Website / Not Always Working

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Not Always Working is a sister site to Not Always Right, added to the network in 2012. In a direct contrast to Not Always Right, Not Always Working focuses on tales of incompetent, lazy, and sometimes even malicious workers. Bad employees, horrible bosses and managers, and the occasional cool person can be found here. As always, take care when looking through the stories.

Note: Due to a restructuring of the entire NAR site network, the hyperlinks below may or may not work anymore.


Not Always Working contains examples of:

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     D - K 

  • "I’m such a b***! Ha!" At least this jerk is honest about it.
  • This employee makes the assumption that a person is thin because they're anorexic (they're actually recovering from the flu). Even if they were right about it, calling them an "anorexic freak" to their face and trying to ring them up for a large regular soda and a cheeseburger against their request is not the way to handle such a situation.

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  • Sarcasm-Blind:
    • "Sure, I'll... schedule my parents' anniversary for a different day next time." "That's more like it!"
    • This collector somehow failed to realize that the debtor's comment about having to start a meth lab to make the suggested payment (NZ$1000 per week, or about US$800 - this after the debtor explaining he only made NZ$320 in that time) was not an option the debtor was seriously considering. To top it off, the collector somehow failed to realize the suggestion was illegal.
    • This one almost led to an increase in one individual's student loan payments.
  • Scary Black Man: This customer, which leads to a case of Mistaken For Stalker.
  • Schmuck Bait: "Hey, this file I just got in my email says it has an important message about my bank account! It's not from my bank, though, but it must be important, since it says "IMPORTANT!"
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: "When I was young, we just found a scrawny kid and beat him up when we were bored.”
  • Sci Fi Ghetto:invoked This bookstore seems to have fallen victim to it, much to the disappointment of both the customer and the employee.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: This bus driver seems to use the trope regularly, given that he seems to have a reputation with the bus company that hired him.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!:
    • This character seems to be under the impression this is the case for her, since her uncle's the assistant manager. Comes apart when her uncle is the one to fire her.
    • This coworker is "in tight" with the assistant manager, and uses this as an excuse to boss an employee around. Unfortunately for him, he's trying to boss around the son of the business's owner. Oops.
    • This coworker is deathly afraid that this is the case with the sales manager (who happens to be the boss's wife), to the point that said coworker tries to stop the submitter from writing a complaint to them, even erasing a draft of the email in the effort. ("This is for your own good!") It turns out the boss appreciates the complainer's honesty and guts, and the sales manager's work improves significantly as a result of the complaint.
    • This waitress is rude to customers, brings out the wrong food, and then flat-out ignores their complaints, claiming that nobody will stop her because her dad's the owner. And, of course, she then goes absolutely ballistic when the customers refuse to give her a tip for the piss-poor service.
    • This story concerns an asshole who constantly sexually harasses female employees of a theatre production, and his equally-asshole father who refuses to acknowledge that any wrongdoing is taking place no matter how much the other employees complain. It backfires on them when a security employee who has had enough duct-tapes him to a table after he gets particularly aggressive with her, and when the boss threatens to have her fired over it, the owner steps in and fires him and his son instead, in the meantime setting them up for the security employee to sue them both for the sexual harassment (the son for doing it, the father for pretending it wasn't happening).
    • The owner of this restaurant defies any attempts by other people to claim this, as a matter of restaurant policy.
    • These cops refuse to do anything about a groom not only refusing to quiet down his party but also having far more people in his hotel room than the fire code allows, simply because he happens to be in the military. Fortunately, his commanding officer isn't having it, and the groom ends up demoted and discharged for it.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!:
