Into The Fire
“I cremated a lady too soon and I’m the funeral director. Here’s how it went down:
You can’t cremate a person unless you have received a permit for that person to be cremated from the coroner’s or medical examiner’s office. It takes a few days to get one usually, and a licensed funeral director has to sign the permit along with the coroner to make it valid.
So I met with the ‘Smith’ family, the husband and two daughters of the deceased. The daughter wanted to see her mother again before cremation took place, so I set that up for two days later.
The next day was an extremely busy day, as I was dealing with a very difficult family, among a million other things. I was on the phone getting yelled at by a guy over something that had nothing to do with us. The church he wanted to have his mother’s funeral at already had one scheduled for the day and time he wanted, so he was yelling at…ME, of all people, when the office secretary walks up and hand me a stack of permits to sign.
So, I was glancing through the files to make sure we have everything we need for me to sign these permits, with the phone to my ear, being called every name in the book. I sign the permits, the secretary takes them and faxes them to the crematory, and the crematory cremates the bodies.
I literally sat straight up in bed at 1:00 the next morning because I realized my lady whose daughter was supposed to see her again was in that stack of permits.
Where Is He?
“I’m a teacher. Early in my career, a student went missing after second recess. I looked around and realized he never came back. NO ONE could find him. We called parents and there was no answer. We searched the playground: nothing.
There was school-wide panic. The superintendent’s office was called and security and the police came.
It turns out he never came to school that day. I missed the fact that he was gone all day when I took attendance first thing in the morning. Mom called in a panic wondering why she had 10 missed calls and cops were at her door when she got back from the prearranged doctors appointment she made for her son.
To be fair another kid, Sebastian, told me he saw him jump over the fence and leave at recess. Sebastian lies a lot.”
Dry Ice Explosion
“As part of the staging at an event we were hosting, we wanted the ground to have a cool layer of dry ice fog as people were entering the main meeting hall. We had this archaic ‘dry ice machine’ that I’m guessing a well-meaning volunteer made 20 years ago. Imagine a water heater that someone took the top of off. The way it is supposed to work is a basket attached, to the lid, is filled with dry ice and plunged into the boiling water after the lid is attached to the basin. Well we got in a rush, we’re running behind schedule, and couldn’t get the basket open so I said, ‘let’s just pour the dry ice in.’
What I know now, and what I’m sure you know if you know anything about science, is that this was a TERRIBLE idea. There was basically a water explosion that shot boiling water all over my hand, the ground, and directly on a fire sprinkler. I’m blinded by the fog, my hands and feet sting from being splashed (what would later be called 2nd-degree burns), the fire alarm is blaring, and now I’m being drenched by foul-smelling water. It was totally disorienting.
Instead of starting our event, we evacuated the building in Seattle, in February. We also had to evacuate a completely unrelated event that was also happening in the building. So around 350 people were standing in a parking lot waiting for the fire department and the building manager to show up. We did between $5000-$8000 in water damage, almost canceled the second day of our event and generally annoyed people that already didn’t like us because they had to be there until 2:00 am dealing with wet carpets.”
“I was the new girl, working as a receptionist at a large computer wholesale/networking firm. The sales manager approached me and asked me to make a page over the PA ‘that the sares meeting is beginning.’ I repeated it back to him, double checking that I was pronouncing it correctly. I apparently was not – he said, ‘No, no. Not sares, Saaaaaaarrrres.’
No problem, I got this – I pick up the phone and make the announcement – ‘the Saaaaaaaarrrrees meeting is now beginning in the conference room, the Saaaaaaaarrrrreees meeting is now beginning.’ Before I could hang up the phone, a roar of laughter erupted throughout the whole office, and the look on the poor sales manager’s face is one I’ll never forget. The poor man had a speech impediment, his L’s came out as R’s…..SALES MEETING, not Saaaaaaaarrrreees meeting. I felt so bad, but God dang, it was funny and helped break the ice with my co-workers.”
Get Me Off The Phone
“I used to work for a TV/internet tech support call center and the worst part of the night was always the last 10 minutes before the end of my shift. Inevitably a call would come in at the last minute and force me into staying an extra 20 minutes -1 hour.
I had a first date with a gorgeous woman lined up not long after work, and wanted to get home and prep, but I was confident I could make it out of work unscathed.
Inevitably a call comes in at 9:59 pm from a guy who wanted me to walk him through setting up his router with our modem/router and mess with opening a ton of ports; it was a process that takes a minimum of 45 minutes – 1 hour with a technically-challenged person on the other end. I tried to use coy tactics to get this guy off the phone and pawn him into a callback the next day, but he told me flat-out that I wasn’t getting rid of him and I was stuck with this until he determined otherwise.
