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The Bar For Impressing Your Coworker Is High

, , , , , | Working | November 10, 2021

While I was in college, I came home for summer vacation and got a summer job working at a warehouse. During the lunch break, I was speaking to someone who had worked there for much longer than I had.

Coworker: “This job is what pays the bills, but during the weekend, I work as a bouncer. That job’s as much for fun as to make money, though. I could take you there sometime if you want.”

Me: “Oh, no, thanks. I don’t drink, and I spent enough time around a bar as a kid to last me my whole life, thanks.”

Coworker: “Okay, suit yourself. But if you ever change your mind and want to come down to the [Bar] on a weekend, come look me up.

Me: “Wait, you work at [Bar]? Really?”

Coworker: “Yeah, you know it?”

Me: “That is the only bar in this state I do know, and way too well. My dad used to own it when I was a kid. How’s it doing nowadays?”

Coworker: “What? You’re [Owner]’s son?”

Me: “No, no, my dad sold it to him a few years ago, and he was renting it from us for years before that. Actually, the sale is working out really well for us; he’s paying us 13% interest and barely pays enough each month to cover the interest so it’s just like free money each month.”

Coworker: “There is no way your dad owned the [Bar].”

Me: “Umm, I’m pretty sure he did. My sister even had one of her birthday parties in the restaurant half one year.”

Coworker: “If your dad is rich enough to own a bar, why are you working here?”

Me: “He isn’t as rich as you seem to think. When he owned it the bar barely made a profit and all that went into fixing it up. If it weren’t for those rental properties in the back parking lot, I’m pretty sure it would have lost money; turns out the real money is in being a slum lord! It really didn’t pay him enough to be worth the effort he put in until he started renting it to [Current Owner] and just kept the rental properties.”

Coworker: “No way you would be working here if your dad owns a bar.”

Me: “My parents expect me to pay my own way through college; they think I’ll appreciate it more if I earn it myself. They put a bit into our college fund every Christmas, but my sister and I still have to cover the rest.”

Coworker: “Fine, what’s your dad’s name?”

Me: “It’s [Dad], why?”

He grins at me a little smugly

Coworker: “I’ll just ask [Current Owner] if your dad really used to own the [Bar].”

Me: “Umm, okay, you can do that.”

A week later, my father comes back from running some errands.

Dad: “So, what’s this about you bragging that you use to own the [Bar]?”

That coworker avoided me for a week or two after that, apparently embarrassed once it was confirmed that my dad did own the bar just as I had said.

The funny thing is that I wasn’t trying to brag; it hardly seemed worth bragging about to me. I was so sick of that bar after being forced to hang out in the restaurant half for hours on end as a kid while my father dealt with the latest crises. I was more than happy to be rid of the place when my father started renting it out.

This Warehouse Worker Will Wear You Right Out

, , , , , | Working | October 29, 2021

I work in a warehouse. We are all backlogged due to short staffing and booming business. The work is about as hard as to be expected. There are a lot of boxes, pallets, dirt, and heavy lifting. I work the shipping docks. It is my job to check what the pickers have brought me against the order lists for each customer and to make sure these orders are on the correct dock. We wouldn’t want an order meant to go to Route B when it’s supposed to be on Route A, after all.

As I said, business is booming and we have a lot of orders to pick, package, and ship every day. I am doing my best to keep up, but it’s difficult to do so with fifteen docks that have two rows of pallets stretching into the product aisles. I get a lucky break when a new hire is introduced to me one day. Or so I think.

This new hire is young — maybe eighteen or nineteen. She definitely doesn’t look like the warehouse type. She has a face full of makeup and long fake nails that she probably spent a decent penny on. She is wearing the thinnest closed-toe canvas shoes I’ve ever seen; they could technically qualify as sneakers but offer no support or protection. She is wearing a light pink jogger’s suit. She basically looks completely unprepared to manhandle dirty boxes of construction supplies. I sigh and think that she will learn to wear T-shirts and pants she doesn’t care about soon enough and will lose the nails by her first paycheck.

I quickly discover that she is a talker, which is fine because talking usually helps speed up these sixteen-hour days. I start to train her on how to check the product and it seems to go okay. She asks a few questions for clarification and she seems to understand the basics. I keep her close to me so that I can watch for mistakes and help her along. Our talk often goes to relationships and we gal-pal chat a bit as we work. The first day seems to go well for her and I have hopes that by the end of the week, she will be blazing through the work alongside me.

