Businesses Experiences

Mar. 23, 2018

I wanted to take some online classes so I went to the Unemployment Office and applied for a grant to cover the expenses. I had to jump through all the hoops in order to get it, too. One of the things I had to do was spend six hours taking a test; eight hours if you count the two-hour lunch break we were given.

Those of us who were there for the test were informed that we had to pass a ninth grade level of math, reading/vocabulary, and comprehension. If we received any score lower than ninth grade, we would not be eligible for the grant. Whatever!

We started the testing with about a dozen prospective students. I answered the questions to the best of my knowledge. I wasn’t in a hurry with my answers, either. I also noticed a lot of IQ questions in the mix of all three subjects. I thought that was pretty slick. Although, I didn’t finish the test before anyone else, I certainly didn’t finish it last so I surmised I did okay.

I noticed upon our return from the two-hour lunch break that several of my fellow testers did not return. Once I finished my test, I decided to ask one of the monitors where they all went.

“I have no idea,” she answered. “They just didn’t come back from lunch. It happens quite a bit here.”

Wow! Someone offering to help people get an education and instead of taking advantage of the opportunity, they blew it off. I was flabbergasted.

My test results came in two weeks later and I was called in for a review with my caseworker. As I sat across from her at her desk, she reminded me of the requirements of eligibility; I had to score at least a ninth grade level.

“It seems your math score is the lowest,” she said with boldness and authority while looking at my test scores. “You barely scored on a sixth grade level, and that’s just basic math, but your vocabulary and comprehension scores a little higher at seventh grade entry levels.”

My jaw hit the desk. “What?”

“Yes,” she answered, “And we also put some IQ questions in there to see how well our test subjects would score and you’re in the low-average range.”

“Wait a minute,” I said interrupting her. “I think you pulled someone else’s scores. Maybe one of those who didn’t finish their tests?”

She glanced at the folder again before asking, “Why would you say that?”

“Because I’m a college graduate. I’m a nurse and we have to be able to do math. In order to pass the pharmacology class, we had to score a perfect 100 doing complicated mathematical equations. We have to know how to convert the dosages in case the doctor orders in one strength and the pharmacy can only bring us another, and you’re telling me I barely scored on a sixth grade level? I don’t believe it. As for the vocabulary and comprehension part, I challenge that, as well.”

My caseworker leaned back in her chair and looked at the folder again. Ignoring my response to the math test completely, she asked with a little less boldness in her tone, “Why are you challenging the vocabulary and comprehension?”

I shook my head and answered, “Because I’m an accomplished writer. Not only have I written columns for the newspaper for several years in the past, I also have two books published. You’re telling me I have the intellect of an entry level seventh grader?”

She laid the folder on the desk. With amusement, I could tell at first she didn’t know what to say. Finally, she determined that it must have to do with my low IQ scores.

“Really?” I said incredulously. “Well, I’ve taken two IQ test before in my life and on the first one, I scored 126; the second 128. I believe the genius level is 130. Is this the Unemployment Office’s way of getting out of following through on the grants they offered everyone?”

“No, no,” she denied quickly, “This is all legit.”

I noticed the bold authoritative tone had disappeared. “You are not going to sit there and tell me I scored at sixth and seventh grade level with a low-average IQ score. I know different.” I held my hand out for the folder. “I want to see the test scores for myself.”

She hugged the folder to her chest. “I’m sorry; we are not allowed to show anyone their test scores.”

I was quickly losing my patience. Before I was amused, but now, I wasn’t so humored. “That’s not true, either,” I said looking her straight in the eye. “By all legal means, if my name is on anything, I have the right to see it. My name is on those test results therefore, legally, you have to show them to me if I ask and I am asking!”

“Hold on a minute,” she said as she stood up. Taking the folder with her, she explained, “Let me get my supervisor. I cannot show them to you, but he can. I’ll be right back.”

She returned five minutes later with her supervisor in tow. I sat at the desk with my arms folded across my chest. She could go get whoever she wanted, but I meant to see those test scores before I left there that day.

