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A Blizzard Of Karma

, , , , , | Working | May 26, 2021

I’m the general manager at a recently opened sports bar. Most of the staff there are great people to work with, but the owner is a selfish woman who constantly puts her own interests ahead of everyone else’s.

A major snowstorm expected to bring upwards of two feet of snow is headed our way, and the day that it is forecast to hit our area just so happens to be the same day that the owner is holding a mandatory meeting for all staff. Still, considering how serious the storm is — a state of emergency has been declared, in fact — I decide to talk to the owner about it near the end of my shift before I go home.

Me: “Are you sure you want to hold the meeting on Saturday? Aren’t you worried about the blizzard?”

Owner: “So what? It’s just a snowstorm. I’m holding the meeting as scheduled, and everyone is expected to attend.”

Me: “It’s not just a snowstorm; it’s a blizzard.”

Owner: “Same difference.”

Me: “It’s expected to bring over two feet of snow! Can’t you hold it on another day? It’s going to be too dangerous to drive through those conditions! H***, they even declared a state of—”

Owner: “You’re lucky that I like you enough to not fire you for insubordination right now. The meeting is going to go forward; I don’t care what the circumstances are. No more questions, no more talking. Finish what you were doing and then you can go home. I expect to see you here Saturday.”

I know I’m not going to win this argument so I just finish my duties, clock out, and leave. The fact that the owner is refusing to reschedule the meeting despite the imminent blizzard is bad enough. Even though my car is more than capable of handling the snow, the six-mile commute is too much to go through in the coming conditions for a one-hour meeting. Then, on Friday, the day before the storm, I get this email from the owner.

Owner’s Email: “Attention all staff: the upcoming staff meeting will take place as scheduled at 7:00 am on [date of the storm]. Attendance is mandatory, and anyone who fails or refuses to attend will be fired. No exceptions, no excuses. Period.”

Great. Now I have no choice but to risk it if I want to keep my job. I make sure to get up and leave earlier than usual the following morning. The snow is already several inches deep by the time I get out the door and is still coming down heavily, so I have to drive extremely carefully. The drive ends up being a nightmare; not only am I driving at much less than the normal speed, but visibility is minimal, to say nothing of the numerous road closures forcing me to take several detours, some very far out of the way.

Miraculously, I arrive less than a minute late, despite all the snowy shenanigans. When I walk in, the only other people there are the owner, five servers, two bartenders, and the cook. Out of twenty-five people on the staff roster, only ten showed up to the meeting.

The meeting itself? It ends up being just an hour of the owner essentially patting herself on the back for a “job well done” during the high volumes we got for the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl, without ever mentioning our efforts. After the meeting ends, the owner pulls me aside. She has a writeup in her hand.

Owner: “Sign this.”

Me: “What?”

Owner: “You have a lot of nerve talking to me about this meeting the way you did the other day and then showing up late for it.”

My jaw drops.

Me: “You’re kidding me! I was only a minute late! You’re lucky I even made it here in the conditions outside!”

Owner: “Doesn’t matter. Late is still late. Any other employee would have been fired. Sign the writeup. Now.”

Me: “I don’t get it. I literally risk life and limb driving through a blizzard to sit through a whole hour of you taking all the credit for the hard work we did, and you seriously have the audacity to write me up for being one minute late? One minute?

Owner: “You watch your mouth, young lady, or you’re gonna be out of a job!”

Me: “Then I will save you the trouble: I quit! I’m not going to continue working for an egotistical, narcissistic b**** who cares more about her image than she does about her employees!”

I then tore the writeup in half, handed her my nametag out of my purse, flipped her off, and walked out the door. I would have driven home, but the road conditions by this point were simply too dangerous. One of the bartenders who attended the meeting and was good friends with me ended up offering to let me stay at her apartment just across the street until the storm died down. I agreed, and we watched movies together for about eight hours until the roads were cleared enough for me to return home safely.

According to my bartender friend, the owner really did carry out her threat in the email and fired everyone who didn’t show up. This included most of the bartenders, the assistant manager, and the entire kitchen staff except for the cook. When the cook brought this up with the owner, she simply fired him, too, for questioning her authority. This resulted in the bar closing down temporarily because there were not enough staff to open it.

Before she could even start hiring replacements, the assistant manager, the cook, and several of the other fired employees brought a lawsuit against her for wrongful termination. Not only did they win their suit thanks to the owner’s email, but the cook also brought to light the fact that she never paid any of the people who did attend the meeting. Suddenly, the Department of Labor took an interest in her business practices.

I don’t know what they dug up in their investigation, but whatever it was proved to be the killing blow, and by the time hockey playoffs started, the bar’s temporary closure had become permanent. From what I heard, the owner had to sell several of her possessions and move out of her house to cover the legal fees and damages from the lawsuit, the fines from the Department of Labor, and the back pay she had to give to everyone who went to the meeting. I haven’t seen or spoken to her since then, but if she would’ve just taken my advice to postpone that stupid meeting in the first place, she could’ve avoided the whole avalanche that came down on her business and reputation.

Irene-y Wish For Better Managers

, , , , | Working | May 24, 2021

In August of 2011, the east coast of the United States got hit by Hurricane Irene. While my city usually didn’t get hit too hard by these things, this time we had widespread power outages and trees down all over the place.

