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Thread: What is the worst job you ever had?

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    Maximum Bitrate fluffy2097's Avatar
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    What is the worst job you ever had?

    I figure this topic can get us some laughs. Tell us the worst job you ever had, and why it was so bad?

    I'll get the ball rolling with an essay I wrote for a high school english class. Please do not assume you have to make your horror stories as long as I did. I made mine this long so it would count as 3 assignments.

    -----

    Shakespeare and Company box office, this is Mike speaking. How may I help you?


    The job seemed innocuous enough as I sat in the lawn chair behind the ratty old trailer that served as Shakespeare and Company's Box Office. All I had to do was sell tickets to people. They call, or come up to the window, tell me what show they want to see, give me their credit card, and I sell them the tickets. Better yet, as I was working part time, I never had to come in before 1 in the afternoon.

    I had no idea of the insanity I was committing myself to.

    The Can as we called it, was a beige corrugated aluminum trailer with 2
    ticket windows in the front, 7 ancient computers, (4 of which were used for selling tickets. 1 was the server, 1 was for the remote station, and the last one was the credit card machine), a gigantic old air conditioner that did a better job at creating a large block of ice over its evaporator coils than it did at actually cooling The Can, and a linoleum tiled floor that was so dirty not even bleach could clean it.

    Shakespeare and Company is located in Lenox Massachusetts; a stones throw away from Tanglewood to give the more "cultured" amongst you a better idea. Up until the end of the summer of 2001, Shake and Co. was located on The Mount, Edith Wharton's summer estate. It is an absolutely beautiful piece of land, that, should anyone ever be in the area, and likes that sort of thing, should check out. But I digress.


    Shakespeare and Company had 2 Theaters on The Mount, one in their new Headquarters a mile up the road and a black box theater in a mansion a ways further up the road past the new headquarters.

    Being that it was the last year they would have space at the mount they decided to show the play "A Midsummer Nights Dream" on our outdoor main stage, a 300 lawn chair theater, in the side yard of the Wharton mansion. The stage is perhaps one of the most beautiful stages I have ever seen in my life. Rather than making it stand alone, they decided to build it into the surrounding area. Stage right is a vaguely conventional stage, though it was stepped to follow the contour of the land there. Stage left was simply the woods, the stage made simply of fallen pine needles. The fact that on a clear night you could see the moon and stars in the sky, made it positively magical, perfect for a play such as Midsummer Nights Dream.

    Up at The Can, we had a marvelous view of the dusty parking lot and got to sit in full view of the blazing summer sun. We were located right by the stables that housed the scene shop as well as the stables theater. On hot days, the poor air conditioner simply couldn't keep The Can cool even when it didn't decide to be an icemaker instead.

    The first day wasn't that bad. I worked the windows and sold a handful of tickets. Real easy. No computer problems, no angry people. I could take this job. Great money for so little work.



    95% of the people who buy things from you are nice people.
    4% are impatient, but tolerant.
    1% of the people you meet will be absolutely bat**** psycho.

    On day two, I met one of the 4% varieties.

    I had yet to memorize what show was where, and where each theater is, how many seats, and what else. So, my first phone call, I got this grumpy old man. I took my time, trying not to get too flustered about the whole affair. The man did not help with comments like "You don't sound very sure about yourself." and "Do you have mental problems boy?" finally I handed the guy off to my manager.

    *Box office revelation #1*: The amount of money in the computer will NEVER match the amount of money in the credit card machine.

    Among the great many ticketing and computer problems we had, this was, perhaps the most persistent and maddening. The ticketing computers are made to talk to the credit card machine that then makes the charge to all the credit cards. It rarely worked out so simply. For whatever reason cards ended up getting double charged, or not charged at all. So, at the end of the day, when we closed, we would have to sit for hours, going through every credit card transaction made, looking for double charges. The box office closed at 8. And more often than not, we would be there til past midnight, figuring out which, of the 300+ credit card transactions were wrong. Once that mess was straightened out, we had to check the reports and make sure that the right amount of money went into their proper shows. This was also a pain in the ***. David, one of our employees, was a master at "******* with the reports".

