Saturday, August 19, 2006

Pet Peeve of the Week: People who can't be bothered to do their jobs

After a completely stressful experience involving picking up my 83-year-old grandma and mother from Union Station this past week, I have become increasingly aware of how many people there are out there who have no interest in or are completely bitter about doing a job they are actually paid to do. You can identify these people by their disgusted response if you dare ask them a question or for help with something, or by their sorely lacking quality control on tasks for which they are responsible. I have run into so many of these people lately that it has prompted me to wonder how this country can continue running.

So now I need to vent about some of these characters, starting with the experience I mentioned above.

A few days ago, after searching fruitlessly on the web for 1) a phone number for Union Station, 2) a layout of Union Station, and/or 3) any information whatsoever on Union Station outside of its address, I left to go pick up my mom and grandma, who were arriving from Michigan on Amtrak. As mentioned in a post last month, I used to take Amtrak all the time, and it is never on time. When I left my place, they were running about an hour late. My husband had a rental car and dropped me off, after circling the station and seeing no clear place to pick people up that was easily accessible. I went in and searched around to find a wheelchair I could use for my grandma. She doesn't typically need one, but when there's like EIGHT miles you have to walk through the building without a break, she could use the help. I expected that it would be like the airport, where they have a ton for temporary use. However, at Union Station, the first "red cap" (you know, the guys who are supposed to be the MOST helpful) I ran into actually laughed at me when I asked where I could get a wheelchair, scoffing, "There are maybe two of those in this entire building, you're never going to find one." Then he actually had the gall to tell me that I could ask ANOTHER red cap to help her out when she arrived.

I then found the completely inappropriately-named "Guest Services" office, where I actually SAW A WHEELCHAIR in the next room over, locked up behind some gate. The guy there ALSO told me that I couldn't have a wheelchair, and would just need to get a red cap to help her.

However, the issue was that they don't let non-passengers anywhere near the trains, so I had to hope that my mom and grandma would stay on the train until everyone else had cleared out, and then a red cap that I would have to somehow bribe from within the station could take a tram thingy up to the train car to get them.

The train was delayed yet another hour, and I tried to beg two other official-looking people to ensure that a red cap would go out to pick up my grandma when her train pulled in. They all acted like this would definitely happen. So imagine by utter rage when the train finally gets there, and there are hundreds of people slowly filing out, and I actually see my grandma, supported by my mom, shuffling toward me, looking like she's in pain. I'm behind the guest barricade and I start shouting out to my mom, "get her on that tram now!" - because of course there was an EMPTY tram with NO driver sitting there near the exit. Once my grandma sat on the tram, then they had no choice but to do something with her, but there was still one other red cap that tried to get out of it before we were actually helped. In addition to all of this, I was told that the conductor yelled at my grandma to "hurry! hurry!" when she was boarding, and that when they were pulling into Chicago, they were made to believe they had to get off because no one knew if a red cap would ever come get them. It was unbelievable, and put a damper on their stay because we were all so worried about getting them BACK on the train a few days later. That trip ended up going a little bit better because I had my grandma and mom wait in the food court while I ran around and essentially forced a red cap to help.

Other examples of incompetency I have noticed, completely off the top of my head:

- Yesterday I go to pick up pictures at Walgreens. Yes, I realize that perhaps I shouldn't be developing pictures I actually care about at Walgreens in the first place, but it's close and I'm lazy, so I did. On the order slip it clearly says - "double prints and picture CD." I get there, and there is ONE set of pictures, and no CD. The clerk can always then blame it on someone who isn't there, and then point to "technical difficulties" when telling me to come back the NEXT day to get the right order back.

- At least 2 out of the 6 days we get mail every week, some mail that belongs to the condo a street behind us is in our pile (and vice versa). We have the same street number and our street names are dangerously close. I have talked to the post office about it, left notes for our mail carrier about it, but it never ever fails that our mail will get mixed together. And inevitably, there are some things that never reach us that we then need to remedy ourselves (Amazon packages, Netflix DVDs, letters, you name it).

- Our condo was "rehabbed" in 1999. And it is absolutely amazing that about 40 - 50% of the light switch plates are not level. I mean, COME ON. How hard is it to put something on straight? These things are crooked to the naked eye... and holes were drilled to keep them that way. Does no one have any PRIDE in their work?

Perhaps you think that things like this are only confined to the service industries... or to hourly workers or something like that. No, no, no, that is not the case either. I could go on with countless stories about being not doing their jobs correctly (or at all) in the professional (and I use that term loosely) world, but I will confine it to two.

- In my old building, they charge a company something like $1,500 if anyone ever moves offices. As in, from one building to another, or from one cube to another (within the same building). What you get for that astronomical figure is supposedly someone to transport all your boxes from one place to another, set up your phone line, LAN connection, and so on. So about two years ago, my group moved from one building to another. Upon arrival, we see that the old occupants (who work for our same company, just a different division), had not actually moved their stuff out. So we had to rummage through their papers to try to find contact names, as well as call the Real Estate office of our building. The Real Estate group only brought a dumpster for US to throw out the other peoples' stuff... despite that fact that they could not answer my question: "So, you just let people move into cubes that are not cleaned out? Would you expect to move into a house with the old owner's stuff in it?" Even funnier is that fact that the guy whose stuff it actually WAS wouldn't come clean it out. He acted all sheepish on the phone when we tracked him down and said he'd be over... but he never showed up. I guess it wasn't that important.

- And finally, after doing some research on various issues our clients experience (at my old company), one of the main problems arose from a very very simple problem - people at my company had to take information that was handwritten by clients and type it into an online system. Something like 80% of the problems were tracked back to that information being entered in incorrectly or not at all... as well as to the very poor instructions on the form for the clients.

All of these examples come down to someone just not caring enough to do their job the way they are supposed to, and it is so frustrating to me. Are there people who go above the call of duty, who take on extra work, who are extremely helpful? Sure there are - those people are all over the place too - but I fear that the slackers are starting to tip the scales. Read Atlas Shrugged if you want to know what happens in that scenario!

- e

1 comment:

Proud Papa said...

yes, yes, YES, yes, YES. don't get me started. these people (with speed issues, attitude issues etc.) are ALL OVER. but after years of frustration and annoyance (i have been banned from murphy's irish store in oak brook mall, the oak brook library, the post office in the john hancock building, walgreens on north avenue*...), i'm just beginning to laugh it off. you have to admit it gets funny.

*We need a last minute passport photo for Will so I took him to WAG on a stormy night. (it was 9 pm and we were getting his passport the next morning at 10am) The photo guy (after I had him paged) slllllooooooollllly shuffled over to the counter. I said "passport photo please" and he took one look at Will and shook his head saying "no, his head is too small" !!!!?????!!!!!!???? what the hell is that all about. so i suggested he zoom in or stand closer. he didn't get it. so then they paged someone else and that person was an "expert". they took a photo and we headed back to our apt. i returned an hour later (as they promised) and it was not ready. i returned a half hour later and after paging the right person she shook her head and said it didn't work out... we should come back the next day. xkjcidosangda dsnkonasjdgniwo naisondsofsdklgd agiodsig oasngosa fksodnfskdo ni odanfi ods.
hello ritz camera.