Over the back fence of our rear parking lot was a chemical plant that manufactured fertilizers. A year or so before I started working there, it caught on fire, and nobody had any idea what was burning, so the fire department evacuated half the city (literally - it made national news) until burned out.
The aftermath of that is that businesses in California now have to file floor plans with their local fire department showing everything in the building, by locations, with MSDS sheets on *everything*. (My current employer stocks over 20,000 SKUs. That's 20,000 MSDS sheets. That have to be updated every few years. We have to hire a service to handle it all. It's not cheap.) The city then required a fence of a particular design be installed between the plant and all the neighbors. After the lawsuits, the neighbors were forced to pay for half the cost. The plant, of course, never paid their half, and the neighbors were on the hook for it because their names were on the contract, too.
So, it was run by an asshole. They had a doberman as a guard dog. The dog was an asshole, too, with a classic bully mentality. If he sensed you were afraid of him (and he was pretty good at it), he'd bite you, or at least try to (he wasn't playing). If he knew you weren't, he'd run away and pee himself. He'd come into our parking lot and chase our customers around. I spent two years trying to run the damn dog down with my car. There was a day I would have had him, too, but he knew what backup lights on a car meant, and he knew *exactly* how close I'd get to the phone pole in the driveway.
We shared our building with an auto detailing place. The guy who owned it was OK, and all the illegal immigrants who worked for him were quiet, and hard workers. His son, however, was the second most useless human being I've ever met. His name was Doug, but we all pronounced it Duh-g. But in the end, Duh-g redeemed himself. He'd just finished detailing a car (and it was, for a change, done right), and here comes the doberman around the corner, and pees on the spotless tire. And there stands Duh-g, with a 180 degree high pressure steam hose in his hand. The dog never came past the gate into our parking lot again, and Duh-g got free soft drinks for as long as I worked there.
The place also had a tendency of having shipments of various chemicals arrive in dump trucks. They'd unload it by just dumping it in their parking lot, and having the employees (with nary a breath mask between them) shovel it into bags. Whatever this crap was, it was a fine powder, and the wind blew it all over the neighborhood. We would have to hose off our windshields to be able to drive home at the end of the day, the dust was so thick. (Remember the fence? It had zero effect on this. We never had the slightest clue why the city wanted it.)
Then one day, one of their truck drivers arrived before we opened, and parked his 18 wheeler up against the gate into our rear parking lot. Tom, the other guy working the counter, was opening, and went in and politely (and with him, there's no doubt it was politely) asked the driver to move the truck, because the alarm doesn't have a delay on the front door, and he can't get to the back door. Driver tells him to "go f**k yourself." Tom, bless his soul, climbs over the truck, gets in the store, and calls the cops about the 18 wheeler blocking the (clearly marked) fire lane. Cops show up, driver gives them attitude, and cops inform him he has until the tow truck arrives (and it's on the way) to move the truck or it will be impounded. It pays to be nice to the cops, especially when your neighbor is an asshole.
After that, Tom called the fire department (who *hated* this place, for reasons that should be obvious) every time they dumped a load of toxic chemicals in the parking lot. He was a nice guy, but it didn't pay to piss him off. The first couple of times, they were let off easy with the excuse "the truck was broken and we couldn't unload it any other way," but then the fire marshals (who think they are God, and they are correct) started writing citations.
Then, one day, I come back from lunch, and there's a fire department truck parked in the driveway, and guys in hazmat suits taking core samples out of the parking lot. They came within a few parts per million of having to dig up the entire parking lot and shipping it to a toxic waste dump.
They are apparently still in business, in the same location, nearly 30 years later. I can't help but wonder who they're sleeping with in the city government. But they did stop dumping toxic chemicals in their parking lot several times a week.
And it wasn't just us who were negatively affected by the place. We had a family of squirrels who lived under our air conditioner. Mama, Papa, and several little baby squirrels. We would see Papa squirrel climbing all over the bags of chemicals next door every day.
Apparently, Papa squirrel was a stoner (he lived way too long to be rabid), addicted to whatever the stuff was, and was stoned out of his mind all the time. (We always imagined him coming home from a long day dealing drugs, taking off his fur, wearing only a wife beater shirt, and beating Mama squirrel for not having dinner ready.) He would chase people in our parking lot more aggressively than the doberman. Our owner had an RV in the back parking lot, and he liked to eat lunch in it. He started keeping his .38 in the RV after the day Papa squirrel came charging in and snarled at him. Squirrels aren't supposed to snarl.