    • This Arena Employee tries to stop a teenage girl and her younger sister from leaving their seats and going to the bathroom, claiming those under 18 cannot leave their seats without an adult, a rule she made up. When the teenager points out no such rule exists and she's 18 and tries to leave, the employee calls security to stop them and lies that the girls tried to cause a scene and made threats. Too bad there were onlookers who called out on her lies and how she didn't bother younger children than the girls who were also leaving their seats without their parents. Even the security criticizes the employee for making up the rules and her unlawful interference with patrons. The employee was given disciplinary action and wasn't allowed back to work until she memorized their policy.
    • This company's policy is that every manager has to work at least one holiday so the rest of the store's employees can have a chance to take them off. Naturally, there's one manager who's decided he will not work any holidays - if the entire rest of the store has to work every Thanksgiving and Christmas rather than spend them with their families to facilitate this, so be it. He's soon demoted and moved to a different store when someone picks up on this and reports it to corporate—but not before that manager is also forced to work both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
    • Again for this manager - days off at the gymnasium they work for are on a first-come, first-serve basis, but even though the submitter was the first one, the manager scheduled them for a day they wanted off anyway because nobody else wanted to work that day either. To top it off, the submitter puts in their two weeks' notice (which would likely have happened anyway)...and the manager tries to schedule the submitter after their last day.
    • This manager tries to invoke it by saying "YOU CAN'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO! I'M THE MANAGER!" For context, the manager is trying to give a customer a pizza that got dropped on the floor in violation of health and safety codes. In front of the customer. Eventually the employee wins the argument.
    • This tax agent, against company rules, send a customer's tax return to the IRS without checking her latest check stub, delaying the customer from getting her tax refund. And when the tax company, as an apology for the delay, gives her the money now until she can pay back the company with her tax refund once it arrives, the same tax agent who was responsible for this mess in the first place, rather than wait for the customer to come to the company after her work at school was done, came to the customer's school unannounced to not only give her the money but make her sign an unfair contract that would charge the customer if she didn't pay back the company in 45 days, something the company didn't approve. Due to the agent's greedy nature and working behind the company's backs, causing the customer much trouble and stress, the CEO of the company gave the customer a cash settlement for her troubles and fired the agent.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!:
    • This person certainly thinks so, but... "Let's see if you being 'pretty' will matter to your manager, shall we?"
    • "I'M PRETTIER! MEN SHOULD BE INTERESTED IN ME!"
    • A male example here.
    • This girl shows up to work in a factory and completely disregards the dress code there, wearing fancy clothes and refusing to wear steel-toed boots. Furthermore, she refuses to work on a machine because she'll get dirty and won't help with crates because she'll break a nail. As the entry states, she only lasted two days.
    • One woman in an office uses her feminine charms to get what she wants. Unfortunately for her, her charms don't work on her boss, so she ends up having to swap her office (rearranged so that the computer screen is not visible from the outside; services obtained by said methods so nobody will know she's not actually working) with another employee who purportedly has an actual business need for said rearrangements (they work on financial data that they don't necessarily want the casual observer to see).
  • The Scrooge: This bank manager is one on the level of Scrooge McDuck himself; what kind of person calls the police over someone accidentally being given one dollar too much?
  • Secret Test: A hotel manager here sabotages a guest's request in order to make one, with unpleasant results.
  • Secret Test of Character: Here, where a situation involving an Angry Black Man attempting to purchase a gun under suspicious circumstances turns out to be a test of the employee.
  • Separated by a Common Language:
  • A Sinister Clue: Referenced here.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • This teacher refuses to let her students leave the class during a fire alarm because they're taking an exam. She would rather the students burn to death rather than leave an exam unfinished. Luckily the director came, got all the students out, and the teacher was fired and sued by the school.
    • This coworker prefers working electricity to a house.
    • This pizza delivery worker was involved in an auto accident that damaged property (including another person's car). The first thing he did? Borrow a neighbor's cell phone to call his job to make sure he wouldn't lose it, rather than check on the occupants of the car. This, among other acts (such as lying to police) eventually caused him to lose said job.
