They Made The Trip… But At What Cost?!

, , , , , | Working | August 11, 2020

When I am fourteen, my grandmother takes a friend and me to Scotland. She usually takes a grandchild and my other grandmother, but my other grandmother wasn’t able to come this time. She is very much a planner, and every detail about where we will be staying and how we will get from one place to another is planned months in advance… Well, almost everything.

One night, we realize that we have no train tickets to get us to the place we will be staying the next night. My grandmother is very frustrated because she thought she had planned everything. This is before widespread Internet, and well before smartphones, so we decide to call down to the front desk and ask them about arranging either train tickets or a taxi for us.

My grandmother has a very soft voice that struggles to be heard over the phone, and the friend with us strongly dislikes talking on the phone, so the job falls to me. I don’t remember much of the initial conversation, but we are given some options and hang up to discuss them.

We get close to making a decision and realize that the lady at the front desk has forgotten to give us one crucial piece of information: the prices! So, I call back. There’s a different lady at the desk now.

Me: “Hi, this is room [number]; we’ve been trying to arrange either train tickets or a taxi?

New Desk Lady: “Yes, I believe my colleague was assisting you with that. She is just about to leave, but I’ll let her finish taking care of you.”

Original Desk Lady: “I already gave you all the information. Now you need to make a decision yourselves.”

Me: “But you didn’t tell us—”

The original desk lady hung up.

We ended up deciding that, for the distance we had to travel, three train tickets were probably going to be less expensive than one taxi ride. I waited a good long time before I called the front desk back, to make sure I didn’t get passed off to the original lady again.

Now that I’m older, I get that she just wanted to go home, but that’s no excuse for being rude to someone for wanting all the information.

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Why Apply For A Job If You’re Not Going To, You Know, Do It?

, , , , , | Working | August 11, 2020

My coworker is one of those employees who makes a great show of working really hard but always finds reasons to get out of doing what she’s told to do. If a manager tells her to help out doing task A, she apologizes profusely but says she’s scrambling to do task B and wants to know if she could just ignore task A entirely. Usually, the answer is no. Then, she loiters over Task B, only to “forget” where she was supposed to go next.

I put a bug in the manager’s ear about the things she has done and he agrees to keep an eye on her. Today, she is setting the tables in a side room as it opens for customers. When he finds out that she is too busy setting the tables to help her coworker out of the weeds, he tells me and [Coworker] both that one table is solely [Coworker]’s tonight. It seats five people. She is to do nothing else but make this one table happy. Nothing else. No other duties. Period.

Anyone else would cotton on that this is a trap waiting to be sprung and clue in that their job is close to a deadly, invisible line. Not my coworker.

I send the tabletop of five people in and mark them into her section. Fifteen minutes in, I am gobsmacked to see one of the five, a gentleman, come ambling out of the room to ask if a waitress could be sent in, as they haven’t even ordered their drinks yet and have already decided on their meal.

My coworker is back in the side room, across the restaurant from her table, her back to the room in general, setting the rest of the empty tables. She hasn’t even introduced herself to her one table.

I tell her in a sickly sweet voice that, as she was told, she only needed to set her own table and not an entire side wing, and that she needs to get her butt over there and take their order.

[Coworker] huffs and takes their drink order and dinner order and then leaves. I return to the hostess stand and wave over the manager for a quick conference.

The customer makes his appearance again half an hour later. They got their drinks but are wondering when the food should be out. He is remarkably calm and merely a little annoyed but not furious.

I grab the radio and ask about the wait time for food. I get the response, “About five to ten minutes.”

Okay, our chefs are on their game, so why are we at the thirty-minute mark? I go hunting again. 

My coworker is rolling silverware! She says she “forgot” that she had a table — ONE! TABLE! —  and couldn’t one of the other waitresses take care of it, since she was busy?

I send the manager over to put the fear of God into her and she goes sprinting to the window.

I grab the extra plates and walk with them to the room to begin delivering food when something strange comes to my attention: the plates are cool. The food is not steaming. [Coworker] is handing out the plates stiffly, miffed at having been forced to abandon her luxurious busboy duties to serve her one table.

The man who has sought us out a couple of times takes a bite, looks [Coworker] dead in the eyes, and says, “This food is cold.”

“That’s not possible, sir,” my coworker responds. “This food came straight from the window.”

The man says, annoyed, “Do you want to touch it and find out? I’m telling you this food is cold!”

I can already tell by the temperature of the plate, but since I’m going to throw the food away anyway, I subtly stick my thumb into the spaghetti near the edge. The spaghetti is rubbery where it’s still wet, it’s getting stiff and dry where there is no sauce, and it’s room temperature.

“And I’m telling you—” [Coworker] starts, but I interrupt.

“I’m so sorry, sir! We’ll get you some fresh plates right away.”