The first few days give little complaint. Her constant chatter does start to grind on my nerves; it turns out that I’m not much of a gal-pal type person after all. A new work week arrives and that’s when everything goes downhill. [New Hire] was allowed to work mostly by herself Friday and we continue this her second week. I catch her on the phone once on Monday and tell her that it isn’t really allowed to have full-on phone calls. Texting is fine as long as it’s quick. Tuesday and Wednesday find her repeatedly on the phone with her boyfriend. By her second Friday, I have to tell her to get off her phone almost once an hour. As she leaves for the day, I remind her of the phone rules and she says she understands.

Week three arrives. I see her come into the building about an hour late. She tells me she will use the bathroom and then come right back. I say okay and continue to work. It takes me about two hours to realize she never did come back, and I go looking for her. I find her at the other end of the warehouse, ducked behind some product in the door aisle, arguing with someone on her phone. I give her a look, and after a few minutes, she hangs up. We walk back to the shipping docks, with me reminding her about the phone policy. She understands and we get back to work. Sometime later, I look up to realize that I am alone on the docks again. After a search, I find her in the bathroom on the phone. I corral her back to the docks and her shift ends about an hour later. This continues for the rest of the week.

Week four comes and she’s staying on the dock. I think it’s finally gotten through to her that she’s here to work and not talk to her boyfriend while hiding in random places. It takes me part of the day to realize that she’s not even working. She has wireless headphones on and is still talking with her boyfriend. She has been hovering near the pallets she’s supposed to be checking but is doing nothing. I’m beyond frustrated because I am now babysitting in addition to doing the same amount of work I was a month ago. I quietly tell her off, stating that she needs to work and that, at this point, I don’t care if she talks to her boyfriend while she does it as long as she is actually doing the work.

That is basically the last time I talk to her. She spends her time hovering near the pallets and ducks around to the other side of them if she sees I am looking at her. If I head toward her, she suddenly walks off toward the breakroom and comes back when she sees me deep into work again. My managers and finally the big boss occasionally come by to ask where she is and I honestly tell them that I don’t know.

It took another few weeks before she is fired. It all finally caught up to her. It seems her boyfriend was more important than a job that was willing to pay her $3,000 a month with a raise within six months. She never did stop wearing the full makeup, nails, or inappropriate shoes. I guess some people simply aren’t made for warehouse work.

Minimum Effort, Minimum Reward

, , , , | Working | October 25, 2021

The company has two sides: the computer numerical control machining half and the material sales. Customers can pay us to machine the parts for them or buy the materials and do it themselves. It isn’t hard to figure out that the materials side isn’t that profitable. We have racks and racks of material; some only move every three years for the stocktake.

It is also the area with the most problems, despite being such an easy job. The order gets printed and you go to the rack and pick it up. There are big colour-coded labels. There is no rush, and there are no targets apart from getting it right.

However, after a number of complaints, I call the guys in the office to talk.

Me: “Look, we keep getting complaints. Customers keep getting the wrong stock. I thought we fixed it with the scanners. Don’t they work?”

Worker #1: “Well, yeah, most of the time.”

Worker #2: “It does take a long time.”

Me: “Guys, no one is making you run around. You should have loads of time. I spent a week on the floor proving them with no complaints from anyone. I want everyone to use the scanners every time.”

There are murmurs of complaints as the guys go back to work. But it’s only a few weeks before another load of complaints comes in. Again, I call them in.

Me: “Listen, yesterday, I used the scanners all day. They worked fine and stopped me from messing up at least a dozen times. I asked around and no one has any issues. We had fewer orders than ever. Why all the mistakes?”

There’s silence.

Me: “I don’t think you realise that if we lose this customer, we lose the materials business.”

Worker #1: “Well, if you pay people minimum wage, what do you expect?”

Me: “So, is that what you all think? You all know the company isn’t making money at the moment from this side of the business. We all talked about turning it around and trying to make fewer mistakes.”

There was general disagreement across the group. I let them get back to work, but they went to break instead. Then, they went on to work slow as a protest. A load of orders didn’t go out the door. The main customer told us the next day they wouldn’t be back.

A picking and baling robot replaced twelve people’s jobs and made none of the mistakes. I hate to see it happen, but some people are intent on digging their own graves.

Sounds Like He’ll Have A “Boom” Box On His Hands

, , , , | Right | October 24, 2021

I once had a guy come into the workshop I was in.

Guy: “I’m looking for batteries for my boom box.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we don’t carry those.”

He refused to believe us. Eventually, he declared:

Guy: “I don’t have any more time to waste on you people being stupid!”

And he left.

Shortly after that, I noticed a basket that we kept on a workbench near the door, that was filled with loose, potentially undischarged capacitors, was missing.

I couldn’t prove he stole it, and the capacitor terminals didn’t line up with battery compartment terminals, but some of those capacitors were about the size and shape of C- and D-cell batteries.

To this day, I get a chuckle every time I think about what would happen to an electronic device if he’d managed to jury-rig a “fix” to make them fit.

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.”