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Trenches comic: Tues. Aug.30, 2011

BogeyBogey I'm back, baby!Santa Monica, CAModerator mod
edited August 2011 in The Penny Arcade Hub
i-Z2q8Htn.jpg
Blood, Sweat, and Tears

08/30/2011 - Anonymous

I spent 4 years with an electronic refurbishing company with the majority of that time spent on video game consoles. A number of you reading this may actually own a console that we repaired, because over those four years we were able to sell hundreds of thousands of units.

But here’s the thing. The company was profitable because of people like me. Guys who were willing to pull over time off the clock to make shipping deadlines. Guys who kept silent when they were promised a raise every few months, but never saw a penny. We may have made more than minimum wage, but not by much. We had student loans to pay, families to provide for and kids on the way. Many employees moved in together because they couldn’t make rent or house payments on their own.

Management didn’t understand the gaming industry. They came from manufacturing backgrounds and saw dollar signs, but they didn’t know the ebb and flow like the employees did. Instead of listening to feedback, they ran the company into the ground and laid everyone off twice a year. Each time, less and less people came back.

I got lucky. I was a department head and almost untouchable. As was my wife. They needed both of us to keep our departments running, but this last lay off, we went with everyone else.

The company was full of OSHA violations and was miserable to work in. The air conditioning frequently failed because it’s old and can’t handle the space, so we frequently worked in a warehouse that was simply dangerous to our health. During the winter, the heat couldn’t keep the place warm enough so we’d end up wearing several pairs of jeans, two hoodies, and jackets while struggling to fix handheld devices in winter gloves.

But we kept coming in because they promised “it’ll get better.” We laughed and joked about it, but it didn’t matter because we loved what we did. We loved the products. We were taken for granted, and treated as less then human.

I’m not from China, or Taiwan, or another country you would expect these conditions in. I’m from the Midwest. The United States of America. If you bought a refurbished product at any major U.S. retailers, that’s a console I bled for. Check for that warranty sticker on the back. It’s one of ours. It’s a console that one of my friends, covered in sweat, worked on in 110 degree temperatures in the middle of July just before being laid off.

Respect that console. We gave everything we had every day to bring that to you.

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XBox LIVE: Bogestrom | Destiny
PSN: Bogestrom
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Posts

  • RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    Isn't the free market wonderful?

  • AdusAdus Registered User regular
    Title still says monday.

  • faitsfaits a panda eating cake seattleRegistered User regular
    It's one of those rare two-monday weeks

    faits.png
  • bwaniebwanie Posting into the void Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    i will never ceased to be amazed by the eagerness of the collective American workforce to bend over and take it up the ass.

    re: trenches: I do think three panels is a very minimalistic approach given the ammount of exposition we're being treated to.

    it just feels so very slow in it's progress at this point.

    bwanie on
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  • BrainleechBrainleech Registered User regular
    It's the debate of the haves and have nots as it's quite scary and boring to look over the edge and see no bottom when you think about leaving without having something else.

    I remember back in High School when minimum wage was 3 something I was proud of the fact I was getting $ 4.25 a hour to stamp and mail catalogs. hundreds of them a day. to be stuck in that tiny room and do that robotic job. Well it was not really a room but a corner they opened up behind a bunch of cardboard boxes.

  • MaigaardMaigaard Registered User regular
    bwanie wrote:
    i will never ceased to be amazed by the eagerness of the collective American workforce to bend over and take it up the ass.

    re: trenches: I do think three panels is a very minimalistic approach given the ammount of exposition we're being treated to.

    it just feels so very slow in it's progress at this point.

    Yeah, seriously. This is taking forever to take off.

  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    Regarding the comic: Okay, that made me laugh, good stuff. :^:

    Regarding the tale: That shit pisses me off. Not that companies do it. It's the people who sit back and Mickey Mouse around about how things will get better. You have to be ASSERTIVE about that shit, or it isn't going to change. My current job had a lot of violations against some laws that protect workers, as well as violations the board of health would've flipped their shit about, and my boss didn't listen to me and the few others I convinced to say something until two new-hires walked out due to those issues as well as my threatening to leave (I was putting in the most time out of non-management types, and was responsible for training new-hires).

    But it's like bwanie said.
    i will never ceased to be amazed by the eagerness of the collective American workforce to bend over and take it up the ass.

    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    "Trenches provides an interesting blend of humor, depression, and rage."

