“Have you turned the switch on?”

A few years ago, I was working in a coffee place (the same one where I did my detective work) and my manager had asked me to turn off the freezer to defrost it one evening. I spent most of the evening, with this massive freezer, trying to keep the melting ice from flooding on to the floor, whilst also trying to serve customers and do everything else. It was a bit of a headache but it needed doing so I  didn’t mind. I left the door on the freezer open when I closed up and left, to get some air in. It had been a while since it was last defrosted and it was noticeable. All was well, I pottered off home, feeling like a job had been well done.

Next day was delivery day. I was due in at 2pm, around the time the stuff was being delivered. I was just walking along happily, humming a little tune maybe, ready for my shift.

As I approached, I saw the delivery man…. And I saw a huge freezer on wheels being hauled towards the stock room.

“Guys! What’s going on? Why is this here?”

“When I came in this morning, the freezer wasn’t working. It’s broken. So I called Head Office and got them to send a new one.”

I was actually astounded. I didn’t know what to say. The same person who had asked me to turn the freezer off and defrost it, had opened the shop the next day and thought the freezer was broken because it wasn’t on. How short-term can someone’s memory really be?

“Ok, stop. Take this freezer back to your van,” I told the delivery man. To the staff on shift, I checked, “Did anyone try turning it on?”

They said they had and pointed to a switch on the actual freezer, the one that you use to increase or decrease the temperature.

“No, did anyone turn it on at the wall?”

They pointed to a socket, with two plugs in and said those were both on so they didn’t know what was wrong. I’ll tell you what’s wrong. There are three machines here, two freezers and a fridge. And there are two plug sockets there. So clearly, there must be a third one somewhere else and it’s a safe bet that that’s where your problem lies.

I looked a little to my right and, sure enough, there on the wall, in plain sight, was the third plug. Switched off. I switched it back on. The freezer started up and made engine whirring sounds. The mystery was solved. I didn’t say anything else to the other staff. I didn’t need to.

You make you own conclusions about that story.

Another good one was when we got a new member of staff and when she was being trained, she was told to throw away the bins every night after her shift. The shop was always very clean when she had worked, even the coffee grinder had been cleaned out. Quite impressive, as it was usually only done once a week.

After a few weeks, we noticed that she always left the binbags upstairs and hadn’t taken them out. Someone said to her about taking them out and hadn’t she been told to do it and, as the conversation went on, it suddenly became clear what had been happening.

She thought she had been told to ‘throw away the beans’ every night! So when she finished her shift, she threw away all the perfectly fine and useable COFFEE BEANS and left the BINS in the shop…!


8 responses to this post.

  1. Oh darn this reminds me so much of the time I worked in a office.
    2 Months I spent gathering all the documents out of the archive for a project
    3 Months I waited till they were needed
    2 Days before my boss remembered that we need them I asked him if I could put these files back since we have a Audit of our department the next week and he said yes!
    1 Day after I put them back in the archive I got an e-mail “do you still have those …?”
    1 Day later, I wrote my resignation

    Still don’t know if this was a career killer or dream finder… always these pros and cons.


    • O no. I hate when you realise (not in a vain way) that you have more sense than the people you work for…! It was probably a good move to get out of there.


      • well considering all these micro-cosmos decisions theories I guess so too. At least I feel happier at the moment, some stress yes but much more at peace with my plans hopes and aspirations.

        I never liked to earn much money, it my opinion it changes people.

      • That’s a good way to be. I’ve never bothered myself too much about money and am definitely happier than I would be if I were money focussed.

  2. Years ago when i was a chef the porter complained the dishwash wasn’t working, so off he went to report it to the duty mgr who duly called out the repair man, who when he arrived several hrs later found that the porter hadn’t put the plug in.

    A very expensive day all round..lol


  3. We are indeed living among geniuses.


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