Plain Bad Business
Dec 2003 Archive
I began interviewing for jobs about halfway into my last
semester of college so I went on quite a few interviews. Never have I been
more blown away by the unprofessionalism I witnessed at last one I went
on—thankfully I accepted a job from a previous interview! It began with
one man interviewing me who was then joined by another man and a woman. During
the interview, the door was closed, but people still proceeded to knock on it
and come in to ask questions (not having to do with my interview) to the people
interviewing me. They all acted like this was normal. Then, one of
the men receives a cell phone call and answers it!! He starts discussing
how something is way past deadline and they need to get it done, gets off the
phone and speaks to the others interviewers about this and then makes another
phone call about it. I understand deadlines and important things going on,
presumably more important than my interview, but seriously! If I can set
aside time from my day to be interviewed I would expect the same respect and
consideration from the interviewer.
When I was visiting a friend in NYC we went to have breakfast
at a diner our first morning there. I ordered an omelet that had a few
different types of veggies in it, and when I got my meal it was an omelet so I
assumed it was what I ordered. A few bites in I realized it has sausage in
it, which I like every now and then, but not in an omelet and not at that
moment--not to mention it just wasn’t what I ordered. I tell my friends
I don’t think it’s right and they ask if I’ll eat it or if I want to tell
our waitress so I can get what I ordered--I told them I didn’t want it and yes
I wanted what I ordered. When we call our waitress over she said, “yeah
I know...” when I tell her it’s not right! She was waiting to see if I
noticed because she mixed up my meal with another customer’s. She asked
if I can just eat it and I tell her no, I’d like what I ordered if it isn’t
too much trouble to which she replies, “Yes, it is.” ! So first
she admits she knew it was wrong and didn’t tell me and then she is tells me
it is too much trouble to get me something else. Nice. I understand
the mix up because it was really busy but I think that the right response would
be, “we’re sorry is there anything else we can get you?” She did end
up comping me for my meal, but I really would have rathered actually eat!
Recently, a friend and I went to a Ralph Lauren outlet shop in
Oxford, England. I found a lovely, cream colored skirt that was perfect for
summer, and it was marked down drastically, so I just had to try it on. There
was a line to get into the dressing room, and as I waited, the woman working the
dressing room eyed me critically and said that the skirt would probably not fit
and that I would have to put it on over my head. She went on to say that the
skirt was not a big seller due to the fact that there was no elastic in the
I’m hardly fat and I was certainly not trying to get into
something that was not my size. The way she went off on me made me more than a
little self conscious, however, and I was very pleased, and made it a point to
tell her when I walked out of the dressing room that no, I didn’t need to fit
it over my head, and that yes, I would be taking it because it was absolutely
perfect on me.
I don’t really know what this woman’s game was, but it was
not as though she was short of these skirts if she wanted to buy one for
herself! She just picked on me from the second she saw me.
We all hate telemarketers, especially when the call during
dinner soliciting for charity. There are so many good causes, but who can
support them all? And how do you even know when they are legitimate?
However, I was a sucker and gave into one once, so of course I
ended up with dozens of them calling me. I finally picked the few I liked and
told everyone else that I'd picked my causes already and there was no room in my
budget for any more. But one guy called and wore me down. I finally said,
"Okay, I can spare $20". And he said, "How about we make that
And I said, "Nope. Now you get nothing. Goodbye".
And I hung up.
So a note to telemarketers and people collecting for charity:
if someone gives in and agrees to give you money, don't push your luck! Take
what people are willing to give and leave it at that, or you might end up
annoying them so much that they will retract their original offer.
My Church would have a major fundraising week every year to
help raise needed funds to upkeep Church buildings, pay secretaries salaries,
build new schools, fund shelters for victims of domestic abuse, run a food bank,
etc. Everyone is given a pledge form and told that participation is not
mandatory, and to just give what you feel you can. Also, installment plans are
available if your budget is really tight but you still want to give.
Sounds fine, right? And it was until one year. My fiancé and
I were paying for our own wedding, and I was just finishing college. We also
don't believe in living together before marriage, so we were keeping to separate
apartments until after the wedding. Needless to say, money was tight, but we
felt that we should give something to help those less fortunate than ourselves
and decided on how much we would give. Then a man got up at the end of Sunday
service and said that everyone should give at least a certain amount (I think it
was around $500). He said that there was NO EXCUSE for giving less. Exact quote.
There were installment plans, so everyone HAD to pledge at least this much. He
implied that we would be bad Christians if we didn't give this much money.
