Age Discrimination?

I just finished applying for a job demonstrating food inside CostCo stores.  If you’ve read my previous blog posts (and that’s a mighty big if)  you read where I complained about birthdates going back to 1900.  Now I’ve encountered the opposite and what might be a clear case of ageism.

I had to enter my previous employment and use dropdown boxes to choose the month and year I started.   Unfortunately the years only went back to 1980.  I wound up choosing 1992, the year I transferred to Alpharetta, and explained the discrepency in a comment box.  Still, if you are over 40, I suppose you should have waited to start working.


I was looking for jobs on the FedEx website.  Their search allows you to paste in your resume (every time – apparently they don’t save it) and then you can search by location, FedEx company, keywords and the like.  It then brings up a grid with the jobs.  Most of it makes sense – job id, title (with a hyperlink to a description) and the company.

What doesn’t make sense is the fourth column, which is untitled and contains a colored square.  They can be red, yellow, green, purple – but there is no indication or legend anywhere that tells you what the color means!

Pollo Tropical

Even though it’s out of my experience and comfort zone I have applied to various restaurants and fast food businesses for jobs such as cashier, kitchen prep and such.  While I appreciate the difficulty of my getting such a job, I was not prepared for Pollo Tropical.

I received an e-mail telling me that there was a “job fair” at their new location which was quite a drive since I was taking care of a friend’s house for that month.  I got dressed up and made sure I was there early.  Unfortunately, there was no job fair.  In fact there wasn’t a restaurant.  Just a billboard on the highway and the shell of a building.  In a mailbox around the back was a mailbox with applications and a lockbox in which to put them.

I started calling numbers listed on the billboard and eventually got someone at corporate who informed me that there couldn’t be a job fair at that site – “The restaurant isn’t even built yet!”  Really?  And I was about to go into the half built shell for lunch.  I filled out an application and left.

When Were You Born?

This question comes up a lot, although I thought it was illegal in many contexts.  The reason I’m including it here is the incredible range of dates they include.  Sometimes you get to type them in, but more often you have to choose from a drop down list.  Months are easy – there are only the twelve.  Days of the month only go up to 31, so no biggie there.  Years are more of a problem.

Just today I followed a link to a on-line survey, where the birth years started at 1900!  I’m glad they are accepting people from such a wide demographic but are there really a lot of 111 year old people taking on-line surveys?

Drugs In The Workplace

Okay, we’ll skip over the fact that the mega-trillion dollar behemoth known as Microsoft was created by Bill Gates and Steve Balmer while they were smoking grass in a hot tub.  I understand why most businesses, especially those that use forklifts, worry that their employees are high on the job. 

Still, this question confuses me : Smoking a marijuana cigarette is the same as smoking a cigarette.

I’ve seen this question several times. Sometimes you are supposed to answer yes or no, and other times with a range from strongly agree to strongly disagree.  Let’s stick to yes and no. 

Does “yes” =  “They are both innocuous ways to pass your private time” OR “They are both equally bad and tobacco smokers should be sent to prison with marijuana smokers”


Does “no” = “Tobacco is a harmless product produced by an industry that employs 27,000 God fearing American patriots” OR “Marijuana is a harmless weed that produces a gentle high and has not corrupted the US Congress and the governments of third world countries where Big Tobacco is marketing cigarettes to toddlers.”

I’m never comfortable no matter how I answer that one.

The March of Technology

I recently applied for a job at Advance Auto Parts and they asked me the  same questions every other company has asked, but they added a twist.

You see, all companies like to ask  you what you would do if you worked for their company.  Of course, you’ve never worked for their company so you can’t possibly know their policy.  For example:

Question #82:

A customer wants to return a $20.00 item but it is three days past the return date.  Do you:

a.  Issue an immediate refund

b. Explain that it is too late to issue a refund, but you can give store credit.

c. Ask a supervisor

d.  Tell them to go to hell

Now there are basically two types of companies.  One wants customer goodwill so badly that they will issue a refund, even if it is past the due date.   The other has the policy “We have your twenty bucks and we’re keeping your twenty bucks.  We don’t care if you are mad.  We don’t care if you never come back.  We don’t care if you go out into the parking lot and commit ritual suicide like in Sepuccu!  We’ve got your twenty bucks and we’re keeping your twenty bucks.”

So how is an applicant supposed to know which is the right answer.  I know!  Hire me, tell me the rules and that’s what we’ll do.  Apparently, as I’ve said before, you’re supposed to be a mind reader.

Advance Auto Parts asked the same questions, but they added a new twist.  Instead of simply reading a description of the situation (which you have to do anyway) you have to watch a crude animation (think Tiger Woods being assaulted by his wife) of the exact same situation they just described with dull lifeless voices dubbed in.  Then you answer the question.

So now, in addition to programmers, they are paying animators and voice artists to create their on-line tests.  No wonder they can’t afford to hire anyone.

Guess the job!

I recently applied for a job on-line.  Let’s see if you can guess the job I was applying for, based on the test I had to take:

1.    They required THREE business references
2.    The usual yes/no questions (“I think it’s okay to be drunk at work as long as I can do my job.”)
3.    A multiple choice math quiz (“Johnny uses a five dollar bill to buy something for $3.76 – what is his change?”)
4.   A language quiz (“Mary ______ newspaper”) – also multiple choice
5.   A reading quiz – answer questions about a small story
6.  Memory test – read a page of information and then without the page answer questions on it.

Can you guess the job?

Team Member at Bojangle’s