Newbie Narratives: When Your Mouth Works Faster Than Your Brain




From  thisisjustcoke0, Tales From Retail:

My sister recently started work in the lingerie department of a fairly upscale department store after a year and a half off to raise her son. She has only worked 4 days so far and its a huge adjustment for her from being a house mouse for so long.

Last night the district manager of the lingerie department came to my sister's store and did a field test with her, making sure she knew where everything was and how to properly interact with customers. The DM role-played as a customer and things went as follows

Sister: What can I help you look for?

DM: I'm looking for a bra that I can wear day to day and one that I can wear on special occasions.

What my sister meant to say: We have a brand called Modern People that we could look in.

What my sister actually said: We have a brand called Modern Tits that we could look in.

It took my sister a minute to realize what she had said and who she had said it to, at which point the DM was clutching her chest and laughing. She apologized profusely and things went smoothly after that.

-- thisisjustcoke0







Retail Hell Memories: Memorable Desk Prank with a Fun Coworker


Carolanne 007

From Goober:

I've worked in retail my entire adult life. Mostly, at this point, in the corporate office of a regional chain, though I've got my share of scars from the trenches, too. Our corporate office runs lean and mean, with a tight crew that (for the most part) gets along very well and likes each other.

I have my own office now, but years ago, I was out in the bull pen, where there was nothing between the desks but partition walls. My desk was all the way in the back.

I had a coworker named Steph. Steph was one of the most fun coworkers I've ever had, partly because we shared the same black sense of humor. We've both had our share of "if you don't laugh, you'll cry" experiences. (She told me once that she'd had her first alcohol related blackout before she was old enough to drive. It left her with epilepsy. She had a seizure in the office one day, and when it was all over, her biggest concern was that she wasn't awake enough to enjoy how hot the paramedic firemen were. She eventually quit to go work some place that a) paid a lot better, and b) let her carry a loaded pistol in an ankle holster. Like all the other employees.)

So, one day, one of the store managers stopped by with his nephew, a kid of maybe four or five. The usual sort of shy, slightly precocious little kid. Uncle Manager is taking him around, introducing him to everyone. They get to Steph's desk, which is right in front of mine. But because of the partition wall, they can't see me. So they're doing the usual inane small talk, and I offered up a smart-ass comment of some kind. Apparently, this confused the kid, because he couldn't see me, and he was looking around for where the voice came from. So Steph leans over, gets real serious, and tells him, "That's Goober. There's really no one there; that's just a voice we hear."

And the kid just completely lost his shit in terror. He wouldn't stop crying until I came around the partition wall so he could see me, and said something so he knew it was the same voice. I felt so sorry for him that I actually managed to refrain from laughing out loud until they were gone.

But that was the day I achieved one of my greatest ambitions in life: my name was used to frighten a small child. I literally became the Boogy Man for one glorious, shining moment.








Playing With Major Voltage


Carolanne smileFrom Goober

I don't know if this is suitable for RHU, but it's definitely "dealing with the public" stuff.

I used to work with a guy (retired now) named Steve who was very involved in city government in the city where he lives. Among his many civic activities, he teaches a class for electrical contractors at a local community college. One of the highlights of the class, every semester, is a tour of the city's electrical utility. Despite not being in the class, he invited me along every time, and once, I went.

The tour starts with a standard orientation, sort of a "don't touch stuff" speech. Followed by a careful inspection of each person looking for tape measures. Why tape meaures, you ask? Well, there's a story.

It seems that one year, there was a guy with a tape measure (which always have metal blades). During the tour of the old control room (still used as a backup if the new one goes offline), filled with banks of assorted levers and dials in metal panels. And this guy with a tape measure sees a gap in one of the panels. And wonders how deep it is. So he sticks his tape measure (with the metal blade) into the gap in a panel controlling 22,000 volts with enough amps to leave nothing behind but charcoal. Fortunately, he didn't kill himself, but after that, nobody got to go on the tour without being searched for a tape measure. (The speech was the real point, not the search, but it really drove home the "don't touch stuff" speech.)

The tour itself was fascinating. We got to see the new, highly computerized control room, with the multiple giant computer screens that looked like something out of a science fiction movie, and we got to see the old control room that still has a map of the entire local water system done in pinstriping tape, that is kept current because sometimes it's more useful than the computerized maps.

Carolanne grinAnd we got to tour the main substation for the city. This is where the 300,000 volt DC line comes in from Nevada, gets converted to AC, and distributed at 22,000 volts to the various neighborhoods. Giant transformers, wires everywhere, it really fed that reptile back brain love of Big Machines.

The star of the show is the giant (nearly the size of a small house) circuit breaker for the 300 KV line. This circuit breaker needs to be tested twice a year, and Steve had the influence to get those tests scheduled during the tours. It was a real treat, because these tests are a Big Deal. It requires coordinating with the ISO (the organization that runs the power gird) because when it trips, it will show up on monitors across half the country. The actual test was done by the real tour guide, was one of their senior field engineers, a guy named Bud.

Bud had been working there for decades, and was very, very good at his job. And loved every second of it, but especially loved the tours. Because, you see, when you trip a 300,000 volt circuit breaker, it makes a very LOUD bang, literally like a cannon going off. And, of course, neither Steve nor Bud would mention this ahead of time. So we're standing there in the dusk (it's important that it be a little dark at this point), a little chilly, the usual chit-chat of the tour, and Bud pulls up his radio and tells the operator to trip the breaker, with the biggest shit-eating grin you've ever seen on his face.

BANG. Everybody jumps three feet straight up. Quite a show.

And that's only the beginning. The second part of the test is to open the mechanical interrupt - basically a giant copper bar on a swivel - to physically break the circuit, because there'so much power on the circuit the breaker can't actually kill it completely. So Bud opens it up, and tongues of blue flame extend between the two halves of the bar for a distance of at least ten feet. It looked like a Frankenstein movie, only more so.

And remember, the circuit breaker is *off* at this point. That's how much power goes through these power lines. It's quite impressive, in the near dark.

And then it's time to turn the breaker back on. Everybody is expecting the BANG at this point, but Bud still has that shit-eating grin, because when it goes back on, it's not only louder, it's a *lot* louder, like a bomb going off. We all jumped even higher.

Best tour of a public facility I've ever been on.



Retail Observations: It Takes 5 Members of Staff


Jason 031

From MsDinomite, Tales From Retail:

I work in a large chain that sells stationery and books.

The supervisor on stationery is on long term sick and so no one has checked the system for any new plans.

Tomorrow they have people coming in to inspect a particular display on stationary so today they had five people trying to make sure it's to plan.

Two to sit and bitch about the gaps, two from the toys and games to actually try and find the stock in our vast stockroom and one poor Saturday girl armed with pages of plans and trying to find the stuff on her own.

Last I saw, all five were in the stockroom discussing why they couldn't find any of the stock that the system said they had.