    -AD Times Weekly Standard

  • Warlock82Warlock82 Never pet a burning dog Registered User regular
    Maigaard wrote:
    bwanie wrote:
    i will never ceased to be amazed by the eagerness of the collective American workforce to bend over and take it up the ass.

    re: trenches: I do think three panels is a very minimalistic approach given the ammount of exposition we're being treated to.

    it just feels so very slow in it's progress at this point.

    Yeah, seriously. This is taking forever to take off.

    Yeah I want to like it more, but it seems like it's taking forever for anything to actually happen. As someone said above, I wish it was more than three panels - if only for the initial exposition part.

    Do like all the stories though! :D

    Switch: 2143-7130-1359 | 3DS: 4983-4927-6699 | Steam: warlock82 | PSN: Warlock2282
  • Skelly BSkelly B Registered User
    It's doing a good job of conveying the feeling of a long, painful job hunt.

  • blaze_zeroblaze_zero Registered User regular
    Don't worry, "it'll get better".

  • SeriouslySeriously Registered User regular
    Skelly B wrote:
    It's doing a good job of conveying the feeling of a long, painful job hunt.

    This is what I was thinking

  • LanglyLangly Registered User regular
    Henroid wrote:
    Regarding the comic: Okay, that made me laugh, good stuff. :^:

    Regarding the tale: That shit pisses me off. Not that companies do it. It's the people who sit back and Mickey Mouse around about how things will get better. You have to be ASSERTIVE about that shit, or it isn't going to change. My current job had a lot of violations against some laws that protect workers, as well as violations the board of health would've flipped their shit about, and my boss didn't listen to me and the few others I convinced to say something until two new-hires walked out due to those issues as well as my threatening to leave (I was putting in the most time out of non-management types, and was responsible for training new-hires).

    But it's like bwanie said.
    i will never ceased to be amazed by the eagerness of the collective American workforce to bend over and take it up the ass.

    This is exactly what I was thinking as I read the story.

    Oh, you had OSHA violations and you're a department head? Document that shit and report it. Because that's how you change conditions.

  • MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    Not to hate on the guy who said he worked in shitty conditions, but it's one of the responsibilities of the manager to report OSHA violations.

    And uh, he was a manager?

    I am in the business of saving lives.
  • mare_imbriummare_imbrium Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    I agree. I try to explain to my mom (she has a part time job at a department store) that if she and the people she works with keep staying late, paid or unpaid, to work with customers or to help out a coworker or otherwise go above and beyond (or, more to the OSHA violation point, work through lunch), they're just enabling the shitty scheduling policies that sometimes leave the entire second floor of her store without any employees. They'll only listen to customer complaints if they are not being helped. Otherwise they'll think their new money-saving shitty-scheduling policy is working.

    mare_imbrium on
    v2zAToe.jpg
    Wii: 4521 1146 5179 1333 Pearl: 3394 4642 8367 HG: 1849 3913 3132
  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    blaze_zero wrote:
    Don't worry, "it'll get better".

    Get out.

    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • bwaniebwanie Posting into the void Registered User regular
    Henroid wrote:
    blaze_zero wrote:
    Don't worry, "it'll get better".

    Get out.

    if you choose not to interpret that as whining from someone who dismisses this comic out of hand, it's actually somewhat clever.

    w98zzq.jpg
  • jwalkjwalk Registered User regular
    Isn't the free market wonderful?

    gumm'int needs to get off big business's back!

    picking lettuce in the hot sun for $1 a day? LUXURY! we had to get up half an hour before we went to bed, and LICK the street clean with our tongues! so STFU you liberal socialist Obammunist mexican lovers!!

  • Tss_fanTss_fan Registered User regular
    I got so upset when I read the tale that I created a forum account. Whomever you are "Anonymous" you should be ashamed, not of the situation, but in yourself. If everything you described is accurate you violated the law, endangered and under-compensated employees. The other tales have been people who were in bad or humorously unfortunate situations. You were the problem and by submitting this story you try to get sympathy for the problem you reinforced if not created. Every time you read a tale and think "wow that guy got screwed by 'the man." don't forget, you are 'the man' (s)he is referring to.

  • KageraKagera Imitating the worst people. Since 2004Registered User regular
    Honestly I'm a low-level cannon fodder at my job and when I saw managers were putting people like me in the trash compactor when it got stuck or full to get it to keep working, you are damn right I went on a roaring rampage of revenge until that shit stopped.

    Because endangering the lives of others needlessly in the pursuit of a larger profit margin is just STUPID AS FUCK.

    My neck, my back, my FUPA and my crack.
  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    when I saw managers were putting people like me in the trash compactor when it got stuck or full to get it to keep working

    ...say what now?

    bowen wrote: »
    The bacteria in your poop exist everywhere.
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Gaslight wrote:
    when I saw managers were putting people like me in the trash compactor when it got stuck or full to get it to keep working

    ...say what now?

