Have you ever been stuck in an elevator? If so, you know that picking up that red phone doesn't get you directly connected to the police as you might have hoped. Ha! Those phones are monitored by companies who staff people to sit and wait on your "Emergency Call" and then notify the "appropriate" authorities. During college I worked the night shift for one of these companies. Honestly, it wasn't that bad … except for the fact that the company I worked for monitored over 250,000 phones nationwide and often they only staffed one person at a time to wait on those calls … yes, one person! If you had to go to the restroom or, for some, take a "smoke" break, you did so at the risk that someone calling might be giving birth while trapped in an elevator. The call volume was unpredictable. In most cases, building managers are supposed to test the emergency phones, so some calls received wouldn't be emergencies, just some lonely night guard with a creepy conversation. The saddest part of this job was the fact that I often received actual emergency calls, but when I tried the numbers provided for the appropriate authorities, they didn't work! FYI: never get stuck in a Public Storage after hours. — Anonymous
I used to process textbook orders for the UTSA bookstore. Students placed orders at follett.com and we would either ship their books directly or package them for in-store pick up. Most students came en masse as school began. At this time, Murphy's Law flash-mobbed us with pornstar impunity. Most employees were incoming freshmen who took the job thinking it would be a quaint part-time retail position. Instead, it was assembly-line work where we processed hundreds of orders over 10-12 hour shifts for minimum wage.
Few employees took the work seriously (on account of pay), which led to countless orders being packed/shipped incorrectly or just lost. We wouldn't find the errors in pick-up orders until the students and/or their families had shown up, which would result in them coming back three or four times. Meanwhile, Follett has strict rules regarding proper ID, book conditions, and refunds. Students who had been waiting in line an hour would be shocked when I'd tell them we require signed letters from parents (often the buyers) for pick up. We'd sell/deliver students books with water damage and then refuse to exchange or buy them back because they had water damage. Some students would try to return a book that was either mispackaged or misordered without a receipt. I knew the likelihood that the receipt was forgotten because of employee negligence was high, but my managers had a "no ticket, no laundry" policy, even when students had a shrink-wrapped $350 math book that was as useful to them as higher education is to Sarah Palin.
The worst part: online ordering was supposed to be convenient. It was the most illusory product I've ever encountered in my capitalism-drenched life and I still wonder if Roger Ailes has stock in the company. — Adam Coronado
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