Prospective Volunteer Fobs Off Responsibility Of Doing Her Own Paperwork

Carolanne derpWell RHU, I'm gobsmacked. On one hand, I can blame my lack of experience on 'never seeing anything like this, ever.' On the other hand, I think even those experienced with these things would have to pick their jaws up off the floor.

Volunteering with Wonderful Lady has given me experience handling, processing and updating files for applying volunteers. As such, I go page by page, make sure that everything is completed, entered into the computer and check on the communications between the prospective volunteers to see if we're still waiting for anything.

Most of this translates to printed emails saying "We're just waiting for your last reference." And  "Oh my reference moved, here's their new address!" And "Okay, I just got my last TB test, I'll have it read on Wednesday."

Then I come across Little Miss Fail's file. Smack dab on the top page is a printed series of emails from the other supervisor on the Volunteer Services department, who I'll dub Administrative Manager. To paraphrase:

Administrative Manager: We need a second reference from you. The one we sent out was Returned To Sender.

Little Miss Fail: Oh yeah, she moved. You can call her using the phone number I gave you on the reference.

Administrative Manager: We need her address. Please send us her new address.

Little Miss Fail: Unfortunately I don't have her address. You can get her address by calling (###) ###-####. Thank you!

Administrative Manager: Little Miss Fail, as you are applying to become a volunteer, it is your responsibility to provide the contact information for your second reference.

This is the last communication, dated over six months ago.

Me: WTFOMG! Wonderful Lady!

Jason oh my gawdI talked with her about this file and the communications inside. I let her read them herself, and watched her expression darken as this entitled Little Miss Fail basically fobbed off responsibility for completing her own paperwork.

Technically, yes, it would be a matter of seconds to do this step ourselves, but we aren't the ones applying for volunteer work. And it's not like the requirements to become a volunteer are difficult.

The 'interviews' we conduct are some of the most casual in existence and is basically summed up by 'how did you hear about us?", "what makes you interested in volunteering?", and finally "Okay, here's some paperwork we need filled out before we can sign you up for orientation. Now all this stuff has to be completed, so let me go over it with you so you know what we need and how you can go about getting it."

Basically, the door is open as long as you can fill out paperwork and don't have a criminal record. Stress levels and anxiety usually associated with interviews wisps away like fog in a high wind. But even as casual as all this is, you have to fill out your own damn paperwork. We will not do any of it for you. It's one of those "you had one job" deals.

RHU, if you were applying for a job, would you tell the hiring manager that you're too fucking lazy to call your own reference and get the information that you need? No? Didn't think so. Obviously you simply wouldn't get hired. 

Which is essentially what happened. Wonderful Lady shook her head, marked "contacted, no response" in her electronic file and inactivated her.

We'll see if she vanishes into the ether or puts on her big girl panties and takes responsibility. I'm betting on the former.

May all your customers be nice,

People Hate Change, And Need To Grow The Fuck Up

Bookstore SlaveChange is inevitable, even if you have to get dragged kicking and screaming into the current century. Which is exactly what happens to most people nowadays; or if not kicking and screaming, then whining and arguing.

As I've said before, I volunteer with a local hospital with Wonderful Lady. We also have Griping Parker, who I shall now simply dub Griping.

It came to our attention that the company who supplied our polos and jackets for the volunteer uniform were going to be discontinuing the line. Thus began the few-months-long task of finding a new line to use.

Wonderful Lady wisely put the responsibility into the laps of the volunteer committee. Knowledgeable buyers hunted down decently priced lines and put together a mini fashion show. Samples were passed around, and opinions were voiced.

Wonderful Lady's only stipulation was; "Choose a color they are not likely to stop making anytime soon."

So we went from light blue to navy blue. A single question was asked; "Does it come in gender specific, or does it come in unisex?"

Wonderful Lady checked directly with the company rep who was in contact with us. The answer: Unisex.

With not further questions or thoughts, the decision was made, and the money was spent.

Fast forward, and the uniforms arrive. Volunteers sew on the patch that says "[Hospital Name] Volunteer." The now ready-to-be distributed uniforms are separated by size and volunteers are told they have a month to pick up the one you will wear (you get the first one free and pay for the second if you want a second).

Halfway through the grace period, Griping comes in to, you guessed it, gripe. In what turns out to take almost an hour, Griping accuses Wonderful Lady of purchasing the new uniforms without volunteer input.

Wonderful Lady shoots it down by flat out telling him that all decisions were made by the volunteer committee and that all she did was submit their order and get them paid for. By the way, Griping was not only part of this committee, but he was also present for all meetings involving the decision making.

