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Doesn’t “Store Spirit” Usually Mean Fake Smiles And Crying Under Your Register?

, , , , , , , , | Working | April 30, 2020

I worked in a retail store as a floor associate in the clothing department. For the most part, staff got along really well with each other and management, with one major exception: the store manager.

He was completely oblivious to his own effect on those around him but just assumed he was beloved. He routinely took the customers’ side over staff, made major exceptions to policies to favor the customer in front of the staff member who had tried to explain policy — for example, overriding major price changes because a customer misread a sign, not because the sign was incorrect — and would both encourage “store spirit” among employees but berate us if he found us chatting, even while doing our tasks.

Think Michael Scott, only so much worse and real. 

This all came to a head when the employee satisfaction survey rolled around. While most of the store performed as you’d expect of a major department store employing dozens of part-timers at minimum wage, the store manager received a whopping 8% satisfaction score.

His reaction was to schedule a meeting with each team in the store and demand that we all give him three reasons why we didn’t like him before we were allowed to leave the meeting. He listened to all of our severely-censored reasons — because who says what they think of their boss who could fire them at the drop of a hat to their face? — told us why each of our reasons was wrong, misplaced, or just not fair, and then walked around the store in a funk for a month. 

He quit with zero notice in the middle of a shift. Best day ever.

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