Workplace Horror Stories!

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Severla 2.0
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Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby Severla 2.0 » Wed May 16, 2018 12:30 am

FM wanted me to give some QA stories, but it'd be more fun for everyone to partake, right?

Other than QA, I've worked Retail, and God knows those have some kicker tales too, right?

Here are a couple, short intro tales for warm-ups:

Testers:
The modern day tester is going to have a terribly short lifespan. Ive watched some down 3-4 Monster Energy Drinks in a single shift. Those things are suggested 2 a day MAXIMUM. Add this to eating vending machine snacks and sitting all day: Good Lord. RIP.

Devs:
Devs will never take you seriously as QA. Ever. EVER.
Literal Head of Department: "So is the testing going well, guys?"
QA: "No, it's pretty bad. Y'all should REALLY let us test the Demo first, else some bad shit may happen and hurt publicity."
Devs: "Fuck that, we're fine."
The outcome: "ITS BLACK JESUS."

PEOPLE WHO SHOULDNT BE IN MANAGEMENT POSITION:
*Note this is not my story. It's from the website "The Trenches" that allowed anonymous stories to be submitted. HOWEVER, let it be known, I WAS PRESENT IN THIS 'TOWN HALL.'
I had been working for a game publisher for about a month before they announced their town hall for all the day/night shift testers. It was simply something to boost morale and talk to one of the VPs that descended to the testing area. He explained how he went from one form of the entertainment industry to the other before finding himself in the game industry. A sort of a rags to riches story, and after his speech he opened the floor to questions. One of the testers got called on and asked the following:

“A lot of us here are trying to get into a developer position, how would you recommend getting from where we are as QA to being an artist/programmer/designer?”

The VP responded with:

“Well… you, um. You should really get exposure to the game industry and what’s hot right now. I think the best thing to do is simply play games.”

The room was so silent you could hear an ant fart.

The best advice you can give a room filled with over a hundred people, who literally play games for a living, was to play games?! Thanks for the advice guy.


"You could hear an ant fart." is an understatement. I could hear the fryers at McDonalds down the road.

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Nth
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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby Nth » Wed May 16, 2018 2:23 am

Oh the stories I have of mismanagement and abuse of power...

I'll call my first post Chapter 1: Setting the scene.

I've been working since I was 13. From 13 to 27 I worked for my father's landscaping and maintenance business in which I barely made a dime since he took all the money and told me I was paying for room, board and holiday celebrations (christmas and birthday presents). He ended up getting audited during my last few years working for him and I had a phone interview with an auditor. Anyway, after that I started getting paid once in a while. It was a job I hated every second of. The only good part about it was I usually ended up working by myself and made my own hours.

I also worked off and on part time throughout those years at a lumber mill (only three months and refused to come back when the job I was doing was finished). As a gamer I was very paranoid about losing fingers or eyes and had a few close calls with industrial saw blades that could cut a person in half.
Also had to drive out of a mountain woodlot in a convoy or trucks (mine had no floor in it) where we got caught in a white out blizzard. Won't be doing that again.
Also worked at a winery (Fired because it was a job forced on me and I put no effort in), teacher's assistant at an elementary school (1 year contract and didn't renew because I don't like kids), furniture mover, fire-works technician, roofer, carpenter, typist, apartment and house painter and any other assortment of shit work no paying jobs other people wouldn't do.

Ended up getting hired on at an apple packing/fertilizer plant for 6 years exactly out of desperation to pay off my student loan from university. Probably my first real job where I actually got a T4 slip and regular pay day. More low pay shit work. I told the CEO of the company my first day there I would be gone at the first opportunity. At the time I had no idea the guy was the CEO of the company, he was just a random guy who asked me how my first day went. I spent 3 years in the apple plant as a lugger. The entire job was just lifting and nothing else. Very frightening when the one-eyed guy with the six grade education I was working with told me I was likely being trained to be his replacement for when he retired in a few years. That brought out a fear sweat for sure.

Then I got involuntarily moved to the fertilizer plant where things really started to get interesting. See the fertilizer plant is a dirty, decomposing ramshackle of a plant, where you do dirty low paying hard labor and ideally they want a six man crew running it, but usually after a few days new people always quit. My first year there we had sixteen guys hire on and all quit from within a couple weeks to a few days. One guy quit when he went for coffee on the first break and never came back and another guy quit twenty minutes in after getting a tour of the building. Said he could make more on unemployment insurance and he wasn't lying. That company offered no pension or benefits either. Had one guy retire who used to show up every day and collect cigarette butts in the parking lot and check unlocked cars for spare change. There's your reward for 30 years of service.

The lead hand at the fertilizer plant was a young Newfoundlander who was a former junkie. To his credit he was willing to work like a dog and get paid in magic beans. But for a management position he only had about two active brain cells. He was the youngest guy there but had a tendency to talk down to people who were not only much older than him, but had also been working there for twenty years. In fact he almost got his ass kicked one day when he referred to our forklift repair guy, an older, very large, affiliated biker gang member as 'my good son'. He was lucky he only got a lengthy verbal dressing down. This lead hand was also the guy who we would go on to witness have two mental breakdowns at the plant and also suffer a pretty severe life altering injury toward the end of my second year there.

The guy who should have been running the plant had been there almost twenty years and basically ran everything behind the scenes but management wouldn't give him a lead hand position because he never graduated high school and was dyslexic. So he was already extremely bitter with the company, especially since he was doing more work but not even making the same wage as the lead hand.
Our great leader was also known to screw people out of overtime pay by fudging the numbers because his beast of a wife (she really was a repellent woman) had told him to never come home with a pay check less than $1000. In six years there I never brought home a pay more than $1000.

Anyway, this is only where the workplace horror stories start to begin. This was just the set up post. I'll write the rest later.

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Dawnbr3ak3r
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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby Dawnbr3ak3r » Wed May 16, 2018 2:42 am

Severla 2.0 wrote:Devs:
Devs will never take you seriously as QA. Ever. EVER.
Literal Head of Department: "So is the testing going well, guys?"
QA: "No, it's pretty bad. Y'all should REALLY let us test the Demo first, else some bad shit may happen and hurt publicity."
Devs: "Fuck that, we're fine."
The outcome: "ITS BLACK JESUS."

As someone who's modded animations in games before, this hurts.
The_PR_Dragon wrote:Dragons, Emus, and Wolves are all hearing impaired. Sounds about right.


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senator
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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby senator » Wed May 16, 2018 5:07 am

Nth wrote:Oh the stories I have of mismanagement and abuse of power...
Anyway, this is only where the workplace horror stories start to begin. This was just the set up post. I'll write the rest later.


This post sums up the low wage, no future, dead end, soul killing, working class existence as well as anything I've read(or experienced) in my time.

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romanticmisery
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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby romanticmisery » Thu May 17, 2018 2:50 pm

I'm just a young grasshopper at 27 yrs old at now. Brazil being Brazil, means that getting a job isn't easy at all - too much regulation, you can't simply quit a job like in USA either, hard to get in, hard to get out. so i don't have that much of work experience yet, still i can tell some stuff i experienced in those years i've been working, or at least trying to :


Dear they forgot the kids:

I held this job as aassistant/secretary at my aunt's medical practice, most of the work was about organizing the appointments, and using the phone, really using the phone to the point i have an aversion towards them now. I also had to clean some stuff sometimes and i couldn't forget to offer the waiting patients coffee or water, it was pretty uneventuful and i took thhose hours to either browse the web or read something i was meant to.

One day she got hit with a high influx of patients and we had to go through the night, up to 21:40 or something around this timeframe, she had other stuff to do so once she finished her work she packed her shit and left. I couldn't. i mean, i could but i wouldn't.

Why? Because there were two kids in the waiting room whose parents brought for consultation and pretty much forgot to pick up afterwards. i couldn't simply say " there ya go you two, step out into the dark streets and wait for your dad to arrive, you might get luckly and some criminal might do something horrible while you're standing in the sidewalk crying, who knows?". No i had to stay there, because i felt that was the right thing to do and because my aunt threatened to fire me if i let them alone - like i would do such horrible thing, but didn't matter.

Situation got worse when the smallest one realized it was really late, past his bedtime and started crying. i tried almost everything to calm him down, youtube, flash games, jokes, but he wouldn't stop. and his older brother started to have something akin to a panic attack. I had flashbacks of my dad forgetting to pick me and my brother up at the daycare and it felt bad man, the minutes went down like hours, until their mother finally came around to pick them up. Said something about the traffic and that her husband was trapped on it. I just didn't care, i felt relief when those kids left and then i realized i had to go home by myself late at night. in the poorly iluminated streets of my city.


Well shit.

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Nth
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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby Nth » Thu May 17, 2018 11:56 pm

Chapter 2: More from the apple plant.

I really didn't have too many issues with the apple plant portion of my work experience. Aside from the low paying shit work the guy they hired to manage the apple plant was a young guy, a few years older than me, although he brought a lot of soap opera drama with him when he arrived. Was basically an alcoholic (several of them worked in the plant), somewhat of a drug user, and had brought his girlfriend along to work at the plant as well.

She already had two kids by two other different guys and had one kid with him. They constantly fought with each other while at work, especially when she found out he was dicking a few other girls in the plant. He was quite the dreamboat for about the first two weeks he was there, then most of the women in the plant hated him when the newness wore off. He would get especially aggressive if his girlfriend would talk to me, and she was admittedly very attractive but I already consider any woman with any kids off limits, not that I would have hitched myself to that mess even if I had the opportunity. Also he had his drivers license revoked for 5 years for drunk driving so his mom used to drive him to work. Once again, this was the guy hired to be our supervisor. You can kind've get a sense of how rinky-dink and ass backward this company is.

