Not A Very Helpful Landscape

, , , , , | Working | January 13, 2019

(I work in a back office and process customer requests that our salespeople send. We are rolling out electronic systems soon, but we are very paper-based at this point. Today, I receive a request with special approval attached; a couple of email chains were printed in landscape orientation, one of which was at least seven pages. As I need to email finance, I email the woman who sent it and ask her to forward me the electronic copies.)

Sales: *via email* “I already printed the emails and attached them to the request.”

Me: *via email* “Yes, I received the paper copies. Please forward me the electronic copies so I can email them to finance.”

(She calls two minutes later and goes on, obviously upset at my request. Some samples of the conversation:)

Sales: *as part of a thirty-second rant* “I have all this other work to do and I don’t have time to look for that email.”

Me: “It usually takes me only a minute to search for an email if I type the subject in the search box. This seemed like a simple request to me, and I apologize if this is not the case.”

Sales: “This doubles my work!”

Me: “I acknowledge that you are busy. Since I can only scan the emails, what would that do to my workload? I also have other customers to serve.”

Sales: “Why can’t you just scan them?”

Me: “I am concerned that since they are printed in landscape, it will be harder for finance to follow along. I am trying to make their job as easy as I can.”

Sales: “They’ll just have to print it, too, and it will be in landscape! I’ll look for the emails, but I will have to forward you two emails, and finance will get two emails.”

Me: “I can attach those emails to my email to finance so that they will only receive one email.”

(She replied to my email with the two other emails I had requested attached within a couple of minutes of the phone conversation ending. She’d spent ten minutes complaining about it before that. She’ll probably be one of those people who prints and scans everything in the new system, too!)

A Functional Warning

, , , , , , | Working | January 13, 2019

The main point-of-sale server is down with corrupted files, and a dozen and a half stores are offline. We’re on the phone with tech support for a while, and they determine that the most likely fix is a restore from backup tapes, a four-hour process. But there’s a special function that might rebuild the corrupted files. Maybe. If it doesn’t, well, we’ll have to do a restore from backup. But that’s the only other alternative, so we’ll give it a go.

We’re used to this system having some very dangerous functions that let you really screw yourself over, and undocumented flags that have to be set before they’ll actually run. And that is the case for this function, too. We have to go into a special administrative panel to get to it at all, and know what to type in. There are options to be set for it to do its thing, and an undocumented flag to get it to actually run. And then, at the end, we hit Run, and one last warning comes up:

“We recommend that you do not run this function, even if we told you to.”

It does fix the problem in a matter of a few minutes.

Your Windows Needs To Refreshed

, , , , | Working | January 13, 2019

(An employee walks up to the boss’s office, looks at the door for a few moments, and then walks over to the secretary.)

Employee: “Is the boss in?”

Secretary: “I think so. Didn’t you see him in there?”

Employee: *glancing around the corner and looking at the door again* “Well, his door is closed.”

Secretary: “Could you see him through the window?”

Employee: “I don’t know; the door is closed.”

(The secretary gets up, walks to where the employee is standing, and points through the large window in the door. You can see the boss from where they are standing, and he is sitting at the conference table with a few other people.)

Secretary: “Yes, see? The boss is in, but he is in a meeting right now.”

(The employee thanks her and leaves. I come out of my office.)

Secretary: *to me* “Did I really just have to explain windows to her?”

Be A Sore Winner And Lose Your Position

, , , , | Working | January 12, 2019

(The gas station I work at is part of a national chain that runs promotions. Customers receive a sticker for every unit of a set amount of litres of gas they purchase. With ten stickers, they can purchase a promotional item for cheaper than its normal retail price. To encourage us to promote the event, there are regional competitions between stations. The stations that sell the most items get a financial reward that is added to the budget for the Christmas party. Usually, these events run several months and the amount you have to buy for each sticker is so low that most people have ten stickers by the time they fill their car the third time. This is why my station decides to simply give ten stickers to each customer that buys the minimum amount for a sticker. None of the items — mostly gardening equipment or DIY tools — are good enough, rare enough, or cheap enough for people to be interested in buying multiples or buying them in bulk to resell, so we are confident that by doing so we do not create extra sales. Our main “rival” is a station that has a large number of commercial truck drivers as their regular customers. Our “rival” station wins the competition this time, with us as a close second. During a “stamp” event, a coworker runs over to me and another coworker.)

Coworker#1: “Guys, you will not believe what [Manager] told me just now. [Manager of Rival Station] went to the regional manager and complained that we were cheating by giving out extra stamps, and that we should be fined and permanently disqualified from every competition.”

Coworker#2: “What?! Wait. Wasn’t it [Rival Station] that asked their regulars to not pump their gas in one go, but do multiple purchases of ten euros each during [Event] so they could hand out more tickets? How is that fair?! They have all these truck drivers as customers. Do you know how many ten-euro purchases it needs to fill up one of those trucks? We only give one ticket per customer and car!”

Coworker#1: *grinning* “I know, and so does [Manager]. You want to guess who is now under investigation and has to return the reward they got for [Event Competition]? Not us!”

(As it turns out, what we did toes the line, but was considered acceptable. [Rival Manager], on the other hand, had broken the rules.)

Lesson Number #1: “It does not pay to be a rat, especially if you are the one with skeletons in the closet!”

It’s A Gamble Working With Him

, , , , , | Working | January 12, 2019

(I am a long-term employee in a restaurant at a horse racing venue. The tables are arranged on tiers with huge windows facing the track, so people are there first and foremost to gamble and watch the races. We have a lot of employees coming and going, and as a supervisor, I always try to be friendly and initiate conversation with new staff if there is a quiet moment. This particular night I open with what I thought was a pretty generic question.)

Me: “So, are you interested in horse racing?”

New Coworker: “WHAT?! WHY WOULD YOU ASK ME THAT? I’M JUST HERE TO WORK!” *storms off in a huff*

Me: *speechless*

(Ten minutes later:)

New Coworker: “I’m sorry about earlier. I really do like horses. When I was younger I liked to draw them. They’re such beautiful animals…”

(He proceeds to talk about his affinity with horses while I stand, still quite horrified by his previous outburst, and now quite disturbed by his subsequent dramatic change in demeanour. I keep my distance from him from then on, until I see he has left his change float glass sitting on a table. We each carry a glass with $20 of change in it on our drinks tray so we can take customers’ money at the table, give them change, and then order and pay at the bar. It saves the customers going to the bar to order. I pick up his float, and when he comes back to the bar I take him aside to quietly explain why he can’t leave the cash unattended. He flips out! He starts yelling about how HIS customers would never steal from him, and then starts slamming half-full, dirty glasses into the clearing rack next to me. In the process, he manages to splash what we call “slops” — the gross leftovers from dirty glasses — over a nearby customer. He storms off again, and I apologise to the customer and help her clean up. At this point, I am quite frankly scared of the guy, and one of my bosses happens to walk past. In a workplace with a transient workforce and, quite frankly, not a lot of appreciation for workers, I do the only thing I can think of.)

Me: “[Boss], I’m sorry to leave you hanging, but I’m going to have to leave. [New Coworker] is acting unpredictably, with violent outbursts, and I don’t feel safe.”

Boss: “Why don’t you go on break and let me sort it out?”

(He fired the guy mid-shift, and I was later told that the guy waited by the front staff entrance until the staff left at the end of the night. I’m so thankful that I had parked by the back exit. I also found out later that he was a regular patron at the nearby casino, which might have explained his sensitivity to gambling questions.)


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