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!

The Rains Of Karma

, , , , | Right | July 10, 2018

(I am employed as a baggage handler at a small bus stop for interregional buses. There is a two-hour stop for one of the more popular routes. Customers can leave as many bags as they want with me for $2, so they can get something to eat and explore the town while waiting for their bus. On this particular day it is pouring with rain. The customer throws his two large duffel bags at me and starts to walk away.)

Me: “Excuse me; it’s $2 to store your bags.”

Customer: “And?”

Me: “If you don’t pay, I’ll have to leave your bags outside, and it’s raining quite heavily today.”

Customer: “You listen to me. This service should be part of my bus fare, and I am not giving you a single cent. My bags had better be with you when I return, or you’re not going to like what happens next.”

(He then stormed off, ignoring my warning. I picked up his bags and took them outside, The bus station was well-known for not having any outside shelter, so I left his bags where no one would trip over them, but still in the rain. He wound up coming back just when his bus was about to leave, and saw his bags sitting outside. I could tell he wanted to talk to me but couldn’t risk missing his bus. He picked up his bags and it was like a waterfall with all the water coming out if them. I never heard from him again. Thing is, if he had polite, I would have stored his bags for free, given how bad the weather was.)

A Tornado Of Confusion

, , , , | Right | July 5, 2018

(There is a tornado warning at the museum where I work.)

Me: “Your attention, please! There is a tornado warning for this area. Repeat: a tornado has been spotted in the area. Please come inside the building for your safety.”

Guest #1: “Do you think I can make it to the mansion before then?”

Me: “Sir, tornadoes are unpredictable. I advise you come inside the building immediately.”

Guest #1: “Well, is it open?”

Guest #2: “Can I bring my lunch?”

Me: “Yes, we’d just like you to come inside for your safety for the time being.”

Guest #3: “Where is the tornado?”

Me: “I don’t know. Please come inside the building, as one has been sighted in the area.”

Guest #4: “Can I go in there?” *points to the restaurant*

Me: “Sir, that’s a glass building. It’s not safe in case of a tornado.”

(After the warning lapses and I’ve gotten as many people inside safely as I could, it is then my job to go around telling people it is safe to leave, and also to enforce the food and drink rules. At this point, my voice is hoarse, and people have convinced me they have all the wrong priorities. Then, this conversation ensues:)

Me: “Hi, miss. The tornado warning is now over. Would you please leave your food and drink at the front desk?”

Guest #5: “NO! No, I paid eight dollars for this sandwich, and I’m keeping it with me! After I was herded in here?! NO, I won’t leave it at the desk. It’s my sandwich and I’m taking it with me!”

Me: “That was me, and I asked you to come in because there was a tornado in the area. It was for your safety. The warning is over, and now we have to protect the collection, but you’ll get it back when you leave.”

Guest #5: “Well, I’m not leaving it! So, if you tell me to leave it, I’m going to go!”

Me: “Okay.”

(The lady was only about ten feet from the desk. She stomped off, sandwich in hand.)

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