The Squeaky Wheel Gets A Promotion

, , , , , , | Working | January 15, 2021

I have a coworker who is just gross. He is an old fashioned good-ol-boy who makes crude jokes to the men in the office and asks the women inappropriate questions, guffawing at the discomfort he causes.

He comes to me at my desk one afternoon. I am overwhelmed with a sudden quick deadline and a headache growing above my eyes. As he starts his leading question, I jam my hand out at him, palm up, and bark:

Me: “Pay me!”

Gross Coworker: *Startled pause* “What?”

Me: “If you’re going to treat me like a whore, pay me.”

The whole bullpen of six women and two men freezes, all eyes on us.

Gross Coworker: “I’m not… What?”

Me: “A dollar a word; ‘a’ and ‘the’ count as words. Numbers count as words, too.”

I am laying the rules out off the top of my head, hand out and never wavering.

Gross Coworker: “I wasn’t—”

Me: “Okay, then, what?”

Gross Coworker: “Well, nothing now.”

He storms away.

Two days later, [Gross Coworker] comes to me to ask if I know why the printer isn’t printing his work. It’s a legitimate question, as I’m the coordinator of the department where the printer is located, even though it is used by many departments, including [Gross Coworker]’s. As he talks, I’m mouthing numbers.

Gross Coworker: “What are you doing?!”

Me: “I’m counting words.”

Gross Coworker: “What? No! This is work-related.”

Me: “I’ll decide what’s work-related and deduct it.”

[Gross Coworker] stormed away, back down the hallway. I went over to check the printer; it was out of paper, so I refilled it and it hummed back to life.

The next week, our floor was pulled into an HR meeting about creating a hostile work environment. I stood up after the presentation, when the floor was opened for questions, and thanked them for their concern but explained that the hostile work environment had died down the week before; heads nodded around the table along with murmured agreement.

Weeks later, [Gross Coworker] was gone but only from our floor. He’d been promoted to a higher floor where he would no longer be interacting with us — well, me, mainly, I guess.

Putting up with him for years, we got nothing but a hatred of gross men. He then squeaked his wheel and moved up the ladder.

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When All Else Fails, Blame God

, , , , , , , | Right | January 5, 2021

Since almost the beginning of the global health crisis, I’ve been volunteer grocery-shopping for the elderly and vulnerable through a secular local charity. As the winter holidays approach, my volunteer leader reaches out to me asking my availability over the break.

Me: “Oh, I can shop anytime. I’m not going anywhere and I don’t celebrate Christmas.”

Volunteer Leader: “You’re Jewish?”

Me: “What? No. I’m atheist.”

Volunteer Leader: “Wait… Why are you volunteering?”

Me: “Excuse me?! I’m shopping for these elderly people because it’s too dangerous for them to go out right now. I’m helping because there’s a need.”

Volunteer Leader: “All right. Okay. Sorry. I just don’t see the reason you’re volunteering.”

Me: “Seriously?! Okay. So, why are you volunteering?”

Volunteer Leader: “I help in the name of God.”

Me: “Oh. To get in his good graces.”

Volunteer Leader: “No. To get the word out of his goodness.”

Me: “To proselytize.”

Volunteer Leader: “Well… no.”

Me: “Look, your questioning my reason to help others means you don’t grasp doing something good for its own sake.”

Volunteer Leader: “What? No. Goodness starts and stops with God. That’s why I am here to help. Why would you volunteer if it wasn’t for Him?”

Me: “Because it’s the right thing to do. How do you explain my volunteering?”

Volunteer Leader: “God’s making you do it.”

Me: *Sighs* “Just give me the info of the people who need their shopping done over the holidays; I can help whoever needs it.”

I’m not going to ask for a different volunteer leader, but he might ask to not oversee me anymore; I’m not sure. I know that, as the months go on, volunteers are dropping out and those of us sticking with it as our lives get busy again are more and more valuable to the charity. Hopefully, next year, our services will no longer be needed and the elderly and vulnerable can get back to the lives they had before.


This story is part of our Volunteer roundup!

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The Quality Of These Toys Are Sith

, , , , , , | Working | December 23, 2020

It’s around the holiday season, and my regional manager and I are standing near the back of the store talking about some plans for the store. We happen to be near a display of Star Wars toys, and I notice a plastic lightsaber that’s new. They are the type that when you flick it, the coloured plastic shoots out to turn the lightsaber “on.” I grab one off the shelf to try it out, but nothing happens. It’s a blue lightsaber, meant for a Jedi.

Regional Manager: “Let me try.”

It works with one swing.

Me: “I’ve always leaned more toward the dark side anyway.”

I took one of the red lightsabers off the hook and tried it out. It worked perfectly. I tried the blue lightsaber again later. It still didn’t work for me.

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Champagne For My Real Friends, Real Pain For This Clerk

, , , , , , | Working | December 15, 2020

My husband and I have flown to Vancouver for a vacation. I booked a car for us online. My last name is commonly misspelled because it sounds the same as a famous product. Let’s say that my last name is “Shampaine,” which sounds like “Champagne”.

Me: “Hello! I’ve reserved a car.”

Clerk: “Last name?”

Me: “Shampaine.”

Clerk: *Checking computer* “Your reservation isn’t here.”

Me: “Oh, this happens quite a bit. Let me spell my name for you.”

Clerk: “I told you, it’s not here.”

Me: “My name is spelled S-H-A—”

Clerk: *Not touching her computer* “It’s not here.”

Me: *Giving up* “Tell you what. Here’s my confirmation number.”

Clerk: *Checks the computer* “Oh! Here it is. I see the problem: your last name is spelled wrong.” *Laughs*

Me: “It’s not spelled wrong.”

Clerk: “Uh, yeah, it is.”

Me: “I entered all my details myself online when I made the reservation. Are you saying that I don’t know how to spell my own name?”

Clerk: “…”

Husband: *Tugging my sleeve* “Let’s go.”

I wish I could say that was a rare event, but it happens a LOT.

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Something, Something, Brightest Bulb…

, , , , , | Working | December 4, 2020

I’m a woman. I bought a new car off the lot a few months ago, and it’s suggested that you bring the car back to the dealership after a few months to get a checkup. Sure, whatever, it’s free. So, as I hand my keys to the man behind the counter at the end of my signing in:

Me: “Oh, and my left high beam is aimed too high. Can I please get it aligned while it’s in?”

Receptionist: “Sure, I’ll show you how to do it right now.”

Me: “Sorry, what?”

Receptionist: “Come on; I’ll show you.”

Intrigued, I lead him to my car, where he asks me to unlock the door. I do, and I move to pop the hood, but he reaches in and pushes the headlight switch forward.

Receptionist: “There you go. You push this forward to turn on your high beams.”

Time stops as I blink at him slowly a few times.

Me: “Can I talk to someone else, please?”

Receptionist: “What?”

Me: “Like, anyone else. A manager, maybe.”

I’ve never asked for a higher-up a day in my life and don’t really know what to expect.

The receptionist walks me back and gets a manager. I explain what happened and the manager’s friendly smile falls, and then his mouth drops open.

There are profuse apologies, and I head out with a friend who’s picking me up for brunch to kill the few hours my car is in the shop.

I was greeted and helped by the manager when I returned, and he was careful to shield me from the receptionist.

To this day, I cannot imagine what he heard in my request to suggest that I didn’t know how to put my high beams on.

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