    *Box office revelation #2*: If a customers windshield wipers are on, all shows MUST be canceled, even when the customer's car is in New York City, California or Tokyo.

    This was one of the odder ones. Because we did have an outdoor stage we occasionally had to cancel a performance for rain. A rain check would be given to every person who attended, in the case that the show was canceled due to rain. A show would only be canceled if the rain was hard enough to make it unsafe for the actors to perform.

    A few hours before the show it was drizzling lightly, more misting than raining. Though it had been raining quite hard earlier that day, a car pulls up stopping right in front of the box office. This is not allowed. A woman gets out and I open the window.
    "Can I help you?"
    "I want a rain check."
    "I'm sorry. We only give rain checks if the performance is canceled."
    "What do you mean? It's raining out. I should get a rain check!"

    She's beginning to get agitated. I know this can only go one way, poorly. I hope it's not the violent kind of poorly.

    "We only cancel a show if it is raining hard enough that it poses a danger for the actors to perform."
    "Then I want to change my tickets to another performance!"
    Ugh. Because we print tickets out beforehand, we don't allow people changing performances within 48 hours of the show. We don't give refunds either, under any circumstances. I inform her about our policy on changing performances, knowing full well she will demand a refund next.

    "Then I want a refund!"

    I told you so.

    When someone orders tickets. We tell them there are no refunds, and we also tell them the policy on rain checks. This is standard operating protocol. It also explains these rules in all of our pamphlets. This does not stop people from asking for them (see Box office revelation #3)

    "We cannot give you a refund either. I'm sorry."

    The woman sulks back to the illegally parked car. I expect her to drive away.

    She doesn't.

    Her husband gets out and approaches the window. The whole skit repeats itself, because obviously, I'm just a misogynist, and if it's a man asking, he'll get results. Finally the man asks for Ron, the box office manager. Ron wanders over, and I go to work on looking busy somewhere else.

    I don't hear most of the exchange, but I do hear the man exclaiming, "My windshield wipers are on! How can you have the performance if my windshield wipers are on!"

    In the end, he did not get his rain voucher or refund.

    I do not know if they attended the show.


    *Box Office Revelation #3*: No matter how much information you give them, customers will ALWAYS find a way to be ignorant.

    It's positively amazing to see how stupid people can be. Take for example, the play, Corealanus (kor E all anus) was also known to the Shake and Co. crew as, "The anus play" because it had the sound "anus" in it. Everyone was afraid to say it. Cory al lanus was a popular variant. People constantly wanted refunds or rain checks or to switch shows 15 minutes before the performance begins. They could never decide what show they wanted, and in some cases could not even remember what name they bought their tickets under.

    *Box Office Revelation #4*: When engaging in water fights with the scene
    shop, it is best not to shoot the company manager.

    First- a little background.

    Working in a box office frequently requires long periods of time where you do nothing at all. For this reason, we would occasionally get in a water fight with the scene shop usually battling over the possession of a large, dirty, pikachu plush doll. We had the classic hand held water pistols. The scene shop had the largest super soakers known to mankind, capable of shooting more water than a fire hose. We did later obtain a super soaker of our own... but it didn't have anywhere near the flow rate that the scene shop guns did. Though I was not there at the time, this is what happened...
    Andrew was a PR person. He worked at the box office, but his primary job was to handle ticketing for press people. He also was a royal pain in the *** for Ron, our manager. It wasn't that Andrew was a bad person, he just couldn't do anything right. He had gotten into a water fight with the scene shop, ran blindly around the corner, into the scene shop and opened fire, right at the company manager. He quickly realized his mistake, as he was ***** slapped so hard it knocked him to the ground.
    A digital mind lost in an analog world.

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    Maximum Bitrate fluffy2097's Avatar
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    *Box Office Revelation #5*: Canyon Ranch is the spawning ground for
    demons.