I hustle my coworker away and wave the manager over. I explain what’s going on and he tests the plates himself while glaring at [Coworker], who is suddenly finding her shoelaces very fascinating.

Long story short, [Coworker] was sent home and told not to bother coming back to work, ever. The meal was comped — a wise decision to limit the damage to only one table and thus only one tab gets comped due to her incompetence — and I personally smoothed ruffled feathers at the table by taking over the duties of the delinquent [Coworker] until someone could be called in.

On the plus side, they tipped me well for my stellar performance. On a more humble note, I’m fairly sure that while I did a good job, the bar was set pretty darn low for comparison.

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These Are Weird Times… But This Is Extra Weird

, , , , , , , | Working | August 11, 2020

My workplace, like most, has seen a drop in business due to a recent spreading illness, and many employees, including me, were furloughed. Just before the crisis struck, our general manager left, and a higher-level executive has been serving as the interim GM in his stead until a new one is hired. I was originally handpicked by the dealer group’s lead recruiter and brought in by the old GM for what was, at the time, a newly-created position, and while results during my years of employment show that I excelled in increasing my department’s performance and efficiency, my job is one that doesn’t exist in every store. Even during normal times, I always felt it was a bit vulnerable, so it’s not a huge surprise when the interim GM calls me to let me know I’m being laid off.

Another of my coworkers is notified of being transferred to a different location, as well, and we have grown to become friends over the years, so we coordinate to go pack up our desks at the same time to allow for a socially distant farewell. When we arrive, something unexpected happens: our department managers are surprised to see us and ask us why we’re there.

We explain, to their shock, that we’ve come to pick up our things and say our goodbyes because we don’t work there anymore. As we talk to them and other employees, we start to see a bigger, weirder picture. Unsurprisingly, we were not the only people who were notified that we no longer work for the store; in fact, there were layoffs in every department. But more surprising: among the layoffs were someone who had worked at the store for fifteen years, and another employee who sold more cars than anyone else who worked there every year and was, in fact, consistently one of the top sellers in the entire dealer group. And the salesperson wasn’t transferred like my friend; he was let go. Because, well, apparently, none of the department managers were consulted.

And here’s where it becomes truly bizarre: not only were they not consulted, but the managers were not even informed of the layoffs. Before or after! No meetings, no calls, not even a perfunctory email or text message. The managers only caught wind of what had happened and to whom as their now-ex-employees reached out to them by call, text, or — in our case — showing up seemingly out of the blue to retrieve our belongings.

I can’t say I had any particular expectations of my visit that day, but I did not anticipate being the one to tell my bosses I was laid off. I’m pretty sure it’s usually the other way around!

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Thank You For Flying Comedy Airlines

, , , , , | Working | August 11, 2020

I am aboard an airplane on an inexpensive airline known for being fairly laid back, where sometimes flight attendants will give funny safety spiels. This is one of those times, and our attendant has the passengers laughing pretty quickly.

My favorite part is when she gets to the “oxygen masks will fall” part:

Flight Attendant: “Pull the oxygen mask towards you and place it over your nose and mouth. The oxygen will begin to flow automatically. If the oxygen does not begin to flow, then insert a quarter into the coin slot above your head.”

She pauses for laughter.

Flight Attendant: “I’m just kidding. You don’t need to pay for oxygen. We’re not [Cheap Airline, known for low fares but lots of extra fees].”

There’s more laughter.

Flight Attendant: “Hey, they have their business model; we have ours!”

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Gumming Up The Works With Gum

, , , , | Working | August 11, 2020

My husband and I have just finished picking out shoes to buy. We get in line at the checkout. A cashier with no line calls to us.

Cashier: *Waves* “Hey! I can take you over here!”

We walk to the cashier and put our shoeboxes on the counter.

Cashier: “Did you find everything okay?”

The cashier opens our shoeboxes to make sure everything is there, and a father and preteen son enter the store and walk the wrong way through our checkout line. The son spots a container of gum on the counter.

Son: “Dad! They have gum!”

Father: “How much is it?”

Son: “Fifteen cents.”

Failing to see that the cashier is already in the middle of a transaction, the father takes a piece of gum out of the container, tosses a quarter onto the counter, and walks away without waiting for change. The son also fishes a piece out of the container.

Son: “Is this good?”

Cashier: “Actually, it’s pretty bad…”

The son hands over a quarter.

Cashier: “Wait, I need to give you and your dad change.”

Son: “That’s okay!”

The son walks away.

Cashier: *To us* “Sorry about that.” *Continues to ring us up* “They have no idea what a pain it is to pay for something with a quarter and not wait for change.”

Husband: “Oh? You can’t keep it as a tip?”

Cashier: “It has to go into a pool, with a note explaining why I didn’t give exact change.”

Husband: “Wow. That really isn’t worth it.”

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