Should Record That One For Next Time

, , , , | | Working | July 19, 2019

(I order a cake and prepay for it. When I go to pick it up, I realize I’ve forgotten my receipt. The receipt is a simple printout that describes the cake, lists the customer name, and states how much was paid.)

Me: “Hello! I’m here to pick up an order for [My Name].”

Worker: “Do you have your receipt?”

Me: “No, sorry. But I have my ID and credit card.”

Worker: “You need to go home and get it or pay for the cake again.”

(My home is an hour away.)

Me: “So, you don’t have any kind of record?”

Worker: “Nope.”

Me: “So, someone could order two identical cakes, pay for one, and come back later to reuse the first receipt?”

Worker: *silence* “I’ll go see if my manager can look in our records book.”

Me: “Thank you.”


, , , , , , , | | Working | July 19, 2019

In the 80s, a friend was a technical programmer for a major oil company, and was given a project to create a program to enable users to visualize 3D data. Due to the primitive nature of hardware and software at that time, she had to use a lot of tricks to get the code to run in a reasonable time. It was a lot of work and a tremendous accomplishment; when she was done, the company had a tool that gave it a significant advantage over their competitors.

Her boss at the time was a man who was a suck-up to upper management, always found within a ten-foot radius of the highest ranking person in any gathering. So, when the determination was made that her program would be demonstrated to our CEO, her boss naturally decided he should be the one to give said demonstration. Unfortunately for him, although he knew in general terms what the program did, he had never used it, and at that time it didn’t have the fancy graphical interfaces that exist today. Even experienced users could have difficulties with it, and he was starting from ground zero and trying to get up to speed in less than two weeks.

Her boss called my friend into his office multiple times every work day for help, and he even phoned her at home to ask questions in the evenings. The latest call was 11:35!

When the big day came, her boss got up in front of the assembled dignitaries and started in. When he tried to access program, he got a few steps in and ran into a problem. My friend gave him instructions from the back of the room but then something else popped up. Eventually, my colleague took over the demo and gave a well-received talk.

She confessed later that due to the nature of the program it had frequent updates, sometimes more than one a day. There had been one that morning, along with a document explaining changes to the name list file used to run the program. Her boss, as she’d known he would, hadn’t read it! So, she got to look good at his expense, he didn’t get to steal credit for her work, and there was nothing really that he could do about it.

Might Want To Cancel Whoever Came Up With That Policy

, , , , , | | Working | July 19, 2019

(I have a credit card and they have been calling me somewhat regularly trying to get me to sign up for their balance protection insurance. Finally, tired of the continued calls, I let them talk me into signing up after they assure me multiple times that if I pay my balance off every bill, there is no charge. This is what happens when I call to cancel the program after seeing a charge on my first bill after signing up.)

Agent: “Hi, thanks for calling. What can I help you with?”

Me: “I’m calling to cancel the balance protection insurance. When I signed up, I was told there was no charge if I paid my balance every month, and I’m looking at a charge for $5.11 on my bill.”

Agent: “I’m sorry you didn’t understand how our—“

Me: *interrupting* “I understood perfectly. The salesman lied to me and said there was no charge if I paid my balance in full every month. I paid off my balance in full, and yet, I see a charge. I would like to cancel it.”

Agent: “I understand. The insurance protects you from charges if you are injured or lose—“

Me: *interrupting and getting angry* “I don’t care what it does! I was lied to about it and I want it cancelled.”

Agent: “I understand, sir, but I’m not allowed to cancel it until I explain the program to you.”

Me: “Seriously?! Just cancel it!”

Agent: *after a pause* “I’m not allowed to cancel it until I’ve explained the program.”

Me: “Fine! You explain it, I’m going to set the phone down and I’ll check back in a bit.”

(She pauses for a moment and then starts explaining the program. I set down the phone and get back to work on my computer. A couple of minutes later, I hear her saying:)

Agent: “Sir! Are you still there? Sir, can you hear me?”

(I pick back up the phone and say:)

Me: “Cancel it.”

(I do not know how long she was trying to get my attention before I heard her, but I did get that insurance cancelled and didn’t have to listen to the sales pitch for it.)

California Screaming

, , , , , , | | Working | July 18, 2019

In the late 80s, I worked in Ventura, California, in a satellite office for a large company. My direct boss was in the San Francisco Bay area and I flew up once or twice a month. The best airport for the trip was just north of Santa Barbara, California, about 45 miles from my house. For several months, I used a startup shuttle service that delivered door-to-door for a reasonable price. I was always happy with the service until one bad experience.

I was returning home after a two-day meeting and had landed in Santa Barbara at 6:00 pm. With only carry-on luggage, I was able to get off the plane fast and found my driver; I was looking forward to being home before seven to read stories to my kids and have a late dinner with my wife. But it wasn’t to be.

