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Bad boss and coworker stories

Spectacular Management, Boss

, , , , , | Working | October 3, 2023

I’m a manager and not easily expendable. My coworker is, due to ovarian cysts, a heavy stoner. Having her working is just a little better than being short-handed, so she is often the recipient of the bosses’ ire. I traded shifts with [Coworker] one day.

I overslept on the morning shift and arrived two hours late, roughly. I lived about ten minutes’ walk away, so I didn’t call first; I just booked it over.

As I walked in, the bosses were making a fuss over [Coworker], very angrily. Since we had done an official swap due to [Coworker]’s health, I had expected that I would be the one in trouble.

Me: “Excuse me, hi?”

Boss #1: “Oh! Great! Are you busy now? Or do you know where that b**** [Coworker] is? We need someone before the rush.”

Me: “I’m here to work. Our valued coworker, [Coworker], is unable to walk due to extreme pain.”

Boss #2: “Well, she knows she needs to call out and get coverage! As soon as she can get her butt out of bed… Well, I might as well fire her.”

Me: “You might as well not fire her! Excuse you. I’m the one who is late. You were notified of this. As soon as the swap was approved, this wasn’t her responsibility.”

They actually kept arguing, refusing to believe that it wasn’t somehow [Coworker]’s fault.

Me: “Look, you’ve been harassing her all morning. I’m going to apologize to her, but I expect you to do so, too. This is unacceptable. You shouldn’t be angry with her for my error.”

Boss #1: “Where were you this morning, then? I had to cover…”

I stared him down.

Me: “Sleeping.”

Boss #1: “Oh. Okay.”

Me: “I am going to catch this place up. Since both the owners were working in my stead, I’m sure it’s not too far behind, of course. We can discuss this later. Please apologize to [Coworker] for harassing her while she is in pain.”

They never brought it up with me again. When I next saw [Coworker], she told me only one of them apologized, barely, and the other continued to blame her for everything.

Welcome To The Call Center Centrifuge

, , , , , | Working | October 2, 2023

A few years ago, I ordered pizza from a very large pizza chain online. When the delivery was dropped off, I noticed they forgot the soda. I double-checked, and I did indeed order a soda, so I made a call to the number on the digital invoice. So far, so good, right?

After some music, the phone was redirected to an automated message. After I entered some options, a human picked up. 

Employee #1: “[Intro message]. How can I help you today?”

Me: “I ordered a Coke with the pizza, but the Coke wasn’t with the delivery.”

After getting my order number, name, and email for my account, the employee said they’d forward me to the store.

Some music played, and then there were automated messages again, so I entered some options, and another human picked up.

Employee #2: “[Intro message]. How can I help you today?”

I explained the problem again, and they asked for the same information and said they would forward me. 

Me: *A bit confused* “Why are you forwarding me again? I was already forwarded.”

Employee #2: “Sorry, but there is nothing I can do on my end. I have to forward you to the store.”

Me: “Okay, then.”

You might have guessed: it was the same music, the same automated messages, the same set of options, and then another human. To be honest, I was a bit upset at this point.

Employee #3: “[Intro message]. How can I help you today?”

I explained the problem again, and they asked for all the information again and said they would forward me.

Me: “I don’t want to be forwarded. Why can’t you just help me?”

After asking some questions, I figured out that this was the call center. The phone number I’d called was indeed for the store; no idea why I kept being forwarded to the call center. There was nothing the employee at the call center could do for me. So, I said fine, but I’d better be forwarded to the store.

Nope. Same music, automated messages, options, and then another human. Yeah, I was pretty frustrated at this point, and my tone was not the best.

Before the fourth employee finished his intro, I cut him off and asked if this was the call center. 

Employee #4: “Yes. How can I help you?” 

Me: “I have been forwarded to the call center four times when only the store can help me. This is ridiculous.”

Employee #4: “I’m sorry. What is this about?”

I repeated my problem again and just told him the information before he even asked. 

He said there was nothing he could do and he’d have to forward me. 

Me: “Nope, I will not be forwarded again. I want you to solve my problem; it shouldn’t be this hard.”

This went on for a while. He kept asking if I could let him forward me and telling me there was nothing he could do. When I finally said he could forward me, I was sent straight to the music again.

But this time, there was no automated message and someone picked up, so I was really hopeful.

The person was indeed from the store, and once I explained the problem, they apologized and said they would send me the drink now if I would like. 

I accepted and asked why I had been forwarded five times before I got to him.

Store Employee: “I’m really sorry. It’s the way our phone system works: if it’s busy or no one picks up, it gets automatically forwarded to the call center. Since it’s dinner time, it’s quite busy.”

So, my guess is that the music I’d been hearing was from the store, no one picked up, and then I was sent to the call center and given the automated messages. I did get my drink; the call took twenty-five minutes.

But wow, that is one stupid call system that such a large company set up.

That’s Pho-ked Up

, , , | Working | October 2, 2023

There is a pho shop that my mother and I often go to. On one visit, since my mother didn’t feel like eating too many noodles, we decided to order one large pho and some sides and share (which we have done before). A large is around two or three dollars more than a small; it’s basically just more broth and noodles. 