    Canyon Ranch is a health spa a mile down the road from the mount. Angry rich New Yorkers, usually elderly, and frequently mad at the world, would go to Canyon Ranch to exfoliate or something. One of the things they did was send patrons to our shows. Bev, the concierge there would call us up and apologetically ask for 2 tickets to whatever show the old coots wanted to see, and give us the credit card information. Bev was a great person, and was quite regretful that we had to endure the grumpiness of the people from Canyon Ranch. (She actually sent all the box office staff a mug in thanks for being so tolerant.)

    *Box Office Revelation #6*: The ladies man, isn't.

    It had been raining again. The skies had cleared up a fair amount, and it was drizzling lightly, it was about an hour before the doors opened to Midsummer's and people were just beginning to arrive to pick up their tickets from the box office. Because it's possible that it might rain hard enough to cancel the show, we are informing each person about our rain check policy when they pick their tickets up.

    A man comes up to Katherine's window, and is quite surprised to hear about this policy.

    "Why do you need to cancel the show if it rains?"
    "It's an outdoor theater, sir."
    "You mean there's no building?!?!?" he exclaims.

    It should be made known at this time, that this man, along with not knowing the definition of outdoors, sounded EXACTLY like "The Ladies Man" from the Saturday Night Live show.

    "That is correct sir" Katharine informs him.

    This is when the guy starts to lose it, and begins yelling.

    "But you said the doors open at 8pm! Doors mean a building!!!!!"
    "It's a figure of speech sir, it means that you are allowed to begin seating yourself at that time."
    "Are you telling me I have to sit in chairs that have been in the rain all
    day long? I canít do that! I have children!"
    "Actually sir, they're lawn chairs, so we've kept them inside, we also put some plastic sheeting over them to keep everything dry."

    This, interestingly enough, did not help matters.

    "LAWN CHAIRS!?! I CAN'T SIT IN A LAWN CHAIR!!!!! THE
    DOORS OPEN AT 8 O' CLOCK! DOORS MEAN A BUILDING!!!!"

    Pan over to me, the poor dope running the other window. I don't work well under pressure, and I work especially poorly when someone is screaming 8 feet away from me. There is a massive line rapidly forming of people waiting to get their tickets and I'm positively tweaking out, having to ask peoples name 4 or 5 times to find their tickets, while apologetically pointing towards the screaming man at the next window, who is now making physical threats at Ron, who has just informed him that no, he cannot get a rain check unless the performance is canceled, you cannot change your shows within 48 hours of the performance, and no, we don't give refunds.

    Luckily, people were quite understanding that night. I was considering calling 911 to have the guy removed from the premises. I was also considering calling the scene shop and having four muscular guys toting potentially lethal power tools escort him off the property. Luckily Ron got the guy to go away.

    There aren't a whole lot of other things that were incredibly memorable about that summer, though I will leave you with one that proves not all the strange happenings at the box office were bad.

    A middle-aged woman had stopped by to pick up her tickets. She was attractive with long brown hair. I handed over the tickets and said, "thank you, have a nice day." Rather than thanking me like everyone normally does, she took my hand and kissed it, winked, then walked off. Ron, who happened to see the incident, asked me what the hell I did to her. It was quite amusing overall.

    Working at Shakespeare and Company was, in retrospect, something that had very entertaining moments.

    It is not something I would want to do again.
    A digital mind lost in an analog world.

    Learn to ask smart questions!
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    FLAC guitar333's Avatar
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    too much reading
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    you should post it at www.workorspoon.com

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    Variable Bitrate Ashlawn Kemling's Avatar
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    Read it all, that is great!

    The worst thing that ever happened to me working at Sheetz:

    Every other night or so, this guy would ride his bike up and come in to get stuff. Well, this one time had his water bottle with him and was hanging out, a lot. The now manager lady almost puked about thirty minutes later when he came out of the bathroom. He WREAKED of alcohol. His bottle was filled with some sort of alcohol and was getting drunk on the premisis. The cops just happened to show up while this was going on and pull him over on his bike as he "sped" away.

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    Oh the stories I could tell... but the absolute worse was working as a fire sprinkler installer for my mother's second husband. I did that for two summers, and at the end of the second summer, he had squandered the business to the point that he had to close.