    Those big commercial compactors - you climb inside to pack stuff down or un-stick something. Well, you shouldn't, but it's been done.

    Sani-Tech%20All%20Electric%20Auger%20Type%20Compactor1.jpg

    MichaelLC on
    Mugsley wrote:
    So now I need to get it trimmed and adjusted, and all in.

    Steam:MichaelLC
  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    Jesus.

    bowen wrote: »
    The bacteria in your poop exist everywhere.
  • KageraKagera Imitating the worst people. Since 2004Registered User regular
    Gaslight wrote:
    Jesus.

    Seriously. A 24 hour store produces a lot of trash, and the pressures of that tend to make those in charge tempted to take shortcuts like getting someone to fix a glitch who isn't even aware he is being asked to do something illegal, rather than call and wait for a proper technician or company to fix the problem.

    My neck, my back, my FUPA and my crack.
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    Yeah.

    And if that wasn't enough, image what those things look & smell like anywhere that has food. I was all too happy to deal with the box baler over the compactor.



    Count how many safety violations this guy does!

    Mugsley wrote:
    So now I need to get it trimmed and adjusted, and all in.

    Steam:MichaelLC
  • joshua1joshua1 Registered User regular
    hmmm....

    maybe I have been spoilt working in australia. Apparantly we have good unions(?), but I have never participated in one, but having their clout "around" sort of prevents the worse stuff from happening.

    Actually, my bar job wasn't very good. 11pm - 8 am, on a busy thoroughfare in the city did get pretty hairy in the wee hours when the clubs emptied. That was without a bouncer and I was the only one on.

    The work around was to give police officers free coffee, so there was always a drip and drab of uniformed officers visiting me, and most often one within shouting distance. (hopefully)

    Oh, but hearing the stories of the police officers was scary though. I had one regular guy who came in at the middle of his shift (12pm) and at the end of his shift (7am) for coffee which he claimed "saves his life". I thought he was joking, until he told me that he had come off his bike on the highway twice after falling asleep at the wheel.

  • UEAKCrashUEAKCrash heh Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    MichaelLC wrote:
    Gaslight wrote:
    when I saw managers were putting people like me in the trash compactor when it got stuck or full to get it to keep working

    ...say what now?

    Those big commercial compactors - you climb inside to pack stuff down or un-stick something. Well, you shouldn't, but it's been done.

    Sani-Tech%20All%20Electric%20Auger%20Type%20Compactor1.jpg

    Yeah I climb in ours all the time when people don't run it after they load it up too full and it gets jammed and the only way to get it unstuck is climbing in the chute and pulling stuff out until it wants to fall in completely.

    If I don't do it it'll just get backed up more and everyone will look around for someone else to blame but themselves when they can't throw any more in.

    It's really not THAT dangerous, what I do, considering I never stand in an area where the compactor compacts. I at MOST end up reaching into that area with a stick (usually a mop handle) to dislodge stuff.

    Also that baler in the video is a tiny bitch baler compared to ours.

    UEAKCrash on
  • KageraKagera Imitating the worst people. Since 2004Registered User regular
    UEAKCrash wrote:
    MichaelLC wrote:
    Gaslight wrote:
    when I saw managers were putting people like me in the trash compactor when it got stuck or full to get it to keep working

    ...say what now?

    Those big commercial compactors - you climb inside to pack stuff down or un-stick something. Well, you shouldn't, but it's been done.

    Sani-Tech%20All%20Electric%20Auger%20Type%20Compactor1.jpg

    Yeah I climb in ours all the time when people don't run it after they load it up too full and it gets jammed and the only way to get it unstuck is climbing in the chute and pulling stuff out until it wants to fall in completely.

    If I don't do it it'll just get backed up more and everyone will look around for someone else to blame but themselves when they can't throw any more in.

    It's really not THAT dangerous, what I do, considering I never stand in an area where the compactor compacts. I at MOST end up reaching into that area with a stick (usually a mop handle) to dislodge stuff.

    Hope you wear cut-resistant gloves because I know a lot of broken glass gets thrown into our compactor and I sure as hell wouldn't go in there.

    I mean, there's a phone number and everything for a reason!

    My neck, my back, my FUPA and my crack.
  • InkyblotsInkyblots Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    MichaelLC wrote:
    Yeah.

    And if that wasn't enough, image what those things look & smell like anywhere that has food. I was all too happy to deal with the box baler over the compactor.

    http: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo3ht7RBwWo

    Count how many safety violations this guy does!

