Things That Annoy Me – Part 22

104.) Drug Testing For Menial Shitty Unskilled Labour Jobs

Here you are, on a Saturday evening or a Tuesday morning, looking up job postings. You could be doing anything else, but lack of employment (or shitty employment) has you contemplating square 1 once more.

And there you see it. A new job that may well be up your alley and within your skillset. But for one single conflict based around an activity, you participated in outside of work hours in your own home.

Maybe it is not immediately obvious to you, in which case I will specify.

Mandatory Drug And Alcohol Test

With all due respect, boss and owner of this cleaning outfit . . .GET FUCKED!

Imagine employing a crew of unskilled people to do some of the most boring and monotonous work possible, and then thinking that you have the right to also control every minute of their life. Just because it is easier not to have employees do drugs at all than to worry about babysitting them on the job site, everyone must suffer and conform.
Even though I would technically not have any issue with applying for that position (contrary to recent interests, I would still pass that test!), I still would not on principle. Other businesses have already solved this problem by forbidding drug and alcohol use and intoxication during work time. If people fall afoul of this rule, take what actions are deemed necessary.

I am not entirely against drug tests for all positions. When people are in charge of operating dangerous and/or sensitive equipment (such as large factory machinery), the compromise is understandable (and the worker is likely well compensated for the compromise). Though this may also overlap with the previous category, jobs with a large amount of responsibility to passengers or bystanders (such as airline pilots, train captains and even bus drivers) should also qualify for such testing if their employer so desires.

People operating a vacuum cleaner, mop or a washrag, however?

Not so much.

Maybe this company was burned at some point by a misbehaving employee which could have cost them a cleaning contract. Maybe the owner just wants to avoid any issues right off the bat. No matter what the reasoning, I still consider it an unjust overreach into someone’s life just because they choose to join your cleaning company (out of a selection of others).
And considering that this isn’t the only janitorial outfit that I’ve seen advertise with this stipulation in their job post (particularly after marijuana was legalized here in Canada), it’s an unfortunate trend that is taking hold.

Hopefully not a trend that starts to take hold in other shitty job sectors (like retail, fast food and elsewhere in the service industry). Because if that were to happen, it may be time to start pushing for fairness in free time legislation. 


105.) Sanitation Theater / Covid Fatigue

Working in retail during this pandemic of Covid 19 has been quite the shit show of a year. It’s almost hilarious to think about it, really.

First was the great purge. That is the great purge of toilet paper and paper towels from every single store in the universe. Then the great purge of the grocery stores in general as everyone for some reason felt the need to buy 10 years’ worth of supplies all at the same time. Then came the washing and sanitizing of every square inch of the earth’s surface. And then, for the first time ever, most people suddenly realized the most obvious thing ever . . . if all the employees at the hospitals, grocery stores, liquor stores etc left their posts and torched the facilities as they went, they would be SCREWED. Society would become 2005 New Orleans in 2 days flat.

Though being highly regarded was nice at first, it would not take long before it was all back to normal once more. Except, not quite normal. Because customers were not their normal selves, they were all bitchy because there is still no tuna and hockey and shit is cancelled and they are bored out of their minds. Having all the creativity beaten out of them by our consumer culture, they now fester in boredom as all that is available to consume is quickly used up.

Don’t get me wrong, I do empathize with people that can not work because of this pandemic. Though working at a carnival or a theatre is likely not a great job, it’s still a job. And if the governing bodies in charge where you live don’t care about your well-being, this problem is exaggerated even more.

But having said that, having had a year to figure something out, I’m losing patients with people that still can not fathom life without gyms, restaurants and other amenities of normal times. If it’s not arguments about losing freedom and liberty, it’s virtue signalling worthwhile subjects for strictly selfish reasons.

Take one fellow I know who advocated the exemption of gyms from the closing measures since they have a place in maintaining mental health. We no longer talk since he took issue with my argument that was gyms were a privilege for those that can afford them, and thus (like restaurants) should NOT get such an exemption.

Then there was another follow who suddenly became aware of the rising suicide rate (not to mention the rates of drug addiction and other maladies) that have been associated with the lockdown. They care about mental health and the suicide rate NOW, when it’s shockingly high enough to be setting off alarm bells. However, their solution is having all the young and not all that adversely affected roam free, while the highly susceptible stay in their homes and isolate.

Brilliant solution. Aside from seemingly missing the obvious flaw in this, the suicide rate being what it is now is a direct implication of the mental health care system being in shambles even before Covid 19. I would love to think that people like this fellow would keep on being concerned about mental health once this disease becomes a distant memory. But I highly doubt it. They are already sentencing the immunocompromised to a stay-at-home prison sentence!

Adults, in general, are ridiculously oblivious and obtuse to all things Covid related. While many fingers used to be pointed at the young running around like idiots last year (sometimes rightfully. Like the spring break jackasses), it has been the adults that have been the most idiotic in my experience. From watching the news (Sturgis 2020, anyone?!), to watching customers and people locally, to every single adult in my inner circle.  
Despite being in the most high-risk age groups, I still see them running multiple times a day to coffee shops, inviting friends inside, sometimes even running back and forth out of town (even out of province!) without a second thought. Even when the laws forbid gathering in order to lesson transmission, they continue to act as though nothing is happening.

Since my province is now making headlines as far away as New York City on account of this behaviour crippling our healthcare system, I almost wish that governments would start writing fines in the thousands of dollars. Just as many children are punished by losing their allowance, do the same to the children running around in adult bodies. Stop fucking around threatening to add more restrictions and actually focus on compliance.

