Cutting Workplace Tension With A Knife

| Arlington, TX, USA | Bosses & Owners, Ignoring/Inattentive

(I have been working at a large chain grocery store for about three months when this happens. The store has a large turnover rate, and as such, my manager has been grooming me to be her assistant for the last two months. One guy in my department has been working here much longer than me, and he’s a little strange and doesn’t get along with most people. He’s decided he likes me, though, and much to my discomfort, that includes complaining to me about how the manager favors me over him for the promotion. This occurs when our manager is on vacation for a week, and I’ve taken over some of her managing duties.)

Me: *checking the shelves for holes*

(Coworker is stocking the shelves from the truck that came in that day. He walks over to stand next to me and pulls out his box-cutter to open a box, but just stands there and sighs. Then he looks up at me, smiles, and reaches out like he’s going to cut my arm, but misses my arm by about an inch*

Me: *in disbelief he actually did that* “What was that for?”

Coworker: “Oh, y’know.” *opens the box and resumes his work*

(I get the h*** off that aisle, pretending to be calm, and go find an assistant store manager that I’m comfortable with and explain the story to her.)

Assistant Store Manager: “Okay, you did the right thing. I’ll handle it. Just keep working and try to stay away from him as much as possible, okay?”

(I resume work, and later get approached by the store manager, who asks me to explain what happened again, and tells me that she’ll talk to my manager about it. Later that week, my manager gets back from vacation, and I run into her on the floor.)

Manager: “I heard what happened with you and [Coworker]. You know that’s a fireable offense, right?”

Me: “I hope so! Coming at someone with a sharp blade is not a joke.”

Manager: “All right, I’ll handle it.”

(I don’t hear anything about it for a couple of weeks, but also don’t see Coworker around in my department. I finally see him one day, working in the health foods department, and ask my manager what happened.)

Manager: “We transferred him over there.”

Me: “…I thought it was a fireable offense, though?”

Manager: “That’s what [Store Manager] decided to do. There was an opening, no one else works in that department because it’s so small, and he’s worked here a long time and knows what to do. But since no one else works in that department, he also has to do all the manager work, and he really doesn’t know how.” *rolls her eyes* “No one else likes working with him, though, so it’s the best spot in the store for him.”

(A month or so later, the same Assistant Store Manager I reported him to asks me to work in his department.)

Me: “I’m not comfortable working with that guy.”

Assistant Store Manager: “I know, you wouldn’t be. You’d just be working his days off. He’s really screwing up the place. There’s yogurt up to the ceiling in the back cooler, a bunch of it is about to expire, and he doesn’t know how to order. It’s a mess.”

Me: “…I’ll tell you what. If you make me the manager of that department, I’ll fix it for you.”

Assistant Store Manager: “Oh. Well. We can’t really just do that all of a sudden.”

Me: “I know. It’s fine. I’ll work his days off until then.”

Assistant Store Manager: *approaches me the next day* “Okay, we decided to give you the department.”

Me: “Whoa, so soon? You said it would take a while.”

Assistant Store Manager: “It’s really a mess. We just want it fixed as soon as possible.”

Me: “Well, okay.”

(I only had one day working in that department previously, and it’s a small one with a lot of different products, so it takes a while to find specific places for things. So, all at once, I have to learn where everything goes, where everything in the back room is, procedures for working with coolers and freezers — which I’ve never worked with before, since I came from the Drug GM department — and all the ordering and back-stock procedures of a manager. Plus, I have to listen to the store manager rant at us for not getting enough done pretty much every shift I have. Finally, after a month, I’m called into the store manager’s office.)

Store Manager: “We’re giving the department back to [Coworker].”

Me: “…Excuse me?”

Store Manager: “Yeah, you’re just not filling the holes in the shelves, and you’re not getting the truck out. It’s just not working out. Plus, with how quickly we promoted you, he could have a case with HR over how the department was taken from him.”

Me: “Only one of those things actually makes sense to remove me. You gave me a department where I knew where nothing was and had to learn everything from scratch. And besides, he threatened me. I don’t know why he got promoted to manager instead of fired!”

Store Manager: “Oh, yeah, why didn’t you do anything about that?”

Your Pen(ding) Gifts

| Finland | Bizarre/Silly, Coworkers

(I work for a team that provides news to several different newspapers all around the country. We use different online means to communicate daily, as we are all working in different cities, and video meetings is one way. The Greek debt crisis is in full swing when this happens.)

