Dusting Off The Scum

, , , , , , | Working | June 10, 2018

When I left the military I decided to go for a complete change of pace while deciding the next direction I wanted to take my life. As a result, I ended up doing pizza delivery for local franchise of a national brand.

The particular location I ended up working at served a fairly small area and had been losing money for a few years, so it was scheduled for closure in another year or so, which I didn’t know at the time.

The manager of the store was rather worthless and did the bare minimum, if that, often disappearing for hours at a time during of his shift. Often he’d take pizzas coming out of the oven and just leave with them, leaving us to make new ones for the people that had actually ordered them.

One day, when I was primarily working in-store, I noticed him pocketing cash from an order after a customer left and cancelling out the order in system so the drawer wouldn’t show a discrepancy. I saw it a second time a bit later. Given the manager’s personality, I didn’t say anything to him, but resolved to tell the owner on his next visit, which happened later that day.

I told him what I saw and he was understandably upset, but said that unfortunately there probably wasn’t anything he’d be able to do legally without some sort of proof. To which I, confused, asked why he didn’t just check the security footage.

It turned out that the cameras hadn’t been working right for a few years and the owner never got them fixed, since this had never been a high-risk or high-income location. As he had come to decision to close it, it made even less sense to spend the money on it.

Now, there was a TV hooked up to the recording deck so that the cameras could be watched live in the office, but it was turned off. I had assumed it was only turned off unless a manager was actively watching it, but now knew it was because cameras weren’t working. However, on my second day, while cleaning, I had been dusting and shifted the recording deck more than I’d meant to and knocked a cable loose (I thought). So, when I had finished cleaning, I shifted it back, plugged in the wire, briefly turned on the TV to make sure I hadn’t messed anything up, then turned it back off and went on my way.

When I told the owner that the cameras were working when I did that check, he ran into the office and literally pushed the store manager out of the way as he turned on the TV. I followed the owner to the office and saw the store manager’s face turned deathly white when he saw all the camera feeds were active on the screen.

The owner shooed me out of the office and locked it while he reviewed the recordings. Police showed up an hour or two later.

Later, I found out that the manager had unplugged the camera cable not long after he started working there and had been using the store as his own bank for paying bills or buying himself stuff. He was also giving out free food to all his friends and ignoring long-time customers, which is why the store was failing. Also, in the just over a week that the cameras had been able to watch him, he had pocketed close to $2000 within sight of them, so he was arrested — I think for grand theft.

The assistant manager was promoted to manager, I became his #1 aid — not assistant manager, though, as I still didn’t plan on sticking around long-term — and together we went on a massive campaign to turn the store around. Within four months, it was the highest grossing store in that franchise, we had a solid crew, and we had arrangements with a number of hotels and local businesses that were helping us with driving in business.

I still left at the end of a year, but I had a great time being part of that effort. And it all came about because of a bit of dusting.

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