SOTUS S: The Third Year and the Office Worker

SOTUS S, Lover’s Rule No. 11: When in trouble, you must help.

Arthit was the last to be called back for an emergency meeting with the Purchasing Department. After seeing the team of department members gathered in the lobby of the area, Manager Danai started to explain the situation.

“I’m sorry to interrupt you all during your break but this is an emergency… and all of our smokeless grills have been returned.” The shocking news stunned everyone, especially Todd, who had been working on the project.

“How! Why were they returned?”

“The customesr said the product was substandard because the quality of the material was not up to standard.”

Todd was still confused, not wanting to accept the truth but this wasn’t the time or place to explain what was going on.

“I’ll talk to you about it later but right now everyone must go back to the company,” the head of the department instructed.

“Now?”

Somoo was still wearing her new white lace dress and hadn’t even had time to take a couple of nice white photos yet but the situation was so dire that she couldn’t continue to enjoy herself here.

“Yes, this problem was caused by the Purchasing Department and we had to solve it as quickly as possible before it caused damage to the company.” The hiking party was halted in the middle of the night and everyone broke up and went to their rooms to collect their things.  But it seemed that word had spread throughout the company and even the two interns had heard about it.

“Phii Arthit, is it true that the product was returned?”

Kongpop also came at once to inquire about this and Naai to get further information.

“I’ve heard that the Production and Purchasing Departments have to return to the company urgently.” Arthit nodded in the affirmative and Kongpop and Naai immediately volunteered, “Then let’s go back with them.”

“It’s all right, you can stay here, the hike is only half a day away.” Even though they haven’t been here for a few months, they’re part of the Ocean Electric staff who are ready to show their spirit. Seeing how serious they are, who can refuse?

“So get your stuff together and meet at the front of the lot.”

“Yes!”

Kongpop and Naai replied in unison. A number of private cars left the area and it took almost four hours to get back to the familiar company forecourt. It was a quiet weekend afternoon, with no noise, just a lot of boxes of returned goods lying there quietly. After a rough estimate of the damage, everyone’s faces were white as a sheet.

“Let’s take this stuff back to the warehouse and check it out.” Yong, who was called back together, began to move quickly through the process.

“You guys go help Yong with the boxes”, Arthit said to the two interns.

“What about the purchasing department?”

Kongpop is still worried.

“It’s just not paperwork and production should be busier.”  Yes, because now that the package had been opened, it was clear that the smokeless oven inside was in a very bad state and the frame had melted badly. Kongpop had to split up but remembered to say at the end: “If Arthit needs my help with anything, please let me know.” Then he followed Naai to the production warehouse. And Arthit took the elevator and went to the fifth floor to do his duty. In the conference room of the Purchasing Department, Manager Danai started to review the history and find out where the mistakes were made.

“Who was responsible for contacting suppliers to produce plastic frames?”

“It’s Phii John.” Todd replied dejectedly.

Because it was part of the deal that John had made with him: if their team won the New Wave of the Oceans competition, John would contact the supplier who would order all the materials and the plastic frame would be made by Ms. Layla’s company, Sangchai Industries, which John had contacted. The baby was born. Because of his trust in John, Todd put the older man in charge but who would have thought this would happen and the culprit still hasn’t shown up.

“I tried John’s number but it didn’t connect.” The call to the assistant manager was answered only by ‘caller alert’, so the secretary put down her phone. But it was no good waiting for John to confess, the problem had to be solved first. So Danai ordered everyone urgently: “Everyone must help to contact the new supplier today, otherwise we will not be able to deliver the goods to the customer in time and we will have to pay millions of dollars in damages.”

“But it’s Sunday, Phii Danai. All the companies are probably closed”, Earth brought this fact to the forefront.

“No matter what, we’ll give it a try.” Even if it’s hard, we don’t want to lose. The members of the Purchasing Department put their heads together and called all available suppliers. However, their efforts were not rewarded, as they made one phone call after another and were rejected.

Tensions were rising with every minute, especially with Todd, who took full responsibility. The young man slumped his shoulders and walked out of the office. Earth noticed something was wrong with Todd and followed him out. The more he looked at the depressed man, the more worried he became and he couldn’t help but comfort him.

