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Doing A Disservice To Community Service

, , , | Legal | March 7, 2019

(At our thrift store, we take in people who have been court-ordered to do community service. The local court is willing to extend deadlines as long as Community Service Workers can show they’ve been making an effort. On our part, we are normally quite happy to give them a photocopy of their partially-completed hours served to show that they are, in fact, making an honest effort to get through it. Then, this woman comes in. Her stint with us is basically a battle from start to finish. She huffs and puffs and twirls her hair around her finger while telling the supervisor that she simply “doesn’t do that,” and she’s “too good to be stuck doing this.” She complains about having to sweep the floor, then pushes a broom around for three minutes before putting the broom away and claiming she did the whole store.)

Lead: “You’ve been here for four hours and you haven’t gotten a single thing done, so I’m afraid I cannot credit you for the time. I think you need to go home and think about whether doing your community service with us is right for you. There are other businesses that will help you work off your hours.”

Community Service Woman: “Whatever.”

(She leaves. The next day, the phone rings.)

Community Service Woman: “Yeah, so, I need you to send the court a completed record of my hours.”

(I get her information and find the notes.)

Me: “I’m afraid I can’t do that. You are supposed to fulfill forty hours. It says you didn’t even come in the first two days, and the third, you refused to do anything for four hours.”

Community Service Woman: “Well, I need you to send a completed copy of the form to the court, now.”

Me: “Ma’am, if you want a completed form, you have to actually do the work.”

Community Service Woman: “Well, I’m not going to do that, so what you are going to do is fill it out and sign off that I did it.”

Me: “No, I don’t think I will.”

Community Service Woman: “Listen to me very carefully. You will fill out my form, you will sign off on it, and you will send it to the court. You will do what I tell you to!”

Me: “Nope, actually, I won’t. I’m not going to lie to the courts. But I will be happy to pass you off to [Supervisor who had to deal with her before], and let you tell her what you need.”

(I put her on hold before she could say anything and gave the supervisor a summary of what she’d tried to pull with me. The supervisor answered the phone, listened, and sweetly promised to submit all the “appropriate” paperwork to the courts. She hung up and asked me to write down, as accurately as possible, my conversation with the Community Service Woman. Instead of a completed hours form, the court got a detailed report from the supervisor and me about how she tried to fudge her paperwork and bully me into lying to the court. We never saw her again, but I doubt things went well before the judge.)

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