    And fluffy's story reminded me of working at Disneyland...
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    Maximum Bitrate eugenen's Avatar
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    I worked as a bag boy/cart getter/cashier/cleaner at a grocery store. Was a big store like a Walmart. Clean up the mess where people missed the toilet. Pick up the carts on the lot. Pick up the piles of butts where they emptied their ashes on the lot. I worked up to a lead cashier near the end of college, would supervise other cashiers. Had a cashier go home crying one day, guy came through her line with dog food and food stamps. Federal law says food stamps can't be used for dog food, the gyt left after she explained it to him. He came back through her line later with two big huge steaks and gave her food stamps for them and said "now my dog will eat better than you". I got to see the worst in poeple, the ones who had the right to light up a cig right in front of the meat counter and drop their ashes on other peoples food. The people who drove 50Mph diagonal across the parking lot causing major crashes resulting in use of jaws of life to extract them from thier car and being life flighted to the hospital. Poeple park their expensive imported car infront of the door in the fire lane then yell and cuss because they got a ticket. Got off work at 1am one night and found a pile of glass where I had parked my truck. Another time long after my truck was recovered by the police and I put it back together I came out to find the windows full of bullet holes.

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    FLAC robiewp's Avatar
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    bump (keep good topic alive)

    I once spent two weeks counting client access licenses for siemens. Other than that i've been pretty lucky on the jub front.

    Great story fluffy.
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    working at a certain toy store during x-mas. You wouldnt believe the stuff people come up with. "Do you have an X-cube?" "Sorry, dont you mean an X-box, or Gamecube". "Do you still sell the original Ninetendo games?".

    The most recent was deer checking. So, pretty much i got to tag and cut open dead deer. We had 600 our first day of deer hunting season, with 6 people working. It ended up being cool because i like hunting now and just got a nice bow a month back.
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    I have two.

    1. I worked as a dietary aide and a cook in one of the worst nursing homes in the state of maine. The daily food budget for each resident was three dollars and all of the food was supplied by sysco. They would offer you time and a half to come in to fill in someone elses shift, have you work it, and turn around and not pay you.
    On my lunch break oneday i drove around and found that there was a liquor store not one mile from the facility. I bought a bottle of peppermint schnaps and got ripped. I then went back to the nursing home and finished dinner. When the nurses would come back to ask for certain condiments for certain residents i would throw food at them.
    After dinner it was time to do the dishes. Plates would come back with vomit and gruel. Being hammered i would every once in a while smash a plate off the wall. The only cool thing about this place was that me and this other guy came up with this game where we would scream and grunt like cave men so that people down the hall could hear us.
    I quit this job in style. I smarted off and drank liquor all day during my shift. I pretended like i was cooking the meal. Dinner time rolled around and i really hadn't done anything except inebriate myself. Just when we were about to serve the meal I walked over to the door, turned to the nursing staff waiting for the food and said "have fun finding something for these people to eat." I drove home and never went back.

    2. I got this job through a temporary agency in boulder colorado. I was supposed to be kind of a security guard at the colorado university bookstore. I sat on a stool by the entrance. If someone walked in with a bookbag it was required that both straps were fitted over the arms. If it wasn't i had to say something like "bookbags on both shoulders please".
    Again i was fortunate enough to be in relatively close proximity to a liquor store. Only this time the idiots I was working for provided me with a solid white water bottle. You know, in case i got thirsty. So i filled it three quarters full with jack daniels and one quarter coke. Then I sat on my stool. I would just sip on the thing all day. Once i got a good buzz going I would start coming with tacky things to say to people as they entered the store like "Enjoy your shopping experience and be sure to tell an associate how we can make your next visit more enjoyable" or "welcome to the CU bookstore, please don't rob us blind".
    This was all good and I actually got some laughs from people. However, around three o'clock you could smell it. And someone told my manager. So this moron comes out and says "Have you been drinking?" And I reply "OH YEAH!"
    THe best part is I couldn't just leave. THey held me in this office until the police came and escorted me off of the college campus.

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