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Long Story Shorts, Clothes Are Clothes

, , , , , , , , | Working | May 4, 2023

I used to work in a first-response call centre for a national security company, i.e., manning the security cameras of many local shops and public places and responding to alarms, etc. This call centre had no physical contact with anyone outside, save for phone calls. I say this to make clear that it wouldn’t matter at all, to anyone, what the people working there wore — save for our coworkers sitting next to us, I guess.

In the summer, the office was badly air-conditioned and could turn into a sauna, basically. So, some of my male coworkers showed up in shorts and sandals. (I’m female.)

Manager: “You cannot dress like that.”

Male Coworker: “Why not?”

Manager: “It’s unprofessional, and it goes against our dress code: long pants and closed-toed shoes only. We have a basic uniform for a reason.”

The “uniform” consisted of a T-shirt or polo with the company logo and black dress pants or skirts for female employees.

The male coworkers read over the terms of the dress code, and of course, nowhere did it mention that the skirts were only for female employees.

So… for the next three or four shifts, almost all male employees showed up in skirts.

Headquarters were a bit confused when the order for new uniforms came in, seeing as only two women worked there and would need skirts, but they fulfilled the order and sent the skirts. The call centre was now populated by mostly very burly, bearded men in skirts, and I loved [Manager]’s face when he stared them all down. By the way, I chose to wear long pants because I hate skirts and was suffering in the heat, as well.

Manager: “This is unacceptable! You’re going against the dress code and making a mockery of it!”

Male Coworkers: “We’re actually not. Read it yourself.”

Manager: “Then I will add it to the dress code!”

He tried, but he found out that changes like that would have to go through higher levels, and the people at that level were not at all happy to hear about chances of “sexual discrimination” and similar things simply because of a few skirts.

The end of the story? The company decided to add the option of shorts to their uniform, which most of the male employees happily accepted, as did I. However, two of my male coworkers kept wearing the skirts because they’d found them to be far more comfortable.

[Manager] absolutely hated it.

A Storm Of Protest, Part 4

, , , , , | Right | April 25, 2023

It’s a Thursday night. There is a terrible winter storm that started around noon and could end up dumping several feet of snow on us by Friday night. By 5:00 pm, about half the staff has had to call off because the roads are unsafe, and the staff that is working is getting worried about getting home safely because it’s the opening night of a big movie, and we won’t be able to leave until after midnight since the last show goes in at 11:00 pm — especially several staff members who have to rely on rideshares and cabs.

By 6:00 pm, it’s terrible outside, and we’re being inundated with calls from customers asking if they can bring their tickets in on a later date to see the movie since they don’t want to drive. We’re obviously saying yes because nobody should be out in the weather.

By 6:45 pm, roughly 90% of the tickets we have sold have been canceled online or over the phone. Around 7:00 pm, my manager talks to his boss and is given the go-ahead to cancel every show after 7:45 pm so the staff can try to get home safely and only a manager will have to stay, especially since there are essentially no people coming into those times anyway due to the weather.

We stick signs up on every single door explaining that we’re closed due to the weather, and alerts are sent out online to anyone who still had tickets.

Right as we’re about to lock doors around 8:00 pm, a car pulls up into the parking lot, sliding all over the place in the snow and slush for a solid minute, losing control several times. A guy in his forties gets out and wanders in, COVERED in snow from the thirty seconds he was outside, ignoring all of the signs on the door. He wanders up to the box office, where my coworker is in the process of closing out the register.

Customer: “I’m gonna need four tickets to the 11:00 pm [New Release].”

Employee: “Unfortunately, we are actually closing in just a minute due to the weather. The conditions are terrible outside, and we’ve had to cancel the rest of the shows for the night so the staff can try to get home safely.”

Customer: “Oh, f*** you! I drove in just fine! It’s nothing! My kids need to see [New Release] tonight!”

I almost laugh at the “I drove in just fine! It’s nothing!”, as we literally just saw him nearly spin out about a half-dozen times just trying to park in a near-empty lot.

Employee: “Unfortunately, sir, the call has already been made, and I cannot sell you tickets for that showtime. They’ve even removed it from the schedule.”

Customer: “Well, I’m seeing [New Release] tonight at 11:00.”

Employee: “Uh, no, sir, you are not.”

Customer: *Narrowing his eyes and growling* “I ain’t leaving until you sell me tickets, f***-o!”