Worked at Pita Pit in college for a day. About halfway through my first shift, the manager asks if I have a car.
I said yes, why?
He said I had to go get it and deliver for him til close because the driver he was into called out because she was too hungover (She said this on speaker in front of like half of the people waiting in line and everyone else who was working).
If I didn't, he said I was fired.
He also told me I had to pay for my own gas and give all tips to him since I was still making 8.20 an hour instead of the 4.50 the drivers made plus tips. He handed me seven bags and a list of mapquest directions to them, three of the deliveries 10+ miles away (Furthest being 17 miles in the middle of fucking nowhere Pennsylvania that just screamed DELIVERANCE RAPE SCENE).
Boss called me not even 15 minutes later screaming at me for not making all of the deliveries yet and said that once I came back and gave him his tips, I was fired.
With five deliveries left to go, I said "Fuck it" and went to my friends place with the rest of the food.
Fuck that manager.
I've spent over a decade working in a grocery store and I have a few gems I'd like to share from coworkers, to managers and customers.
One of the earliest stories involves not so much a bad coworker but a funny occurrence. Our store was implementing a new policy that states that all department clerks (produce, dairy, frozen and general merchandise) need to be checker trained so that they can help out when there's a rush.
A nice concept if you don't take into account that they slashed cashier hours afterwards, so that the front end would have to rely on department help. This one coworker claimed that he shouldn't be checker trained because he's not comfortable dealing with money.
Our store director stared him in the face for a full minute until he just grunted and said that the guy didn't have to be trained. This same coworker wound up leaving a few months later after God told him that he needed to get a job at a different company. He lost that new job two months later.
One time, a front end manager tried to write me up for missing a page to help check. He claimed that I missed eight pages and then gave the manager attitude when she questioned me about it. I knew the guy was full of crap during the entire write up.
While it was possible that I missed a couple of pages, there's no way that I could miss that many. To top it off, the manager I supposedly gave attitude to was on her second week in the store and I had literally never spoken to her.
I talked to her afterwards and between my words and her words, management tossed the write up.
This same guy threatened to suspend me if I didn't write my social security number on the write up. I refused as I'm not giving my SS# to anyone. They can get it from my file if they need it.
The manager was fired later that month for some dumb reason that I can no longer recall. No one missed him.
A former Jewish coworker of mine tried to request time off for a Jewish holiday. However, he didn't put it in on time (requests had to be in two weeks in advance). The holiday rolls around and he calls in on the first day. He claimed that he had a 108 degree temperature.
Keep in mind that this guy was already seen as a moron. This basically sealed his fate.
Normally we have a policy of never calling our department manager on his day off but I couldn't pass up relaying this story. My manager stayed in contact with the employee throughout the day. A few hours later, he learned that the employee was on a flight to Chicago to be with his family during the holiday while still claiming to be sick.
Last I heard, he's now working the drive thru of a McDonalds.
There was one time that I had been paged up to cover an express register. As I was getting ready to go back to my department, this lady comes up to my register and slams her cart against the side of it. She then starts slamming her product on to the counter.
I'm a little stunned at this point so I decide to be as nice as I can be and ask her how her day is going.
Her response? "I bet I could get some better service from you if I brought my 15 year old daughter with me!"
I completely ignored and her just rang up her order. To this day I really wish I had told her that she might have better luck if she had brought along a college aged son.
We used to have a front end manager who would regularly screech into the intercom for help. Off the intercom, her voice was fine. On the intercom, it was like the scream of a banshee. There were many times that the screech was so loud that you couldn't understand what she said. She claimed that's just how her voice sounds on the intercom.
Anyways, one day I'm in the back loading product onto a cart so I could run it. In this particular storage room, the product was stored right beneath a intercom speaker. Out of nowhere, the intercom lets loose a godawful screech.
I wound up falling off of a pallet in a way that caused me an injury, as my ears were literally in pain from processing such a sound.
A doctor ended up ordering me not to take the stairs for a couple of weeks until my injury could heal. This meant that I would occasionally use a computer at customer service to send e-mails for various reasons as I couldn't go upstairs to the office. Cue the banshee.
