Tales from The Trenches Archive

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Falling on deaf ears

I have many Tales to choose from, but I’ll stick with the one that almost got me fired.

I got a job at a retail electronics store, let’s call it “Buy More,” with high aspirations of helping people buy games and using my knowledge.

Despite being awesome at selling games and having said knowledge, I got transferred to the Merchandising/Inventory Department because I quote, “Went on vacation.”  Nevermind that I put in for it well before the mandatory 18 day requirement, or that it was to see my brother graduate college in another state.

So now I have to stay late to unload trucks, and get in early to put stuff away. Fine, but at least now I didn’t have to interact with most of the customers and managers (I got jaded fast). There was a nice rhythm to it, you could wear headphones and plug away until all the shelves were full and the pegs were stocked.

Of course, if you didn’t hear someone talking to you, that could be bad…

I got called into the manager’s office one day. My manager and immediate supervisor were there, paperwork in hand, ready to write me up for insubordination. I had no clue what’s going on.

Apparently, earlier that week while I was keeping busy restocking the shelves my supervisor had called out to me, trying to get my attention. I did not answer because I had earbuds in, and walked away.

While most people would have just walked up, asked in person “Hey you need to be able to hear me, could you go do this other thing,” they decided to have a sit down, and talk about how it COULD have been PERCEIVED that I was being insubordinate.

That’s right, I almost got written up not because I was, and not because someone else saw this happen, but on the off chance that someone was watching and made the mental leap that I was sticking it to the man by ignoring him.

The real kicker, and part that made it hard to keep a straight face in the sit-down?

My supervisor was deaf in one ear. Every day someone tried to get his attention and he’d keep walking.