Then he launched into a complaint that the jackets were men's jackets when they were supposed to be unisex.

Carolanne swigWonderful Lady informs him that they are indeed unisex, and when he continues to insist that they are Men's, she prints out the email and order information that clearly states that they are unisex by definition from the company.

He tells her that the way they are buttoned proves that they are men's jackets, regardless of what the company says.

Wonderful Lady asks him that if men button on one side and women button on the other, exactly where should they button for unisex?

This goes on and on, and he finally leaves to go to his department when Wonderful Lady tells him, in the nicest way possible that even if it's true that these aren't the ones HE had wanted, the VOLUNTEER committee HAD made the decision and that it was out of her hands entirely. The order was made, paid for, AND arrived; so suck it up, shut the fuck up, and stop bitching. They were NOT going to be returned.

After the door closed behind him and I was sure he had gone about his business, I turned to Wonderful Lady and said point blank, "For dealing with that as patiently as you did, you deserve a raise."

May all your customers be nice,

A Trio Of Stories From Theatre And Volunteer Hell

Creepy ladySo, um, the Crazy Coffee Lady came back during my shift some weeks ago.

I think she may have come back to the Union before, but I'm the only one that's actually on the lookout for her. I saw her come up to my desk, and I quickly grabbed my manager. "Hey," I whispered. "That lady's back." I pointed at her as subtly as I could.

"Oh. Okay, thanks. I'll take care of it," he said. Thank goodness for that because there was no way I was going to stall her.

My manager got the building manager and they took her away to talk to her where I could still see her, but couldn't hear anything. A few minutes later, someone from Campus Security showed up to talk to her too. My guess is that they were explaining that she was banned for whatever reason and that they needed to see her ID. There was some confusion about paperwork, and she didn't have a pencil or something. I'm not really sure because I had other students come by that I needed to help.

That took about an hour, and I just kept an eye on her thinking, "Ooh, boy! She's going to be kicked out for good!

"Then she vanished. Oh. Okay. I asked the building manager what went down after my manager asked where she went. It turns out that the Crazy Coffee Lady has been ... unbanned. Apparently she didn't want to hand over her student ID because she thought the building manager was going to take it away from her. And that's what all the confusion has been about.

*sigh* Her picture's been taken off the back of the door and she's allowed in the building. I haven't seen her since, nor have I seen her at the theatre. YET.


Carolanne swordIn other stupid news, I have a new hatred for humanity.

I think I mentioned the co-op that I volunteer at in the last CCL post. What I didn't mention is that there are a few things the 'customers' agree to when they buy their baskets. In order to get a lot of good quality food for a really cheap price, they agree to volunteer at their site at least once a month. If you don't pay employees, you don't have to pay as much for your food. Who knew? I don't buy a basket, but I still volunteer every week, and have actually been there more often than my Mom or the other site coordinator. I guess this makes me a bit of a self-righteous snob, but it's really hard to be friendly when I'm there at 5 am and people are coming at 6:30 and wondering where their basket is when we only had one volunteer: me.

That's right. There have been at least two weeks where I was the only volunteer that showed up. One of those was the day my Grandmother died at 1:30 am, and my Mom had to work at the hospital. We usually sell out at 96 baskets, which is between 85 to 94 people (some buy more than one) who just decided not to volunteer ever.

Some people have the audacity to get grouchy at me. I chased one guy out of the parking lot because he parked in the firemen's lot and he wasn't supposed to because we want the firemen to like us. When he left, he was upset that someone had kicked him out, and said we should have someone out there directing parking. I told him, "Well we didn't have any volunteers today, so I couldn't stand at the driveway and tell you where to park. Did I mention that we had no volunteers?"

Other people get mad at us for not having the food distributed early enough or for there being no parking at the fire station. "Yeah, well, we're late because we had no volunteers. Park somewhere else."

I'm also really starting to hate the people who come late and say, "I was going to volunteer this morning ..."

No you weren't. Shut up, take your basket, and only come back when you actually do volunteer.

Today was the last day for my Mom's site, and we finally had enough volunteers! We actually got done before people started showing up to pick up their baskets! This site is an outdoor site, and we have to find an indoor one if we want to continue. We didn't find one before the month ended, so we don't have a site for October.

Hopefully we'll get one for November, and we'll get some volunteers that come back. Also, people are starting to harvest from their gardens, so they haven't been buying as many baskets lately, so maybe we're not needed right now. Break time!


