21. Feline the fear
One and a half hours into my shift as an animal care worker, I was showing my trainee how to clean the kitten rooms and started him in the easiest cage. We’re talking neonatal, six-day-old bottle-feeder kittens.
I explained how to set up the kennel and clean them up. I turned around to grab some towels and a fresh hot water bottle when I heard a thump. And then another thump.
I turned around, and he was tossing the kittens to the other side of the kennel to move them. Like, underhand lobbing a softball, just tossed three kittens out of his way.
I freaked out and yanked him down to the supervisor’s office. His excuse was that the kittens were “attacking” him, and he felt threatened? So, he threw them?!
No warnings, fired on the spot. The kittens were fine and got adopted a few months later.
20. Lobster slaughter
I worked in a grocery store for a while.
The new guy took a lobster out of the tank and removed the elastic bands on its claws, then proceeded to put it back in the tank.
The thing murdered all the other lobsters in the tank.
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19. The heist
A 19-year-old kid got hired to work the seafood counter.
I saw him twice and then never again. I asked a coworker what happened.
He had closed the seafood counter one night, and while walking out of the store, five pounds of crab legs he'd stuffed down the back of his pants fell out in front of the closing manager.
18. Didn’t sign up for this
I worked in the signage industry for many years. One day, some guy walks in looking for work, claiming to be a sign writer.
My boss asks him if he has brushes, and he says, “Absolutely.”
So my boss says, “OK, we need someone to go and paint a five-meter logo on the wall at the gym.” It's basically a couple of circles with Helvetica text in between and a stylized dancing man. Pretty basic stuff. We give him the layout and the paint and off the guy goes.
Four or five hours later, we get a call from the owner of the gym. He tells my boss to come and fetch this guy before he has some kind of breakdown inside the gym.
We get there, and he has literally got two tiny little artist’s brushes, and he is trying to freehand this five-meter circle with them.
I almost cracked a rib trying not to laugh at this guy. He was sweating bullets trying to get this done.
No mahl stick, no tape, no chalk line. Not even a normal two-inch paint brush. Just this little four-millimeter round paint brush and he's painting this 50-millimeter-thick circle by eye.
17. The pizza parlor phantom
This was a pizza place I worked at in college.
The new guy started on Thursday. He seemed like a fine worker; we showed him the ropes. He was on subs, which is the easiest job. The instructions are right in front of your face.
On Friday, he doesn’t show up or call. Friday is the busiest night of the week, and he and I were the only kitchen workers that weren’t also drivers.
On Monday, a police officer shows up at the restaurant, looking for him. We had no idea what happened since he wasn’t there.
On Tuesday, the owner informed me he was let go.
The IT crew at a large government office worked on a ticket system, meaning that the government workers submitted their problems online and one of the IT guys would pick it up on their end.
The new guy just started his first day, logged into a computer at an empty office and submitted a "reinstall entire OS" request so he could spend all day there.
The manager decided to check in on him before lunch to see how he was doing, and found him fast asleep.
Fired before they even finished his hiring paperwork.
15. No place like Home (Depot)
This guy got hired at Home Depot, went through training and all that jazz.
His first day on the floor, he disappeared for three hours and then came back, super spaced out.
A manager found him in the bathroom aisle, staring at himself in the mirror.
The manager looked at the cameras after firing him — the guy was there staring at himself for at least 30 minutes.
14. Too enthusiastic
My coworker quit his job, which was a great job, with great pay and great benefits, to work in a radio repair place.
I mean, gotta do what you love, and he was a big radio enthusiast.
He got fired the first day on the job for stealing parts for his own radios at home.
It took him over a year to get back with us. I was surprised they rehired him.
He then got fired for being a security risk about a year or so later.
13. A premature celebration
He didn't show up the first day, second day or third day.
I had to work a double shift for three days straight. Not fun.
I answered the phone when he finally “called in” on the fourth day.
He said, "I'm going to be honest with you, I've been in Orlando. My parents paid for a small vacation as a reward for getting the job. Would it be okay to start next week instead of this week?"
12. Slithered right back out
I worked for a small city in Los Angeles for many years. I was on the board that interviewed for a new intern for the recreation department.
We went through the process, made our choice, made the job offer to a nice, smart girl fresh out of college. She was a little bit of a hippy, casual, relatable. It was fine, all accepted.
The girl showed up with her gigantic pet PYTHON wrapped around her neck on the first day.
She took casual to a whole new level, right back out the door. We hired candidate No. 2 instead.
11. You’re not the boss of me
My sister was fired on day one.
My dad had his own small medical practice and hired me and my sisters as our "first job" to be his receptionist and file insurance claims, so we could get some workplace experience before we went job hunting in the larger world.
My older sister worked for him in high school for a year. I worked for him for two years, then it came time for my younger sister to take over.
I brought her to work to start training and said the No. 1 rule in the office was, "At work he's not dad, he's the doctor and the boss."
