Coworker Relations Can Give You Whiplash

, , , , , | Working | July 12, 2020

Years ago, I had a temp job working alongside another guy and he and I hit it off extremely well. We were direct coworkers for three months and I was certain I had made a new lifetime friend. Each day was filled with tons of laughing, both of us saying, “Me, too!” a lot, and great moral and professional support when it came to the job at hand. I even indirectly caused him to meet the woman that would become his wife — a fact he pointed out and thanked me for more than once.

After the three months of that temp job, we each moved to different roles in the same large company and kept in moderately-frequent contact, like instant message chats once or twice a week and lunch roughly once a month. But when I tried to “take the next step” and move the friendship outside of the workplace, like drinks after work or inviting him and his then-girlfriend over for dinner with my wife and me, he would always have something in the way, or would agree under only specific conditions that didn’t work for me, and when I would mention that, he’d respond, “Some other time, then!”

It was around then that I started to notice that our lunches and chats were almost always ones that he initiated. Most of the time when I’d come to him, I would get silence or an odd and awkward coldness. 

After a little over a year of this, he moved on to a different company and, save seeing him pop up in my newsfeed on The Social Network once in a while — normal stuff, for the record; hanging out with friends, “liking” a funny video, his destination wedding — I expected to have no contact with him ever again. 

However, almost two years after he left, I saw him in a restaurant when I was out to lunch. I was still working for the same company. I expected the encounter to be a cordial “Nice to see you! How is the wife?”, to tell him about me having had a kid a year ago, and then to go our separate ways. But he was super excited to see me, gave me a huge guy hug, and was exploding with excitement when I told him about my kid. It was odd, given the history we had, but it was still nice to have that kind of interaction with someone.

He’d taken a new position with my company, so it would be easy to be in contact again, but I was already long past thinking this would be a long-term, meaningful friendship. I stayed friendly with him but kept from reaching out to him too much, since I’d learned before that wasn’t a preferred move. Every once in a while, we’d chat in instant messaging, and we maybe even had lunch once or twice, but after about six months, he found another job and was gone, and it was back to zero contact again.

Another year went by and I’d been laid off from my job a month after my second child was born. As you may imagine, it was a stressful and scary time. I would be unemployed a total of four and a half months, but about two months into it, I was at a job fair and ran into his wife who was running a booth! We said hello, I asked about him, and I told her about my growing family. She was as friendly as could be, was happy for me, and let me know that her husband was working for a company that I had unsuccessfully interviewed with several years earlier. I was still interested in that company, and she encouraged me to reach out to him on [job-focused social media website] about open positions there. So I did.

He and I corresponded in messages on social media. He was very enthusiastic to hear from me, I caught him up some on my personal life and my situation, and when I told him what open roles I’d seen at his company that seemed interesting to me, he actually encouraged me to apply for a specific one because it was connected to his role and he thought it would be a good fit for me. 

Excited about this opportunity that presented itself, I asked if I could use him as a reference and also asked if he’d be willing to look over my resume and cover letter when I got them done to offer any feedback. 

He didn’t reply. 

I chose to hold off for a day to hear from him and got my resume and cover letter ready in the meantime. When I didn’t hear back in over twenty-four hours, I tried messaging again, not wanting to wait too long to get my resume in for consideration. A third day came, and by the latter half of the day, I’d still not heard back from him. I messaged a third time, trying not to panic, dropping the “Can you review my resume?” request and focusing on the reference piece only.

He replied within an hour this time, and said, “Hey, [My Name]. Look, I have a job to do and I can’t spend all day chatting with you on [Website]. You can apply to that position if you really want to but please don’t mention my name. I’ve stuck my neck out too many times for people and it has come around to burn me.”

I felt my stomach drop through the floor as I watched an amazing prospective opportunity crumble right in front of me. The refusal of a reference was certainly a death sentence for application with this company, but the thing that stung the most was the insinuation that I was trying to “chat with him all day” on social media and not respect that he had a job to do. I can handle a lot of things, but being accused of being unprofessional when I’d done everything in my power to remain professional just dug at me.

I submitted my application so it would count toward my job search requirements for unemployment benefits but expected to hear nothing and did hear nothing — even after trying to reach out to HR to confirm receipt of my paperwork. The posting for the job on their website disappeared two days later. 

I made no further attempts in the last two years to make any contact with him and even went so far as to unfriend him on social media. I ended up getting a job a couple of months later that I’ve been at since.

I look on the whole experience now with bewilderment because of how contradictory his behavior was and I’m honestly a tiny bit nervous about running into him again in the future, because I feel it’d be pretty awkward as he’d likely approach me with the enthusiasm of a long-lost friend, and I’d probably just play along to get through it.

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I Think We’ve Identified The Problem

, , , , , | Working | July 11, 2020

I am only fourteen, coming back home after visiting my dad, with only enough money to pay for my bus ticket and a meal. Student cards are only given out after school pictures have been taken.

Me: “One ticket to [Town], please. And I’m a student.”

I show him my student card.

Teller: “That’s from last year. You need this year’s student card.”

Me: “But, my school only took pictures a couple of weeks ago. We don’t have this year’s card yet.”

