. He is also, inexplicably, carrying a stack of signs from a drugstore across the street — the long, thin, almost laminate things that get attached to the shelves.

I eventually get that he wants to call a detox/rehab service for some reason, but he doesn’t know their number or their name, just vaguely where they are. I pull out my phone to look it up as he keeps rambling.

Me: “Is it [Detox Company]? Does that sound familiar?”

Rock Man: “I don’t know. I guess.”

Me: “Okay, here’s the number. You can use the phone right here.”

I point to the customer service desk.

Rock Man: “Well, it won’t do any good to call them; I still got my cigarettes. They won’t let me in with my cigarettes. Can I call my mom, instead?”

Me: “Er, sure. You can use the phone and call whoever you need.”

I leave him to his calls and come back a few minutes later to check on him.

Rock Man: “My mom didn’t answer… Wait, what day is it?”

Me: “It’s Sunday, sir.”

Rock Man: “D***, she’s probably at church.”

It is almost 8:00 pm at this point.

Rock Man: “What time do you guys close?”

Me: “Not until 10:00.”

The man dithers around a bit more, mumbling.

Me: “Let me know if you need anything else, okay? Feel free to use the phone again.”

I leave and find my other supervisor.

Supervisor: “You know, that’s the guy who I had to call the police on earlier. He seemed much nicer inside.”

Me: “I didn’t know that, actually. I did, however, know that that’s the dude who paid us with rocks earlier, so that’s cool.”

The man left a few minutes later without further incident. Hopefully, he got where he needed to be.

I did find the stack of signs for the drugstore left outside on a patio table when I did my check at closing.

Power Sharing Is Not Caring

, , , , , , | Right | November 14, 2022

I am an IT field technician who works with a lot of large retail chains. I have a new hire shadowing me for a ticket where a multifunction printer has stopped faxing and is also displaying unusual firmware errors.

The wall jack for the phone line is physically inaccessible, so in order to rule out an issue with that or the phone cord, I grab a known-good identical model from nearby and switch it with the misbehaving printer.

Around this time, my trainee notices something unusual. The printer is near a wall display of electric faux fireplaces, and its power cable is plugged into the same power strip as FIVE of them. And the (formerly) known-good printer is now showing the exact same error as the broken one.

I wonder what might have been causing the error?

Extra Immersive Theater

, , , , , , , | Right | November 13, 2022

My first job while in high school was at a local theater. I have quite a few fond memories of that place, but this experience always has stuck with me.

This is a unique live theater that is called a “theater in the round”. You have to go up a flight of stairs before going into the theater and then go down into a sort of pit to view the stage in the middle with seats all around. It’s pretty dark, so there are ushers at each door with a flashlight if someone needs to exit the theater for whatever reason.

The managers are very firm about manning your door and get upset if you are absent for any amount of time. You also have big doors to get through the outside of the theater before the door to your seating area with another usher to help out latecomers.

In this instance, an older gentleman comes out of the theater with an urgent need for the bathroom. The bathrooms are right next to the openings to the doors, so while he’s doing his business, his usher is standing next to the door usher just chatting. This guy is taking quite a while, so a manager swoops in to tell off the usher for not manning their door. When it’s explained that they are waiting on a patron in the bathrooms, the manager grumbles and says they’d better not be much longer before heading off.

Fast forward a bit, and it’s almost time for intermission. I’m setting up concessions on the other side of the lobby with a clear view of the two ushers standing at the door, who are now looking worried about the patron still in the bathroom. He finally emerges.

He dashes over to the two ushers, says something, and then proceeds to sprint down the stairs and out the front doors. The two ushers are looking perplexed when a look of horror suddenly spreads over their faces. Then, they start to uncontrollably dry heave while trying to cover their mouths.

They soon follow after the patron and run outside to get fresh air. The manager has missed them running out, but she has noticed that a door still isn’t manned, so she is on her way up to rip an employee a new one. She gets about halfway up the stairs before she appears to hit an invisible wall, sways a bit, and then cries out, “DEAR LORD!” before retreating quickly back down the stairs and also outside.

At this point, the other ushers at concessions and I start to look very worried about what is clearly headed our way and what we should do…

….and then the tone rings for intermission and the doors to the theater open up.

After all the chaos is over, the theater apologizes and makes the excuse that a sewer main backed up into our upper-floor toilets. One of the newer ushers draws the short straw to clean it up (which we now know was illegal). He has to take frequent breaks and just keeps asking, “How?”

To this day, I still wonder what exactly was wrong for one man to produce something so toxic to almost clear out a whole theater.

Airports Aren’t Normally Known For Being Chill Places, But…

, , , , , , , | Working | November 11, 2022

A few years ago, I was flying home for Christmas. I was at the airport, getting ready to go through security. I had extra stuff because I needed to work while I was gone, so I had my work laptop and needed equipment on top of my personal electronics. Getting unpacked took me a bit. Finally, I got everything onto the belts including my shoes and jacket.

I moved into line to go through the X-ray, and suddenly, lights started flashing and a fire alarm went off. It didn’t seem to be going through the whole airport, and no one was running or screaming, including the TSA agents. They did, however, stop letting people through the X-ray. The agent running it kept apologizing and saying they’d get us through ASAP. All of a sudden, this manager or supervisor or something came running up to this X-ray. (This was the only one that had this incident/issue; there were at least four other lines that got moving within about a minute.)

Manager: “Okay, people, we’re going to give this a minute, but you likely are going to need to go outside and wait while we clear things.”

The other passengers standing around and I kind of looked at each other in surprise. I glanced at the manager.

Me: “But what about our stuff?”

Manager: “You’ll have to leave it here and come back through security when we let you back in.”

I pointedly glanced down at my bare feet and held up my arms in my short-sleeve T-shirt.

Me: “Um, but what about this? It’s currently snowing, and I don’t know about them, but I don’t want to stand out in the cold with no shoes and no jacket. Plus, no offense, but if any of my stuff ends up missing or stolen because you made me leave it unattended, I’m going to come looking for it.”

The agent running the X-ray kind of started side-eyeing the manager, and he met our eyes and kind of shook his head no. I’m not sure if he was trying to stop me from getting into it with her or if he was trying to tell us they’d do what they could to not send us outside unprotected.

Manager: *Slightly huffy* “If you have to go outside, you’ll need to come back for it.”

Before I could point out the likely health hazards of forcing us outside like this, the alarm shut off. The manager just glanced up and then walked away, and we were allowed to go through the X-ray. I start putting everything away and getting everything back on.

As I was finishing up, I noticed the manager kind of half-hovering nearby and glaring in my general direction. She didn’t actually do anything, but I wonder if she was staring because we were holding things up (which was her fault in the first place, but let’s not talk about that) or if she was hoping for me to give her a reason to detain me. 

Luckily, I’d gotten there early enough that, even with the delay, I was able to take my time getting to the gate. The rest of my Christmas was just lovely, but I do wonder about that manager every so often.