    • This guard is more worried about the fallout from a potential Ambulance Chaser (without any proof that the seizure victim in question would even consider it, for the record) than actually saving the person's life, to the point he actively tries to stop emergency services from doing so. Because interfering with emergency services is a serious crime, the obstructive behavior gets him a criminal record, which means he can no longer work as a security guard (or in many other jobs, for that matter).
    • This doctor puts patient turnover ahead of patients' well-being. "Dr. Jerk" would be insufficient to describe him.
    • This receptionist thinks finalizing her nose job on the phone was more important than getting a patient who's in pain to meet the Doctor. What's worse was the patient was the only one in the lobby, meaning the receptionist could have done this at literally any other point in time without issue. The receptionist was later fired.
    • This division officer. Someone else daring to get married in a manner other than the way he did so? That's threatening the sanctity of his marriage! Having an affair with the daughter of a rear admiral, though? No, that's perfectly fine (until someone takes that information to his wife).
    • This photo lab manager catches another employee she doesn't get along with selling cigarettes to a regular customer without checking his ID because they both know he is in his 40's, and immediately claims because she's friends with that man's mother, she knows he's actually a 14-year-old boy with a "growth disease" that just makes him look like he's 40, and she's going to report that employee and get them fired for selling cigarettes to a minor. The manager she goes to reprimands her for standing by and letting this happen while hoping that a coworker will get fired over it, rather than actually stepping in and stopping the transaction if she's so sure that the customer is a minor.
    • This caller, after wiping her baby's bottom with some wipes (noted specifically not to be for personal use) and having the baby's butt start to bubble, is more worried about how the company's going to compensate her rather than the health of her baby.
    • This doctor gets an infant with a fever of 106 degrees Farenheit, and rather than try to find what's causing this life-threatening condition, and treat it, fixates on a birthmark, accusing the parents of being abusive because they're more worried about the unexplained fever than getting a birthmark they were told would go away on its own surgically removed. Thankfully, the child survived, and the birthmark disappeared on its own, exactly as promised, by the age of 6, but the story does have an at-best Bittersweet Ending: the submitter was the only one of six children who suffered from this unexplained malady and lived through that night.
  • Small Name, Big Ego:
  • Smug Snake: The workers in these stories, until they lose that smile:
  • Snipe Hunt:
  • The Social Darwinist: This manager never donates to cancer research because he believes that diseases like cancer help prevent overpopulation.
  • Spanner in the Works: These prankster employees unwittingly foil a shoplifting scheme that includes their assistant manager as a collaborator.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: No, seriously, that's a really smart raccoon.
  • Spoonerism: The shitted feets.
  • Stay in the Kitchen:
    • This video game store cashier is disgusted when a girl walks in to retrieve a game. The game was for the girl's brother, but the cashier's disgust and remarks are, well, disgusting.
    • Thankfully, not all misogynists are beyond redemption.
    • This cashier seems to think that women are completely incapable of doing any woodwork.
    • When a cashier gives a female customer a hard time (including dropping the trope name), the customer's five-year-old brother proceeds to lay a verbal smackdown.
    • A bizarre case here where a female employee clearly believes that auto maintenance and repair is beyond a woman, but the male employee she summons clearly sees that in this case, the woman who had to pop the hood had things in hand.
    • Inverted here, when a man isn't employed because the worker thinks they're not as hard-working as women. As the story says, sexual discrimination laws go both ways - and, of course, the employer is still dumb enough to tell this to that man's face.
    • Another inversion here, with a female employee who will bend over backwards for female customers, but is dismissive and rude towards male ones, including making up stories about them being rude to her (e.g. claiming the submitter was trying to get a refund for expired food he bought months ago, rather than warning them of long-expired food still on their shelves).
    • This woman has had to deal with many home improvement stores that fall deep into this trope, so imagine how she feels once she finds a store that averts it. To top it off, said store is run by a woman, perhaps inverting the trope as well.
