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No Amount Of Free Snacks Can Counteract Terrible Management

, , , , , , , , | Working | August 29, 2022

I found an advertisement for warehouse work for a company that delivered beverages on order. The work involved the constant lifting of heavy crates, and because of this, they apparently had trouble keeping employees. I was called back within an hour of applying, and when I appeared for the introductory appointment, I couldn’t help but notice that on all of their vehicles (including their semi-trailers) there were large notices saying, “We need warehouse workers! Call [number] and start work tomorrow!”

No surprise, I was hired on the spot without an interview. 

All of this was in addition to employees being allowed to set their own schedules. (The only provision was that they gave you one full workday a week where you had to show.) Free drinks and snacks were also provided to employees. It was almost like they were saying, “There is no reason for you not to like working here!”

My first full day was spent getting to know the place and the protocols. When I came back to start my official work, the shift manager casually handed me a scanner, a PDA, and a small printer that would print out barcodes on stickers to attach to crates.

My first batch of orders beeped in on my PDA, and I grabbed a cart and headed away to retrieve them. Every time I would scan a crate, I would get an error. I desperately tried to remember how the procedure went and tried an alternative. Things became even more catastrophic as my scanner kept disconnecting from my PDA, then my printer jammed and I couldn’t figure out how to open it, then my PDA became unresponsive, and then, suddenly, out of nowhere:

Shift Manager: “WHAT THE H*** IS TAKING YOU SO LONG?! THAT ORDER CAME IN SEVENTEEN MINUTES AGO!”

Me: “I’m having problems—”

Shift Manager: “I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR PROBLEMS! DELIVERIES ARE EXPECTED IN 120 MINUTES — NO EXCEPTIONS!”

Me: “My scanner—”

Shift Manager: “We told you how to use it already! HURRY UP! Keep this up, and you won’t last the week here!”

Me: “But—”

Shift Manager: “BUT NOTHING! Get moving!” *Walks away*

In a panic now, I simply grabbed the rest of the crates without scanning them, but then I put them off to the side so that I could try to explain the serious problem I had. I approached the manager.

Me: “Okay, there is a problem with the batch I made—”

Shift Manager: *Looking at a screen* “Yeah, I see that! You scanned this wrong and did that wrong. Are you just walking around here asleep?”

Me: “The reason—”

Shift Manager: “I don’t want to hear your excuses! If this batch is not sent out on time, you’re f***ed. And I’m gonna tell them it was YOU!”

I walked away in exasperation, seriously contemplating throwing down my equipment and leaving. That was when someone passed by me; his name tag identified him as the general manager. Finally, relief!

Me: “Excuse me, sir. I need help with my work assignment. I’m confused about how everything is supposed to work. Can you have someone show me how it’s done correctly?”

General Manager: *Confused look* “I thought I… Hold on…”

He took out his radio and summoned someone over.

General Manager: “Stay here. They’ll be right with you.” *Walks away*

And who do you think walked up to “help” me?

Shift Manager: “You again? What now?”

Me: “I need help with—”

Shift Manager: “I don’t have time to bottlefeed you. You need to learn to work on your own! You just don’t want to try, and I’m getting pissed!” *Walks away*

I’d had enough. I ripped the equipment off of me and left the premises. When I got home, I sent the company an email and detailed my experience in full, ending it with, “If this is how [Company] tolerates managers treating their employees, then I’ll work elsewhere. Thank you for the opportunity anyway.”

I thought it was the end of that. It wasn’t. The following day, I got a knock on the door, and there stood a man wearing a polo shirt bearing the company logo.

Man: “Hi! I’m [Man], regional director for [Company]. Can I have just thirty seconds before you slam the door in my face? Thirty seconds — hear me out!”

Me: “Regional director?! Okay, wow… I’m listening.”

He explained that he’d gotten a copy of my email and was so incensed by it that he drove two hours to come personally apologize for that manager’s behavior, and he assured me that it was NOT tolerated by the company. He further stated that the manager was supposed to spend a few hours working next to me to make sure I was understanding everything, but for some reason just didn’t feel like it that day. He ended it with:

Man: “We would be grateful if you would rejoin our team. If you ever have a problem like that again, you can call me directly!”

I accepted his apology and agreed to give it another shot. And from then on, I never had any other problems while working there — especially not from that manager. As I was told, the regional director came and personally escorted him off the premises.


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If Customers Give You Crap, Give It Right Back

, , , , , | Right | August 23, 2022

I am working on the loading dock where we load up larger bags of dog and livestock feed for customers who have paid inside. I meet a customer in the parking lot, take his loading ticket for a couple of bales of grass hay, and walk over to the small storage garage while he gets in his truck to back up. It starts up, and then I see it.

I see his hand reaching out the driver’s side door and casually tossing a small blue bag with a bit of weight to it next to the fence and onto our line of garden soils. I recognize that kind of bag, and I recognize what weight it must have had. There is no question in my mind — that is dog s***.

I’m giddy at this moment. I have thirty seconds to ponder my thoughts while he backs up, and yet it feels like years. Finally, he steps out of the truck. I’ve since hauled the two bails up to the bumper, but I stop my advance.

Me: “Sir, did you just throw something out of your car?”

Customer: “Uh, no.”

Me: “Yes, you did. Was that dog crap?”

Customer: “Don’t worry about it.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Customer: “I said don’t worry about it.”

Me: “No. No. You do not get to throw your dog poop onto my store!”

It’s not my store, but the pronoun choice gives me apparent authority.

Customer: “I wasn’t aiming for the store; I was aiming over the fence.”

Over the fence is a railway and bike path.

