The weird workplace

Overhead hazing; Punishing pace; Mac and cheese mayhem; Nice weather for a bombing; Too close for comfort

Mac and cheese mayhem 
STORRS, CT — Workers at a food court at the University of Connecticut probably see all kinds of hijinks from students, but one particular individual recently crossed the line. Luke Gatti, a 19-year-old freshman, went on an obscenity-laced tirade against service workers when they refused to sell him jalapeno-bacon macaroni and cheese, according to the Associated Press. Gatti’s drunken 10-minute meltdown was, of course, captured on video. The student ended up pushing a supervisor, who maintained his cool, while other employees came out from behind the counter to try to diffuse the situation. Since the incident — which eventually saw a police officer taking Gatti away in handcuffs — students have started an online fundraiser to show their support for the food service workers. And Gatti posted an online video apologizing for his outburst. “Nobody deserves to be treated that way, ever,’’ he said. “I was just watching it and saying ‘Oh, my God, like what the hell is wrong with me?’’’

Overhead hazing 
CHINA — Female flight attendants in China face some tough conditions. There are height requirements and weight restrictions, and some are expected to have the strength of a martial artist, according to the Washington Post. But one hazing ritual came to light recently that garnered considerable attention. Wechat, a popular social networking app in China, released photos of female flight attendants from Kunming Airlines lying uncomfortably in overhead bins. The initiation ritual apparently marks the employees’ first 30 to 50 hours of flight service. The airline apologized for the incident, saying it did not condone the tradition, and vowed to discipline the workers involved while putting an end to their conduct. But the Wechat post claimed Kunming Airlines has long known about the ritual as female flight attendants had previously voiced their grievances to management, without recourse. 

Punishing pace 
ZHENGZHOU — It’s not just the flight attendants in China who are having a tough time of it — salespeople also suffer. Employees at one company who failed to hit sales targets were forced to crawl on all fours in public, according to Photos of a group of 10 workers crawling on a wooden walkway around Ruyi Lake in Zhengzhou were posted to popular Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo. Reports said the company even sent an extra employee to supervise the punishment and make sure it was carried out properly. Some employees were said to have suffered cuts to their knees and feet. Commentators used words like “torture” and “human rights abuse” in describing the treatment, with one asking: “How can the company expect to gain employee commitment with policies like this?” 

Nice weather for a bombing 
MOSCOW — One TV weather reporter broke with tradition recently when she informed viewers that Russian president Vladimir Putin had chosen perfect weather for his bombing campaign in Syria. Ekaterina Grigorova used a three-minute time slot on Rossiya 24 to say conditions were “ideal for performing combat flights,” according to the Daily Mail. Standing in front of a screen showing a Russian fighter jet, she said October is a good month for flying in Syria. “The average wind speed is two to four metres per second and only once in the month might the wind go as strong as 15 metres per second.” Grigorova went on to talk about expected temperatures, rain fall and cloud formations. “‘It looks like only dust storms may make harder the assignments of the Russia air force. Dust in the air can dissolve the laser beams which are used by some targeting systems.” 

Too close for comfort
NEWPORT, KY. — Everyone can get wrapped up in their work, but one store owner found himself overly constricted recently when a snake tightly coiled itself around him. Terry Wilkins was tangled up with a six-metre python weighing up to 57 kg at the Captive Born Reptiles store in Newport, Ky., according to Reuters. Apparently he had been cleaning the snake’s cage when it clamped onto his arm, and when a woman returned from getting hot water to make the python release him, Wilkins was choking. “When officers arrived on the scene, they located the victim who was total(ly) unconscious with a large snake wrapped around his head and neck,” said a Newport police report. The officers grabbed the snake by the head and unwrapped it from Wilkins, who began to breathe as rescue squad workers arrived. Wilkins was treated at hospital with nearly two dozen stitches to his arm  — the snake was unharmed.

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