We have a tenacious complainer at work. You must know what I mean, all workplaces have one. The person that starts telling you his/her troubles and you can’t politely break away.
The first time was in the washroom as I was preparing to start my shift. She was on a break and started to talk about her health problems. They were quite horrendous involving a lot of bowel talk so I won’t pass that on. Needless to say it was hard to cut her off and say “I have to punch in now.”
Last week my co-worker was very late back from her break. I was grumbling and checking the time. Five minutes late, she rushed back, profusely apologizing, “Sorry! I was talking to ____ and couldn’t get away! You can’t just say, ‘that’s too bad’ and leave!”
The other night I was supposed to close the bakery at 7:00 p.m.. At 6:50 I took out a large bin on wheels to throw out the loose buns and bagels. She was wheeling a produce cart. It was then I made a huge mistake: I said I liked her hair.
It was lie! It wasn’t nice at all because her hair is frazzled and it was all different colours in different places. I said it to be nice because I knew she just had it done.
“Thanks!” she said and pulled the cart around to block my aisle. She started to talk about when and where she got it done and how I should do it, too. I tried very hard to listen while I counted the buns and wrote down the numbers…..something I’m not good at. (Did I write down the bagels?)
From there she started in about her abusive husband who sits at home, very fat, and eats while she works. She pays the rent and all the bills and he calls her names. I’ve finished the buns and want to go now. I’m staring at her with my mouth slightly open thinking, “Please stop!”.
I finally cut in, “I’m closing at 7:00.” She looked at her watch and said, “I’m here until 9:00.” and went on! I would have to turn my bin around and run the other way to get away from her. I pulled it up on the wheels and faced her. “I’m really happy living alone and I really want to go home.” I said. She pulled out and slowly wheeled her way back to produce.
When I went up at 7:10 to punch out she was on her break. “Oh, Look!” I said, “Ten minutes late!” She pursed her lips and continued eating, saying nothing. Maybe if I’m lucky she’ll give me the snub from now on.