Where There’s Smoke, There’s Incompetence  

, , , , , , | Working | November 14, 2019

(I work at my college bookstore. We’re a central location and people often come to ask for assistance not related to the bookstore. I am working on my own when this happens, but two of my coworkers are there killing time between classes.)

Student: “Uh, hey, you know that cigarette thing outside? I think it’s on fire.”

Me: *thinking this is outside my pay grade* “Oh, okay, thanks. I’ll call someone.”

(After conferring with my coworkers and peeking out the window, we determine it is a small, manageable fire at the bottom of one of those tall ashtrays )

Coworker: “Okay, I have a bottle of water. We’ll go put it out while you watch the store”

(My two coworkers then proceed to run full speed out of the store screaming:) 

Coworkers: “WEE WOO! WEE WOO! OFFICIAL BOOKSTORE FIRE DEPARTMENT BUSINESS! WATCH OUT!”

(I watch out the window as they empty the water bottle into the smoldering cigarette bin and a huge cloud of smoke erupts out of it)

Coworkers: *running back in, panicked* “Oh, God, I think we made it worse. This is not okay!

Me: “Uh, yeah, it may be time to hang up your fireman’s hat. I’m going to call maintenance…”

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