Was I ever ticked! You do not demand charity from people. Is
it truly charity if you're prying it out of someone's hands? And it wasn't like
we were all a bunch of rich people driving luxury cars and eating lobster for
dinner every night. I was a poor starving student eating mac'n'cheese out of a
box and taking public transit to try and make ends meet, not to mention the
corners we were cutting on our wedding (bye, bye DJ and Church full of
Because of that, I gave nothing. I was fully prepared to give
what I could spare and go without for a while to help others out, but after
being told that I HAD to give a certain amount made me decline the
I'm not sure whether this falls in to the bad bosses or just
bad business practices....but here goes. My BF is from a city in Siberia,
Russia, and his father still lives there. One week Dad gets his paycheck
from the company he works for and it is something like $100 short. BF's
mother insisted that he find out why there was money missing (Dad is pretty
non-confrontational). The explanation from his boss? Somebody in the
company's mother passed away, and they took "donations" from all the
employees to pay for the funeral. Nice.
I stopped by a local sandwich shop, wanting my usual -- a
six-inch turkey sub. When I placed my order, the guy behind the
counter stared at me. "EWWW!" he said, in a tone he might
normally have reserved for someone slopping peanut butter onto roast beef, and
topping it with a few pickles. "That is SO gross! I don't know HOW you can
I just stood there, dumbfounded. Never in my entire life had I
experienced someone in food service *passing judgment on my order*. And it
wasn't even like it was something unusual! Did this guy go around insulting all
the customers who order turkey subs, or was I simply the lucky chosen one?
When my husband and I got married we adopted two sweet kittens
from the local Humane Society. My husband, formerly not a cat lover, used to
call Harmony and Melody his "girls".
Melody got sick very suddenly and died at the age of four of
progeria or artificial rapid aging. People get that too but up until then I
didn't know cats did.
The vet from hell came about with Harmony. Harmony was being
treated by my regular vet but mostly it was just treatments to make her
comfortable. Then one morning she couldn't move her back legs, and was crying in
pain. It was a Sunday so my regular vet wasn't open. But nearby there is one of
those 24 Emergency Vets so I bundled her up and took her there.
They took her back immediately but I sat in the waiting room
for four hours pacing and bawling my eyes out. Finally the vet put me in a room
and brought Harmony in.
When I explained Harmony's medical history to the vet she told
me she had never heard of cats having progeria and when she told me I'd need $$
worth of additional tests I said it was time to let Harmony move on. Then as I'm
still crying the vet tells me, "We don't do convenience euthanasia!"
Convenience?? What about waiting four hours and putting a
beloved pet to sleep is convenient? Needless to say I'm never going back there.
I had just moved into a new apartment, and was dealing with
all the usual hassle of getting things turned on and changed to my name, etc.;
one of the companies I had to call was the cable company. So I scheduled an
appointment, and they gave me the usual several-hour time frame and said that
someone would be there between 9:00am and noon. I arranged to take half a
vacation day from work so I could stay home and wait for them.
11:30am rolled around and no one had shown up or called, so I
called the company, gave my name, and asked when they'd be arriving. The answer?
"Oh, the technician who was scheduled to come to your place called in sick
today." And they couldn't be bothered to call me and TELL me that so I
wasn't sitting around home wasting valuable vacation time waiting? Presumably
the sick call would have come in at or before 9am, wouldn't it? What annoyed me
was not that the guy called in sick -- these things do happen -- but that the
company didn't call to reschedule all his jobs as soon as he did.
Anyway, I rescheduled and wrote a nasty letter, but all they
did was give me free installation when the guy finally did show up -- which
didn't equal the value of the vacation hours that I had to take to wait for them
(which ended up being a full day's worth of time). They didn't even apologize.
The worst thing was, it's not like I could take my business elsewhere, as cable
companies tend to have no competition...but that's another rant. (I have
satellite TV now, btw. However, I couldn't get it then because my building
didn't face the right way.)
A while ago, a well-known local pizza chain opened a new
franchise very close to our house. And when I say "very close",
I mean that I could almost literally see their store from my front step.
That becomes important in a minute. We decided to give them a try,
so I called and placed a delivery order. I was told that it would be at
our house in approximately 40 minutes. After an hour, I started to get a
bit puzzled (and hungry), so I called them. The person who answered
assured me that the driver was on his way. Another half-hour
later, I called again, and I was told once again that he was on his way.
Finally, after a wait that totaled almost two hours, he arrived. To his
credit, he apologized, saying that he'd gotten lost on the way to our house.