    These things are not fun when those wires snap. I used to work graveyard shift at Target and I would get stuck clearing it out two to three times a night. If I recall correctly there is a yellow line that tells you when you need to empty it but everybody just packed the cardboard in until it stopped workin. Not to mention the place they stored the pallets of cardboard was on a fucking hill.



    Inkyblots on
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    Inkyblots wrote:
    MichaelLC wrote:
    Yeah.

    And if that wasn't enough, image what those things look & smell like anywhere that has food. I was all too happy to deal with the box baler over the compactor.

    Count how many safety violations this guy does!

    These things are not fun when those wires snap. I used to work graveyard shift at Target and I would get stuck clearing it out two to three times a night. If I recall correctly there is a yellow line that tells you when you need to empty it but everybody just packed the cardboard in until it stopped workin. Not to mention the place they stored the pallets of cardboard was on a fucking hill.

    Ha, worked at Target stocking too. Yeah, the trick was to tie it just tight enough that it held for your shift.

    Mugsley wrote:
    So now I need to get it trimmed and adjusted, and all in.

    Steam:MichaelLC
  • KageraKagera Imitating the worst people. Since 2004Registered User regular
    When we make a bale we bring down the baling plate one more time and then turn it off as it's about to rise again then put the baling wire on. This way we don't have to tie it as tight and the wire doesn't tend to snap at all. Also luckily I got certified to use the forklift so I don't need to drag that fucking ton of cardboard with a manual jack. Whoo.

    My neck, my back, my FUPA and my crack.
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    Nice. You have the full trucks, or the little power lifters?

    I was a certified class 1-5 trainer years ago, so at WF I just grabbed one of the power lifters to move a pallet one day. Everyone was freaking out, but I was fine until I knocked the cooler door off its hinges.

    Mugsley wrote:
    So now I need to get it trimmed and adjusted, and all in.

    Steam:MichaelLC
  • KageraKagera Imitating the worst people. Since 2004Registered User regular
    MichaelLC wrote:
    Nice. You have the full trucks, or the little power lifters?

    I was a certified class 1-5 trainer years ago, so at WF I just grabbed one of the power lifters to move a pallet one day. Everyone was freaking out, but I was fine until I knocked the cooler door off its hinges.

    We have a full forklift, a powered jack, and a walkie-stacker.

    Also a stock picker but that's obviously not useful for bale transport.

    My neck, my back, my FUPA and my crack.
  • fightinfilipinofightinfilipino Angry as Hell CharlottesvilleRegistered User regular
    i am not taking shitty employers' sides here at all, but to all the people insisting that abused employees should take a stand, it's not that easy. especially when jobs are so scarce as they are today.

    here's a scenario:

    Grunt: "Hey, you can't have us working on top of an incinerator, that's an OSHA violation!"

    Evil Boss: "Hey, you're right. Oh well, here's your pink slip. Don't let the door hit you on the way out."

    Grunt: "Bbbbbbbut that's not right! I'LL SUE!"

    Evil Boss: "Yeah, sure you will. Good luck finding a lawyer with the now $0.00 you're makin!"

    ffNewSig.png
    steam | Dokkan: 868846562
  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Lack of money should never be a factor in getting justice for being wronged in a clear breach of basic law.

    Do you not have employment tribunals or an equivalent in America?

    http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/ResolvingWorkplaceDisputes/Employmenttribunals/DG_10028122

    Jam Warrior on
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  • faitsfaits a panda eating cake seattleRegistered User regular
    Lack of money should never be a factor in getting justice for being wronged in a clear breach of basic law.

    Do you not have employment tribunals or an equivalent in America?

    http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/ResolvingWorkplaceDisputes/Employmenttribunals/DG_10028122
    yeah but you guys will also send a dude to jail for stealing some water

    shrug

    faits.png
  • IvarIvar Registered User regular
    Working in America sounds fucking terrible

  • WhippyWhippy Moderator, Admin Emeritus Admin Emeritus
    Ivar wrote:
    Working in America sounds fucking terrible

    Capitalism brings out the worst in people

  • IvarIvar Registered User regular
    Ivar wrote:
    Working in America sounds fucking terrible

    Capitalism brings out the worst in people

    Come to think of it, working in America sounds a bit like working in Norway in the beginning of the industrial revolution, before unions

    At least from these tales of expendable employees with no rights

  • ogcam777ogcam777 Registered User regular
    Employees have rights, it is just that most of the time they are not aware of them. An employer isn't going to take the time to teach a new-hire that whistleblowing is protected by OSHA.

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