Who Doesn’t Love Unsolicited Advice?

, , , , , | Working | January 1, 2021

I recently got a job at a dealership. It has quickly become apparent that one of my coworkers is going to be a problem. I was hired to replace a cashier that was moving to a different state, and this coworker fills in while I finish my last two weeks at my old job. There are only two cashiers on any given day: one in the morning and one in the evening.

I am not that good at confrontations, especially in situations like this where I’m trying to learn.

On my first day, the official trainer can’t train me because she’s the accountant and she has to do her end-of-the-month stuff. Apparently, the problem coworker thought I would be by myself the next morning — my second day — and was upset when she was told she had to work the morning cashier shift because she hates being a cashier.

I’m scheduled at 2:30, but I punch in around 2:20 and head to my station, which is basically a locked room with plexiglass at the counter with only a small opening to pass things through. The problem coworker is there.

Coworker: “What time were you supposed to get here?”

Me: “Two-thirty. I know I’m a little early. I’m still waiting for [Trainer].”

Coworker: “That’s the problem with twenty-somethings. They don’t know how to get anywhere on time. You should always be here fifteen or twenty minutes early. We open at seven, so you should be set up and ready to go at seven.” 

I anxiously wait for the trainer to arrive. When she still hasn’t arrived by 2:50, I start to wonder if she forgot she was training me today.

Me: “I wonder where [Trainer] is.”

Coworker: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Do you have her number to call her?”

Coworker: “No. I don’t get anybody’s number and no one has mine. [Dealership] isn’t paying for my phone, so nothing work-related is going on it. If I need to call out, I know the number for the dealership. And you’ll never see me on my phone while I’m at work. My family knows to call here if there’s an emergency and they need to get a hold of me.”

Thankfully, a manager walks by a few minutes later and calls the trainer for me. She is stuck in traffic and finally shows up an hour late. I go about my day and the trainer asks if I’m comfortable doing the morning shift by myself the next day. I do agree to try the morning shift after being reassured that I don’t really do anything until about nine or ten, and the trainer will be in around 9:45.

The next morning, I show up at 6:50 and start my opening tasks. By 7:15, I’ve finished everything and I’m scrolling through Facebook on my phone when guess who shows up? The coworker thought that once again she would be the morning cashier. She offers to stay with me, and while I’m glad to not be alone, I wish I was with anyone else. I decide not to point out that she was the one ranting about how you should always be twenty minutes early when she herself was fifteen minutes late.

I get a transaction around eight. The money-taking part is easy; it’s logging the money properly that I’m not fully comfortable with, but I have notes and I start to do it the way I was trained.

Coworker: “Okay, stop what you’re doing. You’re doing it wrong. Don’t listen to the twenty-somethings; they don’t know what they’re doing. They make things way more complicated than they need to be.” 

Me: “But this is how [Trainer] and [Other Cashier] showed me how to do it.”

Coworker: “Trust me, I’m sixty-something. I’ve been around way longer than they have. How old are you anyway?”

Me: “Twenty-six.”

Coworker: “You’re older than I thought.”

I get this a lot. Most people think I’m nineteen to twenty-two.

Coworker: “Anyway, the only thing the twenty-somethings are good at is Excel. I’m assuming you know how to use Excel.”

Me: “Yes.”

I’m thinking to myself that I’m a business major and had to take a computer class for business majors where 80% of the assignments were based around Excel, but she starts ranting again. I mostly tune her out at this point.

A little while later, we’re bored with nothing to do.

Coworker: “Let’s scan some documents. I know [Former Cashier that moved away] would scan sometimes in the mornings when it’s slow.”

Me: “I don’t know how to do that. They didn’t show me.”

Coworker: “Well, it’s not rocket science. All you do is push some buttons.”

I’m thinking, “It may as well be rocket science since I don’t know what I’m doing because it’s only my third day!” She shows me how to scan old documents into the computer. While I do that, a worker from another department waves hello as he passes. I would estimate that about 40-50% of the workers at the dealership speak both English and Spanish. The worker who waves is Hispanic, and I acknowledge him through the plexiglass barricade.

Coworker: “Yeah, that’s [Hispanic Coworker]. He’s nice, but his spelling is atrocious. I keep saying that if people would just learn to speak proper, then there wouldn’t be as many spelling errors in the world. Most words are spelled like they sound. I mean, [Other Coworker] always says, ‘idear,’ instead of, ‘idea.’ It’s spelled like it sounds. Like, people from Boston don’t speak proper.”

I mentally bang my head into the desk and resist the urge to say, “Okay, boomer,” and risk getting fired after only three days. I have to listen to her rant about grammar, twenty-somethings, how the other cashier doesn’t keep anything in a “logical place,” and how to properly file things — something else the other cashier apparently doesn’t know how to do “correctly” — for another hour and a half until the trainer comes in to check on me. I am honestly so horrified at some of the things I hear that I don’t know how to respond.

I pray for customers to come so she will shut up for a few minutes. When I do have customers, she watches me like a hawk and makes me super nervous, but she makes sure I logged everything “the right way.” As soon as the trainer comes in to check on me around ten, the problem coworker leaves.

Trainer: “I am so sorry you had to be stuck with her all morning. Everybody kind of hates her, but we can’t get rid of her. Do you need help with anything?”

Me: “Yes. Help me undo everything. She was having me do stuff all out of order, and she had me separate the receipts from the invoices, and I don’t know what I’m doing anymore.”

The trainer helps me get organized and settled. Thankfully, there isn’t too much to do, and she tells me to page her if I need anything. I manage to get into a rhythm and I’m feeling more confident. A while later, the problem coworker stops by.

Coworker: “How are you doing?”

Me: “Good…” *waits for her to leave* “…now that you aren’t here.”

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