I really only had once incident in the apple plant that I can remember. I was working by myself at a station three people are normally supposed to work at when things are real busy. The apples get bagged, boxed and sent down a conveyor to a taping machine that one guy runs and then two other guys stack the boxes on pallets to be shipped out. Now there are about 30 women boxing and sending these down to me and the supervisor puts the conveyor at full speed. Ever see that I Love Lucy episode with the conveyor belt? That is literally what happened. I had to tape and stack everything by myself and the taping machine would constantly jam and back up the belt. I had a little space for about fifteen or so boxes to go through before the complete line would jam.

So I'm doing this for at least an hour by myself, just drenched in sweat and I look up and there are six guys all standing around in the 'Treehouse' office drinking coffee and watching me. Just a little office set up above the shop for the supervisor and the controls to the machinery in the plant. So I kind've give them a look, hey how about at least one of you come down and help. Of course none do. Finally my taping machine starts jamming on every box that runs through it and I'm so backed up I'm manually taping them by hand. Still no one coming to help and the belt is now completely full and boxes are starting to crush into each other. Finally the line is completely jammed, conveyor belt is grinding away and nothing is moving. So I hit the emergency stop button and thirty women start shouting across the plant for me to hurry up and turn the belt back on.

I walk down to the first box at the end of the line and kick it right off the conveyor, then the next box, then the next box, then the next box and I'm probably close to having kicked ten boxes of packed apples off the line when supervisor comes running down screaming 'what the hell are you doing?' I just said 'Belts jammed, I'm gonna go take a piss.' and walked away. When I came back they finally had three other guys at the station to help me. I did get a talking too after that, but by this point in time I really was ready to leave. Think I had my student loan and my first car paid off by this point and really wasn't worried about repercussions. Hryhor coined two mantra's when he started working at the plant that were quickly adopted, the first "That's not in my job description." and "What are you going to do, fire me and force me to get a real job?"

(Side note) I actually did see this same former supervisor again a few years into my new job. He was working contract construction work doing some maintenance in our plant, which is basically bottom of the barrel cheap labor. He told me he had quit the old company and was hoping to get hired on where I was working now. I e-mailed my old pal Hryhor from the fertilizer plant about it and he's like 'he didn't quit, he got fired, his girlfriend got fired and one of the girls he was screwing got fired.' The company had finally had enough and cut him loose.

Anyway, in the next chapter of adventures from the Fertilizer plant, a spy, a terrorist and a coke head supervisor.

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romanticmisery
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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby romanticmisery » Fri May 18, 2018 5:55 am

My Phobia and a Stack of Papers:

My mom's a local politician in a small town here in the state, and when she got some power she offered me a job in one of those places that archive old documents, petitions and all this bureaucratic papertrail, i happily accepted as i wabted to work again and i saw as an opportunity to step up, not mention it would be money coming in..

Thing is, being a brazillian public servant is a total piece of shit, you might get the so called "stability", meaning you wont ever get fired over trivial stuff and will get benefits and a average to fat pension when you retire - but they've got no standards whatsoever, most are completely lazy and care about doing the least amount of working as possible, theyre usually dead end jobs with no pay-grade readjustment (which keeps the sods totally demotivated through their carreers) and if you really wanna put in some work, you will be pretty much punished by the system :markout: . I knew all of this but still accepted because i needed money for future investments and having a disposable income is always nice.

What i didn't knew is that the warehouse itself was a shithole of the highest order. it was dirty, with mold and infiltrations, a very bad smell a completely fucked up bathroom that to this day still gives me nightmares and trash all over the place - the janitors didn't care, far as i knew they were just there to log time and pretend they were working, which suited the other workers just fine and made my initial work hours miserable. :facepalm:

I live on northeastern brazil, which like california only has two seasons : Hot and Very Hot, with the winter being rainy and not much else. we don't have autumn here - ive never seen the trademark autumn trees close up, much less a temperature lower than 22 degrees celsius on the region, and unless a new global cooling era comes about, i will never see the temperatures drop lower. We were on winter so it was hot and wet, raining all over inside the fucking building and making me feel something akin to despair. :facepalm:

The job conssisted in doing something i dreaded but was expecting - sitting on my ass all day in a ventilated, almost cozy room working in a subpar computer without proper internet connection, doing next to nothing, watching the time fly by. It was horrible and i could tell the rest of the guys there thought the same.

In my second day my nightmares about messed up places became real when my "boss" told me to head in the attic to pick some boxes full of old files because he needed them for something, It was raining hard that day but whatever, i went down the stairs and saw myself in a dark, damp, creepy room where i could just feel something wasn't right, i turned on the lights and what i saw made my wanna quit in the spot.

Motherfucker, my dick shrunk, my ass became smaller, my pupils dilated, my heart started racing - i saw a GODDAMNED HUGE TOAD BESIDES A COUNTER RIGHT NEAR THE BOXES I WAS SUPPOSED TO INSPECT, WITH HIS BACK TURNED TO ME. HUGE AS A FUCKING CEMENT BRICK, DOING TOAD NOISES, I HAVE A SEVERE PHOBIA OF FROGS AND TOADS AND I CAN BARELY SEE THEM IN STILL PICTURES MUCH LESS IN REAL LIFE :o

So i just doubled back and run away, ran away as fast as i could away from that shithole entirely, running under the heavy rain, i arrived where my mm was working just to tell her i was quitting right there and i wouldn't be back for more. She asked how did i got there so fast due to the distance between the places i didn't remember, such was my fear, i ran away as fast as i could and i didn't care.

I'm never working on shit like that again, screw BR lazy public servant's who let that place fall to ruin and death to that beast who was living there.


Days later i found out they had a rat, toad and snake infestation down that area, my mom told me in the most casual manner possible, i sighed in relief because i wasn't there anymore. i couldn't handle one toad, much less a goddamn gang of them, they actually found more of them hiding in a elementary public school in the storage room WHERE THEY KEPT THE FOOD! THERE WERE POISONOUS AMPHIBIANS HOPPING AROUND RIGHT NEXT TO THE STORED FOOD KIDS WERE SUPPOSED TO EAT!

I dunno man, sometimes i feel they do this shit on purpose.

:|

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romanticmisery
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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby romanticmisery » Fri May 18, 2018 6:27 am

Pantless: This one was rather recent, happened around 2014/2015, i cant actually recall the exact year, but its the reason i had to take note of my medical condition.


My dad is a bussiness owner and has his own shop which sells car parts and does auto-repairs services, he's pretty much a self-made man, has been working hard since a kid on the bussiness, learned the ropes doing shitty work for a big company who provided similar services and soon rose to the top of the food chain in the highest possible position a guy could get there without having the place to his name, eventually due to the infighting between the brothers who had the keys to the kindgom and their idiotic progeny, the place fell apart and its currently facing bankruptcy - with one of my aunts who's been also working there as long as my dad but never had the same savvyness to her character, currently working the double by getting paid half of what she used to and being relegated to a dead end position just cause new management hates her guts, and half of the workforce resigning to work somewhere else.


Before my dad could experience the end of the end, he told them to screw it and opened his own bussiness. Wanting to learn more from him and being interested in helping my family i volunteered to join as a employee, my middle brother came to pick me up. and the only thing i asked was : "is It very far away? i have motion sickness"

He said it wasn't, so i got in the car.

Turns out it was VERY FAR away and i couldn't take it. having motion sickness is a horrible thing, i'm a relatively healthy person and with my martial arts training i can definitely endure some tough conditions, ive had heavier people climb atop me in jiujitsu putting all their weight on my body and their knees on my ribs, i've gotten hit many times in karate sparrings, i can handle adversity..

But i cant handle a motion sickness crisis. i get sweaty, numb, weak and dizzy, everything gets garbled and i feel like i'm going to die, its unbearable and turns my day into crap, so as the car went on the road i started feeling progressively shittier until i couldn't take it anymore.

Not mincing words here: i barfed. i barfed all over myself, i had the actual presence of mind to actually aim for myself in the seat instead of barfing all over the rest of my brother's car, when we finally arrived i had barfed all and then some, i couldn't even feel my legs and had to be carried over to the building. they gave me something akin to a cold bath and provided me with a new shirt, cause that one was dirty.

but they didn't have a pair of pants my size , i'm a small person, and the shirt looked like a clerical cassock due to how big it was on me.
I still wanted to work, i had my pride, i wasn't just going to watch the afternoon set, so i got behind the counter and started working anyway - PANTLESS. never getting away from the counter while the clients were there and tending to them like i thought i should. I just wouldn't let them get too close or they'd find out i was working in my underwear.

When i got back home, i got a phone call from my dad - i got fired on my first day for being a motion sick mess - and i was never allowed to help there again.

Heck. its 2018 and i STILL can't work there. Funny isn't?

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Nth
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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby Nth » Sat May 19, 2018 4:17 am

Chapter 3: The Fertilizer Plant

How I ended up at the fertilizer plant was really as a result of simply being asked to do a 'favor'. As I mentioned before no one really wanted to work down there. It was dangerous but even moreso it was fantastically filthy. The plant was mostly a series of huge bays that would hold different things like ammonia nitrate, potash, kmag, etc that is what would all get mixed together in different percentages to either get bagged for stores, put into 1 tonne canvas totes for farmers that they could store in their own property or dumped directly into fertilizer trucks that would go out and spread loads on fields.

If you know anything about fertilizer, it constantly radiates heat and sucks moisture to it. The entire floor of the plant was perpetually covered in an ever growing blob of sludge and multiple times a day we would scrape the sludge on the floors into piles and shovel it into bins. Within in a few hours the sludge would bleed back out of the floor and keep growing until scrapped up again. If it rained it was twice as bad. The forklifts would always slide around in the plant and the walls were full of dents and holes where the forks had hit them. Also everytime the auger in the plant made a mix it would shake the entire building and create a cloud of fertilizer dust that we were not only breathing in all day, but it would waft off the building and create a slimey acidic film over our cars in the parking lot. To this day I still have that film on the inside of my car that wafted off my work clothes over the years.

