A Fool’s Errands

| Michigan, USA | Working | April 2, 2013

(I’m training a new employee. We’ve been going through a lot of them because for three months in a row, we’ve had 50% off coupons; the resulting work load is so high that many quit within a week.)

New Employee: “I’m so glad to be working!”

Me: “That’s great; let’s get you started…”  

(I explain the basics of the job before getting cut off.)

New Employee: “So, it’s like… I need time off?”

Me: “Well, when we hired you, I warned you there would be no weekdays off during the coupon.”

New Employee: “Oh… okay. Oh! There’s someone I know! I’m going to say hi!”

Me: “Please concentrate; I need to get you started.”

New Employee: “It’ll only take a minute!”

(This happens several more times as I’m explaining various duties.)

New Employee: “…oh, and who do I talk to about getting time off?”

Me: “I’m your manager. You talk to me. I said no.”

New Employee: “Oh, no problem…” *greets another friend*

Me: “Let’s just get you shadowing someone. You can help the cashiers bag.”

New Employee: “Oh, uh… do you hire people with felonies?”

Me: “…Why, do you have one?”

New Employee: “No.”

Me: “Okay, because you didn’t mention that on the application where it asks about felonies. Uh… we do, but it also depends on the nature of them. Fraud and theft are pretty big no-nos. But back to getting you trained—”

New Employee: “Oh, okay, because I have a misdemeanor.”


Me: “I don’t need to know. That’s your business, and I frankly don’t want to know.”

New Employee: “Well, I was accused of abusing my twin boys by their father—”

Me: “This really isn’t on topic. Please stop.”

New Employee: “It’s still getting all sorted out, but I swear I never did anything to them…”

Me: “Stop. Now.”

New Employee: “…the court, however, says I’m not allowed to be around minors.”

Me: “We hire minors here. We don’t currently have any employed, but we might in the future. You need to look into that.”

New Employee: “Alright!”

Me: “…I really need to place you with someone. I have to go to lunch before my boss leaves. I’m going to leave you here with my head cashier. She’ll let you know more about the position.”

(I take my lunch, and return to check on the new employee.)

Me: “Alright, [new employee], did you get a good idea about the register?”

New Employee: “Oh, I thought I’d just clean the windows.”

Me: “I didn’t tell you to clean the windows. I told you to shadow on register. We have an outside contract for the windows and floors. Please watch on register.”

(I start to do my manager duties and help out with the work because we don’t have enough employees to do it. Meanwhile, I see the new employee wandering around, NOT watching the registers being run. I check in on them once again.)

Me: “So, you feel ready to do a register on your own? If you have any questions, I’ll be right here.”

New Employee: “No. I haven’t even looked at one.”

Me: “Alright, I want you pick up these hangers and hang them on a rack. Then take them to the back and put them away.  And repeat that until the end of the night.”

New Employee: “I’m going to ask [head cashier] what she wants me to do.”

Me: “She wants you to listen to me and do the job I gave you.”

New Employee: “No. I think I’ll wait and ask her.”

Me: “…Why?”

New Employee: “I want to make sure I’m doing the right thing.”

Me: “[New Employee], I hired you. I’m the manager. I am your boss. I am the supervisor. When I tell you to do something, you need to do it. I’m giving you a very simple task to do.”

New Employee: “I guess…”

(Later…)

Me: “Okay, go ahead and go on break.”

New Employee: “Did [head cashier] say it was okay?”

Me: “I think maybe you’re confused. She’s your coworker. She doesn’t have a say in what you do. I am your manager.”

New Employee: *looks unsure*

Me: “…Please go take your break.”

New Employee: “How long do I get on lunch?”

Me: “There isn’t a lunch. It’s only four hours of work, so you take a break for 15 minutes.  Please start so you can get back to work.”

(I kinda hide from her from then on. She only listens to the head cashier, but I’ve already briefed her on what I want to new employee doing. Later on, at the end of the night…)

Me: “Whew. We really need to get more people hired. But good job, guys; we got through it. Now, let’s hurry and try to get out of here before the alarm company calls.”

(Suddenly, I see the new employee taking hangers off the rack and putting them at the front.)

Me: “Stop!”

(The new employee stares at me over her shoulder, but continues to do what she’s doing.)

Me: “Hey, stop, you’re… stop! Stop putting the hangers there! They need to be taken off there and put where you’re taking them from!”

(The new employee continues, completely oblivious to my comments, and continues until she’s done.)

New Employee: “There, all done!”

(Finally, my head cashier speaks up.)

Head Cashier: “We put them on the rack to take them to the back! Now we have to redo everything you just undid. Why can’t you listen to your manager?!”

New Employee: “They go there.”

Me & Head Cashier: “NO THEY DON’T!”

(Incredibly, she lasted four more days before they let me fire her—and kept asking my head cashier for time off the entire time!)

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