Take It Or Leave It

, , , , , | Friendly | August 15, 2018

(I go to a salon appointment in a very popular shopping center. By the time I leave, the parking lot is absolutely packed and it’s raining hard. I get into my car; luckily I parked very close by as it wasn’t packed at all when I arrived. I start up my GPS, but it’s a very old model that takes minutes to start up, sometimes longer. I hear some honking but I ignore it. Suddenly there is a rapping on my window and a woman is standing there. I lower my window.)

Me: “Hello, can I help—”

Woman: “Aren’t you leaving?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Woman: “I saw you get into your car; we’ve been sitting here waiting for you to leave.”

Me: “Yes, I’m about to leave; I’m just—”

Woman: “Well, leave already!”

(She stormed off and got back into her car, and the honking started again. My GPS came on moments later, but suddenly I wasn’t in so much of a rush to get home. I waited until she drove away.)

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Not Quite A Lightning Moment

, , , , | Right | August 14, 2018

(I work for a pretty major cell phone company and this is the call that makes my day.)

Me: “Hello. This is [My Name] with [Company]. How may I help you today?”

Customer: “I’m tired of your company! Lightning hit my house and now my home phone won’t work! This wouldn’t happen with [Competition]!”

(We offer home phone service, also.)

Me: “I’m so sorry; is it not getting power?”

Customer: “No, and my cell phone is dying, too!”

Me: “Are you able to plug it in, so we can continue to look into your home phone?”

Customer: “I just told you lightning hit my house; I don’t have power! Fix it!”

Me: “Ma’am, you are aware your home phone requires power, right?”

Customer: “Of course. Just turn it on!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but this is [Cell Phone Provider]; we are not your electric company. Have you called them to let them know you have no power?”

Customer: “No, that’s why I’m talking to you. Are you going to help me or not?”

Me: “I’m sorry, I’m not able to turn your lights on. You should contact your electric company for that, ma’am.”

Customer: “I knew you wouldn’t help me!” *hangs up*

Getting Struck From The Job

, , , , , , | Working | July 31, 2018

(I’m a lot attendant at a grocery store. This takes place in the middle of a very severe thunderstorm with lightning all over the place.)

Manager: “[My Name], we’re low on carts; could you go outside and get some?”

Me: “I can’t. There’s a severe thunderstorm outside.”

Manager: “Oh, man up, will you? You won’t get struck.”

Me: “Just because it doesn’t happen often, it doesn’t mean it can’t.”

Manager: “Well, there are no carts inside, and I need both lobbies full. You’ll just have to deal with it and brave the storm.”

Me: “But if I get struck by lightning, we’d both be in serious trouble!”

Manager: *raising her voice* “The only person who’s going to be in trouble here is you if you’re not outside gathering carts!”

Me: “But I could be injured or killed! You know the—”

Manager: *now yelling* “I don’t care! If you’re not out there in thirty seconds, I’m firing you on the spot for insubordination!”

Me: *appalled* “You know, I find it very disturbing that you’d actually value a few shopping carts over the life of your own employees.”

Manager: *screaming full-blast* “YOU’RE FIRED!”

Me: “Do it! I’m sure the owner would gladly appreciate your kindness towards me!”

(The owner did appreciate my boss’s kindness very much. So much, in fact, that he fired her the very next day, just minutes after she clocked in. She had already had several complaints and multiple write-ups against her for screaming at employees in front of customers, but her decision to willfully put me in danger was the last straw. I’m still working there to this day, though I haven’t seen the ex-manager since the day she was fired. Last I heard, she was in jail for assaulting her ex-husband after she lost custody of her daughter.)

Pet Owners Are Barking Mad

, , , , , | Healthy | July 23, 2018

(The UK has been struggling with a heatwave. We’ve just finished a lunch rush and things are a little quieter. We just cleaning up the bar area while people finish up their food when my coworker and I hear the most awful, rasping panting from a dog entering the door. An older couple enter with their small dog, who is barely able to to walk in a straight line, and sit themselves down at a table. The woman approaches us.)

Woman: “Hi, are you still serving food?

Me: “Yes, ma’am. Would you like some water for your dog before you order? We want to make all of our guests to be comfortable.”