“It’s all right, we’ll find a solution.”

“I initiated this project, I put a lot into it and the result should be perfect, why is this happening!”

For Todd, this project was very meaningful because it was a testament to his abilities. And more importantly, it was a project that he had made for Earth. But now he was at a low ebb and he was afraid to face the girl of his dreams. But Earth didn’t blame him and even tried to encourage him.

“Don’t think so, I think your idea is really good.”

“But in the end I’ve made everyone’s lives a living hell”, the disappointed man bowed his head in silence.  The greater the capacity, the greater the pressure. A frenzied career woman like Earth sees her reflection deep inside Todd.  Lonely and empty and alone, Earth lifted her hand and touched the young man’s arm, wanting to at least let Todd know that he had someone there for him.

“Todd, we’re all in this together anyway, so we’ll find a new supplier.”  And before the words could be heard, Arthit’s voice sounded behind them both.

“I’ve found a new supplier!”

“Pitiphanich’s company right?”

Manager Danai repeated the name of the company that Arthit had contacted. Luckily, Arthit was able to recall that he had seen the catalog of the Pitiphanich factory when he had participated in a design competition for an electric oven. When he called the company, they were willing to help him.

“But for peace of mind, I would like to send someone to the Pitiphanich factory to check if it is capable of producing the materials we need.”

The head of the department did not let the urgency of the situation detract from his philosophy of careful and thorough work.

“In that case, let me do the audit”, Arthit volunteered his hand.

“Me too”, Todd raised his hand too.

“Let me drive them both later,” and Super Tough Guy finishes, forming a double team.

“I’m counting on you.” Danai watched his subordinates leave the office without a moment’s hesitation. The atmosphere in the office was one of unity and unity of purpose. As a manager, Danai also needed to check some things, so he went back to the upper level and called the remaining members of the office.

“Somoo you come and help me check all these files, see what’s wrong.” But the secretary sat so still, so distracted, that he had to call out a few more times.

“Somoo?!”

“Ah!  Yes, yes, yes.” The dazed man sprang out of his chair and with a heavy sigh, hurried over to help with the pouch.

“I’ve been working for over 20 years and I’ve checked every file, every report, line by line and I’ve never made a mistake and I can’t believe this is happening.”

“But… but hasn’t Nong Arthit found a new supplier? It should be a relief.” Somoo tried to look on the bright side but Danai shook his head.

“Even if we find a new supplier, I’m afraid I’ll have to resign if the company loses a lot of money.”

“Want to resign?”

Those slender eyes were wide with fright and two streams of water slowly trickled down her cheeks, wetting the sides of her face as she sobbed, “Oooooh, yes, I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, don’t cry, we’ll help each other out and work things out.” Danai tried to comfort her, thinking that Somoo was nervous that the company was going to lose but it wasn’t because the things that made her cry were much more serious than that.

“Oooooh Phii Danai, the quality of the plastic we got from the market is not up to the mark.” Danai was shocked by the confession of his subordinate.

“But I’ve checked the data and everything looks correct.”

“The order information you’ve seen is fake.”

“So where’s the real information?”

“Phii John put it away. He asked me to change Phii Danai’s file.” The fact that he was involved made Somoo cry even harder.  Because of a small bribe, a few gift cards to weight loss and beauty salons, it cost the company and destroyed their self-esteem. When Danai found out that corruption was brewing in the Purchasing Department, he fell on his chair. Somoo was speechless and wept. In the production department, the boxes of electric grills had been moved in and everyone gathered to rest, sullen looks on their faces, not knowing how to solve the problem.

“Kong, have you seen Phii Yong?”

Naai was asking for the production engineer, he’s been missing for almost half an hour, he was seen lifting boxes, where is he lazing around? But that doesn’t fit his strict character. As it turns out, just like Yong, the young man walked in from the warehouse with a big cardboard box.

“Everybody over here!”

Yong doesn’t have a box for returns, he has a box for an old electric oven in stock. All the production staff gathered around and the big guy opened the box for everyone to see. But only one person saw anything.