He came up to me and introduced himself, “We feel you’re a good candidate for the program and we’re going to recommend to the state that you receive a full grant.”

I thought so!

Dec. 14, 2017

When I was first married, my first job was working at Hardees as a cashier. For what it’s worth, I enjoyed the simplicity of the job as well as the people I worked with, both staff and customers. It just wasn’t something I wanted to make a career of, but for the time being, it worked well for me until I would become a nurse.

The customers certainly did bring about a lot of enjoyment to me. I remember we had a frequent customer, Craig, who came in every morning and ordered the same thing: Sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit with mayonnaise and a slice of tomato. I remember thinking many times, as I pushed the bag across the counter to him: heart attack in the making.

Craig later came to own his own dry-cleaning business across town. When I became a nurse, I became a regular customer to him as he took care of my uniforms for me. He remembered me from Hardees and took a personal interest in my laundry as a courtesy. It does pay to be kind to people even if you do work in a fast-food restaurant. Craig was proof of that mentality.

My favorite customer was George. He was an 86-year-old widower who, like clockwork, would walk four blocks to Hardees every single morning, and order a plain sausage biscuit and a cup of coffee. His bill always came to $1.19 and I would give him back .6 cents in change.

One morning, George did not come in. My first thought was oh no! He died! I just know he did.

The second day, he didn’t come in so I scanned the obituary section of the newspaper looking for anyone named George who may have passed away (I didn’t know his last name). However, when George came back to Hardees on the third day, I almost fainted.

“George,” I exclaimed as I braced myself from falling over at the register. “Where have you been?”

He smiled at the thought of someone actually noticing that he was ever gone, even a cashier at a fast-food place. “My son was in town and he took me to breakfast while he was here.”

“I bet that was so nice,” I said, pleased he was well. “Where did you go?”

“We went to Thomas Café on Front Street; just a few blocks over,” he answered and agreed he had a really nice visit with his son.

“Next time, give me a heads up that you won’t be here. I was worried something might have happened to you and started to send out a search party.”

In my defense, he was an old man. He smiled again and thanked me for my concern. It really meant a lot to him that someone cared.

Not long after that, George came in for his usual. As he reached behind him to pull his wallet out of his back pocket, he gave a loud gasp. I all but flew into a panic mode.

“What’s wrong George?” I asked, ready to scale the counter and perform CPR on this old man. “Are you having a heart attack?”

I had very vivid images of hollering for someone to call EMS, chest pumps, and breathing heavily into his oral cavity.

“No, no. I just forgot my wallet at home. I left it on the dresser,” he answered with a wave of his hand.

I sighed heavily. “Thank God, George. For a minute there, I thought I was going to have to do CPR on you. You gave me a start and don’t worry about today. I’ll cover you, it’s okay.”

He smiled in his old man way and said, “My dentures would probably get in the way of the mouth-to-mouth.”

“That would be funny,” I replied, “I’d probably come up wearing them and you’d be nothing but all gums.”

He must have also had a very vivid imagination. I’m sure it was the thought of me wearing his dentures that caused him to laugh good heartedly. He thanked me for breakfast and walked off with his tray.

My daughter is of the opinion that working in fast food restaurants is a waste of time. However, I think of it as a learning tool for kids. Yes, for the most part, it’s a good kid job, but you can make a career of it – you just have to stick with it.

For me, working in Hardees taught me a lot about people, customer service, and how to be a professional. I incorporated many of the lessons I learned while there into my life as a nurse of thirty years. It was a great experience, even if it was just a fast food joint.

One of the most important things I learned by working at Hardees was that anyone can change the outlook of someone’s day just by being nice to them. The old cliché from Dolly Parton comes to mind “If you see someone without a smile, give them yours.” 

Sep. 26, 2017

Working with the elderly has given me the realization of a major pet peeve; especially since the older I get, the harder it is for me to get around. I hate when I see young people park in a handicapped space and then jump out and trot to the door. It was obvious they are not in need. I watched as a woman pulled into a parking place with her car loaded down with children. She parked and then they all traipsed out and into the store. Law enforcement (who patrols the area) does nothing to prevent it. I could scream.

