Definitely Time For A Change

, , , , | Working | October 29, 2020

This is my first real job, and I’m working in a fast food joint. I have worked before but it has always been under the table and never in customer service. I am young and don’t ever stick up for myself. I’m still afraid of confrontation.

I work the registers. If I run out of bills or coins, I have to call a manager to get me change and “buy it” from them; i.e., take a twenty from the register to buy twenty ones, etc. One thing they always stress is to make sure you had enough bills and change to keep from bothering them during the rush. Two of the five managers scream at you if you ask for money when they are busy. It doesn’t matter if the store is busy; if THEY are busy, they scream.

The general manager tells you to “make it work.” If you have no pennies, you are told to round up or down — same with dollars. If you have no quarters, you have to use dimes. If your drawer is short, you have to pay. If your drawer is short because your manager or the general manager refused to give you change, tough luck; you have to pay.

Today, I have no quarters. I notice that the managers are all in a manager meeting, so I timidly walk up to them.

Me: *Quietly* “Excuse me. I’m almost completely out of quarters.”

I’m so quiet I have to repeat myself.

General Manager: “Make it work; we’re in a meeting.”

A few customers come and go. I apologise and jokingly ask for quarters if they’re paying with cash; I try to keep it light-hearted and keep hold of all the quarters I can get. I don’t want to run out and I don’t want to pay if my drawer goes short. When I have one quarter left, I go back up to the managers.

Me: “Um, excuse me. I’m sorry, but now I’m completely out of quarters. I really need them or I’ll run short on my other change.”

General Manager: “Ugh! We’re almost done. Just make it work and don’t bother us again!”

The next customer comes up and while I don’t remember the total, I know the change back was a high number.

Me: “I hate to ask, but do you have any change? See, I’m out of quarters and I’m sure you don’t want a bunch of dimes.” *Chuckles*

Customer: “I’m in a hurry! Give me my change!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

I take almost a dollar worth of change out and hand it to her.

Me: “Here you are. You have a wonderful day!”

Customer: “Are you stupid?! I don’t want dimes! Give me quarters!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I gave you the only quarter I have. I don’t have any more in my drawer.”

Customer: “Give me quarters now, or I’ll get you fired!”

Me: “B-but I don’t have any!”

Customer: “Get me your manager! Now!”

Me: “I-I’m sorry but they’re in a m-meeting and told me n-not to bother them.”

The customer went over to the managers and started screaming about what a horrible person I am. The general manager pulled money from the safe and gave her free food and her money back, saying he would “deal with me.”

As soon as the customer left, the general manager grabbed my arm and yanked me into the broom closet they called an office. He got about an inch from my face — I am not even five feet tall and he was over six feet tall — and screamed at me that I should’ve told him I was out of quarters and that I needed help. I tried to tell him that I did tell him, but by then, I was so scared I was about to be fired that I couldn’t think straight.

At the end of the shift, several hours later, I found out that my drawer was almost twenty dollars short. Rather than refund the customer, the general manager had taken the money straight from my drawer. I was told if I didn’t pay the shortage, I would be fired.

No happy ending here, other than that now I’ve learned. Where I worked, they employed kids that didn’t know any better. I’ve had several jobs that punished me because I didn’t know any better and several that punished me because I did know better. Teach your kids. Before they enter the workforce, tell them what is legal and illegal. Don’t let these people win by preying on teens and young adults that don’t know any better. Report bad businesses. I didn’t know any better; do your part to make sure no one else can use that excuse.

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