| Working | October 15, 2012

(I’ve ordered a gerbil from a pet store, and it comes to pick it up.)

Employee: “I’ll just put that in a cardboard box for you.”

Me: “Not necessary, I’ve brought a transport box. Gerbils are extreme gnawers, and she’ll be out of that cardboard box within seconds.”

Employee: “It’s never been a problem before. I’ll just put it in a box.”

Me: “Okay, then, but I’ll but then cardboard box into my transport box, just to be safe.”

(By the time we get to the counter 20 seconds later, sure enough, the gerbil is out of the cardboard.)

Me: *points to the free gerbil* “See?”

Employee: “That’s gotta be a super gerbil. I’ve never seen that before.”

Me: “Well, now you know that this can happen, so maybe you should use cardboard boxes for your rodents.”

Employee: “Nah, it’ll be fine.”

(A few days later, I enter the same store, only to find the same employee and another searching through the store.)

Me: *approaching the same employee* “What’s going on?”

Employee: “We’re searching for a mouse. Someone called to put it on hold, and I put it under the counter… in a cardboard box.”

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Small Minds Will Get Even Smaller Paychecks

| Working | October 15, 2012

(I’m a little person, but I’m quite tall for one at 4’3″. This happens as I’m trying to find a place to buy a bra. I find the closest worker on the floor.)

Me: “Hello! How are you today?”

Employee: *ignores me*

Me: “Excuse me, Miss, but I’m looking to get fitted.”

Employee: *makes a disgusted face* “We don’t have anything in your size here.”

Me: “How would you know if I’m not measured?”

Employee: “Oh my God, just look at you! You’re fat and short, and we don’t need you wearing our brand!”

Me: “Can I speak to a manager?”

Employee: “Just get out! OH MY GOD!”

(A few weeks later, my friends and I try again. My friend and I get fitted and pick out some nice pieces. We are happy until we got to the register and I see the clerk is the woman for last time.)

Me: *putting things back* “I really don’t want to deal with that woman today. I’ll meet you guys outside.”

My Friend: “No, come on. It’s been a good day.”

Me: “Alright.”

(I begrudgingly go up with her to the register.)

Employee: *sweetly, to my friend* “That’ll be $xxx.xx.”

My Friend: *gets out a wad of cash to pay*

Employee: *to me* “I TOLD you we didn’t have your size.”

My Friend: “Actually, they measured her. She was going to get some things before she saw you.”

Employee: “Well, I… uh—”

My Friend: “Nope, we’re done here.” *leaves her stuff on the counter and walks with me to the door*

(We found better prices at their competitor anyway!)

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Thoughtlessly Thoughtful

| Working | October 14, 2012

(I’m getting ready to close out while my relief has just arrived for her shift. She’s just staring blankly out the glass double doors at the street outside the building while I’m trying to work around her.)

Me: “Hey, you all right? You look lost in thought.”

Coworker: “Nah, I’m just thinkin’…”

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Testy Is Not The Best Policy

| Working | October 14, 2012

(I work as a claims agent for a well-known insurance company. When people switch insurance companies and happen to have an accident within the first month of their new policy, it’s standard practice to contact their old company to verify coverages as a way to prevent fraud. Note: insurance companies protect your policy privacy like banks protect your account privacy, so no information can be released to anyone unless permission is given by the main account holder. After being transferred several times, I finally get to speak with the right person.)

Me: “Hello, this is [my name] calling from—”

Insurance Agent: “I know, they told me why you’re calling. I can’t talk to you.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Insurance Agent: “I. Can’t. Talk. To. You.”

Me: “I’m sorry, I—”

Insurance Agent: “Look, I don’t know how you guys do it at [my company], but here, we can’t talk to you guys about customers’ policies. I don’t know why you thought you could call in to get that information, or why you’re confused as to why I can’t release it.”

Me: *stays silent*

Insurance Agent: “Hello?”

Me: “Sorry, I just wanted to make sure you got your rudeness out of the way before I conference in the customer on my back line. He used to have a policy with you guys, and he recently switched to our company. He’s been patiently waiting to speak with you so we can verify the information we need in order to take care of him.”

Insurance Agent: *speechless*

Me: “Also, I’ll be needing your direct extension at the end of our call. I’ll be contacting you on my break so you can personally cancel the homeowner’s policy I have through your company. Your attitude has inspired me to take my own business elsewhere. Please wait while I conference in [customer]…”

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Health Condition: Impossible

| Working | October 13, 2012

(I am a data entry person who works the 4-12 shift. One day on my way to work, I become suddenly and violently ill in horrible pain. I end up in the ER and eventually am admitted to the hospital overnight. While on the gurney in the ER, I ask the nurse to call my boss.)

Me: “Here’s my boss’s number at work. Would you call and tell her I am in the hospital and won’t be in to work today?”

Nurse:  “Okay.”

(The next day, I am released from the hospital after recovering from a kidney stone attack. I am told to take it easy for a few days and come back if I have any further problems.)

Me: *calling boss on phone* “Alice, did you get the phone call yesterday about being sick?”

Alice: “No.”

Me: “I got really sick and had to go to the ER yesterday afternoon. I was admitted to the hospital for further testing and observation but was released today. While in the ER, I gave a nurse your phone number and asked her to call to tell you I was sick. No one from the hospital called you?”

Alice: “No one called.”

Me: “Well, I’m sorry about that. Anyway, they ruled out appendicitis and a few other really serious things. They think I had a kidney stone attack based on the severity and location of the pain. I was told to take the rest of the week off from work, but I should be back next week.”

Alice: “Okay…”

(Fast forward a few months to my periodic employee review.)

Alice: “Well, you are an excellent worker. Your speed and accuracy are among the top in the office. You finished your training in two days when most people take two weeks. You are always punctual for work and always work overtime when I ask. I noted that when you had to take a day off to attend your college roommate’s wedding, you worked an extra day shift to make up for it. You’ve also done a great job as the nighttime first aid person. However, I can only give you the minimum raise because I had to write you up for an unexcused absence.”

Me: “Huh? What are you talking about?”

Alice: “There was that time you were absent but didn’t call in sick.”

Me: “Alice, I was in the ER at the hospital on a gurney with an IV in my arm in panic and fear and excruciating pain, not knowing if I had appendicitis. Even in my pain and fear, I asked a nurse to call you to let you know I wouldn’t be in. I can’t help it that she didn’t call. Still, I called you the next day as soon as I got released from the hospital.”

Alice: “It doesn’t matter. You should have called me personally to let me know you wouldn’t be in to work!”

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