I put him on hold to calm my nerves. My boss came up to me and asked me what the deal was, in response I took off my headset and threw it into my cube wall, sending everything flying. I told him in a way-too-loud voice ‘I’ve got to walk this brain-dead man through a football field of horsecrap!’ Thankfully he didn’t fire me right there, but I had to get back to the call.
As I’m taking the guy off hold, I realize that when I threw the headset it knocked the handset off of the receiver, taking the call off of hold and made the handset hot. The guy heard everything I said. He said, ‘how do you still have a job right now?’ I felt sick to my stomach. I was certain this guy would want to speak to my boss, the call would be pulled, and I would be fired.
Strangely enough, the customer said that he used to work at a similar job and knew the feeling. I explained the context of my date and shift-ending, and despite rude and obnoxious at the outset of the call, he actually turned out to be one of my more cooperative callers. It took almost an hour and we didn’t fix his problem, but he saved me. I ended up marrying the girl.”
Keep Em’ On You
“I worked at a Best Buy and had just signed out a set of keys to retrieve a high-value product from a cage. I lost the stupid keys. I paced around like a madman trying to retrace my steps and find them, but ultimately, I went up to my boss and told him I just royally messed up.
He said, ‘The keys you signed out had keys to seven other cages and the warehouse. The value therein is over $400,000, not to mention the cost of re-keying and re-locking is about $1500 considering parts and labor, PER lock. Do you know how long it would take you to work that off? Did you know that this is an offense that results in immediate termination?’
I went pale as a ghost and almost shat my pants.
‘Lucky for you, I saw you set them down where you weren’t supposed to, then walk away, so I grabbed them myself and let you worry. This is a cheap lesson, sign the keys back in.'”
“So, I was working in a garage in the late ’90s and I was wrenching on this minivan. Now let me tell you, this was about the weirdest little janky car in the world, and I’d give my left nut to have it now. It was a maroon Plymouth Voyager SS. This was a minivan with a Maserati turbo system in it. Why they felt this was something anyone would ever want was beyond me, but here I was putting it all back together.
I had the throttle pinned open for reasons and forgot, so when I went to pull the car out of the bay, that engine redlined instantly hitting about 12k. No problem, right? Just hit the key? Nope! Instead, my panicked brain decided that if I dropped it in gear, it would stall out.
Instead, it did a one-wheel burnout for five feet into a brick wall.
This didn’t go unnoticed.
The shop manager, who was on pretty heavy tranquilizers, sauntered on over with his cup of coffee, reached in and pulled the keys.
Boss: ‘Welp, I’ve never seen that before. You wanna take a break, kid?’
Me: ‘Yes, please. ‘
We pushed the van away from the wall and found that the only damage was a plastic strip on the bumper, and a bit of paint scraped off the wall, which got my name and date in sharpie.”
“I worked in the frozen department at a grocery store for a few years. The fans circulating the air inside the freezer doors jammed from time to time due to ice buildup. Sometimes this ice buildup got to a foot in thickness so we would just hack away at it with a hammer to break it up.
This particular time, the ice built up around one of the copper pipes carrying the coolant gas. I didn’t see this and proceeded to chip away. One good swing and I broke through the ice as well as this pipe. The gas starts shooting out and spooks some nearby customers. The owner was at lunch so I ran to the closest manager. He just kind of looked at me disappointedly and said, ‘go home, the boss is going to be furious when he sees this.’
I bolted and started dreading my shift the next day. I see the boss and he just gives me this look of sheer anger and disappointment. He doesn’t say a word to me for a few days and I just kept my head down. I found out later that I had caused $7000 in damages and repairs, I guess due to how these freezers were built. He forgave me after it all but I was never allowed to clean up the ice again.”
Bleach And A Mop
“I was 18 and just hired at a movie theater in Seattle, and the manager told me to clean the bathrooms. I asked him what I should use and he said ‘bleach and a mop.’ Soooooo, I grab the gallon of bleach, the mop, and the bucket, and started to get to work. Not knowing, of course, that you need to mix bleach with water.
Sooooo, I pour half a gallon of bleach with no dilution all over the bathroom floor. Within about 90 seconds, my eyes and nose start burning. I walk out to ask if I did something wrong, but I can’t find the manager, so I just wait at the concession stand for him.
A few more minutes pass, and people start to trickle out of the theatre next to the bathroom, complaining about the chemical warfare I’d just committed next to them. First a few people, then a steady stream, some with tears in their eyes. The manager finally shows up, and by then, the fumes in the bathroom have created a toxic wasteland. The theatre had to be evacuated, and everybody had their money refunded.
I didn’t get fired, and, in my karmic defense, the movie playing was Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, so, in all honesty, the patrons should have thanked me, really.”
“I used to work at a grocery store as the primary closing attendant for the self-checkout. The self-check attendant had a set of keys they had to keep on them at all times: keys to open the machines themselves, and also a key to a small locked case of smokes. This meant I wouldn’t have to run all the way to the customer service desk at the other end of the department every time someone came through self-check and wanted cigs.
