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Beware The Warehouse

, , , | Right | October 14, 2021

I work in a warehouse; I believe we’re several hundred thousand square feet. The warehouse has an order pickup counter for local customers on one end of the building, clearly marked with lots of signs. The rest is your typical industrial warehouse with conveyors, forklifts, and lots of moving parts.

Even if you’ve never been here before, the presence of all the machinery would tell most people with common sense that only authorized personnel should be in the actual warehouse part.

I’m headed outside for a break, and I glimpse somebody wandering around on the upper-level racks looking lost. He’s not wearing safety glasses or any protective equipment, and he has the wide-eyed stare of someone who clearly doesn’t belong here.

I run up the stairs to him.

Me: “Excuse me! Can I help you?”

Guy: “Yes, thank you. I’m looking for where I can pick up my order?”

I’m not sure how he got in the building, as all the doors except the one to the pickup counter require an employee key fob to get in. Maybe he followed an employee in? In any case, I have no idea how he could have found himself in the middle of the warehouse on the SECOND FLOOR with conveyors going down both sides and thought, “Yes, I am probably headed in the right direction.”

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The Case Of The Missing Manager

, , , , | Working | August 20, 2021

I began working for a temp job agency while going to school, and one of the places I ended up at was a machine parts warehouse. My task was simple: the shift leader would hand me a stack of orders printed on index cards, and I would go through the warehouse and locate the items printed on the card. I would put them in a plastic container, put the containers on a rolling cart, and then roll the filled cart up to a conveyor belt for the assigned shipping staff to box up for shipping. When I ran out of order cards, I would go to the shift leader for a new stack. Simple.

My feelings leaned in the middle about this particular job; the pay wasn’t really that great, and everyone largely ignored me unless there was an error somewhere. One of my peeves was that the shift leader would often go MIA, so I wouldn’t be able to locate him when I needed a new stack of order cards.

After about two weeks, I received a call from the job agency I was with and was informed that the upper management complained that my productivity level was substandard and that their surveillance footage would show me wandering around or sitting and not doing anything. I did explain the issue regarding the shift leader disappearing, but I also made sure to do so in a manner as to not shift blame, promising them to try harder.

A couple of days later, I encountered the same issue with the shift leader being MIA once again, and this time, I made sure to speak with the staff and make it known that I needed to know where he was so I could continue working. That was when someone told me, “Actually, he keeps the order cards over there on that table. I’d say just grab a stack and keep trucking!”

I grabbed a stack and got right back to work. However, about an hour later, I heard a series of loud menacing buzzes and alarms go off near the shipping conveyor belt, which was later followed by a loud voice behind me bellowing, “WHAT THE H*** ARE YOU DOING?!” I turned to see the shift manager looking like he was ready to blow a fuse. 

He grabbed the stack of cards out of my hand.

Manager: “WHO TOLD YOU TO TAKE A STACK OFF THAT TABLE?!”

I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble or shift blame.

Me: “I apologize. I couldn’t find you, and I really needed to get back to work.”

Manager: “SO, YOU JUST DECIDE TO DO MY JOB AND ASSIGN YOURSELF WHATEVER THE H*** YOU WANT?! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?”

Me: “I was told that I was not being productive—”

Manager: “SO, YOU THINK YOU CAN JUST TAKE MY PLACE?! YOU’RE THE SHIFT MANAGER NOW?!”

As it turns out, the shift manager has to enter a batch number of each stack to let the main computer know which batch of orders to begin processing. Since the stack hadn’t been processed through, the shipping staff was scanning order cards that were unregistered, which caused a buildup of system errors and ultimately caused a fatal system crash.

The shift manager ordered me to come with him, and he took me to the shipping area.

Manager: *Screaming* “In the ten-plus years you all have been working here, since when has anyone been allowed to make their own assignments? Whose job is it to decide on which batch to work on? Mine! But apparently, we have a new manager on board! I never got the memo!”

I looked over at the jerk who suggested I take a stack, and of course, she avoided eye contact with me.

He took me into his office and shredded me apart while reminding me of his leadership position and repeatedly saying, “Who do you think you are? Seriously, who do you think you are? What gives you the right to come in here and try to take over the place?”. Then, he sent me home for the day. 

The following morning, I predictably got a phone call from my temp job agency gently scolding me for the incident, but surprisingly, I was told they still wanted to have me over there.

