Knowledge Is Powerless

| North Carolina, USA | Working | June 14, 2012

(My coworker is walking a field tech through installing network equipment over the phone. I overhear the following exchange.)

Coworker: “Okay, I can remote to the router you set up, but I can’t get to the switch behind it. Can you reboot the switch?”

Field Tech: “Okay…” *brief pause* “Done.”

Coworker: “I just lost access to the router. What did you just reboot?”

Field Tech: “The DSL modem.”

Coworker: “Okay, I’ll need to wait on the DSL to come back up so I can get to the router again.” *after a minute* “Okay, now I’m back in the router. I need you to reboot the switch. This is the wide, flat box labeled ‘Linksys’.”

Field Tech: “Okay…” *brief pause* “Done.”

Coworker: “I just lost access to the router again. What did you unplug this time?”

Field Tech: “The uninterruptible power supply.”

Coworker: *head desk*

Never Hang Your Customers Out To Dry

| Valdosta, GA, USA | Working | June 14, 2012

(I have been using this laundromat every week for a few months now. The owner is also its main employee, and has been consistently unpleasant to people. However, his rates are very cheap. This night, I had gotten there just in time for last wash with a basket of laundry.)

Owner: “You can’t wash those now!”

Me: “Oh, are all the units in use?”

Owner: “No, I’m about to close up! You should come before last wash!”

Me: “Well, it’s about 6:30 now, and last wash is at 6:45.”

Owner: “Don’t you tell me what time it is! I say it’s last wash!”

Me: “I’m sorry. I thought I had time since it’s only 6:30, and last wash is at 6:45.”

(I point to the large sign displaying this.)

Owner: “You can’t tell me when I close! I close when I WANT to close! How dare you try to make me stay later just ’cause you want to do some f***ing laundry!”

Me: “No, I just meant—”

Owner: “I’m closing early tonight and YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT!”

(At this point, I run out of patience.)

Me: “Look, how would I know you’re closing early? I come here every week and last wash is always 6:45. I’m not trying to make you stay late, but you don’t have to yell at me. I’m just gonna leave, and I’m not gonna use this laundromat anymore.”

Owner: “Fine! See if I care!”

(Thankfully, I found a new laundromat that actually has lower rates and friendly staff. The laundromat with the unpleasant owner closed a few months later; I wonder why?)

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I Heard That You’re An Idiot

| Brooklyn, NY, USA | Working | June 13, 2012

(I’m waiting online for a ride with a nine-year-old autistic boy that I babysit. His father and grandmother are with us. The boy starts to enter the ride before all of the people have exited.)

Me: *to autistic boy* “Sweetie, come back here, please. Come back. You need to stay back here.”

Employee: “He can’t be in there.”

Me: “I know, just give me a moment. ”

(The employee grabs the boy by the arm and takes him back outside the gate and points to the other employee.)

Employee: “You can’t go in there until the lady says you can. Okay? Do you understand me?!”

Father: “He’s autistic. He isn’t going to answer you.”

Employee: “I know, but you still have to talk to them!” *to autistic boy* “Do you understand? You wait until the lady tells you you can go in. Understand? Understand?!”

Father: “I just said he was autistic!”

Employee: “BUT YOU STILL HAVE TO TALK TO THEM!” *walks off to the ride he actually works on*

Me: *to father* “Did that just happen?”

Father: “He probably yells at deaf people, too.”

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Just Call Me Lay-Z

| Shreveport, LA, USA | Working | June 13, 2012

(I mainly work the electrical department of my store. I pass by a coworker who is unloading a palette.)

Coworker: “Hey, [my name], do you think you could take the lighting stuff off of this palette before I take it over to garden?”

(I couldn’t help myself.)

Me: “You need to get rid of some electrical stuff? That’s too bad. I got 99 problems and a switch ain’t one of ’em.”

Slow ‘Em Who’s Boss

| The Netherlands | Working | June 13, 2012

(I have a summer job on a construction site sweeping work areas, sorting materials and such. One day my coworker and I—both underpaid temps passing time until college classes start again—have been asked to sweep the floor in an area where the construction team is installing the air conditioning system.)

Boss: *to my coworker and me* “You need to be careful because we don’t want dust in the system, so work slow.”

Coworker: “You won’t have to tell us twice, sir. We can do slow!”

(We start sweeping the area slowly. After some time, the boss comes by.)

Boss: “Guys, you really need to go slower. There is too much dust in the air.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but there are a lot of people working here. We are taking it really easy, but we can’t tell the dust to get on the floor.”

Boss: “Well, just slow down. Take it REALLY easy!”

Me: “Sure, we can slow down!”

(We take it down even further as the boss leaves. After all, when the boss tells you to work slower you don’t say no!)

Coworker: “This is the first time I’ve ever heard someone apologize to the boss for not slacking off enough!”

(Soon after, the boss comes back again to check up.)

Boss: “There I still too much dust in the air. You guys really need to go slower!”

Me: “Well, I think that if we go slower you need to make a time lapse video to see us moving. Are you sure about this?”

Coworker: “Yeah, not that I’m complaining, but we aren’t exactly the only ones here who can stir up the dust. We should probably sweep the whole area before the day is over.”

Boss: “No problem. Just get as far as you can get, but make sure you go really slow this time.”

(The boss leaves again, and we are trying to figure out how we can slow down even further and still actually do anything. Once again, as the boss finishes his rounds, he checks up on us again.)

Boss: “Well, it’s getting better, but can you please slow down even more?”

Me: “I am honestly not sure if I can do that. We are barely moving as it is, and I think we were just passed by a snail.”

Boss: “Well, try anyway. It’s getting better, so keep up the good work!”

Coworker: *after the boss leaves* “I love this job.”

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