Movie theatre hellTonight is closing night of the first play of the season. Yay! This show has been surprisingly slow for a musical, which has led to another problem: Cookies. We are barely selling any cookies, but not because people aren't buying them. My manager cannot seem to figure out that we are running out of them constantly. He never buys enough on Fridays to last three shows, or enough on Monday to last two or Wednesday to last three. If this happened once or twice, I wouldn't be as worried, but cookies have been a constant worry. We should be buying enough that we have leftovers, and then cut back during the last week. Cookies make up most of our concessions profit, so when we have none ...

Another problem we have had is the line at the box office. Word of mouth has been spreading, and people are coming to buy tickets (or see it for free if they're a student). I have to deal with late seating, so when I see a line stretching out past the ticket office two minutes to curtain, I panic.

Patrons will be buying tickets after the show has started and I have to hold them. Hopefully this is a sign to the people who manage the box office staff to have three people instead of two per night. I hope people complain and this gets changed because I don't like having to late seat people who got here on time but have been waiting in line. The last time I saw lines this bad, it was White Christmas, which reminds me of a funny story.

The week before Christmas, late seating was the worst I had ever dealt with. One night, I wasn't supervising so this was marginally more enjoyable for me. One man was PISSED that he had been waiting in line so long and couldn't go in to see the show because it had started. He marched right up to the door and my wonderful supervisor chased him down and stopped him. "I paid for a ticket!" he said. "I'm going to get my seat that I paid for!"

"Just go watch the show on the screen around the corner. We'll tell you when we can take you in," she said. At this point, I strategically placed myself in front of the door.

"No! I want my seat! You don't have to stand guard over me."

"Well I'm not leaving until you go back to watch the screen."

"I'm not going to sneak in," he replied indignantly.

"I'll watch him," I told my supervisor so she could go deal with the rest of the crowd.

When the cue came, we opened the doors, and the man zipped right in and took his seat. Right on the end of the back row. My supervisor was going to tell him to wait a second, but whatever. All of the late people had to sit in that back row, so they all had to pass him. We were trying to avoid that, but if his seat is that important, he's free to sit where everyone is going past and stepping on his feet.

Anyway, you'll never guess who I saw again last night in my pile of late people who bought tickets after curtain.

Tune in next time when I teach you how to hand your tickets to the ushers!


Swim Meet Horde Swarms Small Sports Charity Place

RHU skull 3Hey all, it's Kiddo!

Okay so to go ahead and confess: I've only had one retail job, for a short period of time, and unfortunately can't share the two good stories from it because they're a little too specific. As in, any involved/heard about it could read it and bust me. I've been job hunting, but no real luck on that front, typical crap of wanting someone with more experience and no one's willing to hire a newbie.

Anyway, I have been doing volunteer work for a local charity that's for special needs kids. It's sports themed and all inclusive. It's been in the off season for a while (we follow normal sport schedules more or less), so I feel it's safe to share some stories!

I work the merch table where I try to get people to buy our t-shirts, which are our main source of income. We get a lot of volunteers so that's my main customer base. I usually have no problem, aside from overdone explanations about why they can't buy a shirt just then or brush offs that range from 'Maybe later' to 'I like last year's shirt better'. I have had a couple people try to get me to break large bills for them early in the day when I have no way of doing so which either led to me managing to upsell them to a second shirt or they just left.

The attendees are a pretty okay group and so are the players. The only problems we normally have are when we're short volunteers and have to pull from the stands (we have a buddy system) or when a player gets frustrated for x reason and won't calm down.

Unfortunately, our play field neighbors an enclosed swimming pool (literally, they are side by side) and that's where this happened last summer.

So on this day, we're set up, ready to begin the games and hello, there's this large crowd of people. No problem, they're volunteers/attendees right? Nope. They're there for a swim meet that many of us had no idea about. Now, the enclosed pool isn't large enough for the whole crowd, so many of them are outside and wandering around, therefore encroaching into our space. Yes, encroaching.

RHU HeadThey set up chairs in otherwise decorative space with many of them spilling over into the sidewalks, they hogged our bathrooms and constantly used our snack bar. Now, the snack bar thing shouldn't have been a problem (extra money and all that) but the snack girl, C, and I are friends and holy crap the things she told me afterwards. They whined at her about our 'lack of options' (no crap there's a lack, it's a SNACK BAR), kept changing their minds half-way through orders and poor C got constantly pestered about the nutritional crap of the snacks throughout all of this. The very snacks that have all that info printed on the packaging, but hey, that would require reading right?