Employee: “Sorry, but I literally cannot do that.”

Customer: “Manager! Now!”

My coworker leaves to get a manager. The guy turns and looks at me and gives me a look and a shrug as though I’d agree with him.

Customer: “Stupid f****** kid can’t sell me tickets. Can ya believe it?”

Me: “Well, yeah, because we’re closing in a minute due to the weather.”

Customer: “Oh, for f***’s sake? You, too?!”

He begins ranting under his breath. About thirty seconds later, my manager walks up to him, while a supervisor walks by and begins locking the front doors, which makes them one-way — you can get out but you can’t get in.

Manager: “Yeah, we’re officially closed now. We can’t sell you tickets.”

Customer: “I ain’t steppin’ one foot out of this theater until you sell me a f****** ticket. My kids need to see [New Release] tonight!”

Manager: “You’re seriously going to bring your kids to see a movie at 11:00 pm on a school night in the middle of a horrible winter storm? Get out of my theater, please.”

Customer: “Hmmph!”

The customer turned and stormed back outside, and we watched him awkwardly try to drive away, at one point losing control and ending up halfway over a small curb. He finally made it out of the parking lot after another thirty seconds of awkwardly trying to correct his car and sliding more than once.

We got our closing duties done in record time and were all set to leave by 8:40 pm. It normally takes me about ten minutes to get a rideshare and another ten minutes to get home… but that night, it took me nearly thirty minutes to get a rideshare due to the lack of drivers and about another thirty minutes to get home because we couldn’t take a lot of the roads and had to drive at a snail’s pace the entire time.

A Storm Of Protest, Part 3
A Storm Of Protest, Part 2
A Storm Of Protest

Weathering A Boss Like This Is A Challenge

, , , , | Working | April 24, 2023

I have another story from That Library In Ohio, where this story and this story happened, among others.

It’s a frigid winter day, and we are in the middle of getting hammered by a blizzard. I get up early and attempt to shovel my driveway. The snow is about two feet deep at this point, and it takes three shovelfuls of snow just to clear a one-foot-by-one-foot square to the concrete. I constantly check my phone while I work, figuring it’s only a matter of time before the library closes due to the weather. Every single local school in the area has long since closed; some did last night.

Instead, I (and the rest of the library staff) get an email from our director. 

Director: “I just drove into work, and I was able to do it fine. Since I could do it, you can all do it. The library will remain open so the children have a place to go today. I expect everyone to arrive promptly for their shifts.”

I let out some very library-inappropriate language. There was a travel advisory out for the whole county. Plus, I had just reached the end of my driveway. The plows hadn’t even been down my road ONCE. There were two feet of snow down the entire residential street until the main road. No one else had attempted to drive it; there was not a single tire tread to be seen. And more snow is falling by the moment.

Maybe it was possible for [Director] to get to work. She had a massive SUV beast of a machine with four-wheel drive. The vast majority of the rest of us, me included, drove little sedans. It was about all we could afford. You don’t get rich working at a library — unless you’re a director.

At this point, I just propped my shovel against the siding, took a picture of my street, and contacted my immediate boss. I told her it was literally impossible for me to leave my residence right now. The snow in the road was EVEN WITH MY CAR DOOR. Even if I had left right then, between the roads and likely getting stranded, I never would have made it in time for my shift. 

(It’s worth mentioning that [Director] was also the type of boss who would write us up for being one single second late clocking in. She made it so difficult that I have multiple accounts from coworkers who realized they were going to be late while en route to their shift and simply turned around, went home, and called off sick because there was less backlash for doing so.)

This might be the only time my immediate boss supported my decision. But perhaps she knew I would have contacted the union over safety issues had she tried to force me to come in.

I wasn’t the only one. [Director]’s inbox was immediately flooded with messages from my coworkers who were in similar situations to mine and simply could not physically get to the library at all. [Director] wound up having to close for the day, not because of the weather (her words) but because she didn’t have enough staff to open the building.

Moving On To Greeter Things
Look Up Some Books On Work/Life Balance

Not Sure Whether We Can Weather This Weather

, , , , , , , | Friendly | April 22, 2023

I took a vacation to Greece with my long-time girlfriend. The weather report that morning said they were expecting partly cloudy skies and isolated rain showers, so we just decided to meander through the oceanfront shops, darting inside if things got wet.

A break in the clouds came, and we went to the port to just look out on the ocean and enjoy a little “us time”. We were talking and laughing about minor stuff and took a moment (or several) to kiss. 

