The absurds and the bees

The week: robot reboot, fifteen fight, pizza pret, and cougar comeback.

The schedule and the hard drive probably both need to be de-fragmented

You might picture a store manager with a number two pencil working out staffing plans on ruled paper, but nowadays, work schedules aren’t just written up and posted at the time clock — they’re frequently composed in the server rooms of HR software providers. Schedules can be constantly adjusted to reflect the minute-by-minute sales needs of the employer, and whether or not you’re expected to work a given shift might not be clear until you get a text from your manager less than an hour before your start time.

In effect, many low-wage jobs —particularly in chain retail and food service — are being turned into on-call positions. The good news: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman this week announced an investigation of the practice at chains including Gap, Target, Abercrombie, and others. Schneiderman is making use of a NY state law which ensures a minimum 4 hours pay if you show up to work. Washington State has no similar law. (Yet?)

As if Tim Gunn & Heidi Klum wouldn’t have a field day with that guy

The big event of the workweek, of course, was the massive national mobilization for $15 on 4/15, demonstrating the power of workers…and homophones. Across the country, an incredible 60,000 workers rose up against inequalityincluding well over 1,000 across Washington State. Worker voices dominated the news, occupying the front pages of The OlympianThe Spokesman-Review, and the Yakima Herald. And to top off an incredible day of worker power, notorious State Representative Matt Manweller decided the best line of attack against higher wages… was to try to start a twitter fight over some workers’ clothes & hairstyles. We look forward to his guest appearance on the Ellensburg edition of Project Runway.

It’s like a Scandinavian film: it may not all make sense, but it sure is depressing

A pizza chain based in Silicon Valley apparently encourages goofy special requests, and yet apparently also aggressively clips webform entries at a fairly minimal character limit. Both of those facts are key to understanding how it is that no alarm bells went off when a California woman ordered two large pizzas for a party, along with a note to “Send us your cutest delivery boy. Tell me I’m pret.

The delivery driver showed up to a depressed birthday girl, no party guests, and an offer of a piece of cake. Simultaneously exercising his gender privilege, underscoring the extent to which emotional labor is expected of service workers, and reminding us all how few community mental health resources are available in this country, he decided that since she needed cheering up, why not walk into a strange house with an emotionally fragile person to a eat a piece of cake and hang out for a while? After an hour of "talking and laughing", he finally went back to work for his next delivery — at which point he was either disciplined by his manager for his low productivity, or patted on the back for his excellent service. Reports vary, as do the opinions of BossFeed insiders — so readers: let us know what you think the story is here.

OK, so you might need to be more specific next time you say your boss treats you like an animal

A swarm of 40 million bees escaped an overturned semi-truck on I–5 north of Seattle. Like a casting call for a Village People reboot, firefighters, State patrol officers, and beekeepers were rushed to the scene.

A famous cougar hid for several days under a Los Angeles house, perhaps to spite the wildlife officials who decided to try to coax it out as annoying siblings might — by throwing tennis balls, lobbing beanbags, and poking it with a stick. Like every B-list celebrity where-are-they-now special, the cougar finally felt free again after everybody left it alone. 

And four koalas were flown from Australia to Singapore in luxury. But of course nobody talked about the conditions of the eucalyptus loaders, who may or may not have been employed by poverty-wage airline contractors.