I was only supposed to be down there for the three month summer busy season and then come back to the apple plant and resume my old job in September. To skip ahead a bit, I was screwed out of my job in the apple plant when I went down to the fertilizer plant and didn't quit or complain about being down there. I was quietly just forgotten about and when I went back up to the apple plant one day I saw a new guy working in my old position. The other kick in the balls was that when I was asked to go down to the fertilizer plant as a favor, they neglected to tell me I was expected to work every Saturday over the entire summer busy season. The worst part is they didn't have anything for me to do. I couldn't run any of the machinery or make any of the mixes. I was told I was expected to scrape and sweep the floors all day if I wasn't busy bagging fertilizer. In fact all the crew was expected to do mindless busy work if there were no fertilizer orders going on. Problem was the lead hand and his butt buddy would just go sit in the office and drink coffee and play cards under the guise of doing 'paper work'. Myself and the other guy down there would scrape a little then go back to the last bay at the end of the plant and basically just hang out. They were forcing me to be there on Saturday to bag fertilizer not fucking sweep floors and if they didn't want to pay me overtime they should have let me stay home. After my first year down there I said next summer I wouldn't be coming in on Saturday's unless they actually had work for me to do, otherwise I was quitting.

So going back to the beginning, when I first went down there the original lead hand was on his way out. He had given his notice that he was quitting in a few months as he had another job lined up. He was also a huge coke head, which was actually a plus for us because most of the time he was never around. He'd disappear in his office for most of the day and on Friday's he'd go home for lunch as he lived down the road from the plant and call in an hour later saying he wasn't feeling well and we could go home early if all our orders were filled. He didn't care if he got shit for sending the crew home early because he was on his way out. Although he also ran the crew's lottery pool. They apparently won something like $500 on a group play one day and when they asked him for the money he said he would have to give it to them on pay day because he had spent it. Classy.

So the company had put out a job vacancy for a new supervisor. Probably the most bizarre application we got was from somewhere in the middle east. The resume was from a guy who worked in high finance and was probably making a substantial income already. So why would a guy from the middle east, working in high finance want to move across the globe to manage a filthy little craphole and make $15 an hour? Seemed kinda suspicious, especially since this plant also contained about 100 tonnes of ammonia nitrate. The stuff that makes crops grow really fast, but also makes explosives super explodey. There was enough in our plant that if it ever were to blow it would take out the entire town and part of the next town over. I used to get nervous because they guys were constantly smoking around it, but I found out in the state it was in it was pretty harmless and you would have to mix it up with some other components to make it dangerous. Anyway, they actually turned the resume over to the RCMP who said they were going to send it to CSIS (Canada's CIA/FBI) for investigation.

They just ended up promoting the stupid Newfoundlander to the supervisor position when they couldn't get any other applicants.

So when I got there the fertilizer crew was down to four guys including me. The Newfy and Dave HATED ME. They did not want me down there at all and pretty much treated me like garbage for a good six months. I actually became good friends with Dave later and found out they hated me because they thought the company had sent me down to spy on them because they were getting blamed for no one wanting to work at the plant. They said they had got a talking to from the CEO that they were scaring off all the new employees, which didn't make sense because it meant a shit load more work for us. So when I got down there they used to go out and sit in Dave's truck and bitch about me. I basically overheard them one day and walked up to the truck and told them if they didn't fucking want me down here to go let management know, because I didn't want to fucking be down here either. But they weren't going to do that because they thought I was a spy going to report back to head office. So I hung out with the other guy down there, Brad.

Brad was the local pot head who had the world record for being hired and fired by the company many, many times over. He would get fired for absenteeism and always end up getting hired back during the busy season because no one else wanted to work there. His last firing was as a result of being out for two weeks with pneumonia. But this time he had a doctor's note and went to the union. The company was informed he had better be back at work Monday or there was going to be a shitstorm about wrongful dismissal. The company had previously lost a lawsuit already on a wrongful dismissal case. So I only hung out with Brad for my first six months or so down there and he was just as bitter about Dave and the Newfy as well and was the one who called them 'the butt buddies' because they were always together. At the end of my first week there he comes into the break room one day and says 'So how do you like working for a dummy?' and I had a huge sigh of relief because I thought I was the only one who noticed our supervisor was a paste eating moron. Brad's other claim to fame was that his uncle was Jason Priestley's body double on the Call Me Fitz TV series.

Coming in Chapter 4 - Hryhor arrives, Explosion, Ghost of the Electrocuted guy and hallucinating in the warehouse.

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Nth
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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby Nth » Sun May 20, 2018 7:53 pm

Chapter 4: That's not my Job.

Down at the fertilizer plant, as I mentioned before they always had job vacancies and we were always getting a new hire who would quit soon after. We actually started taking bets on how long we thought a new guy would last. They would also ask us questions about the job and the company and we were brutally honest about the long term prospects. It really was just a job and not a career. A career has the possibility of advancing, increasing your pay, benefits and even somewhat of a pension. Management was always surprised when people did not want to stay. I was completely open with management that I would be gone at the first chance and over the years I would occasionally get asked by someone higher up if I still had plans on leaving at some point. Of course after a few years everyone would tell me: you're not going anywhere, you're a lifer here.

So one day a new guy shows up. This guy is like 5'4" and must've been pushing 300lbs. Bald, goatee and basically looked like he was going to have a heart attack any second. Actually he looked like a cross between Danny DeVito and Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force. This was Hryhor (a Ukrainian name apparently for anyone wondering). He was from Toronto but had moved here over a decade ago when he shacked up with one of the women working at the apple plant. He raised her kids for eleven years and when they were grown and out the door so was she. He had actually been living off his credit card for a year and was so in debt he couldn't even pay the $1500 flat rate fee to file for bankruptcy. So like me he was someone else who had ended up in the company over crippling debt.

We actually didn't think he would last the week. The job has a lot of physical labor involved. Bagging and stacking fertilizer onto pallets was something we would do daily and I am talking about tonnes of it being manually loaded by hand.
Much to our surprise he showed up every day and did the work. Even after a couple months he had already sweated off a consider amount of weight. Turns out he had had been a former mechanic in Toronto and the company had a real hard on for this because the fertilizer plant machinery was in a constant state of disrepair. Like when I first started, he was eager to volunteer for jobs that weren't in the application description and we kind've gave him the heads-up that once you start doing favors for the company, they will continue to expect to receive favors at no extra cost to them.

Now our Newfy supervisor loved him because he had yet to be tainted by the depressing nature of working for the plant and they actually became drinking buddies outside of work, and butt buddy Dave sort of got pushed to the side and would often end up hanging out with me and Brad now that the Newfy had a new friend.

After our busy season the company would do a seasonal layoff of all the female employees but would not offer the layoff to any men. From past experience they knew by the time the busy season started up again the men wouldn't come back or would have found other jobs and they were right. If I had been offered the layoff I wouldn't have come back. So the company would find random jobs to keep us busy. Everything from pretty extensive carpentry projects to walking around the property and picking up garbage. We were starting to become a little resentful at some of the stuff we were being asked to do as we were still making our pathetic wage. Hryhor was doing some additional mechanical work but not receiving anything close to the wage he was making as a mechanic, we were replacing entire walls and floors in the plant and our off site carpentry contractors had quite the laugh when they told us what they make an hour for doing the same work.

Over the next year Hryhor started to get pretty bitter about it and went and had a t-shirt made that said "That's not in my job description" as a protest.

We found out about this because one of the walls of the fertilizer actually burst and exploded outward at our ammonia nitrate bay. This actually happened only a few hours after we had been filling the bay and I was actually standing on top of it standing against the very wall that blew a couple hours later. From the CCTV footage of the explosion, pieces of the wall flew over thirty feet away. Also tonnes of ammonia nitrate came spilling out of the plant that had to be cleaned up and they were calling the guys to come in and clean up. I saw on my phone work had called but I didn't pick up and didn't find out what had happened until the next morning.

The carpenters came to repair the plant, but the insurance would only pay for it as long as they were using the original 1960's blueprints. The Carpenters said the only thing holding that wall together was a wooden beam and six spikes and that's what they had to put back in. They warned us it was only a matter of time before the same thing happened again.

They ended up sending us to the warehouse to fix floors and walls. The warehouse is kind've a cool place because it looks like something right out of Stephen King, like Graveyard Shift. It's a giant moldering crypt of a building built in the 60's. The basement is actually the cleanest and most well lit area of it, then a small store at ground level and three more floors up used for fertilizer storage. The top floor was actually barely used as it was in the most disrepair with close to non-existent lighting. It had been fertilizer storage for decades and over the years bags would break open and absorb into the floors and walls. If you spent long enough in their breathing fertilizer air you would start to see things. Once I actually became so disoriented in the warehouse I couldn't find my way out for a while and kept going up and down the upper floors because they both looked the same and had really bad lighting. Also the forklifts had a tendency to drop a wheel or two through the floors. When I first started driving a forklift there I was told if I ever went through the floor just to ride the thing down and not try and jump off.

The store employees at the ground level maintain the building is haunted. A few years before I started an employee was electrocuted there when a ladder standing up on the truck he was driving touched a power line. He tried to get out of the truck to see what happened and as soon he he grounded himself he started frying. The guy who found him said his hands and feet had already burned to ash and that you could see his veins glowing. They kept dousing him and the truck with fire extinguishers until the fire department could get the power cut. This was once called the luckiest guy in the world when he walked away from a sky diving accident when his chute only partially opened. If you ever go to the store there is a little memorial stone under the front bushes near the entrance.