UH-UH! I asked for either a new assignment or just a termination. I was moved over to a parcel handling warehouse where I remained for the next three years until I completed my degree.

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Seasonal Work, Year-Round Jerk

, , , , , , | Working | June 17, 2021

For my sins, sometimes I have done seasonal work for Royal Mail. The first time was the most eventful. Several of us were assigned to push heavy trolleys called Yorks. These can weigh up to a quarter of a ton. For someone who had applied for seasonal work, one such coworker didn’t seem very hardworking or focused.

One evening, I was pushing a York cheerfully along. (I was cheerful. The York wasn’t, due to being an inanimate object.) Suddenly, I felt a pain in my foot. Recoiling in shock, I turned to see [Coworker] reversing his own York from where he had just hit me, before pushing past me at high speed.

Coworker: “Sorry!”

Apparently annoyed that I did not tell him, “That’s all right,” within about three seconds, he shouted again.

Coworker: “I said I was sorry!”

And then, he disappeared elsewhere in the building.

People pushing things weighing half a ton are trained to keep two metres’ distance from the person in front for reasons which are blindingly obvious. They are also not supposed to move such things fast enough to risk wheelies, as the damage caused by one landing on you is even greater than the damage caused by one being driven into you.

Once I had time to assess what had happened, I concluded that I could walk normally with a bit of care. I delivered my cargo and then went to speak to a manager. The coworker arrived before I had finished reporting the issue and immediately started yelling.

Coworker: “I told you I was sorry! Are you trying to start something?”

Apparently, he didn’t realize that it is possible to see the need to report a careless accident without thinking that the culprit was malicious. When he started advancing toward me with his arms flung wide, I was rapidly bundled away before things escalated. A few minutes later, I was seen by a first aider, who expressed amazement that my foot hadn’t been broken.

In due course, I was informed that the culprit had been escorted off the site by four burly postmen and informed that if he showed his face there again the police would be called. There were concerns that he might try to track me down, but thankfully, nothing happened.

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Some Managers Aren’t Too Sharp

, , , , , | Working | March 8, 2021

Part of my job is to audit the work area for compliance. We have a big external audit coming up, so if I can catch any little issue now, it won’t get brought up later and in front of everyone.

I notice an unusual blade sitting in one of the boxes. Anything unusual could be relating to an issue, so I question it.

Warehouse Manager: “Oh, that’s [Worker]’s. He struggles to use the other ones.”

Me: “The other safety ones?”

Warehouse Manager: “Yeah.”

Me: “The other safety ones that were put in place because we had a serious accident that sent someone to the hospital all because people left blades like this in boxes like that?”

Warehouse Manager: “Yeah.”

Me: “Okay, I’m taking this away with me. [Worker] can get used to the safety ones from now on.”

Warehouse Manager: “What? Don’t be a jobsworth.”

Me: “Seventeen stitches and the person still doesn’t have full sensation in their hand. Blood all over the place. You can have proper ones or you can take it up with [Senior Manager].”

Warehouse Manager: “Yeah, I’ll do that.”

He did, but of course, he didn’t tell the manager the full story. I reminded the senior manager that this would probably result in a lawsuit if someone injured themselves this time, as the company now had full knowledge and had failed to act.

He unsurprisingly changed his tone, thanked me, and gave the warehouse manager an earful.

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You’ll Back Off One Way Or Another

, , , , , , | Working | February 7, 2021

It’s early on into the global health crisis when people are still getting used to wearing masks and having to stand six feet apart. It’s the end of our shift, and we’re standing in line at the time clock. An older coworker is standing close to me, maybe a foot away.

Me: “Dude, could you step back a couple of feet? That’s not six feet.”

Coworker: “Oh, it’s fine! It’s all media-pulled BS to control us! There’s no danger!”

Me: “Seriously, dude. Step. Back.”

Coworker: “H*** no!”

Me: “I’m not scanning my badge until you step back, and I’ve got all night.”

He huffs and leans back by maybe thirty degrees. I shrug, shift my weight, and make a pretty convincing farting noise with my mouth. I then sigh, as though I’ve been holding it in for a while. I laugh as he jumps back a good five feet, his face almost comical in its shock, as our coworkers standing in line laugh at him.

Me: “What? I told you to step back.”

He still refuses to admit there’s a global crisis, almost a year into it, but he’s better at keeping his distance now!

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