Confront The Boss Or Suffer Loss

, , , , , | Working | May 28, 2018

I was hired as an early-morning stocker at a retail store and to help customers on the floor for a short time after the store opened. One morning, the maintenance person, who hangs ceiling signs as part of their duties, called off and there was a new sale starting, so a number of signs needed to be placed. One of my coworkers and I were called upon to hang those signs using a schematic that didn’t match the layout of the store, and equipment we were unfamiliar with. Also, the store had very high ceilings and the ladder was taller than any I’d ever been on — the store had no lifts or platform ladders — and I’m uncomfortable at heights, as was my coworker. We were through about half of the signs when the store manager approached us and “told” (yelled) us that most of those we had placed were not in the right place and needed to be moved, so those had to be redone, in addition to hanging the remainder of the signs.

As a result of our inexperience, the task, which should have been completed before the store opened, was not. Shortly before we finished, my coworker, who was part-time, had to leave, so I completed the project on my own. I was getting ready to take the ladder and equipment to the back of the store when I was approached by the manager and chewed out, loudly, in front of customers, for not doing the job quickly enough and having to redo some of the signs that were originally placed. I told the manager I would speak with him in the stock room after everything was put away, and he told me I needed to respond that very moment. I refused.

When the supplies were put away, I called him to meet me and told him I didn’t appreciate being reprimanded in front of customers, that I was not going to stoop to that level of irresponsibility and lack of respect, and that I had considered walking out when he originally reprimanded us, but because I needed the job and he needed someone to hang the signs, I had stuck it out in spite of being afraid of heights, and being given a task with a faulty schematic, unfamiliar equipment, and little instruction. I also told him that if I ever heard him reprimanding employees in front of customers again, especially for something that was not in their control, I wouldn’t hesitate to report him to corporate.

He never really apologized, but one day when he started to call me out on the sales floor for a misplaced promotional display — which someone else had set up — all I had to do was raise my eyebrows and say his name to get him to stop and walk away. Also, I rose quickly from stocker, to floor associate, to cashier, to lead cashier, to layaway supervisor, and then to merchandiser before I quit four years later. Sometimes it does pay to confront the boss.

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