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Bad boss and coworker stories

A Tale Of Two Interns… And Then A Couple More

, , , , , | Working | January 20, 2022

The company I work at recently hired an intern through a recruitment agency. He’s been doing great, although he has had a number of IT issues. These issues prompted one of my colleagues who had been at the company for a while to tell those of us who weren’t there at the time about another time the company used a recruitment agency to hire an intern.

It started out normally enough. Human Resources provided the agency with the details of the job, and the agency told HR to expect [Intern #1], providing them with his details so our IT guys could get everything set up for him and his induction could go smoothly. The morning he was supposed to start, however, he called in to say he wouldn’t be able to start until the next day. The next morning, he called in to say he was feeling unwell and wouldn’t be able to come in that day, either. The morning after that, he had to spend the whole day at the hospital because of a medical emergency involving a family member. And so it continued, with each morning bringing a new reason that [Intern #1] couldn’t start his new job that day.

After a couple of weeks of this, HR got fed up with his excuses, told him his services were no longer required, and asked the recruitment agency for someone else. Cue [Intern #2], who was a better choice than [Intern #1] simply because she actually showed up for her induction. Unfortunately, that’s all she did. Two hours after arriving at the office, it was discovered that she didn’t have a permit to work in the UK. She was asked to leave, and HR went back to the agency to try again.

This time, the agency offered the role to [Intern #3], but they warned HR that she wouldn’t be able to make or answer phone calls. This wasn’t a vital part of the role, so HR decided that this was acceptable, assuming that the reason she couldn’t use the phone was that she was deaf. Instead, it turned out that she couldn’t speak a single word of English, and while phone use wasn’t vital, communication with other team members was. A colleague who spoke her language had to explain to her why she couldn’t do the job.

Fortunately, the troubles ended there, as [Intern #4] turned out to be perfect for the role, although he did spend his first couple of weeks in the job using the login details and email account that had been set up for [Intern #2].

There’s Gotta Be A Better Way!

, , , , , , | Working | January 20, 2022

I used to work for a now-defunct bookstore, and this is a story describing Inventory Nights from h***. The bookstore always hired an outside company to do the Inventory. Managers would stay all night and even bought the equivalent of a pizza party to feed the poor Inventory Workers who would stay all night to do their work.

Inventory took place starting at 5:00 pm and ran until 6:00 am — thirteen-hour shifts! Even with an hour of unpaid lunch break, that’s pretty miserable. Insult to injury? From 5:00 pm until 11:00 pm, the STORE WAS OPEN TO CUSTOMERS! The store should have closed early, and for whatever reason, it wasn’t.

So, you’ve got:

1) customers meandering around in the store, pulling books off shelves that were in the middle of being scanned;

2) customers wandering off with stacks of books that may or may not have been scanned into the system yet;

3) cranky customers snarling at the poor Inventory Workers who are “in the way”;

4) customers obliviously tripping over or kicking the Inventory Workers sitting on the hard floor and scanning books on the very bottom shelf;

5) Retail Workers doing the do-si-do with Inventory Workers, who have to creep behind the already cramped registers to scan books that are on hold;

6) announcements every fifteen minutes, for six hours, asking customers to “Please forgive the inconvenience: our store is going through Inventory right now,” which got old really fast to have to listen to;

7) absolutely no sane way to clean up the store before closing.

The entire evening was a kind of slow-motion scene of chaos. Can we put the cartloads of go-backs away? Nope! Not until the Inventory Workers have scanned them. Oops! Somebody found a pile of books hidden behind a chair. Better find a place for those to be scanned. Hey, has anybody scanned this cart of go-backs from the registers yet? No? I’d better leave this pile somewhere else for it to be scanned because the go-back cart is overloaded. Some Inventory Worker is currently scanning the shelf where these scanned go-backs need to go, so now we have to wait for the Inventory Worker to pass the spot where this is usually shelved so we don’t mess up the scanning.

I know it’s not the Inventory Workers’ fault that they got dragged in to do work at the same time as the Retail Workers. In fact, they had the grace to be apologetic to the Retail Workers as they tried to huddle in the smallest space they can physically curl into to avoid bumping butts with us.

Our Inventory numbers weren’t great, but what could we do? You can’t constantly shuffle the inventory while it is being inventoried.

I worked for that company for five years, and every inventory shift was basically the same song and dance.

You’ve Got To Be Kid-ding

, , , , , , | Working | January 20, 2022

My girlfriend works in a nursery in a not-great part of the city, so I pick her up as much as I can. Annoyingly, she is never finished on time, mainly due to certain parents not picking up their kids. It’s always the same ones who get special treatment from the owner, never have to pay late fees, forget to put sunscreen on their children, and just throw their kids through the door without a word.