The waiter asked us twice whether we were sure we only wanted one pho.

Mother: “Yes, we’re going to share. There are just two of us, and a large pho is enough noodles for the two of us.”

There was no requirement for each person to order a pho, and the sides we ordered cost more than a large pho anyway. 

Once the waiter left, we noticed that the prices had increased again, and we started talking about inflation in general.

When the pho arrived, we noticed how few noodles were in there. We eat at this restaurant quite often, so we knew that even for the small pho, the noodles were filled to the top, and the large as well (but with a larger bowl). So, it was very disappointing that there were maybe only half of the noodles we usually got from a small pho. But the broth was filled to the top. 

Once the waiter left, I said to my mother:

Me: “It’s annoying that they decided to increase the price and also cut the portions. It would be better to just increase the price but not cut the portions by so much.”

Then, the same waiter brought food to the table beside us. They were a table of four, they all ordered small pho, and the bowls were filled to the top with noodles.

I wanted to speak to the waiter about this, but my mother stopped me and said it wasn’t worth the hassle. I didn’t want to give a good tip, but my mother still said I should tip them the standard. (This is Canada where waiters don’t get ridiculously low wages.)

No wonder there had been more and more empty tables over the months we’d gone there. We never went to that place again.

When You Wish They’d Phone It In

, , , , , , | Working | October 2, 2023

I work in the accounting department for a car dealership. The only time I even see customers is when I’m coming in or heading out; everything I do is internal. My desk is in a back office, away from everyone. So, when a memo goes out for no more personal phones on the showroom floor, I don’t even think of putting my phone on my desk off to the side while I work. I get told by a passing manager that, no, that applies to everywhere outside of the break room. Okay, not how it was worded, but all right, into my purse it goes.

The next day, I get called out again by the same manager; he “saw me on my phone,” even though I’m certain I didn’t take it out of my purse outside of my lunch break.

On the third day, he “catches me” again, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

Manager: “If I see you on your phone one more time, I will write you up.”

Me: “If you do, you bring [HR Guy] from Human Resources with you.”

Sure enough, the next morning around 10:00 am, up marches [Manager] with a write-up in hand and [HR Guy] in tow. He slaps the paper on my desk and barks:

Manager: “SIGN IT.”

Instead, I asked [HR Guy] if he had my phone number on hand as I’d asked. He did. He dialed from my desk phone, on speaker. My husband — to whom I had given my phone that morning — picked up and confirmed that he was speaking on my cell phone. I stared [Manager] down while [HR Guy] picked up the write-up and said we were done. [Manager] fumed for a minute and then stalked off.

The weirdest part is that [Manager] was a sales manager; he wasn’t even my manager! I don’t know if he saw me looking down at my desk while doing paperwork and assumed I was on my phone, or if he had some strange vendetta and made it all up to get me in trouble.

About To Have A Different Kind Of Blow-up Than Usual

, , , , , | Working | October 2, 2023

I work as a service engineer for laser cutting machines. (I previously submitted this story.) We got a call from one of our clients who owned a very old machine, saying that one of the hydraulic motors of the machine had stopped working and they needed our help.

When I arrived, I learned that the full story was that the motor started leaking, and the team operating the machine tried disassembling it to find the cause, couldn’t, and then reassembled it incorrectly. It took me a while to figure out how to assemble it correctly (as no schematics were available for years) and to find the leaking gasket that needed replacement. This gasket was something they could manufacture and install on their own once they got a sheet of the proper rubber — which they didn’t have at that moment so it could not be done on the spot — since it didn’t actually require the full disassembly they unsuccessfully tried earlier.

I then went to the production manager to inform him of my findings. As I was on my way out of his office, I overheard him calling the manufacturing team about an incoming work order for the laser cutter. I turned back in.

Me: “I’m sorry, but are you planning to continue using the machine before that gasket is replaced?”

Manager: “Of course.”

Me: “You can’t.”

Manager: “What?! Why?! I thought you said you repaired the motor, other than the leak!”

Me: “I did, but it’s still leaking. You can’t work like that.”

Manager: “What do you mean? We worked with that leak for weeks before we tried to sort it out, just topping off the hydraulic fluid once in a while! And nothing happened; as you can see, the motor runs fine!”

Me: “You… worked like that for weeks?”

Manager: “Sure. Without issue.”

Me: “Without issue with the motor maybe, but have you noticed the puddle underneath the machine?”

Manager: “So what? The guys just mop it up now and then. It’s not like it could damage anything.”

Me: “The machine cuts by means of a laser beam that heats metal enough to vaporize it, with white-hot metal droplets ejected downward, right?”

Manager: “So?”

Me: “And for several weeks you figured it’s a good idea to let it do it next to a large puddle of flammable hydraulic fluid?”

It took him a moment to realize that only by sheer luck did they not set the whole machine on fire.

From that call onward, I made certain to always make it perfectly clear to the clients, in cases where their machines can PHYSICALLY work despite certain issues, that doing so may result in catastrophic damage — even when the risk should be very obvious to anyone with a basic understanding of the machinery.

A Forklift Load Of Attitude