She sassed him in front of a patient her first day, with all the venom and sarcasm a teenage girl can muster when dealing with a parent asking her to do something. He fired her on the spot, and I had to drag her out of there.
Mom told her at least she'd get paid for the couple of hours she managed to be employed.
10. Truffle trouble
It’s his first week, and he's called over to the unstaffed truffle counter by a customer. He hasn't been trained in truffles, so he just grabs one from the display case and sells it to the customer.
He doesn't know the display truffles are made of plastic. The customer has already paid $90 for it when he realizes.
Still not sure if it was an honest mistake or if he was planning to pocket the money.
Either way, fired.
9. Too much love
I worked at a Doggie Day Care.
For group play, dogs were put in rooms according to size, and we would rotate through the rooms during our shifts.
They hired a new girl, and on her first day she went into the big dog room and cried hysterically because she was afraid of them.
I don’t think she made it two hours.
8. Casual Mondays
I used to work at a store that rhymes with Bottery Farn, and my manager was hiring folks to work the stock room for the holidays.
A young man interviewed for the job, and he dressed very casually for the interview.
My manager hired him but stressed that he wouldn't be allowed to wear shorts or casual clothes. Bottery Farn has a bit of a more formal dress code, even for the folks that work in the back.
The guy shows up on the first day wearing Cookie Monster pajama pants.
My manager didn't let him clock in.
7. Fired for her first strike
As a teenager, I worked at a bowling alley.
Within an hour, a new girl was fired on the spot for dropping a ball on the foot of a complaining patron.
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6. A dramatic exit
She was fired within a week.
I worked in a bar, and this new girl started. At work, she seemed a little rough but fine.
One day she finished a shift, sat at the bar and ordered a red wine with lemonade and ice in it. (Not really relevant to the story, just shows she is clearly insane.)
Her boyfriend came in, they had a huge domestic in front of my manager and several customers and she threw her drink over her boyfriend and dramatically stormed out.
5. This shameless shirker
I heard this from a manager I worked with in fast food.
There was this one kid who didn’t show up for work. He ditched work often, so the manager called around, couldn’t get anyone to fill in his shift, so she had to fill it for him.
A few hours into his shift, the dude ditching SHOWS UP with his friends and orders food from that manager.
She fired him on the spot.
4. Juiced up
I was the sous chef at a small, quaint New England country inn.
We had a dishwasher at work named Jim. He'd show up with a quart bottle of “orange juice” that was a little too full and not quite the right color. He would get pretty sloppy by the end of the night.
I told the chef we should just grab his bottle and check it. Chef said he checked with the owner, and she told him we couldn't. I don’t know why. But we were looking for a reason to get rid of him.
I slipped in the bake shop and completely wiped out. Dropped a couple cheesecakes I was carrying out of the oven and spilled the water bath all over myself. I burned myself and I was angry. I carried the remains of my cheesecakes into the dish pit, cursing.
Jim said to me, "You kiss your momma with that mouth?"
I turned around and said, "I sure kissed yours.”
He started challenging me to a fight and said he was going to kick my butt. Which I found pretty funny, and so I yelled to the chef, "Hey chef, Jim says he's going to kick my butt.”
Chef asked him if that was true. Jim said, "Yeah, I'm going to kill him."
Chef said, "Great, you're fired.”
Jim stormed off and left his drink behind. That bottle was maybe 50% orange juice.
3. Hay, hold on
This guy had been working a few days at a barn.
He decided to smoke right by the bales of hay.
The manager saw him and fired him right on the spot. At farms, you don’t mess around with fire.
2. A delicate matter
A man was hired to do stock at a tea store that sold lots of delicate china.
The manager walked into the back on his third day and saw him just throwing boxes of tea cups and teapots.
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1. The old heave-ho
I spent my summers in college working as a laborer for a construction company.
We were doing a bunch of renovation in an active hospital, so noise and dust were a huge concern. We were a small crew and just starting renovations on an area with a super tight schedule, so the company hired a subcontractor for some of the work.
Enter these two clowns who show up to do some demolition work.
Foreman gives them the talk about how they may be used to doing things a certain way, but this is an active hospital so he'd rather the work take longer than for them to make a huge mess or a lot of noise.
An hour later, we apparently got multiple complaints about the noise and the mess, so the foreman called me up and said to go over there and clean up NOW, and that he'd be by shortly to see what the heck was going on.
These dudes had dust and broken wall everywhere. I could hear them halfway down the hall, just smashing away without a care in the world.
The foreman showed up, and we walked into the room to witness this dude standing on a pile of rubble, swinging a sledgehammer over his head at a brick wall that he'd removed the bottom from. Somehow, the rest of this wall was still hanging from the ceiling.
The guy wasn't even wearing a hard hat, apparently oblivious that at any moment that wall might give way and crush him.
The foreman lost his mind on those guys. He kicked them out immediately and got on the phone with their company and told them he didn't want to see those guys on site again. Lots of choice four-letter words were used; he even threatened to fire the subcontractor entirely and get someone else to do the work.