Since then there's been a few paranormal events the employees have experienced including the glowing orb phenomena which the warehouse foreman has pictures of on his phone. I never saw any of the orbs outside the camera phone pictures but I did have three hallucinating events which I just put down to spending hours in the warehouse breathing the chemicals for so long.

In the next chapter, our fearless leader starts having mental breakdowns, a bad injury, two vehicles overturn, new supervisors who don't know anything.

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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby Sooj » Mon May 21, 2018 10:50 am

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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby Nth » Wed May 23, 2018 12:46 pm

Chapter 5: Upheaval - The first Meltdown

Back at the fertilizer plant we begin seeing a definite shift in the management's attitude. Hryhor's 'That's not in my job description' line had actually spread to the apple plant as well and the company actually ended up changing their job applications to include the phrase something to the affect of 'may include additional miscellaneous duties' under the job duties section of applications. In spite of that really bugging them, they were actually really happy with Hryhor. He had made some improvements to the plant and was actually getting some recognition from the higher-ups. And who hated this... Newfy. Was not a fan of Hryhor getting some praise at all.

Management had offered me the chance to learn how to do the mixes and run the machines in the plant and I basically made it clear if this did not include a pay increase, I was not interested. They then offered me a chance to learn how to drive and use the spreader trucks. Even if they had offered to triple my pay I would not have accepted this either. I don't even like driving my car to work and back and that is basically a straight line. Being responsible for driving what is essentially a modified dumptruck all over the province and being expected to pull dozens of hours of overtime was also not something I had any interest in. So they offered the same thing to Hryhor and he took it.

Dave and Newfy were the two main fertilizer truck drivers in the plant and come busy season Newfy would load up and head out as he had always done. One day management called down to the plant looking for him and we told them he had gone out spreading. This was apparently a huge no-no. When Newfy took on the position of supervisor he was told his spreading days were over, he was to be in that plant at all times, supervising. So when he got back he was told to head up to the offices right away, and basically get his ass chewed out. When he took up the supervisor position he did get that small pay bump he wanted, but he had forgotten about the shitload of overtime he was going to lose by giving up the spreader job. He was none too pleased that Hryhor was now taking up the mantle. As I had mentioned before, Newfy had a habit of screwing people out of overtime because his wife constantly bitched at him to being home more money.

So a little tension started to grow between the two. They were still hanging out on weekends though. Hryhor had helped Newfy build a deck and take down some trees on his property. Newfy's wife, although unemployed had decided she needed to have access to their car at all times so Hryhor ended up bringing Newfy to and from work for a good part of a year. But Newfy was starting to do a little back talking about Hryhor when he wasn't around which I thought was more than a little scummy, especially with Hryhor helping him out free of charge all this time; but it wasn't my business to get involved with any potential drama.
Newfy was extremely paranoid that Hryhor was just sucking up to the company to get that supervisor job. He wasn't, but Newfy at 25 years old had the emotional maturity of a 16 year old. Not a good combination for management material. He was sure Hryhor was going behind his back and greasing some wheels with the higher-ups and Newfy himself was getting into some managerial issues. He had messed up a big order at one point by putting together the wrong mix. Once something is mixed, there is no unmixing it. The company basically ended up selling it as discount fertilizer. He was also getting some complaints about his behavior at the plant. If someone was driving a forklift or the front end loader, he thought it was hilarious to wait until a person was reversing, jump up on the back of it and scream as loud as he could in their ear so they would think they had backed into him. If you want to get technical, that's a safety violation that results in immediate termination in most work places.

He was also a menace when operating the front in loader. He treated it like a stunt vehicle and instead of making slow controlled turns would whip it around at 90 degree angles and the bucket once almost hit me and once almost took Dave's legs out. So this was all trickling back to management, likely from Dave himself. He also had a sexual harassment complaint filed against him from one of the women working in the farm store of the warehouse. She was a very heavy girl and Newfy thought making weight jokes about her was hilarious, behind her back of course. Someone may have tipped her off about it and she may have fabricated the sexual harassment story in retaliation. The final strike was when management hired Jeff. Jeff was basically Newfy's direct boss and Newfy hated the guy from day one. We weren't sure what exactly was going on between them behind closed doors, but outwardly the guy seemed fine if not a little naive.

Basically all this was building up against Newfy and he was getting more and more stressed to the point where he was sucking down almost three packs of cigarettes a day instead of his usual one.

So early one Monday morning, Newfy and Hryhor are the first to arrive at work and unlock the plant. We all basically show up 30 minutes before punch in time and hang out parked in our cars. So I'm the last to arrive and Brad and Dave are chatting in Dave's truck and Hryhor and Newfy are chatting in Hryhor's truck. I walk up to the drivers side of Hryhor's window and start drinking my morning energy drink and see that they seem to be in a pretty heated discussion.

Hryhor mentioned that he had come in on Saturday to have a meeting with the management about setting up a schedule to take the spreader truck out to different farms and whatnot. Newfy got right angry, why wasn't he informed? Why wasn't he at the meeting? Hryhor told him, because it has nothing to do with you, it's spreader truck business. Well Newfy just flips out, says all fertilizer business is his business and he should have been included. Says it's every employees responsibility to let him in on any conversations we have with management whether it's personal or business matters.

Now we're all sitting there stunned. Hryhor says, are you for real? We don't have to tell you shit about personal conversations with anyone. I'm pretty sure Newfy felt more may have gone on at this meeting. So Newfy is basically now yelling, YES YOU DO, I'M YOUR BOSS!!! He gets out of the truck and slams the door and Hryhor who is in his mid to late 40's at this time gets out and says you're not my fucking boss, no one down here even considers you a boss, you're a go-between for the office and us.

Newfy is now saying 'what he says is what goes' and Hryhor is saying that's not gonna happen. Hryhor says if you want to start a pissing contest with me about this you're gonna lose. Well Newfy doesn't know what to say so he storms off into the office and we start hearing him crashing around doing something. So I figure, okay, well that was interesting, but it's over and done with. Nope. The office door crashes open and Newfy comes stomping out and gets right on Hryhor's face. Basically the next escalation of the argument was that Newfy really had nothing left to throw at Hryhor but personal attacks. Not a physical attack mind you, but just name calling and bringing up embarrassing shit that may have occurred to Hryhor while out drinking with him.

Oooooh No. Me, Dave and Brad are all looking at each other and I'm pretty sure Dave has a full on erection because he knows that dummy has just sent his career path into a nose dive. Hryhor's yelling back, but isn't really attacking Newfy, he's more just defending himself, but Newfy is going on and on and just burying himself in front of witnesses. This is just something someone in a management position is not legally allowed to do in this day and age.

Finally Newfy storms back into the office and we just hear him tearing the place apart. Filing cabinets crashing, things smashing, we can't see him but he's likely punching and kicking doors and walls from the sounds of it. We wait a little until things get quiet and head in to punch in and put our boots on. Newfy's office door is closed so we just quietly go about our business, Hryhor just looks at us and shrugs, Dave is grinning from ear to ear.

So, slight digression - Newfy has a bad habit and that bad habit is throwing perfectly good stuff in the garbage. Doesn't matter what it is or how expensive it is, if he deems it worthless, it goes in the garbage. From tools that are slightly discolored to very expensive power tools that may have a little rust on their outer casings. They could work perfectly fine, but he'll dump them in the garbage... and honestly, we'll take them out and keep them for ourselves. It's kind've an unwritten rule that if a supervisor throws something in the trash, it's up for grabs to anyone who wants it and if the company has a problem with it we'll just say Newfy threw it in the garbage.

Now I'm not into tools, so I never got any goodies Newfy threw away, but there was something at the fertilizer plant I was very envious of. In the office area there are paintings hanging up to give the impression the place is not a complete dump. One painting in particular I really liked. It was a forest winterscape that looked exactly like the property around my house in the winter. I often wondered if anyone would miss it if it mysteriously disappeared one day.

Back in the office Newfy has ripped down all the paintings and comes stomping into to the room with them and proceeds to dump the armload in the garbage. HO-LEE-SHIT, the winterscape is in there. I mutter to Dave, as soon as he's out of the room, that's mine.
So what happens next? Fucknuts walks over to the coffee maker grabs half a pot of coffee and a handful of used coffee filters, he walks back to the garbage and throws the coffee filters onto the paintings and dumps the pot of coffee on it and uses his foot to smash it all down into the trash can. Dave just looks at me sympathetically, Brad's just looking anywhere he doesn't have to make eye contact with Newfy and Hryhor doesn't even give an inclination that anything is even out of the ordinary.

Hryhor says he's gotta go up to the main office and takes off. Basically we all think he's headed up to let management know what just happened and I think that realization just hit Newfy as well and he slinks off into his office and closes the door. A few minutes later Hryhor comes back, gets in the spreader truck with the list of where he's supposed to go and heads out without saying a word. But, when he went up to the office to get his paperwork he didn't even mention anything had happened at all.

Newfy basically disappeared for the day, we didn't really care where, we just punched in and started bagging fertilizer quietly discussing what had just happened. I'm basically like, if Hryhor reports this and we get called in to say what happened, Newfy is gone, and well, he did bring it on himself, but it was probably all the additional stress he was getting from management that helped it along.

Jeff ended up coming down and we thought it was to get our stories, but he didn't even know what had happened until he saw the office was completely torn apart, came in to find us working and asked what was going on. We explained there was a bit of an 'incident' and told him what happened. He said he wanted to ask Hryhor if he wanted to report it (I think he absolutely wanted him to because it was grounds for dismissal) and Hryhor actually said he didn't.

So a little time passes and Hryhor and Newfy don't talk at all, but Dave tells Newfie, Hryhor basically saved his job and he better go apologize. He does eventually and Hryhor accepts the apology and says he has no problems working with Newfy on a professional level, but as far as the friendship goes, that is completely over. No more weekend drinking buddies and no more free rides to and from work either.

