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My former employment was as a faculty member of a small to medium-sized university. In our department, every time someone was awarded a research grant (usually from the federal government) we had a little champagne celebration for them. These celebrations were held mainly because federal grants were rarely awarded to universities of our size. The University President and Provost were always invited to the celebrations as the award was officially given to the University and not to the individual. The first few times said President and Provost attended but then they stopped coming to the celebrations. When asked one day by our department chairman as to why they no longer came over for champagne, their reply was: "We don't come because you always serve cheap champagne." Evidently these two needed to be served Cristal or Dom Perignon and our moderately priced champagne offended their gourmet tastes. This breach of etiquette was repeated on numerous occasions by these two who thought that they were extremely "witty" and "upper class" in mentioning it every time they could. Thank God, I no longer work at that institution


Every year my boss throws a holiday party for our lab. The party is usually in February so as not to overwhelm folks with yet another party and to account for different religions, etc. So far so good.

This year we are all at the party having a good time when he comes around taking pictures. However, he's asking folks to hold a sign saying, "Thank You, XYZ Company!" while having their picture taken. We thought that this was a little strange and someone asked what the sign was all about. His reply was, "Oh, XYZ Company donated the money for the party and I wanted to prove to them that that's where their money went." Hmmm...and here we thought that the party was being given in appreciation for all the hard work we've done for HIM all year long. Even if he did solicit money from a company to give the party he shouldn't have told us about it


A few months ago my parents and I went out to dinner at a well-known casual Mexican eatery. We ordered a pitcher of margaritas, and were served them in salted glasses, no straws. Towards the end of the meal I was halfway through my second one and I was licking the salt off the glass (my favorite part) when I noticed the glass was chipped. It was a bad crack, a big chunk was missing and it was jagged, and if you looked, you could see a crack going down the side. The salt had covered it. I was a little worried b/c I knew that could be dangerous, so I told the waitress right away. Her eyes got wide and she apologized, and told us she would tell the bartender. However, she didn't offer me another drink, not even water. I thought for sure she would do that, maybe even give us the pitcher free, since I could probably sue them (I would never but some people would-look at the lady who spilled the coffee in her own lap and sued the fast food chain who gave it to her-and won). Nope, she didn't, and the pitcher was at least twenty bucks. When I told her I wanted to see the manager it took ten minutes for him to come to the table, and when he did he sat down for maybe 30 seconds, never looked at me, and said very quickly "I can't take liquor off your bill but I did take something off, goodnight" and he got up and left. No apology. I looked at the check and he took 95 cents off of a $50 bill. My parents and I were insulted, and vowed to never return. My Mom was so mad she ended up calling the corporate office and we got a $40 voucher. We waited a long time to go back, and when we did, the food was so bad I doubt I'll ever return.


When it comes to bad business, I have so many stories I could submit, but here's one. It involves a well-known, multimillion-dollar pizza chain. My fiancé and I wanted to order a pizza and "Tom" also wanted breadsticks, but we didn't have much cash on us so he told me to order them only if they were under five dollars. When the guy answered the phone the first thing I asked him was how much breadsticks were. When he told me they were in the two dollar range I ordered them, then told him the kind of pizza I wanted. He then asked me if I wanted wings or breadsticks, (obviously not listening) and I said (again) "just the breadsticks." He gave me a total, and I thought nothing more of it. An hour later Tom got the pizza and came into the kitchen with it. There were no breadsticks, so I called the restaurant again, thinking it was no big deal, the delivery guy probably forgot to grab them or something. A tired sounding girl (obviously a teenager) answered the phone and put me on hold for a few minutes. When she got back to me I told her I did not get my breadsticks. Now, I've worked in retail and I currently work in a customer service oriented job, so I am never rude to people whom are helping me, but I don't like being treated poorly. Anyway, the girl says "phone number," I give it to her and very rudely she says "you didn't order breadsticks, they're not here." I say I most certainly did, in fact I asked for them twice, and this is how she replies..."sigh...sighhh...siiiggghhhh...well, I can send some out to you but I don't know when you'll get them because the delivery guy is busy." She was so nasty about it (her tone of voice made it clear that she thought I was lying to her and trying to score free breadsticks, which I was not) that I told her to forget it and while she was at it to just take our name out of the database (Tom and I have had trouble with the place before and this was the last straw) and I hung up.

 I went into the kitchen and told Tom what happened and he was so upset he got in his truck and drove up there (15 minutes away) to see the manager and get his breadsticks. This is a guy who is normally so easy going and never complains about anything, ever. About 45 minutes later he comes back with the breadsticks. I figure problem solved. Not so fast. Here's what happened. When Tom walked in the guy manning the counter (who took my order) made him wait ten minutes before he helped him, and when he did he told Tom that he was lying, that we never ordered breadsticks, and they went back and forth and Tom finally said "look, I want breadsticks, just give them to me, I'll pay for them." So, he gave the guy $2.29 and he gave him the breadsticks. When he told me I was livid. 

Everyone knows that keeping a customer happy is important, for both the customer and the salesperson. It can save everyone involved many headaches. This place pulls in probably a billion dollars a year and this guy fought with my fiancé about a box of breadsticks-after he drove up there! I was so mad that I called them again and told the guy that I've never been treated so rude in my life, and that was customer service at it's worst. I then demanded he give me the number for the corporate office, but I have never called because all they would do is probably offer me (HA HA) free breadsticks. No thank you. I will never eat at this establishment again. Thank you for letting me vent!