Teller: “No, pictures were taken two months ago. You should have your card by now. If you don’t have this year’s card, you’re a dropout and need to pay full price.”

Me: “We didn’t get our pictures taken until just a couple weeks ago. We haven’t gotten our new IDs yet.”

Teller: *yelling* “No! Pictures were taken two months ago! You are a dropout and you have to pay full price!

Me: “Pictures were only two weeks ago! We haven’t gotten our new IDs yet!”

Teller: “If you don’t want to pay for your ticket, then get out of my line and let me serve an actual customer!”

I paid full price for my ticket, using my food money to cover it. Thanks to him, I went twelve straight hours without eating anything. My new ID didn’t arrive for another three weeks.

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Put This Promotion And The Employees On Ice

, , , , , | Working | July 10, 2020

I am at a convenience store. They have a promo where, when you fill a certain size cup with ice, then HOT coffee, and then cream as you like, it is only 99 cents. Some locations do this; THIS particular location stopped early.

I don’t know what side of the rock this employee woke up on, but apparently, it was the wrong one. We have this pleasant exchange:

Employee #1: “Hey, this is ICED COFFEE!”

They also sell a brand of ready-made iced coffee. It’s too sweet for me and it’s very expensive!

Me: “Actually, it’s just regular coffee with creamer in it.”

Employee #1: “No, no, no. This is iced coffee. You have to use special cups! They’re a different price!”

I’m getting a bit irritated at this point.

Me: “Actually, when you fill a [branded soft drink size] with ice, and then coffee, it’s only 99 cents.”

Employee #1: “Hmm, no. This is iced coffee and you’re going to have to pay full price.”

The “full price” is close to $3.00!

Me: “I was here two days ago and there was no problem. Now, all of a sudden, there’s some kind of problem?”

Employee #1: “Nope. We don’t do that.”

Employee #2: “Yeah, you have to pay a different price.”

I then notice the signs from the promo; they are stashed atop a shelf in the back. It dawns on me…

Employee #1: “Yeah, we’ve done this. But I’ll do this for you just this one time! After that, you pay full price.

I hand him my phone with the [Convenience Store] app to scan — Buy any six drinks, get a seventh free! — and he reaches over to scan my phone, but then drops his hand suddenly and looks at me, rather angry.

Five whole seconds pass with silence until [Employee #1] SIGHS with exasperation.

Me: “What? Did something happen?”

Employee #1: *Sigh* “Look at your phone.”

Somehow another screen had popped up.

Would it have killed the guy to tell me that their promo had ended? Literally every other location did this except this one. Also, tell someone their phone’s screen messed up instead of making them guess!

I walked out of there vowing to never go back to that location. The next day, I went to a location twice as far away; they still have my iced coffee! Happy day!

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Don’t Be Chicken About Jamming On

, , , , , , , | Working | July 10, 2020

At our store, we get a lot of Spanish-speaking customers, so my coworker decides he wants to learn to say a few things in Spanish.

Coworker: “So, I already know the word for chicken is ‘pollo,’ but what’s the word for turkey?”

Me: “‘Pavo.'”

Coworker: “And what’s the word for ham?”

Me: “‘Jamon.'”

Coworker: “C’mon?”

Me: “No, ‘jamon.'”

Coworker: “Gum on?”

Me: “Noooo…”

I write it down on a piece of paper for him.

Coworker: “Hah, ‘jam on’! That’s so cool!”

Me: “Jam on?”

Coworker: *Doing air guitar* “Yeah, it’s like, JAM ON, BRO! WHOO!”

He stuck his tongue out like Gene Simmons, raised his right arm, and made a “devil horns” gesture while grabbing his crotch with the other hand.

I just facepalmed.

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And With A Mighty Swish, The Heroic Cashier Saved The Day

, , , , , | Working | July 10, 2020

I’m reporting myself here.

I rushed to the store the other night, in a bit of a panic since they weren’t too far from closing and I needed a few things urgently. After quickly grabbing my things, I got to the cash register and the cashier started ringing through my items. It was at that moment that I realized I’d left my wallet at home.

As someone who suffers from social anxiety, I felt myself getting panicky as I asked the cashier if it was possible to suspend my transaction so I could run home and get my wallet. I figured that if I ran carefully on the icy roads, I might make it back in time before they closed, but I was feeling the anxiety build and my entire body was shaking.

That’s when the cashier took a look at the time, took a look at me, and asked me if I had Swish, a Swedish mobile app to transfer money instantly. I nodded yes since at this point I was fighting tears. They immediately whipped out their wallet, paid for my groceries, gave me their number and the total, and asked me to just transfer the money to them. I pulled my phone out and did so while thanking them profusely with my breathing finally going back to normal.

I’ve always talked about how much I hate living in a tiny town, but at times like this, I’m grateful for it; the cashier most likely saved me because he’s seen me pretty much every single week for the past five years. I’ve got nothing but gratitude to that cashier who helped me out when it would have been well within his right to deny me service and ask me to sort payment out some other way.

Thank you, cashier, for rescuing an anxious and panicky girl in her thirties and restoring some of her faith in humanity.

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