Next chapter continued: Meltdown #2, overturned vehicles, accident, new supervisors.

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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby Nth » Wed May 30, 2018 12:58 am

Chapter 5 continued....

After a couple weeks after the big meltdown things had gone back to normal. The only incident was when Newfy hopped into Hryhor's truck on lunch break to smoke and eat lunch as he had always done prior to the incident. Hryhor immediately kicked him out and said that was no longer an optional location for Newfy to have lunch.

Fast forward to December, we had a big ice storm and basically everything had a glaze of ice on it. The company had a bit of an issue maintaining their parking lots in the winter. Often times we would show up to work and nothing would be plowed out and in the case of ice, nothing was salted or traction sanded which is a bit ironic because in the winter all the fertilizer plant does is do road salt, cat litter and traction sand.

Now between the apple plant and fertilizer plant there is a bridge that connects the two properties over a shallow creek you have to cross to get from one to the other. The creek is usually knee deep in the spring and summer but in the winter months the water rises to the point where I have actually seen it coming over the bridge. This bridge was in a state of disrepair, especially safety rails. One rail was so rotted out they actually removed it and replaced it with a temporary makeshift 2x4 rig until they could get the new steel guard rails welded on. This was a project that was just kind've forgotten about as something like six months had passed and the wooden 'temporary' guard was still there.

So lunch hour comes and I usually drive down to the local convenience store to buy a sub and a couple energy drinks. So driving out on our ice glazed parking lot there is an ever so slight curve in the road toward the bridge. Well I get to the bridge on the curve and I notice my car is not turning with the curve, I'm sliding along the ice and smack the front side of my car directly into the wooden 2x4 rail.
The wood cracks and for a second my car is stopped, the left side hanging over the bridge. Finally the wood breaks and my car tips over and rolls off the bridge. The whole front end lands into the creek upside down, I'm hanging onto the steering wheel and when I land the steering column actually rips completely out. My windshield is cracked in the corner and ice water is pouring in. I unbuckle myself and I am not sure if I should try and open my door or roll down the window and pull myself out. I am not exactly sure how deep the creek is at this point so I open the door and pull myself out. Fortunately the creek is only waist deep and I am wearing my winter thermal gear.

I go walking back to the fertilizer plant and tell Dave my car rolled off the bridge and is upside down in the creek. He didn't believe me until he actually went out and looked.
So of course phone calls start getting made and even an ambulance was called. In fact the guy who called the ambulance got in shit from the management because the company still had to pay for the ambulance even though I didn't use it. The idiot who was just below the CEO even came out and told me he was sure my car would be fine once the water was drained out and I might even be able to drive it home that night. The guy who came in the wrecker to pull my car out is looking at him in disbelief, like he was a fucking idiot. It was instantly written off. The frame had actually bent.

So to compact this part of the story a little. Company avoids any responsibility for the accident for its improperly maintained bridge and untreated ice covered parking lot. Accident is ruled my fault because I had all-season tires on my car instead of winter tires. Newfy, in a rare moment of openness and honesty even told me the day after the accident the company was calling him at the office every couple hours to find out if I had been mentioning taking any legal action or was complaining of neck or back pain. So after four years of having dumped almost every paycheck into paying off my student loan and car, I'm back in debt again paying off my replacement car. At least my insurance threw me a few thousand bucks toward it.

At first I was bitter, but than that turned to outrage when the accident had become a big company joke among the higher ups. This was the incident that really flipped the switch for me with the company and re-ignited the flame I had to get out of there. The only thing they changed was that they at least plowed and salted their parking lots and driveways from then on. I had also told them, from now on if I show up to work and nothing is plowed out I am turning around and going home, and I even did that once when the snowplow guy slept in late. I even dared the company to write me up for it. They didn't.
I also went a step farther and told them that any snowstorms or blizzards forecast, I would not be showing up to work. Also if I was already at work and a storm was forecast for later in the day, I was leaving as soon as the first snowflake fell. I also found out when word got out of what I was doing that a lot of the women in the apple plant started doing the same thing. One woman even got right in the face of a supervisor and asked if he was going to pay for a new car if she wrote hers off coming in to work during a blizzard.

That spring at the start of the fertilizer season, Hryhor went out in the spreading truck to a job and we got a phone call an hour later that the truck had tipped over in a field. Stupid Newfy took the phone call and ran around telling everyone Hryhor flipped a spreader truck, which royally pissed Hryhor off when he found out because he didn't flip the truck, one of the connector roads in the farmer's field had given out and the truck had rolled into an irrigation ditch with a full load. We had to go and manually shovel up the load before the wrecker could pull the truck back out. Hryhor was non-too-please where like me he had also become a company punch-line over an accident that wasn't even his fault and he was now doing just as much talking as I was about leaving the company. Dave talked about leaving a lot as well, but realistically we all knew Dave wasn't ever going to leave. He had been there basically twenty years already and with no high school diploma and being dyslexic he knew there weren't a whole lot of options. In fact Newfy even started changing his tune now. He had been a complete company bag-licker for years.

Newfy used to tell us when he lived in Newfoundland we was making $2000 a week on a fishing boat. He said he would blow it all on drugs when he got shore leave, then repeat the entire process. This actually just enraged Dave as we weren't even making $2000 a month and Dave used to just sit there quietly smoking and shaking his head when Newfy used to tell us all the stories of how much money he had blown through before coming here to make nothing. But Newfy seemed to be on pretty thin ice with the company higher ups now. They didn't like the fact he had no authority over any of us and we pretty much ran things without the necessity of supervision.

One day Newfy goes up to the head office as usual and he's gone for a really long time. Finally he comes back and sits down at the break room table and just starts balling his eyes out. We thought he might have got fired or something. He didn't, but I guess they had a play-by-play performance review of him over the last year and the company was not too happy. We had been telling him for months the company regarded all of us as low-income expendable laborers, including him. We knew he had been killing himself to try and keep management happy and told him they wouldn't care; that day he found out they didn't. He wasn't going to get fired but it seemed likely he was going to be demoted back down to one of us and a new supervisor was going to be brought in. Unfortunately for him he wouldn't be at the plant long enough for this to happen.

To be continued.

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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby orochigeese » Wed May 30, 2018 5:16 am

Every time you post one of these chapters it is the most compelling thing I read all day, Nth.

That's really scary about your car flipping over like that though. Very glad that you weren't hurt 8-)

Definitely looking forward to the next chapter based on that cliffhanger.

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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby Nth » Wed May 30, 2018 6:40 am

Chapter 5 continued again...

Newfy was left in charge of the plant basically until the end of the busy season. All that season we were having a serious problem with the fertilizer auger. Basically a giant belt with metal scoops on it that would carry fertilizer from the mixing tank and dump it into silos. This being a plant built in the 60's, a lot of the internal machinery was from the 60's as well and the auger belt was finally breaking down. We would run a mix and the metal scoops on the belt were all getting bent flat somehow and basically unable to carry any product up the line. We would have to manually go into the mix tank and empty out tons of fertilizer with hand scoops because there wasn't enough room to use shovels inside it.

We had to do this several times over the season and basically miss orders because the whole system would be inoperable. Dave and Newfy would open up the belt feed and bend each of the metal scoops back into place. This would take hours and the plant was literally at a standstill with the auger system not working. At the end of the busy season when we had more free time on our hands than we knew what to do with Dave and Newfy decided they were going to manually remove all the metal scoops from the belt and clean them all up, bend them back into shape and put the belt back together.

This really was not a job they should have been doing. It was extremely cumbersome as the only way they figured out they could take the thing apart was to have one guy stand in the auger pit by the belt opening, hold a steel spike and the guy above would swing a sledge hammer onto the spike and knock each of the pins out. This was just fuckin insane to me because the guy with the hammer was swinging like a golf swing at a position completely level with the head of the guy standing in the pit. I even mentioned that not being a mechanic or a technician I sure as shit wasn't even going to touch the thing but truthfully I could see how insanely dangerous what they were doing was and I really wanted an excuse for a work refusal if they tried to ask me to hold the spike.

So they've been hammering the thing apart all morning and myself, Hryhor and Brad are sort of milling around in and out of the plant, Hryhor even stopping in to help them out once in a while. Lunch time comes and I head out down to the convenience store to pick up lunch. As I'm pulling back in I see Dave and Newfy driving out in Dave's truck. Nothing uncommon about that, I figured they were on their way to pick up lunch as they usually did.

When I go into the office the first thing I see is bloody paper towel all over the place. I figured one of them (likely Newfy) must have cut himself pretty bad. Hryhor and Brad are there and they say Dave is driving Newfy to the hospital. I ask what happened and they say Dave accidentally hit Newfy in the head with the sledge hammer. I honestly thought he was joking at first because I had just seen them driving out and Newfy looked fine. Apparently just before they were about to break for lunch, they were hammering out one last peg in the belt. Dave took a big swing, hit the spike Newfy was holding against the peg and the hammer bounced and cracked Newfy in the head and he went down and completely unconscious. He was out for a few minutes and they basically dragged him back to the office and stopped the bleeding with paper towel. He woke up and was talking and moving so that was a huge relief, although he had no memory of what happened. They thought at worst he may have had a bad concussion.

The next day we find out it was a lot worse than a concussion. The hit had actually caused swelling in the brain and Newfy had lost the entire feeling in the left side of his body. Of course this set off a huge workplace investigation about safety and that sort of stuff. So, what happened to Newfy in the long run? He did regain his movement, although said the left side of his body was like pins and needles all the time so he walked with a cane for a bit. It took about two years, but he did come back to work a few months before I left the company, but I'll save that part of the story for the final chapter because it wasn't all smiles and cheers. And as if Dave didn't feel bad enough about the accident, he was also publicly shamed during a meeting for it a few months later. Although the manager that shamed him would also get a very public demotion about a year later in which he almost broke down in tears as the CEO was dressing him down in front of the entire staff.
Newfy was never allowed to tell us what went on behind the scenes because lawyers definitely got involved.

