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Digging Their Nails Into You    

, , , , | Working | July 18, 2018

(I am 19. My boyfriend is almost two years younger than me and is in the last few weeks of his senior year. Since we didn’t get to go to my senior prom together, we go to his. I get my nails professionally done, which is something I didn’t even do for my own senior prom, but it is a special occasion. I work where people order sandwiches. We aren’t supposed to have painted nails because the nails could puncture the gloves and you would be touching the food directly. My store posts a sign in the break room stating that any girl wanting her nails done for prom is allowed to do so, but they are restricted to register or stocking duty and must have their manicures removed within five days of their respective proms. All of the other girls are minors with limited work schedules, and I am the only “adult” employee attending prom, but I text [Store Manager] and he says that it’s okay for me as well as long as I also remove them within five days after the prom. I make an appointment to get my nails removed three days after prom, which is also my next day off after the prom. I even text [Store Manager] telling him this, so I can make the schedule for the following week to work in the kitchen again. My store has recently promoted a coworker of mine to shift supervisor. I have been at this store for nearly a year longer than her, but because she is over double my age and more experienced, she is given the promotion. I am only 19 and in college, and don’t want the responsibility of managing a store on top of that. As a coworker, [Shift Supervisor] doesn’t really like me and is always going behind me to see if there is anything I have missed or done even slightly incorrectly, so she can report me to management. It is my last shift before my day off and nail removal appointment, and I happen to be working with [Shift Manager] and the [Assistant Manager] training her, who also started working there long after I started. I pop in to the manager’s office to ask [Assistant Manager] to come to the register for a customer. I make the mistake of pointing to the register as I ask, and I can tell by the look on [Shift Supervisor]’s face that she has noticed my manicure and knows that she can report me to management. [Assistant Manager] comes up, assists the customer, and returns to the office with [Shift Supervisor]. About ten minutes later, I’m called to the managers’ office.)

Assistant Manager: “[My Name], why do you have your nails done? You should know by now that that’s not allowed. Of the three of us, you’ve been here the longest.”

Shift Supervisor: “I bet you thought it would slip by. With all the little girls getting theirs done, no one would notice, right? Wrong. If I didn’t work here and follow the rules, I’d have mine done, too. Anyway, we can’t have customers seeing your nails. They will call and complain. We are switching you and [Coworker assigned to kitchen duty for the night]. Go glove up and catch up on the orders.”

Me: “I understand the rules, and you do know that the kitchen is the worst place for you to put me because nails can contaminate the food, right? That’s why that’s the rule, and that’s why I was working the register. [Store Manager] even said that it was okay as long as I followed the same rules as the minors. Registers and stocking only, and remove before a specified date.”

Shift Supervisor: “That note was addressed to the girls going to prom, not to adult employees who wanted to go for a mani-pedi with their girlfriends and have an excuse to work the easy jobs.”

Me: “I actually did go to prom. My boyfriend is a senior this year and it was his prom.”

(I show them a picture of us standing in front of the building where the prom was being held.)

Assistant Manager: “Okay, [My Name], I’m going to have to see what [Store Manager]’s input is. Go back on register until I call you back in.”

Shift Supervisor: “You may have to be sent home for this. We can’t have customers see you with your nails, and you can’t work in the kitchen. If you had just removed them the next morning, you would have avoided this whole mess. All you had to do was soak them in acetone at home until they came off.”

Me: “I’m going to get them removed. I’m still within the allotted time frame. And besides, I worked a double yesterday and a double today. I didn’t have time to soak them, even if I did have acetone at home. I almost never paint my nails.”

Assistant Manager: “[My Name], there are customers lining up. Go get [Coworker] to help you get through the line. I will call you back here when [Store Manager] gets back to us.”

(This coworker is on the sales floor, and also rocking a post-prom manicure. I go get them and we work through the line fairly quickly, both occasionally getting complimented on our “gorgeous manicures.” [Assistant Manager] comes up to help in the kitchen, leaving [Shift Supervisor] to contact [Store Manager]. Once the rush is over, [Assistant Manager] is summoned back to the office, and not two minutes later he calls me back in.)

Assistant Manager: *looking at the instructions* “[Shift Supervisor] wrote while talking to [Store Manager]. So, it seems that [Store Manager] did not approve your manicure, and he suggests we send you home with a write-up. It says here that he wants your manicure gone before your next shift or you will be fired. I’m sorry to have to do this, but you should have known the rules.”

(I know that [Store Manager] didn’t say those things because for one, he has stated multiple times that I’m one of his best employees and one of the few that follow all the rules and don’t cut corners, and for another, he saw my nails for himself the day before prom and I reminded him of my nail appointment. Also, it is late in the evening and [Store Manager] has asked that, since he works nearly sixty hours weekly, when he is home with his family, he is not to be disturbed unless it’s absolutely, unquestionably necessary. When he does need to be contacted, he prefers texting. Everyone knows this. I proceed to pull out my phone and show [Assistant Manager] the text conversation between myself and [Store Manager] where he says that I am, in fact, allowed to be at work with my prom nails done, and then lower on the messages where it shows I sent him a screenshot of my nail removal appointment confirmation and he accepts that, as well. [Shift Supervisor] gets very upset at this, stating that I’m going behind her back to make her look bad in front of upper management, then accusing me of fabricating the entire message chain. [Assistant Manager] decides to text [Store Manager] and clear things up. I am told to go help [Coworker] stock the floor and then to go on my lunch break. Once I get back from lunch, [Assistant Manager] calls me back into the office.)

Assistant Manager: “So, it appears that you are in the clear.” *shoots [Shift Supervisor] a death glare* “It seems that there was some miscommunication here and [Shift Supervisor] did not contact [Store Manager] at all.”

Shift Supervisor: “He is not supposed to be disturbed at home unless absolutely necessary, and his wife doesn’t like me. She always answers when I call and she’s always so snarky. I just assumed he would take our side because she is breaking the rules! Why am I the bad guy here?”

Assistant Manager: “His wife doesn’t like you because you call about everything, even after it’s resolved, just to tell him it’s resolved! [My Name], why don’t you get back on the register and help [Coworker]. [Shift Supervisor], why don’t you go make yourself useful and help in the kitchen. I need to take care of some things in here.”

([Assistant Manager] calls [Shift Supervisor] back into the office to send HER home after [Store Manager] tells [Assistant Manager] directly to do so . About ten minutes later, she is storming out of the store with her things, screaming about how if “some fata** college brat” can have her nails done and break the rules, then she should be allowed to, too, because “fair is fair,” and hers would look better, anyways. I ignore her comment, finish my shift, go home, and get my nails removed the next day. The next day I work, I have [Store Manager] as the Manager-On-Duty. He calls me into the office and we talk about all the craziness from the other night to clear some things up. When I tell him what [Shift Supervisor] did, he rolls his eyes, laughs, and says:)

Store Manager: “I would never send you home for something so small. I can’t believe she even tried that bulls***. She wanted to send you home for following rules, and yet she is constantly dropping the ball.”

(He joked that this whole thing was my fault, because if I had accepted the shift supervisor position, none of this would have happened. She eventually quit because, “everyone had it out for her,” including the people who didn’t even know about the whole incident.)

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