Can’t Put This Deli-cately

, , , , , | Working | June 23, 2017

(I work in the deli department in a retail chain. For months now, our staffing has been slowly getting less and less, making each of our individual workloads heavier while management puts pressure on us to get even more done, even scolding us in front of customers. What few and far between new hires we do see are out the door very quickly due to the intense workload and lack of respect from management and all requests to transfer to other departments are ignored. Eventually, we’re down to just four people total per day in our department as the business picks up due to warmer weather. As a result, the morale of the department is pretty much non-existent. Finally, after months of everyone not getting everything management is asking done each day, two managers get behind the counter themselves to “show us how easy our department is.” This is the conversation that followed.)

Manager: “So, after working deli today, I absolutely hate it. Even we couldn’t get everything you need to do done with who we have. Honestly, I’d never work this job for what we’re paying you.”

Me: *feeling so relieved* “Thank you! So, you’ll put a higher priority on hiring and show more understanding for when we can’t get it all done, right?”

Manager: “Well, we’ll see what we can do about hiring, but the fact is, not many people are applying to be in deli, so you’ll just have to make do. As for getting it done, we get emails from corporate about our numbers and when that happens, we have to hold people accountable.”

Me: “Wait, what?! You and [Other Manager] just said you couldn’t figure out how to get it all done, and with you both there, that was with two more people that we’re used to having. If you two, whose job it is to ensure the place runs properly, cannot make it run properly yourselves, why are the employees being held accountable?”

Manager: “You gotta understand; when we walk over and see empty shelves because nobody stocked it, that’s sales we’re losing!”

Me: “Did you and [Other Manager] manage to stock all the shelves yesterday?”

Manager: “Well, no, but you just gotta communicate with your coworkers and figure it out. While we’re at it, everyone in the deli seems miserable!”

Me: “Because we all are. The work conditions you just dealt with are the conditions we’ve been dealing with every day for months! We all tried our best to stay hopeful, but we’ve been warning you about the decreasing conditions this whole time, you’ve done little to nothing about it and now, as human beings, we’ve just reached our limit!”

Manager: “Well, if you’re going to be here, you’re going to act happier. The customers can’t see you all so miserable. If you don’t like that, then nobody is being forced to keep the job. The door’s always open for you all to leave.”

(On that note, I realized I wasn’t getting through to her. After going home that night, I thought long and hard on it and decided to accept her generous offer to leave. I gave my two week’s notice very shortly after and am currently much happier and less stressed. Unfortunately, most of my coworkers did not follow me out the door.)

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