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Bad boss and coworker stories

Dubious Over Dubai, Dumb About Des Moines

| Working | July 24, 2012

(I have taken my teenage son to the dentist. When it is almost time to leave, I have this conversation with one of their receptionists.)

Receptionist: “You need to make his next appointment. What day works best for you?”

Me: “He has the opportunity to live with his dad in Dubai this year, so I can’t commit to a date since I am not sure when he will be back.”

Receptionist: “Where?”

Me: “Dubai?”

Receptionist: *blank stare* “Is that in Tennessee?”

Me: “Dubai, as in the United Arab Emirates.”

Receptionist: “Where?”

Me: “The United Arab Emirates.”

Receptionist: “Is that in the United States?”

Me: “No. It is the Middle East.”

Receptionist: “Oh, like Iowa or West Virginia!”

The Ultimate Relativity Machine

| Working | July 24, 2012

(Note: A telemarketer is trying to get me to switch internet providers.)

Telemarketer: “…Yes, sir, but our internet’s speed is far higher.”

Me: “Your speed is 10 Mbps.”

Telemarketer: “10 Mbps, but it isn’t the same 10 Mbps of [competitor]!”

Me: “10 Mbps is 10 Mbps. Let’s say I’m in my car, and I drive at 100 km/h. My brother is in his own car, also driving at 100 km/h, and you’re telling me it’s not the same speed?”

Telemarketer: “But, um… let’s say you have an… I don’t know, um… a Toyota… and he has a BMW.”

Me: “Right, I have a Toyota, and he has a BMW, we both are driving at 100 km/h. Isn’t that the same 100 km/h?”

Telemarketer: “But who will arrive home faster?”

Me: “I promise you that if we both travel at 100 km/h, we’ll arrive at exactly the same time.”

Telemarketer: “I’m sure you would not!”

Me: “What? How are you sure we won’t?”

Telemarketer: “Won’t the BMW arrive before the Toyota?”

Me: “Not if we both travel at 100 km/h!”

Telemarketer: “Isn’t the BMW’s speed higher than the Toyota’s because the vehicle is better?”

Me: “Speed? The speed is 100 km/h. 100 km/h is 100 km/h.”

Telemarketer: “I give up. Just contact us when you get your math straight!”

Y-O-U Stand For Stupid

| Working | July 23, 2012

(I am waiting in a long line at the customer services counter for a price adjustment. When I get up to the counter, the cashier asks me for my receipt.)

Cashier: “I need to put your refund back on your credit card. Can I see your VISA again?”

Me: “Huh? I don’t believe I paid with my VISA.”

Cashier: *shoves my receipt in my face* “Yes, you did! You see this here? A-M-E-X! That stands for VISA!”

Who’s The Boss

| Working | July 23, 2012

(It’s been a busy day, and we’re still about three hours from close. My manager, who is my boss, comes to hang out where I am wrapping up the sandwich bar. My manager is always whining about how early she gets up for work, and often shleps small responsibilities onto me.)

Manager: “Auuugh, I’m so tired! Can I just go home?”

Me: *thinking she’s joking* “Haha, sure! Why not? I’ll just close up for the night and count the cash.”

Manager: “Oh, good!”

(As we get ready to close up, the owner calls to get the end-of-day (EOD) update. My coworker comes looking for our manager.)

Coworker: “Hey, have you seen [manager]?”

Me: “Not for awhile.”

(Unable to find her anywhere, we call her cell.)

Me: “Hi, [manager], we’re ready to close. Where’d you go?”

Manager: “I went home! You said I could go home!”

Me: “What? But I don’t have keys for the safe, and [owner] is asking after the end-of-day update.”


Me: “I… thought you were joking.”

(She reluctantly came back and helped finish close, snarling at both my coworker and I the whole time. Fortunately, I discussed the incident with the owner, and she was let go a week or so later.)

A Faustian Barbie

| Working | July 23, 2012

(I am a manager at a bookstore. This happens between a senior employee who’s worked for me for several years and a new hire hired by one of the other managers. I ask the employee to show the new hire how we re-shelve the books so that she can do it on her own in the future. Note: both women are on the petite side; the senior employee is particularly thin due to illness a few years ago.)

Senior Employee: *explaining to the new hire* “So, when books are left out or people decide at the counter they don’t want them we sort them onto these carts. It makes it easier to put them back so we’re not running all over trying to find their location.”

New Hire: *examines her nails* “Whatever. When’s my lunch?”

Senior Employee: “One, you just got here. Two, I don’t know. Three, I need you to pay attention, please.”

New Hire: “Whatever, fatty.”

(A nearby customer speaks up.)

Customer: *incredulously* “Did you just call her fat?!”

New Hire: *to the customer* “What’re you gonna do about it, loser? You waste your time reading books. I’m hot! I can get a man whenever I want, so I don’t need to read!”

Senior Employee: “Okay, sweetie… reality check. You work in a bookstore. I’m trying to show you how to do your job. Take this cart; we need to head to general fiction.”

(There are two general fiction carts, which the senior employee usually re-shelves by herself. The new hire takes the other cart but is clearly more interested in one of the male customers.)

New Hire: “Oh my God, that guy is so hot! He so wants me; I know it!”

Senior Employee: “Well, when you’re done doing your job for the day, if he’s still here, you can bother him then.”

New Hire: “You’re just jealous.”

Senior Employee: *sarcastically* “Oh, yes… so jealous of your attitude, your lack of awareness of how to treat other people, and horribly envious of your huge, undeserved ego.”

New Hire: “Just because you can use words I don’t know doesn’t make you better than me!”

Senior Employee: “I never said it did, dear. This section is all alphabetical. Please start re-shelving books, but make sure you put them in the right spot. I’m going to work on this cart. Let me know if you need any help.”

New Hire: *takes out her cell phone and starts texting* “Oh, h*** no! I’ll just watch you do it and I’ll figure it out next time. Besides, it won’t matter if these books aren’t on the shelf. Only losers read!”

(At this point the male customer the new hire was ogling speaks to the employee.)

Male Customer: “Hey I’m looking for a copy of Faust. Can you tell me where it is?”

Senior Employee: “von Goethe’s Faust, Marlowe, or the Murnau silent flick?”

New Hire: “Ugh, none of those people have anything to do with Faust! It’s a segment on a kid’s TV show with a dog!”

Male Customer: “Riiiiiight…” *to the employee* “von Goethe’s ‘Faust’. I have to read it for a college course in literature. Have you read it?”

Senior Employee: “I have! I know right where it is, too.” *starts to take the male customer to a copy of Faust*

New Hire: “I’M PRETTIER! MEN SHOULD BE INTERESTED IN ME!” *kicks over both carts of books*

(I fired her immediately.)