Only days after surgery, I had gone to Walmart for some groceries. I sat in one of the motorized carts waiting on my husband to finish parking the car and come inside. As I sat waiting, two young women, probably in their twenties, came in. One was, without question, pregnant.

The other girl (with the pregnant one) shook her finger at me and said, “Oh no! You’re going to have to get up and let me have that. I have been on my feet all day and I am tired!”

I looked at her like she was nuts. I leaned back and folded my arms across my chest and replied, “Really?”

She wasn’t asking on behalf of her pregnant friend; she was selfishly asking for herself (but then, she wasn’t really asking at all, she was demanding).

I think she realized that I wasn’t just sitting there, I was actually going to use it because she said, “Excuse me. I’m sorry. I’ll find another one.”

I said something to the manager of the store and pointed them out. The carts are for disabled, handicapped and elderly – not for lazy ass people who just want to ride around in them. The manager thanked me and went on. He didn’t do anything about it.

The same with the handicapped bathrooms; some who do not need them, use them. I have a very hard time using the other stalls as they sit too low. If I am having that problem, I can only imagine someone in worse shape than me.

Young women with small children are understandable, but I’m talking about children old enough to use the bathroom on their own, or my biggest peeve, the store employees. I have had them run past me to get there before I do and then I have to stand around doing the pee-pee dance until they come out.

I had gone in to the ladies’ room one afternoon when a little girl, about ten, walked right past the line and headed straight for the handicapped stall. The other girls in line called her name and she looked back as if she just realized we were all standing there.

She stood in the middle of the bathroom waiting for someone to come out of the handicapped stall and said, “I have to pee!”

I shook my head in disbelief and said, “Honey, we all do. That’s why we’re here and you’re not using that stall, either. I am!” About that time, two more opened up. I pointed to them and said, “There, you can use one of those.”

A woman who exited the, now vacant, stall shot me a dirty look. Apparently, she was with the gaggle of girls. She motioned for the little one to take her stall.

As I walked past, I said, “I’m not apologizing! That bathroom is not for ten year old little girls and it’s quite rude and inconsiderate to even entertain the idea they should use it.”

In a time when everyone wants to be politically correct, I wish they would be a little more consciously correct and be more considerate and respectful of those around them. Using the handicapped facilities and amenities is just plain out bad form.

I often think to myself that these same people who abuse the facilities are one day going to become disabled and elderly and they’ll need them. Hopefully they will think back to all those times they took advantage of them and realize it is karma coming back to bite them. They should be glad they can get up and get around now. Those are the things they need to be taking advantage of before they no longer can do it anymore.

Aug. 24, 2017

My husband ordered some mailing bags one afternoon. Almost immediately afterward, we received an additional charge from overseas. We called and discovered someone had my husband’s credit card number and was using it fraudulently.

We had to change the password to our account and have another card issued to my husband. We thought that was the end of it until about two weeks later when he ordered more mailing bags and the same thing happened.

I investigated a little deeper because it was just too coincidental to me that we order the bags and suddenly someone has the credit card number (from an online site, not phone order) and is ringing up tabs. We did not believe it was the company who sells the bags. We’ve been working with them for five years and this hasn’t ever happened before. Nonetheless, the coincidence was too much.

We found the person was in the UK; they had ordered an E-book for $37.00 and had set up a fake email account using a variation of my husband’s name with a domain we’ve never used.

I notified the company and although, they do not deny the coincidence, they are not sure there is anything to it. They are adamant that no one from their company could have done this as they do not see the actual card number, only that it has been ordered and paid for. They say this is the first time this has ever happened.

I told them, “There is a first time for everything.”

I felt like they needed to be made aware of what happened since it involved them but they really acted like they didn’t believe it. The end result was if it happened a third time, I will notify them at once and try to figure out what is going on with it.