When I was in college in New York City, I applied for a job as a waitress in a trendy restaurant. They took me on, but said I had to work three shifts without pay, for 'training'. I agreed, and showed up the next day to begin training. Basically, I watched another waitress for an hour or so, then was given my own tables of real customers for 'practice'. Even though I was doing all the order taking, bringing food, refilling drinks, bringing napkins, forks, condiments or whatever the customer asked for, the 'real' waitress got to keep the tips.

So, for three days, I worked extremely hard, as a waitress- with no pay: no hourly wage, and no tips, because this was 'training'. Part of the training also included cleaning during my shift, including climbing up on the bar and scrubbing 3 years worth of grease and dust from the lampshades of hanging lamps. It was such hard work that when I got home, I would collapse on the sofa for the rest of the night.

When the three days of 'training' were over, I was told to phone in to find out what hours I would be working. I phoned up, and was told by the manager -"We've decided not to put you on the schedule." When I asked why, I was told, "Your enthusiasm level was not up to our standards." I was so angry - for three days I busted my a&& at that place, FOR FREE. They basically used me for free labor, and to get some annoying cleaning jobs done. I didn't complain during the training at all, was polite to customers, etc.

I later found out that this is common practice in restaurants in New York. I was so angry I called the Department of Labor - I thought I at least deserved minimum wage for the work I did there. They said I had to provide witnesses, so I decided it was too much trouble. I was happy to learn that the restaurant burned down a few years later.


I am a nursing supervisor in a large teaching hospital in the Northeast. It is no secret that there is a nationwide nursing shortage, and efforts are made to retain the nursing staff who are already on the payroll. Back in the mid 1980's a phenomenon developed known as "Nursing Recognition Week." The point of the designated week was to promote the contributions of the profession of nursing to the health of the community at large, and to honor individual nurses for noteworthy accomplishments in the field. The reality of the situation is that it has degenerated, in the minds of many of the members of my profession, to "Nurses' Appreciation Week." The results have been truly laughable, and at times irritating.

In the early 1990's I worked in a correctional setting, and my boss nominated me for an award, "Nurse of Distinction." I had piloted a diabetes teaching program which was well received by my convict-patients (a tough group to reach) and it had been published. My boss informed me that I needed to get my picture taken to be published in the employees' magazine published by the state department of corrections. I wrongly assumed that someone in administration would take a snapshot of me, but was told that I had to go to Inmate ID to have my picture taken. As a token of the department's esteem, my picture was then placed on a large (3 inch diameter) button, similar to those for political candidates, and, worse yet, was presented to me with a glued blue-ribbon border on it! I tried to keep a straight face and receive this token graciously, but nearly died laughing (literally) on the way home. I was laughing so hard that I didn't see the deer jumping out onto the road until I braked so hard that I slid into a ditch.

 In my current job, hospital administration does not provide a budget for "Nursing Recognition Week." Those of us in nursing administration have been forced to canvass local businesses for donations for prizes for this week. The nurses were not appreciative, they frequently mumbled about the poor quality or uselessness of these items. Enter another person I shall call "Sandy." She is now in charge of the retention committee, and has used her talents to engage in just about every kind of fund-raising activity that would be marginally acceptable in a place of business, from selling candy bars and other items. The most recent thing she has come up with is to have a "Theme Basket Chinese Auction." Each nursing unit/work area is expected to provide one for the auction, and units vie with each other to produce the most flamboyant one. Naturally, this is paid for by the very nurses who will be "recognized" during the "festivities." Last year, I got myself bamboozled into assembling the one that the nursing supervisors provided. "Sandy," who had been egging all the units into providing ever-more lavish baskets, contributed a small item for the basket that I saw in a discount store for five dollars. I spoke with everyone else in my office, none of us contributed anything that we didn't pay at least twenty dollars for, and my personal contribution, with the item I provided and the basket, wrappings, etc., totaled eighty dollars.

When time came to plan this year's basket, I confronted "Sandy" at a meeting and told her that there needs to be some sort of limit to this insanity. All told, the nursing supervisors contributed about $140 the previous year, and the rest of us all felt that we would far rather have just thrown that amount into the kitty. "Sandy," who is so cheap that she routinely signs up for only those shifts that have a premium differential attached, was amazed that we felt this way. In a very hurt manner, she said that we needn't contribute anything if we didn't feel like it. We all said that we felt like being a part of it, but there needed to be a limit on how much we were being asked to provide. I for one wish "Nursing Recognition Week" would just go away and not come back. If nursing is truly a profession, then we do not need to be "appreciated" in the same way as secretaries are each year. If we do need to be "recognized," it should come from a source outside ourselves, such as the physicians and hospital administration. This coming year I will recognize myself by taking a day off during the course of that week! Badbusiness1006-03

I worked for several years in a supervisory position at one of our city’s larger employers. I had 35 people under me, I in turn, had a supervisor over me who conducted my yearly job performance reviews.

One of my "non-official" jobs was to collect money for wedding showers, baby showers, etc. I was to collect the money, note who gave what and hand it over to my supervisor who then bought the present. One person I supervised was having a hard time of it financially and generally did not contribute to these functions. No big deal, right? Well, that year when it came time for my employee evaluation, my supervisor marked me down in points because she "was disappointed that so-and-so did not contribute to the gift giving"! Can you blame me for leaving that position shortly thereafter?


Page Last Updated May 18, 2007