    • This registrar is a jerkass sexist won't register girls for the mall's sports activities (Soccer, Football and Hockey) but instead puts them into ballet and gymnastics because he thinks all girls like those and hate sports. What's worse, the organizer of these activities allows it because he only cares whether all of the activities have at least 9 kids attending each otherwise they be canceled, claiming it's fair and equal despite the fact the girls basically have no choice in what they get to do. It eventually backfires once a couple of Mama Bears, unhappy about the situation, organize a boycott, leading to most—if not all—of the activities being cancelled.
      • This registrar is better in this regard; his excuse is that every other girl signing up legitimately did want ballet, so he assumed this one wanted that too, and is quick to fix the mistake when she points out she wants to play football. Unfortunately, the organizer is just as sexist as the last example; he even talks as if the girl will end up dropping off the team immediately, even after being shown video evidence of her liking the game and being very, very good at it. At least the organizer (albeit grudgingly) allows her the chance to try. Also, this incident takes place in Darwin, so they may have been talking about Australian Rules Football, which is a very rough sport.
      • Rounding out the possibilities, this registrar is a jerkass sexist who, without the knowledge of the parents, sign up girls for ballet and gymnastics despite their requests, and even threatened physical violence on a woman who complained about it. Unlike the previous two stories, the organizer is not happy when he finds out, and ends up firing the clerk on the spot and correcting the misplacements that he can. (Bonus points: Apparently, the clerk was later arrested on sexual assault charges for a different incident.)
    • This nurse repeatedly reminds a patient that an operation will make her sterile, ignoring the patient repeatedly saying that she was already sterile due to the condition she's getting the operation for. Eventually the nurse snaps and says that the patient's godly duty as a woman is to have children. At least the nurse was kept away from the patient when the incident was reported to the surgeon.
    • This waitress actually cuts a female sailor's military ID in half because she thinks women can't serve in any capacity in the Navy and it's therefore a fake ID. The customer ended up getting the meal free instead, along with a coupon for another free meal at a later time, while the waitress was chewed out by the manager over the incident.
    • The new manager in an aerospace company dismisses what he thinks is an overpaid secretary. Nope, she was the only one with the applied mathematics skills necessary for the group to do the work... and the CEO, once it became known why certain projects had been stalled for months, tore into the supervisor before firing him.
    • This car dealer who assumes that the wife of a pair is only interested in the aesthetic features of the car, and is subsequently surprised when not only is she the one doing the test driving, she proceeds to rattle off everything that's wrong with the car afterwards.
    • In an inversion, this male employee refuses to help a male customer with back problems carry bags of gardening rocks to his car on the grounds that "he is man and is strong enough to do it himself" and complains that a female employee, who did help the customer, shouldn't do that as it's "that man's job" even thought both the customer and female employee repeatlly point out the customer's back problems. And it turns out, this wasn't the first time the male employee did something like this.
  • Stealing the Credit: A hallmark of bad managers, like this one.
  • Stealing from the Till: An extreme example can be found here, involving a manager and his daughter embezzling from the financial services company they both work at for over six months, trying to get another employee to take the fall for them, and finally finding themselves in jail for stealing from multiple businesses they had worked for.
  • Stock Scream: A Wilhelm Scream turns up in this one for reasons unexplained.
  • Stock "Yuck!": This pizza place worker makes the assumption that teenagers ordering a pizza with anchovies is a prank call - and, in typical Not Always Working fashion, is unnecessarily rude about it, which gets him fired within five minutes.
  • Stupid Evil: This boss proudly bullies the disabled employee, right in front of the employee's ACAS representative.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Discussed here, including the sexual-orientation flip.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: This poor cashier.
  • Suspect Is Hatless:
    • This worker at a nursing home, who describes a resident as the one who "has gray hair and glasses, and is sitting in a wheelchair." A coworker points out that that description doesn't narrow it down very much.
    • The only clue the submitter is given on the identity of a secret shopper is "she's a lady".


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