If an adult in my life ends up paying thousands because they didn’t follow the rules . . . so be it. No one is above the law.

Switching back to employment, another irritating aspect of COVID 19 has been (is!) the sanitation theatre that has taken hold since the spring of 2020. Though most stores in the grocery sector were happy to hire on (or schedule) extra help for cleaning during the early (and very profitable!) part of the pandemic, as the sales slowed, so to did this interest in cleaning and sanitation. The problem was it had already been mandated (or at the very least, recommended) by health authorities, so stores were now stuck with the task no matter what.

The result of this, at least in my experience, turned what was once a 15 to 20-minute endeavour (cart collection) into a 30 to 45-minute endeavour (depending on what help you had. Often times none. I’m not even going to get into that). Keeping handles clean and wiping high traffic areas also became an every 2 hour 30 to 45-minute task involving a rotating crew of people that didn’t have time to start with. So was the start of the managerial solution that is write it and forget it

Put a name on the board, and done.

Bulk food self-dispensers are now open again? Write a reminder on the board that all 20 or 30 of those handles have to be cleaned along with the other 40+ door handles and other areas, and done. Problem solved!

All of this, while the science of the spread of COVID has pretty much stated that it’s the droplets that matter. What you breathe in and out matters a lot more than what you touch on a shopping cart or a freezer door handle. Because most people don’t lick their hands immediately after handling a door handle, shopping cart or other publicly shared objects!

Yet despite all this concern about the surfaces, there is little concern about face coverings. Management isn’t worried about gators or other cloth masks that have been proven less effective than other types. They are not worried about masks JUST over the nose so that it’s hidden, but you can see that no seal exists on top. They don’t worry about masks looped around the ears so as to form a big ole pathway for droplets to enter and escape on BOTH sides of the mouth. Until recently, they didn’t even care about people using face shields in lieu of masks.

It makes me wonder if there would be so much dismissiveness of this virus if it had the same transmissibility, but shared the same symptoms as say . . .  Ebola Zaire.

106.) Idiotically Implemented Virtual Phone Systems

Maybe this entry shows that I’m getting old. Or, maybe some of these setups are completely asinine to the point of incomprehension. Translation . . . it’s old yeller time for the jackass who thought this was a brilliant idea.

I suppose I should give you the reason why I am so hot under the collar.

Back in 2017, I switched from one of Canada’s big 5 national banks over to a credit union. At the time, the transition was mainly one of convenience (I found myself around shared Credit Union ATMs far more than my big banks ATM’s). However, it was also partly based around the then well-reported fact that life working within many Canadian banking institutions could be hellish. Though I don’t think that my then bank has ever fraudulently signed me up for any accounts or cards, I was certainly upsold a lot of things.

One memorable engagement came when I was contacted by a financial advisor about some ways that I could adjust my services in order to streamline my costs a bit. I agree to it all and went on my way. Only to be contacted by the same financial adviser some months later upselling me on the very products that she had advised against last time. I don’t know if she knew what she was doing at the time (or if customers are just a pesky impediment to a monthly quota), but I certainly came away from that conversation very differently than I did from the first. And she didn’t make her quota with my help!

Needless to say, many people know the story. They can’t do enough for you until you say you are leaving, at which point they stop giving a damn. Such was the feeling on my departure. It felt nice to hand back my now-defunct debit card and say “Nah. Just shred it” when the person told me to keep it just in case I wanted to reopen my account.

My new bank has better customer relations and even more networked ATMs than your entire bank’s national network. So I’ll be just fine, thank you very much! 

So it has been for some 4 ish years. I rarely interact with banks in person anyway, but what has been missing are the cold calls upselling stuff. I don’t miss that.

As such, imagine my surprise when my newly minted Visa Debit card arrives in the mail today from ex big bank. Being attached to a savings account that no longer exists, I call the activation line thinking that the path to cancelling it was there. While I managed to activate it and get hung up on by that machine, I moved onto the big banks regular line.

There, I call in and end up talking to their newly implemented male-voiced virtual assistant. I press zero because all automated systems that are built to be customer friendly have this option to allow the elderly, the tech illiterate or the edge cases to proceed to a human without friction. Upon this not working, I am asked to speak an option, even though they always end in me needing an account number that I don’t have. I know . . .

Guess you should have kept that debit card, JACKASS!”

Trying to appease the man in the machine, I give it the virtual Visa card number. The tone of the reply was oddly akin to:

“That’s a credit card number, you silly goose! I need a debit card number!”


I don’t have a debit card! Representative!”


“I’m sorry. Please call back when you have your debit card number. Goodbye!”





Needless to say, I was starting to get JUST a little irked after that last engagement. As the poor soul in charge of monitoring the recordings for quality control and satisfaction may well discover lol. By the end, I was running out of patience with the headway I was making without using the word fucking in a query, so what was there left to lose?

No, I don’t normally swear at machines. But HOLY FUCKING MONKEY BALLS. . . even Canada’s first and second-largest cell carriers by size (translation: Evil Red and his slightly less evil sister Blue) have better automation systems. I have called both as not a customer for different reasons, and always been able to speak to a rep with little friction.

But it is now evening, and as such all the people behind the scenes at big bank are now gone home. And I still have not solved my problem. Though I could call and swear at the machine some more, I’ll leave it till tomorrow. If I have to go to a real branch and have them show me the way, so be it. 

An no, I won’t swear at them in real life. I’m not that much of an asshole 😉 .

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