She comes up to me at the computer (mere feet away from a counter full of customers looking for help) and tries to accuse me of lying about being injured. I just stared at her blankly for ten seconds until she huffed and walked away.
I wish I could say that it was just a stare down but at the moment I couldn't process why she would try to start an arguement about workman's comp in front of half a dozen customers. I reported it just to be safe but my store has a general policy to never punish a manager except in the most egregious of circumstances.
Cue an example of an egregious circumstance. It was around one o'clock in the afternoon and I was scheduled to be off in about a half hour. The front end manager decides to page me and the only other two people in my department up to check. No other departments.
On it's face, I was quite annoyed but I went up front to check anyways. As I get up there, I see no customers to check out and that my two coworkers are already finishing two small orders with no one else waiting in their lines.
I wound up getting in an argument with that manager when she insisted that I still open a big register. I don't remember most of the argument but she basically said to take it up with the store director and I told her that I'd gladly do so if she wasn't able to page other departments to check instead of yanking my entire department up front.
She gave me a death glare as she walked away.
I figured that would be the end of it. Boy was I wrong. I clocked out a half hour later, grabbed a few items and headed up to the registers to check out. I knew my mom was up there as she was giving me a ride home from work that day.
The manager insists that I come into a room behind customer service to talk about what happened and that I wouldn't be allowed to clock in.
At that point I just wanted it done with so I agreed. Important note, we have two rooms behind customer service. One is the safe room and one was a small storage room. We went into the small storage room despite it having no ceiling and thin wooden walls. She then proceeds to shout at me for five minutes.
This time was the only time I ever told a manager off. Unlike her, I kept calm the entire time and basically told her that if I did get fired, I'd walk out the door with a smile on my face knowing that I did a good job in the face of her bad management.
After that, I walked out of the storage room to find everyone at customer service staring at me as well as most of the cashiers and customers. She was that damn loud.
Fast forward a few days later, the manager was fired after my mom sent in a complaint to corporate. I didn't know my mom had done that until months later when she told me. I was understandably angry until she explained that she would've done it whether it had involved me or not as she had never seen such horrible unprofessionalism.
I'll end this with a short, funny story. It was the Thanksgiving season and one of my coworkers was having a bad day.
We were standing inside of the milk storage area when he decided to express his frustration by picking up an empty milk crate, lifting it up into the air and slamming it to the floor.
Unfortunately for him, the crate caught onto a fire suppression sprinkler and caused all of the sprinklers in the cooler to go off. He stood there for a full minute looking like, "How can this be my life?"
It was one of the single funniest things that I've ever seen.
From buttured_toast: Asked my manager what skills I could work on, she handed me this.
From an RHUer:
Well, I recently landed a job at Stopgame. I’m happy, it’s a job that I know I enjoy, because I can actually be ‘myself’ at the job. No need to put myself into my work persona of being a professional, silent puppet that keeps an indifferent facial mask on and just wishes to be somewhere else. I can actually talk with the co-workers about games.
And I had my first day. I would like to be able to give a thrilling story of the weirdest hijinks that a first day could bring, but I didn’t have those. The main thing that happened was that HR had not given me an employee number yet, meaning I couldn’t properly log myself into the computers as a new employee or use the cash register or anything. And that was despite them having my papers for a month and my having been officially/legally under contract for two weeks now. But that was fixed after about an hour.
Instead, I’ll tell you about the boss that a co-worker told me about. This boss isn’t the store manager, but that guy’s boss. According to the co-worker, the boss-boss has difficulty understanding something. Like the fact that our store, despite being located in a (small) mall, does not get all that much traffic outside of Saturdays and we hence cannot fulfill the sale goals set. Even when showing him during a visit that there is maybe one customer in the store, he doesn’t – or refuses – to understand it.
Or the time where the boss-boss was standing in front of the store and watching the employees. And then asking them why they did not immediately drop everything they had in their hands to focus their sole attention on the customer that entered. Sorting merchandise or stocking things? No, drop everything. The customer is the main priority. (Though I noticed that, out of the customers during my shift yesterday, a handful were looking for something specific; the rest were just browsing to see if there was anything of interest)
Not sure if I’ll meet the guy. We’ll see.