There’s no doubting it – we definitely do snow different in the South. If I had a dime for the number of call-offs we receive every time there’s even a HINT or minutia of snow in the air or on the ground (or drifting out of someone’s freezer), I’d be able to buy a Zamboni! From the panicky voices on the other end of the lines, you’d think the next ice age was right around the corner. They won’t be able to make it to work, of course, but you can bet they’ll be in line at Walmart with buggies full of milk, bread, and beer!

We had a few snow flurries last week here at the Bristol office. Not enough to call off or even delay school (and they call off school for practically saying the WORD snow around here!). In fact, you had to squint your eyes to see the snowflakes. Despite this and the fact there was absolutely no snow on the ground (that we could see), we had an applicant who called to say he couldn’t make it in for processing because he was ‘snowed in.’


THIS is ‘snowed in’

The staffing industry can be rewarding in many ways, but it can also be among the most frustrating. We witness inspirational success stories, but we also deal with an entire range of situations across the spectrum, from pathetic to sad to downright crazy. So, without further adieu, here are a few ‘crazy staffing stories’ from some of our branches all across East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia!

Johnson City

“I wanted to share about a ‘routine’ dispatch I completed with one of our employees last week.  The company he was being dispatched for does not allow piercings, and this applicant’s ears were pierced. He was advised by me that he would have to remove his earrings. While he was talking I thought I heard a tongue ring rolling around in his mouth, and asked him if his tongue was pierced as well. He said, “no my tongue isn’t pierced, but my nipples are.” He then proceeded to flex his chest muscles throughout the rest of the dispatch, and even tried to tell me the story about how one nipple ring was ripped out!”

Johnson City

“We all have those applicants that make us feel uneasy. I had one such interview this past Halloween. I recognized the gentleman from the previous year when he came in the office for another matter, and was pretty sure then that something just wasn’t right with him. Needless to say, when I opened the lobby door to call him back to my office for his interview, I cringed when I realized this was the same man who had given me the willies the year before.

I let my manager know my concerns, and she got a can of Wasp Spray and sat in the office across from mine while I conducted the interview (just in case!). The applicant relayed to me that he’s a welder by trade, but most recently has been working in law enforcement as a private investigator. He laughed during most of the interview at things that weren’t necessarily funny. He shared his paranoia about being in law enforcement, and explained how he never takes the same road home because he feels like he’s being watched. He shared with me some of his personal demons, and all the trouble he’s caused his wife over the years. He cried a little, and laughed some more. In the end I actually enjoyed his company, and even his erratic behavior. Being in desperate need of a welder, I decided to submit his information to one of my clients (with a warning, of course!). He ended up not even showing up for his interview there, which was probably a blessing. Gotta love staffing!”


I have no idea why people avoid me

Johnson City

“A former employee came into our office and asked for all his timecards from where he had worked the past few months. Apparently, his wife had accused him of visiting ‘whorehouses’ instead of working!”


“One day a client supervisor called to tell me that one of our temps asked him if he could leave work. He asked if he was sick, and the temp said, “no, but if you can give me a note saying you are sending me home for lack of work that would be great.” The supervisor, of course, declined the request, but five minutes later the employee came back into the plant and asked if he could get a note saying he was being sent home because he, indeed, was… sick!”


“The wife of someone who was about to start a new job at our client called and left voicemail messages for literally everyone in the office saying her husband had been arrested and was ‘crazy.’ Later, we found out how true her story was when he called from a mental hospital!”


“When I received payroll for one of our clients last week it included a name that we didn’t recognize. The individual had applied online but never completed the process. Upon checking with the client, apparently one of our employees had a friend who wanted to work there and, since the employee knew they needed people, he just had him go to work with him! We wondered if maybe he thought it was ‘take your friend to work day’ or something! We eventually got the employee in to go through our entire dispatch process, but it definitely made for some tense moments.”


“One time I interviewed this lady and offered her a job on the spot. She was so excited, even went through the dispatch process and took a drug test, which she failed for THC (marijuana). When I told her the bad news, she shook her head and said, “man, I knew I shouldn’t have smoked that joint this morning!”


oh snap!

Well folks, if you’ve made it to this point you are to be commended, but we aren’t finished yet. However, if you have a weak stomach or are eating or are about to eat, feel free to skip these last few stories – don’t worry, we’ll spare you the pictures!


“I once had to fire someone for soiling themselves (#2) and still going into work like nothing happened. The irony of it is this person worked in a laundry facility!

We also had a client send someone for a random drug test. He was supposed to come that morning, but ended up coming in much later. Apparently, he decided he’d just use the bathroom on himself then come in here to drug test. He said surely we have this happen all the time (people peeing their pants). I said not usually! Much to our surprise, he passed!”


“Well, this is a pretty disgusting story, so if you are squeamish at all feel free to skip this paragraph! Being a brand-new staffer, I had only drug-screened two people by myself before this gentleman walked through the door. I sent him into the restroom with the collection canister and instructed him not flush or wash his hands. He proceeded to enter the restroom, which was fine, except that he didn’t close the door… I quickly told him he was free to shut the door, but he said no, it was all right. (!?!?)

Now, I’m sitting outside the door facing the other direction and he starts grunting for about a minute or two, and then he comes to the door and says, “hey, we got a problem.” He then proceeds to tell me he has to pee, but he also has to poop and if he pushes too hard “it’s gonna get bad in there.” Not really knowing what to say at this point, I told him to do what he needed to do but if he wanted to leave with a pass on his drug screen he couldn’t leave our office until he took the test. So, about ten minutes go by and, finally, the guy announces to a very full office that he is ready to pee, but he has stopped our toilet up. What else was I supposed to do besides call a HAZMAT crew!?

I gave him a plunger! After all that, he finally takes his drug test and, believe it or not, passes with flying colors!”

Written by Scott Morefield

Scott started with AtWork as a Staffing Manager in 1999, eventually taking over the Bristol, TN office as Branch Manager in 2005. After a two year stint as both Branch Manager and social media manager, he assumed the role of Director of Marketing in October of 2014. By night, Scott is a news and opinion columnist for BizPac Review. His work has also been featured on the Drudge Report, Fox Nation, Breitbart, TheBlaze, WND, Staffing Talk, among others. Scott holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources and an MBA from East Tennessee State University. He and his wife, Kim, live in Bristol, Tennessee with their four children.

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