So Jeff became out temporary supervisor. None of us really had a problem with Jeff, although we knew he was a loyal company man. Other than that we/I only ever had one incident with Jeff. The rear end of the fertilizer plant is a wooded area, it's not uncommon we see various critters moving around the property. I guess there were a lot of gophers digging around and they had even found gopher holes around the outside of the plant.
So Jeff comes down one day and tells us if we see any animals on the property to pick up a stick and 'take care of them.' I said, pardon me? He repeats himself, just pick up a stick and take care of them. We all sort of shrug and Jeff walks back up to his office. He wasn't going to stay in the dirt of the fertilizer plant when he had a nice clean office waiting for him.

With Jeff gone, I turn to the guys and say, if I see or even hear about anyone down here 'taking care' of an animal with a stick, I'm recording it on my cellphone, putting it on youtube and posting the company name and head office phone number with it. So Dave pipes up, 'not allowed to use cellphone cameras on company property.'
I repeat myself: IF I see, or hear of anyone down here 'taking care' of an animal with a stick, I am recording it on my cellphone and posting it on youtube with the company name and the phone number to the head office. Then I am going to send the link to the local branch of the ASPCA. Probably isn't going to be good for business when it gets out locally that the company has instructed employees to beat animals that come on to the property to death.

The guys didn't say anything but the next morning Jeff comes trotting back down to the plant. We have our morning meeting and just before Jeff leaves, he also adds on that if we see any animals on the property 'DO NOT' do anything to them. So I suspect my little warning had made it back to the head office before the workday had ended yesterday.

Then we found out we were getting a new supervisor in a week... Mike.
Last edited by Nth on Wed May 30, 2018 8:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby Nth » Wed May 30, 2018 7:54 am

Chapter 6: Mike

A few months prior, the local pig plant had closed down and our company was getting flooded with resume's from former employees, especially from former supervisors looking for new positions. It just so happened we had an open position and we were soon introduced to Mike. Mike was going to be our new lead hand. Mike also may have had a touch of the dreaded "Little Big Man's Disease". A common affliction among those who crave authoritarian positions because they really don't command any authority outside of the workplace.

He seemed pleasant enough at first, but when we saw this guy we knew he was a long term office guy. He was small, curly haired, had the muscle tone of canned ham and the tiny delicate pristine hands of a newborn baby. This guy hadn't done any sort of labor in years and to put it best, was a huge priss. He also knew nothing about fertilizer or how to run a fertilizer plant and once again the company expected Dave to train another guy to do a job Dave was already doing, except get paid more to do it.

His first day there I knew how things were going to go. Coming to work that morning I ended being stopped not once, but twice at two separate road construction sites. I figured I was going to be thirty minutes to an hour late for work. I wasn't worried as I had no attendance issues (excluding storm days) and only once had come in late when a power surge reset my alarm clock. I actually ended up punching in only two minutes after work start time.

As I am punching in, I hear someone clear their throat behind me. I turn around and its Mike, pointing to his watch. "We start at 7 o'clock here." he says. "Yeah I know, I've been here almost five years." I said.
He asks why I was late.
I tell him I got stopped at two construction sites on the way to work.
He responds, I should have left early so I would not be late.
I respond, how am I supposed to know there was going to be two road work crews on my route to work?
He doesn't have any response, then he says he's going to have to give me a verbal warning about being late and that I better not let it happen again. I know Mike is in for a rude awakening at this point.

I go in and see the guys setting up the machines for the day and let them know I just got a verbal warning for punching in two minutes late. The four of us were now a tight enough crew that if one person fucked with one of us, they were fucking with all of us and I was giving them the heads up of what was in store for us with this guy.

Something that our new lead hand did not know is that, officially, quitting time is 5pm. We would often work to 5pm and then spend the next twenty to thirty minutes cleaning up and closing up the plant which was technically unpaid overtime. If this new guy was going to be a cunt over two minutes of lateness, we were going to be cunts over 30 minutes of unpaid overtime. So toward the end of the shift, around 4 o'clock, we still getting orders of fertilizer to bag off, but instead we start cleaning up and packing things away.

Mike comes out of his office and asks 'leaving already?'
No, I say, just shutting down and cleaning up for closing. He looks at his watch and says it's only four o'clock and we still have orders to bag off. I tell him we usually run to the end of the day and clean up afterward, but since we're being so meticulous with time keeping from now on, we're going to shutdown early everyday so we can be out of there at 5pm.
He says we have to bag off our last orders of the day before we can clean up.

Now, in my six years there, 99% of the time our union did jack shit for us. However in that other 1% when they did do anything for us, they came down like the Hammer of Thor.

I tell the guys Mike wants us to keep working until 5pm then shutdown. We tell Mike, sure, but at 5pm we're leaving whether the job is finished or not. Mike says we're not leaving until the orders are finished. Okay Mike, have it your way. We stay, we finish the order, we start closing up afterward and we're out of there about 5:20pm.
That night Dave makes a phone call to our union guy. When he hears what happened he is fuming. He says he'll be at the plant tomorrow morning.

The next morning we're all at work and our union guy shows up, introduces himself to Mike who suddenly realizes this spur of the moment visit probably isn't going to be good. Our guy asks Mike if he told us we had to stay after 5pm. Mike says we had to finish the orders we had, clean up the plant, and lock it up before leaving. Wrong answer.

Our guy gets right in Mike's face, THEY DON'T HAVE TO LIFT A FUCKING FINGER AT 5PM. At 5pm they should be punching out and heading home. Not cleaning up and locking up. He turns to us and says, boys 5pm is 5pm. I don't care if those tanks are full and the head office is running late orders down to you, you get your shit, you punch out and you go home and if you hear a single word about it, you call me.

God damn that was sweet to see. Not a good start for Mike to get a visit from the union guy on his second day. After that Mike mellowed a bit on the authoritarianism. In fact we pretty much ignored him for anything other than taking orders. We treated Dave like our Supervisor and any time anyone needed something we would completely bypass Mike and just go and ask Dave. Mike was basically a secretary taking orders and messages for us and it was very clear he hated the fertilizer plant as much as we did.

Mike had this cherry red pickup truck he loved. I suspect he was the type of guy who would wash and wax it at least once a week. So you can imagine his first day there when we ran some mixes through the auger, the building would violently shake and a cloud of fertilizer dust settled over our vehicles in the parking lot. He freaked out, ran outside, hooked up the garden hose and sprayed his truck off. Then we would run another load and even more dust would stick to his soaking wet truck and he would rinse it off again. He realized he would have to rinse his truck off after every single mix and some days we run mixes all day.

Mike was also not a fan of dirt, filth, sweat and bad smells, all of which we're covered in at the plant. As soon as we start sweating the fertilizer dust sticks to us and mixes with the sweat and makes a godawful smell. Doesn't matter how much deodorant you wear, you always end up stinking. We were also supposed to be wearing full face respirators working down there. The company only had two high end dangerous good certified ones that they took away from us because they were expensive and afraid we would break them. So they gave us those little paper masks you always see Japanese people wearing. Within an hour they would be completely black and we often only ended up wearing them when the plant would fog. This meant the dust cloud was so thick inside the building it was like an actual fog you couldn't see through.

Anyway, within six months Mike got himself transferred to the apple portion of the plant as a supervisor. We were back to looking for a new lead hand and Dave had finally reached his breaking point and said whoever we get next, he wasn't going to train at all. We did get a new guy and for the life of me, I honestly can't even remember his name, but he brought another guy with him who was a friend of his named Phil. This new supervisor was from Cape Breton. If Newfoundland is Canada's version of Alabama, Cape Breton is Canada's version of Tennessee so in other words a guy who moves his lips when he reads.

In chapter 7: Dancing Phil and the Legend of Big Rudy, Job Searchin'.

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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby Kristofferson » Wed May 30, 2018 11:04 am

orochigeese wrote:Every time you post one of these chapters it is the most compelling thing I read all day, Nth.

That's really scary about your car flipping over like that though. Very glad that you weren't hurt 8-)

Definitely looking forward to the next chapter based on that cliffhanger.


Same here, it could be the basis of a novel. I feel a little guilty enjoying your posts so much since you had to work at this awful place.

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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby senator » Wed May 30, 2018 5:58 pm

As someone who's been through some stuff in low wage, menial labor, POS jobs, this stuff resonates with me deeply. I've known people like these, and dealt with some situations that, while not quite as outrageous, had me questioning the meaning of life and my own life in specific. Keep writing away, Nth, these stories are treasures.

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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby Nth » Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:07 pm

Chapter 7: Promotion

I remembered the guy's name, I'm pretty sure it was Derrick. Derrick was our new hired lead hand and got his friend Phil hired on as well. Derrick and Phil had both actually worked at the pig plant and new Mike as a supervisor over there. They were not at all surprised when we recounted the story of Mike's first days with us. It was also a bit of a subtle warning to him that we had a union and we weren't afraid of using it if he got the same attitude Mike had. It was already a shit job and he shouldn't go out of his way to make it shittier.
Derrick was way more easy going but also clearly oblivious to the job. Dave true to his word also kept his mouth shut and said he had no intention of training a new guy again. I should also mention Fertilizer plant Dave is a different guy from Apple plant Dave. There were actually five guys named Dave when I worked there. Anyway, if the new guy fucked up, Dave was just going to keep his mouth shut and let him fuck up. They actually sent down one of the office guys who used to work at the fertilizer plant to train Derrick. He had formerly been the lead hand of the plant even before my time there and of course hated it and worked his way into an office job to get out of there. He spent as little time in the plant as possible as not to get dirty so Derrick may have only been getting trained half-assed.