One night, those keys went missing.
It turned out they were stolen. When they reviewed the security tapes, they saw that two ladies had come up to me to purchase smokes. I unlocked the case and instead of putting the keys back in my apron pocket like usual, I set them down on top of the case and knelt down to get the brand they wanted (it was on the very bottom shelf). While I was getting the smokes, one of the women picked up the keys and handed them to her friend, who put them in her purse.
I didn’t realize the keys were missing immediately, because right after that a coworker came to relieve me for my break. I assumed he picked up the keys, he assumed I took them with me on my break.
I got in no trouble at all, though I probably should have; it was incredibly negligent of me to put the keys down like that instead of keeping them on my person.
But here’s how it ended up impacting others.
We had always been told that the keys to unlock the self-check machines were unique; every store had a different key. My department manager had also always been told this. When she reported the keys stolen, however, the higher-ups were forced to admit that this was not true: there were, in fact, only four different key patterns for all of the machines across hundreds of stores. This suddenly meant that there was a security risk for untold numbers of self-check machines; opening those machines gave access to all cash that had been paid into them as well as to all cash loaded into them to be dispensed in change. So that was a major issue.
But it got better! It also turned out that the key to unlocking the case was no ordinary key. It was what they referred to as a ‘2 key.’ 2 keys are the master keys for the store: they unlock literally every single lock in the entire building, with the sole exceptions of the safe itself and the room containing the safe. It’s unlikely that the women realized the significance of that key, but that doesn’t change the fact that the loss of that key was a massive security breach for the entire store.
All of the locks had to be replaced – not just on the main doors, but on every office, every stock and supply room, and every locking display case in a store that covered an entire city block – and new master keys made and distributed. Security had to be heightened at all stores in the chain because they didn’t know how many of them shared the same key patterns for their self-check machines. And while I didn’t even receive a verbal warning for what happened, it triggered a change in corporate policy that made having the self-check keys stolen from you a fireable offense.
All because of a few seconds of inattention on my part.”
Stuff It In
“I threw a king-sized box spring into the trash compactor at my job at Goodwill. It uses about 300 tons of hydraulic pressure to crush the heck out of just about everything, but pressure alone isn’t enough to break the metal springs that hold box springs together.
And to make matters worse, the box spring was just a little bit bigger than the opening of the compactor. So, when I ran the compactor thinking it would break the springs and then the rest of the box spring would fall in, all it did was fold the entire thing in half, completely covering the opening of the compactor.
Being a thrift store, we get a lot of donations that are simply people’s garbage, so that compactor is a vital part of the operation. When I blocked it, it meant I had an hour and a half of hard work to do. Box springs are stronger than you might expect (or maybe exactly as strong as you’d expect). I was jumping on that thing for over an hour, and the frame still wouldn’t give.
Eventually, a coworker and I started beating on the thing with garden tools (the closest thing to hammers we could find), and it still took half an hour of smashing and tearing and cracking to get the darn thing to move even an inch. Fortunately, when you’ve got 300 tons of force to work with, an inch is really all you need. I walked out of the compactor area feeling like I’d just battled 300 Spartans.”
“I sent the HR department terribly written adult literature. So for context, I’ve been studying law for about a year, and my parents are super excited about this; even more so because my dad also studied law. They have no problem expressing how into it they are, like telling all their friends, getting me lots of books to read, and finding me an internship. This isn’t just any internship, mind you, this is one of the biggest law firms in my country. My dad happens to be friends with two of the senior partners at this firm.
I’m supposed to be starting work about two weeks from now, and I really just want to make my parents proud, or well at least not disappoint them. I’ve been emailing the HR department of this firm back and forth for the last few days, sending in my CV, and finalizing the details of this internship. Earlier today, I was sent an email from the lady at the HR department, asking me to send my CV in a different format. So naturally, I made the necessary changes as soon as I was told to, and was very keen on sending it back on time to show my promptness. In my hurry and slight absentmindedness, I attached the last downloaded document and sent the email. In my ignorance, I turned my computer off and studied, as I have finals next week.
About six hours later, I turn my computer back on and check my email, and as soon as the page opens, all I can read is ‘highly unprofessional’. I knew exactly what I had done. The previous day I found this terribly written piece of adult literature. It was so obscene that I literally spent hours reading it and laughing. It was this ridiculous 9-page document that began with ‘I am tired of jerking off hundreds of time thinking of you’ and followed with ‘all the time, I was saying this, I was caressing her through her dress.’ And the descriptions get more and more hilarious. It turns out I attached the wrong document. I am absolutely mortified and don’t know what to do. After seeing their email reprimanding me for my unprofessional behavior, I replied with a sincere email apologizing profusely, but I haven’t received a reply. The office is now closed for the weekend. I just want to die.”
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