Someone did mention that my husband may have a keystroke virus. The only place he ever orders from is from Poly-Pak, so it’s possible. The next two orders, I ordered using my card and the same thing happened. At present, we are at a loss as to what is happening, but it seems the only connections are Pay Pal and Poly Pak.

We can use Pay Pal anywhere else and it doesn’t happen. We can use other cards to pay Poly Pak with and it doesn’t happen. It only happens when we combine the two entities. We simply cannot figure it out.

However, we haven’t had that problem since we no long buy directly from Poly Pak. How unfortunate it is they lost our business because they are really a very good company. 

Jun. 14, 2017

One night my son bought a bag of Doritos® to try. As I was walking past him, I noticed they were a new flavor so I picked up the bag and brought them to my desk to try for myself. They were the new Ranch Dipped Hot Wing flavor. 

About five minutes into eating a few, I noticed my mouth was on fire. It was one of those spicy foods that kind of creeps up on you and then slams your tongue against the back of your throat as if you’d just eaten a jar of jalapeno peppers. Outside of the fire, they were pretty good; I liked them.

When I realized they were what caused my tongue, cheeks and teeth to shoot flames out of my nostrils, I dropped the chip I was holding onto the floor. Almost immediately, Charlie, the beagle, swooped in and claimed his prize.

“Charlie, you’re not going to want to eat that,” I warned.

While chewing his ill-gotten gain, he looked up at me and said, “Yes, I do. I do, I do! Honest, I think it tastes great.”

After hearing mine and the beagle’s conversation, my son asked what we were talking about.

“I dropped a Dorito® on the floor and he’s eating it,” I answered (since Charlie was too busy licking his chops to answer).

My son chuckled and said, “Yeah, I think he likes them. I dropped a few over here and he scarfed them up pretty quick.”

“Well they were hot! I better not be hollering ‘come on ice-cream’ anytime tomorrow,” I warned.

Since my son didn’t comment, I wasn’t so sure if he got the movie reference I made. I was referring to the Cheech and Chong movie where Cheech had eaten a spicy Mexican burrito. I didn’t elaborate, either.

I know Charlie didn’t get the reference. He was sitting next to me asking for more Ranch Dipped Hot Wing flavored Doritos®. Instead of dropping more for him, though, I took the bag back to my son. Charlie kept in step following the bag.

The next afternoon, I heard Charlie outside yelping like something had gotten a hold of him. Within seconds, he came tearing through the house whining and whimpering. I quickly turned in his direction to see what was wrong and I noticed he was running around the living room while tucking his butt in.

“Oh great,” my husband exclaimed as Charlie ran past him. “He’s dropping poop on the floor!”

Charlie wouldn’t hold still. He kept running around the whole living room in circles with the two of us trotting behind as he waddled around scrunching his butt up. My husband was carrying a roll of paper towels and picking up the droppings. I was in charge of the Lysol® spray to squirt in place of the turds after the poopy pick-ups. Eventually, Charlie ran back outside where he stayed for the next hour or so.

Later that night, my son brought in a big bag of the Cool Ranch flavored Doritos® and handed it to me. Those I could eat without worrying about a Cheech and Chong episode (not that I needed them). I opened the bag and pulled a few out. When I saw Charlie in his bed next to me, I remembered he liked the Doritos® so I offered him a chip.

My dog, which eats anything that doesn’t eat him first, looked real hard at it. As he started to turn away from the treat he said, “I dunno about this, Mom. I’m not sure I will like it.”

“What’s wrong, Charlie? Don’t you want it?” I asked.

“I dunno,” he answered and then tentatively, with only one lip, took the chip.

I gave him a second chip to see if he would react the same way as with the chip I just handed him, and he did.

I didn’t understand what was wrong until I told my son how Charlie was acting. At which time, he starts laughing and said, “It’s the hot Doritos® he ate the other day! They burned Charlie’s butt. That’s why he was scrunched up and pooping everywhere. Now he’s unsure whether he should eat these ones or not after what happened to him.”

Lesson learned.