Now Phil was the first labor guy hired on since Hryhor who didn't quit after a couple weeks. We loved Phil from day one. The guy was fucking hilarious. Everything he did and said was funny. Derrick never really fit in with our little group because he tried too hard to be 'our boss' but Phil was in pretty much from day one. Phil was strangely cheery all the time which we weren't used to down there at the end of the earth and was actually glad to be working there, although this would change as it did with everyone eventually.
Whenever he was excited he would always do this bizarre jig. The weird thing is sometimes we would even catch him dancing when no one was even around. One time I just happened to be walking by an empty bay we had sent him to scrape up and there he was doing his bizarre jig and singing 'Let's hear it for the boy'. One of favorite pass times when working was telling Phil all the stories about our old lead hand Newfy.

Brad told him the story of how Newfy and Dave were unofficially named The Butt Buddies which I hadn't even heard. Apparently when Newfy first came down to the fertilizer plant; he had actually started working at the apple plant doing the same job I was doing when I started there. When he came down the fertilizer plant everyone thought Newfy had a thing for Dave. If Dave wore his hat tilted a certain way, Newfy would soon have his hat tilted the same way. If Dave wore his utility belt a certain way, Newfy would show up the next day wearing a utility belt arranged exactly like Dave's. Dave would sometime carry a cigarette above his ear, so Newfy started doing this. If Dave went somewhere Newfy would always tag along whether he had to be there or not. The creepiest thing, and even Dave noticed this and it creeped him out to the point where he actually would yell at Newfy to stop; on lunch breaks Newfy used to sit across from Dave and just stare at him eating, like with a mesmerized look on his face. Dave would just eventually yell 'WOULD YA STOP FUCKING LOOKIN AT ME!' and snap Newfy out of his hypnotic state. And if you want to know what Dave sounds like, if you remember the SCV pilots in Starcraft, that's how Dave sounds and talks. Although he actually kinda looks like the SCV pilot in Starcraft 2 if you were to give him a shave a haircut. But dressed almost exactly like him and always smoking. Actually working at the fertilizer plant we all looked and talked like the Terrans from Starcraft.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrcuvk1qApE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VY7h8dpia7A
I'm pretty sure Phil thought we were making up Newfy at some point.

It's now summer and actually company picnic day which I never had anything to do with at all. Company picnic day always meant I could go lay down in my car and get a couple hours sleep during the day. So all the guys had finished the morning orders and gone up to the BBQ the company always had and I had bought a couple cigars and energy drinks and laid down in my car to read.
I had just bought the book BlackWater by Jeremy Scahill and was laying down in the back of my car smoking and reading that for about an hour when I hear a tapping on my car window. So I sit up and there is a guy standing outside my car. I guess he must have seen the smoke coming out my windows.

So he says hi, asks me if I work there and says he's come to pick up an order. We had actually bagged up his order like five hours ago because he said he would be coming right in to pick it up. We had it wrapped and ready for him with the forklift even parked in front of it to load it for him when he showed up but he never did.
Now at this point in time I am not a forklift operator. I could and have driven the forklift in the past, but I also learned that certified forklift operators were making a dollar more an hour at the company than I was, so I said if they aren't going to bump my pay up I am not going to operate the forklift for free anymore. I was actually making the least amount of money at the fertilizer plant because Hryhor and Dave both got a pay bump for being spreader truck drivers and Brad was a certified forklift operator and had his pay bump as well.

So I tell the guy his order is all ready to go and he even has his truck parked in front of it waiting to be loaded. So he says, okay, can you load it on for me? I say, no I can't, and legally I couldn't either. Without my forklift certification I wasn't even supposed to touch the thing and if I had loaded him up and damaged his truck by accident, I would be in huge shit. So he asks if there is someone around who can load it for him. I tell him everyone is at the company picnic. We actually expected him to come get his order hours ago and now no one would be back at the plant for at least another hour.
I can tell by his expression he is not a happy camper. He asks me again why I can't load it for him. I told him I wasn't certified to drive the lift and that the company wasn't interested in bumping my wage up to forklift pay, so I wouldn't drive it either way. I even tell him I had offered to become forklift certified but the company wouldn't take yes for an answer. I joked it would mean they would have to spend money to put me through the training course to get validated and the company was famously cheap. He shrugs and says he'll be back in a couple hours.

Now the company has a board of director's and the board of director's mainly consists of local farmers because a lot of them have orchards and process their apples through the apple plant and also get major discounts on fertilizer during spreading season. This guy was not only a local farmer, but also on the board of directors and he headed right up to the main office to make a complaint as I found out later.

Now they couldn't do jack shit to me. I had actually done the correct thing by refusing. I'm not forklift validated and wasn't able to legally use the forklift on company property. The company could have gotten into worlds of shit from several different sources had I even received a stern look from someone in management about this. But I guess a complaint directly from a member of the board of director's resonated with the management because I am told that not just myself but about a dozen other employees are all going to be put through the forklift training course so that such an unfortunate incident doesn't happen again. So I would get my first pay bump in three years. At the time I thought making a dollar more an hour was fantastic, but when I got my first pay I realized it hadn't made a whole lot of difference.

To be continued...

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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby Nth » Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:51 pm

Chapter 7: Continued...

Still early summer and I've actually made a pretty decent arrangement with Derrick about this whole coming in on Saturday's bullshit. Basically if they know they have any orders to bag off Saturday morning I will come in, bag them off and then be allowed to go home once everything is done. The previous years I had come in on Saturdays, by noon we never received anymore bagging orders if any at all so I would have to go 'pretend' to scrape the floors and waste my whole day.
Also if I did come and and we had to wait for confirmation on any orders, I wouldn't be forced to do any of the floor scraping bullshit either, not that I even would have pretended to at this point anymore. I'd bring some cigars and energy drinks and sit out at the picnic table and read my book. That entire summer they only needed me to come in on one Saturday for about two hours, so hats off to Derrick for actually taking a stand on that.

I had actually become quite a smoker by this point. I always would have the occasional cigar but never smoked enough that I considered myself a smoker. By the end of the first year at the fertilizer plant I was at a pack a week of Bullseye or Honeytime flavored cigarillos. Never smoked a cigarette in my life, but one of the guys gave me a strawberry Honeytime to try one day and I headed out on the first coffee break and bought my own pack. I figured working at the fertilizer plant all our lungs were fucked anyway because every night I was coughing up chemical phlegm. I had already stopped working out after work as well and any health concerns went right out the window. Even Hryhor carried around a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) form in his wallet.

The only pleasant memories I have of the plant were our smoke breaks. In the non-busy season, or days where we were actually ahead on production, our fifteen minute smoke breaks would often become two hour smoke breaks. We weren't allowed to smoke in the plant, but when occupied it has to remain open at all times for safety reasons. So even in the winter we would have to work in full thermal gear because it would be freezing indoors as well. Sometimes we would have to stop what we were doing and all warm our hands on the forklift's exhaust vents.

So we had two spots where we could take our smoke breaks just inside the plant and keep an eye out on the one road down in case any management came down to check on us. We would always hear them first if they drove, but I think they got suspicious and would try and catch us by walking down instead of driving and we would always see them coming well in advance to make it look like we were hard at work, or had been down to make a repair on a machine that broke down. Dave, whose back was so fucked up he had to go to a chiropractor twice a week would usually call for a smoke break if the repeated motion of stacking and piling pallets of salt or fertilizer got too bad for him to handle. This is why I will never, ever, ever be able to sympathize with people who have desk jobs. Sometimes I'd be stacking with Dave and see the tears just streaming down his face because his back was hurting so bad. And Dave is not a big guy at all. I never experienced chronic back pain until I started working there and I still have it to this day.

There's a farm market across the road from the plant that I discovered had its own bakery, and the stuff was cheap. Me and Hryhor used to go over on breaks and bring back armloads of cookies, cakes and brownies for the plant. This is why both Hryhor and I started to pile on weight, combined with the copious amounts of energy drinks it took to get through a day. Probably a combination of plant fumes and just worker exhaustion you could actually fall asleep standing up or leaning against something. I fell asleep sitting on a running forklift before because the vibration and droning sound was so relaxing.

So we would often burn out long before the end of the week came. Even looking back now I don't know how I was able to work five consecutive days in a row at that place. Jeff used to send these e-mails down from the head office called 'Daily Challenges' in which he would challenge the crew to get so much production done in a day and if we did it we would get a prize. This stopped pretty quickly when we met the challenge one day and our prize was this little frozen chicken that they had leftover from Christmas. Our big reward was for six guys to split this little chicken that was about big enough for one person to get a dinner out of. That was so insulting to us that from then on every time Derrick brought out a new Challenge e-mail from Jeff we just crumpled it up and threw it away without even reading it.
I don't know if he kept sending them or if Derrick told him he might as well stop because they were just getting thrown in the trash.

So as summer is going by I finally start looking around for another job. I'm pretty much open to anything that isn't farm work. I was even willing to take a pay cut not that I had far to fall. Probably the last two years I was there I only lingered on as long as I did because Brad, Dave, Hryhor, Phil and I got along so well. Never really had any fights although Hryhor and Dave almost got into it once over a safety concern, I did a work refusal on Dave once over a safety concern, and Hryhor and Derrick also got into it once when Derrick gave Hryhor a written warning over something Hryhor had said that Derrick took completely out of context. Hryhor had something Derrick had said completely within context that was extremely inappropriate that he could have easily fired right back at Derrick as well.