(I ask this because I’m increasingly concerned for the dog’s wellbeing — its panting is sounding significantly worse and it is drooling excessively for a small dog — but I don’t want to sound too nosey.)

Woman: “Oh, no, he’s fine. He’s just tired from our walk up [Popular Tourist Cliff Walk about 2.5 miles long]. We have some water, anyway.”

Me: “No problem, ma’am.”

(I take her order and serve their drinks quickly, watching the dog drink almost half a litre of water rapidly with no change in comfort. Just as I go to check on another table, the dog gets briefly to its feet to vomit violently, only to collapse into the vomit. I quickly try to keep my other customers, including children, calm while the dog’s owners seem oblivious to the severity of its condition, which is now clearly heatstroke.)

Woman: “Oh, dear, someone’s drank too quickly and is tired!” *to my coworker and myself* “Will you be dears and help us clean up?”

(My coworker goes to clean up the vomit while I swiftly go into the kitchen to explain the situation to my boss, who is also the chef.)

Me: “Hey, [Boss], I think we have a dog with heatstroke out there. Is there anything we can do? I’m willing to call [Friend of mine who is a veterinary nurse], if you’d like.”

Boss: “There’s not much we can do, [My Name]; it’s not our dog. Offer to call [Vet a few miles up the road] for them and try to get them to go there; otherwise, you just have to continue as normal. I’m sorry.”

(I go back out and do as I’ve been told to do, offering help as much as I can.)

Woman: “I’m sure he’s fine. We’ll consider it if he doesn’t improve by the time our food comes out.”

Me: “Okay, ma’am. No problem.”

(I try to continue with my other tasks while still watching for any change in the dog. A few minutes later, the food is ready and I take it out to them. The dog is still severely panting, and the owners have now taken the water away to stop him from vomiting it up again. I have to bite my tongue and say nothing, cleaning dirty glasses behind the bar so I can listen to them talking and be ready to do something if the dog ends up going into shock or a seizure.)

Woman: *to a concerned customer* “Oh, he didn’t make it to the top of [Cliff Walk], but luckily we had a deck chair with us and we used that as a stretcher to carry him there! It was beautiful up there, you know? The sun and the heat was warming up all of our old bones wonderfully! There weren’t any other dogs, either, so we had most of the cliff to ourselves! It really was fantastic.”

(The couple left with their dog after an agonisingly long time eating their food, with all of us encouraging them to go to the vet again before they left. Several hours later when my shift ended, I went to the vets to pick up some wormers for my own pets only to find out the couple hadn’t come in. It wasn’t until the next morning my friend texted me to let me know they ended up coming in during the night. They had found the dog unresponsive in its own vomit again shortly after coming back to their caravan after visiting friends. The poor little thing died of heatstroke less than an hour later. I can’t help wishing I could have done more, and that the owners had not been so stupid as to take their dog for a walk in that heat.)

The Snow Comes Down And The Writing Goes Up

, , , , , , | Working | July 14, 2018

I was working overnight shift at a 24-hour call center. My typical commute was about 25 minutes. About an hour and a half before my usual departure time, we were hit with an unexpected, terrible ice storm, making the roads nearly impassable and disabling traffic signals. Knowing that if I was to arrive at work anywhere near on time, I was going to have to leave extra early, I set out. The main roads were practically standstill so I took back roads as much as possible, but even with such an early start I was late arriving. While I was driving, it was announced on the news that the city was in a state of emergency and, unless it was imperative that a person needed to drive, it was advised to stay off the roads. I was already halfway there, so it would have been just as bad to turn back. Although I’d called on the way to advise on the conditions and my slow progress, and only a few of us who were scheduled that night were able to make it in, all of us late, we were all written up the following day for being tardy, or for not showing up. We collectively filed a grievance.

About a week later we were informed that the write-ups were to be removed from our files. It seems the HR review determined that since it took the day shift workers hours to get home, they could not have expected us to be able to make the drive any faster to work, and they were wrong to require that we be there at all when the city was shut down, as we were not considered critical employees. Each of us who did show up that night actually ended up with a commendation and small bonus!

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