(Oookay.) Anyway, I was happy to see the food, and I asked how much
it was. "Forty-three dollars," he said. I handed him
forty-five dollars and said "Keep the change." (It wasn't a very
generous tip, but he WAS extremely late.) He continued to stand there.
Confused, I asked "Was there anything else?" "Uh, it's
forty-eight dollars," he said awkwardly. "You just told me
forty-THREE dollars," I pointed out. He checked the bill again.
"Oh, yeah. Right." We never ordered from there
I had just really started to show in my pregnancy, but was
still in the stage of ‘is she or isn’t she?’ where it was a little
difficult to tell if I was pregnant or gaining weight. My husband and I
decided to visit XXXXX for lunch. Right after we were seated, the
waitress came to take our drink order. She then said she would give us a
few moments to look over the menu. Then she turned and looked straight at
me and said that they are now offering an Atkins Diet menu if I was interested.
If she had mentioned that to both of us, I may not have been so offended.
But the fact that she looked directly at me and told only myself, I was greatly
upset. I was in tears for the meal and would not let my husband leave a
regular tip. Looking back, I should have spoken to the manager, but at
that time was too upset to even think about that.
I'm sure most temp agencies work better than this one, but
this one is the reason I refuse to use employment agencies. I
had just moved towns and was looking for a full time job. In the meantime I had
gone to every employment agency in the town, with my resume, hoping for some
temp work. (I should point out that I was on a working holiday visa at the time
so most employers didn't even bother looking at my resume. Temp work was the
best they would offer, but that's a whole other story) This
particular agency was part of a national chain so I thought they would know what
they were doing. I went in to their office and asked if I could sign up for
their temp service. It took me half an hour to fill in the paper work and
perform all the necessary tests (which I aced), after which they assured me that
they would be in contact if something came up. Now I've heard that
I decided to check their employment website for any vacancies
(which they also recommended). After two weeks of searching and applying for
positions on their website, I received an email from their local office, from
the woman who took my paper work and did the tests. The email:
I've noticed that you have been applying for positions on our website. Would you
like to drop into our office and sign up for our temp services? I
rang them and told them that I had signed up with them two weeks ago, with
the person who sent the email. (Not very politely I should add) I gave
them the ID number they had written on my paperwork, and surprise surprise, they
had no record of it. Needless to say, I didn't hear from them again.
And in an E-hell moment of my own, I went back to their website and applied for
almost every job in my area, just to waste their time like they had wasted
Tsk, tsk. Retaliatory rudeness is so not an
Ehell approved method of dealing with other people's rude behavior.
See? It's landed you in your own corner of Etiquette Hell.
I had recently moved from the New England area to Utah. I am a
big foodie, and it was a bit of an adjustment, especially where fish were
involved. I was at a Red Lobster with my brother. The first indication of
something amiss was the mistake of the waitress. We ordered an appetizer of some
chicken strips. She brought chicken wings, and when we said we had not ordered
chicken wings, she insisted we had. Never mind the fact that neither my brother
nor myself had ever ordered chicken wings at any establishment ever (both having
an aversion to bone-in chicken), and therefore were fairly certain of the
accuracy of our order, it was not her place to challenge our order when it was
disputed. Forgive my rudeness, but it seems that a customer should get the food
they intended to order. I would have forgiven this mistake, even assumed it was
my fault, had the next event not occurred. I had ordered a meal and requested
clam chowder when asked "soup or salad?". The waitress asked after us
shortly after the soup was served. Unfortunately, the soup was especially fishy.
When I had the nerve to mention this, in hopes of saving future customers, the
waitress wore an extremely disturbed face. I made the mistake of mentioning that
perhaps my standards where a bit high, as I had just moved from New England, to
which the waitress replied: "Well, you're not in New England anymore."
Now, perhaps I should mention that before I moved from New
England, my job was as a waitress. Here I was, observing this woman performing
the exact same job I had performed not a couple weeks ago, and I was astonished
not only by her incompetence, but by her rudeness to her customers. I have never
encountered a situation in which the waitress accused the patron of having too
picky a taste. If I were her, I would have valued the customer's input,
especially when expressed as politely as we tried to express it. Unfortunately,
this was not the case. The waitress, I'm sure convinced we were out to get her,
left her co-workers to wait on us the remainder of our meal, and we were not
given any compensation for our trouble either for our misplaced appetizer order
or our foul clam chowder. She was and remains the only waitress I have ever
compensated less than generously. There are just some people who do not deserve
Last year my DH, our kids and I were visiting my hometown and
took our kids and our 2 nieces out for the day, including lunch at a certain
Chain Restaurant. The kids were excited at a nice lunch out, but the
food took FOREVER...I swear we left almost 2 hours after we got there and we
would have left earlier but the wait staff kept telling us the food would be
ready any minute. Did I mention we had a toddler? My husband
told our waitress that he would like to discuss some compensation with the
manager; he felt we should get some food comped or some gift certificates.