I’m waiting (again) for a child to be picked up. Several phone calls go to voicemail. We wait and wait. Eventually, it goes past an hour. How both parents haven’t realised their four-year-old is missing is beyond me.

Eventually, the owner does something and leaves a message saying, “Pick up your children or we call social services and the police.”

Finally, a child appears at the nursery, appearing to be no more than twelve.

Twelve-Year-Old: “I’m here pick up [Smaller Child].”

Girlfriend: “You need to be an adult for us to release a child into your care. Wait, are you at home alone?”

Twelve-Year-Old: “No, Mum’s home.”

Girlfriend: “Well, go and tell her to collect her child, now.”

He shrugged and went home. Eventually, his mum showed up, acting like this was a massive inconvenience that everyone but her had caused. No apology, not a word.

She took her child (who by now was upset) and put him in the car.

The worst part is that the owner did nothing and expected my girlfriend to work for free every time, as “it wasn’t part of her hours”.

It wasn’t long before she quit; most of her coworkers did, too. Apparently, the place is still going, but it’s staffed with friends and family of the owner. They’re barely trained, and it shows in their plummeting Ofsted rating.

Hampering Your Efforts

, , , , | Working | January 20, 2022

We won a raffle prize through my work (hosted by a third party). We won a medium hamper, full of posh preserves and things. It’s not something we will make use of, but we can regift it or sell it on and buy something we do want.

It is months before the prizes can be claimed, and after several attempts at calling the claim line, I finally get through.

Me: “Hi. I won a prize in [raffle] some months ago. I was told to call to claim.”

Woman: “Okay, what is your unique prize number?”

Me: “[Number]; it should be a hamper.”

Woman: “Hmm, okay. Has anyone contacted you about this yet?”

Me: “No, just this letter on how to claim.”

Woman: “Well, some of the prizes have changed. We no longer have the hampers available. We are offering a holiday in its place. How does that sound?”

Me: “Not great, to be honest. A holiday isn’t the same as a hamper. Are there any other options?”

Woman: *Shocked* “Oh, well, no, I don’t think so. Don’t you want to hear the details of the holiday?”

Me: “No, not really. Is there a cash alternative?”

Woman: “I don’t think so. Could you hold, please?”

We already have our holidays planned for the year. I don’t have much more time off I can take or spare cash to pay for the inevitable extra costs these holidays will bring.

Woman: “I’m sorry. I have asked and we do state that there are no cash alternatives.”

Me: “And where do you state that you can change the prizes as you please without notifying people?”

Woman: “Could you hold, please?”

We went through rounds of holding and escalations. They keep telling me that they could only offer variations of a (cheap, two-person, two-day, self-catering) holiday. But I maintained that this wasn’t a suitable alternative and wasn’t advertised when I bought the ticket or won the prize.

It went back and forth until they gave me an ultimatum: take the holiday or a refund on the raffle ticket (£5). So, I was being offered a holiday I couldn’t use… or £5. I thanked them and refused both.

Luckily, my work has free legal coverage, and a quick letter from them to the company was all it took to get a cash alternative of the hamper, plus a little more. I wonder how many people got scammed as they didn’t want to go through the hassle.

You’re Welcome, Random Citizen!

, , , , , | Working | January 20, 2022

[Coworker] is over-enthusiastic about anything not work-related she can do on work time. Every charity event, every tidy-up, every visitor, every excuse she can be paid not to do her job, she is first in line. All would be fine if she wasn’t so over the top.

This year, the charity event is car washes and cake sales for a children’s charity I already support monthly, so I’m more than happy to be involved. [Coworker], however, is all about spending as much time away from her desk as possible. She has printed flyers and spent most of the day handing them out and pestering people. I have dodged her so far.

A few days later…

Coworker: “Heeey, we had some extra time and cleaned your car.”

Me: “Oh, err, thanks.”

Coworker: “You know, you can donate to the charity for the car wash. The recommended amount is £5.”

Me: “Oh, I already bought a load of cakes, so I’ve donated plenty already. I’m a bit short of cash, to be honest — kids’ birthdays and things.”

Coworker: “Well, yeah, but that was for the cakes. This is for the car wash.”

Me: “Well, actually, I walked to work.”

Coworker: “So?”

Me: “So, I don’t know whose car you washed, but it clearly wasn’t mine.”

She still expected me to pay for her to wash someone else’s car. We found out later that it belonged to a visitor who looked very confused about why his car was suddenly very clean.