Boss: “…and so I have decided to send Coworker #1 to Greece tomorrow. I hope you know that this is nothing personal.”

Me: “Well, I think that we should do this the Greek way. She goes to Greece and I and [Coworker #2] get full mileage and daily benefits from the time that she is there. Otherwise we’ll go on strike.”

Boss: “I’ll send you a company pen. Will that be fine?”

Me: “As I have never ever received a letter addressed to me to work, that’ll be okay, but just this time.”

Coworker #2: “I want a company pen, too!”

Boss: “I’ll arrange that.”

(Two days later I get a letter that contains not one but two pens. There is no note attached.)

Me: “Oh, and thanks for the two pens, boss. I’m disappointed, however, that the company logo wasn’t included.”

Coworker #2: “Why did he get two? I want two too!”

Me: “My turn to arrange this. Just wait.”

Me: *emailing the posting department* ‘Hi! Could you send a pen with our logo to [Coworker #2]? The address is [address]. Thanks.”

(The following day Coworker #2 sent me a message thanking me for the pen.)

Can’t Have Your Cake And Eat It

| OK, USA | Coworkers, Extra Stupid, Food & Drink, Health & Body

(I’ve been diabetic type 1 since I was eleven, but my coworkers think they know how to manage diabetes better than I do. They’re always very uneducated about diabetes, but this coworker took the cake. This happened during my break on a slow evening.)

Coworker: “I hate needles. If I had diabetes, I would eat whatever I wanted anyway!”

Me: “I would too, but I’d like keep my limbs and organs.”

Coworker: “That can happen?!”

Me: “What did you think would happen if I just stopped taking insulin?!”

Coworker: *grabs the cake I was eating* “Oh, then you CAN’T have this!”

(I told you she took the cake.)

They’re All High On E

| Albuquerque, NM, USA | Employees, Extra Stupid, Technology

(I have just bought a new computer, and decided to upgrade from dial-up to broadband Internet. They come and install everything, and the tech asks me to try to go online. I just get an error message.)

Tech: “Can I try it?”

Me: “Sure, have a seat.”

Tech: “I see the problem. You don’t have Explorer installed.”

Me: “It’s an Apple. It doesn’t use Explorer. It uses Safari.”

Tech: “Well, Explorer should be on the Windows disk. Where is your Windows disk?”

Me: “It’s an Apple. It doesn’t use Windows. It uses OS X. I have an OS X disk, with Safari on it. No Windows, no Explorer.”

Tech: “Oh, the Windows disk should have come with your computer. Go back to the store and tell them you didn’t get it. After you install Explorer, you should be able to go online. If you have any problems, call this number.”

(The tech hands me a card and leaves. I immediately call the number, and ask for an Apple tech. I get transferred to a rep, and we have the following conversation:)

Tech: “Okay, do you see the little blue “e” on the desktop?”

Me: “I have an Apple; I wanted to talk to an Apple tech. Can you transfer me?”

Tech: “Yes, I am the Apple tech. Now, do you see a little blue “e”?”

Me: “It’s an Apple. It runs OS X and Safari. No Windows, no IE.”

Tech: “Well, if you want to get online, you have to install Windows and IE. Call me back when you do that; it will take a few hours.” *click*

(I wound up calling the Apple support desk, and they fixed the problem for me. There was something wrong with the settings on the router.)

They Are Totally Out Of Tune-a

| London, UK | Employees, Food & Drink, Lazy/Unhelpful

(I have just started a new job, and have been trying out a few local cafés for lunch. I find one I like, and start going there once or twice a week. They have a menu written on a big blackboard with various sandwiches, toasted panini sandwiches, salads, and other hot food.)

Girl: *working behind the counter* “Hello, what can I get you?”

Me: “A tuna pasta salad, please.”

Girl: “Sorry, what?”

Me: “A tuna pasta salad.”

Girl: “Tuna…? Salad…?” *looks dubious and goes to get the owner*

Owner: “Yes? What would you like?”

Me: “A tuna pasta salad…”

Owner: “Tuna? We have tuna and sweetcorn?”

Me: “No, sorry; I mean the tuna pasta salad. The one from the salad menu.” *points to blackboard*

Owner: *speaking as if he thinks I might not be understanding him* “We have tuna. Tuna and sweetcorn, for a sandwich. You want a tuna and sweetcorn sandwich?”

Me: “No, no, on your salad menu. Look, it says ‘Tuna pasta salad.’ I presume you don’t have any?”

Owner: *looks at menu* “No. We don’t have that.”