The waitress returned with $25 of "gift cards" saying oh, the manager
felt really sorry for you, look how much he's giving you. We were pretty
annoyed as the delay cut into the fun we'd planned for the kids, but felt at
least someone had tried to make up for it.
Fast forward several months...another branch of Chain
Restaurant is in our area. DH and I took 1 kid and decided to have lunch
out...it was a little bit of a splurge but we had $25 of gift cards, right?
Nope. We gave the waiter the cards and the manager came by and pointed out
in the fine print that one could only use ONE card at a given time and the cards
expired in a couple of months. They were basically coupons, not gift
cards. He let us use 3 cards since there were three of us. The guy
probably thinks we're terrible customers because we were so mad, it was
humiliation added to everything else, and I am not sure we conveyed that we were
furious with the manager who gave us the cards six months ago not the manager at
the table right now
Now when we visit the hometown, it's a big joke "Do you
want to eat at Chain Restaurant?" "No, I have some nice creek water
and tree bark I'll consume instead".
When I went to college, my parents helped me open an account
at “Big Western Bank”. This was a Custodial Account; my dad’s name
was listed on it along with mine, and he could transfer money into it from home.
They did the same thing for my brother when he went to college. Since the
account had no service fees, I kept it after I was done with college and living
on my own.
One day, I received a letter in the mail from BW Bank: “We
have taken $125 from [my account number] to cover fees in [account I’ve never
heard of]”. What? Whose account was this? Was it my brother?
My parents had recently divorced; was there some kind of mix-up when they closed
their joint account and opened separate ones? No matter what it was, that
$125 was not money I could afford to give up!
I called my dad. He’d never heard of the account
number. He called the bank, and finally figured out the story:
When Dad was at the bank dealing with some financial things
related to the divorce, the bank manager he was working with offered to open a
new kind of account for him. “You’ll love this account, I promise!”
Dad thanked the man, but declined. Well, this manager refused to take
‘No’ for an answer. He OPENED THE ACCOUNT ANYWAY, in my dad’s name,
without ever informing my dad! Since Dad didn’t know about the account,
obviously no money was ever put into it. Over time, fees had started to
accumulate for the account, and the bank eventually took them out of another
account with my dad’s name on it – mine!
Well, Dad was livid! He told the bank in no uncertain
terms that he had never authorized that account, he would not be paying any
fees, they were never to withdraw money from my or my brother’s accounts
again, and to refund my money immediately. I believe the bank manager was
fired for the stunt he pulled, and I have since closed that account and opened
one that’s solely in my name.
I had Pre-Op Admissions Testing at a local hospital a week
before I was scheduled for major surgery there. I woke up late, so I
grabbed the first shirt I saw - which happened to be one that I got at the labor
union I work for. It said ORGANIZE! in big letters and had our union logo
About halfway through the day, I had an appointment with the
head nurse to discuss my surgery and what to expect. My mother and I got
on the elevator with several other people, including a security guard.
When Mom and I got off the elevator at the hospital, the guard
Guard: "Excuse me, are you Union?
Me, a bit confused: “Yes …”
Her: “It's illegal for Union reps to be at this
Me: "I work as an admin assistant for a union, not a rep.
I'm a patient here."
Her (suspiciously): "What room are you in?"
Me: "I'm here for pre-admissions testing. I don't have a
Her (condescendingly): "Well, let's just see what room
you're going to be in."
Me: "We can ask, but my surgery's not for a week. I doubt
they've scheduled me in a room yet. You're welcome to come with me to my 1:00
appointment if you don't believe me." (It was now 1:05.)
Her: "Well, we can walk down that way."
(Though she doesn’t move.)
Me: "I assure you, I'm not a rep! This is my mother; she
can vouch for me. You can call my office if you want. Here's my
order for lab work."
She spent about 5 minutes looking at my lab orders before she
finally believed that I was there legitimately and stopped hassling me. (I was
ready to give her my entire folder of information if that hadn't been enough.) I
was certain she was about to kick me out of the hospital. She treated me
like a criminal and made me feel like my rights had been somehow violated.