“These plastics aren’t” mumbled Naai, who looked at the shape of the plastic frames and found them very similar to those used in broken electric grills.

“The shape of the smokeless oven is based on an old model that we had in stock, with a few plastic frames leftover that we could replace,” Yong explained the method and Naai was intrigued by the idea and how it could be done.

“Phii Yong is awesome!”

The speaker’s few words of praise and bright smile stimulated the listener’s heartbeat. But now was not the time to think about other things, Yong quickly focused on his work.

“Anyway, let’s get this plastic frame out of stock.” With the light at the end of the tunnel, the staff’s morale is renewed and they run to the warehouse to take the stuff out. Kongpop was the only one left asking questions to reassure himself, as he saw the seriousness in Yong’s face.

“Just remodel the plastic frame and everything will be fixed?”

Yong shook his head, “Not yet, there’s only a limited stock of plastic frames left after all.”  Misfortune is a blessing; blessing is a curse. At that moment, Kongpop’s mobile phone in his trouser pocket gave a slight jolt, which turned out to be a message from Arthit, the senior, on LINE.

“I’m out looking for suppliers.”

“Go for it!” 

Kongpop replied to the message and then he looked up, staring at the plastic frame with concern. Arthit, Todd and Earth walked into a small industrial factory with state-of-the-art machinery and production lines that met international ISO quality standards and was owned by a conscientious owner.

Mr. Piti took them to the deepest office of the factory to show Earth the documents and samples of the plastic frame for examination and comparison, while the other two young men stretched their necks in apprehensive anticipation of the results. They were relieved to see the older woman nodding her head and confirming that it was the same material as the one needed.  The only thing to worry about now was the production deadline.

“I wonder when Mr. Piti will be able to deliver the full amount?”

Arthit asked quickly.

“Well, for that amount, this weekend.” When they heard, “the weekend”, all three of them fell silent, because it was well beyond the deadline.

“But we need it in a couple of days, can’t we speed things up?”

Arthit was pleading hard but Mr. Piti was insisting that he could not.

“It’s not possible, after all, I have orders from other companies here.”

“I beg you! I know it’s difficult for Mr. Piti to do so but just produce for us, okay?”

Seeing that the boy bowed down to him so sincerely, the owner of the factory sighed, took up the production schedule and checked it.

“All right, I’ll do my best to produce in two days and I’ll be able to send you about 30 percent.”

Even if they can get 30 percent, it won’t be enough to solve all the problems.

“That’s it, you don’t want to help more!”

Someone muttered a sarcastic comment on the wind, causing everyone to turn around and look for the source of the noise. Todd stepped forward, his eyes very tough. The pressure had turned him unreasonable, making him take risks by any means necessary.

“As much money as you want, I’ll give it to you but this is something you’re going to do now!”

The owner of the factory did not pay any attention to this presumptuous statement but remained true to his principles and said: “Even if you have more money, I can’t produce all of it. Where is the credibility of my company if I put other people’s products on hold to produce your products?”

“My uncle is the managing director, we’ll pay many times more than other companies!”

“You’re undermining my company reputation.”

Seeing that things were getting worse, Arthit intervened.

“Ai Todd! Shut up!”

Then he turned to the old man and said, “Mr. Piti, produce as you can.” But still Todd wouldn’t budge and without a second thought, he lost his temper with his colleague.

“If we don’t produce this amount, our company will lose faith in others! You don’t care about your company at all!”

“Of course I love it! As much as you love! But don’t let anyone else loose their reputation down because of us!”

Arthit fought back angrily.

“Hey! Arthit! Arthit! Todd! Todd! Todd! !”

Phii’s scolding silenced the two arguing. Earth tried to calm down, then turned to face the party offended by their behavior.

“Mr. Piti we are very sorry that we have become so nervous that we have behaved in an unbecoming manner. Once again I apologize to you. I am very sorry.” Earth tried very hard to bow and apologize again and again.

Arthit followed suit and bowed, “I’m sorry too.”

While Todd was still standing there, Earth gave the young man a decisive bump on the arm and wiggled her eyebrows at him, before Todd slowly calmed down and gave the sign of the wai.

