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Bad boss and coworker stories

One Less Hoop Is Always A Good Thing

, , , , | Working | January 24, 2023

I recently attended a conference for which I had won a scholarship from the hosting university that would cover some of the travel and accommodation costs. However, the “scholarship” was not provided to me before the conference; rather, I had to pay for everything out of pocket and then apply for a reimbursement through the university administration once I returned.

To do so, that meant I had to keep all my receipts. Because it’s 2022, all of my receipts ended up being digital, i.e., I booked my travel online so I was emailed a digital receipt, I booked my hotel online so I was emailed a digital receipt, and so on and so forth.

After the conference, I had to email the university’s finance manager with a digitally-signed form detailing all of my expenses, as well as a copy of all of my digital receipts.

After doing so, I had this gem of an email conversation with the finance manager.

Finance Manager: “Hi, [My Name]. I received your digitally-signed form and digital receipts — thank you! I will submit your claim form to our host institution. Please note that it usually takes three to four weeks to process an expense claim form. In addition, can you please physically mail me your digitally-signed form and digital receipts to the below address? I need physical copies for audit purposes.”

I was about to do as she asked when something occurred to me, so I emailed her back.

Me: “Hi, [Finance Manager]. Just to clarify, you want me to print the digitally-signed form and digital receipts and mail them to you? Is it possible to… just print them on your end, rather than me printing them and mailing it? I think you’ll find the end result would be the same, but it would save us a couple of steps.”

Finance Manager: “Hi, [My Name]. I will print it out from my end. Thank you.”

I had a good laugh after. I guess it hadn’t occurred to her that my printing the forms and receipts and mailing them to her doesn’t make them any more “authentic” than if she just printed them herself.

They’re A Cute Couple — No Butts About It

, , , , , , | Working | January 24, 2023

Two of my coworkers — [Woman] and [Man] — are dating each other. Everyone in our department agrees that they’re the cutest couple we can imagine, but they’re actually really good at not letting their relationship interfere with work in any way.

This story takes place shortly after we all start coming back into the office after a year and a half of working from home during the global health crisis. It’s a particularly cold winter day, and [Woman] decides to do something about it.

Woman: “That’s it! I’m turning the thermostat up! I’m freezing my butt off!”

Man: *In a stereotypical fake whining voice* “Oh, no, not your butt! That’s my favorite part.”

Everyone in the office freezes — pun not intended — and then bursts into raucous laughter when we realize what just happened. [Man] and [Woman] catch on and turn beet red from embarrassment.

Man: “Um… I forgot that we’re at the office and not at home, so… can we all just pretend that I didn’t say that?”

Coworker: “[Woman], now I understand why you were so careful to make sure you were on mute during all of our Zoom meetings!”

That set off another round of raucous laughter, with the couple joining in despite their obvious embarrassment. It really helped boost morale after so many months of chaos trying to coordinate everything while working from home.

The couple is now happily engaged, and they’re still good about keeping their relationship separate from work, even though we still make the occasional joke about this story at their expense.

That Kind Of Prank Never Ends Well

, , , , , , , , , , , | Working | January 23, 2023

At my very first job, we used to have a girl who did bank runs, taking the cash from any cash transactions that we had over to the local bank in a deposit bag, where she would sometimes use what is known as a Night Drop.

One day, [Coworker] went out to do the deposit. Then, she was supposed to come back to help me close the store for the day. This left me to clean, because the walk to the bank was a bit of a distance — our town was very safe, so she had no worries about doing this on foot — and it normally took her a while to get to and from the location.

About twenty-five minutes later, [Coworker] called me and apologized, telling me that she would be late coming back because she had to call EMS to the bank. When she came back, I asked her what had happened, and the story unfolded as such.

[Coworker] arrived at the bank, but there was already someone using the Night Drop, so she waited. While she was standing there, a very good friend of hers saw her at the branch, parked his car, and got in line behind her without her noticing.

Once the other person left, [Coworker]’s friend put a hand on her shoulder and said, “Give me all the money!” You know… as a joke…

Well, [Coworker] whipped around and belted her friend in the face with the deposit bag. Now, this is a vinyl sack with some bills in it, so it didn’t do any damage but it did scare him, which caused him to jump back. As he jumped back, his foot rolled, and he fell down and knocked himself unconscious on a handrail.

[Coworker] had to call EMS, and the police also arrived to take statements and get an idea of what had happened. They agreed that [Coworker]’s friend was an idiot.

In order to prevent him from having to pay impound fees and such, [Coworker] asked the police if she could take his car. I’m not sure what conversation she had with them, but it ended in a “yes”, and she was able to drive back to our shop and then pick her friend up at the hospital the next afternoon when he was released from observation.