If I'd been thinking clearly at the time, I'd have asked her
if she would have even looked at me twice if I didn't have the shirt on, then
pointed out that it would be pretty stupid of me to wear the shirt if I was
trying to infiltrate the hospital. But I was so rattled by her that it
didn’t occur to me.
I did tell the head nurse what happened, and wrote a letter
detailing the incident to the head of security. To their credit, they did
send me a letter wherein they apologized profusely. The nurse told me
later that she asked the guard about it, and the guard just muttered something
about a “non-incident”.
A week later, as I was recovering from my surgery, my mom saw
the guard. She had to really fight to resist the temptation to invite the
guard up to my hospital room to see my scar!
I took a 5-day business trip to Washington DC and stayed at
the “No Point” Hotel. When I checked in on Tuesday, I gave them two credit
cards: my company’s American Express card to charge the room and taxes to, and
my personal MasterCard (a bank card) for room service and other incidentals. I
had no intention of using my personal card, but I was required to give it to
them. I made it VERY clear which card was for what. I also confirmed that
I was booked until Sunday.
(You can see where this is going already, can't you?)
When I got back from dinner Thursday night, my keycard didn't
work in the lock. I went down to the front desk, where they informed me that I
had checked out that morning. Imagine my surprise! So visions of camping out in
the lobby for the next 3 days danced in my head while they fixed the error. I
got a breakfast voucher for the inconvenience. (I gave it to my co-worker who
was on the trip with me. He said the food was terrible.) At the time, I figured
it was 10 minutes out of my day and no big deal.
Sunday morning, I awoke to find my bill had been slipped under
my door. Luckily, I read such bills carefully - they'd charged my MasterCard for
one night's stay when they accidentally checked me out! That's $143.56! And
since it's a bank card, the money comes out of my account immediately. I
don’t earn very much, and I needed that money to help cover my rent!
Not only were they wholly unapologetic, they implied it was my
fault for not saying anything Thursday - never mind that I would have hollered
about it loud and clear if I'd KNOWN about it Thursday! Since it was now three
days later, they said, they couldn't simply credit the money back to my card
because the receipts had gone to Accounting already. And since it was a Sunday,
nobody from Accounting was there. I had to call them Monday to get it
It took several days of phone calls from me before they
credited the money back to my account. Lord knows why I never complained
to their corporate office, but I intend to never patronize that hotel chain
again. I have never received such shoddy service from front desk staff.
I'm a receptionist and, as you can imagine, have caught on to
telemarketers and their tricks of the trade. However annoying they are I still
try to be civil, they are just trying to do their job after all. So when they
call I make my answer firm and short so they can go on to the next phone number
on their call list. I can tell many stories but one that sticks out to me is a
gentleman who called from an office supplies chain. He was obviously local,
sounded mature and spoke well. He must have got ticked off when I told him
(politely but firmly) "No thank you" and hung up though because he
rang me back and said that he didn't catch my name. I said "I didn't tell
you, why do you need it?" He went on about how he'd need it so he can
contact us in the future when we're looking for another supplier. So I told him
if I could get his number I'll keep it and call him if the need arises. He then
he got all uppity and said "I don't think you'll do that" and hung up
on me. I was taken aback as many telemarketers are all too happy to settle for
The silly thing is, I have a habit of writing down names and
company names as they're introducing themselves when I answer. So I already had
his details and easily found contact numbers and email addresses to his
business. I wont do anything about it though. I'm mostly just chuffed that
I outsmarted him (being a lowly 22 year old receptionist and him being a
I have been going through the archives and I read the story
about the "Housewarming Party" that turned out to be an Amway pitch
and it just made me think of a story my fiancé told me a few months ago.
My fiancé does tech support and runs his own business, kind of like the Geek
Squad except it is just him. Many shops in his city advertise for him,
some of them for a monthly fee. Well, one of the shop owners told him to
come to a dinner party he was having and my fiancé (bless his heart) felt
obliged because of the help he had given him with the advertising.
Of course, it turned out to be an Amway pitch. My fiancé told me
that all of the food there had been prepared using Amway cookware and the man
wouldn't leave him alone until he bought something, so he bought a
toothbrush/toothpaste thing. My fiancé was thoroughly irritated and I
think he may have even stopped advertising with that man. I know
this story doesn't seem to be anything special so far, but my fiancé is Chinese
and this all took place in Shanghai, China. I guess now it is
Page Last Updated September 15, 2008