“Excuse me.” Immediately after the interview, Earth called Danai manager to inform him about the incident.

“Pitiphanich can produce 30%, the production department can make up 20% with the old material in stock and we are still half way there.” Looking at the result of this estimation, it was the best we could do, so the head of the department told his subordinates, “Thanks for everything anyway, come back.”

Danai hung up the phone, turned around and saw Somoo pulling the data from the left side of the desk, while the right side of the desk was already piled up with a mountain of data. She picks up a file, finds it’s not what she wants, throws it at the pile on the right, picks it up again from the left but after a moment she sighs in frustration and throws it to the right as before.

“I’ve been through Phii John’s desk, I’ve looked at all the contracts, I’ve looked at the list of orders but I’ve found nothing in evidence.”

Is it really possible to leave no stone unturned? It’s hard to cover up a crime like this, so no matter how hard you try to cover it up, there’s always someone who knows. Danai pondered, if John didn’t leave any evidence inside the company, then he must have left some traces outside.

“Somoo, can you get me the number of Sangchai’s sales manager, please.” A dainty Japanese car was heading towards Ocean Electric, the setting sun’s rays filtering through the glass but not warming it. On the contrary, the atmosphere in the bus was heavy and the silence, which seemed to hang in the air, was increasingly depressing. The situation was not broken until a quick question from Todd.

“What do we do with the remaining half?”

Arthit, sitting in the passenger seat, is still unconvinced, sliding his phone around in an effort to find a new supplier.

“We’ll find a way.”

“What else is there to do? Should have just f-cking forced him to do it all just now, shouldn’t it have been done!”

Looks like Todd’s feverish anger hadn’t subsided. A call came in from Arthit’s cell phone but he didn’t notice, just turned around and fought with the guy in the back seat.

“How can you put someone else in harm’s way?”

“If the company collapses, will you take responsibility!”

“But if we do that, our company’s reputation will suffer!”

“It’s better than falling down!”

“Can you two stop now!!!”

The driver slammed on the brakes, causing the passengers to nearly hit their heads on the front seats.

“This is not the time to fight. If we’re the first to fall out with each other, the company will suffer even more than it already has; if you really love the company, you should know that, shouldn’t you?”

It was an indisputable fact. Todd turned his face to stare out of the window and Arthit’s phone stopped vibrating at the same time. The atmosphere was quieter than ever and as the bus drove slowly down the night road, the sky darkened little by little, as if the lights of hope were being extinguished one by little. It was completely dark and the employees in the production warehouse were going home after a long and tiring day.

“Kongpop and Naai, you can go back to bed.” Yong was grateful that the two interns had come to help him take down the original plastic frame and put it back together again from stock. It was a lot of work, standing still for almost three hours but there was no sign of fatigue on their faces.

“It’s okay, just let us stay and help brother”, Naai said, as if he still had a lot of strength left in him.

“There’s nothing we can do now. I’ve just talked to Danai, we’re going to lose money, because what we have and what we’ve got from purchasing, it’s only half of what we have.”

Oceanic Electric is at a dead end. Kongpop heard that the situation was getting worse and worse and his frown grew tighter and tighter. He went out of the warehouse, took out his cell phone and called Arthit but he waited for a long time but there was no answer. Time was running out and the teenager flicked his fingertips to find another number with a different name. With a hesitant look in his eyes, he finally decided to call someone…

Arthit, Todd and Earth returned to the office to meet up with Somoo and Danai again.

“Now that we’ve done everything we can, it’s time to tell our customers about the delay and hope it won’t cost us too much.”

Danai’s words were very calm but they were frustrating for everyone, because although they were not an admission of defeat, they were a declaration that there was nothing we could do to solve the problem.  All that was left was to hope for a miracle. Just as the members of the Purchasing Department were in despair, a miraculous voice pierced through the fog of sadness in everyone’s heart.

“I’m sorry.”

Kongpop appeared clutching his cell phone, reporting the overjoyed news.

“Well, I’ve got a supplier who can help us with that.”

 

 

Prev: Lover’s Rule No. 10: Look forward to staying away.

SOTUS S

Next: Lover’s Rule No. 12: Don’t create unexpected events

 

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