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    Don’t Elevate Your Expectations

    | USA | Extra Stupid, New Hires

    (I’m working as a front desk clerk and I go into the sorting room to get a book. We have a few new pages who started recently (pages are the ones who shelve the books) and the trainer is talking to one. I overhear the conversation as I’m looking for the book:)

    Trainer: “Okay, I think you’re ready to shelve on your own now. Why don’t you take this cart of picture books upstairs to the children’s room? Can you handle that on your own?”

    Page: “Yes, I think so.”

    Trainer: “Do you have any questions?”

    Page: “Just one. Should I take the elevator?”

    Trainer: *completely straight faced* “Yes, you should take the elevator.”

    (After the page left with the cart, Trainer and I made eye contact and both burst out laughing.)

    The Key To Listening

    | Peoria, IL, USA | Bosses & Owners, Extra Stupid, Language & Words

    (I’ve just arrived for my shift and need a second person to go to the back with me so I can get my money, as I don’t have a key.)

    Me: “I need someone with a door key, please!”

    Coworker #1: “I don’t have a door key. Ask [Coworker #2].”

    Coworker #2: “What?”

    Me: “Do you have a door key? I need my money.”

    Coworker #2: “I do have a door key!”

    Teller Supervisor: *from another room* “STOP CALLING PEOPLE ‘DORKY’! THAT’S NOT NICE!”

    Working For An Automaton

    | Minneapolis, MN, USA | Bosses & Owners, New Hires

    (A director who I’d worked with previously heard I might lose my job due to downsizing. He asked me to interview with one of his managers for an open position. During this interview…)

    Director: “I think you’d be great for this position. Your knowledge of Excel and Access would be perfect.”

    Me: “Thanks. Whenever I’m given a new repetitive task, I try to automate the heck out of it. The more tasks that we can make automated, the more time we have to focus on other projects.”

    Director: “Sounds good. I think it’ll be a good fit.”

    Manager: *says nothing*

    Me: “Okay, well, I’ll let you two discuss it.”

    (Flash forward a few months after I’ve been hired:)

    Manager: “I need you to work on [report] first thing. I need it ASAP.”

    (I do the report. Later that day…)

    Me: “Here you go. I moved the totals to the top so it’s easier to read at a glance.”

    Manager: “Fine, whatever.”

    (A day passes…)

    Manager: “I can’t read this report. Where are the totals?”

    Me: “At the top. I told you I moved them.”

    Manager: “Yes, I can see that. I hate it. Fix it.”

    Me: “Okay, but you reviewed the report. Is it otherwise okay?”

    Manager: “Fix the totals.”


    Me: “Here’s the revised report.”

    Manager: “You’re taking too long to complete these tasks.”

    (A day passes:)

    Manager: “This data is all wrong!”

    Me: “Oh, okay. Well, I’m still a bit new. Do you know what I did wrong?”

    Manager: “No.”

    Me: “Oh, do you want me to just start over from scratch?”

    Manager: “No, I don’t have time to wait. I’ll do it myself. You take too long to complete tasks.”

    (This is the fourth time this has happened since I was hired. He would not read my reports for days after submission, and then complain about something trivial, which I’d promptly fix, then wait for days before eventually declaring my work to be a “total waste” and just redo it himself. I decide to talk to the director.)

    Me: “I’m concerned that [Manager] and I have different working styles. I don’t think it’s a good fit.”

    Director: “I was concerned this would happen. He prefers the old way of doing things. There was an employee like you that liked automation before [Manager] was hired. They clashed, too, and eventually he quit.”

    Me: “Then why did you think I’d be a good fit?”

    Couldn’t Miss The Opportunity

    | Minneapolis, MN, USA | Coworkers

    (A coworker I was never very fond of is leaving the company. When she comes around to say goodbyes, my snark gets the best of me…)

    Coworker: “You’ll miss me when I’m gone.”

    Me: “Only one way to find out.”

    Checked Out At The Checkout

    | YK, Canada | At The Checkout, Employees, Ignoring/Inattentive, Lazy/Unhelpful, Technology

    (I’m at the local hardware store. There is one customer in front of me and one behind me, and a teenage cashier who looks like the last place she wants to be, is here. She stands in silence, purposely looking away from the lineup, chewing bubblegum. Customer #1 is at the till, patiently waiting for her to notice. After about a minute of all of us being ignored, Customer #2 pipes up.)

    Customer #2: “Uhm, excuse me? Are you busy? You can deal with this lady you know.”

    Cashier: *pops her gum and sighs, then turns to start processing the sale*

    Customer #1: “I would like to return these two items as they were the wrong size, and get these two instead.”

    Cashier: *scans in the two new items, then adds the two old items, then presses the button to bring up the total*

    Me: *since I can see the till’s screen* “Excuse me, you added her returns. You need to subtract them for a refund.”

    Cashier: *gives me a look, and then looks at the screen. She heaves a huge exasperated sigh, and shrugs* “I don’t know how to do that.”

    Me: “Okay. Press ‘delete’ once. Then ‘enter’ twice. Then, where it says ‘2,’ type ‘-2.’ Then press ‘enter’ twice.”

    Cashier: *stares at me, popping her gum*

    Me: “Just do it.”

    Cashier: *another huge sigh, but does as told, and finishes the sale*

    Customer #1: *to me* “Oh, thank you!”

    Me: “No problem.”

    (Customer #1 leaves, and I place my items at the till.)

    Me: “On my account, please, under [My Name].”

    Cashier: *ignores me and starts scanning the items*

    Me: “No, no. I said on my ACCOUNT, please. You need to back up. Stop, and press ‘F5′ to get to the accounts screen to enter my name.”

    Cashier: *presses a random button, causing it to go to an entirely different screen. She grunts and tosses her arms up in frustration* “I don’t know what to do!”

    Me: “Calm down. Just abort the sale. Press ‘escape’ twice and hit ‘enter’ for yes to abort. It’s okay. Nothing bad will happen; it won’t throw off your till.”

    Cashier: *looks at me, then does as told, bringing the till back to the first screen*

    Me: “Now, let’s start again. Press ‘F5,’ then type [My Name]. Then ‘enter.’ Then you can process my items.”

    Cashier: *she does so, and we quickly finish the sale*

    Customer #2: *who has been standing behind me watching this entire thing* “Thank you SO much for helping her. We would have been here all day!”

    Me: “It’s no problem, really. I used to work here, so I remember the buttons. It’s the same system so nothing has changed.”

    Customer #2: *looks at me, then the cashier, then back at me* “…Can you stay while she does mine?”

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