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  • Not So Closely Guarded
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  • Literally Life & Death

    | Dublin, Ireland | Bosses & Owners, Crazy Requests, Health & Body

    Boss: “I need everyone to stay late tonight to get these programs written by Friday.”

    Me: “We’ve pretty much finished them already. I can stay late tomorrow but tonight I have to go to my other job.”

    Boss: “This work needs to be done by the end of the week. What’s the worst that’ll happen if you don’t get to your other job?”

    Me: “My other job is in suicide prevention…”

    A World Plush With Lies

    | Lafayette, LA, USA | Bosses & Owners, Family & Kids

    (The store I work in is located in a mall, and despite being a candy store we also sell plush toys, with a display set up at the front of the store. Because of this, small children will often fuss at their parents to buy them said toys as they pass by on their way to or from other stores. A little boy wants a stuffed penguin, which his mother pries from his hands despite his protests.)

    Mother: “We’ll get it on the way back!”

    (Sulking, the boy follows his mother away from our store.)

    Manager: *laughing* “So many LIES! When will it END?!”

    Establishing Order Over Tall Orders

    | Melbourne, VIC, Australia | At The Checkout, Awesome Workers, Food & Drink, Theme Of The Month

    (I’m in line at a coffee place. When it’s the turn of the guy in front of me, he rattles off a ridiculously complex order, with all sorts of alterations. At no point does he say ‘please,’ nor does he even bother looking at the lady taking his order. Surprisingly, she seems to get happier and happier as he spends a few minutes saying his order. By the end, she’s positively beaming.)

    Barista #1: “All right, sir. If you’ll wait over by the side of the counter, please, your order will just be a moment.”

    (The instant she finishes saying the word “moment”, she suddenly starts making the man’s drink with incredible speed. She’s flying around making the complex drink, pouring and stirring and grabbing various ingredients with astounding dexterity. Her movements are so rapid and precise that it’s like watching a sped-up version of a dance. Her face shows intense concentration, and all the other baristas and staff have stopped what they were doing to watch. She finishes after a minute.)

    Barista #1: “Here you are, sir! I hope you enjoy your drink!”

    (Suddenly, another barista calls out.)

    Barista #2: “She did it!”

    (The staff near her begin to clap her on the back, congratulating her, and generally acting like the event is a minor celebration. After a moment, she turns to serve me.)

    Barista #1: “What would you like today, ma’am?”

    Me: “Actually, can I ask what just happened?”

    Barista #1: “Oh, we have a competition among the staff. If anyone can make a drink in less time than it takes the customer to say what the drink is, the manager has agreed to take us all out for dinner, on her. [Barista #2] was timing, and it looks like I made it!”

    Barista #2: “Yeah, it makes us actually like the customers with over-the-top, customised drinks. They’re the only ones we stand a chance at beating! Normal drinks, like, ‘tall flat white,’ only take two seconds to say, so we can’t compete. That guy’s order was record-breakingly long, though!”

    (The guy, who had been ignoring them and inspecting his complex drink to look for flaws, turned red and slunk out. Later, I found out that the manager had created the competition to address the negative morale caused by difficult orders. It was obviously working.)

    It’s Not As Clear As A Bell To Him

    | Ames, IA, USA | Employees, Transportation

    (I am taking the bus home from my university campus. Upon seeing my stop coming up, I pull the cord to signal to the driver to stop. Normally, a bell sounds to signal that the pull has been registered, but in this case nothing happens to signal that the pull has been registered. At the same time, three other students each pull the cord, with short intervals. We have no way to know if the driver has noticed our signals, but as we approach the stop sign, he slows down and comes to a stop. However, he doesn’t open the rear doors as usual and instead gets on the speaker system in the bus.)

    Driver: “Please exit through the front door.”

    (As the four of us line up to exit, he stops each of the students in front of me and tells them individually, in a stern voice, that they only need to pull the stop cord once. They are all international students, as am I, and seem somewhat confused by his admonition, but just nod and walk off the bus. As it is my turn, I decide to tell the driver that the signal bell isn’t working, even if it should be obvious to him.)

    Driver: *sternly* “You only need to ring the bell once to signal for me to stop.”

    Me: “Yes, I know. However, your bell isn’t working, so we couldn’t know if you knew we needed to get off.”

    Driver: “But I get a signal up here on the instrument panel, and that works just fine, so only pull the cord once.”

    Me: “Yes, but WE couldn’t hear the bell ring, so we didn’t know.”

    Driver: “But I saw the signal just fine. You only need to pull once.”

    Me: “Yes, I understand, but WE couldn’t hear it, so how are we supposed to know the pull registered?”

    Driver: “But I saw the signal. You only have to pull once.”

    Me: “But WE DIDN’T!”

    Driver: “But I saw it just fine.”

    Me: *at this point, I realize we are going to be here all day, if I keep this up* “Great! I know that already.”

    Driver: *as I exit the bus* “You should only pull the cord once.”

    Your Courier Days Are Numbered

    | Beltsville, MD, USA | Employees, Extra Stupid, Transportation

    (Our office is in an industrial complex, where a number of warehouses share a single building. Each business has its own front door and address. Our office was created after the original floor plan, from sections of other warehouses, and they neglected to add a number on our front door. Still, our address ends in ’58′ and the neighbors have their numbers on display, with a ’56′ and ’60.’)

    Courier: *coming from adjacent business* “Wow, I couldn’t find you guys.”

    Me: “We’re right here, at [address].”

    Courier: “Yeah, but you have no number out front.”

    Me: “I know. It’s a pain, but we’re right here between [two adjacent addresses].”

    Courier: “I’ve been driving around for half an hour.”

    Me: “Why didn’t you call us?”

    Courier: “I didn’t have your number.”

    Me: “But we received a call earlier, saying you were going to be late.”

    Courier: “That was dispatch. I never received any information.”

    Me: “So, you couldn’t call dispatch to call us?”

    Courier: “No. Like I said, I’ve been driving around trying to find you guys for 30 minutes.”

    Me: “Oh, well, sorry. Like I said, we’re right between ’56′ and ’60.’”

    Courier: “Yeah, but there was no number. I can’t tell where you are if there’s no number…”


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