Enough To Make You Beet Your Head Against The Wall

, , , , , , | Working | May 10, 2021

I’m the manager of a popular fast food chain. We’ve run out of sliced beetroot, which is an ingredient on a current promotional burger. Usually, I would organise to get some from another location, but we’re in a shopping centre so I know it will be quicker to send someone to the supermarket to buy a can of it. I can’t go myself because I’m the only manager working at the moment and I can’t leave the employees and the store unattended.

I summon over a kitchen employee. I choose someone who I know has opened cans of our usual beetroot before and who I think would know his way around a supermarket.

Me: “Hey, [Employee]. Can you please go down to [Supermarket] and buy one tin of sliced beetroot? It will be in the tinned vegetable section, near tins of corn and pineapple. It will look like the normal tins of beetroot that we use but a lot smaller. Here is $10; please bring me the receipt back.”

Employee: “Okay, sure. Can I take my phone in case I need to call you?”

Me: “Yeah, sure, just call the store if you have any problems. Don’t forget: tinned vegetable aisle and bring the receipt!”

I give him $10 from the petty cash and think no more of it.

Twenty minutes later, he walks back in. The supermarket is only a two-minute walk from our store through the centre, so this should have been no more than a ten-minute round trip.

Employee: “Here you go!”

He hands me a whole beetroot, like what you’d pick from the garden. He’s obviously found it in the fresh produce section, not with the tinned food. This beetroot still has dirt on it.

Me: “Oh, no! Oh, [Employee], I’m so sorry, but this isn’t what we need. It needs to be in a metal tin, pre-sliced in its own juice. You need to look in one of the aisles for it. It comes in a tin that you use a can opener for.”

Employee: “Ohhh! I’m sorry, [My Name]. I’ll go back and swap it?”

Me: “Yes, please! Call the store if you can’t find it.”

He sets off again to the supermarket.

Another twenty minutes pass, and he walks back in holding a vacuum-sealed package of two small whole beetroots.

I burst out laughing.

Me: “[Employee], no! We need it in a can!”

I pull out my phone and look it up on the supermarket’s website.

Me: “Like this! Beetroot in a metal can. It will be with the other cans of vegetables. [Brand #1] or [brand #2].”

Employee: “Ohhhh! In a can! Okay, sure, I’ll take this back.”

Me: “Yes, please. Call me if you have any problems. Don’t forget the receipt!”

Another twenty minutes pass. He walks back in, triumphant. He hands me a tin of beetroot, and about $6 change.

Me: “Yes! You found it! Thank you! Can I have the receipt, please?”

His face falls.

Employee: “Oh. I didn’t know you needed the receipt so I chucked it out. Is it really important?”

The receipt is needed so I can balance the petty cash and explain where that $4 went.  

Me: “Yes! I need the receipt! This beetroot is right but I need a receipt! Can you please go and get it? You’ll need to ask them to print it for you again.”

This poor boy sets off again to the supermarket. At this point, I’m really regretting my decisions and wondering how this went so wrong.

Twenty minutes later, he walks back in with the receipt. A full eighty minutes have passed since I first sent him to the supermarket.

Me: “Thank you! This is what I needed. Perfect. How about you have your break now?”

Honestly, I do wonder how this simple task went so wrong, so many times.

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