I called in to my job at [National Burger Chain] because I was new to driving and was nervous about trying to navigate through streets clogged with downed trees.

Manager: “Well, we need you to come in; we’re short-staffed.”

Lesson learned for next time: just say, “I can’t leave my neighborhood,” and hang up.

Sigh. So, I went in.

A couple of hours in, just before lunch started, we partially lost power. The freezers, coolers, and registers stopped working, but the managers decided that this wasn’t enough of a reason to close. After all, the fryers and other cooking appliances were somehow still working just fine.

We had to write out all the orders, using a calculator that only half-worked and a list of prices that was no longer accurate. Because we had to yell orders to the kitchen, we started directing all customers to order inside instead of in the drive-thru, so as not to overwhelm the kitchen. But then, the managers decided that for the entire lunch rush, we had to have both the drive-thru and front counter open. Because reasons, I guess.

This should have been my sign to quit, as it was extremely stressful with what amounted to a skeleton crew and half our tech not working. But no, not yet.

After my break, I returned to the front counter to help take orders. Since our registers weren’t working, I would frequently have to yell an announcement that we couldn’t accept credit cards — cash only. You can probably guess how many actually listened.

Just after one of my announcements, a man came up to the front counter.

Rude Customer: “Y’know, I could sue you for this!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sue us for what?”

Rude Customer: “If you’re open, you’re legally obligated to accept any form of currency that you’re given!”

Me: “Sir, the system isn’t working.”

Rude Customer: “Give me the number for your manager, the regional manager, the corporate manager, whoever. I need to tell them about you pulling this illegal s***!”

I was stressed and done with the nonsense.

Me: “I would call Hurricane Irene; it’s her fault.”

A girl standing next to him in line explained that she was a student in law school and warned him that we were not legally obligated to accept an impossible-to-accept form of currency.

Rude Customer: “I don’t care if you’re in law school! I know my rights!” 

He turned and stormed off.

Did I quit after that? Nope. I hadn’t broken yet.

Two days later, I headed in to start work and my coworker pulled me aside.

Coworker: “I wouldn’t get anything to eat here if I were you. They’re selling the stuff that thawed out in the freezers.”

I was struck speechless.

THAT’S when I quit!

I quietly turned around, walked back out the door, made a phone call, and calmly walked back to my car. The burger joint was closed the next day due to a health code violation, anonymously reported by a concerned employee.

Luckily, I applied to a local bank branch for a part-time teller position a few days later and got a phone interview, and then they set up a full interview a day later. A few hours after the interview, they called to let me know they wanted to hire me!

The burger joint is under completely new management.

This Teacher Is A Dark Spot On A Sunny Day

, , , , , | Learning | May 21, 2021

There’s an eclipse today and my entire class wants to see it. My maths teacher, however, is unwilling to let us out of class. Eventually, we stop begging permission and just rush out of class and start peering at the rapidly darkening sky.

We’re not the only ones; pretty much the entire school has crowded into the hallways and parade square to look at the sky.

Math Teacher: “All of you, back into class! What would [Principal] say if he saw you all?!”

My classmate then points down, into the parade square, where the principal is setting up the largest camera I’ve ever seen and pointing it into the sky, cheerfully and excitedly talking with some students.

Our math teacher lets out a scandalised sound of disbelief.

Math Teacher: “Disgraceful! The education system is going to the dogs!”

She then stomped off, leaving us to watch the eclipse in peace. It was amazing, the first anyone in school had ever seen. 

The principal’s photos later wound up as part of the school song music video.

It’s Okay; He Was A Red Shirt

, , , , , | Working | May 18, 2021

My area is under a weather advisory. I worked late and couldn’t get to the grocery store, and after clearing the driveway, neither my wife nor I want to cook. We figure the roads are good enough to order delivery and tip generously. Then, I get a call from the delivery company.

Employee: “I’m calling from [Company] to let you know that your driver has experienced an emergency and cannot fulfill the delivery. Would you like a refund or for someone else to be sent out?”

Me: “If the first driver had an emergency, how can I ask someone else to try? I’ll take a refund.”

Employee: “Don’t worry; there was no issue with your address. The driver just had an accident.”

I felt so terrible for the driver, but who says something like that as if it makes it okay? I wasn’t sure if he was just doing his script, so I didn’t want to chew him out. I just repeated that I wanted the refund because I couldn’t ask another person to try.

Downpour Results In Downtimes

, , , , , , , | Friendly | May 12, 2021

We’re visiting a theme park that features two new rides, one of which consistently has a queue time of at least three hours all day. Since we’re in Orlando for three weeks, we figure we’ll just try again another day.

Fast forward two weeks and our efforts so far have been in vain. The queue just refuses to ever dip down below the three-hour mark no matter what we do. We’ve pretty much resigned ourselves to either not going on it at all or just sucking it up and losing the three hours.

On our penultimate visit to the park, we are at the complete opposite end of the park when a bout of tremendously heavy rain starts and, not being the sort of people to get upset about being wet, we decide we may as well quick-march over and see if people got rained out of the queue.

Nearing our destination, we see a family of five huddled under a tree frantically extracting ponchos from a backpack. This family looks at the pair of us marching through this downpour like we’ve grown extra heads. We just shrug and say, “British.”

The family laughs and nods in understanding and we carry on our way. We find a forty-minute queue which we happily jump in. We’re completely dried out by the time we’re halfway through it. Success!