Me: “I don’t care where you were aiming! You can’t just throw dog crap wherever, and on top of it, I’m not responsible for your bad aim!”

Customer: “It’s not mine.”

Me: “Then why the h*** is it mine now?”

Customer: “So, what do you want me to do?”

Me: “If I move that pallet, will you go pick up your dog crap and properly dispose of it in the dumpster?”

Customer: “Ugh, sure.”

And he did. The dumpster was only thirty feet away, too. It made my day. It was the only time in seven years of working with this company that I allowed myself to chew out a customer, with great success.

You Picked A Fine Time To Play Tetris

, , , , , | Working | August 19, 2022

Warehouse work usually isn’t difficult — shipping/receiving, cleaning, pulling orders, using forklifts, and so on. The work itself isn’t hard, but sometimes those truck drivers you have to deal with can be a real pain in the back.

I head out on the dock as I’m watching one of my employees taking pallets off a truck that we should be loading, not unloading. The pallets he is taking off are not pallets from our facility, so he’s handling other companies’ merchandise, which I’m not a fan of doing.

Me: “[Employee], what are you doing?”

I look into the van trailer and see that it’s over half full — upwards of twelve four-foot pallets.

Employee: “The truck driver wanted me to put our pallets in the front of the trailer, so I’m rearranging things.”

Me: “No, you’re not unloading his whole trailer just to put our four or five pallets on it. Put those couple you’ve taken off back onto the trailer and then load ours.”

The truck driver walks over to object to my decision.

Truck Driver: *To my employee* “What are you doing? Stop. Don’t put those back on. Get all the others off first, and then put yours on, and then I’ll have you reload the truck how I want it.”

My employee gives me a panicked look, but I gesture to him to keep going as I instructed him.

Truck Driver: *To me* “Your pallets are taller than a lot of stuff; it’ll help things ride better if you take off all the other pallets on the truck and put yours in front. It won’t take you guys long. You’ve done this before.”

Me: “We’ve moved one or two pallets before, not half a truckload. I’m not comfortable handling another company’s product, and I won’t have us liable for any damages to it, either. We’re not rearranging your entire load.”

Truck Driver: “You’ve done it before—”

I cut him off.

Me: “This isn’t Burger King. You don’t get to ‘have it your way.’ You either take our shipment as-is or you leave and I’ll find another carrier.”

The driver tries giving me his best mean mug, but after a few seconds, he realizes I’m not going to budge.

Truck Driver: “Fine, just load your shipment.”

Stick To Dollhouses, Not Warehouses

, , , , , , , | Right | August 9, 2022

I work in a warehouse with heavy machinery, so it’s definitely not a place for kids. We have two sit-on electric forklifts that can lift up to 3,000 pounds, and the forklifts themselves weigh nearly five tons each.

I’ve seen drivers come with their big sleeper cabs, and sometimes they have someone or even their family riding with them, so I don’t question when I have a driver show up with a full semi of heavy pallets of tiles and his wife and five-year-old daughter are with him.

The pallets of tiles on this truck are pushing 2,700 pounds. Combined with the weight of my forklift, I’ve got around 12,000 pounds of weight, and I can get the forklift up to almost ten miles per hour.

Driver: “Is there a restroom my kid can use?”

Me: “There are a couple of restrooms right inside the office that she can use.”

Then, I go about unloading the truck. I take a pallet off the truck, and as I am leaving the dock area and heading into the warehouse, I come across a main intersection. When you come across one of these, you honk the horn on the forklift and take it slow because you can’t easily see what might be coming from the left or right until you clear the garage door.

I move a handful of pallets off the truck and into the warehouse, and while I am doing it, the mom is standing well off to the side at that main intersection, just watching.

I make another trip through the intersection with a pallet of tiles, honking the horn as I’m approaching the intersection. Just as I cross through the garage, I slam on the brakes as the young child goes dashing across the front of the forklift. I’m only going a couple of miles per hour, but slamming on the brakes causes the pallet to slide almost completely off the forks. It’s within inches of crushing the little girl as her mom just stands there and just watches her kid running around.

I glare at the mom.

Me: “This isn’t a f****** playground. Why would you let your kid just run around a dangerous place? I almost f****** killed her!”

I just keep my dagger stare on her as she nonchalantly saunters across the front of my forklift, takes her daughter by her hand, and calmly walks her out. I go and find the driver.

Me: “If I see your wife or kid out of the cab any time while I’m still unloading your truck, I will refuse the shipment, and you can explain to your dispatch why you’ll have to bring the material 2,000 miles back to the facility.”

The wife and kid stayed in the truck and we had no other issues. It still makes me upset to this day when I randomly think of this situation that happened almost twenty years ago and how some parents are just so clueless or uncaring.

There Has To Be Someone You Can Report This To

, , , , , | Working | July 27, 2022

I went for a job interview with a warehouse that offered a retail shopping service.

I was buzzed through the gate after a wait. The main door opened, but the reception area was dark. I wandered through empty open-plan offices until a man appeared and directed me to a small area. That was a warning sign. It was a busy weekday, and the office was seemingly closed.

There, I learned that it wasn’t a one-to-one interview. It was a group interview. After a few questions, the other six applicants and I were led into the warehouse where the interviewer told us we would need to do a two-hour “trial” on the floor, packing up orders. That seemed fishy to me; unpaid trials are not normal here.

I asked a few questions and was proudly told that the other people currently working in the warehouse were earlier applicants. It was a small business, and I have a background in shipping, so after asking, I learned that they had a reasonable quantity of orders per week, which could easily be packed by one or two groups of people on “trial shifts”… without ever needing to actually hire staff.

That was the only interview I have ever walked out of.