Hryhor had also gotten a warning for reporting a fire hazard in the warehouse. On the top floor we were repairing floors one day and he flicked on the light switch and blue sparks shot out. He reported it and got a warning for 'playing with company property'. He just turned the switch on and blue fire shot out. I suspect the company didn't want to report it as a fire hazard because an inspector would have closed the place down immediately, so it was a negligent employee playing with it. Hryhor had also been yelled it in front of the entire plant for something he didn't even do. The guy later apologized to Hyrhor in private and Hryhor said 'So you can yell at me in front of everyone, but not apologize to me in front of everyone? Go fuck yourself.' Hryhor really was having enough of the place as well. Hryhor also had a lot of backup though. In the early fall Hryhor volunteered to work the scale house, which means working Saturday's and Sunday's. This means he also works directly with a lot of the farmers and the farmers were big Hryhor fans. They really liked the job he was doing for them and so he was starting to make some friends in high places.

More to come...

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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby wet_dog_smell » Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:53 pm

I'm really enjoying these stories Nth, keep them coming. They make where I work seem rather normal.

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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby SonnyBone » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:27 am

Mopping up 3 entire buckets of blood. That metallic / iron smell eventually ended up turning into a taste sensation... oh god
#FetidToads

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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby Nth » Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:42 pm

Chapter 7: Continued

So come September Hryhor is up in the scale house which means as farmers bring in their loads, they actually weigh their trucks on a weight scale, Hryhor also logs their apple loads and varieties and prints up labels that have to be manually put on each bin of apples. It's actually a two person job at the peak busy season as there can be a lineup of a dozen trucks waiting to be processed then unloaded. Hryhor knowing I hated the fertilizer plant asked if I could be sent up to assist him. He was told no, they would send Crazy Charlie to assist him. Now Crazy Charlie is an older guy in his late 50's who only recently started at the plant as general labor. Everyone called him Crazy because he is crazy. Not crazy in the dangerous way, or crazy in the funny way; he's crazy in the annoying way. Nicest guy in the world but he can drive anyone around him insane with how annoying he is.

So this matching of Hryhor and Crazy Charlie in the scale house was short lived. After a couple weeks Hryhor went to management and told them if he had to work another day alone with Charlie he would quit. The farmers were getting annoyed it was taking so long for processing and Hryhor had explained to them that he had asked me to be sent up to the scale house to help him and was refused. At this point in the season the farmers are working at an insane rate to get as much of their crop picked, processed and put in storage so they are literally keeping track of time by the hour because their pickers who are guys brought over from Barbados are only obligated to work so many hours in a day. They want to get unloaded and head back to load up again as quick as possible.

Towards the end of the season, I suspect the farmers are running behind schedule because at one point all the male employees are told they have to go up and assist the scale house in the labeling, sorting and weighing of apples. Sometimes the trucks would come in steady, then there would be a break of anywhere from 5 minutes to 40 minutes as farmers left and went to reload. So in the downtime all the guys would go into the this little shack near the scale house and just sit and shoot the shit while waiting for loads. Well management didn't like this. Couldn't have guys sitting around for a few minutes not doing anything.

So we get told when there are no trucks we have to all go back to our regular jobs until more show up. So we would all disperse back to the plant and I would walk back to the fertilizer plant, which was about a fifteen minute walk. So when a truck would show up at the scale house and we would all get called back and it would take twenty minutes to round everyone up again to go do five minutes of work as sometimes only one truck would show up. So you see the problem here. Management was so butt-hurt that we might end up sitting around for half an hour waiting that they managed to make processing time take twice as long rounding up all the guys again. When the farmers were asking why it was taking twice as long to unload now, Hryhor explained to them exactly what management was doing. They were not impressed at all.

I think the farmers eventually got together and started complaining to management about this because they stopped sending us away. So instead they had us repairing broken apple bins in the parking lot while waiting for trucks.
So one day toward the end of the season it's pouring rain, like storming. The farmers are moving real slow because their pickers from Barbados aren't used to our weather. To them early fall temperatures are like winter. You'd see them wearing snowsuits out in the orchards picking. So things were going really slow. In the pouring rain we refused to go out in the parking lot and repair apple bins. We'd get soaked through in minutes. So Jeff gets called in by management and is told the guys can't spend all day sitting around while waiting for trucks to come in and be processed.

So management decides to keep us busy by getting all the guys push brooms and have us sweep the parking lot, IN A DOWNPOUR OF RAIN. Sweep the parking lot with push brooms in a rain storm. Even reliving that day in my head still fucking enrages me. Fucking office cunts who have nothing better to do than make sure the peasants are in the fields. You fucking sons of whores. Fuckers who have never done a day of labor in their lives. Believe me, Hryhor told every single farmer who would listen what was going on because they would pull up in their trucks and see a bunch of guys pushing water around a parking lot and ask, what the fuck are they doing? Oh, they got told to sweep the parking lot while waiting for trucks to show up. The farmers would be just blown away by this.

It was the end of this busy season meeting when the guy in charge of the whole process got a very big public demotion in front of the whole company. He basically had to leave the room because he was about to burst into tears. You want to have sympathy when something like that happens, but you just don't have any anymore.

More to come...

EDIT: I'll just add, I pushed my broom for about a minute before Brad and I hid off to the side and I lit up a cigar and Brad lit up a joint and we stood there holding brooms, smoking and getting soaked.

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Re: Workplace Horror Stories!

Postby Nth » Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:58 am

Chapter 7: Big Rudy

Pretty sure it was the Canada Day holiday weekend that summer. We came in to work Monday morning and Hryhor eventually shows up. As I mentioned a while ago Hryhor is bald and short. So the first thing we notice when he comes in to work that morning is that his head is covered in disgusting weeping scabs. It's pretty brutal looking. His head is so scabbed up it looks like he's growing reptile scales. We ask him what happened and he says he spent the whole holiday weekend in jail.

On Friday night after work he went out drinking with the family of his bang maid. He's been seeing this woman for a while who considers herself his girlfriend but who he always considered as his bang maid. Never met her, but Hryhor said she was short, fat, unemployed and had a kid, pretty much the norm for most women in the area. She had moved in with him. Apparently the novelty of her staying there had worn off pretty fast and he was looking to get rid of her and even offered to hook me up with her which nearly made me projectile vomit back in his face.

So Hryhor had gone out to a party his woman's family was having about an hour a way in the city. Long story short, he got real drunk, got lost and saw a police car pulled over just sort of keeping an eye on things. According to Hryhor he asked the cop in the driver's seat for directions; the cop made a comment about Hryhor's perceived level of intoxication so Hryhor made a remark about the cop's perceived ethnic background. The next thing he knows he's being tackled by two cops and having his head raked back and forth across the asphalt. They arrest him and he ends up spending the entire weekend in a holding cell. He says he spent the whole time kicking the bars and screaming at the cops about his insulin. Hryhor is diabetic and didn't have any insulin with him. The cops just ignored him.

When Hryhor's girl showed up to finally bail him out the cops asked her if he was diabetic and she confirmed it and asked if he hadn't told them he would need insulin. The cops kinda looked at each other and immediately brought him out. The way Hryhor explained it, the cops said they were willing to drop all the charges if he was willing to forget about the fact they locked him up an entire weekend and didn't provide any insulin for him. So aside from losing a holiday weekend, he pretty much got off although this would come back to haunt him in a few months.

So with Hryhor telling us about his weekend in the holding cell, we immediately started asking him questions about all the prison tropes we could think of. Did he make toilet wine? Did he try and escape by filing through the bars and making a rope out of bed sheets? Did he join the Aryan Brotherhood? Was it like the Shawshank Redemption and he ended up getting out by crawling through a sewage pipe and the police were actually still looking for him?
So I finally asked him, did you try to establish dominance over the weaker inmates by forcing yourself on them sexually and make them twiddle your nipples and call you Big Rudy? And when I said that, Phil just about had a heart attack. He just started laughing to the point a person gets when they're laughing so hard that they go into that apnea wheezing. Apparently it was the Big Rudy part that sent him over the edge. And thus the inadvertent Legend of Big Rudy was born.

This didn't turn out to be a one-off joke either. This didn't become just a nickname; pretty much from then on Hryhor forever ceased to exist at the fertilizer plant and only Big Rudy remained. By the end of the day everyone was calling Hryhor Big Rudy and over the entire course of that week all the guys at the plant would entertain ourselves by telling outlandish and increasingly bizarre Big Rudy stories. They would always start with 'I heard...'. So we'd be working away and someone would pipe up 'I heard in prison Big Rudy....' and it would usually end up with some sort of horrifc or sexually degrading finish. Kinda similar to the old Bill Brasky SNL sketches. But as the weeks went on and we worked in different parts of the plant throughout the summer the other guys would always hear us telling Big Rudy stories. They would always ask who the fuck Big Rudy was. We'd say, you know, he's that bald guy that works down the fertilizer plant with us. Then they'd say, you mean the guy with the weird name? Yeah, his name is actually Rudy, but after his prison stint everyone started calling him Big Rudy because he was apparently some crime boss and ran a syndicate on the inside. Prostitution, drugs, weapons, if you needed something on the inside you would have to talk to Big Rudy. Hryhor would usually be out spreading in the truck so we may have embellished his original weekend in the prison story, considerably.

The ultimate was when people in the head office would call down with spreader truck orders and ask for Big Rudy instead of Hryhor. We actually all had nicknames for each other at the plant, but Big Rudy was the most prevalent and well known. Dave had the most. Dave is also a little guy and Newfy always used to call him Stewart Little, then it became Davey Dickens, then the Hamburglar when Dave asked me one day if energy drinks made you high. I said yes and that I was looking at him right now and only seeing the Hamburglar. Then he went from Hamburglar to The Gnome, then finally Dave the Gnome King. Phil was either Philly or Philbert, Brad was Brad Sucks which I started after I discovered the 'Making me Nervous' song by the band/guy Brad Sucks and Dave always used to call me Silverback, presumably after the gorilla.

But the Big Rudy thing really stuck. I even tried to convince Hryhor to change his PSN name to Big Rudy but he never did.

In Chapter 8: Newfy comes back, the last straw, punching out.



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