I didn't fare too well myself either. A lot of the swim meet people kept wandering over to my table, which happens to be right next to our volunteer sign in table where we have a lot of info stuff placed. They didn't buy any shirts, kept asking what we were doing here/if we were there for the swim meet despite so many indicators otherwise and one woman even argued with me for a good ten minutes in a fashion that literally went:

'Hi, are these schedules for the swim meet?'

'No ma'am, they're for our games'

'Oh, well do you have any for the swim meet?'

'No, we don't.'

'Well what about these right here?' (rinse and repeat)

Thankfully they haven't come back yet, so maybe that one experience was all that they needed. Trust me, they won't be missed.

The one regret I have working here are the idiots we come across, but that's for a later story, especially since one still makes me extremely pissed.


Charity Shop Volunteer Hell Has Its Share Of Custys


It's CrazyCatLady here, although I haven't submitted anything for about a year!

I've now left my job in retail, although I volunteer at a charity shop. I've only just started but already I've met some crazy customers.

One woman wanted to look at a necklace in a display cabinet, so I got it out for her. It's quite a nice necklace, with rather large beads. She said to me that she wanted to "test it" which I assumed meant try it on to see how it hung. No, she lifted it to her mouth and bit the beads - and then decided not to buy it, so I was left holding a necklace covered in custy slobber. Lovely.

Recently there was been a TV programme which has suggested people try haggling in charity shops. Clearly, many customers have seen this. We had one customer offer £20 on a selection of items that should have been £22, which was fair enough. Then someone offered £1 on a £6 item that had only just been put out and would probably sell for the £6 price. The customer sounded really offended when this was refused.

It also annoys me when people think volunteers get loads of perks. We do get first pick at anything sorted during our shift, but that's it. We don't get first pick at everything, because there's too much stuff for everyone to have a look at before it goes out for sale. We also don't get any kind of discount, and there's certainly none of the "I want this, so I will price it at 10p!" behaviour that people think goes on.

Anyway, that's enough for now,


SoggyApron Is Upset, Needs Input

Carolanne coughHey guys,

I work in a deli so I guess you can call me SoggyApron. I love reading the posts and the comments sections. I've got plenty of stories of my own to tell, but for now I've got a question about my Dad's small business.

He runs rehearsal rooms. He's got lots of competition, but he's got his regulars who come back to him because it's small, friendly and cheap. Dad runs it on his own. He doesn't use social networking sites (Myspace didn't work out for him) but there is a Facebook page. This is where my question comes in.

You know how a page pops up for a business when it's been tagged as a location multiple times? Well, that happened with Dad's business, and I asked him if I could claim it for him. It's been sitting alone, no comments or updates, just gathering a very small number of "likes" from the regulars. Today, this absolute moron commented on the page. I've attached the screenshot.

Dimwit has noted that the volunteer (artfully censored pink lines, who I will now creatively refer to as Volunteer) was, in fact... a volunteer. He ignored what that meant, which is that Dad does not employ him. Confused? Okay, little background: Mum wanted a holiday. Dad had to find someone to look after the rooms while they were away. Volunteer stepped in. Anyway, they want to go on another holiday, so Dad is giving Volunteer trial runs here and there. Volunteer apparently proceeded to act as if he owns the joint.

Side note: Rooms close at 10pm. Dad, however, is a push over and lets bands stay as long as they want. Dimwit did not like Volunteers' implementation of The Rules.

But Dad didn't do anything wrong. He didn't tell Volunteer that he had permission to be such a prick. He just needed to go home. Oh, I should probably add that Dad is quite sick at the moment. He asked Volunteer to come in so he could go to bed. Volunteer wasn't supposed to be coming.

I run the FB page. I deleted the comment. I sent Dimwit a quick message saying I'd pass on the message to Dad in the morning. I'm typing this at 1am so Dad doesn't know anything yet.

So here's my question: is Dimwit's behaviour acceptable, and can I do anything about it? My view is that he's totally fucking out of line, the fucking cocksucking arsehole, but then I'm angry and upset because he's insulting my family.

Dimwit insulted my Dad. I feel personally offended and angry. I want to rip Dimwit a new one, but I understand that that won't help anyone. My dad puts so much effort into his business. He's sick and stressed at the moment, so I'm in major protective mode. I get that I'm probably biased. What do you lot say? Is it appropriate to trash a small business and "hope the karma train" ruins it? Am I overreacting?

I'm so upset and angry and I apologise for rambling. This was the first community I thought of. I had to try.