When the kiss ended, a flash caught my attention. I turned out toward the water and saw some strange and very colorful lightning strikes on the open sea. They were in multiple colors — something I have never seen before. Some were red, some were purple, some were yellow, some were green, etc. 

On the land, it suddenly became very calm: no wind, just dead still. But what had been light and some slightly darker clouds had very abruptly turned black as night. 

I’m no weather expert, but when the skies do things you’ve never seen before, that’s usually a sign to relocate. Deciding surviving was the better part of valor, we hurried back to the car and drove away from the shore.

We decided to take just a few minutes to stop at a supermarket to get a few small things. We figured we were ahead of the storm enough to grab local snacks and spend the rest of the day snug and warm at the hotel. The skies were still blue above us when we jogged inside, so we figured fifteen minutes was a harmless span of time.

When we exited the supermarket, a wind started blowing and a slight rain started pouring. We hurried to the car and aimed for the hotel, still figuring we were okay and that we just needed to get there and be done with the day. Maybe we’d admit that we shouldn’t have stopped if we wanted to avoid getting soaked, shrug, and make a mental note for next time. The weather reports just said “rain showers”. The local people lived in a Mediterranean climate; surely they knew about the weather around here and their weather channel would have given us a severe weather warning? Surely.

Only two streets down, with the hotel literally in sight, the storm hit, and it hit hard!

I could barely drive due to the amount of water that was flooding the roads within seconds. The wind went from blowing to roaring like a tornado. Trees literally shredded and branches took flight. Suddenly, a metal table hit my car from the back, breaking the back window. My girlfriend screamed, and I’m pretty sure I was inventing new four-letter words as the interior of the car got soaked and my girlfriend’s hair started whipping around. Then, a large pot took flight lessons. I bless every engineer who built that vehicle because it had a reinforced windshield. The pot hit the driver’s side right about level with my face and wrecked the glass, but it didn’t shatter it.

I remembered what the street looked like and started driving by heart; the clouds had turned the afternoon into midnight and none of the buildings or streetlights were lit, which meant the power had been knocked out. I managed to turn into a garage, and we took refuge there along with several other vehicles that had gotten the same idea.

The storm raged for fifteen minutes, with random objects (including a street barricade or two) being flung in to join us. Everyone looked shellshocked inside their vehicles, lit only by headlights and interior vehicle lights. Just twenty minutes before, it had been 32C (a bit below 90F) outside with a clear sky. Now we were experiencing what felt like a hurricane, but literally, no one had gotten a warning from the forecast.

When everything calmed down, people started to get out of their cars and approach other vehicles’ windows with first aid kits to see if everyone was all right.

We later learned that a freak squall — a sudden, sharp increase in wind speed — had formed off the coast due to the very warm day and the cooling showers. It had dragged the rain along with it and had just gone crazy in the local area.

My girlfriend (now wife) was all right, as was I, other than being shaken, wet, and frazzled. Oh, and yeah, the car was totaled, but thankfully, the place we rented it from didn’t hold us responsible.

It just goes to show you how unpredictable weather can be, despite the best efforts of the experts.

Cents-lessly Arguing Over The Cost, Part 3

, , , , , , , | Right | April 21, 2023

A customer comes into the store looking outraged.

Customer: “My service was down all day yesterday!”

Me: “We had a hurricane yesterday, and it damaged some of the network. We were able to get it up and running again after twelve hours.”

Customer: “This is unacceptable! I am paying for a service, and you did not provide that service! I want a credit!”

I check their account.

Me: “I see you’re on our Supersaver $12.99 a month plan.”

Customer: “That’s right.”

Me: *With a calculator* “Okay. September has thirty days, so that’s 720 hours. That comes to roughly 1.8 cents per hour, or 21.65 cents for the whole twelve-hour outage.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “Would you like that as a check, or shall I credit your bill for next month?”

Customer: “…”

Me: *Getting out a quarter* “I’ll tell you what. Since you’re such a loyal and understanding customer, we’ll credit you for a few more hours and you can take this entire quarter!”

The customer just walked out without saying another word. I love being the manager.

Cents-lessly Arguing Over The Cost, Part 2
Cents-lessly Arguing Over The Cost

If you think this cheap customer is bad we have another 10 Crazy Stories About Customers Demanding Refunds For The Most Insane Reasons!