The best part was that I got like an hour of overtime because I couldn’t leave the shop unsecured since I wasn’t a keyholder.

The Donut Roller Coaster

, , , , , , , | Working | January 23, 2023

About a month ago, a favorite chain donut shop opened near me. There used to be several years ago, but they all closed. I went there a couple of times both before and after their grand opening.

I had a good coupon for a cream cheese bagel. It was good enough that today I decided on a repeat. However, it wasn’t morning; it was mid-afternoon. A couple of cars were out front, and several cars out back obviously belonged to staff, so I figured they weren’t going to be too busy. I should be able to get through the drive-thru in two or three minutes.

I pulled up. There was silence from the speaker for a minute. Then…

Speaker: “We’ll be with you in a few moments.”

I was in no hurry, so sure. About two minutes later:

Speaker: “Hi, how can I help you?”

Me: “I’d like an everything bagel with cream cheese and a medium coffee.”

Speaker: “We have bagel bites.”

Me: “I don’t want bagel bites. I’d like a standard everything bagel with cream cheese.”

Speaker: *After a long pause* “We’re out of everything bagels.”

Me: “That’s fine. Let me have a plain bagel with cream cheese. Oh! And do you have any chocolate-cream-filled donuts?”

Speaker: “Yes, we do.”

Me: “Add one of those to the order.”

I had been eating healthy for a while; I figured a rare donut as a treat would be fine.

Speaker: “Please pay at the first window.”

I pulled ahead and confirmed my order with the cashier, paid, and pulled ahead to the second window. I worked on a puzzle on my phone and listened to music. I was near the end of the third song — so I’d been waiting for nearly ten minutes — and I was hoping maybe the delay was that they had to brew the coffee fresh.

I was about to try getting someone’s attention when the window opened.

Employee: “Here you are.”

He handed me a small package. By feel, I could tell it was a bagel. 

Me: “Where’s the rest?”

Employee: “The rest?”

Me: “Yeah, I ordered coffee and a donut, as well.”

Employee: “Hang on.”

He disappeared and I unwrapped the bagel. At first, I just saw a bagel — no cream cheese. I opened it and it seemed to have been lightly brushed by something. It could’ve been butter or it could’ve been cream cheese, but it was essentially a plain bagel.

The window opened again. The cashier was helping out.

Cashier: “Here’s your coffee. We’re out of chocolate-cream-filled donuts, but I picked out these chocolate donuts.”

He handed me the coffee and a box with a half-dozen plain donuts that were chocolate frosted and a couple with sprinkles. I was dumbfounded.

Me: “Well, do you have vanilla cream?”

Cashier: “Yes, we have those.”

Me: “That’s fine, too. It doesn’t have to be chocolate.”

I started to hand back the box.

Cashier: “That’s okay. Keep those.”

Me: “Okay, but one other thing: the bagel only has a tiny hint of cream cheese. The last time I was here, there was an actual layer of cream cheese.”

Cashier: “We have containers of cream cheese we put on the bagels, and we’re only supposed to use one, but I can get you another container of cream cheese.”

I was suspecting a lie of some kind unless the container held a mere half-teaspoon of cream cheese. There wasn’t much more to the conversation. He returned with the cream cheese and not one but two vanilla-cream-filled donuts. I appreciated the kindness to fix up my order, but how do you screw it up so badly in the first place? Besides, I wasn’t going to eat all those donuts. I guess I’ll bring them to the office tomorrow for everyone else.

Save The Trash Talk For Home, Buddy

, , , , , , | Working | January 23, 2023

I’m a department head in the company I work for. I was showing a presentation to our company before showcasing it to our clients. There were about thirty-five people in the video conference. 

We have an instant messenger for inside the company only. The head of another department didn’t realize they were typing in the video chat and not the instant messenger; they look similar.

Department Head: *Typing in the chat* “I can’t believe this. No one is going to sign for this. What a giant, boring waste of f*****’ time. [My Name] is an idiot who is wasting company time.”

I stopped talking and sat quietly for about twenty seconds while I took a screenshot of that.

Me: *Out loud* “Hey, [Department Head], you can get off the call now.”

Department Head: “Why?”

Me: “Because it’s a waste of your valuable time, and you should go do more productive things with it — like telling Human Resources why you’ve been kicked off this call.”

He started to stutter.

Me: “Either you can call them or I can, but either way, this meeting is not moving forward with you in it.”

He logged off, and we had a meeting the next day with HR about workplace harassment; his personal attack on me qualified. He was silent the entire time.

HR asked what my feelings were, and I said that [Department Head] owed me and the entire company an apology. He had to apologize and ended up with a week of unpaid suspension.