The driver told me we were going to pick up another passenger whose plane was due to land at 6:45. That delay would have been bad enough, but it got worse. Her plane was late, she had checked luggage, and we weren’t actually in the car until after 7:30. Then, when we were about halfway to my house, the driver turned off the freeway to go to Ojai, California. On the map, it doesn’t look like much distance, but it was by a back road and slow. Plus, her destination was at the far side of the town. All told, the wait and detour got me home over two hours later than I’d expected, and I was not happy.

I called the service the next day to complain and was promised a callback. When that didn’t happen for two days, I called again with the same result. Eventually, I finally talked to the owner over a week later. Had she been prompt in replying and at least apologetic, perhaps explaining there were financial circumstances that led to the events, I could have accepted it and moved on. But she wasn’t. I told her that I and my nine direct reports would not be using her service again.

We also had over 100 total employees in the office, all of whom went to the Bay Area with differing frequencies, and many of whom used the car service. At a Monday meeting of all people in the building, I gave my experience as a cautionary tale and let them take it from there. I don’t know what direct effect that had, but I do know that the service was out of business a year later.

Three For The Price Of One

, , , , , , , , | | Working | July 18, 2019

I work as a drive-thru attendant at a popular diner franchise which has a very high turnover rate. This has lead to several people being hired that probably shouldn’t have been due to desperation on management’s part. Here are some highlights of spectacularly bad workers.

Worker #1: The Lazy Thief

This girl was hired to help me by being a second closer, so I wouldn’t have to close six days a week — corporate mandated I get one day off to avoid overtime payments — and so we could start rebuilding the drive-thru, which had lost six employees on both shifts. At first, she seemed okay, worked hard enough, and was friendly with customers. But after three weeks, she began to show her true nature.

It all began with her calling off work saying she was sick. Fair enough, she just needed to bring a doctor’s note in. She never did. Next, she called saying her son had fallen and needed to get staples in his head. This was a lie, as confirmed by a family member of hers who started working there later on. Then, she called in sick on one of the busiest days of the year, and posted to Facebook about the “sick” party she was getting wasted at.

The general manager, despite having evidence against her, did nothing because he was afraid of turnover numbers getting higher. The next weekend, the employee called an ambulance for herself and faked a seizure — she was bouncing her leg up and down while sitting — and still didn’t get fired. At this point, she was also trying to assert herself as Drive-Thru Leader, which she wasn’t, so she was starting to get on everyone’s nerves.

Then, the breakthrough happened.

This girl was always bragging about how customers loved her so much that they gave her fat tips; drive-thru sometimes gets people who let us keep the change, usually a dollar every so often. One night, we had a different manager, from day shift, who was eager to prove herself as a good manager and actually went through and looked at the paperwork for our coupons. One coupon we had was a survey for two dollars off, and came with every fifth receipt we printed. The girl had rung in 45 of them, but only two physical coupons existed. Corporate was called in to watch the cameras and her scam was exposed.

She’d tell the customer the total, and if they paid with cash, she’d keep two dollars for herself and just hit the survey button to keep the drawer balanced. Then, she’d lose the customer’s receipt and send them on their way. Needless to say, once the GM saw this, he went from passive to the angriest man alive. She was fired and sent home crying, and an investigation was put into place to see just how much she ended up stealing.

I’m not privy to the results of this investigation, but given that she’s banned from the premises, it’s probably still ongoing.

Worker #2: “I Have To Do The Job?”

This worker was bad news from day one. He refused to learn, or to do anything, really. He would throw away our equipment and refuse to wear gloves when handling customers’ food. I was put in charge of training him and he wouldn’t listen to me, saying, “You’re not my dad.”

When the manager got involved after he said that, he called her a b**** to her face. This led to all four managers and the GM crowding into the office with him to find out what his damage was. He told them he didn’t have to listen to any of them, which led to the GM telling him he was fired.

He apparently didn’t believe it would stick, because when that GM retired the next month he put in a second application. I informed the new GM about him and got him put on a blacklist.

Worker #3: “They Were Mean to Me!”

A staffing hole was filled by a day-shift employee that had only been there two weeks. Upon my arrival, I found she had taken over the bagging station and would not move anywhere else, saying that since she was working a double shift, she wasn’t doing anything else.

This quickly proved problematic because she couldn’t keep up.

She also had an attitude about everything my coworker and I did. My coworker told me she wasn’t wearing gloves when she grabbed the food. I went over and firmly but fairly told her to put gloves on when handling other people’s food. She didn’t like that, but did it anyway when the manager backed me up.

For another hour, we struggled to maintain a good time, and then, with nine orders hanging, two partially bagged, and no warning, she left. Clocked out and left. The manager had no idea she had done this. We had to scramble to deal with the late rush with only two people.

Later on that evening, she sent the manager a three-page text complaining about my coworker and me. I had “been rude” and “snatched bags out of her hand” all night, and my coworker had been on her phone the whole time. The problems with those things were: 1, I only talked to her once, and it was about gloves, and 2, we have to move fast, so I tend to grab while moving, and 3, my coworker couldn’t have been on her phone as it was charging and I was standing in front of it the whole time as it was next to the register. The manager took our side and promised never to let her work with us again.

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